Board of Directors

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Deborah Kaercher
Deborah KaercherFounding President & CEO
Deborah Kaercher’s doctorate and professional background is in combined public health and grassroots technology-based start-ups. Born in Springfield, Missouri, Deborah received her BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and her MPH and Ph.D. from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia where she entered a program in women’s health studies and public health. She was the founding Vice-President and Executive Director of the Women and Family Health Information Network, establishing operations in 1997 with a coalition of over thirty community and non-profit members in the South Texas community. The Network was adopted by the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio in 2004. Her most recent publication was included in Feminist Popular Education in Transnational Debates: Building Pedagogies of Possibility. She is currently working as the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of a new organization – The Final Acts Project: Theatre and Creative Arts Supporting End of Life Care Planning – which is dedicated to humanizing the end of life experience through the arts, humanities, theatre, education and resource development.
Craig Hurwitz
Craig HurwitzFounding Co-Chair of the Board
Craig Hurwitz is a pediatrician who specializes in pediatric pain and palliative medicine. He attended the University of Texas and Southwestern Medical School in Dallas before moving to Duke Medical Center in North Carolina for a pediatrics residency. Dr. Hurwitz completed his pediatrics training in 1982 followed by fellowship subspecialty training in pediatric hematology and oncology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1982 – 1985. Following fellowship training, Dr. Hurwitz joined the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as an Assistant Professor where he specialized in treating children with acute leukemias. In 1993, he joined the Maine Children’s Cancer Program in Portland, Maine where he remained as Director of the Program and a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont School of Medicine for the next 10 years. Dr. Hurwitz took at 2 year sabbatical to return to fellowship training in Pain and Palliative Medicine at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston from 2003-2005, and subsequently returned to Portland to build and direct a combined adult and pediatric palliative medicine program in Maine. Dr. Hurwitz made his final move back to Austin in 2011 when he was recruited to Dell Children’s Medical Center as the new director of the Pain and Palliative Medicine Program.
Esther Cardenas Pipoly
Esther Cardenas PipolyChair of the Board
Esther Cardenas Pipoly grew up in San Antonio, Texas and has first-hand knowledge about losing a loved one. Having lost her father and husband just 63 days apart in 2014, Esther knew that her life-long career in insurance and personal life experiences were leading her to help others in the most difficult of times – death. Having been the executor for both her father and husband’s estates, Esther hopes to prevent for others the obstacles she faced.

Graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio B.A. Communication, 2003
Texas Licensed Agent – Health & Life 20+ years
Certified Grief Recovery Support Specialist – The Grief Recovery Method – Individual & Group Grief Support
DISC Behavioral Certified – helping families better understand how to communicate during difficult moments.

Laura Gibney, CPA,
Laura Gibney, CPA, Treasurer
Laura Gibney grew up on Long Island and earned her BS in Accounting from Boston College. Upon graduation, Laura joined the Long Island office of Deloitte. After earning her CPA, Laura joined Reliance Group Holdings in New York City. Laura’s career continued at the corporate offices of Weight Watchers International where she held accounting, finance and treasury management roles. In 1993, Laura and her family moved to Connecticut where she joined Pitney Bowes Management Services. Laura remained at PBMS for nearly 20 years rising to Director of Accounting responsible for financial reporting, general accounting, budgeting, forecasting, accounting policy and internal controls. Thereafter, Laura served as a consultant to Pitney Bowes and other business entities. For over two decades, Laura also provided volunteer services to several non-profit organizations in Connecticut where she raised her three children. Since relocating with her husband to Houston in 2015, Laura continues to volunteer for non-profits including Compassionate Care Hospice, Faithful Paws Pet Therapy, the Texas Chapter of Marty Lyons Foundation as well as multiple Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.
Suzanne Nuccio
Suzanne Nuccio
Suzanne Nuccio has her BA in theater performance and a minor in dance education as well as being a certified teacher for K-8. A few of her stage performances include “Helen of Troy”, “Tartuffe”, “Luann Hampton Laverty Oberlander”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Dracula”, and “West Side Story”. She also performed with a comedy improv troupe called “Theater Sports” and has done some commercial work as well. In addition to her work in theater and television, Suzanne has choreographed pieces for dance showcases and “ A Midsummer Nights Dream”. Most recently she choreographed and danced for a dance worship troupe that used dance as a means to reach and open discussions with women battling addiction, the disabled, ESL groups and many more. From 2010-2016, Suzanne served as the Teaching Director in Northern NJ delivering weekly lectures for an interdenominational Bible Study that facilitates classes throughout the United States and abroad called CBS (Community Bible Study). Prior to that, she ran the Children’s program for ten years. Suzanne’s passion has always been to merge her love of the performing arts and her faith into meaningful works and conversations that have the power to change lives for the better.
Molly James
Molly James
The Rev. Molly F. James holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Exeter (UK) through Hartford Seminary’s International PhD Program. She holds a Master’s of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Tufts University. She was ordained by The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen in 2005. She has served as a hospital chaplain and a parish priest. She currently serves on the Bishops’ staff for The Episcopal Church in Connecticut as the Dean of Formation, working in leadership development and the training of future clergy. Molly works in Disaster Response and assisted the CT bishops at Trinity, Newtown in December 2012. She has served as adjunct professor at Hartford Seminary and the University of St. Joseph, focusing on ethics and pastoral care. Drawing on her personal experience as a cancer survivor and her professional experience as a priest, doctoral research focused on suffering and grief. Her work, With Joyful Acceptance, Maybe was published in 2013 by Wipf and Stock. In addition to her work in CT, Molly is co-chair of The Young Clergy Women Project (an ecumenical organization of clergy women under 40), and serves as a board member for the Society of Scholar Priests. Molly and her husband Reade (a mechanical engineer) have two children, Katherine and Halsted.