Becky Wagner, Founder & Board President Becky received her B.A. in Economics and Sociology from the University of Richmond and moved to Washington, DC to pursue a career in IT Consulting. After working 8 years at Accenture, Becky chose to leave the consulting field to be a full-time mom to her children Caroline, Alden, and C.J. Her beloved husband C.A.M. (also a graduate from Univ of Richmond) was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia in 2008 and Becky took on the role of full-time caregiver and research advocate with passion. She fought fearlessly for her husband and advocated on his behalf through endless rounds of chemotherapy, clinical trials, a bone marrow transplant, and several unfortunate relapses.
After C.A.M.'s death in December of 2013, Becky started looking for opportunities to connect with other grieving families, recognizing the strength and support system that comes from meeting people who understand what you are going through. She found many individual support group opportunities, however, there were very limited opportunities to connect as a family. It was from that experience that Hope for Grieving Families was born, in the fall of 2014. What started as a small grassroots effort has continued to grow and flourish.
In 2015, Becky returned to work full-time as an IT Consultant. Currently she works for Attain, LLC as a Salesforce consultant in the non-profit and higher education industry. Becky lives in northern Virginia and loves spending time with her children, attending their sporting events, running and hiking outdoors, traveling, trying new things, meeting new people, attending church, and spending time with friends.
Sammi Hawkins, Director Sammi has experience in all aspects of nonprofit management including development, grant-writing, events, operations, volunteer management, and constituent services. She has previously worked with American Cancer Society, Lung Cancer Alliance and LUNGevity in various capacities.
Sammi brings an understanding and passion to the mission of Hope For Grieving Families. In October 2018 she lost her 8 year old daughter's father Tony to a courageous 2 1/2 year battle with colorectal cancer. Finding resources to help Tennley deal with her grief led her to Hope For Grieving Families. She is humbled to be serving these wonderful families, and looks forward to growing the organization to reach, serve and connect more families in their grief journey.
Sammi received her B.A. and M.A. in Education from The University of Tennessee.
Sammi resides in Falls Church, VA with daughter Tennley and two geriatric dogs, Bomber and Bubba.
Catherine Chase Catherine Chase is President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), a coalition of national consumer, health and safety organizations and the major property-casualty insurance companies and trade associations. Advocates works to adopt federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries and contain costs. Since first joining Advocates in 1996, Ms. Chase has played a critical role in advancing highway and auto safety in state legislatures throughout the country and in Congress including occupant protection, impaired driving, teen driving, distracted driving, consumer protection, motor vehicle and commercial motor vehicle safety. Ms. Chase also advocates for regulations to ensure the safe development and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Because of her respected political and lobbying skills, Ms. Chase is frequently invited to give presentations before Congress, state legislatures and national conferences including The Atlantic Festival in 2019 and SXSW in 2018 and 2017. She has appeared on CBS, NPR, C-SPAN, CNBC, SiriusXM, and has become an important source for the Washington bureaus of Scripps, Cox and Gray TV news services. Additionally, she has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, Bloomberg Business Week, The Hill, Politico, the Washington Examiner and the Miami Herald, among others, and was published in the Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine (AAAM) Journal, “U.S. State and Federal Laws Targeting Distracted Driving.” Ms. Chase was chosen to be a member of the 2016 class of the Women’s Executive Leadership Program of the Impact Center and was selected by CQ Roll Call as one of seventeen “People to Watch in 2019,” a list of those who are expected to play leading roles in politics and public policy.
An enthusiastic volunteer for a variety of community organizations, Ms. Chase is currently on the Board of the Hope for Grieving Families organization. She is a graduate of Rutgers College and received her juris doctor from the George Washington University Law School. Ms. Chase resides in Falls Church, VA with her husband and their two teenage girls.
Kim Levinson, Treasurer Kim was an Associate Director of Sales with Ritz-Carlton, a Sales Representative with Janssen Pharmaceuticals ( a Johnson & Johnson company) and Sales Director for The Sports Club/LA Washington, DC.She is currently CEO of the Levinson household where she manages the day-to-day operations for her two school-aged children, Emily and Kyle, and her husband, Marc.
Kim first met Becky at college where they were Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters.They later reconnected when their daughters were pre-school classmates and it was at the time that Becky's husband, C.A.M., was originally diagnosed with cancer.Having witnessed three close friends with young children lose their spouses, Kim has seen both the deep grief caused by the loss of a loved one as well as the resilience and hope that comes afterwards.
Kim holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond.Her experience as a treasurer comes from the Panhellenic Council in college, room parent for her children’s classrooms,serving as “Cookie Mom” for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop and, of course, managing the household finances. Kim enjoys spending time with family, traveling, practicing yoga and cheering on her kids in their various sporting activities.
Jenny Thornett Jennifer is a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia, growing up in McLean and graduating from James Madison University. She has 20 years of experience as a Real Estate Agent, extensive experience in new construction and has worked tirelessly to serve her clients with personal and professional integrity, attention to detail and unsurpassed dedication, earning numerous awards and designations over the years. Since she obtained her license in 1999, at the suggestion of her father, C.R. “Bud” Harper—a real estate veteran in the DC Metro area for 45+ years—she has gained the trust of her clients by valuing their individual interests and keeping the lines of communication open. Jennifer has developed a deep appreciation for building true relationships, which is now evident in the daily operations of her real estate business with a superb team surrounding her.
In addition to her fine-tuned sense of the market as a whole, Jennifer has represented many builders both in land acquisition and sales. She has had personal experience with the process of new construction, as well as a keen eye for design, detail, and aesthetics, having custom-built or extensively renovated three of her own family’s homes.
Jennifer began her career with the National Student Leadership Forum, where she brought together members of both Houses of Congress, industry leaders, international government officials and professional athletes, facilitating discussions on leadership and action at state, regional and national events. She continues to volunteer with the forum and also with orphans and vulnerable children, serving on the board of organizations such as Hope for Grieving Families.
Her passion for family has led her and her husband Matt to adopt four young children, and, as a result, she is very involved in many school activities and committees that keep her abreast and knowledgeable of community developments in the local private and public school systems.