2015 Board of Directors
Melissa J. Hedlund Nelson, Chair & Co-Founder
See Staff Bio.
April S. Hedlund, Treasurer & Co-Founder
April earned her MBA from Southern Illinois University and her MHRM from Keller Graduate School of Management. She currently works at a local university as the Assistant Director of Admissions.
April has taken several courses in Accounting, Finance, Management, and Marketing during her MBA. While obtaining her MHRM, she has taken several courses in Training and Development, Staffing, Managing Organizational Change, Benefits, and Compensation.
With the combination of her educational background and her experience in management, April is very excited about the opportunity to contribute to The Light of The Heart. In her spare time,
April enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Elaina Whittenhall, Secretary
Elaina Whittenhall, MA, MS, is an art therapist and photographer who believes in the power of finding meaning and making life meaningful through creative expression. She has a Master of Science degree in Art Therapy from Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI. She completed her clinical internship at The Light of The Heart in 2014 and volunteered at TLOTH throughout 2015. She also has a Master of Arts in Theology from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.
Elaina spent over a decade working as an editorial and administrative assistant, and she currently works as an art therapist with women with eating, mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
Erika Rios, Director of Communications & Outreach
Erika was instrumental in bringing the Oscar-Award winning Documentary, Inocente, to Aurora; she was the visionary beyond the project! She is a graduate of Aurora University and received her Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice. She has recently took on a new role with Accertify an American Express Company. Prior to that, she worked at Mutual Ground as a Transitional Housing Domestic Violence Advocate, where she advocated for women and educated them on Domestic Violence. She is passionate about helping others and has over 13 years of customer service and banking experience. She looks forward to her new role with The Light of The Heart.
Jessica Mascenic, Director of Marketing
Jessica Mascenic, MA, is an art therapist at an alternative high school, working largely with adolescents with behavioral and emotional disorders.
Jessica has a passion for community outreach and artistic expression. She has found a love for art therapy and has been fortunate to incorporate this love of art while working with diverse populations all over the Chicagoland area. She is very excited to be joining the TLOTH board!