Mary Fremgen, RD, LDN, Co-Founder and Board President
Mary co-founded Fox Valley Food for Health in 2012, with a desire to leverage her experience, knowledge and passion in using nutrition as a tool to heal from severe illness. She began her 35-year career in the specialty area of oncology nutrition, and has seen great strides in how nutrition can help in cancer recovery and survival. Mary has also seen the negative impact of poor diet on the incidence of chronic disease and longevity. Her private practice in the Fox Valley is based on combining her three loves, food, cooking and teaching, while making an impact in peoples lives. The Fox Valley Food for Health project has helped fulfill her vision of providing a vehicle for nutrition education and hands on experiences for teens, caretakers and families struggling with serious illness. No one can deny her passion and commitment to the vision of making a difference in the lives of people who are struggling with health issues, and needing a helping hand along the way to recovery. She is a great recruiter of people in the community to the cause of good health, good nutrition and a new way of eating and supporting healthy lifestyles. Her personal experience with the loss of her father and brother to cancer has inspired Mary along this journey. She witnessed first hand the importance of proper nutrition while they went through treatment, and the difference a strong community connection was throughout their cancer battle. Mary lives in St. Charles with her husband, Mike, and enjoys gardening, visiting farmers markets, hiking and cooking for friends.
Jennifer Ost – Director/Vice President
Jennifer Ost works on grant writing projects and various fundraising events for FVFFH. She is also involved with fundraising events for Lazarus House and Tri City Health Partnership. Jennifer served on the board of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) Chicago for 2 years and has continued in a forum leadership role with the chapter since 2008. Jennifer’s past work includes project management, technical/business writing and technology development for Arthur Andersen, Accenture and JMB Realty Corp. Jennifer graduated from Rutgers in 1991 with a BA in English and a BA in Russian Language and Literature. Jennifer and her husband Brandon have lived in St. Charles for 14 years. Their two children, Sonia and Larson, participate in the teen programs at FVFFH.
Tom Wright – Director/Treasurer
Tom has lived in St. Charles for nearly 30 years. He is married to Wendy and they have 3 children and 3 grandsons. Tom enjoyed coaching soccer and baseball in the Tri-Cities community. Until recently he played in a softball league with his adult sons. He recently retired from Delnor-Community Hospital after serving in senior leadership positions for nearly 28 years. He has volunteered in leadership roles at his church, the American Cancer Society and is a past member of the St. Charles Kiwanis Club. He is a graduate of Loyola University’s MBA program with a concentration in Finance.
Jeanine Holtsford – Director/Secretary
Jeanine Holtsford has lived in St. Charles for 17 years with her husband and three children. She graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor’s of science and received a master’s degree in speech and language pathology from Northern Illinois University. She is currently in private practice working as a speech therapist. She has been involved with various philanthropic organizations over the years including being President of the St. Charles Mother’s Club, working in the development department of Glenwood School for Boys and Girls and later serving on their board. She also has helped run fundraising events for Tri Cities Health Partnership and is currently serving on the boards of the Catherine and Herman Peters Charitable Foundation and the Evelyn Carter Charitable Foundation. Both of her parents died from cancer, so the mission of FVFFH is near and dear to her heart.
Susan Leigh, B.A., Co-Founder and Executive Director
When you meet Susan, you know immediately that she has an unbounded passion for healthy living, beautiful and nutritious food, and seeing the teens in our program reach new levels of understanding about how they can make a difference. She is a tireless worker, who has impacted every aspect of Fox Valley Food for Health, since it’s beginning in 2012. She has a unique ability to connect people from our community, gathering volunteers, donors, chefs and teens, while spreading the clear vision of what we are doing, and how we can make an impact. With a Bachelor of Arts degree and a 30-year career in sales and marketing in her native land of Canada in hand, in 2007 Susan started her journey to pursue her passion for food and good health. She completed her Master Gardener certificate at Michigan State University, and started a community garden in Clarkston, Michigan. In 2009, she graduated from Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland, and then after moving to Illinois, got involved in the community of Geneva a year later. Her wonderful, infectious laugh, and passion for Fox Valley Food for Health, will stay with you long after your first meeting. Get to know Susan, and grab hold of the vision that is being created in our community! Susan lives in Geneva with her husband Ken Shearer. She enjoys live music performances, especially jazz and singer-song writers, great food and wine, and being in the great outdoors and traveling.
Mary Ann Carlson – Director
At Food for Health Mary Ann is that person we all love to have on our team – with a get it done attitude, lots of smiles and focus on helping out wherever she can make a positive impact on her community. Mary Ann started as a volunteer for Food for Health working in the kitchen helping with sanitation. She expanded her role supervising the Snapware Brigade, collecting metrics, monitoring surveys and being a Delivery Angel. Mary Ann Carlson and her husband have lived in the Fox Valley area for 38 years where they raised their four children. Mary Ann retired after 27 years at Accenture (formerly Arthur Andersen & Andersen Consulting) working in human resources, recruiting, training logistics & operations. When Mary Ann is not working with Food for Health she volunteers for Seniors Helping Seniors Fox Valley a franchise started by her sister-in-law. Mary Ann and her husband enjoy traveling the world and spending as much time as possible with their nine grandchildren.