President & CEO
Penny Wells has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of SADD since 2000. As CEO, Ms. Wells is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Board and overseeing operations at the national office. She works in developing program ideas and policies, raising money to support SADDs activities, coordinating with government, corporate and nonprofit partners, and supporting SADDs state coordinators and chapter advisors across the country. As President of SADD, Ms. Wells serves on its Board of Directors.
Ms. Wells is an attorney with broad experience in public policy and management. Prior to joining SADD, Ms. Wells served at the local, state and federal levels of government, including as Assistant Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In the course of her professional career, she gained broad exposure to legal and policy issues as diverse as government licensure of professionals, regulation of alcohol and the treatment of those affected by alcohol, and the economic pressures on the entertainment industry. Ms. Wells served as General Counsel and Executive Director of both the Massachusetts Cable Television Commission and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine. Ms. Wells was responsible for chairing or staffing several task forces on consumer issues, including a task force on the Massachusetts safe driver program. Currently, Ms. Wells serves on the board of directors of the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and the Advisory Committee of the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free. Ms. Wells is a graduate of Wellesley College and Boston University School of Law.
Stephen Wallace, M.S. Ed.
Senior Advisor for Policy, Research, and Education
Stephen Wallace has broad experience as a school psychologist and adolescent counselor and is a high-profile participant in, and commentator on, the modern-day adolescent experience. Stephen is the immediate past national chairman and chief executive officer and current senior advisor for policy, research, and education at SADD; director of the SADD Teens Today and teen driving research projects; associate research professor and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Education at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, and director of counseling and counselor training at the Cape Cod Sea Camps in Brewster, Massachusetts.
Stephen’s passion is to help teens make safe, healthy choices and to motivate adults to become a more positive force in children’s lives. Stephen has appeared on CNN, E! Entertainment, Fox News Channel, NBC, and PBS, and his columns appear in newspapers across the country. Stephen has been honored by the White House and the American Camp Association for his tireless work on behalf of America’s youth. Most recently, Stephen received the 2011 SADD Chairman’s Compass Award and Susquehanna University’s 2010 Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award for his significant contributions to the youth health and safety field.
Stephen’s book, Reality Gap: Alcohol, Drugs and Sex—What Parents Don’t Know and Teens Aren’t Telling, published by Sterling Publishing/Union Square Press is available at amazon.com. The book can be made available at events for sales and signings, and, if purchased through SADD, a portion of the proceeds benefits youth-based prevention programming.
Director of Field Services
Mr. Egan joined the SADD National staff in January 2006. As Director of Field Services, he is responsible for state-level SADD development and support, including supporting and overseeing SADD state coordinators, creating and maintaining contacts with key state, federal, and nonprofit organizations and representatives to mobilize SADD activity, and strategizing and coordinating startup operations in states without a coordinator. The Field Services office also supports local SADD chapters through development of the chapter database, analysis of chapter needs, and responsiveness to chapter inquiries.
A licensed attorney, Mr. Egans career has been spent in youth development organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs and Camp Fire USA. In past positions, he was responsible for overseeing programs and operations serving thousands of children, developing fund-raising campaigns, and strategic planning and budgeting. As Legislative Chair of the Massachusetts Camping Association, Mr. Egan represented the interests of the summer camp industry to lawmakers and state agencies and served as chief spokesman for the association. Mr. Egan is a graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and Boston University School of Law.
Richard “Rick” Birt joined the SADD National staff in June 2014. As the Development Officer, he will be tasked with maximizing the critical elements of philanthropy which support the national priorities of SADD. Working with alumni, corporations, foundations and other interested parties, Mr. Birt will develop and maintain relationships which further the mission of the agency through major gifts, partnerships and contributions. He will work closely with the Board of Directors to support the Resource Development Committee in their efforts to identify and cultivate new revenue streams which enhance the operations of the organization. Ultimately, his work will advance SADD’s ability to better serve its network which includes thousands of chapters and students across the country.
Mr. Birt has many years experience working in the prevention field. As a private contractor, he has worked with various organizations to support peer-to-peer-based education and training in the Midwest. He has great experience as a grant writer and has worked with state agencies on youth health and safety, wellness and leadership development. Rick has been deeply involved with SADD, from his service as SADD’s Ohio State Contact and his four years directing the Ohio SADD teen traffic safety program, to his selection as the 2009-2010 SADD National Student of the Year at which time he served as the nation’s youth spokesperson on our Board. Rick Birt is active in his community, serving primarily on his local Board of Education. In addition, he works with several community-based organizations and finds many ways to give back. Rick holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Wittenberg University.
Director of Finance and Administration
Nicole Cheschi joined the SADD National staff in April 2007. As the Director of Finance and Administration, she is responsible for the fiscal and personnel operations of the SADD National office. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day functions of the office, she assists with fund-raising initiatives, supervises grant compliance, and serves as the primary liaison for the financial aspects of the annual SADD National Conference.
Ms. Cheschi brings more than 12 years of progressive success in accounting and finance, including revenue management for a $110 million company. With extensive experience in domestic and international accounting as well as government accounting and reporting, she has led several companies through growth, survival, and turnaround. Prior to joining SADD, she served as Controller for CBL Systems in Milford, Massachusetts, a start-up company involved in the design, development, and sale of fiber-optic routers and ethernet switches. In this role she was responsible for managing both finance and human resources. She spent more than eight years at Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts, working with accounts payable and receivable, governmental and non-governmental financial reporting, and revenue analysis. Ms. Cheschi also worked for the Visiting Nurses in Lincoln, Rhode Island, in the finance department both during college and after graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.
Ms. Henderson joined the SADD National staff in August 2003. Now, in her role as Operations Consultant, she coordinates special projects including strategic planning and key fundraising opportunities, and serves as the liaison to the SADD National Board of Directors.
With more than 20 years professional experience, Ms. Henderson has helped advance the mission and work of several noteworthy service organizations in the Boston, Massachusetts, area, including the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange; Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries; the American Heart Association, Northeast Affiliate; and the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay. Ms. Henderson developed the popular "Wednesdays Child" television program, which originated on WBZ-TV 4 in the Boston media market in 1981. This program has successfully recruited permanent families for older and special needs children, won two presidential citations, and served as a national model for similar programs.
Massachusetts State Coordinator
Ms. Nussbaum joined SADD in October 2003. Now, as SADD’s Prevention Consultant, Ms. Nussbaum is responsible for incorporating prevention strategies into SADD programming and works on prevention research projects. As the Massachusetts State Coordinator, she oversees the Massachusetts SADD program and serves as an agent to deliver youth safety programming targeting underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving, traffic safety, and healthy decision-making to youth across the Commonwealth.
Youth Development Consultant
April Cabrera joined SADD in June 2013. As Youth Development Consultant, Ms. Cabrera is responsible for managing several grants involving youth leadership and advocacy on issues key to SADD’s mission. April also serves as the liaison to the SADD National Student Leadership Council.
April has more than 10 years of hands-on experience in youth development, prevention programming, positive health promotion and implementation of environmental strategies for several community nonprofit programs.
Before coming to SADD, April worked as the Community Executive for Health Initiatives for the American Cancer Society. Prior to working for ACA, she served as Program Coordinator for The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living (TFL) Youth. As program coordinator, she worked with 11- to 17-year-old youth leaders as part of a Louisiana youth movement focused on gaining community support for policy change around tobacco issues. April also served as Youth Prevention Specialist for the Southeast Center for Healthy Communities in Brockton, Massachusetts, and as a Coordinator of a youth tobacco advisory group, where she supervised and coordinated several community awareness projects related to tobacco and alcohol ads and products.
April has a passion for empowering young people and helping them develop into positive role models. She has developed and facilitated several leadership workshops both on the state and national levels. April regularly volunteers for community outreach efforts serving adolescents and young adults.
Ms. Cabrera is a graduate of Southern University where she earned a degree in Criminal Justice.