top of page

Meet the Board of Directors

Board of Directors


Cindy Richards

Board Chair

After working in the financial industry, Cindy was inspired to change careers to pursue her passion for working with children. She earned her degree in Physical Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999 and began practice at the Children's Hospital of Richmond. After learning about the intensive therapy approach and the great distances families were travelling to receive this care, Cindy established her own practice, Richmond Hope Therapy Center, in 2006.  To further support her mission and business, Cindy earned her Master of Healthcare Administration in 2017 from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Cindy is passionate about providing intensive therapy to the pediatric population, as well as an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to therapeutic interventions. Under her leadership Richmond Hope Therapy Center has grown significantly and, in 2012, the practice joined the Bon Secours Ministry. Cindy is thrilled to provide high-quality therapy to the pediatric population of Richmond and its surrounding areas. She is incredibly proud of her team and enjoys supporting the families she meets. Cindy’s enthusiasm is evident in daily interaction with the children, and her perspective in pediatrics is certainly heightened as a mother of four.

When she isn’t working, Cindy enjoys spending time with her husband and four children- especially if that time is spent somewhere tropical!


Nora Carroll

Board Member/Founder

Nora is leading a new team to design and launch this new program for the Richmond special needs community.  She plans to utilize her non-profit organization management experience as a member of the Board of Directors for Mercy Mall, as well as her 30 years of leadership skills in corporate business and marketing to fill a large gap  in the Richmond Special Needs Community. Nora identified this need while searching for a fun and inclusive environment for her high school graduate son Christopher, diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and his peers can thrive. 

Her years of study at Carnegie Mellon University have provided her with the analytical skills necessary to launch and manage a business.  Her heart as a mother inspires her to create a fun and inclusive program for those with severe intellectual and physical disabilities.


Donna Hayes

Director of Communications

Donna is the mother of Alexandra, diagnosed with Grin2B, Lennox Gastaut & Cerebral Palsy.  Donna is now a full time caretake of Alexandra who is non-mobile, non-verbal and g-tube dependent.  Donna graduated from business school in New York City and has over 20 years of business experience in the HR field.  Donna currently serves on the We Heart Harlie and Friends Foundation Board as their Family Liaison  and has served on other non-profit Boards benefiting people with disabilities.  Donna has a personal passion for serving the special needs community.  In her free time she enjoys crafting, being with friends and spending time with her husband AJ and her children Alexandra and Zachary.


Ben Thomas


Ben’s oldest child, Jimmy, was born in 2007 with a long list of medical complexities. Today, despite his challenges, Jimmy is an active and enthusiastic member of the community. He enjoys school, music, Inclusive Racing, Miracles in Motion dance, and cheering on his four younger siblings at their activities.


Ben is excited to contribute to the Board of Directors by applying his experience in strategy, predictive analytics, finance, and management. He has worked at the CarMax corporate office since 2007. Prior to that, Ben earned a BS and MBA from JMU, as well as a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT.

Sarah Werner Headshot.jpg

Sarah Werner

Board Member

Sarah Werner, a Richmond, Virginia native, transitioned from political consulting to healthcare leadership. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, she held numerous leadership positions at Amedisys Home Health and Hospice—one of the nation’s largest providers of skilled home care and home hospice.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarah served as Area Vice President of Clinical Operations for the company’s New Jersey market, where she played a crucial role in establishing pandemic policies and procedures.

Passionate about health and wellness, Sarah graduated from Wake Forest School of Medicine with her Master’s in Healthcare Leadership. She now works at Beauty Awakened Medical Aesthetics & Wellness, helping patients achieve their well-being goals through IV therapy and holistic programs.

Sarah enjoys being a wife, mother, community volunteer, and activist. She, along with her husband and their 7-year-old son, Briggs, resides in Midlothian, Virginia.

nicky (2).jpg

Nicole Monk

Board Member

As the principal consultant at Monk Works Consulting, Ms. Monk collaborates with healthcare organizations, including hospital systems and start-ups. Previously, she spearheaded VCU Ventures at Virginia Commonwealth University, tripling the number of university start-ups. Her visionary leadership extended to pre-acceleration programs, founder-friendly licensing terms, and a groundbreaking $7M healthcare innovation project at VCUH.

Before VCU, Ms. Monk served as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Virginia Life Science Investments, evaluating diverse technologies for investment. She also excelled as Vice President of the Virginia Biosciences Commercialization Center (VBCC), guiding later-stage medical device companies in strategic marketing, reimbursement, and regulatory strategies.

Ms. Monk’s journey began at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, where she directed marketing for over 30 early-stage life science ventures.

Ms. Monk’s impact on healthcare is truly remarkable!

Hellen Williams_edited.jpg

Helen Williams

Board Member

Helen, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT), blends play therapy, neuroscience, and relationship-based approaches to strengthen parent-child bonds. Her certifications include being a Certified AutPlay® Therapy Provider and a Being With Practitioner.

With a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Helen’s educational foundation enriches her practice.

Helen specializes in counseling children, adolescents, and families, addressing emotional and behavioral issues related to anxiety, grief, trauma, and medical conditions. Her passion lies in supporting parents and caregivers, helping them understand their child’s behaviors and facilitating positive change.

Outside her professional role, Helen explores Richmond, travels, attends Pure Barre classes, and cherishes quality moments with family and friends.

Helen’s commitment to holistic care shines through!

bottom of page