Our People

Experience Camps are led by a dedicated team of professionals in camping, social work, finance, technology, and beyond. The key ingredient that is woven through our team is the passion each one has for summer camp and the life-altering experience it can provide.

Our Team  |  Board of Directors Directors  |  Regional Ambassador Committees


Our Team

Sara Deren

Chief Executive Officer

Under Sara’s leadership, Experience Camps has conducted original research on the state of grief and launched a national network of  programs and platforms for grieving kids and teens. She received her MBA from Columbia, and blends her background of 12 years in finance and business with her passion for the mission. In 2020, she received an award for “Best Entrepreneurial, Scaling” from Connecticut Entrepreneur Awards, and was named a “Patriots Difference Maker” by The Krafts Family and Patriots Foundation. Sara was named by Causeartist one of 32 nonprofit leaders who will impact the world in 2022 and was a 2023 mentor at the SXSW festival.

Josh Landay

Josh Landay

Chief Operating Officer

For more than a decade, Josh has been dedicated to bringing transformative change into the lives of young people. Prior to joining ExCamps, he expanded access to the arts for students, educators, artists, and audiences (Building for the Arts). Previously, as Director of the Eye to Eye Diplomats, Josh built a program that amplified the voices of the senior leadership team and 85 student speakers. Through two national tours and 270 presentations about learning differences, the Diplomats reached more than 45,000 people. A former Broadway actor, Josh holds an MBA from Columbia. He runs marathons for cancer research.

Brie Overton, FT, LPC, NCC

Chief Clinical Officer

Brie is a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri – St. Louis in the Department of Counseling and Family Therapy, where she educates and supervises master and doctoral level students on grief-specific issues in counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and specializes in anticipatory loss, grief and bereavement, life transitions, and working with underserved populations. She is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling and has worked as a clinician and Clinical Director for Experience Camps since 2016.

Carly Basile

Director of Development

After five years volunteering with Experience Camps as a counselor and champion fundraiser, Carly is joining our team full-time. Carly graduated from Mount Holyoke College with an undergraduate degree in Women and Gender Studies and obtained an M.Ed. from the University of Vermont. Carly has over 10 years of experience in non-profit fundraising and works particularly with major gifts and donor acquisition. She has spent most of her career in education working to support college access and students with learning challenges.

Michelle Cove

Director of Communications

Michelle draws on her 25+ years as a professional media maker to create content that educates the public on childhood grief and brings awareness to our work. She is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, and national bestselling author whose projects have been featured on numerous national platforms including “The Today Show,” The Washington Post, and The New York Times. From 2014 to 2020, Michelle was the founder and Executive Director of MEDIAGIRLS, a nonprofit that empowers young women to harness the power of media to uplift one another.

Jesse Moss

Director of Marketing

Prior to this position at Experience Camps, Jesse was our National Program Manager. We quickly learned that her superpower is connecting people to our mission, and she now helps build external partnerships and creates media assets for us. She worked as a social-media marketer for Warner Bros. Television, an Associate Producer for E! Network, and Digital Communications Strategies for the National Endowment for the Humanities. She received her BA from the University of Florida and ran the NYC Marathon in 2021 and 2022 on our behalf.

Margo Karp

Sr. Manager Annual Giving and Events margo@experiencecamps.org

Margo manages annual giving strategy and special events that engage Experience Camps supporters outside of camp, including our signature Experience: NY event, crowdfunding campaigns, and so much more. She brought with her nearly a decade in advertising sales. Margo previously worked at Hearst at magazines such as Seventeen and Redbook, and Gallery Media Group. Margo graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in History and Education. 

Ashley Laughlin

National Senior Program Manager

Ashley is joining Experience Camps full time after spending eight summers volunteering with the organization in multiple different roles. She helped open our Georgia and Maine locations, simultaneously overseeing these camps as the Program Director since 2018. Ashley has spent the past decade working in the private health insurance industry specializing in sales and management. She graduated with honors from the University of Florida where she received her BS in Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management.

Gayle Brumley, MSW, CCLS

Regional Clinical Manager

Gayle is an MSW, Certified Child Life Specialist and holds a Certificate of Thanatology from the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She has over 10 years of professional experience in the non-profit camp sector with children and young adults with developmental disabilities and serious illnesses. Gayle also volunteered with a grief camp in Ireland for four years. When not working, she’s usually living slowly by reading outside, baking peach cobbler, and/or cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs.

Liza Buck

Regional Program Manager

Liza has been a teacher, CAD counselor, and has been involved with Experience Camps since 2014, beginning as a bunk counselor and most recently operating as the Program Director for CalEx Girls. In addition to her teaching degrees, she is in the process of completing her MSW at the University of Maine. Liza has a passion for kids and mission-driven work which is why ExCamps feels like “home.” When she’s not doing “the best work ever,” she is most likely outside with her dog or baking a batch of cookies.

Sydney Choi

Program Operations Manager

Sydney earned her BA from the University of California, Davis and her MFA from Rutgers University, Newark. She has a background in education, writing, and administration with experience ranging from teaching to running poetry events. Sydney uses her editorial lens to streamline processes and organize information at Experience Camps. When she’s offline, you might find her volunteering at a local food bank, baking a cake, or walking aimlessly around Brooklyn.

Thomas DiGuglielmo

Development Manager

Thomas applies his analytical skills and eye for detail to help our Development team be as efficient as possible. He worked as a Database Consultant for The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and most recently at The Carver Foundation of Norwalk as the Resource Development Manager. He graduated from Drew University in 2014 with a BA in Economics. Thomas has also completed a Nonprofit Management and Entrepreneurship course as well as Harvard’s Online Business Certificate program, HBX.

Samira Moosavi, CCLS

Regional Clinical Manager

Samira has dedicated over a decade to providing psychosocial support to children and families. As a Certified Child Life Specialist, she has supported families in the hospital setting, during natural disasters, and on global medical missions. After volunteering for years, she became staff at a local hospice in their Children’s Bereavement Program, running summer grief camps, peer-based support groups, and school programming.

Amanda Nimocks-Redd

Regional Program Manager

Amanda is a Texas native who has been actively involved in organizing and leading camps and after-school programs since 2008. Her commitment to youth led her to pursue a degree in Educational Studies. Driven by her desire to broaden her horizons, Amanda also volunteered at the Maine Location for Experience Camps. This invaluable experience expanded her knowledge of youth programs. In her free time, you’ll often find her cheering on her nephews at their sports events or playing pickleball.

Beth Ricciardi, LCSW, MSW

Regional Clinical Manager

Beth is a licensed Clinical Social Worker, who earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from St. Louis University in 2014, and joined the Experience Camps family that same year as a Grief Specialist, stepping into the role as a Director in 2017 and 2018. She served as the Director of Operations for St. Louis Blues Alumni Association from 2015-2021. In 2015, Beth co-founded Coping 4 Life, a nonprofit that provides free mental-health services to people in her under-served rural Illinois community.

Shalice Sherald

Community Programs Manager

Shalice is a nonprofit educator, with almost 10 years of experience working in creative education spaces that serve underserved communities. She holds a Masters in Creative & Innovative Education from Georgia State University, and a certified PMP (project Management professional). She has worked for nonprofits that specialize in SEL & STEM education, most notably the Girl Scouts, and believes in the power of community building.

Lauren Fernandez

Social Media Associate

Lauren joins our team with a lifetime of experience using social media plus three years of experience managing and creating content and strategy professionally. Before diving into the world of social media, Lauren was a public servant for the city of Chicago, where she worked tirelessly to support and advocate for her constituents. She uses this passion for advocacy and social know-how to bring awareness to our work. In her spare time, you’ll often find her baking her way through a cookbook or working on a New York Times crossword puzzle.

Jordan Rappoport

Regional Program Associate

Jordan joined us after volunteering as a counselor for our camp program in Georgia since 2017. She received her BS from the University of Florida in Public Relations with a minor in Event Management. Jordan is passionate about relationship building and watching memorable moments come to life. A lifelong camper, Jordan is excited to turn the “Best Week Ever” into the best job ever! When not working, you can find her singing with her guitar to Taylor Swift songs.

Joan Reilly

Development Associate

Joan works with the Development team to coordinate year-round planning and execution of Experience Camps’ fundraising logistics in addition to providing database support. Prior to joining Experience Camps, Joan held positions at several nonprofits. When Joan is not working you can usually find her outdoors, especially on the beach with her family and dogs.

Board of Directors

You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of people as passionate and dedicated to a cause as this one. They represent industries from technology to metals, interests from surfing to art, and all have experienced the magic of camp first-hand. Many of our board members have also experienced their own losses, either as children or parents, and can truly understand the importance of time spent at camp.

Vishal Amin

Blackstone Growth
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Bill Anderson

Anderson Holdings
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Brian Beach

Beachside Strategy, LLC
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Evan Bloomberg (Treasurer)

UBS Financial Services
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Joe Brown

Rehan Choudhry

Beanie Feldstein

Actress, Producer
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Michael Goldman

Serra Falk Goldman

20 Fund

Kristina Jones

Guardian Lane
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Brian Klein

Rialto Capital Advisors
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Emily Krueger

Uncharted Philanthropy
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Mark MacDonald

Luxury Presence
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Ashley Pelzel (Vice Chair)

Bridgewater Associates 
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Danny Sarch (Board Chair)

Leitner Sarch Consultants 
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Eric Solomon

Hanna Song

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
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Lisa Tortolani

Nicole Van Valen

Aetna, a CVS Health Company
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Legal Advisors to the Board

Darren Berger – Kane Kessler
Arthur Rosenberg – Kane Kessler (Secretary)

If you want to know more about joining our board, please contact us at info@experiencecamps.org

Clinical Directors

Allison Crooks, LMFT – California Girls Clinical Director

Rachel Hamovitch, LCSWCalifornia Boys Clinical Director

Alicia Firman, LCSW – Georgia Boys Clinical Director

Andrea Cox, PhD, LPC – Georgia Girls Clinical Director

Molly Giorgio, PsyD – Maine Boys Clinical Director

Jenna Wolfson, LCSW – Maine Girls Clinical Director

Karen Banks, M.Ed., LPC – Maryland Girls Clinical Director

Jordan Chaplik, LCSW – Michigan Boys Clinical Director

Marissa Kusy-Leavitt, LCSW – Michigan Girls Clinical Director

Brendan Finnegan, MSW – Pennsylvania Boys Clinical Director

Stephanie Rohrig, PhD – Pennsylvania Girls Clinical Director

Program Directors

Caitlin Henry – California Girls Program Director

Michael Vasquez – California Boys Program Director

Betsy KaplanMichigan Girls Program Director

Rachel Heimler – Maine Girls Program Director

Lucas Johnston – Maine Boys Program Director

Rachel Shindler – Pennsylvania Girls Program Director

Andrew McGill – Maryland Boys Program Director

Carly Kaluzna – Michigan Boys Program Director

Ben Pickman – Pennsylvania Boys Program Director

Julia Ring – Maryland Girls Program Director

Michelle Swanson – Georgia Girls Program Director

Justin Weidenfeld– Georgia Boys Program Director

Curtis West – California Boys Program Director