Alumni Leadership Board
Admittance to the Alumni Leadership Board (ALB) is an honor reserved for members of the Kesem community who have demonstrated their ability to be a successful student leader, a dedicated alumnus, and an individual committed to Kesem’s mission and expansion. Board members commit to a minimum two year term on the ALB creating thoughtful strategy to expand the engagement of Kesem Alumni across the United States.
Recently the inaugural Alumni Leadership Board traveled to Michigan to attend the National Leadership Summit and Alumni Board Retreat.
Meet The Alumni Leadership Board
Jeff “Tiny” Leibach – ALB Co-Chair Jeff joined Camp Kesem as a co-founder of Camp Kesem North Carolina (CKNC) as a student at Duke University in 2003. Jeff served as a co-chair, and advisory board member, helping grow CKNC to serve over 100 campers per year by its fourth year. After graduating in 2006 with a B.A. in Public Policy from Duke University, Jeff served as Camp Kesem’s first National Program Director. Working with incredible student leaders and board leadership during his two years as National Program Director, Jeff helped Camp Kesem grow from 9 campuses to 22 campuses during that two year period. During that time Jeff also helped organize Camp Kesem’s first National Leadership Conference, and helped unify Camp Kesem around its first re-branding. In 2008, Jeff began a career in healthcare strategy consulting, helping hospitals and insurers transform the way healthcare is paid for in the U.S. Jeff continues his work in healthcare consulting today and is currently pursuing an M.B.A from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Jeff lives in suburban Chicago with his wife Amy and daughter Kaylee.
Rebecca “Noodle” Wong – ALB Co-Chair Rebecca’s Camp Kesem journey began in May 2006. Bridging her love for her hometown of Chapel Hill and her alma mater Duke, Rebecca helped solidify the unique Duke-UNC partnership at Camp Kesem NC as the summer intern, fundraising coordinator, co-chair and senior advisory board member. After graduation in 2009, Rebecca served as the Camp Kesem Alumni Association co-chair and coordinator as well as Camp Advisor for the University of Washington. She is tremendously humbled to serve on the inaugural Alumni Leadership Board, and looks forward to sharing the Kesem magic with our campers, families, alumni and volunteers whose strength and joy continually inspire her. Rebecca works as an early education consultant at ICF International where she supports federal projects that strive to ensure that our youngest children have access to quality early care and education. Rebecca holds an MPP from Georgetown University, and a BA in Public Policy Studies and a minor in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies from Duke University. Rebecca currently resides in Washington, DC.
Mark “Gramps” Howard first became involved with Camp Kesem while seeking his undergraduate degree at Indiana University. Before that, Mark spent his formative years as a camper, CIT, counselor and senior staff at Camp Palawopec in Brown County, Indiana. Mark became involved with Camp Kesem in 2006 as a volunteer counselor. During his six years with the IU organization, he also served as a unit leader and as a fundraising and public relations coordinator and helped start the teen program at IU. Currently, he volunteers as a camp advisor during the summer camp season and has traveled to camps at OSU, Miami, and Vanderbilt. He is from Oakland, California and resides in Bloomington, Indiana. Mark has experience as a college administrator and currently works as a Special Education Teacher at Templeton Elementary School and began his graduate studies in the fall of 2013.
Caroline “Congo” Huang is the founder of Camp Kesem’s MIT chapter and current chair of the ALB Membership Committee, which has the pleasure of encouraging more CK alumni to share in Kesem life post-graduation. Since joining the CK community in 2006, she has served as a three-year co-chair, senior advisor, and advisory board member for MIT; a two-term co-chair of the National Student Advisory Board; a three-time summer intern for CK National; a two-year camp advisor for CK Florida; and a three-year coordinator for the CKAA. She is a Public Health PhD candidate, Rhodes Scholar, and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who researches, teaches, and writes about medical ethics and health policy at the University of Oxford’s Ethox Centre. Her thesis examines ethical issues surrounding access to care for breast cancer gene mutations, a topic inspired by CK families. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from MIT, where she was named a member of the USA TODAY All-USA College Academic First Team and recipient of an Institute Award for public service.
Sarah “Pancake” Leibach co-founded the George Washington (GW) chapter of Camp Kesem in 2007 and served as a co-chair, counselor, camp advisor, and Camp Kesem National intern throughout her college career. Sarah works as an Associate at Orr Associates, Inc., a consulting firm to the nonprofit industry, where she assists clients with development management, event management, and strategic planning. She received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from The George Washington University and currently lives in Washington, DC.
Bethany “Peach” Slentz joined Camp Kesem as a founding member and Camper Care Coordinator at Camp Kesem-UC Berkeley in 2006, where she graduated in 2008 Phi Beta Kappa and with Highest Honors in Cultural Anthropology. Since her time at UC Berkeley, Bethany has developed a robust career in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry holding various positions from Sales, to Corporate Communications/Public Relations, to New Business Development/Pipeline Management at Advantage Sales and Marketing (ASM), the nation’s largest CPG outsourcing firm. Currently, Bethany is a National Client Team Leader for ASM’s Abbott Nutrition business, touching over $900M in client invoice sales. Camp Kesem is her greatest passion, and she owes the success of her career today to what this organization taught her as a student, and is very eager to pay it forward to the next generation as a member of the Alumni Leadership Board. Today, she splits her time between Scottsdale, AZ or Los Angeles, CA.
Rachael “Pippy” Suffrin was thrown into Camp Kesem in 2006 as a freshman at Northwestern University (NU) as their Programming/Admin Coordinator and Treasurer. Later as Co-Chair in 2009, she helped launch the chapter’s first teen camp, and in 2010, chaired the first Make the Magic fundraiser. Rachael went on to serve as a Camp Advisor at multiple universities across the country, and now sits on CKNU’s advisory board, as well as the Chicago CK alumni committee. Currently, she is working with Camp Kesem to conduct research looking at the positive impact of Kesem involvement on college students. Rachael graduated in 2010 from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Education and Social Policy, double majoring in Human Development and Psychological Services, and Psychology, with a Certificate in Civic Engagement. Rachael currently lives in Chicago and is working towards her Ph.D. in Clinical/Community Psychology at DePaul University.
Joe “Flounder” Schlingbaum is a graduate of the University of Virginia (UVA) 2007. Joe currently lives in Washington, DC, and works as an attorney-advisor with the Federal Communications Commission. He was one of a group of students at UVA that worked to found the camp there, and held the first week of camp in summer 2006. Since graduating from UVA, Joe has worked with Camp Kesem in a variety of capacities – conferences, teen camp, and one of the early incarnations of the alumni association. Joe is looking forward to the opportunity through the Alumni Leadership Board to continue to develop the Camp Kesem brand and to increase the visibility of the organization in the professional and personal circles in which the ALB members live and work.
Jess “Honey” Valle founded the University of Georgia (UGA) chapter of Camp Kesem, a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project recipient, in 2011 and served as Co-Director for two years. She has since served on the Mentorship and Development Committees for the Camp Kesem Alumni Association. She is also an Advisory Board member for the University of Texas – Austin chapter of Camp Kesem. Jess received both her Masters in Nonprofit Organization Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Georgia. She works in Fund Development for ZACH Theatre, Texas’s longest running professional theatre company. She currently resides in Austin, TX, where she has a spare bedroom dedicated solely to Camp Kesem visitors.
William “March” Maixner has been with Camp Kesem since 2005 when he served as a counselor (6-7 year olds) for Camp Kesem NC. William then became head male counselor and later Co-Director. He retired from CKNC in 2007 and began assisting other chapters. William was a camp adviser for Camp Kesem University of Florida during its first camp, and has since been or currently on the Advisory Boards at Camp Kesem University of Virginia, University of Richmond, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently William works at VCU’s Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Professor and the Director of Strategic Planning and Program Development.
Mike “Yoshi” Abrams joined the Camp Kesem family in 2005 where he has since held multiple different coordinator roles and currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board for Camp Kesem Indiana University. Yoshi proudly holds the self-proclaimed title of “Best Sports Coordinator” at IU’s camp which still sparks controversy amongst active alumni. Post-graduation, he played an early role in the Camp Kesem Alumni Association development serving as the Marketing/PR coordinator in 2010 & 2011 and as a member of the mentorship committee in 2012 & 2013. Outside of Camp Kesem, Yoshi works at Angie’s List as the National Accounts Program Manager developing manufacturer campaigns. When Yoshi is not busy making the world a better place, you will find him focused on his hobbies which currently include ice hockey, TV sitcoms, and YouTubing movie montages from the 80s.
Samantha “Sunshine” Wierman joined Camp Kesem at the University of Wisconsin in 2010, where she served as Co-Director in 2012 and 2013. Samantha is excited to be a member of the Alumni Leadership board, as well as, a camp advisor this past summer! She graduated from The University of Wisconsin in 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a minor in mathematics. Samantha currently resides in Chicago, IL.
Michelle “Sliver” Silver graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University in 2007, then received an ScM in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2009, and is currently a PhD candidate there as well, where her dissertation focuses on cervical cancer screening. Michelle became involved with Camp Kesem at Stanford in 2004, where she spent 3 years as a counselor and coordinator. Unable to part with camp after graduation, Michelle has since served as a Camp Advisor every summer since graduating Stanford, and also serves on CK JHU’s advisory board, and now the CK Alumni Leadership Board. Michelle hopes Camp Kesem will stay a part of her life forever!
Michael “Jello” Finegan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009 where he was a counselor, Financial Chair, and Co-Director for Camp Kesem North Carolina (NC). When arriving on day one of his first counselor orientation, Michael and his twin brother Patrick were given the choice of either being named “Jello and Pudding” or “Spaghetti and Meatballs.” After fighting about who would have to be Meatball, they gave up and settled on the new identities of “Jello and Pudding,” and it has been that way ever since. Upon graduation he moved to Johannesburg, South Africa to work as a volunteer educator, teaching remedial literacy and math to underprivileged high schoolers with learning disabilities. Returning home led to graduate school studying Health Administration at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Michael currently works as the Administrator of Medicine at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Baltimore, MD and is just completing a tenure as the Interim Executive Director of Cancer Services at GBMC. Michael serves on the Advisory Board for Camp Kesem JHU and has led fundraising teams each year in the CKNC Alumni Challenge.
Jack “Syrup” Fitzgibbons is a consultant with Oliver Wyman in Chicago where he helps large healthcare institutions with their strategy development. He graduated Duke University, where he was a counselor for CKNC, serving as the head male counselor and Student Support chair. Since graduating Duke, Syrup has volunteered for the CK Alumni Association, helping with a number of activities, including alumni engagement. He is looking forward to serving on the Alumni Leadership Board and strengthening his relationship with other Camp Kesem volunteers and leaders across the nation.