Board and Staff

Alexis Ridge-Simek, Founder and President
Joe Simek, Founder and Board Member

As former foster parents and adoptive parents, Joe and Alexis understand firsthand the foster care system and the community that The Fiaria Project supports. Residents of Bucks County, PA for more than a decade, the couple co-own Dragonfly Yoga Studio in Doylestown. Joe and Alexis met as students at Arizona State University, graduating on the same day,  but with different degrees: a BA in Journalism and a BS in Recreation Management, respectively. The couple has two daughters, Fiona and Aria, and a fluffy mixed-breed dog named Tilly.

Melissa Heller, Board Member

During 20 years in education, Mrs. Heller served as a special education teacher at Truman High School in Bristol Township. In retirement, she worked with the mayor in Bensalem Township as consultant to implement a community garden for Bensalem residents. She volunteered to expand gardens at Our Lady of Fatima Outreach Center (Saint Mary’s Hospital), which produced vegetables for their food bank. She also assisted teachers with students in the pre-school program at Fatima. She earned her bachelor’s of arts degree (Elementary/Special Education from Holy Family University and her master(MAED) from Gratz University. Mrs. Heller and her husband Robert have two adult children.

Lori Shanken, Board Member

Lori has spent most of her adult life committed to the growth, development and well being of children. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Lori worked as a Foster Care Caseworker in Montgomery County, Pa. She went on to earn her Master’s of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College and worked as a Psychotherapist where she counseled children, adolescents, and their families. After marrying her husband, Ross, and having three children, Lori has had the honor and privilege of working as a stay at home mom. Lori’s work at the Fiara Project has brought her back to her earlier passions of helping foster children.

Sally Wilson, Board Member

Sally’s 30+ year career has been focused in finance where she’s held positions at all levels in several companies. Her current role sees her with FMC, a company committed to supporting agricultural production in a sustainable way for future generations. The majority of her professional experience was with Rohm and Haas, culminating in being their CFO of the $2 billion EMEA region, just prior to being acquired by The Dow Chemical Company in 2009. That transition brought her to the USA from Switzerland, where she’s lived since late 2009, first in Michigan and Pennsylvania In 2011.

Jennifer McEntee, Board Member

Graduating from Temple University with a degree in art history, Jennifer began her career working in notable museums such as the NJ State Museum and the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA. After starting her family and becoming a dedicated mother, she began substitute teaching at Central Bucks, PA and eventually Sparta, NJ, where she has lived the past 17 years. Jennifer was inspired by her family’s involvement in foster care system and decided to pursue volunteering for the Fiaria Project.