Feeding Matters is led by an exceptional team of professionals who dedicate their passion and unique expertise to affect systemic change for pediatric feeding disorder.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Chris Linn leverages more than two decades of executive management knowledge and her family’s personal experience navigating pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) to steward unprecedented change in the system of care for PFD. Under her leadership, Feeding Matters has grown immensely – transforming from a volunteer-based parent support group to the first organization in the world devoted to accelerating identification, igniting research, and promoting collaborative care for PFD. Through her tenacity and vision, Feeding Matters has established invaluable relationships with the field’s leading advocates, medical experts, allied healthcare professionals, and families.
With an executive background in large corporate environments, Chris understands the intricacies of stability and sustainability, including an authentic work culture, strategic planning, and fiduciary responsibilities. She has actively guided the creation and implementation of Feeding Matters’ team norms and values of respect, innovation, balance, and integrity. And, she collaborates with the Board of Directors, PFD Alliance, and staff to create, execute, and expand annual strategic plans and budgets. Since starting with a $200,000 budget in 2006, Chris has increased the 501(c)3’s budget to more than $1.9 million annually.
Chief Development Officer
From community relations manager for Westcor and its parent company Macerich to vice president of operations and development for Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and executive director at Ryan House, Debbie Simons has dutifully championed national nonprofit organizations and 78 community charities across the country for more than two decades. Debbie’s insightful campaigns connect individuals with like-minded organizations for mutually beneficial affiliations that generate results, including a national cause-branding program that benefitted over 600,000 women to chairing events that raised more than $5 million dollars for charities.
As Feeding Matters’ chief development officer, Debbie launched the three-year, $3 million Power of a Name campaign supporting the widespread acceptance and awareness of pediatric feeding disorder. The campaign secured $1.65 million of the overall goal within its first six months. Debbie also works closely with President and CEO Chris Linn and the board of directors on national and local development activities, including donor cultivation, corporate partnerships, and Feeding Matters annual community luncheon.
Kathy M. Thomas, CPA
Chief Operations and Finance Officer
With a passion for listening and helping others achieve their goals, Kathy M. Thomas joined Feeding Matters as chief operations and finance officer (COFO) after more than 25 years as a certified public accountant helping nonprofits and small businesses remain sustainable and fiscally responsible. As executive director for Cancer Support Community Arizona, Kathy put her skills to use – expanding the nonprofit’s services and successfully launching Program Latino. With Kathy at the helm, Cancer Support Community Arizona marked a 30% increase in program services and a 60% increase in the youth and family program in 2015. In her role with Feeding Matters, Kathy oversees compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, coordinates annual fiscal audits, ensures proper controls are established, and works in partnership with President and CEO Chris Linn to facilitate the annual budget and strategic plan.
Programs & Initiatives
Jaclyn Pederson, MHI
Senior Director of Programs & Strategic Initiatives
With more than a decade of experience in program development, Jaclyn Pederson’s broad knowledge of programming in the public and social sectors includes program and strategic initiative design, fund development, special events, grant writing, and community engagement. A system thinker and positive team builder, she uses transformational leadership principles to develop energized and efficient workgroups that influence significant organizational and systemic change for all affected by pediatric feeding disorder –such as the development of the expanded PFD Alliance. Jaclyn also manages Feeding Matters’ strategic partnerships with numerous professional associations including American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN).
Jen Lambert, M.Ed.
Director of Programs
A veteran in program delivery that promotes awareness, understanding, and collaborative care, Jen Lambert plans, implements, manages, and evaluates the organizations family support, professional support, and volunteer programs – most notably facilitating the International Pediatric Feeding Disorder Conference. Prior to joining Feeding Matters, Jen held leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Head Start –a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.
Cuyler Romeo, M.O.T., OTR, SCFES, CLC
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Occupational Therapist and Pediatric Feeding Specialist Cuyler Romero’s extensive leadership and clinical experience are instrumental in the execution and management of Feeding Matters’ strategic initiatives. In partnership with the Senior Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives, Jaclyn Pederson, Cuyler collaborates with constituents to identify, track, and assess innovative approaches to the PFD system of care, including the professional mentorship program and PFD Alliance’s Education Pillar. Cuyler also facilitates strategic partnerships with select professional associations including the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Prior to joining Feeding Matters, Cuyler served as a founding partner of Mealtime Connections, LLC, and gained valuable insight on funding trends and industry implications as the director of clinical innovations at Therapy 2000. She is currently a treating clinician in Banner-University Medical Center’s NICU and is the Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing Forum moderator for AOTA’s Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Section (DDSIS).
Jane Otenyo, MPH
With a background in family and child health, Jane Otenyo channels her passion for addressing socioeconomic, cultural, political, and physiological issues that affect the health of children and families into furthering advances for pediatric feeding disorder. Jane supports Feeding Matters’ education and outreach efforts, including the Community Ambassador program, Virtual Health Resource Platform, and virtual workshop series.
Heidi Van der Molen
Mother to a charming son who has pediatric feeding disorder (PFD), Heidi Van der Molen is uniquely suited to help families in the midst of their own journeys with PFD. After three years as a passionate volunteer with Feeding Matters, Heidi officially joined the organization in 2015 – managing the organizations volunteers and family support programs, including Power of Two parent-to-parent coaching, caregiver guide, and educational family support offerings.
A proactive, forward-thinking leader with expertise in donor relations, major gifts, and corporate relations, Laura Ryerson is tasked with the execution of Feeding Matters annual community luncheon, signature acquisition events, major gifts, and auxiliary board. Prior to Feeding Matters, Laura worked for various non-profits and a community foundation that gave her a distinct perspective on philanthropy and individual giving. She is dedicated to helping those with a philanthropic heart give where they are most passionate.
Public Relations & Marketing
Director of Public Relations & Marketing
For nearly 15 years, Lynita Johnson has helped local, national, and international companies meet their business and fundraising goals. As Feeding Matters’ director of public relations and marketing, she leads high-level strategy and day-to-day execution of Feeding Matters communications and marketing assets to build awareness for the organization and pediatric feeding disorder – including securing media coverage and increasing engagement with families, donors, and strategic partners. Additionally, Lynita works with Feeding Matters’ executive officers, board of directors, and the Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD) Alliance to ensure all parties are empowered and equipped to advocate for changes to the system of care.
Marketing & Brand Manager
Kate Jacobsen’s career in the nonprofit sector has centered on improving the lives of all people with disabilities. By problem solving through great design, she’s consistently elevated the branding and communications of healthcare-focused community organizations in Iowa and Arizona. At Feeding Matters, she is responsible for overseeing and maintaining Feeding Matters’ intellectual property, brand standards, and visual identity by developing, designing, and managing a wide variety of print and digital assets –including feedingmatters.org. Prior to joining Feeding Matters, Kate was the executive director of Access 2 Independence, the largest Center for Independent Living in Iowa.
Kamila Stanisch, MPH, MGM
As executive assistant to President & CEO Chris Linn and Chief Development Officer Debbie Simons, Kamila Stanisch seamlessly combines her public health, global management, and military experience with her family’s personal journey with pediatric feeding disorder to support Feeding Matters’ growing, fast-paced team. From tracking community engagement and charitable giving to schedule management and meeting coordination, Kamila’s attention to detail and big-picture vision help Feeding Matters create a world in which children with PFD will thrive.
With a background in customer service, research, administrative assistance, and office management, Karla Dille’s talents shine as Feeding Matters office manager. In collaboration with chief operations and finance officer, Karla skillfully handles human resources, financial management, and general office administration –including employee onboarding, compliance, and financial processing.