Roseann Vanella, President
Roseann Vanella has spent a lifetime witnessing many families in transition on both a professional and personal level. She is a Professional Family/Divorce Mediator and Founder of Advanced Mediation Solutions who clearly understands the impact on families going through life changes. Roseann is a recognized expert on divorce and family matters and her words of wisdom have appeared in the Huffington Post. She is also the Founder of FamilyAffaires.com, an online community providing resources, tools and education for families going through life changes. Roseann is truly passionate about helping families, especially children and is honored to have been appointed the President, Board of Trustees.
Jane Massi, Vice President
Jane Massi is a Director in the Commercial Real Estate Department at SMBC Group in New York City. In her current role, she is responsible for developing and managing relationships with institutional real estate clients throughout the country. Prior to joining SMBC, Jane held leadership positions at several banks, including both a local community bank and large regional institutions. In addition, she has served in senior roles in both the public and non-profit sectors. A resident of Robbinsville and mother of two, Jane graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, DC and is an active member of its alumni association, serving as a Class Ambassador as well as a member of its Alumni Admissions Program.
Digesh Patel, Treasurer
Digesh Patel is a director of Mercadien, P.C, CPA’s and is involved in performing and overseeing audits of state, local and municipal government organizations. In 2012, Digesh was awarded a Special Achievement Award by the Association of Government Accountants’ Trenton Chapter for his contribution to government accounting and auditing. He is a graduate of Rider University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration. As an undergraduate, he was treasurer for the Asian Students at Rider organization. He resides with his wife and two sons in Bordentown Township, NJ.
Jerry Dropcho, Secretary
Jerry has over 10 years managing consulting projects for private companies and municipal government and his background includes over 20 years in manufacturing, training, and human resources. He has also held extensive leadership roles in the HR Industry. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Tri-State HR Management Association for over ten years in various capacities, including President for two years. In January 2011, he was elected as Executive Director of the Garden State Council–SHRM, the state level HR organization representing 7,000 members in New Jersey. He has been an Adjunct Professor for the School of Business at Rutgers-Camden since 2010, teaching Strategic HR Management, Legal Issues in HR Management, and Organization Behavior. Jerry holds three degrees, an MS, Training and Organizational Development from St. Joseph’s University in PA; and from the University of Pittsburgh, PA, he earned an MBA, Operations, and a BS, Chemical Engineering. Jerry has been married (to the same person) for 42 years, and is the proud father of two daughters and grandfather of three.
Deena L. Betze
Deena L. Betze is a family law attorney at Borger Matez, PA, in Cherry Hill, focusing on the needs of her clients and making positive changes in their lives. For over 25 years, she has represented men and women in divorce, mediation, custody, adoption (including agency, private placement, domestic, re-finalization of foreign adoptions and contested placements), domestic violence, pre-marital agreements, civil union mediation, and other family law related matters. Deena is collaboratively trained, trained in mediation and practices Collaborative Divorce. She is also a member of the South Jersey Collaborative Divorce Professionals and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She is a member of the New Jersey Bar Association, where she previously served on the Family Law Executive Committee. She currently serves on the Family Law Committees of the Camden, Gloucester, and Burlington Counties Bar Association. She previously served as the president of the Thomas S. Forkin Family Law American Inn of Court, one of only 20 Inns nationwide to achieve the platinum level of excellence. American Inns of Court are “designed to improve the skills, civility, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar.”
A graduate of S.U.N.Y. Stonybrook (B.A. 1987), Deena received her law degree in 1990 from Rutgers University School of Law Camden. She is a lifelong resident of southern New Jersey, mother of two children and resides in Marlton, New Jersey.
Danielle Esser serves as Deputy Chief of Staff at the NJ Economic Development Authority. Danielle has worked in various agencies of state government for more than 16 years, specifically in the areas of housing, land use and community revitalization. Danielle is a licensed professional planner and has a passion for helping others. Danielle is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Masters of Public Affairs and Politics from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts from Douglass College. She resides in Bordentown Township with her husband and two children.
Elizabeth Hampton, Esq.
Elizabeth J. Hampton is a Partner in the Princeton, NJ, office of Fox Rothschild LLP, a national law firm. Her practice spans a wide range of business-related litigation as well as health care matters, commercial tax appeals and probate litigation. Elizabeth also advises clients on developing best practices in their organizations to maximize successful outcomes and prevent litigation. She works extensively with health care providers to address insurance audits and practice issues. Elizabeth is a certified arbitrator, the co-chair of the Equity Committee for the Burlington County Bar Association, and a former chair of the Commercial Litigation section of the Camden County Bar Association. In addition, she has lectured on a wide variety of topics including civil trial preparation, chancery practice, probate litigation, guardianships, and HIPAA compliance in litigation. Active in the community, Elizabeth serves on the boards of the Woodlands Community Association, Inc. and the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, and is a past chair of the Chamber’s Women in Business Alliance. She also served as a coach for the Marlton Recreation Council’s youth soccer and track teams.
Julie LaVan, Esq.
Julie LaVan is founder and partner at LaVan Law, specializing in corporate law with trial law expertise. Julie also serves as General Counsel for Impact Environmental Consulting, Inc. of Long Island, New York. Julie is admitted to practice before the Federal District Court of New Jersey and the Supreme Courts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She is a member of the New Jersey Bar Association, Burlington County Bar Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, Burlington County Chamber of Commerce, Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Business and Industry Association and Moorestown Rotary. She received her Juris Doctorate Law Degree at Widener University Common Wealth Law School and her Juris Doctorate Degree at Widener University School of Law.
Jasmine Little is a health research analyst at Mathematica Policy Research and an admissions clinician at PennMedicine Princeton Behavioral Health. Her current work focuses on enhancing behavioral health services through evaluating strategies that promote “whole person care” and providing quality services for individuals with acute behavioral health needs. Jasmine’s passion is to develop systematic approaches to care for individuals with complex needs and their families. Jasmine was elected to the Board of Trustees of CASA for Children for Mercer and Burlington Counties in June 2019.
Kelly Stewart Maer
Kelly joined the non-profit Capital Health System as Director of State and Federal Public Affairs and Advocacy in June of 2016 reporting directly to Capital Health Systems’s CEO, Al Maghazehe, to advocate for the needs of safety net hospitals serving the most vulnerable New Jersey residents and address the ever changing healthcare policy environment.
Prior to joining Capital Health System, Kelly served in various positions with numerous state and federal governmental offices and political campaigns. She has more than two decades of government and advocacy experience working on behalf of a diverse range of issues from healthcare to transportation to small business. Her extensive experience has enabled her to be a part of a team developing and executing successful policy and grassroots advocacy campaigns.
Kelly was elected to the Board of Trustees of CASA for Children of Mercer and Burlington Counties in August 2018. She currently serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Mercer County; and the Executive Management team, of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC). She served on Governor Philip Murphy’s 2017-18 Healthcare Transition Team; and currently serves on The Center for American Women and Politics Bipartisan Coalition for Women’s Appointments; Vice President of Women’s Political Caucus of NJ; and as a Board Member of PAM’s List, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in elected and appointed positions in government and promoting equal rights for women. Kelly was ranked among the 100 most powerful political players in New Jersey in PolitickerNJ’s “2016 & 2017 Power List,” and Insider NJ’s “2017 Power List” both annually rank the most powerful and politically influential non-elected officials in New Jersey.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of South Carolina and a Masters of Arts Degree from Rowan University. She lives in Manasquan, NJ with her husband and daughter.
Abe Silverman is the General Counsel at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, working on energy policy and regulation. Abe recently rejoined government after more than a decade in the private sector, most recently representing NRG Energy, Inc. as a lawyer and policy advocate. Abe graduated from the University of Maryland, with undergraduate degrees in Geology and English, and then attended law school at George Washington University. Abe is the proud parent of a little girl born at around the same time he joined the CASA Board in 2017 and lives in Mercer County.
David Wittenburg is a disability researcher from Mathematica Policy Research and a proud adoptive parent. His professional experience at Mathematica in evaluating strategies for improving outcomes for youth transitioning into adulthood. He has over 20 years of experience in leading research projects that evaluate service delivery and program strategies to promote independent living outcomes, especially employment. As an adoptive parent, he is passionate about supporting CASA’s missions to find permanent placements for children. David resides in South Brunswick Township with his wife and three children. David received his Ph.D. in economics from Syracuse University and B.A. from Hobart and William Smith College. David was elected to the Board of Trustees of CASA for Children for Mercer and Burlington Counties in August 2018.
Patrizia “Trish” Zita co-founded Kaufman Zita Group, a lobbying and public affairs firm in 2007 and serves today as the firm’s managing business partner. Trish has been featured in Forbes magazine, and was also ranked among the 100 most powerful political players in New Jersey in PolitickerNJ’s “2013 and 2017 Power List,” which annually ranks the most powerful and politically influential non-elected officials in New Jersey. As a wife and mother of two, Trish believes deeply in CASA’s mission and is proud to serve on the board.