Meet Our Board
Our Board is comprised of Business Owners and Executives with a single mission; to provide financial assistance and other programs to families battling any type of cancer, anywhere in Michigan.
With 98% of donations and proceeds from events directly financing these families, we ensure every dollar does the most good, from donation to deed.
Debbie Amatangelo, Chairman
Debbie Amatangelo has been involved with Angels of Hope since 2010. Originally part of the Holiday program, she eventually expanded her role and served as a member of the Grant Committee where she worked directly with our families to get them through the grant application process. She began her current role as Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2019. Debbie is responsible for executing the vision and the mission of our foundation.
The daughter of a stage 3B esophageal cancer survivor, Debbie has seen firsthand the effects a cancer diagnosis can have on a family. “I look forward to the day no family has to hear one of their members has cancer. Until then, I will continue to do all that I can to ensure no family fights alone.”
Debbie attended graduate school at the University of Michigan where she obtained her M.B.A with a concentration in Organizational Leadership. She is currently employed as a Strategic Account Manager for iManage – the global leader in legal document management software – where she focuses on a small group of the largest law firms in the Midwest and eastern Canada.
Robin Sanderson, Vice Chairman
In 1996, Robin lost her mother, Ruth, to lung cancer. This loss was the beginning of her crusade to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. In 1997, Robin held her first fundraiser in her home and raised $3000. For years, she would continue to fund raise and serve on the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society.
In 2004, Angels of Hope was established, and Robin committed herself to its cause of assisting families and providing an avenue for local businesses to give back to the community. She would devote countless hours and recruit all she knew to help provide for families in-need and build the 100% volunteer foundation you see, today.
Robin is the Broker/Owner of Real Estate Network Elite. She is thankful for the never-ending support from her children, Diana and Michael, and Michael’s wife, Becky. Her fiancé, Jim, brings along an army of support with sons, Christopher and Michael, and their wives, Meagan and Justyna. In her free time, Robin loves to golf and travel, but most of all she loves her role as Nana to Bryce, Amelia, Isabella, Mason, Kaylee and Miles.
Kelly Lathrop, Treasurer
Kelly is currently the Director of Finance for Leo Burnett. She began volunteering on the finance committee for Angels of Hope in October 2017. She was appointed Treasurer of the Board of Directors in March 2018.
At an early age, Kelly lost both maternal grandparents to cancer only two years apart from one another. That loss ignited her drive to pursue various volunteer and charitable opportunities. While in college, Kelly co-founded a charity tennis tournament in her hometown of Almont. For 9-consecutive years, the tournament proceeds supported various nonprofit organizations including; The American Breast Cancer Foundation, Save the Children and Almont’s High School Tennis program.
Kelly earned her B.S. from Alma College and MBA from Michigan State University. When not working or volunteering, Kelly loves spending time with her husband Brad and sons, Brooks and Nolan.
Jennifer Zbytowski, Secretary
Jennifer is currently the Vice President of Strategic Program Development and Optimization for Health Alliance Plan (HAP); a Michigan-based, nonprofit health plan. She was elected to the Board of Directors in 2009.
Jennifer is actively involved in her community and has a strong passion for the cause. Like many of our volunteers, Jennifer has been profoundly impacted by cancer. In March 2012, she lost her mother, Arlene, to this devastating disease.
Earning her B.A. and M.P.A. from New York University, Jennifer also holds a Project Management Professional certificate and is a graduate of Leadership Macomb XII. Jennifer resides in Shelby Township, with her husband Bryan, and their three kids – Gavin, Kamryn, and Brodie.
Christopher S. Pirrone, Director
Chris’s involvement with Angels of Hope began with its founding. He was inspired by the compassion and dedication of other Board Members, sponsors and volunteers making a difference in the lives of those impacted by cancer.
Chris’s area of expertise is in Graphic Communications, having owned and operated businesses in Cleveland, OH and Pittsburgh, PA. Currently, he is the Regional Business Manager at Classic Color of Chicago, IL. Each year, Classic Color generously donates their printing expertise and services to Angels of Hope. Chris, also, owns and operates a high-end digital photography studio out of Shelby Township – Christopher Scott Studios. He graciously donates portrait sessions to families of Angels of Hope to capture special moments they can cherish forever.
Chris is supported by his loving family in the endless fight for cancer awareness. He resides in Macomb with his wife, Rebecca, and their three children.
Kelley Baetens, Director
Kelley brings over 30-years of managerial experience and organizational skills from the legal field. In 2000, Kelley partnered with fellow board member, Robin Sanderson, to raise funds for cancer research. Then, in 2004, Angels of Hope was formed, and their mission and focus shifted to assisting and supporting families within the local community.
Being able to directly make a difference in the lives of local families battling the physical, emotional and financial effects of cancer has fueled Kelley’s commitment and passion to her acts of service with Angels of Hope. Kelley has developed and grown the Holiday Program, the foundation’s most successful and most participated-in program. Every holiday, families that have suffered from financial hardship are showered with gifts provided by our amazing and generous supporters.
Kelley feels privileged that she has been able to inspire others with her mission to give back by helping to grow the support network of the foundation. “I truly cherish all of my friends and family that generously support my endeavors that allow me to give back.” This includes the support of her husband, Mike, and two beautiful stepdaughters, Caitlin and Carly.
Fran Lucido-Marheineke, Director
Fran’s passion for supporting charitable and civic causes on various levels has always been a priority in her life. Her love of family and community are ever present in her smile and in bringing joy, love and laughter to everyone she meets.
Fran has always had a desire to serve and was able to channel her desire by working with Angels of Hope on a volunteer basis, since 2005. She was inspired by the profound impact that the foundation had on the families that have been touched by this awful disease.
For 30 years, the Lucido Family has been an instrumental part of making memories in the lives of countless families. When Fran and her brother Vince co-founded Lucido Fine Jewelry of Birmingham in 2015, it afforded Fran the opportunity to put her talents of planning, networking and creativity to work. In doing so, she has been able to encourage friends and the business community to champion their support around the foundation’s mission of helping support Michigan families battling cancer.
Kelley LaFontaine, Director
Kelley LaFontaine is an integral part of the daily operations at the LaFontaine Automotive Group. She helps to run 18 different franchises in 10 locations across SE Michigan.
She has a personal passion for cancer research and giving back to her community. This passion stems from the LaFontaine family’s firsthand experience with cancer, after Kelley’s brother, Ryan, was diagnosed with lymphoma. Thankfully, he remains in remission, today. Together, the siblings founded U CAN-CER VIVE to provide funds for cancer research. In 2019, the charity committed to granting over $780,000 to cancer research.
Kelley actively participates in many foundations, charities, boards and has won remarkable awards such as the DBusiness 30 in their 30’s and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society National Woman of the Year Award in 2011. She’s also involved with the American Cancer Society, Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation, and AutomotiveNEXT Inforum. She has served as Chairperson of the Huron Valley Optimist Childhood Cancer Campaign and as a Board Member for the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce and Project 1.
Ben Weaver, Director
Ben is the President and CEO of Weaver Media in Commerce Township. Ben became involved with Angels of Hope in 2007 when close friends received news that their 4-year old son had terminal cancer.
Ben has always had a passion for helping others. He has fond memories growing up witnessing his mother and father going out of their way to be charitable. Their random acts of kindness and passion for helping those in need planted the seeds for what led Ben to spend 5-years volunteering at a Muscular Dystrophy camp and drives his continued support for the Special Olympics.
Ben started his career in traditional outdoor advertising but realized the need for more innovative media solutions. His non-traditional use of banners, adhesive treatments and creative interior environment art has propelled his agency to the top of his industry; capturing contracts from Coca-Cola North America, NASCAR, amusement parks and Live Nation Amphitheaters. When he’s not traveling, you’ll find Ben spending time in Walled Lake with his fiancé, Katrina, and his sons – Jack and Nick.
Michael Kernen, Director
Mike is the President of Amplitude HR, a full-service HR agency, located in Troy, MI. He began serving on the Board of Angels of Hope in 2016 and often offers his services to help families in need find employment.
Mike was driven to help families battling cancer after his own experience. In 1993, Mike’s father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. For the next year and a half, Mike spent most of his time at the U of M Cancer Center. There, he witnessed, first-hand, the physical, emotional and financial strain that families stricken with cancer endure.
With his passion for helping people and businesses, Mike has received some of the highest honors earning multiple Gold Club and President’s Club Awards. He’s also been elected to several different National Advisory Boards. Mike resides in Walled Lake, where he enjoys spending time on the lake and is kept very busy by his daughters; Josie, Sadie and Kinley.
Kathy Gunn, Director
Kathy is the Director of Marketing & Product Education for Wellsense, Inc., a medical device manufacturer in Birmingham, MI. She joined Angels of Hope in April 2017 as a member of the Grant Committee and was elected to the Board of Directors in January 2019.
Kathy lost her grandfather to colon cancer in 2012. His passing had a profound impact, motivating her to want to make a difference in his memory. Having spent her career in the healthcare market, her first endeavor was pitching a cause marketing campaign and securing a 3-yr partnership with the Colon Cancer Alliance (Washington, DC). Kathy successfully executed the campaign across the country, providing critical funds to support the CCA’s mission to educate consumers on the importance of colon cancer screening and early treatment.
Kathy received her B.Sc. from Western Michigan University and her MBA from Northwood University. Kathy and her husband, Brandon, reside in Northville with their two children, Grace and Garrett.
Rachel Hurst, Director
Rachel has worked for The Kroger Co. of Michigan for 11-years and currently holds the position of Corporate Affairs Manager, creating partnerships that benefit the business and the community. Rachel began serving on the Angels of Hope Board of Directors in October 2019.
Throughout the years, Rachel has been recognized numerous times for her work. In 2013, she won the Community Service Award for The Kroger Co. of Michigan. In 2017, she was recognized nationally with the Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery Award and the prestigious Presidents Award for The Kroger Co. of Michigan.
Rachel is dedicated to her community and is driven to improve the lives of those in need. She has sat on several non-profit and executive boards, but this is a little closer to her heart as she herself is a cancer survivor. Rachel puts everything she has into everything she does, including her other full-time job – mom to her two young children, ages 3 and 5.