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.
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.
Jonathan Ettinger, Director of Development
Jonathan leads advancement efforts at enCourage Kids, working with supporters to ensure children find hospitals a place of hope, resilience, and healing. He joined us in 2019, following senior fundraising roles at Children’s Aid, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and Friends of Hudson River Park. He brings two decades of nonprofit experience, heading successful development programs focused on strengthening relationships with individuals, foundation and corporate partners, and through events. Jonathan is a graduate of Occidental College and resides with his wife in Queens, NYC, along with their two daughters – who are particularly excited about the enCourage Kids bears.
Allison Evans, Program Associate
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, Development & Impact Philanthropy 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.
Sophie Lesser, Development Manager
Sophie joined the enCourage Kids team in October 2018 as a Development Manager. After graduating from the University of Delaware with a degree in Sociology, she began her four-year tenure at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society where she developed her passion for fundraising. She has been volunteering with NYLaughs since the spring of 2014, helping to bring joy and laughter to New York City. At enCourage Kids, she works to make every event exciting, every race with Team EKF inspiring and is passionate about making the world a brighter place for everyone in it.
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.
Thomas Sullivan, Staff Accountant
There are two primary things that make this Queens, New York native smile: Travelling to different countries as well as his hobby in DSLR Photography for The Gram. With his “Mercy Maverick Mentality” approach, he conducts a multitude of back-end functions that are vital for the organization. During his spare time, he plays classic arcade games and makes a mean Taco Casserole!
Emma Wolk, 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.