Thianda Manzara, Ph.D., is the Founder of Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids. Motivated by a desire to improve children’s health, Dr. Manzara combined her love of science and her passions for food, cooking and gardening to create HFHK. Prior to starting HFHK, her career was devoted to plant biology teaching and research. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in agronomy, and a Ph.D. in genetics.
Natalie McKenney, Board Chair, is a Registered Dietitian/ Nutritionist with a passion for good food. In her work and personal life she has seen the impact that growing fresh vegetables can have on children’s interest in eating healthy food. She believes that this experience can have a lasting effect on their relationship with food throughout their lives.
Thalia Pappas, PhD, is Vice Chair for Healthy Food for Healthy Kids. She spent 21 years of her career in DuPont Agricultural Products as a researcher and regulatory manager. Subsequently she was a consultant for the DE Dept. of Agriculture in an advocacy role focused on pollinator protection to benefit agricultural production and environmental health. She feels school vegetable gardens teach students how to make healthy eating an enduring part of a healthy lifestyle.
Malina Robbins is the Treasurer for Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids. She brings her passion for healthy living and eating, along with her banking expertise as Vice President within WSFS Bank’s Commercial Lending Group. Malina received her Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the University of British Columbia and will complete her Master’s degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Spring 2019.
Terence Mhora (Ph.D.) is Secretary for Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids. He is a Global R&D Scientist at FMC agricultural solutions, a position that helps him in his quest to contribute towards alleviating global food insecurity. Terence’s inspiration comes from childhood experiences, where he witnessed the effects of a bad harvest but also the delicious food that came from his family’s efforts. He vividly remembers the unmatched flavors of the food they grew, memories that he swears are not biased by the hard work they put in to produce it. While his current job contributes at the global level, he also strives to contribute to his local community, where he hopes his role in HFHK will help children to understand agriculture and enjoy fresh garden crops that they too can produce.
Fran is a PhD, RDN/LDN with a passion for prevention and health. She believes that nutrition is the foundation of health and everyone has a right to healthy food and healthcare. She has a lifetime career in nutrition services, community health, education and development at home and abroad. As a practicing health professional and community development professional, she understands the challenges and progress needed to not only screen, test and treat diabetes, obesity, cancer and other diseases but prevent them by improving access to healthy foods and promoting their consumption and a healthy lifestyle. What better way to make this happen than starting with our kids? That’s why when Thianda Manzara asked her to assist with growing HFHK she could not say, no! Fran soon became one of the founding Board Members and is Chair Emeritus of Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids, Inc.
Nancy Mercante spent her career in corporate communications, most recently as a communications director with JP Morgan Chase and AstraZeneca. She joined the Board in 2020 to help spread the good news about HFHK’s mission to others. Nancy also serves on HFHK’s PR Committee. She has a bachelor’s in mass communication from the University of South Florida and master’s from the University of Wisconsin.
Lisa Hoffman, Ph.D., is a Technical Manager at FMC Agricultural Solutions. She has worked in the agricultural field for over 20 years finding innovative solutions to help farmers manage their crop pests. As a lover of food, gardening and science outreach, she fell in love with the HFHK mission. She is active in both education and community outreach. She serves on the Events and PR committees and manages our HFHK website. She has a B.S. in Agriculture and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology. Lisa served as Vice-Chair for Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids from 2021-2022.
Svetlana Lisanti is Governance Chair for Healthy Food for Healthy Kids. She is the former President of Bio Medical Resources Group. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from City University of New York – Brooklyn College as well as a degree in French Language and Literature from University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Svetlana speaks French, Russian and Spanish.