Our team members come from a variety of personal and professional backgrounds, brought together by our shared belief in the power of family dinners. We are parents and non-parents, from different types of families. Our ages range from “young professional” to “Medicare-eligible.”
Our collective professional experience includes education, family therapy, research, food, design, social work, marketing and communication. We are working together, along with inspiring family dinner champions in numerous communities, to help families have more frequent and meaningful meals. We work both online and at community events to encourage families to share their experiences and learn from each other as they come together around the dinner table to benefit from the power of shared meals.
Lynn Barendsen is a founding member of The Family Dinner Project. In her work on The Family Dinner Project, Lynn has worked to support families to come together around the dinner table and to make the most of their mealtimes together. Since 1997, she has also been a part of the Good Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Lynn leads workshops and presentations on The Family Dinner Project, the Good Project, and has taught courses in literature and film, English and American literature and expository writing. Lynn, her husband John and their two sons spend many happy hours in the kitchen together, trying out new ideas for The Family Dinner Project.
Brianne DeRosa, MFA, is the Content Manager for The Family Dinner Project. As a freelance writer and consultant to nonprofit organizations, she has spent over a decade working in communications, program development and creative initiatives. Bri runs her own food blog, Red, Round or Green and has contributed to the Cooking with Trader Joe’s: Easy Lunchboxes cookbook as well as the Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide. She has also written for numerous outlets including Motherwell Magazine, Yahoo! Parenting, HandPicked Nation, KidsNation Magazine, Real Mom Nutrition and The Lunch Tray. Bri has the opportunity to practice her family dinner skills every day with her husband and two young sons.
Wendy Fischman is a Project Manager on the GoodWork™ Project at Harvard University and has worked at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education since 1995, managing various aspects of the Good Project, specifically focused on the meaning of work in the lives of young children, adolescents, and novice professionals. She has written about education and human development in several scholarly and popular articles addressing topics such as lifelong commitment to service work, inspirational mentoring, and teaching in precollegiate education. She has codeveloped a curriculum for students and teachers to introduce the concept of “good work” in classrooms and schools. Since 2010, she has also worked with The Family Dinner Project, in the areas of research and evaluation. As a mother of four children, The Family Dinner Project is both personally and professionally meaningful.
Anne Fishel, Executive Director and co-founder of The Family Dinner Project, is a family therapist, clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at the Harvard Medical School. She is Director of the Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she trains child and adult psychiatry residents and psychology interns in family therapy. She has published numerous scholarly articles and chapters about family issues, and has also written family-oriented articles for NPR, PBS, Washington Post, and other media outlets. She is the author of three books: A Life-Cycle Approach to Treating Couples: From Dating to Death (Momentum Press, 2018); Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids (Harper Collins, 2015) and Treating the Adolescent in Family Therapy: A Developmental and Narrative Approach (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999). She lectures widely at academic conferences, medical Grand Rounds, and to parent and teacher groups. She has been featured in media articles, radio shows, and TV appearances, including NYT, CNN, ABC news, Web MD, and NPR. She is the mother of two young adult sons who are better and more adventurous cooks than their mother.
Shelly London created the concept for The Family Dinner Project while an inaugural fellow in Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, a program for senior leaders who want to go from their primary career to a life of service. Since completing her career as a senior corporate marketing and communications executive, Shelly focuses on social impact and teaches ethics at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Working with various teams, she has spearheaded creation of initiatives such as Quandary, a free, award-winning computer game that helps build ethical decision-making skills. As president of the Poses Family Foundation, she led the creation of Understood.org, a comprehensive resource for parents of the 1 in 5 children with brain-based learning and attention issues that supports more than 2 million people each month. She wants to help today’s families realize the many benefits of family dinner without adding stress to their busy lives.
Shannon Frederick Meneses is a Project Consultant for the Family Dinner Project and has worked in the non-profit and educational technology industry for 20 years. She has managed projects ranging from complex, content rich websites and mobile applications, to engaging and playful games, to popular, bustling community features and teacher dashboards. She is also a consultant for the Learning Games Network where she works on game based learning tools, including Quandary, a free, award-winning online ethics game. Prior to working with the Family Dinner Project, she was a producer at FableVision Studios and Six Red Marbles in Boston. She has worked on MIT’s Lure of the Labyrinth – a math and literacy game for middle school students, several PBS Kids Play! websites, and the websites for Jim Henson Company’s Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train TV shows. Outside of work, she is an avid cook and loves to get her two young children involved in the process.
Cindil Redick-Ponte is the Assistant Executive Director for The Family Dinner Project. In her work on The Family Dinner Project, Cindil has worked with local and national partners to support and empower families to have more frequent, and better quality shared meals. She has led workshops and presentations on The Family Dinner Project across the country for community leaders, government officials, educators, and families. Outside the office, Cindil can be found climbing mountains with her husband and two rescue dogs.