Unyielding Leadership

At ERVK, we work every day to ensure Eleanor’s light continues to shine and her voice continues to be heard through her profound ideals, great wisdom, and beliefs in freedom for all humanity.

Staff Members


Elysabeth Swan – Special Events Coordinator
Elysabeth Swan is a former English teacher and professional editor who comes to ERVK after nearly 10 years on staff at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. During her tenure at Omega, she worked in a variety of roles, including Children’s Program Manager, Staff Faculty, OWLC Community Engagement Coordinator, and Reservationist & Membership Coordinator.

Lys received her BA in English and Sociology from SUNY at New Paltz and her master’s degree in English/Secondary Education from Queens College. A certified end-of-life doula, she is a Hudson Valley Hospice volunteer, Funeral Consumer’s Alliance board member, and cofounder and facilitator (with her husband) of Death Café Dutchess. Lys also maintains a private practice as a shamanic healer and works seasonally at the Omega Wellness Center.

Mary E. Fetzko – Administrative Assistant
Mary Fetzko has recently moved from the North Fork of Long Island to the beautiful Hudson Valley, where she joined the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill (ERVK).  Passionate about  inspiring and empowering individuals and communities under the auspices of Eleanor’s leadership legacy, she utilizes her skills and experience  in municipal government, the insurance and financial services industries, to maintain a functional and efficient office environment while providing executive support.   Based on availability and approachability, Mary often serve as first point of contact for issues needing attention.   As a part the team at ERVK, Mary supports its mission to provide leadership opportunities for youth and Eleanor Roosevelt’s legacy.

Board of Directors

Emily Saland, Chair
As Marist’s Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, Emily works closely with the President to promote Marist’s mission and advance the President’s agenda. Emily received her BA from Cornell University, and completed her MFA in Poetry at George Mason University, where she was a teaching assistant, the editor of the internationally circulated literary journal, Phoebe, a Journal of Literature and Art, and the Heritage Writing Fellow. Emily is the past co-chair of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 40 Under 40 Selection Committee, and a member of the Walkway Over the Hudson’s Board. She lives in Pleasant Valley, New York with her husband and two children.

 Michael Doyle, First Vice Chair
Mike, Director of HR Field Service (aka the Geek Squad) for Best Buy, has 30 years’ experience in Human Resources and Employee Relations. Mike has applied his expertise as a Board Member for Junior Achievement of the Hudson Valley, and is an active volunteer at the Double H Ranch. After attending a volunteer event at Val-Kill’s Stone Cottage, he was entrigued by the mission of ERVK and has now served on the Board of Directors for nine years. Being a father and now grandfather of four beautiful granddaughters and one grandson, he finds the work and legacy of Eleanor more important and personally meaningful than ever.

Kathryn R. Reed, MHA, CMPE, Second Vice Chair
Kathryn’s experience in non-profit administration and development, and most recently with community health centers and rural health networks, is a great asset to ERVK. Kathryn has a MA in Healthcare Administration and is a Certified Medical Practice Executive with the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Kathryn served as a long-standing member of the NYS Rural Health Council, Executive Director of the Catskill-Hudson Area Health Education Center, Senior Program Associate at the Institute for Family Health, and as a health care executive with the Institute in New Paltz, and Brown University’s Family Practice Residency Program. Currently, she is the Vice President Administrative Services of New Windsor Family Medicine and is Vice President of the Board of Always There Home Health Services in Ulster County.

Dana Lim vanderHeyden, Third Vice Chair
Dana, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, lived in New Jersey after her family immigrated to the United States. Dana is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Rochester (NY), with a B. A. in French literature, as well as a diploma from the Sorbonne (Paris, France), and an M. A. in French from Rutgers University. Dana began her career in higher education at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, where she spent eighteen years both as Assistant Professor of French as well as Director of Academic Advising and, subsequently, as Director of Admissions.  After relocating to the Hudson Valley in New York, she became Assistant Registrar and served as academic advisor to adult students at Dutchess Community College. In 1996, Dana became a resident of Vermont when her husband, Marc, accepted the presidency at Saint Michael’s College. Dana returned to the Hudson River Valley in New York in 2007. With a commitment to civic responsibility, Dana has served on numerous boards including, Vermont Public Radio, the Northern Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Alliance Française of the Lake Champlain Region, the University of Vermont Lane Series, the Region I Board of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Council of World Affairs, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.  Dana is an avid photographer and has traveled to six continents — art remains a primary focus of her journeys.

Nina R. Gibson, Secretary
Nina, granddaughter of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, spent formative years living with her parents in Val-Kill’s Stone Cottage. Earning her Ph.D. in psychology from the Ohio State University, Nina worked in the public sector with disadvantaged families. Nina was a founding member and board chair of the Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center. Currently, Nina serves on the boards of the Living New Deal Project, Cheetah Conservation Fund of Namibia, Banner-UMC Hospital’s Sarver Heart Center Advisory Board and continues to be active with cardiovascular transplant patients and their families.

Keith Brokaw, Treasurer
Keith is a Senior Relationship Manager for TD Bank in the New Windsor Regional Office and has worked in the banking industry for 38 years and brings a wealth of financial expertise to ERVK as the organizations Treasurer. Keith serves as a Moderator for the Hudson River Presbytery and an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Monroe. Caring immensely about making an impact in the lives of others in the areas of education, income and health, Keith is active with United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, serving participating in their annual grant review process. Keith, and his wife, have been married for over 34 years and have three children and two grandchildren.

Kip Bleakley O’Neill
Kip, a community activist and Dutchess County native exemplifies Eleanor Roosevelt’s commitment to making her community a better place to live, work and raise a family. As an educator, Kip taught at both the high school and college levels, was a columnist, and also held a position in public relations. Kip served Dutchess County as a member of the Dutchess County Legislature for 28 years, thirteen of them as the Minority Leader. Kip holds a BA in English from William Smith College and an MA from the University of Miami. Her community engagement activities span countless committees and boards; most currently a Trustee of the Vassar Brothers Medical Center Foundation, Trustee Emeriti of the Dutchess Community College Board of Trustees, and former Board of Trustees, Vassar Warner Foundation. As a former vice chair of ERVK, she was instrumental in developing ERVK’s leadership program for community college students. Inspired by the people of her community, Kip is a contributor to the book Eleanor Roosevelt: A Hudson Valley Remembrance written by Joyce C. Ghee and Joan Spence, 2005.

Billie Eddington
Bio forthcoming

Robert J. Hoey
Bob, an officer of the IBM Corporation and General Manager of Financial Services Sector for IBM US., is responsible for the sales of IBM solutions to major banks, financial markets firms and insurance companies located across the United States. Bob graduated the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with a BS degree in Math, holds an MS in Operations Research & Statistics, an MBA in Management Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and has completed professional education at Harvard Business School. Eleanor Roosevelt has long influenced Bob’s life, teaching him to, “Be bold. Be confident.” To believe that he can achieve whatever he’s willing to work to accomplish. This philosophy has helped him to achieve whatever level of personal and professional success that has come to him. Bob wants to share this with others and he believes it will help make the world a better place. Bob makes his home in Connecticut and enjoys sailing with his family.

Lynn A. Ruggiero
Lynn, a Licensed Mental Health Counsellor and retired Associate Psychologist with the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities, worked with adults with disabilities (and abilities) and with mental illness, along with family and staff who cared for them. Lynn holds a PhD in Social and Personality Psychology from the City University of New York, an MA in School Psychology from Fairfield University, and a BA from Marist College. Lynn’s doctoral research and work were in International Conflict Resolution, with an emphasis in the Middle East. Lynn believes that serving marginalized people is a humanizing and affirming profession, and works to support and empower people to become their best.

International travel is a passion, through which Lynn meets people from various countries of the world, thus sharing cultures and perspectives with others. Much like Eleanor Roosevelt, Lynn believes people to people exchanges affect the world in small but significant ways.

Julianna Roosevelt
Following her grandmere’s advice to “touch other people with your life,” Julianna has worked with at risk communities as a child psychologist and community activist in the United States, Mexico and El Salvador. With childhood roots at Val-Kill, Julianna plays an active role in promoting human rights education and awareness locally, nationally and internationally. The promotion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Eleanor Roosevelt’s most significant legacy, is Julianna’s current focus. Julianna is spearheading a variety of programs and initiatives bringing the 30 articles of the UDHR to as many children and young people as possible, while championing Global Affirmation of Human Rights in small places close to home and abroad to ensure the principles of the UDHR becomes a reality for the millions of women, men and children still deprived of their rights 70 years later. Julianna resides in Long Beach, California, where she serves as cultural heritage commissioner, and is founding member of the Long Beach Sustainable Business Council. Joyously, she is grandmother to 18 month old Elliott, designs gardens and facilitates mindfulness workshops for all ages.

Dr. Marc A. VanderHeyden
Marc, President Emeritus of St. Michaels College, and past Board Chair of ERVK served as President of St. Michael’s College before settling into retirement in 2007. A former professor born in Ghent, Belgium, studied Greek, Latin and philosophy as an undergraduate in native Belgium. His professional career brought him to the United States where Marc held dual teaching and administrative positions at three American institutions: Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey; Ceder Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and served as a history professor and vice president of academic affairs for Marist College here in the Hudson Valley, New York. Marc has an acute sense of the need for globally informed education that goes beyond one’s borders, and his enduring and primary focus at ERVK is to help foster a quality educational experience for program participants. Marc brings his intelligence, compassion, creativity and extraordinary development as a board member to a broad array of organizations including, The Hudson Valley Renewable Energy Institute, Vermont Gas Systems (a subsidiary of Gaz/Metro), and the Vermont Health Foundation (VHF).




Eleanor Roosevelt: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 7 All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.