Leadership

Leadership

leading our

innovation

Board of Directors

Trudie Hall, Chair

Trudie Hall is an Economic Education Specialist for the Public Affairs Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. She leads the Bank’s Student Board of Directors program and the Summer@ the Fed financial literacy program. Trudie is an advocate for the metropolitan area and makes her home in Wyandotte County. Over the years, she has served the community through several local and national organizations.

Trudie is Board Chair for the Wyandotte Health Foundation and a former Board Chair for the Northeast Kansas & Northwest Missouri Girl Scout Council. She was an integral part of the move to align three area Girl Scout councils into one dynamic organization. She currently serves on the board of directors for Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City and the KU Advancement Board.

In addition, she is a past Chairman of the Board for several organizations including, the United Way of Wyandotte County, the American Red Cross in Wyandotte County, Associated Youth Services (AYS) and UMKC’s Friends of the Library.

Trudie has received several community-based awards and recognition over the years, including Volunteer of the Year from the Kansas State Commission on Volunteerism.

For several years Trudie served as host for two local radio talk shows, Legacy on KKFI, and Alternative Reality on KGGN. She was also a regular panelist for the weekly television talk show RUCKUS on KCPT-TV. Trudie is an alumnus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Connie Shidler, Vice Chair

Melody Fugazzotto, Secretary

A retired naval officer and healthcare administrator with a wide array of healthcare and general management experiences, Melody is a Senior Business Consultant with Federal business partner, Amyx, Inc. Melody’s work focuses on Strategic Planning, Policy and Process development, Program Design and Implementation, and Transition Management.

Prior to retirement from the U.S. Navy, Melody previously served as the director of Contingency Operations Programs, which provides Disaster Training Programs to military medical departments as well as federal and local government agencies. A highlight of her time there was a two-year multinational cooperative program that developed a Mobile Learning Environment (MLE) Proof of Concept for an app “Global MedAid” where she and her team worked with delegates from 24 different countries such Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Chile, France, Germany, Georgia, Jordan, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

Melody thoroughly enjoyed serving her country throughout her 20-year military career and subsequent civilian and consultant careers. She held multiple positions in education and training, clinical management, operational medicine, and patient administration (patient movement). She has had volunteer positions for national and local community organizations such as the American College of Healthcare Executives (Navy region), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (Wiesbaden, Germany), the MilSpo Project, the Musical Theater Heritage at Crown Center in Kansas City, and the O’Riada Manning Academy of Irish Dance (Mission, KS).

She holds a master’s in health administration from Baylor University and a Master of Science in Technology Commercialization from McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas – Austin. A lifelong learner, avid reader, and parent of a busy teen, she continually seeks knowledge and additional life skills, from gaining a professional certification in graphic design to adult ice-skating lessons.

Ryan Bilderback, Treasurer

Ryan is a commercial credit analyst with Academy Bank of the Dickinson Financial Corporation. Their credit team complies & analyzes data on commercial businesses for the purpose of underwriting new & existing credit facilities. Formerly a business banker, working for 4 years with local small businesses & non-profit organizations throughout the greater Kansas City area. He’s assisted in organizing fundraising activities and securing corporate sponsorships & charitable donations for several local non-profits. He is a member of several organizations including the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Crossroads Community Association, Non-Profit Connect, and CCIM.

Ryan earned his Bachelor’s degrees in Economics & Psychology from the University of Kansas.

Tehani El-Ghussein, Board Member

A social worker, Tehani serves as Rose Brooks Center’s Director of Housing and Economic Advocacy with an aim to break the cycle of domestic violence by improving survivors’ housing and economic stability. Tehani’s work focuses on program design, implementation, staff supervision, and quality while she also represents the needs of survivors’ in community-level efforts to end homelessness. Previously, Tehani served as a domestic violence advocate and managed a 50+ bed emergency shelter. Additionally, she has held multiple training positions in employment and volunteer capacities and has actively engaged in equity and inclusion initiatives at the agency and community levels. For 10 years, Tehani proudly claimed the role of “grant professional” and thus brings successful, diverse experience in Federal, State, local, foundation, and corporate grants and has participated as a grant reviewer.

As a volunteer, Tehani has served on boards as a general member and as part of executive teams, in particular with Harmony (formerly HarmonyNCCJ, formerly the National Conference for Community and Justice) and the Missouri Association of Social Welfare. In these roles, she assisted in revising by-laws, planning events, soliciting funds, and rebranding after a merger, among others. Tehani is also a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of the USA, participating in camp as camper, then staff, then volunteer over the course of 25 years! Being outdoors, experiencing nature so closely, trying new activities, and exploring who she was are all reasons she went searching for an organization that would fully align with her family today. Camp Fire fulfills that aim, and she is proud to serve the organization.

Lemart Holeman, Board Member

Lemartt Holman is the Energy Efficiency Manager for Spire Inc., a natural gas distribution company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. He is responsible for managing, developing, and growing energy efficiency opportunities in Spire’s Missouri region and increasing community awareness of their impact on reducing the carbon footprint. In addition, Lemartt serves as a member of Spire’s Workforce Development Committee. Lemartt has established a career in program design, market transformation, and team development. 

Lemartt serves as board member of the National Institute of Construction Excellence and The Missouri Energy Initiative. He is an advocate in the community and has served on multiple advisory boards and committees including the Chairman of the Committee to Keep Missourians Warm, Energy and Housing Professional Alliance, Kansas City’s Home Repair Taskforce, and Neighborhood Advisory Board. 

Lemartt is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and the University of Kansas.

Lemartt serves as board member of the National Institute of Construction Excellence and The Missouri Energy Initiative. He is an advocate in the community and has served on multiple advisory boards and committees including the Chairman of the Committee to Keep Missourians Warm, Energy and Housing Professional Alliance, Kansas City’s Home Repair Taskforce, and Neighborhood Advisory Board. 

Lemartt is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and the University of Kansas.

Celeste Lupercio, Board Member

Celeste Lupercio iis a first-generation Mexican immigrant, who graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree leading to a career with adolescents in residential care and psychiatric hospitalization. She has since moved into the sports industry fundraising, event planning, and film production. She is the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Park University, and serves on the board for Camp Fire-Heartland Chapter, is a member of Meeting Planners International and of the Diversity and Inclusion Consortium. She is a long-time volunteer for American Royal, is known for her BBQ reviews, and is currently recognized by Google as a top Local Business Champion.

Kelsey Brandes, Board Member

Kelsey Brandes is an Associate attorney in the Technology Transactions and Data Privacy group at Polsinelli, a national law firm headquartered in Kansas City. At Polsinelli, she is heavily involved with mentoring younger associates and summer interns, as well as sitting on the KC’s office Women Empowerment Committee. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Political Science from the University of Missouri – Columbia (Go Tigers!), and her Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University – Bloomington Maurer School of Law (a proud Hoosier!). She has previous experience as a family law mediator, with a special focus on child-focused mediations and working with victims of intimate partner violence and abuse. In addition to serving on Camp Fire Heartland’s Board, she is involved with and a supporter of the Kansas City art and dance community, engaged in local alumni chapters and advises collegiate women serving on their sorority’s executive board. While not a Camp Fire alum herself, she has fond memories of her own camp experience and is excited and proud to serve as a board member for Camp Fire Heartland, a great organization that enables local children to have their own positive and fulfilling camp experiences!

Rita Lupercio, Recording Secretary (non-voting)
Rita was a Camp Fire Leader for eight years and looked forward to Summer Camp with her young friends. She left Court Reporting to become a Captioner for various City Councils, as well as enabling hearing-impaired college students to be a part of class participation. Both opportunities are a perfect fit for the position of Recording Secretary for Camp Fire Heartland.

Leadership Team

Erin Balleine, she/her
President & CEO

Erin serves as the founding President and CEO of Camp Fire Heartland. In April of 2020, under Erin’s leadership, Camp Fire Heartland became an independent nonprofit serving the Kansas City area. Previously, Camp Fire Heartland had existed as a department of Camp Fire’s National Headquarters, which is also located in Kansas City. She has an extensive background in both nonprofit and government work. She served as a community organizer in south Florida supporting a successful anti-slavery/living wage campaign which provided farmworkers their first pay raise in 26 years. She also worked as a Program Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service providing AmeriCorps VISTA and Senior Corps grants to organizations in Kansas and Missouri. In 2020, Erin led an initiative to provide virtual learning sites to low-income children and children of essential workers throughout the metro. Her innovative work throughout the pandemic brought national attention to Camp Fire Heartland. Erin has her Master’s Degree in Sociology from Boston College, and Certificates in Nonprofit Management and Volunteer Management from Rollins College.

Melina Johnson, she/her
Director, Finance

Melina Johnson has over 30 years of accounting and finance experience including non-profit and small business bookkeeping, payroll, financial reporting and tax preparation. Melina has held finance, accounting, and management positions at various large corporations including H&R Block. Melina has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Central Missouri and an MBA in Finance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Britney Lewis, she/her
Field Director, Kansas

Britney Lewis is a passionate educator and dedicated Field Director for Camp Fire Heartland, where she fosters enriching opportunities for students during their out-of-school time. With a background in nonprofit collaboration, she previously served as an Afterschool Coordinator at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, working alongside various community organizations to create meaningful experiences for children. Her commitment to education and conservation led her to the role of Director of Education at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. While there she diversified educational programming and boosted net promoter scores for summer camp programming. 

Britney holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education from Northwest Missouri State University.

Megan McMurray, she/her
Field Director, Missouri

Megan McMurray, M.Ed., has a strong dedication to education and a commitment to serving underserved communities, with over 15 years of experience in the field.

Megan’s exceptional dedication earned her the distinction of being nominated and winning the Classified Employee of the Year award not once, but three times, representing both her school and her program. Again in 2015, was honored with the Classified Employee of the Year award for her entire district, a testament to the transformative work she was doing. Simultaneously, her contributions were acknowledged at the state level, as she earned the MOSAC’s Youth Worker of the Year award, affirming her commitment to the betterment of the youth she served.

Megan is a certified elementary school teacher and was named Teach of the Year in 2020.

In 2021, Megan McMurray furthered her educational journey, earning a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, which inspired her to broaden her impact on the community she served. This pursuit led her to an underserved part of Independence, where she played a pivotal role in securing valuable resources and creating enriching experiences for families. Though this work was deeply meaningful, Megan realized that her true passion remained in youth development. Megan’s remarkable journey in education, her unwavering commitment to the betterment of young lives, and her impressive list of accolades reflect a dedicated and inspirational leader in the field of education. 

Mel Hallenbeck, she/her
Thrive Manager

Mel Hallenbeck (she/her/hers) serves as the Thrive Manager working specifically with children who are justice-involved.

Mel has 25+ years of passionate experience working in the social work/mental health field in Kansas, Missouri and Colorado in a variety of settings. Her vast experience with youth include residential treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals, youth homeless shelters, street outreach, youth transitional living programs, addictions counseling and managing teams of front-line staff. Youth are and have always been her jam!

She completed her Bachelors in Social Work degree with honors from Colorado State University- Pueblo in 2010. Mel also has extensive training in trauma-informed care, addictions counseling, de-escalation, restorative justice, motivational interviewing and positive youth development.