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ASA Staff

Leanne Clark-Shirley

Leanne Clark-Shirley, PhD, is ASA's Interim President & CEO. Clark-Shirley is a social gerontologist with nearly 20 years of experience working in aging-related nonprofit, consulting and academic environments. Before joining ASA, she was AARP’s Senior Evaluation Advisor, responsible for strategic planning, building internal evaluation research capacity and applying impact measurement expertise at the departmental and enterprise levels. Prior to that, she led the Aging and Disability research practice at IMPAQ International, a think-tank and policy research firm. Clark-Shirley is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, teaches courses on policy and aging and regularly mentors students interested in non-academic careers in aging. She received her doctorate in Gerontology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Jacki Bennett

Jacquelyn “Jacki” Bennett joined ASA in April 2021.  As Chief Operating Officer & Chief of Staff, Bennett manages the organization’s administrative functions and serves as a thought partner to the President & CEO on the organization’s strategy and Board engagement to develop a robust operational and financial plan that drives decision-making around ASA’s short- and long-term objectives, fundraising strategies, and cost management protocols. Jacki has over fifteen years of serving in C-Suite level positions at the South Florida Institute on Aging (SoFIA), the Wyss Foundation (a private family foundation located in Washington DC), Freedom House (an international NGO), the National Council of State Housing Agencies, and the Human Rights Campaign. Her expertise lays in providing vision, strategy and operational direction to finance, information technology, human resources, grantmaking, facilities, and organizational planning and evaluation activities. Bennett proudly served in the President William J. Clinton Administration as the Finance Manager for the White House Office (WHO), as the Operations Director of the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, and on the staff of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). A native of Iowa, she is a graduate of Iowa State University. Jacki and her wife, Liz, reside in Fort Lauderdale, FL and Syracuse, NY with their basenji, Chisholm.

Cindy Morris

Cindy Morris is the Chief Advancement Officer at ASA, having previously been President at The Benson Agency, a consulting agency focusing on sustainability and strategic growth for nonprofits on Long Island, NY, and as Chief Operating Officer of i-tri, an empowerment program for middle-school age girls. After a career in the travel and hospitality industries, Cindy has spent the past decade working with nonprofits in the Metro NYC area to build and implement growth plans with a focus on fundraising and marketing. Cindy holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from George Washington University, and sits on the Executive Council of AARP New York and the Jewish Advisory Board for Suffolk County.

Alison Biggar

Alison Biggar is Editorial Director at the American Society on Aging, and has worked with ASA since 2011 as senior editor on its publications. She plans content for the Generations Today digital bimonthly publication, writes articles and edits the publication. For the Generations journal, she helps to plan issues with guest editors, and edits the publication. She also plans content and solicits speakers for the Bylines podcast and Future-Proof broadcast, and writes and edits Generations Now blog posts. Biggar has more than 30 years editorial experience and served as editor of the Sunday Magazine for the San Francisco Chronicle for a decade. She graduated from University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature.

Patrice Dickerson, PhD

Patrice Dickerson, PhD, joined ASA in July 2021 as the new Director for Programs and Thought Leadership. Previously Patrice was an independent consultant in the field of DEI and academia, by way of Virginia Tech, where she served as a Senior Director in the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, focused on recruitment and retention of diverse faculty. Prior to that, she served as the Assistant Executive Dean for Strategic Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives and Chief Diversity Officer in the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University. A sociologist by training, Patrice brings with her a depth of experience working in the DEI, inclusive hiring, strategic planning, culture change and program development arenas. Earlier in her career, Dickerson was an Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She is a member of the Association of Black Sociologists, the American Sociological Association, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and the National Diversity Council.

Christopher Berno

Chris Berno brings over 20 years of enterprise technology management experience to the ASA and is the first senior leader dedicated to helping ASA further its mission to improve aging with technology. Chris began his career in 1999 as a Vendor Manager for San Francisco, CA based mobile internet start-up OmniSky and has remained on the cutting edge of technology since. Over the past four years, Chris has been working as an independent contractor helping senior leaders to develop technology strategy and managing its deployment into production. As Acting CTO here at ASA, Chris is focused on developing and delivering web-based tools, applications and services that ASA and its members can use to unite, empower and champion their aging-related work and capitalize on today's wave of technology disruption.

Adi Goldstein

Adi (Dee) Goldstein is Senior Manager, Revenue and Growth Strategy at ASA, having previously been Director of Development for the South Florida Institute on Aging, a community nonprofit devoted to helping older adults thrive as they age. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Santa Clara University and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Creative Expression from Sofia University (formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology).

Julia Burrowes

Julia Burrowes is the Thought Leadership & Impact Manager at ASA. She joins the team after working as a direct senior care service provider for over 10 years, specifically with in-home care supervision, care management, Medicare counseling, and as III-D health & wellness workshops leader. Before joining ASA, Julia also most recently worked at Centralina Area Agency on Aging, serving the greater Charlotte area and monitoring OAA programs. Julia holds Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Gerontology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she has also spent some time teaching as an adjunct instructor.

Mazie Soto

Mazie Soto is a bicultural and bilingual first-generation immigrant from México. Prior to joining ASA, she was the Data Systems Specialist for the Skokie 69 School District in Illinois, where she served students, parents, faculty, support staff and administrators in different capacities. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction and a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology Systems from DePaul University. Mazie teaches yoga in her spare time; her work in mindfulness reflects the practices that have allowed her to heal physically, mentally and spiritually. These practices are Yoga, Yoga Nidra and conscious eating.

Kay Link

Kay Link joined ASA as the Digital Communications Manager in March 2022. Before coming to ASA, she served as a Communications Manager at World Pulse, a global nonprofit and online community for social change, and previously worked at a nonprofit serving individuals with disabilities. Kay has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from American University with a specialization in Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Rheagan Willis

Rheagan Willis is the Manager of Membership at ASA. Rheagan joined ASA's membership team in September of 2021. She comes with association experience as Communications Coordinator at the Restaurant Facility Management Association where she developed a strong understanding of community engagement and membership marketing. She collaborates with the membership team to connect ASA members with one another and ASA resources. Connect with Rheagan to learn more about the benefits of ASA membership!

Victoria Ruiz

Victoria Ruiz, Education and Programs Manager, comes to ASA with over nine years of experience in the field of aging. She served the past three years as Director of the federal Americorps Senior Companion Program at the South Florida Institute on Aging. Previously, she worked at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York; one of the nation’s largest nonprofit home and community-based health care organizations. She holds a Bachelor’s in Health Services Administration from Herbert H. Lehman College in the Bronx, NY. Her Latin ancestral roots have influenced her passion in holistic and integrative health as well as her focus on social impact.