Presenter Biographies

Find biographies of our seminar presenters and instructors below.

Kori Bardige, MS.Ed.; Early Childhood Special Education Consultant and Founder, Learning Circle Consulting

Kori Bardige opened Learning Circle Consulting in 2014, where she provides training, coaching, and mentoring to school districts, child care programs, home visitors, and families to improve outcomes for all children, especially children with disabilities. Most recently, she has focused on helping teachers to use the Scientific Method and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts as a tool for creating intentional learning opportunities. Kori began her career teaching preschool children with autism and related developmental disabilities, working in both self-contained and inclusive classrooms. Kori holds MS.Ed. in Intensive Special Needs from Simmons College, and a B.A. in Developmental Psychology from Lawrence University.

Jimmy Becker, M.B.A.; Founder, Financially Speaking

Jimmy Becker is the founder of Financially Speaking, where he coaches adults of all ages on the different dimensions of financial decision-making. He began his career on Wall Street as an options arbitrageur, and has since used his deep understanding of the financial services industry to advise and present publicly on topics such as healthy budgeting and saving

strategies, the college financial aid process and student loan repayment, retirement planning, and financial advisor assessment. He also authors an advice blog on various finance-related topics. Jimmy earned a B.S. in economics from Brown University and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management.

Rick Clerici, C.HT., C.S.E.; 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.; Partner, Margolis & Bloom, LLP

Patricia C. D’Agostino is a Partner 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.

Ken Davies, E.A., C.E.B.S., 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.

Steven Dimitriou, A.I.F., Q.P.F.C.; Managing Partner, Mayflower Advisors

Steve Dimitriou is a co-founder and managing partner at Mayflower Advisors, with more than 27 years of experience in the retirement plan industry. He has been named Retirement Plan Advisor of the Year by PlanSponsor Magazine, and is the former president of the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA). Steve is currently the president-elect of the American Retirement Association (ARA), the largest retirement plan advocacy group in the nation, and meets regularly with congressional members and various governmental agencies. Steve has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) and Qualified Plan Financial Consultant (QPFC) designations, and is a graduate of Colby College, where he earned a B.A. in both honors physics and economics. 

Richard Dufresne, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W.; 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 transformational career/life coach, group facilitator, meditation teacher, and dance instructor in her practice, Dance With Life Consulting. Jen is passionate about helping individuals and teams lead fulfilling careers and lives, and generate a powerful impact. Before starting her private practice, she provided career coaching at MIT and Aspire! Fulfilling Career Ambitions. Jen holds a B.A. in psychology from Tufts University and an M.Ed. in higher education administration from Suffolk University.

Judy Elkin, M.Ed., P.C.C.; 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.

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

Dr. 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, L.I.C.S.W.; Vice President, Senior Care Services,

Jody Gastfriend is the vice president of senior care for As a licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years of experience, Jody knows the challenges of family caregivers, having helped manage the care of her own parent with dementia for more than a decade. Jody is a featured senior care expert for NBC, Fox News, AARP, The Wall Street Journal, and HuffPost. Jody’s book, My Parents’ Keeper: The Guilt, Grief, Guesswork, and Unexpected Gifts of Caregiving, was published by Yale University Press in 2018. Jody received a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.S.W. from Simmons College of Social Work.

Daniel Jackson, Ph.D.; Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT

Dr. Daniel Jackson is a professor of computer science at MIT and a photographer. He has been an MIT faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for over 20 years, and also leads the Software Design Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Dr. Jackson’s photographs have been exhibited at the MIT Museum and in group shows nationwide. His photo essay, Portraits of Resilience which highlights stories of individuals who have overcome great challenges, was published by MIT Press in 2017. Dr. Jackson holds a Ph.D. in computer science from MIT and an M.A. in physics from Oxford University.

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.

Julia Jones M.A.; Senior Manager, Educational Counseling, College Coach

Julia Jones has been working with adolescents and college admissions for most of her career. She was involved in virtually all aspects of the admissions process at Brandeis University, including overseeing the creation and production of admissions publications and recruitment materials and serving as director of the Brandeis Alumni Admissions Council, a 1000-member network of alumni recruiters and interviewers. During her tenure at Brandeis, Julia also was a member of the New England Association of College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) and served on the planning committees for three NEACAC annual conferences. More recently, she continued to work with high school students and their families as director of admissions at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School in Waltham, MA. Julia holds a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from Brandeis University, and a master’s degree in education in creative arts in learning from Lesley University.

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.

Jeanne Mahan, M.A.; 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.

Anna Robinson, M.A., WLCP®, SHRM-CP

Anna Robinson brings a background in counseling, consultation, mediation, human resources, and training from her positions at MIT in the Work-Life Center and the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Prior to joining MIT, Anna provided counseling at Boston University Student Health Services, and was a member of a mobile crisis intervention team. She is a Work-Life Certified Professional through the Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP), a certified professional through the Society of Human Resources Management, and a certified professional in facilitative mediation through the Harvard Mediation Program. Anna holds an M.A. in mental health counseling and behavioral medicine from Boston University and a B.A. in psychology from Vassar College.

Scott Rolph, M.A.; Talent Development Consultant, MIT Human Resources

Scott Rolph is a talent development consultant in MIT Human Resources. He is dedicated to helping individuals, teams, and organizational units increase their capability to communicate, reflect, learn, adapt, and improve continuously. Before joining MIT Human Resources, Scott was the manager of organizational effectiveness and communication in the MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance (VPF); prior to that, he served as the associate director of communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a certified Organization Development Consultant Professional (ODCP) and participated in the Susan Vogt Leadership Fellows Program through the Boston Consortium in 2013–14. Scott holds an M.A. in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts–Boston and a B.A. in classics from the University of New Hampshire.

Katharine Ruby, M.A.; Senior Manager, College Finance, College Coach

Kathy Ruby offers College Coach students and families a thorough knowledge of the college finance landscape from a career that has spanned numerous colleges and universities. Most recently assistant vice president of enrollment and dean of student financial aid at St. Olaf College, Kathy has extensive experience counseling families on financial aid applications (both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile), calculating awards, and reviewing appeals. In addition, her work developing financial aid practices with St. Olaf’s admissions office has given her a thorough understanding of institutional financial aid awarding policies. Kathy holds a degree in economics from Carleton College and a master’s in public administration from Shippensburg University.

Anna Seitzer, L.I.C.S.W.; Senior Care Advisor,

Anna Seitzer is a clinical social worker and senior care advisor on the Senior Care Planning team. She is passionate about spending time with and advocating for older adults, and brings senior care expertise from her work in community, long term care, and rehabilitation settings. Anna holds an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and a B.A. in psychology from Earlham College.

Gretchen Ki Steidle, M.B.A.; Founder and President, Global Grassroots and the Conscious Social Change Initiative

Gretchen Ki Steidle is a leader, activist, filmmaker, author, and healer. Gretchen is the founder and leader of Global Grassroots and the Conscious Social Change Initiative, where she has delivered breath-based resilience training and trauma healing to a range of individuals globally. This includes Rwanda genocide survivors, Haiti earthquake survivors and first responders, Hurricane Katrina survivors, university activists, and mental health and healthcare professionals. Gretchen is a producer of a three-time Emmy®-nominated documentary film, and has co-authored a memoir of her brother’s tenure as a military observer in Darfur, Sudan. She has been recognized as one of World Business Magazine’s Global 35 Under 35, one of New Hampshire Magazine’s seven Remarkable Women of the World, and as a CNN Hero for her work in Haiti after the earthquake. Gretchen was also awarded the inaugural Susan J. Herman Award for Leadership in Holocaust and Genocide Awareness by the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. Her newest book, Leading from Within: Conscious Social Change and Mindfulness for Social Innovation, was published in 2017 by MIT Press. Gretchen holds a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College, where she co-founded what is now Tuck’s Center for Business and Society.

Jill Walsh, Ph.D., M.P.A.; Researcher and Lecturer, Boston University

Dr. Jill Walsh is a researcher and lecturer at Boston University, and an advocate for all children. Throughout her career, Dr. Walsh has sought to understand the world from a child’s perspective, and to translate that on a global scale. One of her objectives is to help close the generational gap, so that parents and educators are able to make informed decisions around the digital, social, and emotional health of their children. Her recent work examines the way that social media, and the need to document life online, has altered the paths to adolescent development. Prior to completing her graduate coursework, Dr. Walsh taught, coached, and mentored high school students at the Noble and Greenough School for five years. Dr. Walsh holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Boston University, an M.P.A. from Brown University, and a B.A. from Harvard University.

Cecilia Warpinski Stuopis, M.D.; Gynecologist and Medical Director, MIT Medical

Dr. Cecilia Warpinski Stuopis is the medical director at MIT Medical, where she is responsible for overseeing the medical and mental health services at MIT. Dr. Stuopis specializes in obstetrics and gynecology as well as women’s health, and is committed to supporting person-centered medical care in both primary and specialty care venues. She holds a B.S. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from MIT, an M.D. from the University of Nevada School of Medicine, and an M.H.C.D.S. from Dartmouth College.

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