Javier Valdez, Executive Director
With a proven track record in nonprofits, education, technology, and startups, Javier has skills and experience that converge in his role as Executive Director of HealthStart Foundation. Once a corporate executive, he now works to scale HealthStart’s growth thoughtfully and inclusively. In this role, his strengths range broadly from connecting with people to discovering insights in data.
Authentic and approachable, Javier focuses on developing a collaborative, team-centered culture where everyone has input—and then everyone has a sense of ownership and pride in the output. Javier builds strong relationships among stakeholders, including C-suite executives, community leaders, donors, and volunteers.
Javier also enjoys mentoring the people on his team and helping them reach the next level professionally. He fosters open communication as he helps his mentees pioneer their futures. This style aligns beautifully with HealthStart’s programs, which nurtures children’s education and curiosity so that they are equipped to build lifelong healthy habits.
With an engineering and science educational background, Javier gets excited about HealthStart’s science-based approach to healthy eating habits. With an active lifestyle, he realizes the importance of taking care of his body!
Drawing from his background in technology and operations, Javier also brings in tech that helps HealthStart function productively, blending entrepreneurial efficiency with nonprofit nuance and a heartfelt mission.
When he’s not working, Javier enjoys fitness, especially cycling and doing Pilates. He loves eating healthy foods and trying new restaurants. He also enjoys live music at all the cool local venues.
Sharon Robinson, Program & Communications Manager
Sharon knows the value of healthy eating—she discovered it on her own journey. Growing up, she was overweight. She tried a dozen diets, plus other tips and tricks people pushed on her. They always centered around restriction, like “count your calories” or “don’t eat fats.”
Then Sharon discovered healthy eating—a switch from deprivation to embracing food for its nutritional benefits. This mind shift helped resolve her disordered relationship with food. Now, as a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, she has learned how different bodily systems function and how you can take care of them by using food as medicine.
When she heard about HealthStart, Sharon immediately fell in love with the program and started volunteering. She appreciates how the programming helps kids understand why they should eat healthy food and how it benefits their bodies. With nutritional expertise and a passion for health education, she now serves as programming manager. It’s her pleasure to help kids develop long-lasting healthy
Sharon does a little bit of everything, but her favorite job is developing the curriculum. She loves how the curriculum is interactive and reinforced by real-world scenarios.
When Sharon adopted a nutritious lifestyle, she also developed a healthy love of cooking. Her favorite meal is any one-pot pasta—it’s quick to make, tasty to eat, and easy to clean! She also loves converting vegetable-haters into veggie-lovers with her roasted turnips, carrots, and onions. When she’s not in the kitchen, she can be found doing musical theater or playing in her pop soul funk band, Name of Band.
Aubrey Walling, Program & Operations Associate
Once a theater kid, Aubrey learned confidence, communication, and community—and as an adult, she taught Theater Arts and found joy in sharing those discoveries. To cultivate a whole-self approach to acting, she taught her students to understand and use their emotions, their minds, their voices, and their bodies together. The mental work behind the performance goes unseen, but it makes the show succeed.
Aubrey now embraces HealthStart’s whole-child approach that encompasses science and social & emotional learning. To encourage kids to be curious and critical thinkers, we have to teach them the “why” behind healthy eating. HealthStart does the behind-the-scenes work that creates long-term, self-directed healthy habits. It gives children a voice in their own wellbeing and helps them feel connected to their bodies and confident in their capabilities.
In her theater days, Aubrey loved taking a show from its initial concept to its final production. She now uses these skills in her role as programming & operations associate. It’s one of the best parts of being a whole human being: Making your ideas happen.
Aubrey also spent two years with the Dream Center Foundation, working to alleviate poverty, feed the hungry, and nurture community.
Aubrey’s passion for healthy habits started young. Her parents, who met in an aerobics class, loved a healthy lifestyle and fed Aubrey carrot juice, blue-green algae, and avocado toast (before it was cool). Now she’s elated to give back to her community by helping young children learn—and truly understand—healthy habits that will serve them through their adult lives.
Mary Gelhausen, Sales Executive
Mary has worked in healthcare for over 20 years. Living in Spokane, WA, she has worked remotely since 2013 supporting companies across the US. Her strengths can be seen through her strong work ethic, integrity, dedication to customer needs, attention to details and positive outlook. Previous roles include management, sales, product development, patient care and customer service. Mary strives to develop a deep understanding of client needs to support successful options for long term benefits. During her personal time, she enjoys time spent with family and her horses in the Pacific Northwest.
Board of Directors
Lucio Calzada Jr. - TALAS, Chair
Dr. Lucio Calzada has accumulated over 30 years of service to our country’s most precious resource, our children. He began his education career as a high school mathematics teacher at Kingsville High School in Kingsville, Texas. He began his administrative career as an assistant principal at Taft Jr. High School. Soon after this position he became the mathematics consultant for all of Corpus Christi I.S.D. He lead his first school as principal of South Park Middle School in Corpus Christi, Texas. While serving as consultant for Achieve, Inc., he met Dr. Kaye Forgione, wife of then superintendent Dr. Pat Forgione. It was not long before Dr. Forgione recruited Lucio to join the Austin ISD team as principal of Fulmore Middle School. After seven years at Fulmore, Lucio was placed at Garcia Middle School for one semester and then was named the principal of Austin High School in June, 2008. Under his leadership, Austin High School became a State Recognized High School.
In July of 2012, Dr. Ralph Draper, Superintendent of Spring ISD, invited Lucio to join his executive leadership team as an area superintendent supervising thirteen schools (K-12) with over 14,000 students. Dr. Draper then asked Lucio to take over the Spring ISD Human Resources Department for a year. In July of 2014, the new superintendent, Dr. Rodney Watson asked Lucio to supervise all high schools in Spring ISD as the assistant superintendent of high schools. In January of 2015, Lucio was invited to join the Hays CISD executive leadership team by superintendent, Mr. Michael McKie, as the assistant superintendent of secondary schools. Lucio earned his doctorate in education leadership from Texas A&M Corpus Christi in 2002. He served his country as a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve for eleven years.
In his spare time, he has served as an adjunct professor for Concordia University, St. Edwards University and Texas State University because he “loves teaching”. He also serves as a board member for the Central Texas Communities in Schools (CIS), he serves his church as a Vincentian with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and is the mentoring director for the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. Lucio is married to Dr. Donna Calzada, a fellow educator and is very proud of his three grown daughters, Amanda, Catherine and Hannah and two grandchildren, Brantley and Brylee. Lucio loves to play golf and is an overly invested Dallas Cowboys fan.
Will Penny - Child, Inc., Treasurer
Will Penny is a CPA in Texas. He has over 25 years of experience in banking, investments, and accounting. Will has dedicated himself to the accounting profession since 2012. Before that, he was selected in 2004 by senior management at Wachovia Bank in NY and moved to TX to be part of a new expansion team. While a branch manager, he was awarded the President's award for turning around an ailing branch. His last role in the bank was as a commercial banker.
Will has applied his broad background and experience throughout his career to be a trusted advisor, mentor, facilitator, and team member to boards, management, and project teams. As an accounting & finance executive, he has helped companies establish policies, procedures, integrations, financial reporting & performance management, staff evaluations, audit planning, and scaling business needs. His core strength is identifying and nurturing talent.
As a CFO for a premier non-profit, Will successfully pursued and closed a pivotal $13M New Market Tax Credit financing deal, guiding the organization through a rigorous application process that required extensive coordination with banks, attorneys, and government agencies.
Will has two children in college and has been married for over 25 years. He enjoys high-performance driving events.
Tatiana Jitkoff - L’Aiglon Foundation
Tatiana has deep roots in Texas. She and her family have a long history of charitable giving to Texas communities. In addition to her board service with HealthStart Foundation, she is a Social Venture Partner with Mission Capital. Beyond her experience guiding charitable organizations, Tatiana brings expertise in business and product development which she is pleased to use to help HealthStart grow and expand its impact.
When she is not working with L’Aiglon or her real estate company, you can find Tatiana doing improv theater around town.
Marissa Marquez - Houston Methodist Hospital
Marissa has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Baylor University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law. While Marissa is a licensed attorney in Texas, she is currently serving as the system-wide Human Resources (HR) Program Manager for the Americans with Disabilities Act Accommodation Request program and Employee Relations Program at Houston Methodist in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining Houston Methodist, Marissa was a HR Business Partner at Legacy Community Health and has also served as a Senior Employee Relations Consultant at Texas Children's Hospital.
Marissa has served as Deputy Senior Legal Counsel to Hope Andrade Commissioner Representing Employers at the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin, Texas. A passionate advocate for foster care children, Marissa serves on the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) statewide board and has served as their Governance Committee Chair and is currently their board Secretary. Marissa is currently a member of the Houston Bar Association’s Employment Law Section’s council and is a member of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion committee. In 2020, Marissa was awarded the Houston Bar Association’s President’s Award for her outstanding service as co-chair of the Gender Fairness Committee.
Marissa has always had a passion for serving her community. She has served on the following boards throughout her career: the Strong Start board, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas board, BikeHouston board, and the League of Women Voters of Houston board. In July 2015, the National Head Start Association honored Marissa as a star alumn in their "Connections" newsletter. Marissa was born and raised in Laredo, Texas and is fluent in Spanish.
Jeff Pinsker - Mondo
Jeff Pinsker has founded and sold three companies in businesses ranging from practical jokes to children’s TV and publishing to toys and games. Accomplishments include:
Pinsker is President of Mondo, a subsidiary of Alamo Drafthouse, where he serves on the senior management team. Most recently, he was CEO of Amigo Games, the US subsidiary of one of Germany’s top game companies. Previous positions include top management roles at: Cardinal/Spin Master, Pressman Toy, Scholastic’s Klutz division, and University Games.
Board service includes: Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA), American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), Project Genius, Mashup Foods, Cooloo, Trophy Skin, DASH Robotics, National Education Week, Stanford’s Entrepreneurs Group, Stanford Health Library, and the Tech Museum’s Tech Challenge. Pinsker has written 13 children’s books, holds a master’s and two bachelor’s degrees from Stanford University, and is the proud father of two grown children and a 17-year-old stepson.
Ana Moreno VanDiver - Stanford Alumni Association
Ana Moreno VanDiver was raised in El Paso and lived in Northern California after her college days at Stanford University. She worked for her alma mater for over 14 years in alumni engagement, fundraising, and event planning. The draw of family and "real" Mexican food drew her back to Texas in 2016. Eager to dive into local community engagement, she joined the Junior League of Austin staff as their Donor Operations Project Manager to help the organization complete their capital campaign for a 48,000 sq ft Community Impact Center. She returned to the staff of the Stanford Alumni Association in 2020 and works remotely from Austin (a Covid-19 silver-lining) as the Senior Manager of Diversity and Inclusion. Raised by educators, Ana passionately supports equitable access to all levels of learning. Ana thrives on volunteering, traveling with her husband, studying art, entertaining friends, and training her rescue dog.