Board of Directors

AL!VE Board Members serve a three year term with an opportunity to run for a second term. 

Board nominations are accepted for board terms 2024-2027 beginning August 21, 2023;  Learn more about Board Service and applying here.

if you are interested in apply, attend our informational webinar August 25 here.

Executive Committee

President: Michelle Raymer, MPA, CVA (She/Her)

Iowa - Midwest Region 

Senior Program Officer for Volunteer Engagement and Infrastructure, Volunteer Iowa

Michelle Raymer is the Senior Program Officer for Volunteer Engagement and Infrastructure at Volunteer Iowa, where she supports communities in utilizing volunteerism to meet local needs. She also serves as a trainer and coach for the Service Enterprise Initiative. With 15 years of national service, nonprofit program development, and volunteer management experience, she provides training and technical assistance to Iowa nonprofits and government agencies on volunteer management best practices. Michelle is dedicated to ensuring organizations have the capacity to develop quality volunteer opportunities, advancing the field of volunteer engagement, and creating a culture of service where everyone volunteers.  She is a graduate of Central College and holds her Master of Public Administration from Drake University.

Email the Board President

President-Elect: Cathy Thoma, CVA (She/Her)

Minnesota - Great Lakes Region

Director of Volunteer Resources, Hammer Residences

Cathy Thoma, CVA, is the Director of Volunteer Resources at Hammer Residences, Inc. This non-profit in Minnesota supports individuals with developmental disabilities in homes and apartments, helping them to live their lives to the fullest. Cathy has spent the last seven years leading volunteer engagement at Hammer, with a volunteer base of 500 combined individuals and organizations. This spring Cathy sat for and received her CVA - Certified in Volunteer Administration, an international certification that recognizes education, experience, core competencies and ethical standards. Cathy is a member of the Program and Advocacy Committee for AL!VE, and  is the facilitator for AL!VE's Transportation Community of Practice. She is also a member of MAVA - Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement where she received her Certification in Volunteer Leadership. Cathy is a member of the Program Committee for the Corporate Volunteer Council - Twin Cities. This year she worked with other corporate and nonprofit members to address, counsel and offer programming for volunteering concerns during COVID. Prior to working in volunteer engagement, Cathy was a Human Resources manager at AT&T Bell Laboratories, AT&T Microelectronics, and Lucent Technologies. Cathy received her BA in English/Elementary Education from Moravian College and her MA in Human Resources Management from Rollins College. Not only does Cathy lead volunteers, but she cannot help but be one herself!

Secretary: Nicole Smith, CVA (She/Her)

Florida - Southeast Region

Director of Volunteer Services, Back on my Feet

Nicole is a Panamanian-American, workforce development specialist, published author of Game On! Relentlessly Pursue Your Dreams and the 101 Note-taking Affirmation Journal Series, dancer and motivational speaker. In 2019, she was listed as one of WLRN’s Local Women Who Inspire You and was selected as one of Legacy Miami’s MOST PROMINENT AND INFLUENTIAL BLACK WOMEN IN BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY OF 2019.  She is the Director of Volunteer Services the Back on My Feet, an organization that combats homelessness through physical activity and mentorship and career coaching.

Treasurer: Christi Brown, MHA, CVA, CDVS, CAVS (She/Her)

Pennsylvania - Atlantic Region 

Volunteer Engagement Professional

Christi Brown served as the Senior Director of Volunteer Engagement for a South-Central PA healthcare organization for 16 years. She was responsible for over 6,000 Volunteers and Interns, hospital gift shops, hospital guest Services, and auxiliaries within the health system. Christi earned her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Drexel University and her B.S. in Business Administration from Elizabethtown College. She is currently serving in several volunteer leadership roles, such as Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Association of Healthcare Volunteers Resources Professionals (PAHVRP), Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS) board member, and a committee member of the Health Administration Advisory Council for Drexel University. Christi was recognized by several organizations for her passion, dedication, and community service, including the Evelyn Burston award from PAHVRP, the Volunteer of the Year from United Way of York County and the Alumni of the Year award from Leadership York. She enjoys working with Volunteers and understands the value and impact they have with organizations.

Vice President of Marketing:   

Chris Woods (He/Him)

New York- Atlantic Region

Client Strategy Lead, Golden Volunteer  

Chris Woods is a seasoned nonprofit professional who has been managing volunteer programs for the last nine years. Serving with AmeriCorps NCCC after college, he saw firsthand how volunteerism can be a catalyst for community empowerment. His experience ranges from managing one-time volunteer projects, to overseeing large-scale regional events, most recently as a Program Officer for the Massachusetts Service Alliance, where he provided strategic volunteer management consulting services to large scale organizers across the State. In his current role as Client Strategy Lead at Golden Volunteer, Chris provides volunteer management strategy work to client.

Vice President of Membership: Ashley Rieser, CVA (She/Her)

Pennsylvania - Atlantic Region

Director of Volunteer Services and Front of House Guest Experience, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Ashley Rieser oversees more than 500 volunteers who assist in a variety of performing arts venues, festivals, and art galleries. She is the Past President and current Treasurer for her local DOVIA, Volunteer Administrators of Southwestern PA. Ashley was the recipient of the 2017 EVIE Award for Outstanding Volunteer Administrator of the Year. She is also a Volunteer Management Instructor at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Vice President of Programs & Advocacy: Darlene Laird, CVA (She/Her)

Georgia - Southeast Region

Skilled Volunteer Strategy & Engagement Manager, Habitat for Humanity

Darlene is Habitat for Humanity International's Skilled Volunteer Strategy and Engagement Manager and specializes in creating resources, trainings, and promising practices for the Habitat affiliated network to engage skilled volunteers. She brings 15 years of experience as a leader of volunteers and in her most recent work, she has served as part of Habitat for Humanity International’s Volunteer Resource Center, Global Village, and the Habitat AmeriCorps program.. Darlene has her certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida. and holds a CVA from the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration.  She has served as a governing board member for a local charter school for 5 years.


Carol Ayars, CVA (She/Her)

Virginia - Atlantic Region

AmeriCorps Seniors Programs Manager at Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging

Carol Ayars has been in the field for over 25 years and yet she contributes her real understanding of what volunteers want because she is a volunteer at heart. Carol is constantly sharing her knowledge and experience through presentations, workshops, and informal mentoring. She is a Midwest girl who has built a life in the South with her college sweetheart who tries to keep this pink zebra grounded. She is enjoying the empty nest stage of her life and misses our precious grandbabies who live way too far away!

Shelli Beck (She/Her)

Minnesota - Great Lakes Region

Director of Volunteer Services, Lyngblomsten

Shelli Beck was introduced to volunteer management as a volunteer introducing volunteerism to the small private school that her children attended. Then she began an AmeriCorps position with Goodwill/Easter Seals as a Volunteer Coordinator. Over the years she has turned a very part-time Volunteer Coordinator role at Lyngblomsten into a full-time Director level position. Shelli has been a staple of volunteer engagement in Minnesota helping deliver Service Enterprise training, having served as a Conference Chair and Board Member for MAVA, and actively connected with her local peers.

Julie Booth, CVA (She/Her)

Ohio - Great Lakes Region

Volunteer Services, Columbus Metropolitan Library

Julie Booth is a Certified Volunteer Administrator (CVA) and public relations professional with extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, including national and community-based organizations. Along with a love for and commitment to the volunteer engagement profession, Julie brings to AL!VE skills and experience in strategic thinking and planning, program development, policy and procedure evaluation and development, relationship building, volunteer communication, and nonprofit capacity building.

Alicia Morris Campbell, CVA (She/Her)

Illinois - Great Lakes Region

Director of Volunteer Expertise Hub, Habitat for Humanity

Alicia is a nonprofit professional with over 10 years of experience in volunteer management. She has developed and led volunteer programs and services for both locally-focused and nationally based organizations. She has specialized in engaging youth and young adult volunteers and has extensive knowledge around volunteer event planning and management. She has presented at conferences such as Points of Light and the Illinois Conference of Volunteer Administrators. She also served as the VP of Marketing and Communications for the Association of Volunteer Administrators of Metro Chicago. Alicia has served on employee resource committees where she's led the charge in her local area around DEI initiatives. Alicia has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from La Salle University, a Master’s degree in Public Administration-Nonprofit Management, and a graduate certificate in Human Resource Management both from Keller Graduate School of Management. She currently resides in the Chicago area.

Jenn Forristal, CVA (She/Her)

Oregon - Pacific Region

Volunteer Resources Manager, Oregon Public Broadcasting

For more than 16 years, Jenn Forristal, CVA has had the privilege of working with volunteers serving in diverse fields including social services, animal welfare, public media, national service, political campaigns, and professional associations. She served as board president for the Northwest Oregon Volunteer Administrators Association. As AL!VE's local association committee chair, she strives to lift up the transformational work of members by providing meaningful and engaging programs and networking opportunities. Jenn is dedicated to centering equity and inclusion in volunteer programs, is a trained equity facilitator, and will help AL!VE support our members and their organizations who are working to strengthen equity in communities. 

Jordanya Reeves, CVA (She/Her)

Texas - South Central Region

Associate Manager of Volunteer Management, Mindpower

Volunteerism is Jordanya's passion. She has seen and believes the world can change if its people answer the call to make it better. She has built volunteer programs from the ground up and has seen them thrive. She actively seeks opportunities to advance volunteer management on a global scale. She uses her proven expertise in the field to train and mentor other volunteer engagement professionals.

Amanda Schmierer, CVA (She/Her)

Idaho - Upper West Region

Volunteer Engagement Professional

Amanda Schmierer has over 12 years of professional experience as a Volunteer Manager. Her desire to help others find their passions came from her own volunteer experiences leading others in service. She has grown her interest into a career, with a specialization in program development and retention, educating peers and nonprofits, mentoring, and advocating for the volunteer management profession. She is a Certified Volunteer Administrator and recently became certified in Human Rights through the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. She lives in Nampa, ID with her husband and 3 fur children.

Allison Schwartz (She/Her)

Maryland - Atlantic Region

Volunteer Manager, Maryland Zoo

Allison has been working for the Maryland Zoo for ten years. During this time she has been a catalyst for change, organization, and strengthening the ties within the organization itself and also the local community. Additionally, she has spent five years as a volunteer manager in the animal sheltering world where she was able to find her confidence and start the journey of becoming a leader and teammate to those around her. Currently Allison is the president of the Maryland Council for Directors of Volunteer Services. The organization has been through a lot in the past few years and she is proud to say they are starting to get their feet under them once more and offer the support volunteer administrators in the state of MD have not had recently.

Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss, CVA (She/Her)

Ohio - Great Lakes Region

Director of Strategic Engagement at ServeOhio, Ohio's Commission on Service and Volunteerism 

Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss is an innovative and strategic thinker with experience in the nonprofit and government sectors. At ServeOhio she establishes the vision and operating parameters for volunteer and outreach programs to increase AmeriCorps service and community volunteer engagement and participated in Leadership Ohio's Class of 2021. Previously while at HandsOn Central Ohio, she led programs mobilizing over 10,000 volunteers per year. Rebeccah is a current AL!VE committee member and has served as a board and committee member for additional organizations including the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Volunteer Administrators Network of Central Ohio, and United Way of Central Ohio. 

Administrative Staff:

Association Manager: Gretchen Jordan, CVA (She/Her)

Florida - Southeast Region

Gretchen Jordan, CVA is the Association Manager who works with the Executive Committee and Board of Directors to prepare and deliver support to member services, the board of directors, and special projects.  Previous work experience includes management in the corporate, non-profit sector and as a small business owner in addition to over twenty five years experience managing volunteer programs.   She is an active member of local and national volunteer manager associations and has presented on volunteer management issues on the local, state, and national level.  Gretchen earned her Certification in Volunteer Administration designation in 2000 and has a Bachelors degree in Community and Human Service from Empire State College.  Her skills are public speaking, management, customer service, leadership, and organization.  Gretchen and her husband have a home base but travel often in a 41' motor coach around the United States & Canada.

Email Gretchen

Service Enterprise Administrator: Kayla Paulson, CVA (She/Her)

Iowa - Midwest Region

Kayla has spent the last six years fighting for more strategic and impactful volunteer engagement in her community, state, and nationally. During her tenure with United Way of East Central Iowa she has worked with over 75 local agencies, more than 500 senior volunteers, Iowa Commission on Volunteering & Service, Points of Light, and United Way Worldwide to help improve volunteer engagement practices.  Kayla Paulson has spent her professional career in marketing, training, community relations, and volunteer management both in the senior healthcare and nonprofit industries. She is an experienced trainer at state, regional, and national levels, delivering interactive and empowering workshops. She has taken 25 organizations in eastern Iowa through Service Enterprise, an organization change management program to effectively and efficiently leverage volunteers to deliver its social mission. She has served as President and Marketing & Communications Chair for Leaders in Volunteerism, Vice-Chair for RSVP Directors of Iowa Association, Walk to End Alzheimers Chair, Echo Hill PTO Hospitality Chair, Linn County Triad Board Member, Alburnett Community School District Foundation Board Member, United Way Worldwide Boomer Engagement, Service Enterprise Curriculum Design Team Member, LAP-AID Emergency Volunteer Center Core Team, and as a pro-bono volunteer for various nonprofits sharing her skills in volunteer management, strategic planning, training, marketing and communications.

Email Kayla

Mailing Address for AL!VE:
AL!VE Association Manager Gretchen Jordan
2791 St George Drive
Davenport, FL 33837
Email AL!VE