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Board of Directors and Staff
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Kristie Howard, CEBS, CWWPC
Board Chair

Kristie is a Principal in the Health and Benefits practice at Mercer, a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement, and investments. As Principal, Kristie manages relationships with corporate clients, leading the design and execution of their long term benefits, wellness and health management strategies. Prior to joining Mercer in 2014, Kristie was a Vice President at Longfellow Benefits. At Longfellow, she was responsible for managing client relationships as well as overseeing Longfellow’s Wellness consulting practice, where she advised clients on wellness program strategy, design, vendor selection, communication, and evaluating outcomes.

Kristie is a considered an expert in the field of worksite wellness and her articles have been published in The Boston Business Journal, Business and Legal Reports (BLR), Employee Benefit News, Employee Benefit Advisor, Risk and Insurance Magazine, and Women’s Business Boston.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emory University and holds her Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) and Certified Worksite Wellness Program Consultant (CWWPC) designations. Kristie is a co-founder of the Worksite Wellness Council of MA and is a member of various other industry organizations both locally and nationally. Kristie is also an active member of the Boston Club, one of the largest communities of women executives and professional leaders in the Northeast.

Saul Lookner                                                                                  
Vice Chair

Saul is the Plan Director for the HomeBenefitIQ program. Saul is responsible for all aspects of the program including acquiring and overseeing accounts, overseeing volunteers, marketing, and communication. Saul is heavily involved with NEHRA (Northeast Human Resources Association) and serves on the Membership Committee for the NEEBC (New England Employee Benefits Council). Prior to his 4 ½ years with HBIQ, Saul spent 11 years as Senior Executive Recruiter for a small recruiting firm based in Washington DC. Saul has an MBA in Management from Bentley University and a BS in Public Relations from Boston University. Saul lives with his wife and two children in Newton, MA.

 

Nick A. Pierce, CPA    
Treasurer

Nick is the founder of knead.com which delivers massage, yoga and meditation services to worksites around the country.  Nick is a veteran of corporate stress, having spent 15 years in the greater Boston area in various finance and accounting roles.  Prior to founding knead, Nick lead the Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) team at Lantheus Medical Imagining, which provides essential diagnostic imaging agents to help identify disease and improve patient care.

Nick earned his BS and MBA from Babson College.  He is a certified public accountant (CPA) who spent the first 8 years of his career at KPMG working in audit and transaction services.  Nick enjoys spending time with his 3 young boys who keep him busy when he’s not reducing workplace stress.

 

Jennifer Forgione Riley                                                      
Secretary

Mrs. Riley is an accomplished healthcare businesswomen and driver of revenue growth with significant expertise in consulting and management. She has 20 years of experience working in the healthcare industry and is a self-proclaimed lifelong learner. Jennifer started her career providing direct patient care as a licensed Physical Therapy Assistant in various care settings. In 2000, she branched out of direct patient care and moved into medical group management where she increased the depth of her business skills.  After years of working on the client side, she wanted an opportunity to help others like herself navigate the turbulent business of healthcare operations while continuing to provide high quality patient care. In 2011, Jennifer accepted a position as Client Account Executive at athenahealth, now managing a $20M book of business and collaborating with several of the top 10 For-Profit retail care operators, retail pharmacy operators & Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). Tackling strategic and organizational changes in the rapidly evolving healthcare technology landscape, she has a deep knowledge of current industry dynamics in the healthcare delivery space, including patient centric care coordination, value-based reimbursement & consumer-driven models. Jennifer’s past and current healthcare experience will greatly complement the work and mission of the WWCMA.

 

Jennifer earned her Associate of Science in Physical Therapy Assistant from Fisher College and her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from University of Phoenix. She joined the WWCMA in early 2016 to learn more about how the Council was approaching population health and wellness from the worksite perspective.  She has been able to discern the connections between the work of the Council and the work her clients are providing to support employer programs (i.e. health screenings, biometric screenings, accessible/affordable alternatives to the ER), which opened up a space for new ideas and collaboration opportunities.  She began volunteering on the WWCMA Programs Committee in March of 2016 where she continues to serve.  In addition to her work with WWCMA, Jennifer is an active member of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association, Boston Chapter and serves as the HBA Ambassador at athenahealth building programs to help demystify gender parity in leadership roles across the company

Thomas Doane, MBA, PHR  
Member-at-Large

Tom’s current role is SVP, Human Resources at Avidia Bank.  He is responsible for leading the human resources function for Avidia including talent acquisition, employee learning and development, compensation and benefits strategy, and performance management.  In addition to his ten plus years of experience in recruiting and HR, Tom has prior experience in graduate student recruitment and continuing education programming.

Tom earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Masters of Business Administration from Clark University and is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR).

 

Deb Gorhan
Member-at-Large

Deb Gorhan is a strategic health promotion professional with a focus on creating environments and networks that provide opportunities for individuals and organizations to adopt and sustain healthy lifestyles. As Manager of Wellness & Health Promotion for Johnson & Johnson, she has impacted the lives of employees in the Americas and developed tools and initiatives to support the reach to over 127,000 employees worldwide. She has provided leadership, guidance, support and delivery of health programs and services, and environmental and cultural support programs such as the J&J healthy eating initiative, eatcomplete; Energy for Performance®; the rollout of the Global J&J Tobacco Free Workplace Policy and the global expansion of Healthy & Me™, a mobile digital platform.


Deb has presented to external partners such as HERO, and CEO’s Against Cancer and participated in the CDC expert panel for Worksite Obesity Prevention and Control and the Core Advisory Committee for Active Design Workplace Wellbeing. She has contributed to benchmarking sessions, co-authored articles and chapters on the topic of workplace well-being and  Population Health.  Before corporate health promotion, she worked in academics as a teaching fellow, radio sales and copywriting and in Planned Giving for Deborah Hospital Foundation. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from the Pennsylvania State University, her Masters in Health Promotion from Springfield College and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES). 

 

Deb’s most important role is keeping her family healthy and happy.  She lives in Massachusetts with her husband Mike, and sons, Henry and Casey.  She enjoys gardening, biking, running, hiking and cross country skiing.

Kathy Hewes, MS, RD, LDN, CWPC, CWP
Member-at-Large

Kathy is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist who has worked in the health promotion and worksite wellness field for over twenty-five years. She has a wealth of worksite wellness experience derived from previous roles as wellness account manager for two area health insurance carriers, a national health & fitness management company and most recently an institution of higher education. Kathy has been a lecturer and provider of nutrition and fitness consulting services at many area companies and organizations.

Kathy received her undergraduate degree in Food & Nutrition from the University of Maine and her Master of Science degree in Physical Education with a concentration in Exercise Science from the University of New Hampshire. She is a Certified Wellness Practitioner with the National Wellness Institute, a Certified Wellness Program Manager through the Chapman Institute; is a member and volunteer of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association, a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists practice group of AND, a member of the New England Human Resources Association (NEHRA), WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) and a member of the Healthy Eating Community of Practice workgroup of the Massachusetts Partnership for Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention (MA Department of Public Health).

In her current role as Senior Clinical Consultant, Kathy assists employers in the planning and implementation of clinical and wellness programs and services. Working collaboratively with employers and brokers, Kathy reviews data and provides clinical consultations to employers regarding health care costs, quality of care and utilization trend to develop clinical strategies and implement programs to improve the quality of care and decrease medical costs.

Karolina Starczak, RD, LDN Member-At-Large

As a registered and licensed dietitian, Karolina Starczak incorporates her unique experience in the healthcare and wellness space to deliver innovative employer wellness solutions aimed at reducing healthcare spend and improving employee health.  Over the past 11 years, Karolina’s career evolved from the emergency services field to health technology startups and employer wellness. In her most recent role, as the Director of Population Health at a boutique insurance brokerage, Karolina created personalized organizational wellness strategies to help curtail future healthcare spend in high risk areas. From small local employers to Fortune 500 companies, her unconventional background has allowed her to design and launch data-driven, award-winning programs that support employee's wellness efforts.

Karolina graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Nutrition and Food Science with a concentration in Dietetics from Montclair State University and completed her post-baccalaureate dietetic internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in their highly competitive clinical program. Currently, Karolina is completing her Master in Healthcare Leadership at Brown University.

Joann Donnelly
Member-at-Large

Joann Donnelly is the Executive Director of Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Programs for the YMCA of Greater Boston. Joann earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Connecticut College and her Master’s Degree in Health Psychology from Boston University. She was certified as a Health/Fitness Specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine and through ACE as a Personal Trainer.

She is currently Board- certified as a Life/Executive Coach through The Center for Education and Credentialing and also holds multiple national Faculty training positions for the YMCA of the USA.  Joann began her career in Research and Program Development for Health Management Resources (HMR), then began working as a Fitness and Program Director after moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

She started her full-time YMCA career in Memphis, TN developing wellness standards, new programs, and external partnerships for the Memphis association. She then moved to the Houston YMCA in 2003 to begin work on a national YMCA project to better engage and serve he deconditioned population. She also implemented a CDC-funded ACHIEVE health disparity grant for the Houston Y. In 2009 she became the National Director of Training and US Program Innovation for the UK-based MEND Program, helping to raise money, develop YMCA partners, train, implement and evaluate the MEND 7-13 for obese children in the United States for YMCAs and in Canada.

In 2012 Joann relocated back to the Northeast to begin working for the YMCA of Greater Boston, where she has been building out the YMCA’s Healthy Living Framework in core wellness, chronic disease and community health, via a federal REACH demonstration grant for underserved communities of color..

Joann grew up as a nationally ranked YMCA swimmer, is in her 18th year with the YMCA, and is now a single mom to a 15 year old daughter and 10 year old twins.

Melanie Rocha CWPC
Membership Committee Chair

Melanie is a Wellness Consultant for the Prevention and Wellness Department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. She brings over nine years of experience in the worksite wellness industry. In this role she designs and implements comprehensive wellness strategies for her clients by identifying population health risks and developing targeted interventions in line with employee interests. Prior to joining Blue Cross Blue Shield, Melanie was a Health & Wellbeing Consultant at Borislow Insurance, an employee benefits agency and consulting firm.

Melanie holds a Certified Wellness Program Manager (CWPM) designation through the Chapman Institute and earned her B.S. in Business Administration from Rivier College. Melanie currently sits on the Board of Directors as the Membership Chair for the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts.  She is a Boston Chapter Leader for the Foundation Fighting Blindness where she spearheads fundraising efforts and organizes and leads networking support groups. In her spare time Melanie enjoys yoga and spending time with her family. 

Archana Kansagra
Awards and Recognition Committee Chair

Archana Kansagra is a Director of Health & Wellness Product and Strategy at Aetna. With her high energy and a passion to create a healthier society, she leads efforts in delivering innovative products and tools to the marketplace that empower people to take charge of their health and well-being.

Prior to joining Aetna, Archana spent 12 years in health and welfare benefit consulting, working at Aon Hewitt, The Segal Company, and Spring Consulting Group. Archana worked with clients of all sizes, both in private and public sector organizations, balancing affordable coverage, access to high quality plans, employee engagement, evidence-based care, and consumer driven healthcare. In her various roles with these firms, she has assisted clients with their overall health and welfare strategies, including design, financial analysis, marketing, administration, and implementation.  Archana brings a detailed knowledge of strategic planning, plan performance, funding mechanisms, communications and compliance to key employee benefit areas such as group medical, prescription drugs, life, disability, vision, dental, employee assistance programs and savings vehicles for future medical expenses. For providers, insurers, and TPAs, she improved overall business effectiveness and was responsible for product development, process improvement, and program implementation.Archana specializes in condition and care management solutions focusing on wellness, disease management, and behavioral health. As a thought leader, she explores opportunities to strengthen the integration of health benefit programs in the disciplines of Total Health Management, Integrated Disability Management, Total Absence Management, and Health and Productivity in order to provide cutting edge solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Archana earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science with a concentration in Health Management Systems, a degree in Business Administration and certificate in Information Technology from Duquesne University, PA and holds a Certified Wellness Program Coordinator (CWPC) designation through the Chapman Institute. As a subject matter expert in Health and Productivity improvement strategies, Archana’s articles have been featured in Corporate Wellness Magazine and her company’s newsletter. She routinely contributes insights and supports research within the industry. She is licensed as a Health, Accident, and Life Producer and certified health coach.Archana’s enthusiasm for healthy living is evident professionally and personally. She enjoys the outdoors, is active in her local community, and is dedicated to improving the quality of education and health in schools. Archana motivates people to live healthier, more productive lifestyles and is often referred to as "an ambassador of healthy living” by those around her.

Debra Wein, MS, RD, LDN, CWPD, NSCA-CPT*D
Special Projects Committee Chair

Debra Wein is a nationally recognized expert on health and wellness and has designed award winning programs for both individuals and corporations across the country. She is president and founder of Wellness Workdays, a leading provider of worksite wellness programs, and has nearly 20 years of experience working in the health and wellness industry. Debra’s interests include bringing the latest developments in nutrition, fitness and wellness to her clients and to anyone who will listen. Her goal is to inspire individuals to make simple and positive changes in their lives that improve their health.

Debra is a Certified Wellness Program Director, having completed the certification program through the National Wellness Institute and WebMD. She is certified as a personal trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM-HFS) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPTD). Debra holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutritional sciences and applied physiology from Cornell and Columbia Universities.

Ursula Cassidy
Education and Events Co-Chair

Ursula is the current Co-Chair of WWCMA's Education and Event programs. As one of the newest members to the WWCMA family, she is excited to help build worthwhile, exciting and engaging wellness programs for Massachusetts companies alongside Co-Chair, Niraj Jetly. 

She is also currently the Director of Human Resources at Basis Technology, an AI company that focuses on natural language processing. In her 15 plus years in the human resources field, Ursula has supported programs in talent management, coaching and counseling, benefits, compensation, rewards and recognition, as well as strategic initiatives including organizational culture change, for diverse companies, ranging in size from a Fortune 500 company to a non-profit to smaller organizations. She specializes in building HR departments from the ground-up and establishing effective company wellness programs.

Because of a combination of her extreme passion for health, nutritional foods, and wellness in the workplace, Ursula enrolled in Tufts University's Graduate Certificate program in Nutrition and Communication, in 2012. She was the first HR professional to attend the program and shortly after her graduation, Tufts was excited to open the door to more HR professionals joining their nutrition certification programs. At Tufts, Ursula was able to expand her knowledge of how wellness education and communication can have a positive impact on employees' health and all around well-being. 

Her event program planning experience began while she was an HR Generalist at Xerox, and was awarded the position of Chairperson for the Xerox Community Involvement Program, New England. In this role, she was able to build programs and motivate teammates to work on community outreach projects that increased charitable awareness and boosted team collaboration, while helping scores of wonderful organizations including Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, Rosie's Place, Boston Children's Hospital, as well as many others. 

Ursula also has both, a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a certification in Human Resources Management, from Bentley University. Additionally, she has a love for the arts and has education in graphic design, art and art history from Boston College, New England School of Art and Design, and Mass Art.

When not spearheading HR programs or planning awesome WWCMA events, you can find Ursula out running, practicing yoga, and much to the chagrin of her three boys, touting the phytochemical compounds and benefits of all sorts of fruits and vegetables.

Niraj Jetly
Education and Events Co-Chair

Niraj Jetly is Chief Operating Officer and CIO at Nutrisavings, a pioneer in building nation’s first nutrition eco-system by connecting health plans, employers, supermarkets, food manufacturers, growers, farmers market, CSAs and corporate cafeterias. In his role, Niraj leads client strategy, member engagement, and product planning and technology strategy.  His main focus is to utilize digital engagement tools in creating meaningful participation, tracking behavior change that eventually leads to desirable outcomes.

Niraj has been quoted in Wall Street Journal, IDG, CIO.com, Boston Globe, and NPR. An engaging, dynamic speaker and renowned thought leader, Niraj has presented and has been a panelist at several industry events like Society of Information Management (SIM), World Congress on Health,  InnovateThink, Workplace wellness and Business Groups on Health.

Niraj was named as CIO of the Year 2014 by BBJ, 2014 Digitial Innovator Finalist by TBM Council, CIO Impact Award winner 2014 by Frost, 2014 Information Week Elite 100, CIO 100 2013 winner and SafeRx Award winner in 2008.




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