Polly Mendoza is the founder of HILLS and was the executive director from its inception in 2008 until August of 2015 when she moved back to Boston to be closer to her family. After transitioning off as the Executive Director, Polly now remains involved on the board of directors for HILLS in an advisory position. Polly has 23 years of experience leading national and international trips and programs for adults with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury. She was the executive director of the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center, a non-profit education center in Costa Rica whose mission is to link communities and conservation through education and ecotourism. She has a brother with Down syndrome who inspired her to start HILLS and she was a host home provider for 8 different individuals with developmental disabilities that resided in her home from 2009-2015 during which time she received the Direct Service Professional Appreciation Award given by Alliance.
Board of Directors
Perry Jowsey, Board Chair, is a professional fundraiser and featured speaker who has been leading financial turnarounds for more than a decade, where he has generated more than $20 million through a data-driven revenue model. By transforming ballooning budget gaps into historic income highs, he has produced unique and quantifiable results which rank among the top 1% of comparable agencies, leading to features in national trade publications and special invitations to teach and present to groups across the United States. Perry has worked with local and international media, foreign government delegations, and philanthropists on the Forbes 400. Whether working with start-up agencies, regional nonprofits, or national organizations with multi-billion dollar brands, he has applied customized systems and a unique ROI model to produce unprecedented revenue results in each capacity. Perry has personally secured 7 figure major gifts, millions of dollars in highly competitive grants, and has built entire development systems as a development director, a consultant, Chairman of the Board, and in executive management. He earned a Master’s degree in Communication from the University of Buffalo, specializing in the scientific application of compliance-gaining, nonverbal behavior, and predictive modeling.
Jeni Kenyon-King, Board Member, has a Bachelors of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Northwest Missouri State University. She is employed at Dungarvin Colorado as a Program Director. Her work experience includes direct care, managing residential caseloads, managing Day Program services, and currently does New Development and intakes. She has nearly 20 years experience volunteering & working with individuals with developmental disabilities. She enjoys crafting and spending time with her 2 kids.
Jodi Merrill-Brandt, Board Member, holds her BA from Iowa State University and is a certified Home Care Administrator through the National Board for Home Care and Hospice Certification and the Director of Life Skills & Support at Rocky Mountain Human Services. She oversees Home and Community Based Services for Supported Living, Children’s Extensive Wavier and Comprehensive Services. Jodi is the administrator of the Home Care Agency, Child Placement Agency, Housing and Urban Development Section 8 and Social Security Representative Payee program. Jodi has 27 years of non-profit management and is an exceptional strategic and tactical leader with proven accomplishments in strategic planning, performance outcomes, program development, implementation and management, project management, and interagency coordination skills, resourcefully orchestrating human and fiscal resources to optimize service delivery. Jodi is responsible for budget development and oversight of multiple programs with an annual budget of $8 million dollars. Jodi understands the complex state systems for Intellectual Disabilities, Child Welfare and Colorado Department of Health.
Lori Schult, Secretary of the Board, has a degree in Habilitative Services from Clarion University in Pennsylvania, and 35 plus years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities. She recently began a new endeavor at Laradon, a Service Agency that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as their Quality Assurance Specialist, monitoring the programmatic and environmental pieces of their customers’ lives. Previously, in the 25 years at Rocky Mountain Human Services/Denver Options, she worked as a Case Manager for Adults, Team Leader, liaison with Denver Public Schools and Denver Department of Human Services, Outreach Coordinator to families of school-age children, and Quality Assurance. In past years she has also worked in the field, in both Pennsylvania and California, in direct care and manager positions, as a Behavior Specialist and with dually diagnosed transition programs.
Lauren Kelly, board member, has lived in Denver Colorado all her life. She resides with her parents and has worked at Super Target for almost five years. She has an older sister who has two kids and an older brother who lives in a group home. She became involved with HILLS after hearing about it from her case manager. After taking a trip, she loved it very much. Lauren went to California with HILLS in March 2016. She graduated from George Washington High School in 2003. In her spare time, she participates in Special Olympics of Colorado. The sports she does are Track and Field, Bocce Ball and Bowling. The days she doesn’t work, she goes to a day program.