Our Leadership

Elena
President and Co-founder

Elena is Xiomara’s mom.  She loves connecting with families with medically complex kids and believes in the power of stories to change hearts and minds.

She has been an immigration lawyer since 2006: helping families to reunite, U.S. employers to sponsor workers, and asylum seekers to flee persecution.

Elena likes tater tots, dresses with pockets, and the Hamilton soundtrack.  She had lots of hobbies before becoming a mom, like painting, pottery, hoop dancing, sewing, and yoga.  Now, she is usually awake at 1am connecting with other families on social media.  

Elena can be reached at elena@littlelobbyists.org


Austin
Vice President

Austin is Melanie Leika’s mom. She believes all children should be loved, cherished and cared for as they are our future. She also believes that all people should have a right to health care and a great education, regardless of pre-existing conditions, or a family’s financial status.

Before Little Lobbyists, Austin worked for the military as a civil servant participating in multiple ventures in building a bridge between the community and its military members. She has helped build a community covenant in Braintree, MA, was a liaison between the military and the Red Sox Foundation, and established support groups for families of children with complex medical needs at 16 military installations.

Austin loves music, reading books, and learning American Sign Language. She also enjoys helping families navigate the often stressful military system and mentoring families like hers. She loves being a mom to her 3 beautiful children and her foster daughter.

She can be reached at austin@littlelobbyists.org


Michelle
Secretary and Co-founder

Michelle is Timmy’s mom. She firmly believes that if we could all learn to see other people as people, the world would be a better place.

She has a PhD in linguistics and in her day job focuses on language description and documentation. She has been volunteering as a patient and family advisor in her local hospital since 2012.

Michelle enjoys sewing and has been known to stay up until 2am working on a quilt. She also loves color-coded spreadsheets and bacon.

She can be reached at michelle@littlelobbyists.org


Anna
Director of Community Outreach

Anna is Jackson and Henry’s mom.  She believes in being the change she wants to see in the world. As an adult with Noonan Syndrome, Anna understands the lifelong need for affordable health care.  

Before becoming a full-time mom, Anna managed an upscale hair salon in her hometown of Hanover, PA. Now, she spends her days homeschooling her children and advising parents in the Noonan Syndrome community. In addition to the Little Lobbyists, Anna also works closely with Pennsylvania Health Access Network to advocate for her fellow Pennsylvanians. For this work, Anna received the 2017 PHAN Unsung Hero Award.

Anna enjoys board games, watching old movies, and spending quiet nights at home with her family. Though she no longer works as a hair stylist, she keeps herself up to date with the latest styles and trends in the beauty industry. She can usually be found starting craft projects that she doesn’t finish, or reading three to five books at the same time.

Anna can be reached at anna@littlelobbyists.org 


Ben
Treasurer

Ben is Pierce’s father. He thinks that all kids, medically complex or not, should have the same chances in life because you never know when they might surprise you. Health care, education and general positivity really can make a big difference in all our lives, especially our children’s.

When not on the Hill or working with the Little Lobbyists, Ben works in property management, overseeing multi-million dollar residential portfolios focusing on the resident experience to increase revenues for his clients. He is adept at solving complex and difficult problems.

Ben is a gear head, an avid cyclist, competing in Cyclocross races and century (100 mile) rides and is a music connoisseur who really enjoys live concerts. He has an eclectic catalog of music and enjoys the warm sound of analog records.

He can be reached at ben@littlelobbyists.org


Laura
Director of Communications and Development

Laura is Simon’s mom. She believes that, regardless of health or ability, all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. She also believes that every person has gifts to share, celebrate, and use to make our world more beautiful.

Laura is a graphic designer, small business owner, and adjunct professor. She believes in the power of great design for great organizations and specializes in communication for education, health care, and the arts. She loves being in the classroom helping creative people turn their passion into their profession.   

When she isn’t creating or teaching design, Laura works toward making the world a more beautiful place by volunteering on various board committees that support arts in education and the inclusion and celebration of people with disabilities. She loves being a mom to both her amazing kids, serves as a buddy minister at her church, does a lot of yoga, crochets gifts for friends, bakes impressive cakes, and really appreciates a nice manicure.   

Laura can be reached at laura@littlelobbyists.org


Mark
Story Keeper

Mark is Timmy’s dad. Mark is dedicated to helping other families tell their stories and advocating for children with complex medical needs.

When he’s not giving breathing treatments or making tube-feeds, he’s working on connecting with other parents of medically complex children and encouraging them to share their stories to their Members of Congress.

Mark enjoys listening to movie soundtracks, reading Harry Potter, and learning American Sign Language.

He can be reached at mark@littlelobbyists.org