Meet our Leadership Team
Laura H. Hughes, PMHCNS-BC, Executive Director
Laura is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. She graduated from Wheaton College with a B.A. in philosophy, and holds a Master of Science in Nursing from the MGH Institute of Health Professions. She is licensed to practice Nursing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is Board Certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as an advanced practice nurse specializing in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. Laura brings her experience working with clients in inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, day treatment, and community health settings.
Ethan Harris, LICSW, Clinical Coordinator and Building Supervisor
Ethan received his Master's Degree in Social Work from Simmons College in 1969 and joined Programs For People as a founding member in 1973. Mr. Harris completed the family training program at Cambridge Family Institute from 1977-78 and studied at the Centro Milanese Di Terapia Della Famiglia in Milan in 1984. He served as editor of Family Issues from 1987-1994 and the Newsletter of the American Family Therapy Academy from 1994-1998. His publications include, "Crying, Sleeping, and the Post Modern Marriage" in the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy (1999) and "My Brother's Keeper: Siblings of Chronic Patients as Allies in Treatment" in Siblings in Therapy. He has served as visiting professor at Boston University and Simmons College Schools of Social Work and has been a field instructor for Simmons School of Social Work for over 30 years.
Stephanie Calcagni, BS - Financial Data Manager
Stephanie received her degree in Business Management from Providence College and is the agency's Financial Data Manager, responsible for the billing, accounts receivable, and coordination of payroll and benefits. She has had over 25 years experience in both private and public sectors. She has been employed by Programs For People since 1983.
Beverly Folkes, AS - Administrative Assistant
Beverly received her Associate in Science degree from Lasell College. She has served as Administrative Assistant/Executive Secretary at Programs For People since 1990.
Edward Hebert - Food Services Manager
Ed has a long history of restaurant management, as well as service to the community. He owned and operated a 145 seat Italian Restaurant for 37 years. He has also worked for Burger King Corporation and Panera Bread as a training manager. Ed has a lifelong history of service to community organizations. He has served as a Cub Master and Eagle Scout Advisor for Boy Scouts of America; he has served as past president of Waltham Jaycee's and past Board member for United Cerebral Palsy (Boston Housing Unit). He has been an active participant in the Massachusetts Knights of Columbus for many years, most recently serving as District Deputy. Ed previously worked for Programs For People as Food Service Manager for 7 years, helping many clients in our Lunch Box program prepare for community employment. After a brief retirement, he recently rejoined Programs For People and looks forward to helping new clients build their confidence and work readiness skills.
Jessica Johnston, MS, OTR/L - Occupational Therapist
Jess received her Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from Boston University/Sargent College for Allied Health Professionals and has had 15 years of experience in mental health settings, including serving as occupational therapist for the inpatient unit at Bournewood Hospital and as Community Residence Director at Wild Acre Inn in Lexington. She also has experience working in rehabilitation at Community Rehab Care in Newton, treating cognitive and physical impairments resulting from neurological injuries. Jess brings a focus on the use of functional and cognitive based strategies to assist clients in managing day to day activities.
Mary Jane Kunkycky, MA, CRC – Vocational Services Manager
Mary Jane graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and earned a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Southern Illinois University's Rehabilitation Institute. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. She has worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor in many capacities with persons with a variety of disabilities, from clinical settings such as the New England Rehabilitation Hospital to corporations including Paul Revere Insurance Company, Raytheon, and the John Hancock Insurance Company where she coordinated vocational rehabilitation for employees. Prior to coming to Programs For People she worked with the Boston Veterans' Administration, providing vocational assessments and recommendations for disabled veterans. Mary Jane serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Association.
Kara Rodecker, MA, MHC – Mental Health Counselor/Art Therapist
Kara has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Art Therapy from Lesley University. She has experience working with children and families in the foster care system. Kara later worked with adolescents in public and therapeutic alternative schools, providing individual and group therapy. She has experience incorporating artistic expression into individual sessions. Kara has developed and led directive based art therapy groups, as well as groups using the open studio model of art therapy. She has a particular interest in the therapeutic benefits of the expressive arts and horticultural therapy. Kara incorporates a client centered approach into all of her practices and believes in working with an individual to foster a sense of empathy, control, community, and expression.
Christian Rideout, MA, CRC – Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Project Advance
Christian has a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counselling from Assumption College and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Christian brings previous experience working with both state and nonprofit organizations to his role at PFP. Christian has provided a variety of services to individuals with mental health challenges including assistance with finding and maintaining employment, disability benefits assistance and the promotion of self-advocacy. Christian works under the philosophy that employment gives people a purpose and can be a main component in a person’s path to wellness. He enjoys helping people recognize and use their strengths to reach their fullest potential.
Robert A. Karr, M.D. – Consulting Psychiatrist
Dr. Robert Karr is a Board Certified Psychiatrist and Forensic Psychiatrist. He received his medical degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and received his psychiatric training through Harvard University’s Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA.
Iris Carroll,OTR/L,MPH - Founder and Director Emeritus