Our Team

Jessica P. Zachs

Chair & Chief Executive Officer

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Jessica is the Chair and CEO of Dignity Grows Inc., which she founded in 2019. 

An alumna and class officer of Cornell University, Jessica is a classically trained chef and entrepreneur. As a food editor at Mademoiselle Magazine, she brought her unique culinary stylings to the publication. She was also a stylist and consultant for numerous cookbooks, magazines and advertising campaigns. She later ran a successful NYC catering business. 

Her extensive experience as a dynamic community leader includes service on the boards of numerous educational and social service organizations, including that of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Jessica has served as Chair and President of Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford and recently completed 8 years of service on the JFNA National Women’s Philanthropy Board.

Upon learning of the devastating impacts of Period Poverty, Jessica sprang to action, educating and motivating volunteers to make change for women and girls in her own community of Hartford, CT. Within a year and a half, her efforts had gained national attention and Dignity Grows chapters lept into action in cities across the USA. In addition to providing direct hygiene support for hundreds of thousands of Americans, Jessica recognized the need for Dignity Grows to take on policy and systemic change and the organization quickly evolved into the national leader in addressing trends in Period Poverty.

Jessica’s deep connections to giving back to the community stem from childhood traditions with her sisters, and their annual efforts to support individuals affected by Muscular Dystrophy. Along with her husband and three grown children, she continues to make community service a core value of their growing family. 

Jennifer Tolman

President & Chief Operating Officer

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Jennifer is the President and COO of Dignity Grows Inc., where she oversees program, strategic growth and corporate relations for the national organization. Jennifer has been Dignity Grows’ operational lead since 2020.

Jennifer is an alumna of Boston University, where she undertook studies in both Religion and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. She has since been invited to return to her alma mater to guide students pursuing careers in social justice. Jennifer holds international certifications from the United Nations in food insecurity and health equity measures.

Jennifer brings over 20 years of experience in large-scale program development and management across the nation. She was the youngest member ever appointed to the Management Team of the Marcus JCC of Atlanta, where she began her career in education and camp management.

A master educator and curriculum designer, Jennifer was recognized as Atlanta’s “Teacher of the Year”. More recently, Jennifer has served as Director of Community Connections at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and authored the “WOW!” values-based STEM experiential education curriculum. She has been a featured presenter at NewCAJE conferences and is published in their journals.

The Governor of Kentucky awarded Jennifer the title of “Colonel” in recognition of her work in the field of Period Poverty. 

Jennifer’s long standing commitment to volunteerism includes roles with the Play SAFE program and The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. She continues this tradition of giving back with her three sons by fostering dogs with special needs for local rescue groups.

Jill Grossman

National Development Director

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As National Development Director for Dignity Grows Inc., Jill facilitates relationship-building, partnerships, and growth-driven opportunities for the organization. 

With more than 15 years of management experience, Jill has a strong background in the nonprofit world and in creative program growth. She was instrumental in launching Dignity Grows in the Richmond, VA region, developing the program into a key convenor of the community to meet an expanding local need.

Jill has a proven track record of inspiring leadership and innovation. She previously served as the Director of Women’s Philanthropy and Affinities at the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond and as Director of Arts and Ideas for the UJF of Tidewater, FL. She was also an accomplished fundraiser for Physicians for Peace, securing resources for three medical missions to Ecuador.

A Florida native, Jill is the proud mother of two grown children. She qualified for the Boston Marathon four times, loves to travel, and is a French Bulldog enthusiast.

Becca Carroll

National Operations Associate

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Becca has been a key team member of Dignity Grows, the national nonprofit leader in addressing the growing public health crisis of Period Poverty, since 2022. She first served as Program Coordinator of the Hartford Region before moving into the National Operations role, facilitating support programs for Dignity Grows chapters across the USA, as well as internal systems and growth resources.

Becca studied both Communications and Urban and Community studies at the University of Connecticut and has a strong background in political affairs and in the hospitality industry. Her previous endeavors inform her creative and analytical talents and ability to connect strategic growth opportunities with current trends.

A native Yankee (aka Connecticuter), Becca brings a love for community to her work and inspires potential leaders across the country to translate their passions into action.

Jerrell Starling

Program Assistant

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Jerrell Starling was part of the Dignity Grows family for several years as a partner and mission-focused presenter before joining the staff team. He brings a rich background of advocacy and community leadership to his role as Program Assistant.
As the founder of Heroes in Training, Jerrell has decades of experience empowering young adults through physical fitness and social-emotional wellness. The organization provides youth with a uniquely heightened sense of confidence, discipline, awareness, and an obligation to serve and represent their communities in the best way possible. 
Jerrell is a sought-after public speaker and served as keynote at the Nutmeg Big Brothers/Big Sisters annual meeting. One of his proudest successes came through his relationship with Dignity Grows, as he personally connected dozens of families with much needed hygiene support while educating the teens in the households on menstrual hygiene without taboos.
Jerrell serves as a Social Emotional Learning Instructor in an urban school system, where he pioneered the “Simple Wisdom” class. He also teaches numerous fitness classes each week and is an Olympic referee and active philanthropist with USA Boxing.

Board of Directors

Paige Maehara

Head of Operations, Coterie

Michelle Strawder, MPA

Magnet Grants Coordinator, Goodwin University

Brenda Marie

Principal & Founder, Coach Brenda Marie LLC

Daphne Bazile, MD FACOG

Medical Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Bon Secours

Stacie Brockman

Co-Founder, Métier Creative

Board of Advisors

Lisa Chernikoff

Communications Advisor

Ellen Nestler, MD

Medical Advisor

Caren Hosansky

Resource Advisor

Thea Montanez

Policy Advisor

Marco Signorello

Logistics Advisor

Zoë Zachs, LCSW

Health & Wellness Advisor

Dignity Grows provides girls, women, and all menstruators with the human dignity that comes from having their most basic personal hygiene needs met, one month at a time.