Get to know our Board of Directors
Mandy Summerson, a Professional member of the Aging Life Care Association, is currently a Professional Care Manager at Senior Care Management Associates in Durham, North Carolina. She is the former Director of Client Relations with Right at Home and former Executive Director of Carolina Village in Chapel Hill. Mandy's life experiences including caring for her father with dementia, led her to obtain her Masters in Gerontology. Prior to becoming involved in the Village Movement, she was program manager at the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation and worked as the Business Manager of the Lerner Jewish Community Day School.
Carol Paquette is a Founding Director and former President of Arlington Neighborhood Village. She had a lead role in the development of the Village business model and guided the implementation of the organization from inception through its first 21 months of operation. During this time she raised more than $50,000 in donations. Before getting involved with villages, Ms. Paquette was a Founding Director and the Secretary of Operation BRAVO Foundation.
Peggy Simpson is a founder and former president of Dupont Circle Village where she helped create a vibrant community to engage villagers and equip them with key medical and legal information – before they need to use it. She spent 50 years as an editor and reporter, including 15 years at the Associated Press in
Texas and Washington, covering political and economic issues and the dramatic evolution of “women’s place” in society. She worked 10 years in Poland and Eastern Europe as a freelance business reporter tracking the emergence of countries after the collapse of communist regimes. She was president of the Washington Press Club and created a national oral history program to interview women who broke barriers in journalism for the WPC Foundation. She held a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard and was a journalist in residence at Indiana and George Washington Universities.
Peter Fitzgerald is the Executive Vice President for Policy and Strategy at the National PACE Association. In this position, Peter guides the association’s policy and advocacy efforts, at the federal and state level, to support its strategic priorities. Prior to NPA, Peter served as the SVP for Integrated Care Strategies at Volunteers of America, where he was responsible for the planning and development of new PACE programs nationally. Peter has a Master of Science in Health Care Planning and Finance from the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary.
Pazit Aviv works at Montgomery County Area Agency on Aging as a Village Coordinator. She consults grassroots community organizations on nonprofits startup and developments and facilities the growth of all active and developing Villages in the County. One of her top priorities is capacity building for aging in place in diverse communities. Prior to this position, Pazit worked at Montgomery County’s housing authority, where she developed innovative programs for independent low income older adults through partnerships and collaborations. Pazit holds a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the George Washington University, an MSW degree from Salem State University with a focus on Aging and end of life care and two undergraduate degrees from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem: one in Social Work and one in East Asian Studies and Communication.
Dr. Elkin was a founder, director, and vice president of Nauset Neighbors, an “all-volunteer” Village on Cape Cod. He has been an active volunteer, driving and answering the phones for Nauset Neighbors for since 2011. In 2013, he joined the VtV Network Advisory Council when it was a joint venture of Capital Impact Partners and Beacon Hill Village, and helped lead the network’s transition to its present form as a member-supported, self-governing corporation. Dick was the first treasurer of the network and a member of the BOD since 2015. He create the Village 101 toolkit and has been active in helping new Villages to form and in the mentoring of new Villages. When not working on Villages, Dr. Elkin is chair of the Wellfleet Energy and Climate Action Committee, an Executive Board Member of the Cape Light Compact which administers energy conservation programs for the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard, and on the Board of the Cape Cod Commission, the planning agency for Cape Cod. Dr. Elkin was a software and systems engineer, a project and engineering manager and an Engineering Fellow for many years at the Raytheon Company. Among many things he worked on weather radars and air traffic control.
Prior to his movement into the non-profit sector, Mr. Engstrom was the Vice President for Corporate Knowledge Creation at SAIC. He was a recognized pioneer in knowledge capture and was acknowledged as one of the leading knowledge practitioners in the United States. As a career Air Force officer, he held senior positions in multiple agencies. He retired as a Colonel in 1994. He has a 30 year history with the Center for Creative Leadership, a founding member of both the Association of Managers of Innovation (AMI) and the Learning Innovations Laboratory at Harvard University.
Hilary Lenz, MPH, is the Executive Director of A Little Help, a village connecting neighbors to help seniors thrive throughout Colorado. Hilary has over 11 years of experience as a director for various organizations and businesses, including six and a half years as the Program Director and one and a half years as the Board Treasurer with A Little Help before rejoining the team as the Executive Director in January 2020. Previously, Hilary served as the Vice President of Finance for a software startup and as a Senior Consultant. In addition to her professional experience, Hilary founded an LLC to perform financial analytics services for over five years, has served as a board member for several organizations, and has been active in her community. Hilary earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Psychology and English and earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Emily Miller, LMSW, is the Director of Training and Client Care at ACES$ Financial Management Services, a Center for Independent Living. In addition to training and coaching, Emily creates and implements a broad range of training materials, from in-person to webinars, on topics including self-direction, HIPAA compliance, program changes and new employee orientation. Emily serves as a Certified SAGECare trainer where she helps organizations become more inclusive of LGBT Older Adults. Emily develops programs, trains adults, and writes curriculum in person-centered planning, customer service, and best practices in the fields of aging and disability. Emily holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services with a minor in music from Millikin University.
Edgar (Eddie) Rivas
The New York Times once listed Eddie as one of the six most powerful aging-policy lobbyists in Washington. As part of a long career, he served on the staff of the U.S.
House Select Committee on Aging and also held positions at state and area offices on aging and national aging organizations including AARP. Eddie is a planner and policy analyst with project management skills and hands-on experience in advocacy and coalition building, with an emphasis on working on behalf of underserved communities, as well as extensive experience in the aging and disabilities field. He is a board member of his local Village, Potomac Community Village, and of the Washington Area Village Exchange (WAVE).
After working in sales, business development and large account management roles for both early-stage and publicly traded technology companies for over 20 years, Joel join Canopy Gap as a Vital Growth Facilitator. His focus has been customer acquisition and strategic partnership development that accelerate business growth. Joel’s educational background includes graduate studies in organizational effectiveness at DePaul. Joel serves on the board of North Shore Village in Evanston, IL. He is also the Head of Strategic Partnerships for VtVN. In 2018 Joel became the Area Lead for LivHOME Chicago, a caregiving and care management services organization for older adults.
Susan Wylie is the Community Programs Coordinator at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, based in Rochester, New York. ESLC owns and operates several living facilities for older adults, offering a continuum of care. Susan is involved in a range of planning activities on behalf of ESLC, including the organization’s Neighborhood Program, which is a community-based initiative that addresses the physical and sociological attributes of a community, to help older adults remain living independently in their place of choice. Susan joined ESLC after earning her Master of Architecture degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is an attorney with twenty-five years of experience in private practice and as in-house counsel. Susan is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame Law School.
Wendy Zenker is the Executive Director of Arlington Neighborhood Village, a Village providing services, support and engagement activities to 230 members in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C. Prior to joining Arlington Neighborhood Village in 2017, Wendy was the Senior Vice President for the National Council on Aging, where she directed the implementation of nationwide programs to improve the health and financial well-being of older adults, especially those with low incomes; and had a 30+ year career with the Federal Government, her last position as the Chief Operations Officer of the Corporation for National Service, which oversees the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs.