Co-Founder, Interim Executive Director, and Board Member
Helen Yi, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Helen is a seasoned IT professional with experience in the telecommunications industry. She has held positions in product management, marketing, and sales management at various telecommunications companies, including Sprint, France Telecom (formerly Global One), Cox Communications and Tata Communications. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards for achievement and outstanding performance. Helen received a B.S. degree in International Business from the University of Maryland-College Park, and a Masters in Information Systems in Telecommunications at Johns Hopkins University. Influenced by her grandmother’s story of helping hundreds of orphans during the Korean War and inspired by her own daughter’s giving spirit, Helen left her career in telecom to fulfill her passion to inspire children. She launched Touching Heart, an award winning non-profit dedicated to helping children experience the joy of giving to those in need. Helen’s personal passion centers on helping children who are less fortunate, believing that everyone has a giving heart and can make a difference.
Co-Founder and Board Member
Taylor Yi, Co-Founder and Board Member
Taylor is a college student who is passionate about helping children in need. She works with kids to make a difference for people in need and has raised funds for many charitable causes. She enjoys tennis, reading, and playing the piano. Taylor is a student at Boston University. She is dedicated to serving others and enjoys volunteering and working with young children.
Touching Heart Team
Marchelle Albertson, Program Director
Cali Busch, Brand Manager
Kids on a Mission Program Manager
Samantha Deur, Kids on a Mission Program Manager
Samantha is from Northern Virginia and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Sociology. Helping individuals reach their full potential is Sam’s passion, and she thinks empathy is a crucial skill for a meaningful life. While living in Richmond, she spent her time working with local non-profit organizations, as well as volunteering with Give Kids the World. Sam also worked with Opportunity Alliance Reentry and the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. She held the role as Assistant Program Director to Full STEAM Ahead, a Richmond-based organization dedicated to empowering young women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Sam is a firm believer in the power of philanthropy and cooperation, and her favorite quote is: “Altruism is innate, but it’s not instinctual. Everybody’s wired for it, but a switch has to be flipped.”
Allison Gallagher, Outreach Director
Allison grew up in Pensacola, Florida and moved to DC to work on Capitol Hill. After moving on to use her psychology and child development degree as Director of a non-profit focused on residential treatment centers for children, she stayed home with her small children for several years. During that time, she discovered a love of photography and began her own photography business, focusing on child portraiture and photography workshops for women. Allison has also been involved in community projects, becoming the President of her local PTA and starting the Book Nation Book Drive, collecting over 4,000 books for local children in need. Feeling called to become more involved in non-profits and giving back, Allison was thrilled to join Touching Heart. She lives in Leesburg with her husband, Steve and their two sons, Jack and Josh.
Christine Hancher, Finance Manager
Christine grew up in Northern VA and graduated from University of Maine with a Bachelor degree in Accounting and Finance. Over the past 16 years she has worked with GE Capital Consulting, National Wildlife Federation and Freddie Mac. Christine went from financial analysis and budgeting and moved to programming and modifying financial software such as PeopleSoft. After working for over 16 years she decided to stay home and raise her three kids. She now keeps herself busy by volunteering at her kids elementary school, with Girl Scouts and occasionally as a sports coach. She has always enjoyed helping others and is very glad to be a part of the Touching Heart Team.
New York Chapter
Katrina Hennigan, New York Chapter
Katrina is from Bangor, Maine and moved to New York City over 13 years ago. She attended Simmons College and graduated with a Mathematics and Computer Science degree. She became a stay at home mother after having her children, Marissa and Roman. She has been involved with the New York Junior League for years and recently won committee of the year when she was the co-chair of Junior Junior League. She has lead numerous auctions for her children’s schools and has been actively involved in the PTA. She and her husband, Tom, enjoy traveling and spending time with their children.
New York Ambassador
Zahra Khan, New York Ambassador
Zahra is currently a student at NYU. Majoring in philosophy and debating means she spends a lot of her time discussing morality. But whether you’re a Rawlsian, Millian, or even just a Marxist-she realized that all politically ethical theories possess a commonality, namely empathy. She realized that discussing ethics in a classroom is all well and good, provided that one employs those teachings in a practical environment-which is Touching Heart’s very ethos. Since the organization is all about empowering the youth to take initiative, she finds Touching Heart’s mission particularly unique and is excited to work with it.
Social Media Manager
Alexa Magdalenski, Social Media Manager
Alexa is experienced in social media and public affairs and serves as Communications Manager at Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC). Originally from Cape Cod, Mass., she received her Master’s in Public Administration from George Washington University and B.A in communication from Boston College. Alexa’s background working for a youth mentoring nonprofit inspired her to get involved. She loves using her creative side to develop unique content for Touching Heart’s social channels.
Stuart is an experienced attorney with a broad background in supporting the operational needs of both for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations. He has served as the General Counsel for companies in the technology, software, alternative energy, and medical staffing industries and a non-profit pharmacy association, handling all aspects of contracting, corporate governance, human resources, compliance and litigation management, and providing legal support to all areas of the organizations. Stuart earned his Juris Doctor Degree from The George Washington University’s National Law Center, and his undergraduate degree from Emory University.
Board of Directors
Dr. Marina Amat
Dr. Marina Amat
Marina is the founder and president of AMATEA. She completed her PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from American University, Washington, D.C., in 2005. She focused much of her research on people who have experienced the trauma of social and cultural displacement and the life story narratives they produce. For dissertation research, she worked in the refugee industry in the post-9/11 Washington Metropolitan Area, identifying “refugee scripts” and “refugee narratives” as vital sites to investigating the meanings behind the refugee concept as conceived among self-identified refugees. She has presented her research domestically and internationally.
D.R. Carlson is the Vice President of Sales and Strategic Partnerships for Neovera, a managed services company that helps organizations securely move their information to the cloud. D.R. is also the President and Co-founder of Fuel, a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide a relevant environment where men can explore aspects of life, purpose and faith. D.R. and his wife Jenny have been married for 15 years and have four children.
Stacey Gimbert, Director of Philanthropy and Board Member
Stacey is a marketing professional with over 20 years of experience with both for-profit and non-profit organizations. As Vice President of Direct Mail at America Online, she helped grow membership from 100,000 members in 1994 to over 27 million members in 2002. Stacey is passionate about using her business skills to help non-profit organizations grow. She also leads a Girl Scout troop, and served as the President of her local PTA for two years. Stacey was inspired by Touching Heart after her youngest daughter participated in a project to collect supplies for an orphanage in Kenya. Her daughter wrote a letter to the orphans there and they sent a picture back of a child from the orphanage holding up her daughter’s letter. This is just one example of how Touching Heart empowers children to make a difference in the world!
Annette Q. LeVan is an enterprising and forward-thinking business executive with a proven record of leading programs providing innovative technical solutions and delivering significant business results. She brings more than 30 years of federal, commercial and DOD experience primarily with Lockheed Martin and IBM Corporation, along with a 5-year independent consulting practice. Annette is currently a Client Executive with IBM Federal, and recently served as Program Management Director for Lockheed Martin Corporation where she was the recipient of two leadership excellence awards. She enjoys mentoring other professionals as well as middle school and high school girls. She is inspired to be a part of Touching Heart as compassionate future leaders are developed.
Under Mr. Wiater’s leadership, Standard Solar has been named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for four consecutive years according to Inc. magazine, significantly expanding its commercial footprint and reinforcing its leadership positioning as the solar partner of choice. Mr. Wiater has an extensive background in executive management, operations and supply chain management in startup companies as well as established corporations. Previous positions included Executive Vice President at Peak Technologies, a global systems integration company, and Director of Operations for Radio Frequency Identification at Motorola (Symbol Technologies). Mr. Wiater earned a Masters of Business Administration degree and a Bachelors of Science degree in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Greg brings years of technology experience to his role as VP of Partnerships and Alliances at Equinix. In his role, he collaborates with leading technology companies to build joint go-to-market partnerships and global alliances that focus on simplifying complex solution deployments and cloud enabled solution bundles. Additionally, Greg provides unique industry thought leadership by leveraging his experience and routinely consults with industry leaders, end users and leading technologists.Greg has been married to Barbara, who is the foundation of his success and happy life, for 19 years and has three amazing kids, Anna, Jack, and Grace. The Adgate family is focused on charitable work and volunteer efforts.
Dr. Manju Bewtra
Dr. Manju Bewtra
Dr. Manju Bewtra is founder and CEO of Creative Computing Solutions Inc. (CCSi), a full-service business solutions company dedicated exclusively to the federal government with an enviable track record of customer satisfaction. Dr. Bewtra managed a robust professional career with a meaningful family life and contribution to her community. After the sale of CCSi, Dr. Naren Bewtra (her husband) and Manju started a Donor Advised Fund to enable them to continue their philanthropic desires. Manju considers her most cherished accomplishment to be her 49-years of marriage, two children, and five grandchildren. She was a finalist for Heroines in Technology Awards 2011 Corporate Category, honoring D.C. area women who balance roles in technology with significant commitments to community service.
Ryan is President of Neovera Inc. He is responsible for developing and executing the company’s long-term growth strategies, business development activities and defining Neovera as a premier hosting/managed services company. Ryan was appointed VP and principal in 2004. Prior to his work at Neovera, Ryan has held various Sales/Business Development positions with Veritas Software, Compuware Corporation and Edge Technologies. With almost 20 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. Ryan has spent most of career focused on sales/business development and alliances. Ryan has a B.S. from University of Maryland at College Park and an MBA from George Washington University.
Byron is a telecoms industry veteran. Byron is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, as Chief Executive Officer at SEACOM, a leading pan-African data services provider. Byron is responsible for all of SEACOM’s “go to market” functions including sales, solution design, marketing, and product. Prior to that, Byron ran Tata Communications’ global service provider business for eight years based out of Hong Kong. Byron was instrumental in the growth of the then VSNL International into the global network provider that Tata Communications is today. Byron also worked at REACH, Level 3 and BT, focusing on growth in Asia and based out of Hong Kong.
Darrell is best known as a former cornerback with the Washington Redskins. During his record-setting 20 year career with the team he came to be known and lovingly referred to as “Mr. Redskin.” His on field accomplishments include two Super Bowl victories, seven selections to the Pro Bowl, and four NFL Fastest Man competitions. Darrell met his wife of 29 years, Jewell in Washington, DC. The couple have three children who are all successful in their own right. As an avid businessman, Green owns and operates several businesses including Darrell Green Enterprises, Darrell Green Holdings, LLC and WalkFitHealth. Green is also well known for his work off the field as a proponent of education, service and moral development, he founded The Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation (DGYLF) in 1988 and continues to oversee its operations.
Brooke is a very creative, compassionate, and active 11 year old. She is in 6th grade at Harmony Middle School. She works very hard to be an honors student and some of her favorite subjects are science, math, and art. She loves anything to do with animals. Brooke enjoys playing with her Great Dane dog, riding her horse, cuddling with her cats, and tending to her chickens. Brooke is participating in a competitive horse show league and does gymnastics lessons for fun! She has been working with Touching Heart for 6 years. Brooke first got involved by helping to pack swag bags for the 1st Annual Golf Event. She has participated and helped lead many fun and successful Kids on a Mission events. Brooke loves the spirit and goals of Touching Heart and will always want to be a part of seeing the giving grow!
Devin Host is an outgoing, athletic 14 year old who has been working with Touching Heart for at least 4 years. Devin competes competitively on two AAU Basketball teams, and he is looking forward to playing for his school, Flint Hill next year as a freshman. He has always enjoyed participating in any Touching Heart events and now as the President of the Junior Board looks forward to bringing his visions to the organization. Devin would like to see Touching Heart expand its programs to schools throughout Virginia and expand its message across the United States.
Anna is a Manager with Raffa’s managed accounting services department. She has over 18 years of public accounting experience. Anna joined the firm in 2003 and has served primarily the not-for-profit industry since then. Anna is responsible for multiple clients attending board and finance committee meetings, assisting in month-end closings, financial consolidation, financial analysis and reporting, audit and tax assistance, maintaining client’s internal control, managing cash flows, and identifying and re-engineering accounting functional areas to improve client’s financial output. She oversees several staff members in assisting with various clients work. Anna graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.
Elaine Espinola Keltz
Elaine is a speaker, spokesperson, and on-air media personality. She holds the title of Mrs. DC America 2015 and continues to promote her platform: Empowerment for Women through Entrepreneurship, a topic she feels is equally important for children. Elaine is the host and co-producer of episodes of the Comcast Cable TV show I’m Every Woman and is also the national podcast host for the Better Business Bureau. A strong advocate in the fight against human trafficking, Elaine is also a volunteer and spokesperson for the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative. With a professional background that includes eight years as a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry, Elaine now serves as media spokesperson for various corporations and hosts on-air segments for DC Hot Spots, Jewelry Consumer News, Diversity and Inclusion TV and other various projects. Elaine is the Executive Director of Media SavvE, a company that helps small businesses enhance their branding and visibility through digital advertising. First and foremost, Elaine is wife, mother and strong community advocate.
Dave is the Executive Vice President & Americas Regional Head for Tata Communications, one of the major companies of the $100.9 billion Tata group. He manages Tata Communications’ regional operating strategy, business development initiatives and helps lead growth strategies for the Americas region. Dave has led Tata Communications’ regional growth since being hired as the first American employee in 2004. He has subsequently established the company’s significant presence in the U.S. market, and helped grow a customer base that includes large U.S.-based multinationals and global telecommunications carriers. Dave majored in Business Management and graduated with a B.B.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1979. He is married with three sons and lives in Herndon, Virginia.
Grace H. Wolf
Grace H. Wolf
A resident of Herndon since 1999, Grace is serving her second term on the Herndon Town Council. She is the first Korean woman elected to office in the Commonwealth of Virginia. During her first term on the Town Council, Wolf chaired the town’s Economic Development Task Force, which provided recommendations for growing the town’s commercial base. Currently a small business owner, Wolf has held positions in finance and accounting at IBM Consulting, Deloitte and Touche Management Consulting, Dun & Bradstreet and Bankers Trust. She holds a BA in Economics and an MBA in Finance and Strategy, both from Cornell University.
Ruth McCoy Miles
Ruth McCoy Miles
Ruth McCoy is incredibly active within her community, as she is always trying to help others. She lead Touching Heart’s first Fashion Show fundraising event, and since then she has been involved with countless events for Touching Heart over the past 6 years. She was also the Schools on a Mission Specialist for Touching Heart’s Junior Board in 2016-17.
Anisha is a compassionate and caring student who first became involved with Touching Heart when she participated in the after-school club in sixth grade. After experiencing the joy of packing meals for homeless shelters and sending supplies to kids in Kenya, she has continued to attend many events over the past 6 years and was the Secretary for Touching Heart’s Junior Board in 2016-17.
Isabel is a caring, funny person to be around. She is 15 years old and currently attends Westfield High School. She loves hanging out with her friends and dancing. Isabel does jazz and ballet. Isabel has been with Touching Heart since the beginning and enjoys seeing it grow and expand. She has been involved with Kids on a Mission and Schools on a mission. She also volunteered at several Touching Heart events, including the most recent Touching Heart Summer Camp. She wants to help Touching Heart continue to grow and leave an impact in her community and the world.
Neha is a passionate and organized 14 year old at TJHSST, She enjoys traveling across the world with her family and relaxing by the pool. She first became involved with TouchingHeart 3 years ago organizing a Kids on a Mission 5K Run for a school in Liberia with her friends. Neha is looking forward to bringing her ideas to the TouchingHeart community and planning great events!
Schools on a Mission Specialist
Haley Longfellow is a compassionate and creative 14-year-old in 9th grade at Oakton High School. She loves dance and takes many different styles of dance classes in addition to being a teaching assistant for a junior class at her studio. Haley also enjoys art, takes piano lessons, and participates in the Best Buddies program at her school and in Girl Scouts. Haley first got involved with Touching Heart in Middle School and is in the process of starting and leading a Touching Heart Club at her High School. She would love to see other young individuals do the same as Touching Heart grows. It makes Haley smile to help so many people through Touching Heart, and she really feels lucky to be able to be involved in the organization.
Kids on a Mission Specialist
Aakriti is a caring, passionate and hardworking junior at Clarksburg High School. She has been working with Touching Heart for over two years. She enjoys listening to music, playing the violin and volunteering in her community. Aakriti loves watching football games and her favorite team is the Baltimore Ravens. In her spare time, she enjoys trying different cuisines. She led the first Touching Heart Kids on a Mission event in Maryland that raised money for a dining facility for an orphanage in Kenya. Also, she started the first Schools on a Mission Club at Clarksburg High School in Maryland. As a Junior Board member, Aakriti hopes to expand Touching Heart’s message and encourage kids to become leaders.