Find biographies of our seminar presenters and instructors below.
Ina Bachman, L.I.C.S.W., T.I.W.C., C.E.A.P.; Founder and Coach, Bachman Coaching
Ina Bachman is a licensed clinical social worker whose work with individuals and couples focuses on how money impacts relationships. Since launching Bachman Coaching in 2014, Ina has helped couples find their money roadblocks and has supported them in building fun, abundant, and resilient lives together. She also has over 25 years of experience in the field of personal development and transformation, and is a Certified EAP consultant. Ina received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and an M.S.W. from Boston 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, and retirement planning. He also authors a newsletter on related topics. Jimmy earned a B.A. in Economics from Brown University and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management.
Kirsty Bennett, M.A.; Manager, MIT Women’s League
Kirsty Bennett is the Manager of the MIT Women’s League and the founder of MITell, a storytelling program. She has led workshops for the MIT Museum, SHASS, Course 6, GECD, and the ICEO, among others. In 2018, she curated and directed Synaptic Stories at the MIT Museum, as part of the Beautiful Brain exhibit. Kirsty previously spent seven years as a producer and director for The Moth—a 2010 Peabody Award-winner—designing and running their College Program and teaching storytelling workshops for tech giants, literary festivals, and high schools. Kirsty holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature and an M.A. in Postcolonial Literature, both from the University of Leeds.
Stefanie Boucher; Senior Content Developer, Torchlight
Stefanie Boucher is Torchlight’s Senior Content Developer and host of the Exceptional Parenting Podcast. A writer, editor, and journalist, she has spent nearly two decades producing multi-media content for children, parents, students and teachers while simultaneously raising her own tech-savvy kids in the midst of a changing media landscape. In her current role, she offers families practical strategies for modern parenting, including how to balance health and well-being with the allure and necessity of modern technology and life.
Bonnie Cohen, L.C.S.W.; Senior Director of Early Childhood Family and Clinical Services, University Settlement Society of New York
Bonnie Cohen has worked with children and families in the Early Childhood field for twenty-five years and was a pioneer in Early Intervention programs. Bonnie is the Senior Director of Family and Clinical Services at the non-profit University Settlement in New York City. She manages over 100 professionals in early childhood programs including the Early Intervention program and the Butterflies program delivering mental health services to young children and families in life transitions or difficulties.
Jan Combs, Ed.M.; Senior Manager, College Finance, Bright Horizons Education and College Advising
Jan Combs is a Senior Manager of College Finance at Bright Horizons Education and College Advising. Prior to joining Bright Horizons, Jan awarded financial aid, reviewed appeal letters, and managed several scholarship programs as an Assistant Director at Boston University and as the Director of Financial Aid at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Jan also spent nearly a decade working in education finance for two national lenders, where she counseled students on private education loans and student loan repayment options. She has been a long-serving ambassador for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) and a member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and serves as Tri-Chair of FAFSA Day Massachusetts. Jan holds a B.S. in Political Science from Boston University and an Ed.M. from Cambridge College.
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.
Sally Ganga, M.A.; Director of Educational Counseling, Bright Horizons Education and College Advising
Sally Ganga is the Director of Educational Counseling at Bright Horizons Education and College Advising. Prior to joining Bright Horizons, Sally was the Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Chicago and before that at Whittier College. Sally has also served as the Director of College Counseling at both the Archer School for Girls and Chadwick School in the Los Angeles area, where she counseled students and taught classes on preparing for the college application process. She holds a B.A. in History from Reed College and an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Fairfield University.
Jody Gastfriend, L.I.C.S.W.; Vice President, Senior Care Services, Care.com
Jody Gastfriend is the vice president of senior care for Care.com. 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.
Elizabeth Guttenberg, L.C.S.W.; Work-Life Administrator, MIT
Elizabeth Guttenberg is a licensed social worker and administrator at MIT, where she manages special projects for the Work-Life Center. Prior to joining MIT, Elizabeth worked in the corporate division at Care.com, consulting nationally with academic and corporate employees facing caregiving challenges. This included facilitating caregiver support groups for employees at various higher education institutions such as MIT and authoring a monthly caregiver advice column. Her experience also includes supporting adults, children, and families in hospital, government, and community mental health settings. Elizabeth holds a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and an M.S.W. in Clinical Social Work from the University of Georgia.
Stacey Harris, J.D.; Associate Director, Disability Services, Boston University
Stacey Harris is the Associate Director for Disability Services at Boston University. She has over 20 years of experience focusing on civil rights and disability compliance issues in higher education and government settings. In her current role, she focuses on university policy, technical standards, and compliance. She also works directly with students, not only on accommodations, but on their own self-advocacy skills.
Janell Burley Hofmann; Author
Janell Burley Hofmann is the author of the book, iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growing Up. She is also a speaker and consultant on topics like technology, media, health, relationships and personal growth. Janell engages readers, clients and audiences in relevant and meaningful conversations igniting personal empowerment, awareness and purpose. She serves families, schools and communities in a partnership that will positively impact the lives of children and teens.
Howard M. Heller, M.D., M.P.H.; Chief Medical Officer, Binx Health and Infectious Disease Consultant, MIT Medical and Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Howard M. Heller is the Chief Medical Officer at Binx Health and an Infectious Disease Consultant at MIT Medical and Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to joining Binx Health, Dr. Heller served as the Associate Medical Director at MIT Medical, where he practiced primary care medicine with a specialty in infectious diseases for over 21 years, and was responsible for overseeing Medical Specialties and Research. Dr. Heller is a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine Infectious Disease Board Exam Committee, and has previously served as President of the Massachusetts Infectious Disease Society. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Columbia College of Columbia University, an M.P.H. from the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University, and an M.D. from SUNY-Upstate Medical University, Syracuse.
Joan Klagsbrun, Ph.D.; Certifying Coordinator, Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapist and Focusing Trainer, The International Focusing Institute
Joan Klagsbrun is a practicing psychologist and certifying coordinator in Focusing, a mindfulness practice. She currently lectures at Lesley University, and has taught Focusing internationally for over three decades. Joan has written articles on Focusing for professional journals, and in 2010 received the Alice Ladas award for her research on Focusing with women with breast cancer. She holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, an M.A.T. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.
Kathy Kasabula, B.A.; Program Specialist, 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.
Beth Feinberg Keenan, M.B.A.; Senior Manager, College Finance, Bright Horizons Education & College Advising
Beth Feinberg Keenan has spent her entire professional career in financial aid. She started her career at Lesley University and spent over a decade at Northeastern University's Office for Student Financial Services, where she was a senior assistant director. At Northeastern, Beth worked with applicants for financial aid, athletes, and families interested in financing their educations. In addition, she has served as an ambassador with the Massachusetts Education Finance Authority, visiting Massachusetts high schools to introduce students and parents to the financial aid process and the many sources of education financing that are available. Beth is a graduate of Scripps College in Claremont, CA, and holds an M.B.A. and a master's degree in college student development and counseling from Northeastern University. She serves as an ambassador with the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
Francine Kollias, B.A.; Social Security Consultant and Educator
Francine Kollias brings over 42 years of experience working with the United States Social Security Administration, where she conducted educational seminars and outreach as the Public Affairs Specialist and liaison for Massachusetts. Francine has presented on Social Security to MIT employees for over 35 years, and since 2014 has consulted on Social Security programs and services with state, local, and private employers. Francine holds a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Amanda Leef, D.V.M.; Veterinarian and Owner, Heal Veterinary Clinic
Amanda Leef is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who provides medical and surgical care to animals. Throughout her veterinary career, Dr. Leef has worked in rural mixed-animal practices, high-volume spay-neuter programs, animal shelters, and urban small-animal practices. She is also actively involved in the animal welfare community, delivering training programs for animal service workers and collaborating with nonprofits. In her free time, Dr. Leef enjoys caring for her evolving menagerie of pets and participating in a variety of outdoor activities. She holds a B.S. in Microbiology and a D.V.M., both from Michigan State University.
Michelle Lipinski, M.Ed.; Founder, icanhelp Program and Principal/Founder, Northshore Recovery High School (NSRHS)
Michelle Lipinski is the Founder of the icanhelp Program and the Principal/Founder of Northshore Recovery High School (NSRHS), a high school in Beverly, MA designed to meet the diverse needs of adolescents struggling with substance use and its co-occurring disorders. For over 20 years, she has served in various educational roles such as licensed biology, health and chemistry teacher, along with leadership and service roles such as alternative education director and adolescent-related health advisory boards. Throughout her career, Michelle has focused on developing rigorous academic programs that address the “whole-child,” particularly students most at-risk of academic and social failure. She started the icanhelp Program, operated through Potential Connections LLC, in response to the number of students who are unable to connect with a trusted community partner.
Bara Litman, Psy.D.; Program Manager, MIT Work-Life Center
Bara Litman is a licensed clinical psychologist and Program Manager at the MIT Work-Life Center, where she administers and develops new and existing programs and initiatives for MIT faculty, staff, postdocs, and their families. Prior to joining MIT, Bara was the Vice President of Account Services for a national Employee Assistance Program (EAP). For the past 25 years, Bara has provided EAP services, crisis and disaster response training, work-life coordination, consultation to managers and employees, and account management in organizations of all sizes. She has experience providing training, coaching, and counseling services as well as creating programs to enhance personal, family, and work well-being at all organizational levels. Bara holds a Psy.D. from William James College.
Jeanne Mahan, M.A.; Senior Manager of College Finance, Bright Horizons Education & College Advising
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.
Melissa McCue-McGrath, C.P.D.T.-K.A.; Co-Training Director, New England Dog Training Club
Melissa McCue-McGrath is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Co-Training Director of the New England Dog Training Club—the oldest existing AKC (American Kennel Club) obedience club in the country. She has trained dogs with science-based methods professionally for over 13 years, and uses her expertise to present throughout the Northeast on the reputable acquisition of pets. Melissa is also the author of the book, Considerations for the City Dog, a blogger on Car Talk’s FIDO (part of Car Talk’s travel and safety blog), and the author of a quarterly column in Maine Dog Magazine. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Lake Erie College.
Robert Mortorano; Principal, Bergen County Special Services School District
Rob Mortorano has spent many years in the field of education as a teacher, principal, and parent advocate. As a principal that oversees several special needs schools and programs, Rob aims for student success by uniting parents, teachers, and school districts on a singular mission to create a nurturing, supportive, educational environment that accommodates each student’s individual needs. Rob excels at walking parents through the process from the very first evaluation through finding the perfect placement, so that every child with special needs can receive the best possible educational experience and the best possible chance for success.
Joanne Peterson; Founder and Executive Director, Learn to Cope Inc.
Joanne Peterson is the Founder and Executive Director of Learn to Cope (LTC), a non-profit, peer-led support network for family members of those struggling with addiction. Joanne’s journey started early, when her siblings experienced issues with mental illness and substance abuse. Years later, when Joanne learned of her son’s experimentation with (and then full-blown addiction to) opioids, she was motivated and empowered to use her voice and experience to promote change. Today, her son is in long-term recovery. Joanne built LTC to offer families the support, education, resources, and hope that would have benefited her family.
Carolyn Romano, J.D.; Special Education Practice Leader, Torchlight
Carolyn Romano is an attorney and education specialist with over 20 years’ experience. As the Head of Product and Content for Torchlight, she oversees the development of all education and disability-specific content and is an expert consultant to clients. She also conducts webinars on a range of education, special education, and special needs planning topics. Carolyn has worked as an attorney; project director of national and state education projects; consultant to non-profit organizations, schools, and school districts; and lead grant writer for federal, state, and foundation proposals. Carolyn received a Bachelor of Arts from Drew University and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.
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.
Vienna Rothberg, M.S.W., M.P.H.; Peer Education and Prevention Specialist, MIT Violence Prevention and Response
Vienna Rothberg joined MIT in 2015 to start the PLEASURE@MIT program, in which she partners with students and groups seeking to interrupt culture on campus and create positive change. She is passionate about feminism, social justice, sexual health, pleasure, and empowerment among so many other things. Vienna enjoys leading group discussions about taboo topics and all of the things few folks are thrilled to talk about. She holds a B.A. in English and Philosophy from University of Massachusetts Boston as well as an M.P.H. and an M.S.W., both from the University of Minnesota.
Marian Ryan, J.D.; District Attorney, Middlesex County
Marian Ryan has served as the District Attorney of Middlesex County since 2013, representing over one quarter of Massachusetts’ population. She is a career prosecutor with significant courtroom experience, having prosecuted many of Middlesex County’s most complex and challenging cases. She regularly lectures on a number of topics affecting Middlesex County, including the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and has been acknowledged for her leadership on the opioid crisis. District Attorney Ryan also has significant teaching experience and is currently on the faculty of Lasell College, where she teaches courses in Constitutional Law and the American Legal System. She has previously taught at Emmanuel College, Wentworth Institute, and Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop. She volunteers with the Women’s Bar Foundation and has also served on the faculty of numerous professional and community boards. District Attorney Ryan holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from Emmanuel College and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
Andrew Schlegelmilch, Ph.D.; Clinical Psychologist and Consultant
Andrew Schlegelmilch is a clinical psychologist and consultant in private practice who specializes in working with children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. He previously worked as Head Psychologist at Orion Academy in Moraga, California, a college preparatory high school for adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome, Non-verbal Learning Disability, and other related neurocognitive disorders. Andrew completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Applewood Centers, Cleveland, Ohio, an urban community mental health center where he did individual and group therapy and diagnostic assessments.
Stuart Schmill, ‘86; Dean of Admissions & Student Financial Services, MIT
Stuart Schmill is Dean of Admissions at MIT. Following his graduation from MIT in 1986 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Stu spent a year as a project engineer at General Motors before returning to MIT in a professional role. He joined the Admissions Office in 2002 and was appointed Dean in 2008. A member of the Quarter-Century Club, he has also served as Director of Crew; Director of Parent, Student, and Young Alumni Programs in the Alumni Association; and Director of MIT’s Educational Council.
Shannon Vasconcelos, M.A.; Senior Manager of College Finance, Bright Horizons Education & College Advising
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.
Deborah Weinstock-Savoy, Ph.D.; Psychologist and Consultant
Dr. Deborah Weinstock-Savoy has led parent support groups and early childhood education workshops in a variety of community and corporate settings for over 25 years. Topics of special interest include: understanding and working with temperamental differences, nurturing children’s social and emotional development, and strategies for positive behavior management. As a licensed psychologist, she also provides private consultation services to day care centers and parents. Dr. Weinstock-Savoy holds a B.A. from Harvard College in Psychology and Social Relations and a Ph.D. in Clinical and Community Psychology from Boston University.