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Jen Marr

To Jen Marr, strangers are just friends she hasn’t met yet. That natural gift has led Jen to a vocation of crisis response, healing and comfort, which has impacted the lives of thousands of people across the United States.

Just about everything Jen has done has been started from scratch. Building and creating programs, companies and teams is her passion.  From her first job out of college to launching Inspiring Comfort LLC, each position she has taken has started with a blank piece of paper. A significant portion of her career was spent in international business development with Henry Schein Inc., as Vice President of the International Group.  She was stationed in New York, London and Amsterdam as the company grew its international footprint. 

In January of 2013, Jen formed the first LCC K9 Comfort Dog team in Connecticut and was there as part of the recovery at Sandy Hook Elementary for the days, weeks, months & years following the tragedy. As a member of several crisis response teams covering Western Connecticut and Westchester/Putnam Counties in New York, Jen worked with school administrations to find the most effective ways to incorporate the comfort dogs in the many facets of short term and long term trauma response. 

Jen leads the development of Inspiring Comfort’s evidence based programs and offerings. She is a frequent speaker on how comfort can be taught as a skill and the importance of comfort in suicide prevention and mental health.

She is the author of Paws To Comfort, available November 2019, a trained Stephen Minister and a certified speaker, trainer and coach with the John Maxwell Team. Jen lives in Great Falls, VA with her husband David and daughters, Erika, Ashlyn and Audrey. 

LinkedIn: Jen Marr


Mary Perry

Mary loves the quote “Broken crayons still color” as it speaks directly to the hope that she sees in the world.  Her strong Christian faith is her foundation as she attempts to live out her life purpose – to intentionally add value and connect with people to make a difference in their lives. 

An accomplished Marketing Executive with more than 30 years in Marketing Agency Management at Ryan Partnership, Mary defined success by creating and building strong teams and client relationships to reach enterprise goals.  She built and retained these teams by hiring, developing, coaching and motivating skilled professionals.  Her high energy and Servant Leadership style combined to create a dynamic, productive and unified environment for all.

She values family and friends, an enthusiastic attitude, making a difference in those around her and listening and walking with others  experiencing challenges in their lives.  Her positive approach allows her to easily command a room and speak in front of audiences of all sizes. 

A true Baby Boomer, Mary’s second season has already produced a Life Coaching practice specializing in growth and hope coaching.   A certified John Maxwell Team Member, her coaching, speaking and training topics focus on determining one’s purpose and being intentional in life.  Additionally she is the Founder of a non-profit, A Place for Hope and Healing dedicated to serving Compassionate Responders  (First Responders, Clergy, Teachers, Healthcare and Mental Health providers).  Her Christian Ministry work includes Stephen Ministry, Prayer Ministry and Church leadership. 

Mary’s heart and soul is dedicated to making comfort available to as many people as possible.  Top Dog and Handler for LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Addie and Leah, she loves connecting with those who need love and compassion.  Recently she had the privilege of serving with Addie and Leah in Parkland, FL with the faculty and students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

This passion is her fuel for co-founding Inspiring Comfort.  She believes that the time is now for all of us to look up, and intentionally connect in love with those around us who are carrying burdens and troubles. While developing out and testing Club Comfort these past two years, she has seen story after story of love and connection combining to truly change lives.  She is excited to expand the platform so that we can do our part to reverse the trend of the loneliness and social isolation epidemic we are seeing every day. 

LinkedIn: Mary Perry


Jill Bornstein

Jill Bornstein knows the real value of true compassionate connections and works at it every day as a mom of four device connected teenage boys and wife to one busy executive husband.  Pulling together her experiences from the corporate world, town government and not for profit board roles she has found a perfect fit as the Finance and Operations leader at Inspiring Comfort. Over the years she has embraced the philosophy that if people would intentionally take a few extra minutes every day to think about the person they are interacting with it would make the world a better place. By asking them how they are, connecting and seeing them as a person not just a store clerk, a policy or adversary, intentional compassionate connections can be made. This one simple effort can help counter the rise in anxiety, isolation and depression.

Prior to Inspiring Comfort, Jill had a successful career at GE, completing GE’s Financial Management Training Program, spending 6 Years on GE’s Audit Staff and then serving as Vice President of Finance for operations at GE Capital Card Services.  After GE she served on the CT buildOn board, an organization whose mission is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations for children and adults. She was an elected Town Board of Finance official for 7 years in Ridgefield, CT and served as Vice Chair. She has always displayed a strong commitment to supporting children and families in her past roles as a PTA President, a Junior League Board Member, board Vice Chair for a K-8 private school and board President and Treasurer of the nationally ranked Ridgefield Aquatic Club. Thru these affiliations she experienced first hand how important it is to recognize when others are in need of comfort and connection and the true impact and value proposition created in a school, organization or just life in general when people over come barriers and truly connect with others.  Not only does connecting help organizations succeed – at a personal level people feel better about themselves which is important to overall mental health.

LinkedIn: Jill Bornstein


Liz Riggs

MOM! to three | wife | sister | friend | counselor | proud parent of two goldens | suicide prevention advocate | kindness activist | positive psychology proponent | connector

In my work as a high school counselor, academic advisor and independent college consultant, I have embraced the philosophy, "Be who you needed when you were younger." As such, I always try to lead with empathy - I listen, I hear and I validate.

A few years ago, I initiated and wrote curriculum for a kindergarten thru 8th grade after-school program with an emphasis on kindness and caring for others. It was through this program that I was introduced to the incredible work of Club Comfort. I continue to be so impressed with what this club accomplished in my school and the enthusiasm in which their message is received by students and adults.

On a more personal note, I have grieved the losses of several family members over the last few years. In the midst of all that darkness, the Comfort Dogs and Club Comfort facilitators were the bright lights who were there consistently to help me process my grief in a healthy and constructive manner.

I am incredibly excited to be a part of this team, as I have witnessed its benefits as an observer, volunteer, and as the one who needed comforting. Inspiring Comfort goes beyond performing random acts of kindness, it's about intentionally building long-lasting connections, truly caring for others and the power of hope and the ripple effect.


Gael Lynch

Gael is currently a consultant for Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project from Columbia University, presenting professional development for teachers across the U.S. She also developed, implemented and administered a program for children with language and communication disabilities in Fairfield County, CT.

She is a former Newtown educator, having served at both Sandy Hook Elementary and Reed Intermediate Schools across many grade levels. Earlier in her career, she worked with hearing impaired children, language delayed students and the youngest population of infants and toddlers with special needs. She is a longtime Newtown resident, drawn to this community for its tradition of family-centered values, its excellent schools, and of course, its iconic beauty. Her three grown children are products of Sandy Hook School and graduates of Newtown High as well.


Dr. Gabriel Lomas

Dr. Gabriel I. Lomas is a professor of counseling at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT where he teaches in both the school and clinical counselor training programs. He holds an undergraduate degree in History and Special Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a graduate teaching certificate in deaf education from Lamar University, an M.A. in counseling from Gallaudet University, and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and School Psychology from Sam Houston State University.

Lomas came to WestConn with a strong background in helping communities respond to crisis. He was a member of a school-based crisis response team and clinical crisis response team in Texas, and he helped to create a Regional Crisis Team in the Western part of Connecticut to assist area schools in crisis response preparation. When a disaster happens, the team pools the resources of the university and school districts to provide support immediately after an event such as a shooting, death, natural disaster or other crisis.

In September of 2017 Dr. Lomas was awarded a $1.6 million Federal Grant to expand and improve programs focused on training students to respond to mental health crises. The program will last 4 years and will expand the behavioral health workforce and will train new mental health providers, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and paraprofessionals.

Dr. Gabriel I. Lomas, Lomas has been published widely in books and journals in the combined fields of counseling and deaf people. His research interests include crisis counseling, play therapy, forensics, child welfare, psychological testing, and many topics related to psychology and with deaf and hard of hearing people. He has served at the local, state, and national levels for a number of professional associations in his field. He was formerly the co-editor of the Journal of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association, and currently serves on the editorial boards of Child Abuse and Neglect, Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, Play Therapy Magazine, and Counselor Preparation and Supervision. Lomas has lectured nationally and internationally, primarily on topics related to mental health and deaf people. He is a professional member of the American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, American School Counseling Association, the Association for Play Therapy, and other professional organizations. He maintains a small clinical practice and continues to serve as a forensic consultant to attorneys, courts, and state governments. He and his wife have two children who enjoy outdoor activities, playing and watching basketball, and spending time with extended family.