Featured Consultants

Brian Mercer

Brian Mercer

I joined SOAR in 2018 initially working on a team to develop a strategic plan for the Friends of the Newton Cemetery. I then assumed Co-Chairmanship of the SOAR Client Development and Project Management Committee leading SOAR’s efforts to reach out to nonprofit umbrella organizations to offer services and form closer relationships.

In addition to practicing as a neurologist for approximately 20 years, I have had a series of leadership and management roles in various medical settings. At Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, I served as Chief of Neurology overseeing 40 employees in 9 locations. Additionally, I held a leadership role responsible for developing innovative disease management programs within the entire 600-physician medical group. My career concluded in the pharmaceutical industry, ultimately as Vice President, Head of Medical Devices and Diagnostics in Clinical Development at Shire Pharmaceuticals. In this role, I was responsible for the leadership and matrix management of all aspects of the strategy and execution of medical devices, combination products and diagnostic program development. I also provided strategic perspectives to multiple international Development Program teams in the assessment of business opportunities. I am a graduate of MIT and Washington University School of Medicine.

Upon retirement, I joined SOAR to have an opportunity to work with charitable organizations that have a meaningful impact on improving life for others. I hope to use the skills in leadership, strategy and business execution that I have learned over the years to help these organizations reach their goals. I look forward to the intellectual challenge offered by these projects, as well as connecting with new colleagues.

Millstein, Kathy

Kathy Millstein

Kathy Millstein has been a volunteer on three projects with SOAR since 2017. Most recently she was involved in strategic planning projects with Massachusetts Health Officers Association and East Boston Social Center. Both of these projects were adapted in the wake of COVID 19. An emerita professor and former Associate Dean at Simmons University School of Social Work, Kathy is a clinical social worker, educator and researcher with expertise in mental health research and practice evaluation. All of her 30+ years of experience has been in the nonprofit world. Kathy earned a B.A. from Tufts, MSW from Smith and PhD from Boston College.

Turner, Alexandra (Lexi)

Alexandra (Lexi) Turner

I have spent my career working in the nonprofit sector in the fields of community development and affordable housing, starting here in Boston and then nationally for the past 30 years. I have a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Tufts University, and currently live in Newton. I continue to work part-time in addition to my SOAR consulting.

With SOAR, I have been able to bring my nonprofit management experience back to local nonprofits in the area.  I really valued the training[SS1]  that SOAR offers consultants, which gave us a shared consulting methodology, encouraged a growth mindset with our client engagements, and was a fun and stimulating way to meet other consulting volunteers.

I have been part of a consulting team on four SOAR projects, and have enjoyed building relationships with fellow consultants, learning the work of the client organizations, and helping them achieve their goals. Two projects of note include developing a strategic plan for RIA House, a young organization that is growing quickly and having a real and immediate impact supporting women with experience in the commercial sex trade, as well as developing an expansion and strategic plan for Horizons, a summer learning and enrichment program for children in the Boston and Dedham public schools, and affiliated with Dedham Country Day School. I enjoy the variety and the opportunity to connect with colleagues who have different backgrounds and experiences.

Virginia Auciello Sullivan

Virginia Auciello Sullivan

Virginia Auciello Sullivan has spent her professional career developing her training and coaching skills through work experience, collaboration, and continuing education. She has extensive experience and talent for instructional design that applies the principles of adult learning theory. In 1986, she started Auciello Associates, Inc., an instructional design and training delivery company. She has provided curriculum design and training programs to Standish Ayer and Wood, John Hancock, Commerce Insurance Company, Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Fidelity Investments, Senior Aerospace, Worcester Public Schools and many other companies. Virginia excels at creating and delivering content focused programs designed to improve skill building. Participants in her programs often comment of how much they learn and how the learning is directly applicable to their need. In the last ten years, she has devoted her work to executive coaching and leadership development. Her passion for working with individual leaders and executive leadership groups derives from understanding the complexities of human behavior required in a leadership role. Her practice allows her to assist leaders to develop increased awareness and competence and the ability to apply this learning to achieve desired results.

In addition to starting Auciello Associates, she has experience as a public and private school teacher, working as a health educator for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and holding positions of Executive Director at To Your Health, Inc. and Wilson Language Training Corporation. Virginia has also served as adjunct faculty at Worcester State University and Anna Maria College. She has successfully trained entrepreneurs at The Center for Women and Enterprise in Worcester, Boston and Curry College in Plymouth in a ten week program which provides all training needed to open a successful business; including a professional and fundable business plan.

Virginia holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education, and is a 2004 graduate of the New Ventures West Coaching Program. She has recently completed two continuing education courses at the Gestalt Institute in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, which focused on applying Gestalt concepts to coaching. With a strong commitment to giving back to the community, she proudly completed the SOAR Nonprofit Management Consulting Group Program. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Rainbow Child Development in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Wertheimer, Janet

Janet Wertheimer

I have provided consulting services through SOAR since 2012 to non-profit organizations ranging extensively in both size and focus. With the goal of providing consulting services that can be readily implemented, I have worked with clients on developing operations plans, strategic plans as well as marketing and branding strategy.  I have been an active participant in the SOAR organization, serving on multiple committees and the Board of Directors.

With a background in consulting, I worked for over 25 years, primarily in the corporate sector.  Beginning my career as a consultant with Abt Associates, I worked primarily for Fortune 500 companies, developing strategic business plans, and implementing sales, marketing and customer service programs.  Throughout my career, I also worked with non-profits in the Greater Boston area, providing volunteer support on committees and boards.

I received my M.B.A., from Simmons College, in Boston, M.A., a MA in Educational Psychology from UCLA and my B.A. from Trinity College, in Hartford, CT.

Buchner, Barbara

Barbara Buchner

I’ve been a member of the SOAR Management Consulting Group since 2016. I have participated on the SOAR Partners and Competition Committee, the 2017 SOAR Strategic Planning Committee, the 2020 Strategic Planning Team and am currently a SOAR Board member and chair of the SOAR Consultant Recruitment and Engagement Committee. Through SOAR, I have consulted local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, a summer program for children and adults with disabilities, and a community legal services office. I enjoy helping SOAR clients improve their organizations and increase their social impact in the communities that they serve.

I have over 40 years of experience providing IT services to the Mutual Fund industry.  I was a Managing Director at BNY Mellon, responsible for managing an IT team providing transfer agency systems to support over 100 Mutual Fund organizations.  I was part of the senior management team, focused on leadership, communications, relationship building, client retention as well as acquiring new clients.  

I have served on several Mutual Fund industry committees, including the ICI Broker Dealer Advisory Committee, the NICSA Mid-West Committee and as co-chair of the NICSA Technology Committee.  

I graduated magna cum laude from Connecticut College, with a BA degree in Mathematics. 

Dolan, Simon

Simon Dolan

I have many years of senior general management experience, in both growth and turnaround situations, with particular expertise in strategic planning. Most recently, I was Senior Vice President and General Manager of a $100-200M Business Unit, owned by a succession of public companies, developing and providing embedded software and semiconductor solutions to printer, copier and camera manufacturers in the US and Asia.

My SOAR projects have included consulting to Newton Community Education and Bay Path Elder Services. We worked with Newton Community Education as they refreshed their mission and vision and adult education programs and with Bay Path Elder Services to develop a strategic plan. The projects had a similar focus, yet were very different as they were organizations with very different missions, in different stages of operational planning.

Having retired early, I was looking both for ways to replace the intellectual stimulus of  my professional life as well as an opportunity to do some good in the world – SOAR seemed like a great opportunity to achieve both goals at the same time.

SOAR’s professional development helped me translate my corporate experience to the nonprofit sector. The rewarding experience I have had in the two projects I have undertaken for SOAR has prompted me to join the SOAR Board, where I will be a part of expanding our organization to create a positive impact for our clients and a meaningful and fulfilling experience for our consultants.


Jean Duffy

I’m an engineer with experience developing commercial products and leading large teams of scientists performing advanced research and development. My area of expertise is operations and I currently live in Somerville. For SOAR, I was the project coordinator for a consultation with Parent Talk in Needham reviewing and updating their By-laws, and I was the project coordinator for a team developing a market survey in collaboration with East Boston Social Centers.

My favorite part is working in a team of three SOAR consultants, each contributing different skills and perspectives. I’ve served on non-profit Boards before, and SOAR exposes me to a broad variety of organizations, each with different needs and challenges.  I love the flexibility that allows me to choose when I want to sign up for a project, making it a professionally rewarding activity that fits well with my current lifestyle.