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!

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 a Case Manager for community-based matches and a coordinator of the Adoption Mentoring Partnership (AMP), which is a unique mentoring program at UMass Amherst in collaboration with the Rudd Adoption Research Program. Ruth 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 KTC 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.

Katie Lipsmeyer, BA – Manager of Development & Marketing – (413) 259-3346

Katie joined the team in July 2019 after serving on the BBBS Advisory Board and Daffodil Run Committee for several years. She is a fitness instructor and trainer at 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition and an experienced entrepreneur and business owner: her latest venture is Camp Glow It Up, where she is founder and Chief Glow Officer. Katie has extensive experience in event-planning and coordination, marketing and communications and she is excited to join the BBBS team! Outside of the office, Katie enjoys traveling near and far, supporting local business, and spending time with her beloved family and friends.

Advisory Board (member since)

Our advisory board are members of the community who believe in our mission to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. 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

Lauren Burke (5/19) – Alumni Big Sister

Consultant, The Possible LAB

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

Jennifer Ewers (11/18)

Business Development Specialist, Webber & Grinnell Insurance

Ryan Footit (1/19)

Loan Originator, Applied Mortgage

Melissa Frenier (2/14) – Alumni Little Sister

Child Care Provider

Joyce Hatch (1/11)

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

Christine Lau (9/14)

Realtor, Five College Realtors

Dan LaValley (1/19)

Software Architect, L3

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

Xianxiu Xie (6/19)

Parent of Littles

Americorps VISTA member, Smith College


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