Hope for Widows is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. We are guided by the board of directors who create initiatives and make decisions for the good of our community.
Paula Gleicher Greenstreet
Paula Gleicher Greenstreet started her career as a Software Engineer in the video manufacturing industry. After receiving her MBA from the University of Phoenix in 1993, she went into management, and then marketing. She met her soulmate, Joe, in 1997 when work moved her from Salt Lake City, Utah to Nevada City, California. They married three years later.
The Dot Com bust forced Paula to reinvent herself. With help, guidance, and support from Joe, she became a Real Estate Broker. In 2004, she and Joe merged businesses to form BroadStreet Financial Group. Ten years later, she realized she liked accounting more and became an Enrolled Agent. With Joe’s passing from Neuroendocrine Cancer on August 29, 2018, she pledged to carry on their accounting business in his honor and has continued to grow it with her five female employees.
Paula is no stranger to volunteer work. She was event chair for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for four years and served on the steering committee for an additional four years. She was a Community Ambassador for the American Cancer Society and has traveled the country speaking to lawmakers about the importance of cancer research funding.
Paula joined Early Risers Toastmasters in 2000 and achieved Distinguished Toastmaster status in 2011. She is still an active member. She served as Toastmasters District 39 Treasurer in 2011 and has served all the officers’ roles in her club – President, Vice President Education, Vice President Membership, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant at Arms.
Paula has two Rottweilers named Freddy and Barney, and two cats named Pebbles and Bam Bam. She loves visiting with her bonus family of three stepdaughters, three sons-in-law, and six grandchildren. She also enjoys gardening, reading, and more recently rediscovered her love of jigsaw puzzles.
When asked what most people do not know about her – she shared that even though she loved going Jeeping with Joe and their friends, she was usually scared spitless!
Simone Garcia has worked for the Department of Treasury for over 10 years and holds a degree in Business Management. She is also the administrator at her church. She also serves as one leader of The PBF Proverbs 31 Women’s Ministry where they enrich the lives of women body, soul, and spirit, by inspiring and encouraging women to live in the fullness that God intended.
Simone met her late husband Gregory in 1992 through a mutual friend and became best friends for over eighteen years. Simone and Gregory were married for four years and had no children. Their marriage was filled with an abundance of love and laughter. They shared a love of football, music, cooking, and Star Wars. Gregory dealt with many health issues which lead to his untimely death on Sunday, February 6, 2017. Being a sudden widow at the age of 42, Simone was lost and did not know how to navigate her first time dealing with grief. It was through a repost of an insightful meme her cousin, who also became a sudden widow, where Simone discovered Hope for Widows Foundation. Simone found that there were other women from all walks of life who were dealing with the same issues she was and that she was not alone. The Hope for Widows Foundation community became a refuge and helped her through her grief journey. Since the death of her late husband, Simone has been trying to find her purpose in her “new normal life”. Joining Hope for Widows Foundation would give an opportunity for her to share experiences, resources, and encouragement to fellow widows, especially to those who’ve never experienced grief before.
Eileen Clarke is currently a Sourcing Manager for a major manufacturing company in the Chicagoland Area. She has been part of the manufacturing industry for over 25 years. Her background includes inventory management, production planning, project management, and strategic sourcing.
Eileen knew her late husband since they were small children. Their parents met soon after they all arrived in Chicago from Ireland. They became fast and lifelong friends. Eileen and Pat played together as children and were friends in their teens and early 20’s. Years later, they reconnected again on a golf course on a hot summer night in 2011. They quickly realized it was more than friendship and would be married 2 years later. After 4 wonderful years of marriage, Pat passed away suddenly at the age of 47 from a heart attack. Eileen has 2 stepsons, Patrick and Bryan, with whom she has close relationships.
In the very early stages of her grief, she came across Hope for Widows Foundation and began following and reading the blogs from other widows. A few months later she started blogging for the foundation and sharing her story. Eileen continues to be a part of the community with the hope of being able to help someone else in their journey of grief and to offer hope for the future.
Eileen enjoys running, traveling, and the Chicago Cubs. Eileen has a love of gardening and spends countless hours perfecting her backyard paradise. Spending time with family, friends, and her 14-year-old dog Harry is where she is most happy.
Markell R. Morris
Markell is an international speaker, career counselor and job search coach who helps career changers figure out their career goals after loss and personal challenges through her company Futures in Motion, Inc. She has created career information resources and programs that educate, guide and mentor people in support of pursuing meaningful careers from a place of possibility and abundance. Clients say she inspires, encourages and empowers them to go after their goals and live their best life.
In 2013, Markell unexpectedly became a widow when her husband, Mark, died suddenly weeks before their first anniversary. She had to figure out how to reestablish her employment and reinvent her career. On the journey, Hope for Widows was an organization she turned to for support and community. Markell hopes that by joining the Board she can use her career coaching and organizational development background to support Hope for Widows Foundation’s vision to plant seeds of hope in the hearts of widows, so they can go from grieving to surviving to thriving.
Markell is also an associate faculty member at Santa Monica College Transfer/Counseling Center and Adjunct Career Counselor at Cypress College. She is the President of the California Career Development Association and Volunteer Grief Group Facilitator at New Hope Grief Support Community.
She received her Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of San Diego, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara (Go Gauchos!).
You can learn more about how Markell helps career changers discover meaningful career paths after loss and personal challenges, and request her guide, 5 Steps for Launching Your Career Transition at her website http://www.futures-in-motion.com.
Desiree Fransua is currently a Project Manager for an Emergency Medical Services Billing and Technology Firm where she handles new client onboarding and implementation processes for ambulance transporting agencies. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Human Resource Management from Regis University and her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University Global. Desiree has been employed in the healthcare revenue cycle industry for almost twenty years. Her experience in the industry also includes managing staff, process improvement, billing operations, payer credentialing and contracting, provider relations, and project management.
Desiree and her husband Marcus spent nearly two decades experiencing life’s precious moments together. A life full of good, bad, wonderful, terrible, blissful, gut-wrenching moments. In February 2018, just a few months before his fortieth birthday, Marcus suddenly passed away from a fatal acute subdural hematoma caused by a head injury. With this tragedy, came many challenges. Her entire world changed; now a widow and single parent. Marcus and Desiree had two sons together; ages sixteen and nine at the time. Desiree is a follower of Christ, she relies heavily on her faith to create a path towards hope and healing for herself and her children.
Desiree joined the Hope for Widows Board for many reasons but is determined to turn pain into purpose by helping other women that are also navigating their widow journey. She believes empathy, compassion, community, and fellowship make all the difference in the healing process.
Desiree enjoys attending church, volunteering, exercising, traveling, going to concerts, and making memories with her family and friends.
Melissa PL Peoples has been serving the public in leadership positions over the past 18 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Her experience includes leading process improvement efforts, training and developing, and building positive relationships. She is currently a certified Business Relationship Manager Professional and focuses on educating, engaging, and building professional partnerships.
Melissa lost her loving husband, Raymond, to a sudden heart attack in 2015. Grieving, child-rearing their one-year-old son at the time, and navigating “the new normal” can be a lonely journey. Her hope is that serving on the Hope for Widows Foundation Board will make a greater impact for the widow community and the resources available.
Melissa is action-focused. As a previous community blogger for Hope for Widows Foundation, Melissa hoped to provoke thought, share ideas, and encourage. Over the last year, she has served as the Newsletter Chair and desires to continue to help her sisters in the widow community. Grief is a process but moving forward is an opportunity.
Her passion is to encourage, motivate, and help others. She taps into her professional experience as well as all of the tools she learned on her journey of “the new normal”. You can also find her on Instagram @Melissa_PL_P
Jacki Corta is a motivational speaker, intuitive life, and grief coach along with the founder and CEO of Strength > Struggle™. The brand she discovered after traveling the journey of cancer with her husband. She started the Strength>Struggle™ crusade, helping others find their inner strength during some of the scariest times. In 2014, her husband, Douglas was diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer and 20 months later passed away, giving Jacki a new title… Widow. It is Jacki’s mission to share her story with the world and how it can positively impact others in whatever they may face. It is a story of unexplainable strength in life’s most challenging storms, overcoming adversity and finding hope while traveling the difficult path her life took.
It is her ability to communicate and willingness to be vulnerable that connects with her clients and audiences. Jacki believes her purpose here is to impact as many souls as possible showing them that through even the darkest days there is a glimpse of light to grab onto for them to find their strength. Jacki will empower, challenge, and give you a new outlook on your own story.
She is a mother of three adult girls and a Mimi to two beautiful granddaughters. You can follow more of her story and inspiration on Instagram @jackicorta or listen to her podcast Jacki Has a Voice on Spotify.
Chasity Williams is a nonprofit professional with an extensive background that includes C-Suite support, Operations, Corporate Event Planning, Human Resources, Client Relations, and Project Management. Chasity is also involved with several volunteer organizations that include grief facilitation, bereavement support at local hospices, and leading several online grief resources. Her passion and heart are to serve and help others.
Chasity is two time published author that shares a collection of stories by widows across the globe. Each shares their own personal insight into the hidden and often unspoken challenges of losing a husband, including the emotional, mental and social shifts we are forced to reckon with in the aftermath. Visit here to read more and order a copy: Grief Diaries: Through the Eyes of a Widow and The Unwelcome Committee
Chasity met her late husband at the young age of eighteen. In June of 2009, her life would forever change when she lost her husband suddenly in a lake drowning at the age of thirty-four years old. Finding out who she was again, raising her son, and living life to the fullest even after this tragedy was a mission she was eager to accomplish. Darrell and Chasity have one son together who is a recent college graduate that is now working full-time and choreographing his next big adventure.
Chasity enjoys volunteering, traveling, sporting events, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.