Presenter Biographies

Presenter Biographies

Find biographies of our seminar presenters and instructors below.

Rick Clerici, Certified Clinical Sleep Educator; Director, Clear Mind Systems

Rick Clerici is a therapist, educator, and activist whose background in therapy, change strategies, and sleep medicine makes him uniquely prepared to raise the public understanding of sleep. As the director at Clear Mind Systems since 1987, he has helped thousands of clients with anxiety, panic, and insomnia. Serving as a corporate sleep consultant, he works with four national employee assistance programs and 45 corporations, universities, and hospitals helping employees to improve their sleep. At Sleep Health Centers, Rick spent two years studying sleep in the laboratory and attended more than 500 overnight and daytime sleep studies. Rick is also a certified hypnotherapist, behavioral sleep therapist, and meditation teacher. He holds a B.S. in Education and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

Patricia C. D’Agostino, J.D.; Senior Associate, Margolis & Bloom, LLP 

Patricia C. D’Agostino is a Senior Associate at Margolis & Bloom, LLP, practicing in the following areas: estate and long-term care planning, MassHealth applications and appeals, planning for children with special needs, settlement planning, guardianship and conservatorship, and probate administration.

Patricia has developed a specialized practice in the area of advising clients on how to supplement the cost of care at home or in an assisted living facility through the use of myriad MassHealth, Veterans Administration, and low-income programs.

When Patricia is not practicing law, she enjoys spending time with her young family, and is a dedicated CrossFitter.

Ken Davies, E.A., CEBS, B.S.; Retirement Programs Manager, MIT

Ken Davies, the MIT Retirement Program Manager, manages MIT’s retirement plans and the team that delivers retirement services to members of the MIT community. Prior to joining MIT, Ken was a pension consultant and actuary providing advice about the design, administration, and funding of large corporate pension plans. Ken holds a B.S. in Finance from Babson College, and is an Enrolled Actuary and a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist.

Lori Day, M.Ed.; Educational Psychologist and Consultant with Lori Day Consulting

Lori Day is an educational psychologist and consultant with over 25 years of experience in the field of education. Lori has served in varied roles in public schools, in private schools, and at the college level. Her work with students and families has spanned the years from preschool through young adulthood in traditional academic settings, alternative programs, and special needs placements. Lori received a B.A. from University of Virginia and an M.Ed. from William & Mary.

Steven Dimitriou, AIF, PRP; Managing Partner, Mayflower Advisors 

Steven Dimitriou is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Mayflower Advisors, with more than 23 years of experience in the retirement plan industry. Prior to forming Mayflower Advisors, he was a Managing Director at H.C. Wainwright & Co., Inc., responsible for the Retail Products division, which included the Retirement Plan Services and Mutual Fund Research departments. He is currently the President of the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA), the largest retirement plan advocacy group in the nation. Steve has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation and the Plan Sponsor Retirement Professional (PRP) designation. He is a graduate of Colby College, where he earned a B.A. in both Physics and Economics.  

Richard Dufresne, M.S.W., LICSW; Founder and Principal Consultant, Alliance Consulting HRD

Richard Dufresne has provided customized training and consulting services to clients in a variety of business sectors since 1992. These include healthcare, higher education, early childhood development, nonprofits, the financial sector, retail, and industry. He has presented on the national level and has given presentations and keynotes to groups from 10 to as many as 1,500 people. His presentations have been described as “upbeat, interactive with the focus on learning, and providing tools and skills for immediate use and application.” Richard holds an M.S.W. from Boston University School of Social Work. He lives in New Hampshire and is somewhat retired.

Jennifer Earls, M.Ed.; Career Counselor and Founder, Dance With Life Consulting

Jennifer Earls is a passionate, accomplished Career Counselor, serving individuals in career transition in her private practice, Dance With Life Consulting. Most recently, she provided career guidance to students at the MIT Global Education and Career Development Office. She specializes in helping individuals to recognize and communicate their unique value in order to progress professionally. Jennifer uses a contemplative career counseling approach that incorporates mindfulness practices to help individuals make authentic career choices. Outside of the office, she enjoys salsa and Latin dancing, practicing yoga and meditation, and surfing. Jennifer holds an M.Ed. in Higher Ed. Administration from Suffolk University. She is also a certified Personal Branding Analyst and holds a Certificate in Mindfulness & Psychotherapy from the Institute for Meditation & Psychotherapy, as well as a Koru Mindfulness Teacher Certification through the Center for Koru Mindfulness.

Judy Elkin, M.Ed., PCC; Professional and Personal Coach

Judy Elkin is certified as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) from the International Coach Federation in both individual and relationship coaching. She has a private practice in Newton, MA, focused on career transitions, executive leadership, parenting, and aging. Judy brings to her coaching a 25-year career in education and professional development, most recently as the director of a teacher education program at Brandeis University. Judy has also been trained as a facilitator by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality in the Wise Aging curriculum and brings that background both to workshops and her coaching practice as well.

Luba Falk Feigenberg, Ed.D., Psychologist, Educator, Researcher and Consultant

Luba Falk Feigenberg is a psychologist, educator, and researcher. She has worked with schools, early childhood education, after-school programs, the juvenile justice system, and community mental health. At the core of her work is a focus on children’s social-emotional development, school-community partnerships, and effective schools and services for children. Luba teaches courses at Tufts University and William James College and facilitates workshops and trainings for educators, mental health professionals, and parents. She also serves as a Research Advisor at Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and sits on the advisory council for the Wheelock College Connected Beginnings Training Institute, the City of Cambridge’s Family Policy Council, and Essentials for Childhood. Luba holds an Ed.D. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is a licensed school counselor in Massachusetts.

Suzanne Flynn, Ph.D.; Professor of Linguistics and Language Acquisition, MIT

Suzanne Flynn has been a Professor of Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition at MIT for more than 30 years. Her research focuses on the acquisition of various aspects of syntax in children and adults in the context of multilingual language learning. More recently, her work has centered on the neural representation of the multilingual brain and issues related to language impairment. Her work has been published extensively in journals, and she has authored and co-edited several books. Dr. Flynn is the co-founding editor of Syntax: A Journal of Theoretical, Experimental and Interdisciplinary Research. She is clinically certified in Speech and Language Pathology. Suzanne Flynn received her Ph.D. from Cornell University. 

Jody Gastfriend, LICSW; Vice President, Senior Care Services,

Jody Gastfriend is the Vice President of Senior Care Services for As a licensed clinical social worker with more than 25 years of experience, Jody knows the challenges and struggles of family caregivers, having helped manage the care of her own father with dementia for more than a decade. Before joining, Jody was Director of Social Service at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, Chief Operating Officer of Visiting Nurse and Community Health in Arlington, Clinical Supervisor within the Social Service Department of Massachusetts General Hospital, and a consultant to numerous other hospitals and long term care facilities in the Boston area. Jody has lectured widely on topics ranging from eldercare and aging to work and family integration, and has published numerous articles on caregiving and aging, most recently in the Harvard Business Review. Jody holds a Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a Master of Social Work from Simmons School of Social Work.

Jennifer Gibbons, M.S.W., LICSW; Senior Care Advisor,

Jennifer Gibbons, LICSW, is a Senior Care Advisor at Passionate about working with families and individuals, she guides and assists family caregivers in finding resources and support for themselves and their family members. Jennifer also determines and locates the right care for adults and seniors nationwide. She has experience leading groups for adults, teens, and children in a variety of settings. Jennifer graduated with a B.S. in Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology from Drexel University and obtained her M.S.W. from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

Tamar Gordon, M.A., Ph.D.; Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Tamar Gordon is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive training and experience in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapies. Through her private practice, she treats individuals with a full range of mental health challenges. She is also an adjunct faculty member at both Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and the Teachers College, Columbia University College. Tamar holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from St. John’s University.

Elizabeth Guttenberg, M.S.W. LMSW; Work-Life Administrator, MIT Work-Life Center

Elizabeth Guttenberg is a Work-Life Administrator at the MIT Work-Life Center. Her desire to guide and support families and caregivers as they work through complicated issues was the driving force behind her decision to pursue a career in social work. Elizabeth’s experience includes facilitating groups as well as working with individuals and families in a variety of psychiatric and medical settings—such as a private behavioral health hospital and the Emory University Hospital and ALS Clinic. She holds an M.S.W. from the University of Georgia.

Linda Jason, J.D., M.Ed.; Real Estate Lawyer and Educator

Linda Jason, a real estate lawyer and educator for more than 20 years, sees her mission as educating buyers and renters to evaluate and effectively advocate for their needs in the purchase or rental of a home, condo, or apartment. She has represented buyers, sellers, and real estate developers, and has taught real estate seminars for adult education and corporate human resource programs. Linda holds a J.D. from Boston College Law School and an M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Kathy Kasabula, B.A.; Child Care Operations Administrator, MIT Work-Life Center

Kathy Kasabula oversees the many services that support MIT’s Technology Childcare Centers (TCC) and works closely with MIT’s child care management vendor, Bright Horizons, to ensure that TCC centers are able to meet the needs of the families they serve. Kathy oversees campus lactation rooms, and is a contributor to many Work-Life Center projects offering support to MIT children and families. Kathy holds a B.A. from Rhode Island College.

Jay Kearns, J.D.; Special Needs Trust Lawyer

Jay Kearns is a Special Needs Trust Lawyer in Hartford, Connecticut, specializing in Elder Law. Jay holds the distinction of being Connecticut’s first attorney to be board certified as an Elder Law specialist by the National Elder Law Foundation. His commitment to public service extends well beyond his private practice. Jay has served on the Boards of Directors of several organizations. Additionally, he is a founding member and past president of the Special Needs Alliance. In 1999, Jay was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, acknowledging his “exceptional contributions to meeting the needs of older Americans.” Jay also has authored and co-authored several articles that have been published in Connecticut Lawyer, the magazine of the Connecticut Bar Association. He holds a J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law.

Christine Kenyon, M.A.; Senior Manager, Educational Counseling, College Coach

Christine Kenyon’s passion for education began while studying Secondary Education and History at Boston College. As a volunteer tour guide, Christine fell in love with the world of undergraduate admission. She went on to receive a Graduate Assistantship in Boston College’s Admission Office. Christine then joined the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Babson College, where she focused on scholarship review, transfer admission, and multicultural recruitment.  Most recently, Christine served as an application reviewer and interviewer for highly selective scholarships affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. She earned an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Boston College.

Stacy Lennon, M.A.; Founder and CEO, X Squared Consulting Inc.

Stacy Lennon is the Founder and CEO of X Squared Consulting, and is a consultant with Triad Consulting Group. As a negotiation and conflict management trainer, facilitator, and coach with experience in North America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa, Stacy’s work spans contexts from supporting consensus-building processes to using “sports diplomacy” to fostering warmer relations between the United States and Iran. She has served on the teaching team of the Harvard Law School Negotiation Workshop, and is a Lecturer on Conflict Resolution at Tufts University. Stacy holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Master of City Planning and B.S. degrees from MIT.

Jeanne Mahan, M.S.; Senior Manager, College Finance, College Coach

Jeanne Mahan served as a Financial Aid Coordinator at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and as a Senior Financial Aid Counselor at Quinsigamond 
Community College before joining College Coach. She also has served as an ambassador for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), visiting high schools and meeting with parents and students to discuss how to fund a college education, and has presented to various groups involved in college awareness and readiness. Jeanne graduated from Emmanuel College with a B.A., earned a Certificate of French Language from the Sorbonne, and earned an M.S. in Non-Profit Management at Worcester State University.

Delvina Miremadi-Baldino, Ed.M., Ph.D.; Founder and Chief Resilience Officer, Realize Your Resilience

Delvina Miremadi-Baldino is the founder and Chief Resilience Officer of Realize Your Resilience, a company dedicated to helping individuals, groups, and organizations build upon their strengths and foster resilience so they can grow, succeed, and thrive. Delvina is also the Director of Research and Program Development at Life Advantages, LLC, where she applies over 10 years of experience specializing in resilience education and program development. Prior to this, she worked for the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital, developing innovative depression and suicide prevention tools and the curriculum for the Swensrud Depression Prevention Initiative. Delvina holds a Ph.D. in Education Leadership from Simmons College and an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University.

Jeff Perrotti, Founding Director, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Students

Jeff Perrotti is the Founding Director of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students. Jeff conducts workshops on sexual orientation and gender identity for school administrators, counselors, nurses, coaches, teachers, parents, and students, and assists schools and families in orchestrating a thoughtful, comprehensive, and successful process for transgender students to transition their gender. He currently teaches and advises students at Harvard University, and has received several awards for Excellence in Teaching.

James E. Porter, MALS; President,

James E. Porter is president of, a company that has been providing stress management, resilience training, and training materials to corporations, hospitals, government agencies, and military bases for over 25 years. Mr. Porter is the author and creator of many of these materials, including workbooks, articles, DVDs, CDs, and a weekly stress management blog for The Huffington Post. He has been a keynote speaker or presenter for WELCOA, WELLCOM, National Wellness, and the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army.

His award-winning book, Stop Stress This Minute, his workbook, The Stress Profiler, and his video programs have reached a large audience, including the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Mind/Body Clinic in Boston.

Mr. Porter holds a B.A. and an MALS from Wesleyan University, and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress. 

Mary-Ellen Rogers, B.S.W.; Principal, Excellere

Mary-Ellen Rogers is the Principal of Excellere, a health optimization and human capital management firm that combines innovative strategies to maximize wellness and productivity. Mary-Ellen was the founder and former CEO of Work/Life Innovations, an Employee Assistance Program specializing in work/life resources and referral services to major corporations and hospitals. She has held Human Resources positions as Director of staffing and recruiting, along with being a consultant, trainer, and coach. Mary-Ellen serves on the Boards of Trustees of Providence College, the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools, and the Executive Board of Women Executives in Healthcare. She holds a B.S.W. from Providence College.

Carolyn Romano, J.D.; Special Education Practice Leader, torchlight

Carolyn Romano is an attorney and education specialist with extensive experience in special education, disability law and policy, education reform/systems change, trauma and learning, youth development programs, and family engagement. Carolyn manages education content needs for torchlight, a web-based resource created by leading special education advisors, advocates, attorneys, evaluators, practitioners, and policy contributors to provide education advising to families of children with special needs. Carolyn earned a B.A. from Drew University and a J.D. from Boston University.

Heidi Roth, RD, LDN, B.S.; Owner, Heidi Roth Nutrition

Heidi Roth is a Registered Dietitian, a Massachusetts State Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, and a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Heidi owns her own corporate wellness consulting business. She teaches nutrition and wellness through seminars, individual counseling, and healthy food demonstrations, and brings her passion for an active and healthy lifestyle to her clients. Earlier in her career, she worked as a critical care neonatal dietician. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and holds a certificate of training in Adult Weight Management. In her spare time, she enjoys creating healthy new recipes, skiing, hiking, and tennis. She earned a B.S. in Nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Delaney Ruston, M.D.; Documentary Filmmaker and Primary Care Physician

Delaney Ruston is a filmmaker, Stanford-trained doctor, and mother of two. She is this film’s director, writer, producer, cinematographer, and editor. Along with Screenagers, her award-winning feature documentaries include Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia (PBS) about her father and Hidden Pictures (PBS) about global mental health. Delaney has been invited to speak and screen these and other films to hundreds of audiences in diverse settings around the world, such as schools, conferences, medical centers, universities, the United Nations, the TEDx stage in Seattle, and the World Health Organization. For her work in using film in launching advocacy movements, Delaney has won several awards. She has provided primary care in underserved clinics for over a decade. Delaney earned an M.D. from Stanford University. 

Shannon Vasconcelos, M.A.; Senior Manager, College Finance, College Coach

Shannon Vasconcelos has worked in student financial assistance at Boston University and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, where she served as the Assistant Director of Financial Aid. At Tufts, she was responsible for reviewing financial aid applications, determining financial aid awards, and helping families through the college-financing process. In addition, Shannon has served as an active member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ Early Awareness and Outreach Committee, as a trainer for the Department of Education’s National Training for Counselors and Mentors, and as a volunteer for FAFSA Day Massachusetts. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University.

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