Leadership Team

Danielle Ferrier, MBA, LICSW, Chief Executive Officer

Danielle Ferrier has more than 25 years of experience in the human services industry and holds two master’s degrees: Master of Business Administration from Simmons School of Management and Master of Social Work from Boston University. Before joining the Heading Home team in July 2017, she was the Deputy Commissioner for Clinical Services & Program Operations at the Department of Children & Families. Danielle holds the highest level of independent licensure in social work (LICSW) and was a practicing clinical therapist for 15 years. Her training and primary practice are with “high-risk” children, youth, and families with a clinical specialty in trauma and attachment. Danielle’s programs at Rediscovery specialized primarily with “aging out youth,” and unaccompanied homeless youth. Additional areas of professional interest and expertise include early childhood development, dyspraxia, and autism. Prior to heading Home, Danielle developed an innovative program, YouthHarbors, which is based in high schools and designed to prevent unaccompanied high school students from becoming homeless or to rapidly house these youth when they are experiencing homelessness. Danielle has served on many task forces designed to evaluate and address the issues facing homeless, unaccompanied youth, and youth involved in state care.

Danielle has taught at the Boston University School of Social Work in the Policy Department and provided expert consultation on cases related to the clinical impact of foster care and programs designed to work with young-parenting adults who have experienced trauma and substance abuse. She has trained nationally on topics related to homeless youth, education, and youth aging out of foster care.

Lisa Schorr Kaplan, Chief Operating Officer

Lisa Kaplan brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and performance measurement to her role as Chief Operating Officer at Heading Home. Before joining Heading Home, she spent five years as the Director of Impact Assessment at the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists. Her extensive nonprofit experience also includes leadership positions at Pine Street Inn, City Year, and Project HEALTH (now Health Leads). Lisa received her MBA from Harvard Business School. As COO of Heading Home, Lisa oversees all internal operations, ensuring the implementation of our vision and goals throughout the organization.

Fran Hurley, Chief Financial Officer

Fran Hurley comes to Heading Home with extensive experience working with both non- and for-profit organizations. Most recently, Fran was CFO/COO at Legacy by Gersh, Crotched Mountain, a school serving students with Autism. Previously he has been CFO at Arc of Opportunity and President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest. His for-profit experience has been primarily in the retail Finance and Operations areas with a number of organizations, including Filenes, Lord & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, and the May Company Corporate office.

Fran is motivated by Heading Home’s critical mission to end homelessness and is committed to delivering first-class financial support for the Heading Home team and organization.  Fran is a resident of Marlboro, MA, where he lives with his wife, Rita, son, Kyle, and 4 lb. Maltipoo dog – Bella Boo – who runs the house.

Julie DeLillo, Chief People Officer

Julie DeLillo has over 25 years of Human Resources experience with 15+ years in human services.  Prior to moving to Human Resources, Julie spent 5+ years as an internal auditor in both financial and retail organizations.  Julie has a Master’s of Business Administration from Fitchburg State College and a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk Law School.  Before joining Heading Home, Julie was the VP of HR at Making Opportunity Count and before that at Perkins School for the Blind and Vinfen.  Julie is an active member of the Employer Advisory Board for Suffolk University where she enjoys working with students through mock interviews, job shadowing, and mentor programs.  Julie is also an active member of Suffolk University’s Human Services and Social Impact career community through Career Services.

Kate Swope, MBA, VP of Operations

Gretchen Carleton, MPA, MS, Senior Director of Contracts & Compliance

Gretchen Carleton comes to Heading Home with 25+ years of Human Services experience. Prior to joining Heading Home, Gretchen spent eight years working for the Department of Children and Families supporting a network of contract management and compliance teams and collaborating on child welfare services systems. In her role as Senior Director of Contracts and Compliance, Gretchen helps the entire agency in fulfilling government and private funding contracts, managing cross-department projects expanding Heading Home’s work, and seeking efficiencies in policies and protocols in place.

Gretchen holds two Master’s degrees from Suffolk University – her MPA from Sawyer School of Management and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. In addition to her role at DCF, Gretchen continued to be a member of the BMC BEST mobile crisis team and consulted on projects for local community and elder care service programs.

David Parilla, Senior Director of Data & Operational Planning

David Parilla comes to Heading Home with 10+ years of Social Justice and Human Services experience. In his role as Senior Director of Data and Operational Planning, David oversees strategic initiatives involving client data to ensure Heading Home makes cross-department, data-informed decisions. David also oversees the management of all client-related data entry systems and ensures Heading Home continues to excel in the timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of data for the 1,400+ clients Heading Home serves annually.

Prior to joining Heading Home, David conducted criminal justice and police department reform across the country for over five years, working with federal agencies such as the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the National Institute of Corrections. David holds a Master’s degree from Suffolk University in Criminal Justice.

Mary Shannon Thomas, LICSW, Senior Director of Programs

Mary Shannon Thomas, LICSW has been working in the mental health and housing realm for more than 15 years. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. She has worked with area nonprofits and municipalities providing a variety of client-facing services from outreach to crisis evaluation to housing stabilization. She works closely with local universities to supervise social work students and provides training to a range of nonprofits and community organizations. She also consults service providers in grant writing and housing creation.

In her role as Senior Director of Programs, she oversees Heading Home’s four primary program departments: Individual Services, Family Services, Economic Mobility Services, and Clinical Services. Mary Shannon joined Heading Home as the Director of Clinical Services in May 2022 and remains focused on supporting the trauma-informed and client-focused work of the agency.

Outside of her work with Heading Home, she is on the board of her community’s Affordable Housing Trust and Vice President of their Community Development Corporation.

In her downtime, she’s likely to be found in the garden with one of her several pets.

Board of Directors

Josh Solomon, Chair | The DSF Group

Jim Mawn, Vice-Chair | Northern Bank & Trust Company

Emmett Lyne, Clerk | Rich May, P.C.

Travis D’Amato, Treasurer | Walker & Dunlop


Heather Boujoulian | Berkshire Residential Investments

Chris Brown | John Moriarty & Associates

Stephen Davis | Davis

Atakelti Desta | Seyfarth Shaw

Kelly Gross Douglas | Brand Content

Mary Fowler | Advocate

Joseph Hanley | McDermott, Quilty, Miller & Hanley LLP

Brian Kavoogian | National Development

Elizabeth O. Lowrey | Elkus Manfredi Architects

Andrew Maher | Anchor Line Partners

Kevin McCarthy | Eliot Community Human Services

Bill Musto | The Baupost Group

Cara J. Nelson | DLA Piper

Lauren O’Neil | AEW Capital Management

Nancy Solomon | Advocate

Gilbert Winn | WinnCompanies

Pamela Yanakopulos | PwC


Junior Board

Liz Driscoll, Co-Chair | Salesforce

Kat Jerome, Co-Chair | AEW Capital Management

Bob Norberg, Co-Chair | Ares Management


Cassandria Campbell | Fresh Food Generation

Scott Carpenter | JLL

Sloan Elsesser | Davis

Sydney Galletly | Salesforce

Michelle Garcia | EY

Derrick Goodwin | Lee Kennedy Company

Bilal Hamzeh

Emily Jenkins | Bala Consulting Engineers

Chris LaFrance | Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation

Kevin Marsh | Synergy Investments

Kate McDonald | Real Chemistry

Mike Murphy | Davis

Molly Myers | Dain Torpy

Shawna O’Neil | CBRE

Emily Pope | Berkadia

Collin Reik | Rhino Capital

Sarah Scheffel | HYM Investments

Kelsey Shine | Shine Associates

Lauren Vecchione | Colliers International

Ben Wiggins | Hines