Rachel, our newest addition to the Director team at The Breathing Association, brings a long history of finance and accounting experience to our organization. With a degree in Business Administration majoring in Accounting, Rachel has worked in non-profits and manufacturing for several years. Knowing Lori Sontag, our CEO, from crossing paths in the past, Rachel was drawn to The Breathing Association while following us on LinkedIn. Her responsibilities include working in and overseeing the accounting, human resources, audits, grant budgets and submission functions. When she is not crunching numbers in her office, she enjoys taking daily walks, biking, and volunteering. She formerly served as the Treasurer for the Bucyrus Altrusa Club. She also likes spending time traveling with family and friends. When you get to know Rachel, it is obvious from her cheerful and friendly nature that she takes her favorite quote to heart every day, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.
When asked what resonates with her the most about The Breathing Association and our mission, she shared “The staff really cares about the individuals we serve in the community, and I am proud to play a part in improving vulnerable clients with the assistance they need”.
Propelling Non-Profit Organizations Through Her Visionary Lens!
Upon meeting Lori Sontag, President & CEO of The Breathing Association, you will immediately feel at ease as you sense her genuine and authentic demeanor. Lori is a pillar in the Non-Profit Community, as she has served in the space for over thirty years. “My passion is serving those who are part of a vulnerable population.” Throughout Lori’s impressive Non-Profit career with organizations such as I Am Boundless, National Church Residences, United Church Homes and 2 Central Ohio Hospital Systems, she relies on her visionary talent to plan, organize, and strategize. She is driven to build teams and to propel growth while assuring mission sustainability.
Throughout her roles as V.P. of Business Development, CFO, Executive Director, Director of Finance, and Director of Treasury Services, not only was she responsible for day to day financial and treasury oversight, development, and corporate compliance, but also led numerous major property, business, and healthcare initiatives. Additionally, she was the one to strategize and solve the ongoing challenge of “How do we pay for this and assure organizational excellence and sustainability?”
Business acumen, acute listening skills, effective communication skills, open board relations and a keen knowledge of funding resources, such as financing, philanthropic strategies, and grants, are components which contribute to her success. “Knowing that I have impacted and mentored others, while developing structure and a master plan to bring sustainability and innovation together, are the accomplishments which I am most proud of.” Lori maintains a pulse on emerging ideas, initiatives, and available resources. “I rely on the expertise of partners, a driven team, clear communication, collaboration, and measurable outcomes. It is a beautiful thing when all of this comes together!”
Lori Sontag is a connector of people and talent with a common vision. “I am excited to embrace each day, welcome new ideas and participate in meaningful conversations, which effect and bring value to the population we serve. As I identify and absorb the needs of the community, I am transformed by this purpose, and it becomes a part of who I am.”
As you seek to find an individual who is collaborative and authentic, know you have found such qualities within Jeffrey Schulze, Director of Finance at The Breathing Association. Jeffrey graduated from The Ohio State University and earned his Bachelor of Business Administration. “I was originally interested in Pharmacology but switched my interests in my sophomore year.” Upon graduation, Jeffrey launched his accounting career at Wendy’s Corporate Headquarters, as a temporary employee. As his career progressed over the next 6 years, he received several promotions and subsequently became the Fixed Asset Accountant. When Wendy’s Corporation was purchased by an Investment Firm, Jeffrey was offered the option to relocate to Atlanta, but decided to stay in Columbus.
Upon reviewing opportunities advertised in The Columbus Dispatch, Jeffrey came across an Accountant position with The Breathing Association. He interviewed with the CFO and joined the organization in April 2009. “I was impressed with the multitude of services provided by The Breathing Association, along with the fact that all the services were free and designed to help people. This concept was different from my previous background, and I was drawn towards the purpose. I felt it would be a great opportunity for me to do more.”
The onset of each day begins with Jeffrey in communication with his colleagues and Directors in order to address any problems or foreseeable issues. “We have a collaborate team culture. Since we are all working towards the same goals, it is important for us to communicate daily and to be on the same page.” Jeffrey’s responsibilities are centered around not only finances, but on building relationships with providers, partners, and funders. “The constituency we serve has not changed over the years, but the services we offer have become more comprehensive since I joined The Breathing Association over 13 years ago. Our services and programs are tailored to serve the needs of those living in poverty and who desperately need our help.”
Although Jeffrey’s main responsibilities encompass performing solid accounting processes, diligent insurance billing, and reviewing department funding requests, he is mindful of his personal mission to be helpful, considerate, respectful, and supportive of others. Our Executive Team is best when we strategize, learn, and work together. I am proud of where we are headed and that I am able to contribute to the vision and mission of The Breathing Association.”
When you meet Alisha Hopkins, Director of the Lung Health Clinic at The Breathing Association, you will instantly sense her genuine compassion and empathy for those who she serves. Alisha’s extensive education began at Columbus State, where she earned her Associate of Applied Sciences, then she attended Ohio University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science, and subsequently attended the University of Cincinnati, and earned her Master of Science in Nursing. Alisha also holds Certifications as a RN, Nurse Practitioner, and Tobacco Treatment Specialist. “I am a learner at heart, so I am always eager to enroll in Continuing Education and attend Conferences.”
Throughout her 17-year career in Nursing, Alisha transitioned from Ohio Health and Mount Carmel to The Breathing Association in 2017. “I heard a presentation about the organization, and I immediately fell in love with their mission.” When The Breathing Association was an idea and a dream back in 1906, their vision was to care for the poor and that still holds firm to this day! Alisha is also dedicated to this mission and loves to serve, treat, and diagnose low-income individuals through the vast services provided at both their physical Clinic on Mount Vernon Avenue and through their Mobile Medical Unit. “Being able to provide the same level and quality of care through our Mobile Medical Unit, as we do in the Clinic, is fulfilling to me.”
Although Alisha focuses on Pulmonary health, diagnosis, and treatment, she is able to educate her patients and provide additional resources. “About 60% of our patients do not have a primary care provider and we are able to start them on the right path and connect them to the resources they need and are qualified to receive.” Alisha’s favorite question to ask a new patient is “What would you like to do, that you can’t do now?” When her patients come back for follow-up visits and/or treatment, they are excited to share their triumphs and let Alisha know they are now able to do what they longed to do. Why? Because they feel better, and therefore, their quality of life has improved!
Alisha is one hundred percent dedicated to The Breathing Association and immersed into her profession. She is a 6-year member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and a new member of the Ohio Partners for Cancer Control (OPCC). “Being a member of industry associations allows me to interact with colleagues and to stay informed about changes in my profession and advances in patient care”. The Breathing Association is proud to have Alisha Hopkins on their team, as she brings passion, knowledge, and a positive force to the organization. Alisha is known to say, “Your trials don’t define you, it is what you do with them, that does!”
Susan Spiert, Director of Government Grants at The Breathing Association, has spent her professional career facing new challenges, moving initiatives forward and executing on the plan! Her extensive education includes a BA in Psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, located in Indiana Pennsylvania and Master’s in Education & Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh. “I selected Psychology as my major because I loved the thought of counseling and serving others.” Along Susan’s career, her work has encompassed various aspects of utility services. She worked in government service at the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission and at the Ohio Department of Development, as the Manager of Universal Services.
Because of the ongoing alliance between The Breathing Association and The Ohio Department of Development, Susan learned about The Breathing Association back in 2006, while working at the Ohio Department of Development. She formed a positive working-relationship with Collette Harrell, the former Director of HEAP & Social Services at The Breathing Association. “When I was seeking a new career opportunity in May of 2019, I reached out to Collette and initially joined The Breathing Association as a Quality Assurance Manager. In July of 2021, I was offered the promotion to Director of Government Grants, and I joyfully accepted, as I knew this is exactly where I should be.”
The HEAP Grant Program, which is offered to consumers through The Breathing Association, allows Susan to assist those who don’t have the means to pay their electric, gas or water bills. “I am grateful for the government/state funding which we receive and then subsequently, are able to reallocate to low-income families throughout Franklin County.” The HEAP Grant Program is well established and has support from the local utility companies. Together they assist consumers who need help maintaining their utility services, cover past due amounts, get service turned back on, or negotiate payment arrangements. “We work in alliance with the utility companies to inform consumers about the resources and funding available.” Awareness for the program is accomplished through Media Releases, Emails, Radio Ads, Social Media Posts, and information enclosed with utility statements. Qualifying consumers can be awarded up to $1,500 based on their income and the specific utility.
Susan Spiert is passionate about improving workplace efficiency and overcoming obstacles. At the same time, she does so by serving consumers and coworkers with a sense of ease, laughter, respect, and grace. She knows there is a way to communicate with others, there is more to accomplish, and there is always someone else to help!
Don’t be surprised when you meet Jennifer Burroway, Director of Development, with the Breathing Association that you are captivated by her sincere and genuine Love for Life! Jen attended the University of Akron and initially studied Performance & Education, then switched her major to Hospitality Management with a focus on Culinary Arts.
Along life’s highway, Jen worked for Hills Market for 12 years and for La Chatelaine for 9 years. Subsequently, her spark and zest for life were spotted by Lori Sontag, Executive Director of The Breathing Association, and Jen joined the organization in October 2021. “I was honored and humbled to be offered a position at The Breathing Association. Now, I feel blessed to grow, utilize my talents and contribute to a worthwhile mission, which does good for others!”
Jen’s responsibilities encompass donor campaigns, relations, and communications, which coincide with planning creative events to encourage donor giving. Additionally, Jen works closely with the organization that facilitates the social media strategy, promotional marketing calendar and the creation of all printed and digital marketing materials. “Every day is different and I’m able to transfer skills that I have acquired throughout my 24-year kitchen, catering, and management career. Regardless of ones’ industry, the ability to prioritize, organize, be present, and to positively manage people will always contribute to the success of any organization.”
Being kind, true and compassionate are qualities which Jen demonstrates to the Girl Scout Troop she has been leading for 8 years. “My grandmother and mother were both Girl Scout Leaders, and I was a Girl Scout, so of course when my daughter was in kindergarten and wanted to join Girl Scouts, becoming the Troop Leader was the natural thing to do. We have had up to 14 girls in the troop and I love how strong and focused they are.” Jen has implemented a Mentorship Program for the new Leaders, and she serves as a positive resource–as they gain their footing as a Troop Leader.
Regardless of whether Jennifer Burroway is engaging with donors, colleagues, or scout leaders, she is doing so with optimism, transparency, kindness, and gratitude. “I am excited about the opportunity to increase our donor base, develop a volunteer program and raise recognition for The Breathing Association. I believe that everyday should be judged on the seeds we sow, and not by what we reap.”
When you look up the word ‘self-less’ in the dictionary, and read the definition, thinking only of others, don’t be surprised when you also see a picture of David D. Jeffries, Jr., Director of Community Outreach at The Breathing Association. When David is not at The Breathing Association, you will find him leading his Platoon at the U.S. Army Reserve. Sergeant First Class David D. Jeffries, Jr. has 22-years of Military service and currently serves as a Platoon Sergeant over 40 soldiers. David earned his Bachelor’s in Public Health from The Ohio State University and was fascinated with the study of ‘Epidemiology,’ where he examined and studied how epidemics and pandemics start and spread.
Prior to joining The Breathing Association, David worked at the American Red Cross, Riverside Hospital and Capital City Medical Association. His actions speak as loud as his words, as David exemplifies a person who thrives on understanding the population he serves and impacting their lives and making a positive difference. “I was deployed in Iraq, returned home, and came across a very small ad in the newspaper for a Medical Supply Outreach Coordinator. I applied, was immediately interviewed, offered the position, accepted, and decided not to re-deploy to Iraq. That was one of the best decisions of my life. I have been with The Breathing Association for 16 years and I love it, because it provides me the opportunity to combine my passion for social services and public health.”
Five years into his career at the Breathing Association, David received a promotion to Outreach Manager and was recently promoted to Director of Community Outreach. His leadership, empathy for those in need, and ability to collaborate and engage others, creates the perfect recipe to achieve the vision and goals for the community outreach programs. “Through community engagement, such as face-to-face meetings, fostering relationships, and participating in events and health fairs, we can increase awareness for the services we offer while increasing the number of individuals who utilize our services.”
David Jeffries is humbled when he receives awards for his superior service at the Chalmers P. Wylie V.A. Clinic or recognition for his volunteer efforts through the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, or at St. Mark’s Lodge No. 7, located in Columbus, Ohio. “My father serves in the Military and my mother is a nurse, so serving from the heart is the way I grew up. I am grateful and proud of the respectful, supportive, and inclusive upbringing which I received. Like I always say, “It is the little things that count.”
As a Fractional CFO, Patrick Hynes exudes dedication, authenticity, and collaboration to the companies he serves through Hynes Consulting Group, which he launched in March 2021. “I was born in Youngstown, Ohio and was fortunate to grow up observing my entrepreneurial Grandfather, who owned a successful Tool and Die Shop, which still exists to this day. He was my role model and because of my deep respect and admiration for him, I became interested ‘in business’ and this sparked me to attend The Ohio State University.”
Patrick moved to Columbus and earned his Bachelor of Science–Business Administration in Accounting & Finance from The Ohio State University. “Because I always loved analytics and tangible accounting principles, I focused 25 years of my corporate experience at Thirty-One Gifts, L Brands and Advanced Drainage Systems within diverse and comprehensive areas such as Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Sales Analysis, Merchandise Planning and Inventory Planning.” Throughout this 25-year span of his career, Patrick assessed financial impact of key strategic changes, drove comprehensive annual budgets, guided executive leadership, conceptualized, and executed field strategic plans, led day-to-day implementation support, and spearheaded online strategy implementation in these organizations.
In July of 2022, Patrick earned his Executive MBA from the Quantic School of Business and Technology. Patrick transitioned out the corporate sector, offering services as Fractional CFO and corporate finance advisor–not only on his own–but through Redbank Advisors, Book+Street, Fisher Management Partners. As a Fractional CFO, Patrick couples his passion for numbers with an overall focus to drive significant growth, align processes, and facilitate positive change throughout an entire organization.
The Breathing Association is experiencing significant growth, which requires the ability to forecast and align processes to serve the organization amidst positive and rapid change. Since solid fundamental financial and consulting skills are the core of Patrick’s experience and successful track-record, he was referred to The Breathing Association. “Growth is our focus, and I am positioned to offer the experience and the confidence to navigate growth and innovative change. I believe that it is important for everyone’s ideas and voice to be heard at the table. Through listening and fostering a culture of belonging, any organization is ultimately strengthened.”
Due to Patrick Hynes’ passion for Non-Profits, For-Profits and Social Enterprises alike, he has been serving as a Mentor and Facilitator at SEA Change since July 2021. “On one hand, I am driven to move the needle in a significant way and to bring an energy to dynamic groups who are loyal, determined, present and proud of accomplishment. On the other hand, it is important to me personally, to do this in a way that is kind, respectful and authentic to those around me.”
Experiencing Dr. Roy St. John, Chief Medical Officer of The Breathing Association, will inspire you to lead a life that impacts others and makes a difference in society. Born in Tampa, Florida, Dr. Roy was raised in Geneva, Ohio and embarked on his lifelong medical career when he moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1981. “When I was in 8th grade, my appendix ruptured and as a result I was hospitalized and had two surgeries. This changed the trajectory of my focus, aspirations, and education.”
From 1977 to 1981, Dr. Roy attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and earned his B.A. and graduated magna cum laude, majoring in chemistry. In 1981, Dr. Roy enrolled in The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus and graduated in 1985, magna cum laude. Subsequently, he completed his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine as well as his Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Ohio State University Hospitals. “One of the most influential mentors in my life, the late Jim Gadek, offered me the Fellowship opportunity. He recognized my potential and my passion for critical care. Jim was charismatic, respected, liked and a pillar in the medical community. The Fellowship opportunity changed my life and solidified my career.”
Throughout the past 40+ years, Dr. Roy has positively impacted thousands of patients and colleagues through his dedication, determination, and discipline towards the medical profession. Setting the standard and upholding his oath to keep the patients’ best interests in mind has always been his priority and the cornerstone of his decisions. Currently, as the Chief Medical Officer of The Breathing Association, Dr. St. John applies his decades of research, experience, and expertise in Pulmonary and Critical Care to the organization. “I joined in 2023 and I am excited to see the access to care being provided to Central Ohio residents who need us and are suffering with lung illness/disease. As a member of the Board of Directors, I am rejuvenated as we discuss plans to expand and grow into other areas within Ohio, where residents need our services. Serving patients, providing access to care, and improving quality of life has been the mission of The Breathing Association for over 117 years.”
In an effort to ‘practice what he preaches,’ Dr. Roy decided to train for his first marathon which he ran on September 11, 2022. “As I headed into the final miles, it was extremely grueling and torturous, but an accomplishment that I am proud of!” Dr. Roy’s time qualifies him to run in the Boston Marathon in April 2023. Dr. St. John has turned his passion for running into an opportunity to launch a fundraiser, to create awareness for The Breathing Association, while raising money for the nonprofit. A win-win scenario. “Running a marathon is a true test of persistence, perseverance and patience.” Dr. Roy implores others to run or walk regularly and not to take their health for granted. “Be good to your body—exercise, eat well, rest and of course—don’t smoke or vape! If you do smoke or vape, stop, and quit. For 40+ years, I’ve treated patients through the Hospital systems and through my private practice. I’ve seen damaging lung and heart disease, and the loss of life, which are results of smoking.”
Dr. Roy St. John is a man with a plan and focused on what he wants to accomplish. He is a Man of Faith, who uses his God-given talents to make real life impact and to serve others, each and every day. Throughout his spiritual, professional, and personal life, Dr. St. John stays grounded in the words of 2 Timothy 4:7, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ These are words of wisdom that have built a foundation for not only an exemplary Medical Doctor, but for an authentic and humble human being, as well.
Dr. Roy St. John, Chief Operating Officer, 614.570.3493, Roy.StJohn@BreathingAssociation.org
Chief Operating Officer & V.P. of Operations
Although Dr. Iyaad Hasan, Chief Operating Officer and V.P. of Operations, recently joined the Executive Team of the Breathing Association, he embodies the knowledge and passion to drive, motivate, innovate and inspire the organization to continue moving forward. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Iyaad is the eldest of 4 children and assumed responsibilities for the family when his father passed away, when Dr. Iyaad and his siblings were young.
From the time Iyaad was a child, he always wanted to be in healthcare and wanted to focus on family practice, so he could impact and change lives. As the first member in his family’s lineage to attend college, he earned three degrees from Case Western Reserve University. They include a Bachelor’s in Medical Anthropology, a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN), and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). Additionally, Dr. Iyaad earned an MBA from Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts.
Throughout the course of his extensive 20+ year Nursing career, Dr. Iyaad worked domestically and internationally for the following organizations: United States Public Health Service within the Immigration and US Customs Enforcement Health Corp and Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, Cleveland Clinic (Ohio, Florida, and Abu Dhabi), and CVS Minute Clinics. This journey provided opportunities to open his eyes, see the world, but help people in disasters or distress.
Dr. Iyaad was instrumental in opening and launching a Tobacco Treatment Center in 2007 at Cleveland Clinic. In fact, during the same year, he was one of the key members behind the initiative at Cleveland Clinic to stop hiring smokers. “We faced adversity in making this decision, but we all knew it was the right thing to do.” Additionally, while working in Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi from 2016 to 2021, he spearheaded the efforts to have a Tobacco Treatment Center built, so lifestyles would change, and lives would be saved.
A mutual connection suggested that Dr. Iyaad should meet Lori Sontag, President and CEO of the Breathing Association. Indeed, they met in December of 2022 and discovered a mutual vision and commitment to the Breathing Association’s clinical services and utility assistance programs. The alliance was strong and immediately evident. He was offered the Chief Operating Officer and V.P. of Operations position in January 2023. “I am currently in a discovery phase, yet I am dedicated to diversity and innovation while moving forward with drive and collaboration.”
From the vast number of emergency situations which Dr. Iyaad has witnessed and has been called upon to provide immediate medical care, he knows that life can change in an instant. “Being in such situations changes one’s perspective. I appreciate everyone around me—from family to coworkers to staff. A smile builds up inside me when colleagues say, ‘I am glad you are here!’”
Often times you will hear individuals say that their journey has led them to exactly where they should be. In the case of Iyaad Hasan, it is an absolute true statement. Providing genuine care and empathy for others is his way of life. Being part of an organization that positively changes and impacts lives is his mission. Although Dr. Iyaad is no longer in the daily clinical environment, it is still part of his soul. Now, from his Executive Leadership position, he can still win others over as he says, “Ok boys and girls—let’s go save some lives today!”