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 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!
Diana Cihak– Board Member
Diana Cihak is the President of Upper Edge Consulting, a grant writing firm in Buffalo, New York. She has built a successful business by combining the skills she has garnered from her entrepreneurial, political and government experience to successfully consult organizations in finding a variety of funding opportunities.
Diana takes a multi-disciplinary approach to finding sources of funding from state, federal and private funding organizations for the firm’s for-profit, not for profit and municipal clients. Researching appropriate funding sources, making connections with funders, authoring and packaging applications along with proper follow up are all key to the success of Upper Edge’s clients. Since 2010 Diana and the Upper Edge team have helped clients win awards that range from $5,000 to $4.5 Million raising a total of $57 million+ to date for a number of great projects.
Diana has been featured in the New York Times and the Buffalo News. She has appeared on Fox Business News, WGRZ, WBFO and the Canadian Network Television station CTS as well as in numerous local publications.
Diana serves as a Trustee for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and she recently joined the Board of the Center for Hope, WNY. She has also served on the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women and Trailblazing Women of WNY and as former President of the Advisory Board of the Women’s Business Center at Canisius College, the Founder of WEPac and the Women Elect program and WomenEvents Buffalo. In September 2021 she was named one of the “WNY Power 100” by City and State Magazine. She lives in Buffalo with her son, her daughter and two dogs, her oldest daughter is living an adventurous life away from WNY and does not visit often enough.