BBBSHC Staff & Board

Our dedicated team is passionate about mentoring.



Jessie Cooley, M.Ed – Director – (413) 259-3350

Jessie was honored to join the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County in June 2017. She is a passionate advocate of mentoring programs, after spending twelve years working with BBBS of Franklin County and BBBS of Massachusetts Bay, and as a former Big Sister herself. Her previous experience also includes teaching Spanish in secondary schools, and serving as the District Director for State Representative Paul Mark. When she’s not enthusiastically sharing the joy and power of mentoring with everyone around her, Jessie can be found traveling, dancing, spending time with her family and volunteering for community organizations. She also loves running and looks forward to the BBBSHC Daffodil Run and Happy Valley Half Marathon and 5K!

Jen Loebel, BS – Development Director – (413) 259-3346

Jen has lived in Massachusetts for her whole life and came west to the Pioneer Valley to attend UMass Amherst.  When she’s not planning fabulous events for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, Jen enjoys spending time with her little boys, taking indoor cycling classes, running, and hiking. All that cardio really helps her keep up with her boys! Jen also loves to cook for her family, read and be creative!

Jess Daly, MBA – Program Supervisor, Big Sister – (413) 259-3351

Jess first came to the program as a Big Sister in 2012. After graduating from Isenberg School of Management in 2016 she began working with the program in a new capacity, as Program Supervisor. Jess has lived in the Pioneer Valley for almost ten years, after moving here to attend UMass as an undergraduate. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree, she spent five years coordinating after school programs in Holyoke. Outside of work Jess spends time with her family and enjoys doing things outdoors like kayaking, hiking, camping, and rock climbing. She also looks forward to spending time with her Little Sister, and would love to talk to anyone interested in becoming a Big!

Ruth Harms, MSW – Case Manager – (413) 259-3348

Ruth has been at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County since the ice age (1991)! She is the Case Management Supervisor for the program, supervises a number of community matches, and the Kids-to-Campus program at Amherst College. She was born on the island of Aruba and continues to have family there that she visits (which is especially handy during the long, New England winters!). When she’s not meeting with matches, she enjoys entertaining friends, going to music festivals, and hosting family dinners with her husband and two daughters. Ruth is also passionate about hosting international students studying at UMass, and traveling with her husband, both in the U.S. and overseas.

Tom McGuire, MA – Case Manager – (413) 259-3352

Tom joined the BBBSHC Team in 2001. In and out of the Valley since grad school in the late ’80’s, he finds that he now is a long-time Amherst resident. Along with supervising a dedicated group of community-based Bigs and Littles, Tom facilitates many enthusiastic matches in our UMass “Kids-To-Campus Program” and is embarking on his 6th year as instructor of the Community Engagement Service Learning Course at UMass associated with our K-T-C program. Tom looks forward to long walks on a beach (any beach) with his wife, Kim, but will settle for long walks behind his lawn mower, which are considerably better than long walks behind the snow blower any day.

Jennifer Ablard, MA Counseling/Psychology – Case Manager – (413) 259-3349

Jennifer Ablard oversees the Kids to Campus Programs at Smith College and Amherst College.  She comes to this job with several years experience as a Middle School Guidance counselor and lots of years spent working at a summer camp in Vermont. Jennifer enjoys running with her chocolate lab George, gardening, hiking, cooking and photography. Look for Jennifer’s work exhibited locally.

Dorothy VanDeCarr, M.Ed – Case Manager – (413) 259-3353

Dorothy was delighted to join the team at BBBSHC in 2018 and comes with 20 years of experience in education and human service. She has a Master of Education from the University of Texas in Austin where she lived for 17 years before moving to Massachusetts. She loves ultimate frisbee, yoga and international travel, but her absolute favorite part of the day is bedtime reading with her wife and daughter.

Mellie Black, BA – Administrative Assistant – (413) 259-3347

Mellie moved to Massachusetts in 2011 after living in Illinois for 24 years.  Not long after moving here she became Abby’s Big Sister through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program!  Abby and Mellie love spending  weekend time together going to Six Flags, bike riding, seeing movies, or dancing and singing together.  Mellie is very excited to be working for an organization that is so close to her heart.  When not in the office you can find Mellie running around with her 4 teenagers, cycling and working out at the gym, doing volunteer work, and loving anything Disney (especially Mickey Mouse).


Advisory Board (member since)

Our advisory board are members of the community who believe in our mission to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. They generously volunteer their time and their talents to make so many wonderful things happen in our community. We are forever grateful for their commitment.

Claudia Pazmany (3/16) – Board President

Executive Director, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce

Margaret-Ann Azzaro (3/18)

Director of Medical Surgical and Childbirth Services, Cooley Dickinson Health Care

Eric Beal (3/17)

External Relations and University Events, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Deborah Belle (9/14)

Substitute Teacher, Amherst & Mother of Former Littles

Erin Couture (9/11)

Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer, Florence Savings Bank

Leslie diCurcio Marra (1/11) – Alumni Big Sister

Art Teacher, William E. Norris Elementary, Southampton, MA

Melissa Frenier (2/14) – Alumni Little Sister

Child Care Provider

Joyce Hatch (1/11)

Retired Vice Chancellor of Administration & Finance, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Hope Keenan (9/14) – Big Sister

Events Manager for External Relations & University Events, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Art Keene (9/13)

Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Megan Kludt (1/14) – Big Sister

Attorney, Curran and Berger

Christine Lau (9/14)

Realtor with Five College Realtors

Katie Lipsmeyer

Personal Trainer & Fitness Instructor, 50/50 Fitness Nutrition

Madelaine S. Marquez (9/03)

Director Emeritus, Center for Innovative Education, Hampshire College

Joel Morse (9/11)

Associate Director of Corporate Support, WGBY

Aaron Smith (8/13)

Financial Advisor, Streetlight Financial

Wilmore Wibley (8/15) – Alumni Big Brother

Associate Professor of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

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