Board of Directors
Mandi Paronish MSN, RN, CPN
Mandi is the founder of Small Town Hope, has created the original Hopes Villa Children's Center and Tree House. She is actively practicing Peri-Anesthesia Nursing and is in pursuant of her Doctorate of Nursing Practice.
At the age of 18, Mandi considers herself lucky to have found her true passion, caring for children and further the vulnerable. Her volunteer work at cardiac and trach/vent camps quickly led her to pursue pediatric nursing. She has worked with so many wonderful people and for numerous Children's Hospitals and incredible organizations in the North East including Pittsburgh Children's Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital. Mandi's experiences span from critical care, anesthesia, leadership, team building, safety & quality, to level one trauma. Mandi also has a passion for the arts and loves to think and work creatively. In undergrad, Mandi played volleyball at the Division One Level while attending Saint Francis University.
Residing in Pennsylvania, home is her favorite place to be and being called Aunt Manni will forever and always make everything better! Mandi's dreams of bringing opportunity and resources to all and especially to those who have given up drive the STH team from the board room to the big blue house on Bigler!
Katie is the Board President and a proud graduate of Saint Francis University. She was an instrumental part of the women’s golf team (Division I) winning the North Eastern Conference team title three out of four years. The team was invited to partake in the NCAA championship tournament for two years! Katie loves the outdoors and all things green.
Katie has participated in volunteer work throughout her entire life dating back to when she was a candy striper for the Valley View Hospital in NJ. She treasures the time spent volunteering at the orphanages in Cuernavaca, Mexico and serving patrons of the Salvation Army in Johnstown, PA.
Katie is employed by BNY Mellon within the Pittsburgh campus. Admired by her colleagues for her kind and inclusive demeanor along with her organizational and planning skills. Katie is the Global Engagement Lead within the COO department of the Information Security Division (ISD). She is the Chair of Americas for the LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group, named the prestigious Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion in 2019, a finalist for Women in Technology 'Advocate of the Year' in 2021 and exudes empathy and a safe space for all who come in contact with her.
Katie is extremely honored to be a part of this magical establishment to ensure health and wellness for all children within the Small Town Hope family.
Stephanie is the Vice President of Small Town Hope Inc. Stephanie is a well-seasoned Senior Analyst. She holds an MBA in Finance from Texas A&M University. She has gained worldly experience from Hong Kong, Europe and Great Britain. Stephanie completed her undergraduate degree in Business and Fashion Merchandising from the University of North Texas.
Stephanie's passion for helping kids is derived from her own struggles with learning to read and write as a child. Growing up in rural Texas, she understands the value of love and hope in a small town. She looks forward to using her skill sets as launching pads for children to surpass the
obstacles that prevent them from learning.
Stephanie enjoys traveling, boating, paddle boarding, riding side by sides, and knitting. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, Gary and her golden retriever, Buddy.
Beth Paronish has made an Art Education Degree go a long way in the small town of Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania. Beth has led quite a path of diverse experiences with her Bachelor’s degree obtained from Indiana University in 2006 in her pocket. After 2 years of teaching in the public school system, Beth decided to venture in a different direction. In 2014, Beth joined Mandi Paronish on the adventure of opening Hope’s Villa Children’s Center. While taking care of children of all ages there, she loved using her art knowledge and skills to brighten the kids’ days. Drawings, sculptures, murals, sensory walls, upcycling projects and even parade floats became a large part of Beth’s passionate days at Hope’s Villa. The building was a blank canvas and Beth got to color it with happiness for many people using her art talent. In 2016 when Beth was invited to join the Board of Small Town Hope, and she excitedly accepted. She has helped with Small Town Hope’s annual events including Summer Adventures, Christmas Cookie Event, and now she teaches Small Town Hope’s Preschool class of 20 brilliant developing minds. When Beth is not working with children of the community, she is at home soaking up love from her son and daughter. She and her husband have made a home in the country setting that surrounds them, proudly raising their kids on family values and traditions.
With a passion for educating ALL learners of any age, Brenda Calhoun comes to us with a background of experience working within a local education service agency, primarily in the areas of instructional technology, STEM, social media management, and digital productivity strategies.
Before joining Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8, Brenda earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in Adult Education. These programs focused on the development of skills such as communicating effectively, guiding adult learners, and using technology wisely, all of which are critical in successfully navigating the world in which we live today.
Personally, her time is spent with her husband and two daughters, reading, traveling, striving to live in an environmentally friendly manner, advocating for students with special needs, and participating in organizations such as Girls Scouts, 4H, JDRF, and certainly Small Town Hope!
Ashley is a graduate of Mount Aloysius College where she studied nursing and continues to further her nursing education. Formerly a registered nurse in a Neurovascular ICU, Ashley is now pursuing her dream of travel nursing. She has a strong desire to help those around her. Ashley enjoys volunteering her time and helping hands to support the visions of Small Town Hope.
Small Town Hope values Ashley as the organization's skilled "fix-it" lady who impressively tackles any job requiring tools. Ashley also volunteers her time to help at STH events. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially her two nephews. In her spare time, you can find Ashley fixing or building things, riding her side by side, and loving up her golden retriever, Aspen.
Dr. Laura Lansing
Laura has a passion for all things academic as indicated by her diverse academic background. She graduated from Rockford College in Illinois (B.A. in Philosophy and another in Mathematics), The College of William and Mary in Virginia (M.S. in Mathematics), and Lehigh University (M.S. in Industrial Engineering and another in Psychology and Ph.D. in Psychology). Her interest in helping children has its roots in many years of helping others raise their children and in her own struggles as a child with a physical disability. She is currently a professor of psychology at Mount Aloysius College. When not at work, Laura enjoys gardening and playing with her dog, Kharma.
Rachel was born in the UK to a mum (sorry, I still can’t write ‘mom’!) who worked as a children’s nurse for over 40 years and a father who served in the army and then the police force, the values of hard work, empathy and fairness were instilled in me from an early age.
As a lawyer, Rachel has worked for three of the UK’s top ten law firms between 2001 and 2013, practicing labor law and advising predominately large national and international employers on their HR practices and policies. In addition to the day job, she was a member of charitable committees of each of the law firms of which she worked. She has enjoyed driving their charitable missions and fundraising efforts. Her particular charitable interests lay with children’s charities, specifically those who focused on improving the education and health/well being of children whose personal or family circumstances were challenging.
Among her abilities to lead and deliver fair and equitable work she has experience creating and implementing a wellness program which focused not only on the physical and mental wellbeing of employees but also their families. Doing such work revealed how devastating of an impact a sudden or prolonged illness of a person or one of their family members, particularly a child, can have on their ability to work and support themselves and their family, and also on their mental wellbeing.
In 2017 Rachel moved to US from the UK with her husband (a cardiologist) and daughter Matilda. She A lovely Mollie has since arrived to complete their family. Residing in Charlottesville, Virginia she has proudly defined the greatest joy as being a mother and simultaneously the toughest job she has ever had!