Heidi Nortonsmith, Executive Director
I was delighted to join the Survival Center as Executive Director in May 2004, having previously been a program manager at a national non-profit, the director of operations at a fast-paced socially-responsible local business, and a public interest lawyer serving the deaf community in the Washington, DC area. I am active in local and regional Quaker activities, and enjoy a variety of hobbies – most recently learning to play the banjo and playing bluegrass music with my spouse, Gina.
Sarah Pease, Program Director
I began volunteering for the NSC in 2000 when distributing groceries every Thursday evening was the highlight of my week. So, when the position of Program Director became available in March 2008, I jumped at the chance to work full-time for an organization which I had come to love. It is always a privilege to help people get what they need, but what regularly inspires me is the warmth and generosity I see among the entire community of the NSC – clients, volunteers, and donors alike.
Diane Drohan, Volunteer Manager; Hilltown Pantry Manager
I began my journey with the Survival Center in 2011 as a volunteer. In 2013 I joined the staff of this well respected and established organization. I grew up in Long Island, New York, followed by two decades in Vermont raising a family and eventually settled in the Northampton area. I enjoy travelling, live local music, and spending time outdoors with friends and canines. My children and granddaughters are the loves of my life.
Amy Marsters, Development Manager
Since 2013, I have been working at the Center in development and fundraising. When not at work, I might be found somewhere in my garden – picking, planting or weeding! I also spend time hiking with our dog and enjoying live music. I am very grateful to be part of a wonderful organization that is doing important work for so many in the community.
Carlos Rivera, Distribution Manager
Over the years I have worked in several non-profits in the Valley one of which was Tapestry. My hobbies include woodworking and cooking for friends and family. I grew up in Hamp in a lower to middle class Latino family of 8. My parents worked hard but sometimes it was difficult for them to feed six kids. During tough times we came to The Northampton Survival Center (NSC) for help. I remember that NSC staff always treated us with love, respect, compassion and empathy. NSC positively impacted me as a child and I am privileged to be part of this amazing organization.
Carolina Dellepiane, Program Coordinator
I was born and raised in Argentina and emigrated to the United States upon accepting an offer to work for a consulting firm in New York City. It was through this job that I became knowledgeable and interested in the inner works of non-profits, especially those addressing issues of inequity and social justice. After attending community college in New York I received a scholarship to complete my Bachelors’ Degree at Smith College, and graduated in 2020 with a degree in Psychology and Government. I was thrilled to accept the position of Program Coordinator at the Northampton Survival Center, and look forward to contributing to the meaningful work that is done here every day. Outside of work I enjoy writing, connecting with other immigrant parents, traveling, and hiking around the beautiful Pioneer Valley region.
Chris Oakley, Office Manager
I have been working in the Pioneer Valley for the past 15 years, previously working as Executive Director of SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton, MA and as Old Chapel Manager at UMass Amherst. I am currently on the Board of Directors for Noho Pride, and spend a lot of personal time running a local entertainment company with my husband. I consider myself a maker and I love baking, gardening, sewing, and creating for friends and family. I am excited to bring my knowledge and expertise to the Northampton Survival Center, and to be part of an organization that does so much good for the community.
Josefina Rodriguez, Client Outreach Assistant
I came from the Dominican Republic. After the death of my husband in 2010, I became a client of the Survival Center. During that hard time, the NSC staff treated me with love, respect, dignity, and without judgment. The support the NSC offered me lightened the load on my shoulders by helping me to balance work, family, and school. As a result, my family didn’t go hungry as I worked a part-time job as a patient care attendant and earned my associate degree in Liberal Arts at Holyoke Community College. Over the years, I have volunteered for Families with Power, Casa Latina, and Center for New Americans. When I am not working, I enjoy reading, walking, meditating, community gardening with Grow Food Northampton, dancing, and spending time with my children and friends. I feel honored to be part of the Survival Center staff.