Bonnie Wattles, Executive Director
With over 20 years of business and nonprofit leadership experience, Bonnie is bringing HFC into the next phase of growth to become a leading voice in brain health awareness and care for families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.
Bonnie has extensive experience building organizations from the ground up, including chairing successful multi-million dollar capital campaigns, designing and managing strategic planning projects, and growing board leadership. Most recently, Bonnie was Executive Director of the award-winning contemporary art space, Franklin Street Works, located in Stamford, CT. Bonnie has served in key leadership roles on several boards including The Long Ridge School, Wooster School, and the Arts and Culture Commission of the City of Stamford. Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Hamilton College and an MBA in Marketing from Columbia Business School.
When Bonnie is not asking her friends to donate money or volunteer for one of her causes, she is spending time with her family and walking her English Bulldog, Wilma. Bonnie’s work to help families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease is in memory of her grandmother, Sadie, who suffered from dementia.
Alexandra Villano, Senior Director of Program Strategy and Development
With more than twenty years of experience in the non-profit sector, Alex has served in several capacities as a principal contributor to strategic planning, organizational planning, and governing decisions as well as been directly responsible for implementing programmatic change in various roles throughout her career. Alex holds a Master’s from NYU’s Gallatin School where she studied the interdisciplinary design of social service programs. Alex brings her passion for working collaboratively to build and expand programs and strengthen organizations to HFC and is thrilled to join the team to advance HFC’s mission and honor the memory of her Grandma Sadie and the commitment of her Aunt Tina who lovingly cared for Grandma Sadie and sacrificed a lot to do so.
When not at work, Alex is busy with her family and can be found somewhere at a soccer or baseball field cheering for her middle and high-school kids, attending a Mets game, enjoying her husband’s music, or being walked by the family’s two pups, Rocky and Ellie.
RJ Mercede, Director of Development
RJ Mercede is the Director of Development with HFC. For more than 10 years, RJ has been supporting nonprofits big and small.
Most recently, as the Manager of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, he was responsible for building the capacity of Fairfield County, CT nonprofits, supporting 400+ organizations annually with their various programming and fundraising needs.
RJ holds a Master’s Degree from Northeastern University, a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Connecticut, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Stonehill College. He is also a proud, three-time AmeriCorps Alum.
He can regularly be found supporting his favorite hometown businesses and nonprofits in Stamford, CT, where he lives with his wife and son. He loves concerts, documentaries, and a good Buzzfeed list. He does this work in memory of Irene, Ceci, and Charm, and the millions of lives impacted by Alzheimer’s.
Diana McHugh, Senior Director of External Affairs
Diana is a creative strategist with over a decade of experience in nonprofit communications, fundraising, and brand management. A passionate leader, she has dedicated her career to social justice, women’s issues, and public health.
Most recently the Director of Communications at the Women’s Prison Association (WPA), a nearly 200-year-old nonprofit empowering women to redefine their lives in the face of injustice and incarceration, Diana was responsible for creating and executing communications and fundraising strategies to optimize financial growth and increase brand visibility.
Diana holds a Bachelor’s in English from Siena College and a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University. She is thrilled to join HFC toward the advancement of Alzheimer’s care and prevention, and works in honor of her grandfather Bob, her great aunt Rose, and all those who preserve a space for joy in adversity.