Marisa Giarnella-Porco, LCSW Co-Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer
The Jordan Porco Foundation was founded in 2011 after the Co-Founders lost their son, Jordan, to suicide when he was a freshman in college. In their grief, they learned the unacceptable statistics surrounding mental health and suicide in the young adult population, and decided they needed to turn their grief into action, by creating unique programming, so that other families would never have to experience such a profound loss.
Co-founder and President of the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF), Marisa is dedicated to preventing suicide in the high school, college, and college entry student population. Through awareness, education, and innovative programming, JPF is challenging stigma around mental health and help-seeking, creating open conversations about the prevalence of suicide and mental health issues, and saving young adult lives.
Marisa has worked in human services since 1985. Her employment experiences range from the CT Department of Children and Families to various positions with local mental health authorities in Eastern Connecticut. Marisa has volunteered for decades in her community and is currently an active member of the CT Suicide Advisory Board. Marisa regularly presents at conferences, workshops, and has participated in several panel discussions, tv, radio and newspaper interviews.
Howard Sovronsky, Chief Behavioral Health Officer, Connecticut Children’s Hospital
For more than 30 years, Howard Sovronsky, a clinical social worker, has been a champion for enhancing access to behavioral health care across portions of the State of New York, serving in a variety of leadership roles. As the Commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, he directed a comprehensive network of hospital and community mental health service for children, families and adults. In addition, he oversaw a comprehensive system of care for individuals with developmental challenges and their families.
After retiring from County Government, Mr. Sovronsky assumed the role of Vice President for Behavioral Health at Nassau Health Care Corporation where he was responsible for all mental health care at a large municipal hospital. In Connecticut, he served as Chief Operating Officer of CHR (formerly Community Health Resources) in Windsor, a large, nonprofit community-based behavioral health services agency.
Prior to joining Connecticut Children’s, Mr. Sovronsky served as President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford.
As Connecticut Children’s Chief Behavioral Health Officer, his work includes supporting the teams of behavioral health professionals, system development, and as well as providing support and behavioral health content expertise throughout our healthcare system.
Kim Whittingham, LPC, Licensed Therapist at Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford
Kim Whittingham, LPC, is a therapist at Jewish Family Services. With over 15 years in practice, she’s been at JFS for 6 years working predominantly with children, adolescents, and families. She is the coordinator for the Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy team, offering an evidence-based model for children experiencing trauma.