Staff Directory

Darrin Anderson, PhD Photo

Darrin Anderson, PhD


NJ YMCA Alliance Executive Director

609-703-7742

darrin.anderson@ymca.net

Dr. Darrin Anderson is the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance Executive Director. Since 2009, Anderson served as the Associate Executive Director for the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and State Deputy Director for New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK).

Anderson and his leadership team spearhead private and publicly funded statewide initiatives in partnership with 35 Ys and various community organizations across the state. Major initiatives include:

  • Healthy U (funded by the Horizon Foundation for NJ)
  • New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
  • Start Healthy / Stay Healthy (funded by Nestle)
  • Ready, Set, Healthy! (funded by Novo Nordisk)
  • SNAP-Ed Trainings (funded by the Department of Health and Family Services) and
  • New Jersey Healthy Communities Network.
Additionally, he heads the annual conferences, advocacy for state and local policies to improve health, and educational and social outcomes to advance children and families.

Anderson received his doctorate from Temple University in Kinesiology/Applied Exercise Physiology. A recipient of the Presidential Award for Minority Students, he received his bachelorís and masterís degrees from University of Delaware. He has over 18 years of experience in nonprofit management, community/civic engagement, board development, fundraising, public policy, strategic alliances, and program development and evaluation.

Before joining the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance, Anderson spent four years as Executive Director for the American Diabetes Association in Delaware and Maryland. Previously he also worked with the American Heart Association in many leadership roles dealing with the organizationís strategic health initiatives, programs and development, public policy and government relations, and cultural initiatives.

Fun Fact: Darrin teaches spin class!


Sue Cornell Photo

Sue Cornell


Healthy U Director

609-619-1717

sue.cornell@ymca.net

Sue Cornell is the state-wide Director of the Healthy U program, a signature program of the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. Healthy U was recognized as a model program for healthy living at the YMCA General Assembly that hosted more than 4,000 participants. Now other YMCA Alliances across the country are exploring the Healthy U model. By teaching children that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be fun, Healthy U has a measurable impact on participants. Studies have shown an increased consumption of fruits or vegetables, drinking water rather than soda, and increased physical activity with parental support.

The 4.8 million Healthy U initiative was established in 2008 to prevent childhood obesity by fostering positive behavioral changes in children ages 5 to 13. Through an engaging, multi-pronged approach, the program educates children on proper nutrition, increases their physical activity and promotes strong parental involvement.

The Healthy U program has earned the distinction of being the nation's largest coordinated, after-school childhood obesity prevention program. The program currently impacts more than 40,000 children ages 3 to 13.

Sue has over 29 years of experience with the YMCA. Most recently, she served as the Executive Director of the Brandywine YMCA. Her experience includes membership and program development, community relations and fund development. A graduate of West Chester University, she holds a BS in Health and Physical Education. Sue is certified with CATCH Master Trainers, Healthy Schools Trainer, and Action Based Learning Trainer.

Fun Fact: Sue makes a variety of hot sauces with ingredients grown from her own garden!


Marissa Davis Photo

Marissa Davis


Senior State Program Manager

609-533-0635

marissa.davis@ymca.net

Marissa Davis is Senior State Program Manager for the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and State Program Office. In this role, she manages several statewide initiatives and alliances related to community and population health, youth initiatives, and public and private partnerships.

Marissa previously served as a project director for New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK) at the Trenton YMCA. With Marissaís direction and support, NJPHK-Trenton and its community partners were able to build three playgrounds, one fitness center, pass a comprehensive Complete Streets Policy, expand breakfast in the classroom, and implement district and faith based wellness policies. Marissa was instrumental in bringing Trenton partners and the community together to extend access to healthy foods through the creation of the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market, salad bars in schools, acquiring fruit and veggie grants, expanding the healthy corner store initiative and coordinating food pantries across the city. She helped create safer places for physical activity throughout Trenton with initiatives such as the Wellness Loop, tree plantings, murals, safe-routes-to-school and bike rodeos.

Fun Fact: Marissa is a Mercer County Park Commissioner!


Kathy Dunn Photo

Kathy Dunn


Program Specialist

609-558-0077

kadunn706@comcast.net

Kathy Dunn is the Allianceís Program Specialist leading a team to enhance the impact of the 7th Grade Initiative program. Conceived and implemented by the New Jersey Alliance in 2008, the program offers 7th graders complimentary Y membership to encourage them to maintain or adopt healthy behaviors at an age when they are beginning to make their own choices.

Kathy comes to the Alliance with 28-yearsí experience as CEO of The Gateway Family YMCA which serves communities in Union and Middlesex County, New Jersey. Her expertise includes program development, project management, community coalition building, and fundraising in the government and private sectors. A certified Professional Coach, Kathy is a YMCA of the USA new CEO coach. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, she holds a BA in Junior High Education.

Fun Fact: Kathy splits her time between NJ and NC!


Shannon O'Connor Photo

Shannon O'Connor


State Program Coordinator

Shannon.OConnor@ymca.net

Shannon OíConnor is State Program Coordinator for the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and State Program Office. Shannon plays a key role in moving the needle to build healthier communities across the state. Tasked with Ready, Set, Healthy! and Alliance support, Shannon is working alongside the community to reduce type II diabetes and obesity.

Shannon most recently served as a grants coordinator for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, supporting all phases of grantmaking, including due diligence and liaison with a national pool of applicants representing nonprofits, municipalities and school districts, and tribal entities. Shannon authored the Reeve Foundationís pilot Nursing Home Transition grant cycle and designed culturally-centered data collection for the Quality of Life Grants Program.

Shannon's experience in the health, disability, and policy and environmental change sectors informs her responsive approach to working alongside culturally and economically diverse communities. She is an AmeriCorps alumna and participated in the second cohort of the National Center for Cultural Competence Leadership Academy.

Fun Fact: Shannon loves kale!