Board Members

At Home in Alexandria is governed by a 15 member Board of Directors, all of whom are current members of the organization. Board meetings are held monthly and are open to members.


2020 AHA Board of Directors
Seated (left to right): Mary Jayne Swanson, Jane King, Linda Langley
Standing (left to right) 1 st row: Sandy Heistad, Babs Waters, Victoria Almquist, Kathie Fricke,
Standing (left to right) 2 nd row: Pete Crouch, Penelope Roberts, Pam Nelson, Bob Eiffert, Cele Garret (Executive Director)

Bob Eiffert, Chairman

Bob has worked in local government for nearly 30 years.  In 1993, he became director of the City’s Area Agency on Aging, later expanded and renamed the Office of Aging and Adult Services. In 2002, Bob was promoted to Deputy Director of the City’s Office of Housing, where he oversaw the City’s $6.5 million local and federal grant programs to promote, develop and maintain affordable housing in the City. In 2005, Bob was able to combine his aging and housing experience when he moved to Fairfax County to become the Director of Senior and Specialized Housing. Bob supervised the management and operation of six independent living facilities with over 400 housing units for seniors, two assisted living facilities and nine group homes for adults with disabilities. In 2007, Bob was promoted to the position of Long Term Care Program Manager in the Fairfax County Health Department. Bob has been an active volunteer with the City’s Commission on Aging since 2010. He served as the Chair of the Commission’s Advocacy Committee and he is currently the Vice Chair of the Commission. In 2012, Bob was elected to the board of directors of the Goodwin House Foundation.

Pam Nelson, Vice Chair

Pam Nelson has extensive experience in leadership and program management of major engineering and communications programs serving various Government agencies. She retired in 2015 from Harris Corporation as a Senior Program Manager. Her career began at Ohio Bell in customer service, where she completed her education at Ohio State. She and her husband Steve are Charter members of AHA and active volunteers. Pam has served as Chairman of the Annual Gala and, with Steve, manages the monthly Happy Hour. She serves on the Program committee and as Chair of the Governance committee. She brings strong organizational and leadership skills, gained throughout her career. She is appreciative of the opportunity for growth, fun and friendship provided through AHA.

Kathie Fricke, Treasurer

Kathie retired from Georgetown University in 2014 after more than 35 years. During her time at Georgetown, she served as Executive Assistant to the Treasurer of the University. She prepared and reconciled budgets. She is a former member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals.   She studied at the University of Wisconsin. Kathie is a member of various societies and is a volunteer at The American Horticultural Society, Campagna Center, Sibley Memorial Hospital and At Home in Alexandria. Kathie has been an active associate member of AHA and a stalwart volunteer, including serving on the Gala Benefit, Anniversary party and program committees as well as coordinating and managing the monthly “lunch around.”

Sandy Heistad, Secretary

Sandy received a BA in English and taught in the Chicago Public Schools. She also has an MA in Counseling and College Student Development and held a number of positions in Student Services at the University of Iowa, culminating in the position of Senior Academic Advisor in the College of Liberal Arts which she held for 25 years. The University of Iowa Advising Center program was recognized as outstanding by the National Academic Advising Conference. She has always been active in community work including serving as Board President of OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) in Iowa City and Board member of University of Iowa performing arts center. She worked to establish a village in her neighborhood in Iowa prior to moving to Alexandria to be near family. She is an active associate member of AHA, serving on the Gala Benefit and program committees.

Jane King, Immediate Past Chair

Jane is chair of the Alexandria Commission on Aging and has been for several years a consultant, writer, and editor on issues related to aging. In the years 1998-2006, Jane managed several groups for AARP, including those involved in home loans, consumer protection, reverse mortgages and other issues. Holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Duquesne University, Jane serves on the board of the National Consumers League and is a member of the Metropolitan Washington Transportation Policy Board.

Susanne Adams

A registered nurse, now with 40 years of experience, Susanne Adams immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in 1976 and settled in North Carolina with her American husband. She passed her US nursing boards and worked there as an OR nurse, and then for the Inova system after they moved to Alexandria in 1980. In 1987, she accepted a position as a school nurse at St. Marie’s School while raising her own children, returning to Inova in 2001 to teach prenatal classes. She has managed the care of a number of elderly relatives and friends and became aware of AHA several years ago. She has since become a very valuable member of AHA’s Member Services Committee and is a “buddy” for several AHA members. She is pleased to use her knowledge and skills in her volunteer work for AHA.

Victoria Almquist

Victoria retired in 2015 from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids where she was the Director of Outreach, managing a coalition of public health and medical groups that advocate for changes in tobacco policy at the national, state, and local levels. She previously worked in advocacy and leadership  positions for a children’s hospital association, a nuclear arms control coalition, and an organization focused on women and the military. Victoria currently serves on the Alexandria Commission on Aging and is an executive volunteer with Compassion and Choices. She has a B.A. in Communications from Auburn University and an M.Ed. in Human Services Management from Boston University. Victoria is a 38-year resident of Alexandria, having lived here on and off, due to her upbringing in a military family, since she was 2.

Brenda Bloch-Young

Brenda is a retired CPA/ Tax Director who relocated to Alexandria in 2013. She currently serves as Secretary on her condo board in Old Town. Prior to relocating to the area, she volunteered in various community activities including the League of Women Voters, the Boys & Girls Club, and Little League as well as serving as her condo board President for several years.

Peter Crouch

Pete moved to Alexandria with his parents during his college years, and has lived in Alexandria since graduating from Princeton University.  His work with a large construction and development company in Silver Spring, MD, introduced him to the needs of the senior community – he was lead project manager for the construction of senior hi-rises in Silver Spring, Baltimore, and Bethesda.  Pete then opened his own real estate brokerage, and eventually joined McEnearney Associates in Old Town.  He specializes in working with older Northern Virginians as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), helping guide them through the intricacies of downsizing & moving.  Pete began volunteering with AHA in 2014, and has volunteered & sponsored AHA since.  The National Association of Realtors recently recognized Pete with the 2018 “Outstanding Service Award” for work with senior adults.

Helen Desfosses

Helen  joined the board of Directors upon the completion of her teaching stint at George Mason University Osher Institute. Helen was recently named to the Alexandria Library Board. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature from Mount Holyoke College, a Master’s in Soviet Studies from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University.

Linda Langley

Linda has lived in Alexandria for about 8 years.  She was a stay-at-home Mom and did a lot of volunteer work.  She and her late husband bought a mobile home manufacturing facility and she helped run the business.  She  was also a substitute teacher.  Now, she teaches ESL, serves as a volunteer with AHA, and is on her condo board.

Penelope Roberts

Penelope Roberts spent the first part of her career as a teacher, then as an Education Services Officer for the U.S. Army Adult and Continuing Education Program where she provided a full range of educational programs from basic skills to graduate school for members of military, their families, and civilian employees. Ms. Roberts spent the second part of her career with the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, first as a Senior Executive Service Advisor and later as Director of Human Resources.  In retirement, she has utilized her degree in linguistics to teach English as a Second Language as a volunteer, has continued to do occasional editorial work, and has devoted herself to learning about and volunteering in the area of dementia and dementia care, whenever she is not traveling. She been a member and volunteer for AHA for the past five years.

Mary Jayne Swanson

Mary Jayne Swanson enjoyed a long career in retail management and brings to the Board fine business skills as well as a keen awareness of the value of providing superior and sensitive service to our members. A New Englander by birth, Mary Jayne has lived in Northern Virginia since 1970.  She started her career as a nutritionist and moved  to retail at Woodward and Lothrop in Organizational Development then to Store Management at Fair Oaks. She moved to Garfinckels as a store manager and after they closed, she joined American University as Bookstore and Licensing  Director. After retirement she spent 7 years as a University Bookstore Consultant.  She says, “I became interested in the village movement through a friend and sought a village in Alexandria and was happy to find AHA. I wanted to stay in my home in Del Ray and enjoy my family and friends, my yard and my newly rescued dog. I realize I’m not alone with this wish and through AHA I hope to  help others stay in their neighborhoods and enjoy their homes.”

Barbara “Babs” Waters

Barbara H Waters (Babs), BA Political Science, MA Education, has resided in Alexandria since 2002. She taught part time at the middle, high school, and adult level for a number of years. She was also a part time registrar for University of Southern California-Berlin, Germany Campus. Throughout her life, Babs has held volunteer leadership roles in various civic and religious organizations. Prior to residency in Alexandria, Babs served as chair of Loudoun County Commission on Women and sat on the boards of YMCA-Loudoun Country, the Loudoun Symphony Association board,and is a graduate of Leadership Loudoun. She currently serves on the Alexandria Commission on Aging.

Babs enjoys the company of family and friends, reading, exercising, the arts, music, and travel. She is married to the Rev’d Elliott M Waters and the mother of two adult children.