NAGC Board of Directors
NAGC Board President
Executive Director, Tamarack Grief Resource Center
NAGC Board Vice-President
Executive Director, Uplift Center for Grieving Children
NAGC Board Treasurer
Executive Director, Caring Unlimited - York County's Domestic Violence Resource Center
NAGC Board Secretary
Director of Bereavement Programs, Eluna Network
NAGC Immediate Past Board President
Executive Director, Mourning Hope Grief Center
Director of Spanish Programs and Outreach
Executive Initiatives, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare
(St. Paul, MN)
Professor and Chair, Department of Nursing at Lehman College of the City University of New York
President, National Black Nurses Foundation
Nonprofit Management Consultant (Philadelphia, PA)
Director, Organizational Development, Military - International
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Executive Vice President, VITAS Healthcare
Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, Park Lawn Corporation
Executive Director, Imagine
Executive Director, The Dougy Center
Tina Barrett EdD, NAGC Board PresidentTina Barrett, EdD
NAGC Board President
Executive Director, Tamarack Grief Resource Center
Darcy Walker Krause J.D. LSW, NAGC Board Vice-PresidentThe story of why I chose NAGC starts with my mom dying when I was 15 years old. My hometown did not have a children’s bereavement center, and for so many years, even after I sought professional and familial support, I felt alone in my grief. I knew that grieving kids needed more support. As a young professional, I began to volunteer with organizations for grieving children and decided to leave the law in order to pursue this passion. As the Executive Director of The Uplift Center for Grieving Children in Philadelphia, my job is my passion as we help provide free grief support to the children in the City of Philadelphia.
Susan Giambalvo, NAGC Board TreasurerI had no idea the impacts of childhood bereavement before I came to work for the Center for Grieving Children in Portland Maine over ten years ago. Now I realize that was a direct result of our cultures difficulty talking about grief and supporting those who our grieving. When I thought about the children and families I had served over the years, almost all had been grieving. I had lacked the knowledge and skills to truly help. These are the same skills and knowledge—deep listening, respect for others experience and the trust that people can heal when they have the support they need—that can and must be applied in all our work alongside others for healing and change. That is why I am a part of the NAGC.
Bethany Gardner, NAGC Board SecretaryMy life was transformed in a MA in Counseling Psychology program that emphasized personal storytelling and grief work as a primary means to healing and growth. Though my mind and heart were primed for the work ahead, I could not have predicted a career in youth and family bereavement support. Through a friend and a good bit of luck, though, I was hired as a program coordinator in a Seattle-based hospice grief support program during my final year of grad school. After almost four years in that role, I transitioned to the Eluna Network (formerly The Moyer Foundation) to oversee the national Camp Erin network.
When I joined TMF’s staff, I became a member of NAGC and attended my first Symposium in Orland, FL, in 2012. I was new on the job and had no idea the amazing community I was (literally) about to dance my way into. NAGC educational offerings and my relationships with NAGC members around the country have elevated my work and provided me with a smart, caring, fun, and growing crew of colleagues – a necessity to sustain each of us in this field. I am a better human and provider because of NAGC. My gratitude is BIG! I am honored give back and help with the work of creating welcoming, relevant spaces for learning, connection, and best practices development for supporting our communities. We are better together!
Carly Woythaler Runestad MHA, NAGC Immediate Past Board PresidentA music therapist by trade along with a master of health administration has led to nearly twenty years in the nonprofit field. This involvement has primarily been served in the areas of long-term care, health care advocacy and policy, and for the last decade as the executive director of the Mourning Hope Grief Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. While Mourning Hope quickly became an enduring passion, I also abruptly discovered that the life of a children’s grief center director can be particularly isolating – especially in the middle of a rural state! So engaging with the NAGC was a natural extension that immediately connected me with children’s grief centers and charismatic leaders throughout the nation. Not only has the NAGC developed into my primary location for professional education and information sharing, but engaging with the NAGC “tribe” has been personally rewarding as well; nowhere in the world will you find a more charming, spirited, talented and compassionate group of individuals! The field of childhood bereavement became much less isolating after finding my home with the NAGC, and the organization provides a nationwide platform to ensure that no child ever has to grieve alone.
Cristina M. ChiprianoMy work in the field of children’s grief has been and continues to be inspired by my own family. I have seen what children’s grief looks like, what happens when there is no support and how isolating it can be. Before the age of 8, my 5 year old cousin and my aunt both died within a year of one another. I grew up alongside my cousins and while dealing with my own grief, I watched them try to deal with theirs while no outside support in the language spoken at home was available.
Erin BaileyI joined the NAGC Board of Directors in 2013 after leading a project aimed at increasing access to resources that support bereavement services in tribal and urban Indian communities as the inaugural Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. Prior to this position I worked in the US Senate and a few other nonprofit advocacy organizations in Washington, DC. I now work at a specialty children’s hospital in Minnesota, where I reside with my family. There are a few losses — especially that of my father — in childhood that played a significant role in making me who am and drive my passion for the work of the NAGC.
Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAANI have seen the maladaptaions that have emerged in adults because of the lack of resources tha were not available when they sustained a loss as a child. All children must have an opportunity to grieve since grieving is part of the process of living. I am particularly cognizant of the losses to children from racial and ethnic communities. Our moral compass must guide us in assuring that there are safe places for healthy grieving to happen.
Allison GilbertAllison Gilbert
Emily Brenner HawkinsI first became involved with the NAGC when I served as Executive Director of Kate's Club, a children's bereavement support center in Atlanta, Georgia. At the time, I was an experienced nonprofit professional, but entirely new to the field of children's grief support. The NAGC provided the educational programs, best-practice resources, and network of professional colleagues that made all of the difference to me personally, and to our rapidly growing organization. I have been on the NAGC board since 2014, serving as Treasurer for three years, and at various times on the Finance, Governance, Fundraising, and Executive committees. Even after a job change and a family move took me out of direct professional engagement in "the field," I have continued to treasure my involvement with NAGC and believe strongly in the critical importance of our mission. Grief is a universal human experience, but is far too often experienced in isolation. This is especially true for children. At a time when social emotional learning is increasingly recognized, I believe that all children and families deserve access to quality grief support, and that a growing societal openness toward issues of death and grief is a necessary component of our education system and social support networks.
Brian Hill MBAIn November 2009, my 32-year old wife, Jennifer, died after a six month battle with stomach cancer. Our boys were 9 and 11 when our world was turned upside down. Soon after, I found a grief support group for adults, but I had a hard time finding support for my sons. In January 2010, my organization – Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) – started its first youth and grief initiative. I immediately asked to work on the initiative, hoping I could learn some things to help my own kids while working to help kids across the country. That June, I represented BGCA at the annual symposium for the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC). By this point in the year, I still had not found the type of support I felt my sons needed. We dabbled in therapy, but they were very reluctant to go and didn’t talk very much. Maybe I could learn about better resources at the symposium. Boy, did I.
The first symposium session I attended was a presentation on grieving teens. My oldest was 12 at the time, and I was experiencing many of the things with him that were being described in the session. The presenters were from a children’s grief center in Portland, Oregon. I sat there thinking, “Why doesn’t Atlanta have a place like this? This is what my kids need. That’s it…I’m going to have to build one. I’ll call it the Jennifer Center.” My mind and heart were bursting with frustration and hope. By the end of the session, I was in tears.
I spoke to one of the presenters afterward, and during that conversation, I learned that Atlanta DID have a dedicated center for grieving children – Kate’s Club. It had been seven months since my wife died and no one – not the cancer center, not the hospice, not the school system – told me about Kate’s Club. Finding our local center for grieving children put my family on the road to healing. The main reason I decided to accept the invitation to sit on the NAGC Board of Directors is to do whatever I can to ensure another family doesn’t have to wait seven months to find the resources they need for the kids in their lives after the death of a loved one.
Peggy PettitThe month I turned 7, three days after Christmas, my Dad died of a heart attack in the early morning hours. It was very sudden, he had not been ill, and my Mom and eight siblings and I, after the shock wore off, were devastated.
I remember sitting on the stairs with my 8 year old sister, giggling and playing, confused by all the commotion in the house. We had no understanding of what had happened, and the adults around us (being stoic, Irish Catholics), thought it best to not dwell on his absence, but to just keep on going. It wasn't that we weren't allowed to talk about him, I think we all just did not want to upset our Mom, so I don't recollect there being much conversation about him over the years.
As I got older, I heard more about him from relatives, and my brothers and sisters started to share stories, funny, sad, and touching. I started to get a picture of who he was to them.
I felt like I did not know my Dad at all, and that void did much to shape who I was to become, in ways both positive and negative. It was when I became a teenager that I felt the pain of his absence most acutely. I know it greatly impacted all my brothers and sisters as well.
For years, until I was about 12 or 13, I would slip away every weekday evening at 6 pm, and run to the train station right behind our house, because I was sure my Dad was going home to another family every night... In talking with my siblings as adults, I recognize that we all have very different recollections of our childhood, and how our grief took us all in different directions.
I was 22 when my Mother was dying of cancer, and had the gift of caring for her in her last months. In my early 30s I became a hospice nurse. I felt like I had ended up in the best place possible. I knew something of what these families were going through, and believed I could help them at the worst times in their lives. I had found my purpose, my passion.
About 4 years ago, through my work with VITAS, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the NAGC... what an incredible organization. Here was what had been missing when my family and I were younger. Here was a group of individuals and organizations from around the country, committed to providing hope and healing for bereaved teens and children across the country.
I am so proud to be a Board member of the NAGC, and salute the important work they do and their dedication to kids who need to understand and work through their grief, so that they can live the best life possible. I am hopeful that my participation will advance the mission and promote awareness of the wonder that is the NAGC.
Jim PriceI’ve been in the death-care profession for over 50 years. Knowing now that 1 out of 5 children in North America are grieving based upon the loss of someone that is very close and significant in their lives, I am hopeful that I’m able to better connect those in my profession with regard to how very important it is to have the appropriate conversation with children’s parents. It is critical to understand the importance of reaching out to bereavement counselors in their communities as well as supporting the wonderful efforts of NAGC.
Mary RobinsonI believe the world is driven by unresolved grief. Serving on the Board of Trustees of the National Alliance for Grieving Children provides me the opportunity to be of service and work towards our vision of ensuring that no child grieves alone. This will only be accomplished through education and advocacy on behalf of all grieving children and teens. I know of no organization like the NAGC working so hard and so effectively to create a world where children coping with loss grow up emotionally healthy and able to lead meaningful and productive lives. These children will be the next generation of healers for bereaved youth.
Brennan WoodBrennan Wood
Executive Director, The Dougy Center
Call for Nominations
The NAGC is seeking nominations from NAGC members for leaders to potentially serve on the NAGC Board of Directors.
Do you know someone who has . . .
- Passion about childhood bereavement
- A commitment to and understanding of the mission of NAGC, preferably based on experience
- Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and a passion for improving the lives of grieving children.
- National experience
- Willingness to share time and talent
- Track record of Board leadership
- A natural affinity for cultivating relationships
- Achieved leadership stature in business, government, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector
- Accomplishments that will allow him/her to attract other well-qualified, high-performing Board Members
If you know this person, we want to know about them. Please submit names of any potential NAGC Board members.