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Wish Upon A Teen

ambassadors
and leaders!

Special

thanks to our 

corporate & hospital partners
​MISSION AND vision

Wish Upon a Teen is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing resources, time and opportunities to teenagers with severe life-limiting medical conditions. Through creative, social, and educational opportunities, our goal is to normalize their environment and rebuild their self-esteem as they transition to adulthood.

Wish Upon a Teen’s founder, Michelle Soto, has an extensive background as a Child Life Specialist caring for children and teenagers.  Through this experience, she learned that the particular needs of teens are often overlooked within the medical community.  The combination of normal teenage stressors along with the impact of a severe life-limiting medical condition or injury can make the transition to adulthood extremely challenging.  Wish Upon a Teen provides ongoing support, age-appropriate programs and a variety of fun events to teenagers throughout the United States. 

executive committee

MICHELLE SOTO

PRESIDENT & FOUNDER

Michelle began her career working as a Child Life Specialist at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA helping patients and their families cope with challenges related to hospitalization, life-threatening illnesses, and disabilities. After completing her internship in hematology/oncology and then taking a full time position with the pediatric liver transplant service, her experience with the teen population led her to establish Wish Upon a Teen, the only national nonprofit solely dedicated to serving teens.

 

As President of Wish Upon A Teen, Michelle is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization’s programming.  She also works very closely with the executive director, Nancy Sovran, to spearhead corporate and celebrity partnerships, hospital collaborations and fundraising efforts.

 

Michelle is extremely involved with each of her 3 children’s schools as well as advocating for more community resources for parents of children with special needs.  Michelle currently resides in Michigan with her three children, two of whom have special needs.

You may contact Michelle directly at michelle@wishuponateen.org

staff

NANCY SOVRAN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Nancy Sovran is from Metro Detroit, growing up in Southfield. She and her husband, Andrew, have nine children and live in the same house she grew up in. Nancy worked for Beaumont Health System and is currently attending Oakland University. Wish Upon a Teen met Nancy when her young daughter, Hope became involved last year. With strong ties in the community, Nancy brings a strong belief in “making a difference”. As Executive Director, Nancy works closely with hospitals, businesses and civic groups. In her spare time Nancy likes to paint and write, she wrote a children’s book, “A Bow and Arrow to Hope”, a story of her two daughters bone marrow journey.

You may contact Nancy directly at nancy@wishuponateen.org

JUDY BURNETT

Communications Specialist

Judy brings to Wish Upon a Teen nearly 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including fundraising, donor relations, professional writing, website content and database management. She received a degree in Special Education from Wayne State University and taught adults with developmental disabilities. Despite having polio as a child, Judy earned a black belt in karate. She is married with two children, and an avid reader of forensic science novels.

TRICIA KEEFER

MEDICAL ADVISOR

Tricia Keefer is a Med/Peds trained physician who currently practices pediatric hospital medicine and adult/pediatric palliative care at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, MI.  Her clinical passions include children’s symptom management and quality of life for children with life-limiting illnesses.  She is active in quality improvement and medical education with a focus on family-centered care.  Her research interests include palliative care, pediatric pain management, and inpatient pediatric care. 

KURSTIN CHRISTIE

PUBLIC RELATIONS

As a Los Angeles public relations pro, Kurstin has worked for 13 years on client strategic planning, media relations and new business development for hotels/resorts, restaurant, airlines, nonprofit organizations and high-profile events. She began her career working with the prominent Four Seasons brand and spent seven years at Murphy O’Brien, one of Los Angeles’ leading public relations agencies where she served as an account director. Today, Kurstin works as a public relations consultant for some of the top public relations agencies in the United States.

For all questions regarding PR, please contact Kurstin at kurstin.christie@gmail.com

MOLLY SOVRAN

MARKETING &
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

Molly is junior at Michigan State University where is she is majoring in Advertising and minoring in Spanish. When she’s not spending time following the latest trends, she enjoys movies, fashion and listening to great music. She hopes to one-day relocate to New York City where she aspires to work in the fashion industry. Her inspiration to become a part of the Wish Upon a Teen family came from her sister Hope, who is an active member of the organization. Having first hand experience with a sibling in and out of the hospital, this organization really hit home for Molly. Giving back to the community and helping people has always been an important aspect of her life. She is the co-president/founder of Wish Upon a Teen’s student organization at Michigan State University. Molly is taking her skills to school by lending her voice to further the mission of Wish Upon a Teen. She hopes to become a member of the Junior Board post-graduation.

GABBI TIMMIS

MARKETING &

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

Gabbi was born and raised in Birmingham, MI. She is currently a junior at Michigan State University and is the Vice President of Formal Recruitment for her sorority, Alpha Phi. She is majoring in Communications/PR where she hopes to be apart of the comeback and work in Detroit. Gabbi enjoys spending her summers up at Glen Lake with her crazy family, dragging her friends to spinning class and diving into a good book. Gabbi first got introduced to Wish Upon A Teen as a volunteer one summer and became so in love with the organization she decided to become an intern. She has become a fantastic asset to the team, lending her creative and energetic personality to incorporate new ideas to the organization. Gabbi is also the co-president/founder of Wish Upon A Teen’s student organization at Michigan State University. She is excited to get started and change the lives of teens at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, MI.

MAGDALYN DUFFIE

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Magdalyn Duffie has been passionate about art and design since a young age. After studying engineering at Virginia Tech, she helped with public works projects in her home town of Charleston, SC and worked at Apple, Inc as an employee trainer. In 2010, Magdalyn launched her own design firm and has been serving clients all over the world, providing inspired design work and creative guidance to many.  

Magdalyn currently resides in Raleigh, NC where she loves working in the tech startup industry and has the pleasure of doing chalk art installations around town. To view more of her work, visit her website at ohthisolething.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

For all design inquiries, contact Magdalyn.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

DENNIS ARCHER, JR., ESQ.

An attorney by trade, Dennis W. Archer, Jr. is the founding partner and president of Archer Corporate Services (ACS;) a founding principal of Hamilton Woodlynne Publishing, which publishes the bi-monthly, Michigan-based lifestyle magazine Ambassador, and the President & CEO of Ignition Media Group (IMG), a boutique Detroit-based marketing and PR firm. Leveraging his background in marketing and advertising, Archer has built a portfolio of companies, each a leader in its respective field. A native Detroiter, Archer received both his undergraduate and juris doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. He serves on the boards of the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, and the Dennis W. Archer Foundation. Archer is also a serving member of the board of directors of Archer Corporate Services, Main Street Bank and the General Motors Supplier Council. He lives in Detroit with his wife, Judge Roberta Cheryl Archer, of Detroit’s 36th District Court and their two sons, Dennis Wayne Archer, III (Trey) and Chase Alexander Archer.

ADINA BODOLAY - Los Angeles

Adina is currently a Certified Child Life Specialist at a major medical center in Los Angeles. In addition, she consults for a biotherapeutic company where she has a privilege of helping to create educational and coping resources for patients and families. She has worked with children for over 18 years and has worked in health care for over 13. She has extensive experience working with children and adults, and has expertise in such diverse fields as health care, consultation, entertainment and customer service.

TK KUBVORUNO

TK, 25-year-old Founder of University Viral which was awarded “2018’s fastest growing collegiate travel and events company in the USA of 2018”. Due to the companies recent success and milestones, TK was Featured in Entrepreneur Magazine's write up awarding him as one of the top 15 "Successful Entrepreneurs You Should Be Following" in 2018. TK also serves as a Leadership Development and Curriculum Development advisor for Michigan State University, while also instructing a 3 credit COM 490 course on Event Leadership at the University along side Distinguished Professor Bill Donohue. TK is on a mission to shake the Travel, Events, and Entertainment industry. TK is a firm believer in collaboration, a solution focused mindset, resourcefulness, always pushing innovation, and most importantly execution. 

TK  has his mind set on creating a platform that will connect and develop the next generation of innovative entrepreneurial minds who share a common desire to leave the world a better place through experiences

ALI HAZLETT - NYC

Ali, a Midwest girl at heart, was born and raised in Clarkston, MI. After graduating from Michigan State University, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in Cosmetics. Her career highlights include leading the package engineering and design development teams for some of the most successful beauty companies worldwide.  Ali is now the CEO of her own consulting firm, advising many of the cosmetic industries' top brands. She is passionate about empowering confidence in children of all ages and is inspired by her cousin Hope as she continues to help raise awareness throughout the East Coast. Together with her husband Jeff, they are enjoying raising their two daughters in Westfield, NJ.

KATIE MAZZOCHI - NYC

LAURENNE RESNICK - Los Angeles

Katie was born and raised in Middletown, NJ. In true Jersey girl fashion, she is an avid lover of the beach, spending time with her friends & family, and her Jack Russell Holly. She graduated from F.I.T. with a B.S. degree in Cosmetics & Fragrance Marketing and currently resides in NYC, working in Product Development for Jane Cosmetics. Katie got involved with WUaT through Jane’s sponsorship of various events including WuAT Spa Day NYC 2015. She is truly honored and inspired to bring WUaT awareness to the East Coast. 

Laurenne is a southern California native, with a love for flowers, the ocean, and any day outside with her family. After earning her BA at UC Berkeley, Laurenne received her graduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She is currently the CEO of Bloom2Bloom, where she is dedicated to creating change through impact. Laurenne believes deeply in the foundation’s mission to support and inspire, and she is honored to join. Laurenne lives in Los Angeles with her husband and dog.

DAVID TESSLER

David is the Co-Founder and CEO of Michigan Funders, Jabs Gym and Recraft. He is also VP of Birmingham, MI based Rain Marketing. David is a serial entrepreneur helping start-ups and local small businesses raise capital and scale their businesses. David is an active Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) member, serves on the funding panel for the Goldman Sachs 10K small business program and speaks across the state about local investing and small business fund raising. At Jabs Gym he works with at risk youth through their USA amateur boxing program. David is married with two English bulldogs (kids soon!)

JUNIOR BOARD

MARY KATE SOVRAN - NYC

Mary Kate, recent graduate of Michigan State University (GO GREEN), was born and raised in Michigan but recently moved out to NYC to purse her career in Packaging. Mary Kate is currently a Design Engineer at Onyx Packaging and loving every second of the beginning of a wonderful career path. When she is not in the office working, she enjoys boxing, shopping, and taking fun weekend adventures all along the East Coast. Her inspiration to become a part of the Wish Upon A Teen organization not only came from her sister, Hope, who is an active member of the organization but also when she got to decorate a room at CS Mott Children’s Hospital. Seeing the face of her sister after her room was decorated was extremely amazing but being on the other side doing the decorating for someone deserving was an amazing heartwarming experience. She is thrilled to be working alongside with Ali Hazlett helping to bring a passionate presence of WUAT to the Big Apple!

DONNA WOLBERS

Donna is currently a medical assistant in an Otolaryngology office aspiring to become a Physician Assistant. A graduate from Eastern Michigan University’s Secondary Education program, she is excited to be a part of a group focusing on helping teens. Donna is grateful to have found a place to volunteer her time that combines both her desire to work in health care as well as the hopes to inspire and motivate teenagers. When not working and volunteering, she loves all things theater (especially musicals), animals and spending time with friends and family!

ADVISORY BOARD

K.P. Anderson  |  Writer/Producer

Todd Christopher, Sr.  |  VP Gersh Agency

 

Michael Cooper  |  CAA

Anthony Kellum  |  Kellum Capital Group LLC

 

Erica Surman  |  Beaumont Children's

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