Heather Bruskin, Executive Director
As Executive Director, Heather oversees the day-to-day function of the Food Council, supporting the Council Members, Working Groups and Internal Committees in their efforts as well as connecting with local food system stakeholders. Heather spent the first decade of her career in higher education administration and student services, including roles as the Director of the Freshman/Alumni Summer Internship Program at MIT, a financial aid counselor at Georgetown University and the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and a Premed and Prelaw Advisor at the University of Virginia. Prior to her work with the Food Council, Heather also served as President of a number of local volunteer-driven community based organizations in Montgomery County. Heather holds a B.A. from Tufts University and an M. Ed. from the University of Virginia. Heather serves on the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program Board, CKC Farming Advisory Board, and the Nonprofit Montgomery Advocacy Committee, and she is an active volunteer in her community, serving as a Girl Scout Troop Leader, Coach for Girls on the Run, Vice Chair of her local elementary school Education Foundation Board, MCCPTA Delegate, and active PTA parent.
Massa Cressall, Development and Communications Manager
Massa manages all aspects of the Food Council’s grant and communications activities. Massa brings ten years of communications experience to the Food Council and has held positions in both the private and non-profit sectors. She began her career as a strategy consultant with Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and then worked for several years in investor communications and strategic planning with Endurance Specialty Holdings. In addition to her communications experience, Massa has worked with the Washington DC-based non-profits DC Greens and FoodPrints as a food systems and nutrition educator. Massa holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Tufts University, a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, and a Master of Science in Nutrition Education from American University.
Amanda Nesher, Food Security Programs Manager
Amanda manages and coordinates the implementation of the Food Council’s Food Security Plan initiatives, which aim to build a Montgomery County in which all people have access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food, with dignity. Amanda brings considerable experience in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, she worked as the Legislative Associate for anti-hunger nonprofit MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, where she advocated to protect and strengthen the federal nutrition safety net, with particular emphasis on the food security needs for veterans and military families. She previously worked as a corporate attorney at the offices of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP before relocating to Israel, where she worked as a Legal and Strategic Advisor for the Office of the Prime Minister. Amanda has an LL.M. from Columbia Law School in New York and a B.A. in Law from Cambridge University in England.
Catherine Nardi, Programs and Policy Coordinator
Catherine oversees our digital media platforms, works closely with our policy committee to track legislation and engage with state and local legislators, and serves as the staff liaison to our Food Economy and Environmental Impact Working Groups. She also manages Food Council events and initiatives related to the MoCo Made brand, which serves to increase the visibility of and economic opportunities for the County’s vibrant local food and beverage producer community. Catherine has experience in the non-profit sector and with the federal government. She previously worked at the Montgomery County Collaboration Council and at the Office of Congressman John Delaney. Catherine has a B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Nutrition Education at American University.
Daniel Bowen, AmeriCorps VISTA
Daniel Bowen is excited to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Montgomery County Food Council. During his year of service, Daniel will support existing projects, including updating the Food Assistance Resource Directory, and will work closely with the Food Recovery and Access Working Group. He will also be working to expand the Food Council’s network and establish new partnerships with organizations around Montgomery County. Daniel holds a B.A. in Sustainable Food Systems and Biology from Guilford College.
Allie Sklarew, AmeriCorps VISTA
Allie helps to manage the Senior SNAP Program and Food Security Community Advisory Board, as well as other Food Security initiatives that the Food Council works on. Allie is a recent graduate from Goucher College with a B.A. in Public Policy. She was an intern for the Food Council in the summer of 2019, and has political experience from internships at the Federal, State, and County levels, most notably with Senator Van Hollen and Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer. She has background in the food and beverage industry in Maryland, including an internship with the Maryland Brewer’s Association. She was President of Goucher’s Food Recovery Network program, helping recover surplus food from the college to Baltimore’s homeless population.