Get To Know Our Staff

Andre Santiago: Vice President & Chief Program Officer

Fun Fact: I am a classically trained Tenor and can still be found singing randomly in the office or during trainings. 

Why Andre loves working at LGH: LGH is my home. I came here at a young age and continue to find ways to learn, develop and grow within my evolving roles. This organization serves a community in which I reside so I love making connections, building new relationships and searching for new ways to give back. 

Andre’s Bio: Andre Santiago, Vice President & Chief Program Officer, oversees the development, implementation, and evaluation of all programs at Leadership Greater Hartford (LGH) as well as the organization’s extensive consulting and training services. Having joined the staff at LGH in 2007, he has risen through the ranks serving as Program Director overseeing youth programs for ten years and then as Senior Program Director prior to his newest appointment. In the course of his tenure, he has had involvement with and/or provided leadership to most of the core programs offered by LGH. He has served as the LGH lead in numerous consulting and training contracts including Hartford Decide$ (the city-wide community engagement project in which the citizens identify and select capital projects throughout the city) and the Community Policing Leadership Institute which has served four cohorts of Hartford police officers to assist them in building more vibrant relationships throughout the city. He is a certified Enneagram trainer and often serves as coach/mentor for many of LGH’s program participants. Andre is currently participating in Cornell University’s certificate program in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Andre has served on numerous boards and currently serves on the Board of InterCommunity Health Care, which provides physical care, mental health, and addiction services to individuals throughout the state. He was recently elected to the national Board of Directors of the Association of Leadership Programs and is a City of Hartford Commissioner. Andre is a member of the 2016 class of Hartford Business Journal’s 40 under Forty, which recognizes outstanding young leaders in the region.

Andre received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut in 2007, studied education at Central Connecticut State University, and received a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Goodwin University in 2019. Andre is a proud resident of Hartford.

 

Destiny Davis: Youth Programs Director & Grants Manager

Fun Fact: I earned my undergraduate degree alongside my mom and we graduated Magna Cum Laude together.

Why Destiny loves working at LGH: I love LGH because LGH sees me as a whole person. I love how they treat me like a human first and an employee second. After all, after everything we’ve all been through, it’s a great feeling to work for a company that is both compassionate and understanding.

Destiny’s Bio: Destiny was born and raised in the Greater Hartford area. She was first introduced to Leadership Greater Hartford (LGH) as a participant in their collegiate leadership program, Leading Off Campus (LOC). After graduating from the 2016 LOC class, Destiny stayed connected with LGH and eventually was asked to join the organization part time as an intern for one of their youth programs, Common Ground. Shortly after, she was invited to permanently become a part of the LGH family as a Program Assistant & Grant Manager. Since joining the team full time in 2018, Destiny was quickly promoted to Program Coordinator, and now in her most recent role, serves as Director of Youth Programs.

Destiny earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California where she focused on children, youth and families. Before that, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Human Services, with a minor in psychology, from Goodwin University, formerly known as Goodwin College, in East Hartford, CT. Destiny currently serves on the Board of Sons of Thunder Coalition, a non-profit organization that aims to serve as a catalyst and collaborator with other service providers to encourage inner-city youth to understand the importance of strong educational performance and the establishment of a sound career. She is a certified Enneagram trainer and skilled facilitator. In her free time, Destiny loves to relax, travel and spend time with her family and her two-year-old pup, Bella.

 

Doe Hentschel: Leadership Preceptor

Doe Hentschel

Fun Fact: I was a professional child actress in St. Louis and NYC from 1947-1954, at a time when few radio and television shows were video taped. Everything was live. The only thing I ever did that was video taped was a commercial for Post Sugar Crisp, which was the first presweetened cereal. The day it was taped, I ate 7 boxes of cereal! Here’s the video.

Why Doe loves working at LGH: I long ago defined my “work-to-do-in-life” as helping people learn, grow and change. I do that every day at LGH… and as a result I, too, learn, and grow and change! Robert Bundy, a keynote speaker at a 1977 national adult education conference, told us that we all have a work-to-do-in-life that cannot be done in less than a lifetime, but that few of us get paid to do that. Our jobs pay the bills and sustain us so that we can do our work-to-do-in-life. I happen to be one of those lucky few… so when friends ask me why I have not retired, my answer is always that my work cannot be done in less than my lifetime. With my angels support and the continued encouragement from my colleagues who teach me a lot and say they learn a lot from me, I simply cannot imagine depriving myself of the joy I get from working at LGH.

Doe’s Bio: Dr. Doe Hentschel joined the staff of Leadership Greater Hartford in 2000 after retiring from a long and distinguished career in higher education. She began her LGH career as program director
to develop the Third Age Initiative™, LGH’s program to identify, develop and engage older adults
in meaningful ways in the community. As Senior Program Director (2006-2007) and then Vice
President for Programs (2008-2019), she was involved with developing and implementing many of
LGH’s core programs and its consulting and training services. In her role as “Leadership
Preceptor,” she continues to direct the Third Age Initiative™, contribute as curriculum designer
and facilitator in many LGH programs and services, and serve as a guide and mentor to her
colleagues.

A seasoned administrator in higher education, “Dr. Doe” served as Vice President for Academic
and Student Affairs at Pine Manor College, Dean of Extended and Continuing Education at the
University of Connecticut, and Dean of Adult and Continuing Education at SUNY College at
Brockport. She was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the department of
Administrative Leadership/Adult Education where she taught graduate courses in Adult Learning
and Development, Continuing Professional Education, Program Evaluation, Leadership for
Change, and Group Dynamics. Prior to earning her Ph.D. in Urban Education with a focus in
Administrative Leadership/Adult Education, she held administrative positions at William Rainey
Harper Community College in Palatine, Illinois, and in the statewide public service administration
at the University of Illinois.

“Dr. Doe” has published more than 50 articles, chapters, and research papers. A leader in
curriculum design, she has drawn on her expertise to enrich and expand community leadership
programming for people of all ages. In 2010, the Association of Leadership Programs honored Dr.
Doe with the Preceptor Award, its highest recognition. In 2016 she was recognized by the Malta
House of Care as a “Wonder Woman,” and she received the Communications and Leadership
Award from Toastmasters District 53 serving Connecticut, Eastern New York and Western
Massachusetts. She was named a Top Ten member of the Connecticut 60 over 60 class of 2018. In
2013, Dr. Hentschel was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of
Fame.

Dr. Hentschel relocated to Hartford in 2010 from her historic home in Willimantic. She is a trustee
of the Watkinson School and serves on the Advisory Board of the Master of Science in
Organizational Leadership at Goodwin University. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2009,
she serves on the Patient and Family Advisory Council for the Chase Family Movement Disorder
Center at Hartford HealthCare. Dr. Doe is the proud mother of two and grandmother of four. Her
son and his family live in San Diego, and her daughter and her family live in Preston, CT.

 

Jernelle Lavinier: Administrative Assistant

Fun Fact: I speak Creole & a Little of bit French.

Why Jernelle loves working at LGH: I have the privilege of working with an incredibly diverse, talented, group of people who embodies the mission of our organization. Since working at LGH I have learned so much about the city of Hartford, and I keep learning more and more. My interactions and conversations with our board members and constituents is worthwhile because they give great commentary on our programming. I always leave these conversations with a bit more knowledge, knowing they appreciate everything we do in our community. 

Jernelle’s Bio: Jernelle was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica, which is an island located in the Caribbean. She was first introduced to Leadership Greater Hartford when by a colleague who participated in the Quest Program. Previously she worked as a Member Services Representative at the Greater Hartford YMCA.

In May 2024, Jernelle will earn her bachelor’s degree in Business administration from Charter Oak State College. In her free time, Jernelle loves to spend time with friends & family, listening to music or catching up on her shows/movies on the different streaming services.

 

Kati Liss-Hensel: Director Of Business Development & Philanthropy

Fun Fact: Graduating from the University of Hartford, Kati loves the Hartford community and currently lives in East Granby with her husband, 2 children, and her rescue animals – 2 dogs, and a bunny.

Why Kati loves working at LGH: I love the programs, working with alumni and, of course, the team! For a small staff, the team at LGH does so much. The programs LGH runs are impactful and important for a community like Hartford and its surrounding towns. The collaborative work environment allows the team to work together celebrating our successes as well as seeing our program alums succeed in their professional development.

Kati’s Bio: Kati is the Director of Business Development & Philanthropy at Leadership Greater Hartford where she leads the individual fundraising, membership and corporate relations efforts of the organization. Kati recently joined LGH from Hartford Stage, where she served as the Major Gifts & Planned Giving Manager. She has had a long career in Connecticut nonprofits, working with such organizations as United Way and the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation.

Kati brings years of experience working with major donors and generating gifts. She excels at cultivating relationships and enjoys motivating others to meet and surpass their goals.

 

Larisa Kottke: President & CEO

Fun Fact: Growing up, I was a host-sister to more than a half dozen exchange students from different countries, thanks to my parent’s involvement in our local Rotary club.

Why Larisa loves working at LGH: I love working with LGH because of our amazing team and the incredible people we meet and work with through our programs. It is inspiring to be surrounded by people who are committed to inclusive leadership, helping others, and making our community stronger and more vibrant.

Larisa’s Bio: Larisa Kottke has worked with Leadership Greater Hartford (LGH) since 2017. She began her career at LGH as the Director of Finance and Operations and was promoted to Vice President in 2020. Since 2021 she has served as the President and CEO.

Prior to her work with LGH, Larisa earned her undergraduate degree at Boston University and a master’s degree in Public Administration with a certificate in Nonprofit Management from UConn. Upon graduation, Larisa went to work for Hartford Performs, a small non-profit organization that brings arts integration programs to students in Hartford Public Schools.

Larisa’s background in Public Administration, her skill, deep understanding of strategy and community building, has led her to lead one of the nation’s largest and most diverse community leadership organizations. In her role, Larisa works closely with LGH’s board of directors, collaborates with key stakeholders in the community, builds relationships with business and civic leaders, and manages the many business operations of the organization.

She serves as the President of UConn’s Department of Public Policy Alumni Council. She also has supported local volunteer efforts to help two Syrian refugee families establish residency in West Hartford.

Larisa is a proud 2018 graduate of Leadership Greater Hartford’s Quest Program. She is a 2020 Hartford Business Journal 40 Under Forty Award Winner and a 2022 CT Magazine 40 Under Forty Award Winner.

Larisa lives in West Hartford with her husband, young daughter, and their rescue dog.

 

Mae Maloney: Senior Program Director (Quest & Leaders On Board)

Fun Fact: My son and I are learning American Sign Language together! 

Why Mae loves working at LGH: Working with LGH has helped me deepen my appreciation for all that Hartford and the region has to offer! I love connecting with people who live and work here through our programs!

Mae’s Bio: Since 2007 Mae has worked with Leadership Greater Hartford in a variety of capacities including serving as a Grants Manager and as Program Director for several youth programs. Throughout her tenure at Leadership Greater Hartford she implemented an after school program at Hartford Public High School, developed a summer youth leadership program for teens throughout the greater Hartford region and organized numerous community service projects throughout the Capital city. Mae currently serves as the Senior Program Director for the Leaders on Board program where she connects individuals to nonprofits in need of new board members. Mae also is the Senior Program Director for Quest, a program for high potential, emerging leaders from the business and nonprofit sectors.  Mae conducts frequent workshops regarding leadership development and nonprofit governance.

Mae Maloney is a 2007 graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University where she received a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and is a 2013 graduate of Smith College School for Social Work where she earned her Masters. Mae is a proud 2009 graduate of Leadership Greater Hartford’s Quest Program. She is a certified Enneagram trainer.

Mae is a 2018 Hartford Business Journal 40 Under Forty Award Winner and a 2019 CT Magazine 40 Under Forty Award Winner. She is also a graduate of the 2019 cohort of Leadership Development Roundtable, a program of Five Frogs.

Mae’s background in the nonprofit arena and training in social work has prepared her in several areas including program development and community organizing. She has served as Big Sister in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in Hartford and has coordinated a program for special needs adults in Windsor. She has served on numerous boards including a nonprofit dedicated to providing permanent supportive housing for individuals and families impacted by HIV/AIDS, an organization that supported vulnerable children and a federally qualified health center. Currently, Mae serves the Windsor Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides funding for innovative projects and programs in the Windsor Public Schools. She also serves on the board of First Town Downtown, a program of CT Main Street.

Mae lives in Windsor with her husband, young son and their menagerie of animals. In her spare time (if she had any, that is) she enjoys spending time outside, drinking copious amounts of coffee and bingewatching Netflix.

 

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