Cameron Doolittle, President and CEO
Cameron has been overseeing Jill’s House since it launched in 2010. He loves that families find physical and spiritual rest through Jesus, and that Jill’s House is helping prepare a new generation of leaders to love children with special needs as God does. Under Cameron’s leadership, Jill’s House has grown to more than 100 staff serving more than 500 families with a budget of more than $5 million annually.
Cameron did not always intend to grow up to run an awesome respite center for children with special needs. Prior to being invited to start Jill’s House in 2010, Cameron was the “new business launch guy” at Corporate Executive Board (NYSE: CEB). He successfully launched CEB’s two fastest-growing new business units, serving Chief Financial Officers and General Counsel. He then led the turnaround of CEB’s Operations practice. Before his career in business, Cameron was a nerd; he earned his J.D. and M.B.A. at the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. with Honors in Political Science at Stanford University (though he believes his best education was the two years he spent at Wheaton College). He began his career as a speechwriter for Senator Mark Hatfield and became Legislative Director to Hon. Lamar Smith (R-TX).
Cameron was honored as a 2014 Praxis Nonprofit Accelerator Fellow. His master plan to become outrageously famous is totally working. He has appeared in Christianity Today, FamilyLife Today, Focus on the Family, Q Ideas, FoxNews.com, the Christian Post and The Steve Harvey Show and elsewhere. Jill’s House has drawn attention from The Washington Post, the 700 Club, Parents, World Magazine and many more.
Cameron has inflicted himself on the boards of Every Generation Ministries (Temecula, CA), Restoration Anglican Church (Arlington, VA), and MOPS International (Denver, CO), where he chairs the Finance Committee.
To get Cameron fired up, ask: (a) who he’s listening to on Rdio this week, (b) how the Seahawks are doing, (c) what book he’s reading on Audible.com while he bikes, (d) why he’s the only guy that does BodyPump, (e) how awesome his wife Carolyn and four kids are, or (f) about his home state of Oregon.
Mary O. Leidy, Family Support and Intern Director
Mary regularly meets with the Jill’s House families. She gets to know them and their needs to connect them with the services and resources they need. She helped Jill’s House obtain a State License from the Department of Behavioral Health and Human Services. She also helped launch our School Partnership Program. Mary also recruits, selects, trains, coaches and encourages our wonderful summer interns.
Mary started working at Jill’s House in 2010. She has over 25 years of experience in the field of Social Work. She managed a non-profit child placing agency in Virginia for eight years and opened a short-term diagnostic residential facility for children ages 6-12. She has vast experience in child and family services including foster care and adoption, public- and private-sector mental health, school guidance counseling, and medical social work through Capital Hospice of Northern Virginia. She earned a Master’s in Social Work from the Catholic University of America.
She lives in Ashburn, VA with her husband. She has three adult children and twin grandchildren. She enjoys hiking and outdoor sports.
Denise Daffron, Vice President of Advancement
Denise leads the Jill’s House marketing, communications, and fundraising teams.
Denise started working at Jill’s House in 2010 with 20 years of marketing and fundraising experience in both the nonprofit and commercial sectors. She moved to the nonprofit world after a successful career in marketing for national and international brands including Snapple, Chick-Fil-A, and Procter & Gamble. As Senior Director of Corporate Relations at the American Heart Association (Greater Washington Region), Events Director with The American Red Cross (National Capital Region), and as a corporate development official with Special Olympics, she was responsible for building strong resourcing for high-profile organizations. Denise earned a B.A. in Public Relations from Hardin-Simmons University.
Annie Schaars (Aiello), Intake Coordinator
Annie guides new families through the intake and scheduling processes. She also communicates with parents about their child’s needs and carefully records that information for the Childcare Specialist Staff. She ensures that the staff has the information they need to care for a child during their overnight stay.
Annie started working at Jill’s House in 2010 and is a member of the Jill’s House Fellowship class of 2011. Before she started at Jill’s House, Annie worked with teenage girls who had emotional disabilities. Annie earned a B.A. in Social Work from Ball State University.
Annie lives in Falls Church with her husband Connor. She enjoys playing soccer, fall weather, chocolate chip cookies, the beach and hiking in Great Falls.
Melanie Davis, Chief Administrative Officer
Melanie manages all aspects of the programs and services Jill’s House offers to children and their parents in our Tysons location. She ensures clear communication between parents and all Jill’s House staff and volunteers connected with a child’s care. She also provides oversight to their nursing team.
When Melanie started working at Jill’s House in 2010, she had 10 years of experience working with children and families in crisis. She helped families through the foster care and adoption systems, and provided outpatient mental health and behavioral counseling. She is a licensed professional counselor and earned a B.S. in Psychology and a Master’s degree in counseling.
Melanie lives in Ashburn, VA with her husband and their two kids. Melanie is passionate about advocating for children and families in crisis. She loves early morning workouts and traveling. Her favorite vacation spot is anywhere she can disconnect from electronics and enjoy the simple things in life. She is a Virginia Tech Hokies fan and loves going back to the great town of Blacksburg to catch a game.
Dana Hecht, Director of Family Support
Dana and her team work with the Jill’s House families—connecting them to each other and resources within the community. She works to combat the sense of isolation and frustration that raising a child with special needs often brings. Dana also oversees the Jill’s House Internship and Schoolnight Programs.
Before coming to work for Jill’s House in 2010, Dana was a litigator and a volunteer community leader. She earned her undergraduate degree from James Madison University and her JD from the William & Mary School of Law.
Dana lives in Vienna, Virginia with her husband Herb and their four children. Dana is passionate about faith, reading, good conversation, fresh coffee, and sitting on the porch.
Sheila Joy, Director of Marketing
Sheila is a storyteller. As Director of Marketing for Jill’s House, Sheila gets to the heart of the inspirational stories of our courageous families through videos, monthly newsletters, and social and traditional marketing campaigns.
In her 30-plus years of experience, Sheila has marketed products and services for global brands such as DOW Chemical, Pioneer Sound Systems and Bombardier. She’s also done research and branding for Columbia University, National Arthritis Foundation and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But it wasn’t until she began working with Jill’s House in 2012 that she knew God was preparing her all those years for such a time as this. Building awareness for Jill’s House and the need for respite so more families can be served is, in her words, “hands-down the most important work I’ve ever done.”
She says that the most difficult part of her job is “Holding back the tears. When I interview a family for a video, I need to remain silent so my voice is not audible. The deep emotions I feel as I hear and then tell the families’ stories have enriched my life and expanded my heart.”
Tranitra Joyner, Weekend Supervisor
Tranitra is responsible for overseeing the weekend program staff, children, and volunteers.
Tranitra started working at Jill’s House in October of 2010. She has an extensive background working with children with special needs. She worked for the Navy and Marine’s Exceptional Family Member Respite Care Program, Fairfax County Therapeutic Recreation Services, and Fairfax County Public Schools SACC Program. She attended Prince Georges Community College and studied Business Administration & Elementary Education.
Tranitra feels very blessed to work with children with special needs and their families at Jill’s House. She lives in Accokeek, MD with her son Christian, and her catch phrase is “Teamwork makes our Dream work.”
Jessica Oakley, Family Relations Coordinator
Jessica builds community among the Jill’s House families through meetings, events, and community resources. She develops relationships with families to connect them with one another and resources.
Jessica joined the Jill’s House team in August 2010. Her passion for serving children with special needs evolved throughout college as she served with Young Life Capernaum (a ministry for children and young adults with disabilities) and Special Olympics. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Tech.
Jessica lives in Falls Church, VA and enjoys running, reading, and traveling.
Andrea Perdomo, Weekday Program Supervisor
Andrea supervises the school night program. She coordinates with local schools, parents, bus drivers, nurses, and Childcare Specialists to ensure that each child is safe and happy during their overnight stay. She also supervises the Fellowship Program.
Before Andrea joined the Jill’s House team in 2011, she worked for an insurance company. She also served as a translator at a predominately Hispanic church and taught Sunday school classes to middle school students—a few of whom had Autism and Down Syndrome. She was also a student leader at Liberty University and served as a spiritual mentor for several dozen students. She is working toward a B.S. of Business Administration at Liberty University.
Andrea lives in Burtonsville, MD with her family. She is fluent in both English and Spanish, and loves playing and watching sports. In high school, she earned the MVP award in varsity soccer and basketball.
Sara Potter, Volunteer Program Coordinator
Sara, a University of Akron graduate, started at Jill’s House January of 2011 as a Childcare Specialist, where she used her background in health sciences and human services. Working with the children, she got to know the volunteers and grew to have a passion for serving them as well as the children. In October of 2012, Sara took the role of Volunteer Program Coordinator. She is grateful to work with so many wonderful volunteers who are willing to give up their time to be with these children and to serve the families in such unique ways.
Megan Reynolds, Web Development
Megan helped launch the Jill’s House website in 2010 and served as the webmaster, developing Jill’s House online Facebook community along the way. A senior at Harvard University, Megan first became connected with Jill’s House when she was growing up and was a part of the McLean Bible Church family. Because Megan has a cousin who was born deaf, her life experiences have fostered a passion for helping children with special needs.
Christine Walls, Director of National Programs
Christine is working to change the face of disability ministry around the country through our National Programs. While managing our existing programs in places like California, Colorado and Texas, Christine also meets with partners around the country to collaborate and bring respite to their region.
Christine started working at Jill’s House in August 2010. Before coming to Jill’s House, Christine worked at her aunt’s respite center near Boston. She also worked at a therapeutic recreation camp and the Special Olympics in the DC area. These experiences gave Christine the practice and passion she needs to work with children with special needs in her current position. Christine graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with a B.A. in Economics and Gender Studies.
Christine lives in Arlington, Virginia, and coaches the cross country team at Bishop O’Connell High School. She’s loved by the Jill’s House staff for her famous chocolate chip cookies.