Our Staff and Board


Judy Pedersen / Founder, Board President and Director

“The miracle is not that we do the work, but that we want to do it.” Saint Mother Teresa

In April 1998, a small ad appeared in Judy Pedersen's local newspaper that read, “Hospice volunteers wanted…”  A call to service was triggered from those few words and, since then, Judy has worked to serve those who have experienced life-altering illness, trauma and loss. Read more and view Judy's Professional Bio

Daniel A. Abut / Board of Directors, Vice President

“The only way to do great work, and be satisfied with your job, is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

Daniel Abut considers himself extremely fortunate, because three of the best firms in the banking business (JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Citi) gave him the opportunity of a long and rewarding career doing something that, over the years, he became quite passionate about: analyzing banks, dissecting their financials, assessing their valuation, interviewing their managements, writing about their tactical and strategic plans, reporting on their successes (and also their failures), and sharing his views with bank investors all over the world.  Read more

Shayna Peckham / Director of Brand Development

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - The Lorax

While her specific title is Director of Brand Development for Hearts of Hope, Shayna Peckham considers herself more of a translator and interpretive dancer.  A 2013 graduate of the State University of New York at the College of Oneonta, Shayna spent most of her time in school consumed with volunteer work and the various causes she felt strongly about. While her coursework revolved around dietetics, she spent her free time engaged in student leadership positions with SUNY Oneonta's Colleges Against Cancer as well as the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.   Read more

Warren R. Neil, Jr. /  Board of Directors, Secretary,

President of Sequim, WA Chapter

“Who's better than you...Nobody!" J. Pedersen

With a lifelong interest in and being near water, Warren R. Neil, Jr. (Russ) is now a retiree living in Washington State. Read more   

Donna Stone / Board of Directors, Treasurer

“I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not ever complete the last one, but I give myself to it. I have been circling for thousands of years and I still don't know - am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?” Rilke

As a financial services representative, Donna believes her professional calling is a benefit to Hearts of Hope. Within her family and within her client's families, Donna has witnessed what the crises of health, loss and sometimes death can evoke. Read more

Gina Miele / Board of Directors

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”   A. A. Milne - Winnie the Pooh

After earning a B.S. Degree in Business Management from Montclair State University,  Gina embarked on a long career in corporate insurance, working for insurance companies, administrators and brokers.  She semi-retired from the Benefits Practice of Wells Fargo Insurance Services in August 2015.  Since that time she has continued to utilize her knowledge and skill sets working as a Consulting Senior Account Executive for Hub International.  Read more

Kristen Mattera / President of Newtown, CT Chapter

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-- they must be felt with the heart."

--Helen Keller

Kristen Mattera is the president of the Newtown, CT chapter of Hearts of Hope. Her passion for paying it forward is evident in her work to connect Hearts of Hope with other non-profits, coordinate the delivery of hearts, and plan and host the Newtown chapter's monthly painting events. Read more

Brittany Allen / President of Yorktown, VA Chapter

“Shine so brightly that others cannot help but be inspired by your light” Brittany Allen

Several years ago, Shayna Peckham, Director of Brand Development for Hearts of Hope, asked Brittany to help her paint Hearts of Hope. She suggested she choose and deliver her hearts to whomever she wanted.   Read more

Connie Lester / President of Stratford, CT Chapter

"Try to be a Rainbow in Someone's Cloud”  - Maya Angelou

I discovered Hearts of Hope when I ordered a kit to paint hearts for our Adopt A Soldier program in the Mideast and a unit of over 35 soldiers. Our family adopts soldiers and supports them while they are deployed.  Read more



Hearts of Hope is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to "creating hope...one heart at a time" ©2017 Hearts of Hope Foundation, Inc.


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