Our Board

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Christopher O. Kosseff - Chair

 

In 2016, Christopher Kosseff retired after more than 20 years as the President and Chief Executive Officer for University Behavioral HealthCare (UBHC), a division of Rutgers University. There his responsibilities included management of one of the largest academic behavioral health systems in the country as well as oversight of all medical and mental health services in the New Jersey State Prison System. The operating budget of the combined organizations totaled over $310 million with 2,200 employees.

As a firm believer in the contributions his mentors made to his development, he has mentored and continues to mentor others in the field and serve on non-profit boards.

Chris has a Master of Science degree from Syracuse University. Additionally, he holds clinical assistant professor appointments in the departments of Psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School.  Included in the awards he has received are the Meritorious Service Medal by the National Guard, the Verice M. Mason Community Service Leader Award and the Distinguished Leadership Award of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Claudia Oceguera

 

Currently, Claudia Oceguera is the Finance Director for Global R&D, Global Regulatory and Global Strategic Marketing at FMC Corporation. She got her CPA and undergraduate degree in Finance at UNIVA in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1992; a few years later, she moved to Madrid, Spain, where she got a graduate degree in Accounting and Business Administration in 2000. After five years of living in Spain, Claudia moved back to Mexico. She started working for FMC Corporation while she got an MBA from the Guadalajara University with a special focus in Marketing.
During her almost 20 years at FMC, she has held many executive roles in diverse businesses, first in Mexico and since nine years ago, in the USA. She has vast experience in operations, internal control, treasury, accounting, FP&A, business development, strategic planning, and marketing.


When asked why she is interested in our Organization, Claudia said: “I’ve always been very passionate about supporting children and teenagers. If we make sure that we pay close attention to our children’s needs and ensure that they are physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy, our future generations would be better citizens, and the world would become a better place to live in.

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Kellyanne Facenda

 

Kellyanne Facenda Studied Political Science and Business at Douglass College, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, New Jersey. She is currently the Branch Manager of the Hammonton Branch of Oceanfirst Bank and has over 25 years of branch banking experience. She spent most of her career working in large national banks. However, she became frustrated as the industry changed, moving away from a service based industry to a retail environment, focused on sales. Ten years ago, she decided to move to a community bank where she can serve the financial needs of her community.

 

When asked why she joined Allies In Caring Board, she responded: "Allies in Caring’s commitment to expanding their presence through the Con-Vivir Wellness Center is truly exciting. The array of services & programs that the Wellness Center will provide will impact not only the local community, but the region as well. I look forward to being a part of such a special place. Being a part of Allies in Caring gives me the opportunity to impact the members of my community–my friends, neighbors & customers."

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Earl Jackson

 

Earl is Principal of the Earl Jackson Architecture Workshop, the professional practice of architecture and urban design that focuses on an artful approach to solving building, city, and campus design problems. He has served as Associate Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation since 2009 and has taught at NJIT’s College of Art and Design in odd years since 2004. Earl was formerly Partner and Design Director at Cooper Robertson, Associate Director at Skidmore Owings and Merrill, and Designer with Michael Graves. He has led designs for diverse cultures all over the world to create successful Public Open Spaces, Mixed-Use Transit Oriented Developments, College Campuses, and Waterfront Designs. In the wake of Sandy, he served as a design lead for Mayor Bloomberg’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, Governor Cuomo’s New York Rising, HUD’s Rebuild by Design, and is an advisor for the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative. 

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Valerie Mattern

 

Valerie is a career Human Resources professional with experience across various industries and organizations. Prior to her recent retirement she was VP of Human Resources at eResearch Technology, along with HR roles earlier in her career at Subaru of America, Greater Atlantic HMO and various other corporations. Valerie joined the board of AIC in late 2018 and is a lifelong resident of Burlington County NJ. She holds a master's degree in Human Resources from Widener University and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Rutgers University. Her prior board experience was on the Board of Directors and as Chair of the Member Relations Committee for PEBA; a Philadelphia based regional professional benefits and compensation association for the Delaware Valley. 

When asked why she joined the board she said “As the mother of four children, I fully support AICs mission to provide resources to families and children to deal with obstacles and challenges and hopefully reach their full potential. AIC provides resources and professional services at critical times for these families.”  

“AIC has grown remarkably from its inception 5 years ago. It is entering a new chapter with expansion to a larger, centrally located building which will offer greater opportunities to the community through enhanced education, programs and professional counselling services.” says Valeria about her favorite thing about AIC.  

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Betsy Haines

 

Betsy is a psychiatrist. She received her M.D. from Tufts University and her psychiatric training at Rutgers Medical School. She retired after a 30+ year career at Rutgers in the Department of Psychiatry and at University Behavioral Care, the mental health division of Rutgers. Wearing the hats of faculty, clinical administrator, and staff psychiatrist, Betsy gathered clinical teaching experience, program development and management, and direct clinical service. In her final role at UBHC, Betsy was the Project Manager for the implementation of the organization-wide electronic medical record (EMR). After retirement from Rutgers, she worked for seven years as a clinical consultant for the EMR vendor.

 

When asked about her interest in joining the AIC Board, Betsy said, “I greatly admire the spirit, mission, and creativity of AIC. It is a small, grassroots, organically developing organization with lots of energy and drive. It seeks to provide a sensible and interesting array of services to usually neglected groups of people. It embodies the type of effort which is closest to my heart."

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Patricia Kenney

 

Patricia is a licensed clinical social worker with 25 years of psychotherapy experience. After 15 years of teaching high school science in a variety of capacities, Patricia decided to take a bold new turn, and she entered the MSW program at Widener University. Since 1997, her career path thus far has provided the opportunity for vast experiences ranging from the non-clinical like courtroom expertise, teaching in workshops, and publishing essays, to refining her clinical skills in group, individual, and family therapies. She specializes in the areas of addictions, anxiety and trauma, and relationship counseling.

 

While most of her professional clinical experience has been in private practices, both her own and as an employee, Patricia also gained valuable expertise in a trauma-informed agency setting for 7+ years. At Center for Family Services, Patricia wore many hats: both clinician and clinical supervisor for graduate-level interns, intermediate-level clinicians, and fully licensed clinicians. As manager of the outpatient department, Patricia was responsible for supervising clinicians, advanced practice nurses, and administrative staff who worked in the outpatient department.

 

When asked why Patricia wanted to serve on the Board of Allies in Caring, she said, “AIC is an organization that gets it. You cannot successfully help traumatized, mentally, or cognitively disabled children in a bubble. These children need to be treated in addition to, along with, the family systems they live in. Home-based care is the optimal form of treatment for the hope of enabling these children and their families to recover, learn better-coping skills, and survive and thrive in today’s world.”

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Mayra Hernandez Bergman

 

Mayra is the Vice President of PECO Communications at Exelon. She has cultivated an extensive and impressive career in marketing and communications. She graduated with a B.A. of Arts from ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico in 1995. And went on to earn her Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on Management and Finance. Mayra is the Board Interim Chair.

When asked why she is interested in our Organization Mayra said: “While my professional accomplishments are fulfilling and keep me quite busy, I know that my true passion is to give back to the Latino Community near me. I have been searching for opportunities to contribute to a cause that aligns with my values and my background. After speaking with Ivette, “I believe that this is an organization where I will be able to contribute, give back, and be rewarded by performing meaningful work.” 

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Tania Rivera 

 

Tania is a mother of 3 and an engaged Hammonton resident. She volunteers at the community garden, Con-Vivir Wellness Hub, Church, Downton Hammonton Mainstreet, and CATA (The farmer's support committee), among other civic organizations. Tania is a Connector of the Hammonton Health Coalition. In addition, she has served as a translator for New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI).

She likes how Allies in Caring (AIC) prioritizes the mental well-being of the community. Tania believes helping people, disregarding their economic status, is essential. Involving communities that are mostly left out shows how much equity is important. One of her biggest goals is to bring awareness into the Latinx community about the importance of mental health. She believes a big part of the Latino community keeps feelings inside and hidden in the shadows.

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Beth Wassell 

 

Beth Wassell is a Professor of Language Teacher Education at Rowan University, where she teaches courses in bilingual and world language education for future and current K-12 teachers. She also conducts research on social justice approaches to language education and the experiences of immigrant-origin students and families in schools. 

Beth received a EdD (University of Pennsylvania), MA in Spanish (University of Central Florida), BA in Spanish, and a graduate certificate in TESOL (Penn State University). Prior to her work in higher education, she taught high school Spanish in Florida and NJ and English to newcomer immigrant adults in Philadelphia. 

She is an advocate for suicide prevention and regularly participates in initiatives sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Honorary Board Members
 

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Nayeli Salazar de Noguera 

Nayeli is a doctorate student at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey studying Urban Health Systems, focusing on Latino Acculturation and Mental Health. She holds a master's degree in Translation and Interpretation (Spanish and English ) from la Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara and a bachelor of arts from Rutgers University.

 

Nayeli has functioned as Project Specialist for U.S. Senate; Consultant to the Government of Puebla Mexico; Consultant to the Mexican General Consulate in NY; Senior Executive Associate for the Dean of Rutgers School of Nursing; and was a State Fellow for NJ's Office of Communications. Nayeli was born in Mexico City and currently resides in Newark, New Jersey.

When asked why she is interested in our organization, Nayeli said: "Allies in Caring is an organization that aligns perfectly with my personal and professional missions, to focus on multilevel treatment for quality patient care.”  

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Merydawilda Colón

Merydawilda holds a P.h.D., M.Phil. (The Graduate Center the City University of New York), M.S.W. (Rutgers University). She is the Executive Director of the Stockton Center for Community Engagement, where she is also a professor of social work. Her areas of research include hospice, acculturation and attitudes of Latinos toward hospice, Latinos and community outreach.  

When asked why she serves on the board she said “To be able to assist in guiding the organizations efforts and to represent the diversity of the community served by the organization.”  

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