The NACG has five full-time staff members. With a diverse range of talent and experiences, they work together to support the organization.
Vicki Jay serves as CEO for the National Alliance for Children's Grief. Ms. Jay was founding director of Rays of Hope Children’s Grief Center in Midland Texas. Her nineteen-year hospice career included End-of-Life Community Education Director and ten years as Founder and Executive Director of Rays of Hope Children’s Grief Center. She is recognized for her role in children’s advocacy and for her strengths in public speaking and community education. Jay has received many awards and recognitions for her work with nonprofits and in the field of bereavement, including the National Jefferson Award for Community Service, a prestigious national recognition honoring community and public voluntarism in America. Recipients are “ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition.” A graduate of Texas Tech University, Jay currently resides in Midland, Texas. In addition to her professional and community roles, Jay cherishes her role of wife, mother, friend and recently “Nana.”
Adam W. Carter, Ph.D., joined the NACG in 2021 as National Clinical Director. He is a professional counselor and counselor educator who received his doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision, with an emphasis in multicultural counseling, from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Adam has taught courses in CACREP accredited master’s level clinical mental health programs and doctoral level courses in counselor education and supervision and served as the Trauma-Informed Counseling Graduate Certificate coordinator at Northern Illinois University. During his time at Northern Illinois University, he founded the Center for Grief and Loss at the University’s Community Counseling and Training Center, where he provided clinical supervision and education to counselors in training. Adam has an ongoing program of research and scholarship that focuses on early childhood grief responses and preparing counselors-in-training to work with grieving children. Adam’s scholarly work also includes numerous peer-reviewed presentations focusing on topics such as trauma-informed counseling, play therapy, and developing research skills in counseling practitioners. His clinical experience is broad, having worked as a counselor and supervisor in community mental health clinics, in-home intensive settings, community advocacy agencies, and in private practice. In 2014, Adam was one of two inaugural Scholars-in-Residence with the American Counseling Association and helped developed strategies for empowering clinicians to conduct single-subject design research in community settings. In the fall of 2020, Adam was acknowledged for his work in the field of grief counseling and death education by earning the designation of Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement.
Megan Lopez joined the NAGC in 2014 and serves as the National Program Director. Megan has served as a Social Worker and Program Leader throughout her nonprofit career and has provided support to children, teenagers, and families in a variety of settings. Megan is an experienced presenter and trainer using an interactive style in her teaching and facilitating on a variety of topics related to program management, childhood bereavement support, grief in the school setting, and group facilitation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Arlington. Megan resides in San Antonio, Texas with her husband and two children.
Deirdra Flavin joined the NACG in 2019 in the role of National Marketing and Development Director. After a decade in senior roles in marketing and sales, her work more recently has been in the non-profit sector and includes leadership positions in both development and marketing. Prior to joining the NAGC, Deirdra was the Executive Director at Kids’ Haven: A Center for Grieving Children. She graduated from University College Cork with a BA in English and an MSc in Marketing Management. She qualified as a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) in 2021. Originally from Ireland, Deirdra currently resides in Lynchburg, Virginia, with her husband and three children.
Josephine Wheeler, MA, LPC joined the NACG team in 2022 as the Marketing and Development Manager. Josephine has a wide range of experience in marketing and development, along with counseling and grief work. She graduated with a BA in Applied Communication and a minor in Event Planning from Kent State University. She then received her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Akron and is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor. Josephine currently resides in Northeast, Ohio and is involved with Leadership Portage County and Cornerstone of Hope Bereavement Center, including as a member of their Young Professional’s Advisory Board. Josephine enjoys spending time with family and friends, staying active, writing, cheering on Cleveland sports teams, and working with individuals and families who are grieving.
Julie Hennington serves as the part-time Business Manager for the National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG). Ms. Hennington has worked in a variety of non-profit settings over the past 20 years including domestic and sexual violence agencies, foster care advocacy, medical social work, and grief support. Graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan with a Master of Social Work in 2002, Ms. Hennington began her calling at Turning Point’s domestic violence shelter. Ms. Hennington’s path then took her to Nashville, Tennessee, advocating for victims of abuse, enhancing curriculum for new advocates, and providing administrative support to batterer intervention programs on a state-level. Upon moving to Houston, Ms. Hennington pivoted to become a volunteer coordinator and advocate for abused and neglected children in the Child Protective Services system in Harris County and later worked as a medical social worker for one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the nation. It was at Texas Children’s Hospital that Ms. Hennington learned most about the importance of grief support for families and sought out resources to provide to the families she served. When she made the decision to primarily focus on her family in 2018, Ms. Hennington decided to dedicate volunteer time to her local children’s grief center, Bo’s Place. She continues to facilitate grief support groups at Bo’s Place in addition to volunteering at her local Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program as a Guardian Ad Litem. Ms. Hennington comes to the NACG with a passion for the mission along with strong organization and communication skills. Ms. Hennington currently resides in the Houston-metro area with her husband and two sons. In her personal time, she enjoys quality time with her family, travel, and volunteering in her church and community.