The NACG has six staff members. With a diverse range of talent and experiences, they work together to support the organization.
Vicki Jay serves as Chief Executive Officer for the National Alliance for Children’s Grief. Combining her background and experience in education with her hospice and death care experience of championing services for individuals and families before and after a life-altering event, Ms. Jay has spent the last 30 years advocating for children who are bereaved. Notable milestones in her career include founding and serving as Executive Director of Rays of Hope Children’s Grief Center in Midland, Texas, holding the position of Interim Director for Hospice of Midland, and serving on various state and national initiatives. Ms. Jay was also the founding Director of Midland Shared Spaces, an innovative, collaborative nonprofit center that provides quality, affordable resources and workspace for diverse organizations, providing opportunities to collaborate, share knowledge, and develop systemic solutions to community issues. Recognized for her contributions to children’s advocacy, public speaking, community leadership, and education. Ms. Jay has received numerous awards and accolades for her work. Among them is the National Jefferson Award for Community Service, a prestigious national recognition that honors individuals who, without expectation of recognition, perform extraordinary acts of community and public voluntarism in America.
Megan Lopez joined NACG 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 NACG, 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.
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.
Lizbeth Bowes joined the NACG team in 2023 as the National Program Manager. As a Certified Child Life Specialist, she was responsible for providing psychosocial support for infants, children, youth and families to help reduce the stress and fears associated with hospitalizations and their multiple facets faced in acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss and bereavement. Prior to joining the NACG, Liz was the Program Manager at the Grief Center of New Mexico where she supported all who grieve by offering support groups, workshops and resources, oversaw community volunteers and provided professional training and education. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies. Originally from Mexico, Liz currently resides in New Mexico with her husband, child and puppies.
Josephine Wheeler Ahart, MA, LPC, joined the NACG team in 2022 as the Marketing and Development Manager. Josephine has vast experience in marketing and development from various industries, along with experience in counseling and grief work. She graduated with a bachelor's in Applied Communication and a minor in Event Planning from Kent State University. She then received her master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Akron and is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor. Josephine thrives on finding innovative ways to seamlessly bridge and integrate her marketing expertise with the insights gained from her counseling and grief experience. She is involved with Leadership Portage County as a member of their Board of Directors and Cornerstone of Hope Bereavement Center, including as a member of their Crisis Response Team. Josephine resides in Northeast Ohio with her husband and enjoys spending time with family and friends, staying active, getting creative, and cheering on Cleveland and Ohio sports teams.