Board of Directors

Len Gengel

Len Gengel Co-Founder & President

Co-Founder of The Be Like Brit Foundation, Len has dedicated his life to the children of Haiti at Brit’s Orphanage. He spent 20 trips in 2011 and 19 trips in 2012 building The Be Like Brit Orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti, where Britney was suppose to travel to the day after the devastating earthquake. Len leads The Be Like Brit Foundation both in the USA and in Haiti spending his time equally in both countries. Len and Cherylann wrote their families book “ Heartache and Hope in Haiti “ and 100% of the profits go to Brit’s Orphanage. Len and Cherylann travel around the country speaking at many colleges and universities along with churches and civic groups. Len and Cherylann both volunteer at Be Like Brit and have never, and will never, take a salary. Their goal is very clear: “To Raise the Next Generation of Leaders in Haiti“
Len has been married to Cherylann for 25 years and have 3 children: Britney, who attended to Lynn University; Bernie, who is in his last semester at Suffolk University and Richie, who is in his sophomore year at High Point University. Len worked 30 years in the Home-building business, retiring at the end of 2012 after building 10 neighborhoods and 350+ homes. He was very involved in his local and State Home Builders Association serving as past President in both organizations. Len’s philanthropy was thru building partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, Rutland Pool House, Baseball Fields, Central Mass Rail Trail and having many Red Sox Players to his restaurant, Grand Slam Café. Len’s love of his family and baseball are his hobbies. He sat in the St. Louis Stadium on 10-27-2004 as the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. It was Len’s 44th Birthday. Len earned degrees from Becker College (formerly Becker Junior College) and Central Connecticut State University. Len has also received an honorary doctorate from Becker College and received an honorary doctorate from The University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Cherylann Gengel

Cherylann Gengel Co-Founder & Treasurer

Cherylann Gengel has devoted her life to her family and now to the children of Haiti at Be Like Brit. Cherylann has been married to Len for more than 25 years and they have raised three children: Britney, Bernie, and Richie.
Cherylann has always been very active in her community; she served as President of the Rutland Parents Teachers’ Organization, Treasurer of Rutland’s Youth Baseball, she helped create Rutland’s Recreation Committee, and served as a member of St. Vincent DePaul to name a few. For more than 8 years, she and her husband, Len, owned and operated the popular Grand Slam Café in Rutland, MA. There, they hosted David Ortiz, Trot Nixon, Doug Mirabelli, and Kevin Youkilis.
In 2010, when her daughter Britney was killed in the Haiti Earthquake, Cherylann and Len co-founded The Be Like Brit Foundation in honor of Britney. Cherylann serves as the organization’s Treasurer, provides leadership to the Program Committee to oversee the Guiding Principles, and leads all fundraising efforts. In the past 4 years, under the guidance of Cherylann, The Be Like Brit Foundation has raised over $2.1M.
Cherylann is a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) and was profiled by NAPW in April 2012, in addition to being named one of the Top 25 Woman Changing the World in 2014 by Cyrus Webb. She has also received an honorary doctorate from Becker College and received an honorary doctorate from The University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Bernard Gengel

Bernie Gengel Vice President

Britney’s beloved brother, Bernie, has contributed his compassion, innovation, and technical assistance to The Be Like Brit Foundation. Bernie has expertise in Search Engine Optimization, Website Development, Ideation, Fundraising and Non Profit Strategy. In addition to building and maintaining The Be Like Brit website, Bernie implements the online marketing campaign through Google grants. Bernie has been instrumental in the building of Brit’s orphanage; he traveled to Haiti for the first time in August of 2010 with his mother, Cherylann, and Aunt Jodi. In September of 2010, Bernie and Len went to Haiti to purchase the land for the orphanage in Grand Goave, and in December of 2010, Bernie and Len traveled to Haiti for the ground breaking. In addition to working as a full-time student at Suffolk University, Bernie continues to keep his sister’s spirit alive. His dream is to improve Haiti’s economy by developing businesses there such as (but not limited to) agriculture, manufacturing, shipping and earthquake-proof hotels.
PJ McDonald

Dr. Peter J. McDonald Development Director

Dr. PJ McDonald began his career with 3M Corporation in Minnesota and New York before joining Eagle Hill School in June of 1993. In 1998, PJ was appointed Headmaster of Eagle Hill School after five successful years as the Director of Admission. Dr. McDonald has long been connected to the Gengel family and is very dedicated to The Be Like Brit Foundation as Bernie and Richie both graduated from Eagle Hill School.
Dr. McDonald received his Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Purdue University, a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Cambridge College, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Policy, Research, and Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. PJ has been published in national journals and is a frequent speaker at national conferences on both leadership and education, including the National Association of Independent Schools, The Association of Boarding Schools, and the Independent Educational Consultants Association. PJ also serves as a consultant to independent schools, colleges, and non-profit organizations across the United States in the areas of governance, strategic planning, and fundraising. In addition to The Be Like Brit Foundation, PJ is a trustee at numerous non-profit organizations throughout New England. PJ and his wife, Kathryn, live in Holden, MA, with their three children, Griffin, Reagan, and Tucker.
Christine Steinwand

Christine Steinwand MSEd. Program Director

Christine Steinwand is Britney’s “Auntie Chrissy.” This special relationship segued into one of the six members who founded The Be Like Brit Foundation. Christine sits on the Board of Directors and is the Chair of the Program Committee. She also provided leadership in writing the Guiding Principles and the Program Manual for the foundation along with the help of the Program Committee.
Prior to her contribution to The Be Like Brit Foundation, Christine worked for 42 years in the field of education as a Child Development Specialist and a Family Therapist. Christine holds a Bachelor’s degree from Our Lady of the Elms College in Sociology, Education and Religion. She also earned a Masters Degree in Child Development from Wheelock College.
Christine began her career in Hawaii as a teacher in the Catholic Lay Apostolate. After returning to MA, she directed a child care program in an inner city project, directed a teen parent program, counseled students in public schools for 22 years, and taught in the graduate school at Wheelock College for 18 years.
Jodi Sweeney

Jodi Sweeney Clerk

Jodi Sweeney is Britney’s aunt and godmother and had an extremely close relationship with Britney. Jodi has been instrumental in the fundraising efforts at Be Like Brit. She has designed and run many successful fundraising events, such as our annual Gala in Boston. Jodi is currently the Vice President of the Program Management Office at Altisource Labs in Boston, MA. Prior to joining Altisource Labs, Jodi worked at several multi-national companies including Avid, GTECH Corporation, Compaq Computer, and Digital Equipment Corporation. She has breadth and depth of experience in managing professional services and customer support operations, developing channel strategies, implementing Customer, advisory boards, evaluating mergers and acquisitions, developing corporate strategy and driving high levels of customer satisfaction.
Jodi has an MBA in Finance from Northeastern University of Boston, MA.
Susan Wornick

Susan Wornick PR Director

Susan Wornick, Emmy award-winning anchor and reporter, recently stepped down from the ABC affiliate, WCVB-TV Boston news desk in February 2014. Wornick was named anchor of WCVB-TV Newscenter 5 Midday newscast in February 1989. During that time, NewsCenter 5’s noon broadcast remained the top-ranked and most watched news program in that time period. Wornick joined WCVB in 1981 and has won many awards during her tenure including the 2012 Embracing the Legacy Award, by Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, for children at the Kennedy Library in recognition of her work in protecting children. Most recently, she was honored with the State of Massachusetts’ Certificate of Appreciation, the state’s highest honor for consumer advocacy, never before given to someone not working in state government. In addition to her award winning work in radio and television, Wornick spends a tremendous amount of time volunteering with many notable charities in the New England area.
Susan and Britney quickly bonded in the summer of 2007 when Brit shadowed Susan for a day at WCVB. Brit went home and told her family, “I could party with her,” while Susan was telling coworkers, “that’s one smart, bright light “. Susan covered the earthquake extensively for WCVB and traveled with Len and Cherylann to Florida when they first had errant reports of Britney being rescued, and stayed for the heartbreaking days that followed. Susan has been dedicated to Brit’s story and has taken every opportunity to ensure the New England area is kept apprised of the building of BLB through her stories on WCVB. Susan was in Haiti for the groundbreaking and opening of Brit’s Orphanage and the subsequent arrival of the children.
Born in The Bronx, New York, and raised in Natick Massachusetts, Wornick now resides in Needham Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Boston’s Emerson College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree.
Joane Dumont

Joane Dumont Director of Haiti Relations

Joane Buteau Dumont was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she is one of seven owners of the Karibe, Kinam and Servotel Restaurants and Hotels in both Port-au-Prince and Petion-Ville Haiti. Joane earned her BS at Ithaca College and Hyde-Park, NY from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). In 1991, Joane lived in Paris where she married Bernard Dumont before moving to the United States. In a twist of fate, Bernard Dumont was a life-long college friend of Len Gengel and has been a trusted advisor since the Haiti earthquake. While in the US, Joane worked at a shoe store and studied at an art school where she developed an interest in abstract painting.
In 1995, Joane had her daughter, Alexa, and stopped everything to become a stay at home mom and continued after her son, Nathan, was born in 1999. Joane currently serves as an adviser for the family business back home in Haiti, which has been in the family for more than 50 years.

Father John Madden

Father John Madden Director of Faith

Born and raised in Milford, MA, Fr. John Madden has degrees from Holy Cross, Boston College and the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained in 1984 and has had assignments in Holden and Clinton, Massachusetts and at Holy Name Jr. Sr. High School before becoming Pastor at St. John’s Church in Worcester, Massachusetts in Feb 2004.
Fr. Madden has been a dear friend and faithful advisor to the Gengel family for the last decade as their pastor at St. John’s Church in Worcester. He blessed Britney before her journey to Haiti and presided over her funeral when she was laid to rest. Fr. Madden gives guidance in the faith-filled raising of this next generation of leaders in Haiti at Be Like Brit.
Paul Scully

Paul Scully Director of Finance

Paul F. Scully serves as President and CEO of Country Bank in Ware, Massachusetts. Paul is also a Director of Old Sturbridge Village as well as a Director at Wing Memorial Hospital. Highly involved in his community, Mr. Scully is a Corporator for the Greater Worcester Massachusetts Community Foundation. In 1988, the Gengels received their first mortgage from Country Bank. Paul has been committed to the mission of Be Like Brit and has been a great supporter. He visited the Be Like Brit orphanage in Haiti in October of 2012 to help complete the orphanage and returned again in March of 2013 to build a home for a local family.
Paul earned a BS at Bentley College and an MBA at Suffolk University. He resides in Sturbridge Massachusetts.
Steve Helle

Steve Helle Director of Business Development

Steve Helle has been the President and COO of Granite City Electrical Supply since 1999. Granite City Electrical Supply is an electrical distributor serving New England based contractor, industrial and commercial construction. From 1986 through 1999, Mr. Helle held multiple management positions at Capitol Light and Supply out of Hartford, CT including Vice President of the Electrical Division upon departure. Mr. Helle has been married for 23 years to his wife Meghan and has two teenage daughters: Danielle and Jacqueline. Steve and Danielle traveled with Len to Haiti in April of 2014 to meet the children and staff at The Be Like Brit Orphanage.
Eileen Terry

Eileen Terry Director of Non-Profit Strategy

Eileen Terry serves as the Global Head, HR Program Management for Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Eileen has an extensive 20 year background in the field of Human Resources. She’s held senior level HR positions at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Oxford Global Resources and Randstad Holdings. Eileen has also worked in the field of cancer care and treatment for the past 12 years and has depth of experience in the bench-to-bedside life-cycle in both profit and non-profit organizations.
Eileen is from the Boston area and was Len and Cherylann’s neighbor in New Hampshire for many summers. She comes from a large family and enjoys spending time with her many nieces and nephews. Eileen has a passionate commitment to charitable work. In addition to her involvement with the Jimmy Fund and The Be Like Brit Foundation, Eileen runs a non-profit organization which raises money for non-medical expenses for families of children battling brain tumors.
Richard Gengel

Richard GengelFounder – Director

Richie Gengel owes a lot to his sister, Britney. He says Brit was one of his best friends and singlehandedly opened his eyes to a world of music, theatre, and arts. He shared an incredibly loving bond with his sister, and he has made it is his mission to share this same unconditional love with the children of Be Like Brit. He shares her humor too; while many people refer to Brit as an “angel” he reminds folks she wasn’t always the “perfect child”!

This summer, Richie spent a month in Haiti working with the children of Be Like Brit. He began his trip by driving a box truck filled with donated solar panels from his home in Holden, MA to Miami to make the orphanage energy efficient so more funds can be allocated to essentials like food and medicine for the children.

A sophomore at High Point University studying graphic design, Richie has played an integral part in designing the Be Like Brit logo and website with his brother, Bernie. While Richie’s career plans may include non-profit management, he has his hands full planning three more upcoming voyages to Haiti – including a trip with students from his college this Fall.

Richie credits his beloved sister Britney with teaching him confidence and expanding his horizons. He prides himself of keeping his sister’s legacy of compassion and free spirit alive, and has made it his goal to grow Be Like Brit and touch the lives of children there, the way his sister touched his own.