In January of 2012, Leah Dean took over from Laura Collins (now Policy Director) as F.E.A.S.T.’s new Executive Director. Leah has been a F.E.A.S.T. member and active volunteer for the past three years. She lives in the US and has a Master’s degree in Architecture. Leah has put her organizational skills to work on helping to update the F.E.A.S.T. website and coordinate F.E.A.S.T.’s membership database. Leah is excited to serve as F.E.A.S.T’s new Executive Director and continue working towards F.E.A.S.T.’s mission of empowering parents to help their children.
“F.E.A.S.T. has an amazingly smart and talented membership of people who really want to be able to do something - anything - that will help the next family avoid the mistakes and pitfalls they have encountered. By bringing caregivers together, F.E.A.S.T. has begun to harness the energy and dedication of its members in a way that I believe will make real progress in how eating disorders are understood and treated now and in the future.”
In her free time, Leah enjoys hiking, yoga, skiing, beading, and spending time with her family.
Lisa LaBorde lives in Toronto, Canada. She is the mother of 2 daughters, the youngest of whom was diagnosed in 2011, at the age of 10, with restrictive anorexia. F.E.A.S.T provided unimaginable support to Lisa's family during the term of her daughter's active illness and Lisa is committed to engaging in eating disorder advocacy and education work in the hopes of assisting other families who find themselves in similar circumstances. Lisa is a member of the F.E.A.S.T. Canadian Task Force and is working locally with her co-members on education and treatment option issues.
Lisa holds a law degree from Queen’s University and has an active legal practice focused on child protection litigation and family and organizational mediation.
Charlotte Bevan, has been a member of F.E.A.S.T. since
November 2009. She has been an active
participant on the Around the Dinner Table forum since then, as well, where she
is now a Moderator. Charlotte is also an active member of F.E.A.S.T.’s UK task
In 2010, she started writing short animated films, with another
parent, Mary, whom she met on the Around the Dinner Table forum. The first one was published in January 2011
and C&M ED Productions was born.
C&M have their own You Tube channel and to date, have had over
35,000 views of their films. Charlotte is very active on the internet in
various areas including Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and on various blogs and
newspaper articles. She started her own
blog in November 2011 and has had some 40,000 page views since then. She also liaises with the other patients and
carers and has actively coached a few local families. Charlotte is also part of
the ECHO project and helps out on the New Maudsley Approach website. In November of 2012, she helped to organise a
conference in the UK in conjunction with Janet Treasure's Eating Disorders team
at the Maudsley Hospital. In her spare time,
she is a wife, mother, labrador adorer, farm secretary and Downton Abbey
Belinda Caldwell is an experienced nurse who has been the CEO of the Australian Practice Nurses Association (APNA), for the last 6 ½ years. She participated on the Steering Committee of Australia’s first eating disorders conference for families and carers “At Home with Eating Disorders” which was held in May 2013 in Brisbane. The conference was a partnership effort between The Butterfly Foundation, ANZAED, EDOS and F.E.A.S.T.
Belinda’s daughter was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in February 2011 and Belinda and her family have helped her to recover using the Maudsley Method. In the process, F.E.A.S.T. has been her lifeline and a connection to other families in similar situations. She has coordinated the informal gathering of Melbourne mums from F.E.A.S.T. for the last 14 months.
Rachel Polonsky is a writer and academic, based in Cambridge, UK. She is the mother of four daughters. She has been a supporter of Laura Collins’s work since 2007. She is interested in helping families to discover and develop their own resources for dealing with eating-disordered children, and in promoting evidence-based treatment.
Polonsky was nominated and elected to the F.E.A.S.T. Board of Directors for a term beginning January 2011.
I have three children, two daughters and a son. My husband and I have been married for 28 years and we live in Wellington, the beautiful capital city of New Zealand. After a 25 year career working in marketing and communications, I have spent the last 10 years mainly focused on applying my skills and experience to causes closer to home. I have served on several boards over this time, including the Wellington Free Kindergarten Association, (Board member for one 3 year term, chair of the board for one term), two 3 year terms as member of Board of Trustees of our children's primary school, and most recently the board of EDANZ (Eating Disorders Association of New Zealand). Our oldest daughter was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa at 16. She is now well into her recovery - weight restored and eating independently for over a year at the time of writing. Early last year I started up a support group for carers in Wellington, and soon after was invited to join the board of the EDANZ which until then had been Auckland based and focused.
I have found the support and advocacy role I am playing here in Wellington to be incredibly worthwhile, connecting and supporting carers of sufferers, advocating for families, and promoting awareness and understanding around the community. This “work” is my primary focus currently and the more exposure I get to families, and their struggles to find treatment and support for their loved ones, the more I am committed to doing what I can to promote awareness, change perceptions and improve access to effective treatment.
Colleen Wise is a parent—a really good parent. She and Allan Maas have been married forever. She left her career in civil engineering to raise their three children. She now makes her living as a fiber artist and author and serves as a director of her local water utility and the president of Celebration Lutheran Church. Still, she considers parenting her lifework.
When their daughter became ill with anorexia nervosa in 2008, they nursed her back to physical and mental health using FBT principles with a non-FBT team. Finding F.E.A.S.T. and Around the Dinner Table early in their daughter’s diagnosis proved crucial to their daughter’s recovery. Since then, Colleen has been passionate about helping other families help their children. She has started a monthly parent support group in Seattle; she is also a Moderator on F.E.A.S.T.’s Around the Dinner Table Forum.
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