2015 Directors
Here is our OUTSTANDING 2015 Leadership Team. Our 2016 team is below!

Shelley Bertino
Co-Leadership Seminar Chair
2007 Alumna – sbertino@njhoby.org

Shelley Bertino (2)

“In 2007, I represented Sacred Heart High School at the New Jersey HOBY seminar and attended the World Leadership Congress. Initially, I did not know the impact this experience would have on my life. However, meeting like-minded, motivated people empowered me to make positive strides in my life and the lives of others. Joining the staff at NJ HOBY has allowed me to influence many ambassadors over the years to start his or her own journey. NJ HOBY has become an ever growing family of support and laughter. I am looking forward to empowering future ambassadors as I continue to develop my HOBY story.”

Siiri Makela
Co-Leadership Seminar Chair
2008 Alumna – smakela@njhoby.org

Siiri Makela

“When I first arrived at NJ HOBY as an ambassador from Midland Park High School in 2008, I had no idea what to expect or how one weekend would change my life. HOBY was intense from the start and at first I just wanted to go home—scared of the unknown. As I met other ambassadors and my group’s facilitator I realized that I was not alone on this journey. Here we were, 250 students from across New Jersey not knowing anyone else but each sharing the same goal: to make a difference. Over the course of the seminar we changed from a group of strangers to a cohesive team: we were able to work together, actively listen to our peers, share ideas, and develop our critical thinking skills. It was the ultimate experience working with people who were motivated and wanted to make a positive impact. The tools I developed that weekend continue to grow and have allowed me to become a better person.

 Coming away from that weekend I knew my HOBY journey would continue. Since then I have served on the NJ HOBY staff as a Junior Staff member, Alumni volunteer and now Co-Leadership Seminar Chairperson. These experiences have enabled me to carry on the HOBY legacy. Through the years, I have met many interesting people and made lifelong friendships. I will be forever grateful for being a part of the NJ HOBY Family and look forward to the future and what it has to bring!”

Danielle Choinski
Director of Registration and Recruitment
2008 Alumna – recruitment@njhoby.org

Danielle Choinski (2)

“As an ambassador in 2008, I did not know what I was walking into when I arrived at HOBY. I was so inspired by the speakers, staff, and fellow ambassadors, that I went home with the decision to make a change in my life. I decided to not take the easy way out and instead to find a way to make an impact in my community.

Since 2008, I have obtained my Bachelors in Science of Nursing and continued to return to HOBY each June to pass on the inspiring experience. As the Director of Registration and Recruitment for one of the nation’s biggest leadership seminars, I have been able to work with regional directors in an effort to provide high school sophomores with the tools they need to become influential leaders.Because of HOBY, I am committed to changing the lives others through my volunteer experience with the non-profit organization Putting the Pieces Together.

Working with special needs children has brought a growing passion to be a positive impact on the emotional and spiritual care in others lives. Coaching these children has impacted them therapeutically in motor skills, social skills, and muscular growth. Each child has their own diagnoses and each day with them brings new challenges for me to help overcome. I would have never found such an significant organization without the tools HOBY provided me.

I take great pride in saying I am a HOBY Alumna. My goal is to be an influential part in continuing HOBY’s life changing experience for future ambassadors.”

Joe Keenan
Director of Facilitators
2008 Alumnus – facilitators@njhoby.org

Joe Keenan

“I always laugh when people ask me to tell my HOBY story because I shouldn’t have even been at HOBY. I was not the initial pick or even the alternate, but somehow I was chosen to represent my high school in 2008. Looking back, I can’t imagine how different my life would have been. HOBY has inspired a change in me to excel. In the past, when it came to community service I would do only what was required of me: the bare minimum. This was until I heard one of NJ HOBY’s speakers challenge us to ask ‘why not me? Why can’t I change the world?’ Whether it was dancing with miracle children at Terp Thon—The University of Maryland’s Dance Marathon—or leading my fraternity’s growth from a fledgling colony to one of the largest fraternities on campus as Vice President, I always tried to ask myself ‘why not me?’ I am still working to change the world, and because of HOBY I know I can.”

Nicole Montano
Director of Junior Staff
2009 Alumna – nmontano@njhoby.org

Nicole Montano

“I am a 2009 alumni of New Jersey HOBY and the World Leadership Congress. My ambassador experience truly changed my life. When I arrived at NJ HOBY, I was a timid high school sophomore, unsure of myself or how to apply my potential. HOBY provided the tools I needed to find my own voice as a leader, person, and dancer. I found myself surrounded by peers who were very different than me, but also held such similar values. I grew immensely from my interactions with them. As a NJ HOBY volunteer, I have the opportunity to pay it forward to future ambassadors, who are all deserving of HOBY experiences as outstanding as mine. I look forward to many more years of volunteering for such an empowering organization.”

Emily Peters
Assistant Director of Junior Staff
2011 Alumna

Emily Peters (3)

“In 2012, I was selected to attend NJ HOBY as a representative from West Morris Mendham High School. Later that same summer, I flew to Chicago to attend the HOBY World Leadership Congress which brought together over 400 HOBY ambassadors from around the world. I was drawn to HOBY because of its teachings of leadership through service. I never imagined that one person alone would be able to make such an impact on their community and the world in general, but attending HOBY reaffirmed in me the idea that any action—no matter how small—can make a difference. I left HOBY with a new sense of confidence and determination to better the lives of others. For me, that means using my passion and knowledge of sustainability and engineering to solve real world problems and improve the quality of life of as many people as possible. HOBY continually inspires me and challenges me to live the life I had always imagined for myself.”

Frank Conforti
Master of Ceremonies

2011 Alumnus

Frank Conforti

“My life was changed when, in 2012, I attended the NJ HOBY Leadership Seminar representing Colts Neck High School. The energy, creativity, friendship, and education of my experience all tied together seamlessly in the warm and inviting atmosphere that was HOBY. Most importantly, HOBY gave me the opportunity to be me, to live authentically. So fulfilled was I with my HOBY experience that I decided to apply for a role on Team Alumni. This allowed me to participate in the following year’s Leadership Seminar and to inspire others in the same positive ways I had experienced. As Cheer Master, I worked with all of our ambassadors to open up with ice breakers and engage with their fellow peers. As Master of Ceremonies, I look forward to teaching new ambassadors about the skills they need to be positive role models in their communities. With each passing year, I love seeing how HOBY changes transforms our ambassadors are from their timid when they first arrive to outgoing and energetic when they leave to change the world. Without HOBY, I would not be the person I am today.”

Lauren Masterson

2008 Alumna – lmasterson@njhoby.org

Lauren Masterson - Website Profile

“In 2007, I attended NJ HOBY as an ambassador from Colts Neck High School. NJ HOBY changed my life back then, and it continues to inspire me in ways I can’t fully explain or comprehend. I have had the privilege to serve this organization as a member of Team Alumni, a Junior Facilitator, Director of Junior Staff, Director of Special Services, and most recently, Master of Ceremonies. HOBY’s roots run deep and its impact is unquantifiable. I am endlessly lucky to have the opportunity to give back to an organization that is so close to my heart.

HOBY is responsible for the actionable enlightenment of thousands of alumni globally who have gone on to change the world in immeasurable ways. HOBY’s foundation of leadership through service has supplied generations of ambassadors with the unquenchable thirst for making a positive difference in the lives of people around them. It is an absolute honor to volunteer for this organization alongside some of New Jersey’s most accomplished leaders, and it’s an even bigger honor to call them my lifelong friends.”

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