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 Advisory Counsil


Our Team

Sara Deren

Chief Executive Officer

Under Sara’s leadership, Experience Camps has conducted original research on the state of grief and launched 10 camp program sites from coast to coast with a waitlist that is growing 300% year over year. 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.

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.

Josh Landay

Josh Landay

Chief Operating Officer

Josh’s work has spanned social impact and the arts. Most recently, at Building for the Arts, he expanded access to creative experiences for students, artists, and audience members. Previously, as Director of the Eye to Eye Diplomats, Josh built a program that brought two national tours and 270 presentations about learning differences to more than 45,000 students, educators, and parents nationwide. A former Broadway actor and teaching artist, Josh holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is a marathon runner dedicated to raising funds for cancer research.

Courtney Dubin

Chief Innovation Officer

Courtney has worked for 12 years in nonprofit program management, leading youth engagement at the NFL and National Dairy Council-backed nonprofit GENYOUth, where she developed and ran the social entrepreneurship program, AdVenture Capital and oversaw large-scale digital efforts for the organization. Prior to GENYOUth, Courtney co-ran the innovation design studio Derring-do Design, which focused on reinventing college for the 21st century and through new student-centered models on initiatives that have helped students complete their degrees.

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.

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.

Jesse Moss

Sr. Marketing Manager

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.

Gayle Brumley, MSW

Camper 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 she’s not working, you can find her reading outside in sunny San Diego 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.

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.

Margo Karp

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

Margo manages the special events that engage Experience Camps supporters outside of camp, including the signature NYC and Miami fundraising events. 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. She and her pup, Snoop, volunteered at Experience Camps in Maine before joining the team full-time.

Beth Ricciardi, LCSW, MSW

Communications and Outreach Manager

Beth has blended her education and community relations background with her passion for non-profit work in a career spanning over 20 years. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she 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.

Sydney Choi

Program Operations Associate

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.

Joan Reilly

Development Coordinator

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 the Westchester Land Trust, The Bedford Historical Society as well as The Advertising Club and The International ANDY Awards. When Joan is not working you can usually find her outdoors or on the beach with her husband, sons and two yellow labs.

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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Liz Eddy

David Garlick

Pineapple Co.
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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

Greater Good Charities
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Mark MacDonald

Luxury Presence
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Billy Matthews

MUFG Americas
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Raleigh Leahy

Senior Executive in Hospitality & Events
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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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Nicole Van Valen

Aetna, a CVS Health Company
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Aron Weingard

Weingard Wealth Management
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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

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

Jordan Chaplik, LCSW – Michigan Boys Clinical Director

Allison Crooks, LMFT – California Girls Clinical Director

Alicia Firman, LCSW – Georgia Boys Clinical Director

Molly Giorgio, PsyD – Maine Boys Clinical Director

Rachel Hamovitch, LCSW – California Boys Clinical Director

Marissa Kusy-Leavitt, LCSW – Michigan Girls Clinical Director

Dan Wolfson, PsyD – Pennsylvania Boys Clinical Director

Jenna Wolfson, LCSW – Maine and Pennsylvania Girls Clinical Director


Program Directors

Liza Buck – California Girls Program Director

Gayle Brumley – California Boys Program Director

Ilana GutmanMichigan Girls Program Director

Rachel Heimler – Maine Girls Program Director

Lucas Johnston – Maine Boys Program Director

Kate Luther – Pennsylvania Girls Program Director

Andrew McGill – Maryland Boys Program Director

Michael Paretzky – 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