Jill was raised in a Catholic family in the suburbs of Detroit. From an early age, she became aware of the environment of exclusion in the church and felt compassion for those who were “cast out”, including her gay uncle. Jill quickly became known for speaking up and trying to change the minds of those around her.
As a young, single mom, Jill began looking for “an office job” with an interest in law, justice and advocacy. She accepted a position at a real estate law firm, where she began learning compliance for FNMA and FHLMC loans. This led to a career in real estate law and property management, which she enjoyed for many years. After leaving the industry, Jill returned to school to study Criminal Justice and Psychology.
Her legal studies and years of standing up for herself, her queer child and trans nephew often led Jill to dream of finding a way to build safety, security and equity into the world around her loved ones. In 2018, she saw a video of Sara Cunningham’s story and the mission of Free Mom Hugs. She could see the importance of the hug and potential of this movement to make a real impact. Jill immediately reached out and brought Free Mom Hugs to SE Michigan and dove in as State Chapter Leader. After pride season in 2019, she witnessed this powerful movement turn into a large national nonprofit. Jill began volunteering with the national team to help them build the infrastructure for the fast growing organization.
Today, Jill is living her best life combining her passion for LGBTQIA+ advocacy and her interest in compliance and ethics. While working with Free Mom Hugs, she is earning the hours to sit for the Compliance and Ethics Professional exam. It is her goal to use this certification and her passion for Free Mom Hugs to help create the foundation to support strong, thriving State Chapters and help provide other State Leaders and volunteers the tools to meet their goals as Free Mom Hugs leaders.
Jill lives in SE Michigan with her husband, daughter and furbabies. In her free time, Jill enjoys reading, writing and genealogy while also exploring her creative side with embroidery, macrame and needle felting. Jill also enjoys cooking, baking and spending time with her loved ones.