Program Staff

Lynn Abramson, MA, Ed. - Program Director, Women’s Mentoring Initiative & ASAP (After School Academic Program)

Jennifer Lyn Amon - Program Director, HEAL

Wendy Epstein, LCSW - Director of Supportive Housing; Case Manager, Westport Rotary Centennial House & Hayes Avenue

Lindsay Fabrizio, BA - Family Shelter Case Manager, Bacharach Community

Tessa Gilmore-Barnes, BA - Program Director, Project Return & Bacharach Community

JoAnn Hughes, MSW - Case Manager, Powell Place & Sasco Creek

Brianna Nash, MSW - Case Manager, Fair Street Apartments & Hales Court

Emily Quigley, MSW - Case Manager, Rapid-Rehousing, Fairfield County

Manny Ramada, MSW - Case Manager, Gillespie Center & Hoskins Place

Ryan Soto, MA, CMHC - Program Director, Gillespie Center & Hoskins Place

Administrative Staff

Jeff Wieser (President & CEO) succeeded Pete Powell's 22 years in the same role in March of 2010. Jeff has served the agency as Chair of the Board, Acting Capital Campaign Chair, and head of various Board committees during his more than 15-year tenure on the Board. In his role as full-time President, Jeff leverages the skills acquired during his 30+ year career in international banking and in many community positions with not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions. He graduated from Princeton University (AB) and New York University (MBA). He has lived in Westport since 1985 with his wife Pat; they have three children who live in Hong Kong, Connecticut, and New York.

Paris Looney (Vice President & COO, Director of Emergency Shelter Services) joined Homes with Hope in December of 2004 as a Case Manager at the Gillespie Center & Hoskins Place, the agency’s shelter for single men and women, and was promoted to Program Director at the Bacharach Community in June of 2006. Paris was also the Case Manager at Saugatuck Apartments, one of HwH’s permanent supportive housing facilities from December 2004 until March 2012. In February 2012, Paris was promoted to Director of Emergency Shelter Services overseeing all of HwH’s emergency shelters including the Gillespie Center & Hoskins Place while she continued to serve as the Program Director of the Bacharach Community. In February 2018, Paris was promoted to Vice President & COO while remaining the Director of Emergency Shelter Services. Paris brings to the position a Bachelor’s in Human Services and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. She came to the job with very relevant experience, having worked with the homeless, with new mothers and children, as well as for the Bridgeport Health Department. Her experience working with the homeless population, specifically those with substance abuse and mental health issues, adds critical strength to this position.

Karen Mahar (Director of Resource Development) is responsible for the grant process, organization’s communications, and is a key participant in the development of the agency’s permanent supportive housing projects. She holds a BS from Springfield College in Massachusetts and has been with HwH since March of 2004. Karen comes from the corporate sector having held management positions in Marketing, Operations and Sales. She grew up in Westport until going off to college returning in 1996. She currently lives in Westport with her Labrador retriever.

Jacqueline Hogan (Director of Finance and Comptroller) came to HwH after a career in financial administration, analysis and process improvement. Jacque’s responsibilities include oversight of all financial areas of HwH including reporting, controls, and analysis.

Maureen Liebergall (Director of Community Relations) provides fundraising, public relations, and administrative support to the HwH staff and Board of Directors. Maureen moved to Westport in 2000 with her husband and their two children. She has chaired a variety of committees, served on the Greens Farms School Executive Board and the Board of The Conservative Synagogue. Since 2010 Maureen has participated in the SVA of Bridgeport mentor program. She holds a BA in Social Work and enjoyed careers in social service, sales and management. Maureen joined the staff of Homes with Hope in September 2014.

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

John Walsh (Chair) retired from Pfizer where he worked for the Warner Lambert Company for 30 years in a variety of management positions. Most recently, he was President of the Schick Wilkinson Sword Group in Milford, CT. John is a director of the Global Foundation for Eating Disorders and has also served as a trustee of Fairleigh Dickinson University and the National Childhood Cancer Foundation. John holds a BS from Boston College and an MBA from Seton Hall University. John and his wife Sara live in Westport and have three daughters: Connie, Elizabeth, and Alexandra.

Lauren Soloff (Vice Chair) moved to Westport with her husband, Wes Malowitz, in 1994. They have three children: Hannah who is a sophomore at William & Mary, Benji who is a junior at Staples, and Jake who is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. Lauren is an owner and the Executive Vice President of Sonics & Materials, Inc., an ultrasonic equipment manufacturing company located in Newtown, CT. Prior to her work with Sonics, she was a practicing attorney in the field of labor and employment law, working in both the public and private sectors. Since moving to Westport, Lauren has served on the PTA Executive Committee of Saugatuck Elementary School, as well as, the board of The Conservative Synagogue in Westport. She is a graduate of Tufts and the Washington College of Law at American University.

Bruce Hennemuth (Treasurer) moved to Westport in 1987. Since his graduation from Princeton University, he has been employed in the financial services sector. Currently, he works in the fixed income division at Morgan Stanley. Bruce and his wife, Roxie, have two children, Britt and Grace Ann.

Rachel Meisel (Secretary) moved to Westport with her husband Micah in 2011. They have three children: Andrew who attends the Lower School at Greens Farms Academy, Louisa who is in pre-school at The Conservative Synagogue, and Owen who just turned two and a half. Rachel is a graduate of Lehigh University where she studied business and international relations and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where she earned her MBA. Prior to having children, Rachel was an investment banking professional at both Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan, most recently specializing in fixed income sales. Rachel currently serves as co-chair of The Conservative Synagogue pre-school and also sits on the Board of The Conservative Synagogue. She is a committed distance runner and is looking forward to completing her fifth marathon this year.

Directors

Brian Baxendale lives with his wife, Marjolijn, in East Norwalk. Sons, daughters, and grandkids are spread between Europe, the Caribbean, and America. Brian has worked for Ford, Mars, and ran a global Pitney Bowes business for the ten years prior to retirement. Since then he has worked with Junior Achievement, Habitat for Humanity, and SCORE as a volunteer. Brian enjoys rowing, pursuing business interests, his extended family, and helping people realize their dream of starting and growing their businesses. Brian graduated from Cambridge and Bradford Universities in the UK.

Cheryl Eldh is a mother of four and grandmother of ten. She has been a resident of Westport since 1973 and a realtor since 1974.

Jennifer Ferrante is an attorney with 10 years' experience with a private law firm handling commercial litigation and a career-long commitment to the nonprofit sector, including Sanctuary for Families and The Legal Aid Society in New York. Jennifer currently works at the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, where she is coordinating the state's first civil legal incubator program. Jennifer has served on Project Return's board since 2015 and has volunteered for the organization since 2012 on the Gather 'Round the Table Luncheon committee. Additionally, she is involved with the Westport Chapter of National Charity League and AWARE CT, and was President of the Board of Directors for the Apple Blossom School in Wilton. Jennifer and her husband have two children and live in Westport.

Dale Fredston spent her career as a corporate lawyer in the financial services industry. Most recently, she was General Counsel of Sterling National Bank and Sterling Bancorp, its publicly-held parent. She currently serves on the board of Metropolitan Commercial Bank, a full-service bank in New York City, and is a member of the Audit, Risk and Asset Liability Management Committees. Dale is a Director and Co-Chair of the Governance Committee of The Child & Family Guidance Center in Bridgeport. She is also Co-Chair of the Directorship and Corporate Governance Committee of the Financial Women's Association. Dale has done volunteer legal work for the Pro Bono Partnership for over 15 years. Her recent pro bono legal work includes several non-profit mergers and she assisted with the Project Return combination. She is a Past President of the Board of Trustees of the Westport Public Library. Dale holds a BA from Wellesley College and a JD from the Columbia University School of Law. Dale and her husband, Jonathan Bullard, have lived in Westport for over 30 years. Their daughter and son attended the Westport Public Schools from kindergarten through graduation from Staples High School.

Bruce Gaylord was Chief Legal Counsel of Terex Construction for Terex Corporation in Westport until his retirement in September 2014. Before joining Terex, Bruce was Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase in New York, where he was a member of the Legal Department for more than 30 years. Bruce and his wife, Gail Kelly, have lived in Westport since 1982. They have two sons, Jesse and Cameron, both of whom are graduates of Staples High School and Hamilton College. Bruce graduated from Hamilton College with an AB degree and then earned a JD from New York Law School and an MBA from New York University. Bruce has served as Co-President of The Family Center of Westport Weston, Inc., as a member of the Board of Directors of Staples High School Tuition Grants Committee, Inc. and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Westport Basketball Association. He is currently Co-Chair of the Hamilton College Fairfield County Alumni Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Law School Alumni Association.

Jeffrey Gurren, retired, has lived in Weston since 1995 with his wife, Georgia, and their two children, Amanda and Matthew. A graduate of Syracuse University and New York Law School, Jeff practiced real estate law in New York with the national law firms of Weil Gotahal & Manges, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Finely, Kimble, Wagner. In 1987, he co-founded a title insurance agency, which handled commercial real estate transactions in New York and nationally. For many years, he served on the executive committee of the New York State Land Title Association. He has lectured frequently on various real estate and title insurance topics and for several years was a faculty member in connection with continuing legal education courses presented by the American Law Institute-American Bar Association. Jeff is a member of the Weston Kiwanis Club's board of directors and serves as co-chair of its youth and community services committee.

Heidi Kurlander-Kail moved to Westport with her husband Andrew in 2004. They have two children, Hannah and Aaron, who attend Westport Public Schools. Heidi began her career working in the Licensing Department at Jim Henson Productions - The Producer of the Muppets and spent the majority of her career in Advertising Sales at Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, and Good Housekeeping Magazines. She most recently held a part time position at Local Fairfield County Magazine publisher, Moffly Media (Westport, Greenwich, New Canaan/Darien, Stamford, Fairfield Living and at Home Magazines). Heidi is a graduate of State University of New York, College at Buffalo with a BS in Education.

Kimberly Lake is Co-Founder, with her husband Al Puchala, and General Counsel of Capitol Peak Asset Management LLC, a merchant bank specializing in public/private partnerships and infrastructure investments. A resident of Westport since 1994, she and her husband have raised their three children, Ali, Andrew and Christopher here in Westport, but are not empty-nesters yet, as her youngest is a junior at Staples. Kimberly has deep roots in the community. Prior to her involvement with Project Return, she succeeded Carl Leaman as Chair of the Town of Westport Green Task Force, and also served on the Boards of the Westport Weston Family YMCA and The Connecticut Fund for the Environment. Kimberly started her legal career as an Attorney at Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman), where she focused on mergers and acquisitions and debt and equity offerings. Kimberly has a JD from Georgetown University, where she wrote for the Georgetown Journal of International Law and held a Public Interest Law internship teaching consumer rights and contract law to inmates at Lorton Penitentiary in Lorton, VA, and a BA from Wellesley College.

Monika Lazaro moved to Westport in 2011 with her husband and three children and has been involved in the community since. Monika is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton with a BA in Business/Finance. She has been active in the Westport school community in different capacities including PYD (Positive Youth Development), Health and Wellness Committee and currently as Treasurer of the Bedford Middle School PTA. She is a co-founder of the Fairfield County ROCK (Raising our Celiac Kids) Chapter for families with celiac children. Monika became involved in Project Return as part of its Gather 'Round the Table Luncheon fundraising committee for two years, then joined the Board of Directors in September 2015 and was part of its Strategic Action Committee which led to the merger of Project Return and Homes with Hope. Prior to moving to Westport, Monika was an Investment Officer at the Private Equity and Investment Funds Department of the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) in Washington, DC.

Carol Randel recently retired as a professor at Norwalk Community College. She is the mother of four children, four children-in-law, and the grandmother of five. Carol’s daughter and husband have previously served on the Homes with Hope’s Board of Directors, and Carol also had a brief previous stint as a board member. She is anxious to come back for more! At NCC, Carol served as president of the College Senate, chairman of the Academic Advisory Committee, and coordinator of the First Year and College Success program. Carol has been involved in many philanthropic activities in the Westport Community including the Historical Society, Near & Far Aid, Westport Diversity Committee, and A Better Chance.

Angel Reyes a senior at Norwalk High School and is a NECA (Norwalk Early College Academy) scholar. This is her second year on the Board of Directors with Homes with Hope. Angel has held many leadership roles throughout her high school career and is thrilled to be joining the Board. In addition to academics, she swims on the Norwalk High/Brien McMahon swim team and will play on the Norwalk High lacrosse team this coming spring. Over this past summer she attended Norwalk Community College taking two college-level classes: general biology and database development. Angel has two younger siblings, a brother and sister, who are both very special to her.

Jeff Scanlan lived in Westport for 24 years before moving to Easton. His careers have included financial services - as Executive Director at UBS and Managing Director at PaineWebber, Publishing - as editor and publisher of several business newsletters, and libraries - as Head of Information Services at the Greenwich Library. Jeff is a graduate of Fairfield University and the Pratt Institute Graduate School of Library Science. He and his wife, Pat, have three children, Brendan, Dana and Siobhan – all of whom attended Staples High School, and five grandchildren. Pat is Past President of Project Return in Westport and serves on its board. They are avid boaters, and Jeff is Past Commodore of Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club.

Hal Shupack, his wife Sheila, and three children moved from Forest Hills, NY to Weston 41 years ago. Over the years, Hal has served that community in many capacities. He was on the Weston Charter Revision Commission in 1976, on the Board of Finance for 14 years, and on the Board of Selectman for 6 years before becoming First Selectman. He served on the boards of the Nature Conservancy and Weston Kiwanis Club and the treasurer of the Weston Historical Society. He was a member of the Weston Police Commission and chairman of the Facility Planning Committee for the Town of Weston. Hal and Shelia are now residents of Westport. He is former Chairman and CEO of American Hinge Corporation, now retired. He graduated from American University with a BS in industrial engineering. Last, but certainly not least, he’s the proud grandpa of 6 grandchildren.

Chan Wheeler has 30 years in senior executive roles with Maxicare, CIGNA Healthcare and finally spent ten years with UnitedHealth Group as CEO of the Uniprise Division, responsible for claims, service, technology, web development as well as serving a customer base of corporations with 5,000 or more employees. He has a BA and BS from Stanford University, a Master in Health Communications Research from Stanford University, and an MBA from UCLA. He retired from UnitedHealth Group in 2005 and most recently spent a year in England working for the UK Department of Health as its Commercial Director General. He is an investor and board member for HealthPlanOne, a health care technology firm. He lives in Westport with his wife Leslie.

Missy Zahler moved to Westport in 2009. She has three boys who attend Westport Public Schools. Missy graduated from Butler University (BS, MBA).  Prior to raising her children, Missy was in sales and sales management at MCI Worldcom and Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals. Missy has served as Landmark Parents Association President (Landmark Preschool, Westport) and PTA Co-President for Kings Highway Elementary School. She enjoys tennis and reading in her spare time.