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Meet the Team

Staff

Joy McMeekanJoy McMeekan, Executive Director
Joy joined the Gilda’s Club team in February 2016 as our Development Director, was appointed to Interim Executive Director in October 2017 and Executive Director in February 2018.  She handles day to day operations as well as managing our amazing staff at Gilda’s Club.  She has over 20 years experience as an executive retail buyer, as well as 4 years experience running a small non-profit.  She decided to leave the corporate world behind after losing her husband in 2014 and her mom in 2015, both to cancer, and find a career where she could have a better work/life balance as well as give back to others. Joy understands in an extremely person way the impact of a cancer diagnosis and the critical mission for patients and their loved ones.  Her knowledge of how crucial support is to families impacted by cancer is what drives her to bring awareness to Gilda’s Club’s free programs and services to make sure no one faces cancer alone.

Joy lives in Eldridge with her fiancé, Brian, her two girls, Sydney and Bella, as well as their dog Molly and cat Twitch.  She also has a daughter, Kelsi, that resides in Davenport as well as two soon to be bonus kids, Trevor and Vanessa.

You can e-mail her at joy@gildasclubqc.org

 



Kelsey Allen, Program Director
Kelsey joined the Gilda’s Club team in September 2020. Kelsey earned her master’s degree in social work with a focus in End of Life Care from the University of Iowa in May 2016. Kelsey originally joined Gilda’s Club as an intern during the 2015-2016 school year and then went on to serve her time with a local Hospice agency helping patients/families navigate the end of life journey. Although she loved the work she did in hospice, she felt called back to the cancer support community where she connected with many individuals, families and community partners. Since leaving as an intern in 2016, she started a family with her husband Bret in Bettendorf, Iowa. Kelsey is the mom of two loving boys, Bentley and Karson.

You can e-mail her at Kelsey@gildasclubqc.org

 

 


Kelly Craft, Program Manager
Kelly joined the Gilda’s Club team in June 2018. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from University of Iowa in 2012 and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from DePaul University in 2014. She first joined the Gilda’s Club family while interning at Gilda’s Club Chicago in 2012-2013. After five years in Chicago, she decided to move back to the Quad Cities to be close to her family. She is excited to work with Gilda’s Club’s amazing volunteers who give their time to help those impacted by cancer. Kelly also facilitates support groups, teaches chair yoga classes, and works full-time at our UnityPoint Health – Trinity Moline Clubhouse.

Kelly lives in Davenport with her husband Joe, daughter Shawn, and Great Dane/Black Lab mix Anya.

You can e-mail her at kcraft@gildasclubqc.org.


Vicente Solis, Program Manager
Vicente (He/Him) joins the Gilda’s Club team as a Program Manager working primarily with children, teens, and families. Vicente earned his B.A. in Psychology and Theatre in 2016 and completed his Masters of Social Work Degree in 2020 from St. Ambrose University. Vicente started his social work experience observing an after school program called Safer Foundation: Impact while completing his psych degree. During his Master courses, Vicente interned for a year at a Substance Abuse and Addiction Outpatient facility for teens and adults as well as a year at an Inpatient treatment facility serving at-risk youth between the ages of 12-21. Vicente served at-risk youth in his last position for 2.5 years. In his free time, Vicente likes anything music related whether it be dancing, singing, playing the guitar or piano. Vicente grew up playing sports and continues to play soccer and volleyball after work as well as coaching volleyball at a club and high school level. When Vicente isn’t working or coaching, Vicente hangs out with his cats, Luna, Tigre, and Rae, or plays video games. Vicente is very excited about his opportunity to work with such an amazing staff as well as the amazing group of people he will encounter during his time at Gilda’s Club!Vicente Headshot

 

You can e-mail him at vicente@gildasclubqc.org.

 

 

 


Michele Darland headshotMichele Darland, Development Director
Michele joined the Gilda’s Club team in May 2020. She handles fundraising, donor relationship building and special event planning here at Gilda’s Club. She has over 25 years’ experience in advertising and marketing as well as an extensive background in special events production. With an extensive family history of cancer she understands how important it is to raise funds to support the mission of Gilda’s Club. As an avid volunteer Michele encourages others to give their time, talent and treasure to organizations that benefit our community. Michele lives in Davenport with her husband Dan, sons, Jack and Max, dogs, Dobby and Quinn and Rebecca the cat.

You can e-mail her at michele@gildasclubqc.org.

 


Pam TonePam Tone, Officer Manager
Pam began her service to Gilda’s as a volunteer in 1997 and joined the Gilda’s Club team in July 2002. Pam is often the first voice you hear when calling Gilda’s Club. Pam makes sure the office runs smoothly and helps in whatever way she can, whether it is a staff, member, donor or volunteer request. Pam enjoys serving and helping others, getting to know members and donors and being that listening ear when someone just needs to talk, a gift she learned from her mother who died of cancer in 2015.

When not working she enjoys spending time with her family and spoiling her 4 grandchildren. Pam lives in Hampton with her husband Ryan.

You can e-mail her at pam@gildasclubqc.org.

Part-Time Facilitators

Ruth Laabs Wilcox Picture

Ruth Laabs-Wilcox
Ruth has been a social worker in the community for 44 years. She has worked in the medical field including Palliative Care, Hospice and the Cancer Center at both local hospitals. Ruth has also worked in case management and has facilitated various support groups at Gilda’s Club since 2010.  In her spare time,  she fosters kittens and elderly hospice cats for several shelters and has sponsored children in Romania.  She also enjoys plays, musicals and reading.

 


Emma Morgan
Emma joined the Gilda’s Club team in February of 2022. Emma earned her master’s degree in social work from St. Ambrose University in 2018 and her independent license in 2021. Emma works full time as a therapist, working mostly with children, focusing on clients’ strengths and utilizing an empowerment-based practice. Emma has a personal connection to Gilda’s Club’s mission as she is a cancer survivor and will be cancer free for six years in the summer of 2022. Emma lives in Bettendorf with her two Australian Shepherds, Koda and Raine.

 

 


Maria Ricaurte-RomzaMaria Ricaurte-Romza
María joined the Gilda’s Club team in October of 2011. She proudly earned her Master’s in Social Work degree from the University of Iowa, in May of 1994. Maria retired in after 27 years of service as a School Social Worker for Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency. She also had a private practice for 14 years at the Four Seasons Counseling Clinic in Muscatine, IA.

María has enjoyed her experience as a wellness group facilitator for Gilda’s Club and working with persons diagnosed with cancer and their family members in Muscatine, IA. She has also developed a recent interest and participated in a multi-generational genetic study of cancer in her family history to explore potential risk factors with a focus on preventative and proactive health measures. María is bilingual,(English and Spanish), and bicultural, and her passion has been serving Latino children, families and communities.

María has lived in Muscatine, IA for the past 18 years and treasures spending time with her son, Jonathan, and her grandson, Nash, and her three dogs, Javier, Antonio and Nico.


Theresa Armetta
Theresa has been a School Social Worker for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency for 25 years. She was first involved with Gilda’s Club as a member in 2007 after a diagnosis of breast cancer. She eventually started volunteering for Gilda’s and is excited to start facilitating groups in March 2022.

Theresa lives in Coal Valley with her husband, Mark. She enjoys staying active, traveling, and spending time with her family including her 3 grandchildren.

 

 


Bobbi Kelley
Bobbi began teaching Yoga4Cancer classes at Gilda’s Club in July of 2021. She is certified through YogaAlliance as a 200 RYT instructor and as a Yoga4Cancer Instructor. Bobbi is a former teacher. When she retired in June 2019, she decided to pursue a long-term goal of becoming certified to teach yoga to children. Bobbi completed her 95 hour Challenge To Change, Inc. Toddler, Kids and Teen Yoga Teacher Training in April, 2020. Realizing the benefit yoga had been for her over this journey, Bobbi decided to continue on and pursue her 200 YTT training and completed her 200 YTT certification in November, 2020. Currently, she is working on her 300 hour YTT training.

Bobbi enjoys being with her family. She lives in De Witt, Iowa with her husband, Steve, and has 2 grown sons. When not doing yoga, Bobbi enjoys singing with her praise band at her church, doing puzzles on the computer, and reading. Bobbi is excited for the opportunities that yoga is bringing into her life, she looks forward to being able to help others learn how yoga can help bring calm, peace, and love in one’s life.

Board of Directors

2022 Board of Directors

Chair: Laura Hoss, Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C.

Chair Elect: Seneca Black—Exelon Generation

Secretary: Sherry Grubbs—Estes Construction

Treasurer: Carol Kovach—Open Software Solutions

Alison Beardsley—UnityPoint Health–Trinity

Drew Dennis—Crescent Parts & Equipment

Alivia Hatten—CMB Regional Centers

Joy McMeekan—Gilda’s Club Quad Cities

Tyler Mitchell—The Project of the Quad Cities

Holly Oppelt—Retired Executive

Andrea Schelin—Genesis Health Systems

Lori Serrano—Modern Woodmen of America

Dennis VanDerGinst—VanDerGinst Law

 

 

 

 

 

Associate Board

2022 Associate Board

President: Tyler Mitchell, The Project

Secretary: Viminda Shafer, The Project

Board Liaison: Alivia Hatten, CMB Regional Centers

Staff Liaison: Michele Darland

Ben Carlson, Camp Shalom

Catherine Dittmer, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Kate Griffith, Hotel Blackhawk and The Current Iowa

Amy Groth, Eagle View Behavioral Health

Brian Keck, KLJB Fox TV

Nick Machovec, Assured Partners

Kirby Reinhardt Marcure, Businessolver

Christy Pacha, US Army Contracting Command

Barry Shaw, Ascentra Credit Union

Professional Advisory Board

2020 Professional Advisory Board Members

Dr. Susannah P. Friemel, MD – Oncology
Iowa Cancer Specialists, PC

Linda Guebert, MS, RN, Parish Nurse Manager
UnityPoint Health – Trinity

Jennifer Hildebrand, RN-BC, Faith Community Nurse
Genesis Occupational Health

Doug McCollum, Retired Psychologist

Chris McCormick Pries, ARNP, Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Director
Vera French Community Mental Health Center

Toni Weeks, LMSW, Social Worker
UnityPoint Health- Trinity Cancer Center

Julie Wheeler, RN, MSN, Outpatient Palliative Care Nurse
Genesis Health System

Cassandra Fury, RN, Oncology Nurse Navigator
Genesis Cancer Institute

Jessica Nicely-Green, MSN, BSN, RN, Oncology Nurse Navigator
Genesis Cancer Institute

Lindsey Allbee-Reid, Social Worker, School Based Mental Health Counselor
UnityPoint Health – Trinity