Regional Leadership

Regional Leadership

Dining for Women is divided into 13 U.S. regions, each of which is managed by a volunteer Regional Leader or Co-Leaders.

Regional Leader Committee Chair


Anna Schoon

From a deep desire to see people flourish by bringing their uniqueness to bear in the world around them, Anna Schoon thinks, writes, and teaches about what it means to be human and to participate in the mission to redeem and restore all of creation. Anna is particularly interested in place-making and belonging as means to help disinvested neighborhoods organize for the resurrection of their communities.
Anna has over 25 years of leadership experience in a variety of human service settings. Since 2006, she has been working as the Director of Planning and Business Development at Northwest Indiana Community Action, based in Crown Point, Indiana. In her role, Anna leads the organization’s community needs assessment processes, develops outcome-oriented strategies for change, and leads the organization’s efforts to measure and document success.
In 2018, Anna completed a master’s degree in social justice at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago.
Anna started her Dining for Women chapter in Valparaiso, Indiana in 2013 and serves as chair of the Regional Leader Committee.
She’s a collector of friends and loves to gather with people around a table to share life and great food.

Carolinas Region

NC, SC – email:

Julia Edelson – Co-Leader

Julia has been a part of Dining for Women since the early days and has been Co-Chapter Leader of NC, Charlotte-2 for 10 years. Originally from the northeast, Charlotte has been home to her and her family for over 20 years. While launching three sons into the adult world, she has remained active in a number of church and school volunteer activities. Maintaining close ties with extended family is also a priority. Julia is happy be to be involved with Dining for Women on the regional level. Follow

Meredith Stoudenmire – Co-Leader

Meredith has a background in Recruiting and HR and hopes to be an asset to Dining for Women in helping the organization grow. She has been a member since 2015 and recently became a Co-Chapter Leader of SC, Greenville-13. “I love socializing with substance. Dining for Women is such a great concept combining cooking and eating and togetherness with making a great differences in the health, safety, and education of women and girls all over the world.” Meredith lives in Greenville, SC with her husband and two young children. Follow

Central Region

IN, KY, MI, OH – email:

Tamara Peterson – Co-Leader

Tamara has been a part of Dining for Women since 2012 when she co-founded the Hudson, Ohio chapter with her daughter Rachel. She has a long history of activism and advocacy for marginalized voices, from her early career as a critical care nurse to her current work as a patient advocate. Tamara also works as an interior stylist, with a focus on bringing joy and peace into the physical spaces of her clients through design. She and her husband, Mike, have two adult daughters, Sarah and Rachel. In her spare time Tamara enjoys the outdoors, visiting her family, working on creative projects, and traveling both nationally and globally. She is thrilled to take on the inspiring challenge of regional leader. Follow

Rachel Peterson – Co-Leader

Bio coming soon!Follow


Florida Region

FL – email:

Jan Richards – Regional Leader

Jan is a relatively new transplant to Southwest Florida. She spent her career in continuing medical and nursing education administration in both academic and member association settings. Currently, she stays engaged professionally with a bit of consulting. She is also involved in committee work at her condominium association, where her spouse serves as board president.
Many years ago, she had the amazing opportunity to live in Southern Chile during the final days of the Salvatore Allende regime and during the military takeover of that country. Research work through an anthropologist husband took them to Mapuche reservations near Tolten – a community in which the grandmas managed the household and cared for the little ones because the parents of these children had moved into the cities to seek work. The entrepreneurial spirit of these older ladies, particularly in the selling of textiles and pottery was always amazing, and perhaps was the spark for a renewed interest in supporting women and children internationally. Jan has been Co-Chapter Leader of FL, Venice-2 since her relocation from Washington DC.
Jan has two grown daughters and four wonderful grandchildren. She enjoys knitting, reading, and recently began taking piano lessons.

Heartland Region

MN, ND, SD, WI – email:

Donna Neshek– Regional Leader

Bio coming soon!Follow


Mid-Atlantic Region

DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA, WV – email:

Merle Steiner – Co-Leader

Merle spent many years overseas with her Foreign Service husband (unfortunately, married women couldn't come into the Foreign Service until a class action suit was filed against the State Department). Her Masters in International Affairs, the years she spent abroad, and other foreign travel heightened her interest in the developing world. Her career in local government also gave her a lot of experience with non-profit organizations and the problems that poverty can cause. Merle and her husband, Steve, have three grown children and even some grandchildren. She spends her spare time playing tennis, reading for two book clubs, hiking, biking, playing the piano, knitting, and cooking recipes from around the world. As Co-Leader of the MD, Rockville-1 chapter and Co-Leader of the Mid-Atlantic region, Merle spends a lot of her time dedicated to this amazing organization.Follow

Peggy Smith – Co-Leader

Peggy founded her business — Smith and Associates, a consulting and training organization — after a varied career working for the DuPont and Agfa corporations, serving in the Peace Corps and teaching in New York City. Peggy heard about Dining for Women from a Peace Corps friend during a visit to Santa Fe in 2011. 'When I looked on the DFW website I discovered Delaware had no chapters.' So she and a group of friends started one. Delaware boasts six chapters and more on the horizon. 'It is such a joy to meet and know women who are so passionate about helping women in need. As a Regional Leader I hope to continue to inspire women to join and use their passion to support Dining for Women as we impact the developing world, one project at a time.'Follow

Annette Hearing– Co-Leader

Bio coming soon!Follow

Midwest Region

IA, IL, KS, MO – email:

The Regional Leader position for Midwest is vacant at this time.


Northeast Region

CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT – email:

Kathy Williams – Co-Leader

After moving to the Boston area to be near family, Kathy started the first Dining for Women chapter in the Boston area in Holbrook MA in 2014. Kathy is a former nurse and retired after 30 years with Sanofi Pharmaceuticals. She loves to cook and travel internationally to cooking schools, and runs a cooking school for small groups in her home. Kathy has shared her cooking talents with Dining for Women’s education team, writing about the customs and cuisine of countries where grantees are located, as well as assisting with recipe development. Women's rights have been a very important focus for Kathy. She has been inspired and motivated by Dining for Women and all the members she has met. She hopes to inspire and motivate people in the Northeast region in order to promote awareness about Dining for Women and grow our chapters and membership. Follow

Susan Prener – Co-Leader

Susan and a friend started a Dining for Women chapter in Fairport, NY in 2003. They were drawn to the simplicity of DFW’s model of 'transforming lives one woman at a time' for women and girls in developing countries. 'Our chapter members look forward to stimulating discussions about our sisters and their communities across the world, and therefore are inspired to contribute to our grantees.' As a founder and former executive director of a local domestic violence agency, Susan witnessed the power of such change assisting and advocating for survivors. She understands first-hand how volunteers are often the backbone of an organization like DFW. As a lifelong volunteer herself, often for women’s issues, Susan is honored to bring her experience and energy to DFW’s regional team. She also enjoys watercolor painting, art, travel, and anything outdoors.Follow

Northwest Region

AK, ID, MT, OR, WA – email:

Karen McCune – Co-Leader

Karen joined the first Portland, OR Dining for Women chapter six years ago and was hooked at the first meeting. A year later after the Portland chapter saw a huge surge in membership (from 20 to 75), she and two other women started a chapter on the Westside of Portland. This chapter is alive and well and celebrated its 5th anniversary in October. Karen was also on the planning committee for the first Northwest Region conference and participated in the Dining for Women trip to the Dominican Republic in 2015.
Karen's passion for providing support to women and children guided her professional life. Starting out as an early intervention specialist and parent educator and retiring in March 2015 from her job as National VP of Employee Assistance and WorkLife at Optum/United Health Care, she brings leadership and management experience to her new role as Northwest Regional Co-Leader. Karen and her husband live in Beaverton, OR. They have two grown married children and one 20 month-old granddaughter who is the love of their lives.

Rocky Mountain Region

CO, NE, WY – email:

Betty Purkey-Huck – Co-Leader

Betty joined Dining for Women in 2012 as a Chapter Leader and also served as a regional Mentor for two years. A resident of Sedalia, CO, Betty is married and has three adult children. Betty's background is in Human Resources and as a retiree, enjoys time at their cabin at Lake George, CO and with family. Betty is passionate about helping Dining for Women remain sustainable and loves creating new chapters and agents of change to overcome poverty and obtain equity for women and girls.Follow

Mary Romano– Co-Leader

Mary has been a member of Dining for Women since 2015. She started a Dining for Women chapter in Lafayette, CO in the fall of 2017. Her years as a member and a chapter leader, and her attendance at Dining for Women regional and national conferences, have enabled her to learn and understand the programs, grantees and women and children served in a deeper way.
Originally from the Philadelphia area, Mary has lived most of her life in beautiful Boulder County, Colorado where she still lives with her husband Jeff. She has two grown sons (and 2 step daughters) who are also doing their part to make this world a better place. Her career has been in sales and marketing in various forms over the past 30 yrs. She is currently working as a Realtor.
Mary's drive and interest in serving the mission of Dining for Women comes from her mother who has had a large influence in her life. With a bold spirit and sense of adventure, her mother jumped right into the women’s movement and the communal life popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s. She put herself through school (with 5 children in tow) and then spent the balance of her life involved in the nonprofit world helping women and children in poverty who were lacking healthcare, suffered domestic violence and/or substance abuse. Seeing her mother’s strength and commitment made its mark, and Mary has grown to realize how fortunate life circumstances and opportunities have been for her. After being invited to her first Dining for Women’s meeting, she knew it was the organization she wanted to put her energy and efforts in an attempt to give back.

South Central Region

OK, TX – email:

Kasey Henry – Regional Leader

Kasey is a native Texan, a Texas A&M graduate, a CPA, and an ardent champion of others. Kasey and her husband currently live in Houston after prior stops in Baltimore and Baton Rouge. Kasey’s career has led her to working exclusively with non-profits as a consultant for organizations that need CFO/controller support. Her work with these organizations has given her insight into the challenges non-profits face as they strive to serve their communities. Kasey’s compassion for helping others continues in her personal life. She has volunteered and served on the boards of several non-profit organizations in the various cities where she’s lived.
After arriving in Houston, Kasey was introduced to Dining for Women in 2017. After just a year with the organization, Kasey realized she wanted to be more involved in DFW. She and several of her friends from book club decided to start their own chapter.
When not engaged in work or outreach opportunities, Kasey enjoys reading, cooking, and attending shows in Houston’s top-notch Theater District. Kasey and her husband live in downtown Houston with their cat, Lily, and recently graduated from an improv class.


Southeast Region

AL, AR, GA, LA, MS, TN – email:

Terri Abraham – Co-Leader

Terri is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has over 30 years of consulting experience, working with medical clinics, hospitals, mental health centers, home health care agencies, software companies, and investment firms. She is the founder and CEO of the Marietta West Cobb Counseling Center. A strong believer in giving back to the community, Terri has served on the Boards of non-profit and advocacy organizations. Terri has been a member of Dining for Women for over five years and co-leader of the GA, Marietta-1 chapter much of that time. Terri says, 'When I first learned of DFW, I was impressed with the mission of empowering women and girls to improve their lives and communities. The benefits I've received from DFW have been a great surprise. Where else can you get an education, have fun, eat well, and make the world a better place all at the same time?'Follow

Linda Schneckenberg – Co-Leader

Linda Schneckenberg became involved with Dining for Women as an active member in the Denver/Stapleton, CO chapter in 2015. Linda and her husband Dan divide their time between Denver and New Orleans, usually rotating on a monthly basis. In New Orleans, she organized a DFW chapter in 2017 and in 2019 joined the Regional Leader team as Co-Leader for the Southeast Region.
Education, marketing and finance have been the unifying areas in Linda’s career. Graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in English literature, followed by a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan, she taught high school English in Wisconsin. After later earning an MBA, she taught college finance and completed her career as Director of Sales & Marketing for a financial firm in Minneapolis.
A passion for justice and a love of people are the drivers in Linda’s commitment to Dining for Women.

Southwest Region

AZ, NM, NV, UT – email:

The Regional Leader position for Southwest is vacant at this time.


West Region

CA, HI –

Pat Payne – Co-Leader

Pat Payne has a marketing and sales background where she applied marketing principles to triple sales for small businesses and retain customers. She earned her MBA in Marketing from California State University East Bay and worked as a Marketing and Business Development Director for 13 years working for environmental testing laboratories. She has 30 years of fundraising and event planning experience organizing and promoting charity auctions, dinners, dances, festivals, and conferences. She has developed partnerships with various community organizations, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club International, church groups and foundations. Pat currently serves on the Board of Directors for Eden Area Foundation and the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition. Her leadership experience includes Director, Castro Valley Mothers Club, President and Treasurer of HARTS, and she served for many years on PTA School Boards.
Pat has been an active member of Dining for Women for eight years and served as Co-Chapter Leader of the Castro Valley, California chapter for two years. She is passionate about the mission of Dining for Women (DFW) and currently serves as the National Conference Sponsorship Chairperson. .

Colleen Kill – Co-Leader

Dining for Women has been a fast ride for Colleen Kill, who joined by starting her own chapter in February of 2015 and then went on to become a Mentor for the Central Coast of California in 2017. Now she is happily taking on the role of co-Regional Leader for the West Region. Colleen hopes her 28 years of experience in the health care industry, especially her extensive experience in training and leadership, will be an asset to the West Region and to DFW. After she retired early from Amgen, Colleen searched for just the right organization focused on helping women behind which to throw her time and talents. When a cousin in Oregon began talking about DFW and its mission and model, it all just seemed exactly right. Shortly thereafter, she started the Simi Valley chapter. Colleen is married and enjoys world travel (28 countries and counting!), reading, and many outdoor activities like golf and hiking.Follow


Our international chapter applications are temporarily on-hold as we research the legal requirements for the growing demand to expand globally.