Louise Cantrell | Founder | President | Chairwoman
Born and raised in New York, Louise earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at the College of New Rochelle. With over 10 years business experience, she became an Assistant Vice President at Guy Carpenter & Company. In 2004 she settled in North Carolina and married Edward Cantrell who joined 3rd Special Forces Group. During her husband’s Special Forces career, Louise gave up her career and became a stay at home mother caring for their two daughters Isabella and Natalia.
On March 6, 2012 tragedy struck when their home in Hope Mills burned down. Louise survived but her husband Edward and their two daughters perished. Louise wanted to honor and perpetuate the memory of Isabella and Natalia so she created the Dancing Angels Foundation. Louise wants to ensure the memory of Isabella & Natalia continues through dance scholarships awarded to passionate, dedicated dancers. As a Gold Star wife, Louise also works to mentor families of fallen soldiers as well as being involved in other military organizations.
Jennifer Paquette | Vice President | Vice Chair
Jen Paquette has been involved with Dancing Angels Foundation since it was a mere idea for Louise. She has a great passion for the Dancing Angels Foundation’s mission of ensuring Isabella and Natalia's memories are kept alive.
Jen is involved in several philanthropic initiatives around the country that support the military, female empowerment and children. She has been honored with numerous awards for her philanthropic work over the years. Although Jen is honored and blessed to be given these honors, awards are not what drive Jen to serve. Jen prides herself for being driven and motivated to be a servant leader in all she does whether in her personal or professional life.
Jen brings 27 years of business and fundraising experience to DAF. Jen earned her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration majoring in Supply Chain Management from Arizona State University. She later earned her Master's in Public Administration with a concentration in Not-for-Profits and Public Policy from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas and will graduate with her Executive MBA from Rice University in May 2019.
Jen is honored to serve and is committed to Louise, Dancing Angels Foundation and working to eventually ensure all aspiring dancers who demonstrate great dance abilities and promising potential have the chance to excel in dance at the highest levels possible.
athena rogers | secretary
Currently a high school Social Studies teacher, Athena Rogers served 14 years in the Army Reserves until 2001, has supported her husband in his military career since 1994, and for the past 15 years has sought to meet the unique needs of America’s Green Berets and their families through her support of various non-profit organizations and Special Forces community events.
Athena has a passion for the emotional and mental health of Green Berets and each Special Forces family, shown by her understanding of PTSD, suicide prevention, and marriage support. As an educator of America's future, Athena also has a passion for providing much-needed and appreciated scholarship assistance to the dependents of Green Berets as they seek to further their natural skills, training, and education.
Heidi Hudson holds a Bachelor degree and Masters degree in Education from Austin Paey State University as well as a Master of School Administration degree from Campbell University. Heidi worked many years for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Division TEACCH and is now entering her tenth year with Cumberland County Schools where she is an administrator.
Heidi has been actively involved with the autism community for over 20 years and enjoys supporting Living With Autism, Inc., the Miracle League of the Triangle, Dancing Angels Foundation, and the military community. Heidi resides in North Carolina with her husband and their four children.
Deb Rickert, has a 16 year history in the nonprofit sector, first as founder/President of Operation Support Our Troops-America and currently as CEO of Sharing Connections Furniture Bank. Rickert started OSOT-America in 2003 after her oldest son made the decision to attend The United States Military Academy at West Point in the wake of the attacks of 9/11. Since 2003, OSOT-America has grown into one of the largest volunteer based military support organizations in the country providing programs for military families, veterans and families of fallen service members.
Deb served as the President and CEO of OSOT-America until 2015 when she accepted the position of Executive Director for Traveler’s United, a Washington DC based consumer advocacy organization. In this role she worked with legislators, regulators and stakeholders to help enact policies that created a safer and more positive environment for the traveling consumer.
Currently serving as the CEO of Sharing Connections Furniture Bank, Rickert brings her expertise in organizational development and leadership to a new sector of the nonprofit world while continuing to provide support for veterans in need. Sharing Connections takes in gently used furniture and household items and places them with individuals and families who are cycling out of homeless situations or facing poverty levels that do afford them basic home furnishings. Many of the clients served by Sharing Connections are veterans. While serving as Sharing Connections’ CEO deb has created a positive cash flow and reorganized the structure of the organization to create a more efficient use of donor resources.
Deb has received numerous awards and recognition for her humanitarian work including being named Chicago Woman of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year and Red Cross Hero of the Year. Deb has been married to her husband Bill for 38 years and has three sons and a grandson.
Deb’s passion is helping small non profits to create systems and strategies that enable the better fulfillment of their mission. She continues to serve on several boards as a way to engage that passion.