Michele Hall-Duncan, President & CEO
Michele began her career at enCourage Kids as a volunteer and joined the program staff full-time in 1996. Having been hospitalized for a serious illness as a child, Michele felt a deep connection to the mission and quickly rose within the organization to oversee all programming. For more than two decades she has cultivated relationships with Child Life staff and all levels of hospital administration, as well as developed an integral understanding of trends in creative therapies and the ability to identify and meet the needs of our hospital partners. Combined, these attributes have helped Michele position enCourage Kids to be at the forefront of state-of-the-art programming in pediatric healthcare.
Michele is a Trustee of Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation; serves on the Advisory Board of one of the nation’s leading anti-bullying organizations, STOMP Out BullyingTM; and is a board member of the New York City chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, where she also serves on the Professional Advancement Committee. A native of Flint, Michigan, Michele is a proud graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. in Advertising and has been an active associate member of the Essex Hudson Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. for 10 years. Michele has been featured in publications such as Authority, Medium, Thrive Global, Social Lifestyle, Industry Rules, Times Square Chronicles, Resident and networks such as CBS New York, FOX Good Day, ABC7, and Spectrum1, to name a few.
Christina Buono, Manager of External Relations
Christina excitedly joined enCourage Kids in 2013 and has been on a mission to make EKF a household name ever since. Tied to the foundation by a personal connection, Christina is passionate about continuing to build the EKF brand and growing its reach and partnerships nationwide.
Christina graduated from Monmouth University and is a proud alumna of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. She and her husband, Michael, who is also an EKF superfan, welcomed a baby boy, Mikey, in November 2018. She enjoys summers by the beach, trips to the zoo and binge-watching Netflix.
Allison Evans, Manager, Program & Community Engagement
Motivated by her passion for creativity, empowering underserved youth, and helping others, Allison joined enCourage Kids in July 2017 after graduating from Barnard College of Columbia University where she studied Psychology and Dance. In college, Allison served as a Barnard Peer Health Educator where she provided one-on-one counseling and educational wellness workshops to the community. She also worked as an Interventionist at Teacher’s College Center for Cerebral Palsy conducting research with kids affected by hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Today, Allison works closely with the Child Life Community and is the main contact for our Outpatient Families. Allison loves tacos, Planet Earth documentaries, dogs, and all things enCourage Kids Programs!
Danielle Giorgetti, Office Manager
As Office Manager, Danielle supports company operations by maintaining office systems and implementing special projects, but she secretly likes to be known as the Office Ninja providing administrative support wherever she’s needed. A native New Yorker, Danielle joined enCourage Kids in 2007 after working at the Big Apple Circus for nearly 10 years helping to administer their hospital clowning and other community outreach programs. She is a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and a lifetime member of the St. Bart’s Players, NYC’s longest continuously running community theater group, where she has performed in various roles both on and off stage.
Briana Horwich, Volunteer & Community Impact Associate
Briana joined the enCourage Kids team in April 2018. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and a Minor in Sociology. Briana has always been passionate about helping others. She worked as a mentor for at-risk and homeless children helping them develop self-esteem, social and language skills. She also offered support and guidance to underclassman as a Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Ambassador.
Briana is excited to continue her dedication of improving the lives of children by helping them overcome obstacles so that no child feels afraid or alone.
Mallory Humphries, Communications Manager
Mallory joined the enCourage Kids team in September of 2018 after moving from Georgia to New York City. She graduated from the University of Georgia (go dawgs!) with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management. Prior to joining enCourage Kids, she worked for Extra Special People, an organization that supports kids and adults with developmental disabilities. She is passionate about serving others and creating equal opportunities for all. Outside of the office, you can find Mallory playing with her dog, Waffle, or exploring new parts of the city, probably with a coffee in hand.
Sandró Lemberg, Operations Manager
Sandro is responsible for running the operations and database teams. He studied management in college. He has been in the non-profit ecosystem for over 10 years and has been involved in various analytical projects. He has traveled to numerous counties in the tri-state area. His passion is business and workforce development.
Samantha Martinez, Senior Director, Impact and Hospital Relationships
Samantha joined the team in January 2020 after spending nearly a decade with Starlight Children’s Foundation’s US office where she oversaw all program development, creation, and measurement, while managing relationships with over 900 hospital partners across the country, deeply integrating herself in the child life community. She is beyond excited to continue that work here at enCourage Kids. Samantha graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas. She currently sits on the board of the Canine Companions for Independence, Gulf Coast Region to raise awareness for service dogs, like her “stepdog” Dexter who is a facility dog at Children’s Memorial Hospital. She and Christy, a CCLS, are also the proud fur parents to Emmy, Hazel, Benny, and Bea. When not hanging out with them, she is often found sewing or doing a puzzle, two of her favorite things!
Giselle Dean Miller, Director of Special Events
Giselle is a native Texan who fell in love with New York City as a child, went to NYU and never left. She has organized fundraising events for the Metropolitan Opera, Dance Theater of Harlem and Princess Grace Foundation, among others. She came to enCourage Kids in 2007 and is in charge of all their fundraising events including the Annual Gala; our tasting event, Serving Up Smiles; enCourage Kids Night at Citi Field; and our Golf Outing. She has two wonderful daughters, is an avid yogi, enjoys playing ping pong and traveling the world.
Erica Sandoval, LMSW, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships
Erica is a nonprofit executive, licensed therapist, consultant, relationship builder, diversity expert, strategic thinker, and award-winning Social Worker. In her role, Erica oversees all relationships with community-based organizations and corporate partners to support business development. Erica is a recipient of the National Association of Social Work Aqua Leader Award for 2019 and was awarded the Community Service Award by the Latino Social Work Coalition in 2018 and the Community Service Award from the Sickle Cell Thalassemia Network in 2015. She completed her Masters of Social Work Degree from NYU School of Social Work and a Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Practice with Adolescents. She also loves coffee ice cream!
Emma Wolk, Senior Development Manager
Emma joined enCourage Kids Foundation in August of 2017 as an energetic member of the Development team. She is eager to share the mission of enCourage Kids and raise vital funds to ensure that sick children across the country experience joy, hope, resilience, and healing.
Emma attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go Badgers!) where she majored in Communications with a focus in T.V., Radio, and Film, and received a minor in Digital Studies. Emma enjoys traveling, loves all things chocolate, and is excited to conquer the New York City Marathon in the Fall.