Hope Jay, Esq. – Board Member – President
Hope has devoted her career to advocacy for women and children. Over the last 28 years, Hope has helped hundreds of families experiencing difficult challenges such as physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence and mental health and substance abuse issues. Hope obtained her M.S.W. in 1992 and her J.D. in 2004 from the University at Buffalo. Working as a social worker over the first 10 years of her career, Hope developed clinical skills which has made her uniquely qualified to assist survivors of abuse in her legal practice.
Since 2011, Hope has been in private practice. Her law firm, The Law Office of Hope R. Jay, PLLC has helped hundreds of clients who have sought her legal expertise in family law matters. Prior to 2011, Hope spent four years at the Erie County District Attorney’s office prosecuting domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. Over the last five years, she began to see a void in the legal system which has not caught up with the complex issues of emotional and psychological abuse and the effects on victims and children. Many of her clients have suffered from the consequences of an abusive relationship that often times is not physically abusive, yet when they are seeking to divorce, obtain custody, or file for civil Orders of protection from their abuser, encounter many roadblocks.
Hope understands that emotional and psychological abuse and manipulation is abuse; in fact, she has seen a surge in people seeking her legal help who are divorcing or in family court with narcissists. Leaving a narcissist and other Cluster BCluster B Personality Disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behavior. They More disordered people is often a nightmare. That is why Hope decided to create this Center, to provide people who want to leave their abuser with the legal advocacy, mental health support, financial advisement, and holistic healing that survivors need to help them down the path to freedom from their abuser. The Center for Hope provides all these services through our collaborative effort, and every provider at the Center has the experience and skill set necessary to assist our clients to move through the feeling of victimization to the newfound identity of survivor.
Lynn Catalano, Esq. – Board Member – Vice President and Chair of Fundraising Committee
Lynn Catalano has embraced change throughout her career. After achieving a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, cum laude, at Boston University, she continued her education at the University of Buffalo Law School.
Lynn is a licensed attorney in New York State but chose to lead non-profits as a professional fundraiser for the last 20 years.
Today, she has pivoted to speak to groups of all sizes to share experiences and help people rise above the chaos. Lynn loves to share stories about great leaders and toxic bosses. After learning a family member is a narcissist, Lynn learned how to reframe her thinking, retrain her mind and her reactions. Now Lynn helps others do the same. Lynn helps them reframe their thinking in every aspect of their lives; from the workplace to their personal life, becoming an agent of change. Lynn helps people identify the toxicity that’s standing between them and success and develop a plan to thrive.
Jessica Roach, CFP® | CIMA® – Board Member – Treasurer and Chair of Finance Committee
Jessica joined Morgan Stanley after graduating from the University of New Mexico Robert O. Anderson School of Management over 24 years ago. She is passionate about helping clients at all stages of their lives reach their goals; and has found it both rewarding and reassuring to have worked her entire career for a company whose core values align with her own. Dedicated to providing a high level of experience, ethics and knowledge, Jessica completed the extensive training to achieve the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation in 2005. Additionally, she also obtained the Certified Investment Management Analyst designation through the Wharton School of Business in 2009.
A resident of Grand Island, she lives with her husband and two high school aged daughters. They spend much of our free time on family activities, traveling, hiking and live music venues. Committed to the community, Jessica tries to give back as often as possible. She is actively involved in the Girl Scouts local leadership and has served as the Chi Omega alumnae delegate on Greater Buffalo Alumnae Panhellenic board for over 20 years. Additionally, she was recently nominated to join Morgan Stanley’s National Diversity and Inclusion board and The Center for Hope WNY Board of Directors.
Steven Harvey, Ph.D. – Board Member – Chair of Educational Outreach Committee
Dr. Steven Harvey is the CEO of Integrity Partners for Behavioral Health and the past Executive Director of the WNY Higher Education Consortium which focused on increasing graduation outcomes for students. Steve is the founder and CEO of the Center for Educational and Career Advancement, Inc. and My Campus Max, LLC (www.mycollegemax.com and www.mcmforcoaches.com).
In 2008, Dr. Harvey was named to Business First’s 40 Under 40, in 2007 he received the Buffalo State College’s Outstanding Teacher Award, and he is a member of the Leadership Buffalo Class of 2007. Dr. Harvey holds a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education, Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, and B.S. in Business and has taught in higher education for over 25 years.
Steve’s passion is to assist young people with achieving their educational and career goals while developing healthy habits, expectations, and relationships. To that end, and with a history of working in the mental health domain, Steve launched the largest higher education mental health initiative in the nation and manages one of the largest behavioral health care collaboratives in New York. In 2020, Integrity Partners launched a one-of-a-kind behavioral health data warehouse in partnership with the University at Buffalo that will advance the mental health and substance use sectors in ways not previously realized.
Over the past 15 years, Steve has developed expertise in supporting non-profits with achieving long-term sustainability, has raised over $27 million in grant support, has helped 1,000s of clients reach their goals, and is deeply committed to the vision and mission of The Center for Hope.
Jennifer Mecozzi – Board Member – Chair of Volunteer Committee
Jennifer has spent most of her life as a proud resident of Buffalo, where she was raised. After high school, Jennifer returned to spend her adult life in the West Side. Her dedication to bring people together and raise a collective voice to raise awareness is an agenda that drives her every day. As a proven community leader, Jennifer is committed to be a positive and guiding example for others.
As a member and key player in many community-based organizations, Jennifer is also recognized as a trainer on community issues and strategies and has been consistently asked to speak at National/state/and local levels about her leadership experience here in the City of Buffalo. These experiences have led her to starting her own consulting company called Next Level Consulting.
Jennifer is a proud mother of 2 sons and 2 daughters, grandmother of twin girls and a grandson and is deeply dedicated to her family and their growth. As a result, Jennifer brings the community voice to the table. A survivor of domestic violence and her own life experience has only enhanced her drive to empower and work with others to show that there are avenues and ways to know you are not alone and will help others find these opportunities to overcome.
Jennifer is dedicated to a safer, healthier, and productive community for everyone!
Dr. Ann Rivera– Board Member
Dr. Ann Rivera has dedicated her professional life to making educational opportunities accessible to all students. She has been an educator for over twenty-seven years, primarily working with at-promise students as a professor and administrator. Ann started her career working in early education and as a teacher for students with learning differences. Ann is also the proud mother a son with a disability, which has directly led to her work as an educational advocate for students in the P – 16 school system. These experiences shaped her understanding of how our educational system presents barriers to students and families with challenges ranging from poverty to disability.
After receiving her Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo in 2008, Ann began work as a professor and director of programs that lowered barriers to educational opportunity. She has worked full- time as an academic administrator since 2019 and has established several programs dedicated to supporting at-promise students in educational settings in Western New York colleges. Along with her experience in non-profit boards, Ann brings expertise in establishing effective operations and creating productive partnerships with non-profit and educational institutions. She looks forward to supporting the mission and vision of the Center and expanding outreach to members of the community who have a disability and can be subject to emotional and psychological abuse at higher rates than those in the neurotypical community.