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Beat Parkinson's Today

Meet The Team

Michelle Hespeler

Chairperson & Founder

Fun fact: My favorite foods, that I do not advise to anyone else, are Oreo cookies and powdered donuts. Favorite quote: "Winners never quit and quitters never win." Role at Beat PD: I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease almost 15 years ago. and created this program. Today, I am training trainers for the Beat PD program locally and around the country and growing my program to help as many people as possible. Best part of job: Parkinson’s Disease and Beat PD has given me the opportunity to speak publicly and become more confident in myself. Link to more info on Michelle!

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Vicki Kulas

Vice Chairperson, Financial Manager, and Trainer

Fun fact: To stay active, I like to go to Health Trax and participate in their group classes Role at Beat PD: I help members and trainers daily with behind the scenes help on classes and coordinate our finances. Best part of job: I love to teach for Beat PD Today because I am inspired daily by my participants.

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Barbara Huttinger

Administrative Coordinator 

Fun fact: Dancing is my favorite exercise! Role at Beat PD: Organizer in Chief Best part of job: Using my skills in an organization that does so much good.


Emily Hespeler

Program Director

Fun fact: Peanut butter is my favorite food! Favorite quote: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou Role at Beat PD: I plan events for members at Beat PD, work on fundraising efforts, expand Beat PD to other sites in CT, and hear from participants about their experiences with our classes. Best part of job: Getting to learn and understand more about our members stories.


Nancy LaRussa

Fitness Instructor

Favorite quote: “A small habit—when repeated consistently—grows into something significant." - James Clear Role at Beat PD Today: I teach classes in East Hartford, CT and online. Best part of job: Best part is the people and the relationships I’ve built while seeing them get stronger and improve their quality of life. I love getting people excited about exercise. I want to make it fun and a social experience so people keep coming back.


Lisa Johnson

Fitness Instructor

Fun Fact: I've lived, worked, or traveled to 80 countries! I love to travel, meet people, and learn about different cultures. Role at Beat PD Today: I teach online classes from North Carolina. Best part of job: Over the past 30 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and wellness coach, I truly enjoy helping and seeing my client's wellness vision become a reality for them!


George Raymond

Fitness Instructor

Fun fact: I am still learning each individual is so unique. My clients surprise me every day. They have also taught me to not underestimate anyone no matter their age and/or condition. Favorite quote: “Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.” -Ben Franklin Role at Beat PD: In-home personal trainer (and formerly taught classes in East Hartford). Best part of job: I teach classes mostly in Brookfield, CT.


Dr. Jory Davis, PT

Affiliate Director

Fun fact: I like to go " bottle hunting" for vintage bottles in the woods Favorite quote: "Dance as if no one is watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last!" Role at Beat PD: I find facilities that wish to become affiliates. Our goal is to spread Beat PD classes around the world! Best part of job: I love educating people about Parkinson's Disease and enjoy being part of a community that is devoted to providing access for people with PD.


Donna DiPalma

Lead Trainer

Fun fact: I lived in Australia 2006-2010 and worked there and all over Asia Pacific! I am also a Swing and Zydeco dancer! Favorite quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein Role at Beat PD: I am the lead trainer! I lead in person and Live Stream classes . Soon to add spinning to my repertoire! Best part of job: So many things. A large part of being a trainer is seeing the sense of accomplishment in the participants. They are so proud of themselves and I am proud of them. It is such a satisfying feeling helping them to fight the fight. I also love the sense of “family” in the classes.


Linda Derick

Fitness Instructor

Fun fact: I was the Director of the CT Center for Massage Therapy for 20 year. Role at Beat PD: I teach yoga classes for Beat PD. Best part of job: Yoga can be a potent life skill for people living with Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders, including benefits like increased confidence.


Laura Bellizzi, OT

Fitness Instructor

Fun fact: I graduated with a business degree but returned to school after my 2nd child was born to get an occupational therapy degree. Favorite quote: If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you! Role at Beat PD: I teach clients in their home and teach classes in Cheshire and Farmington, CT. Best part of job: Helping my clients move better and get stronger so they can fully participate in life!

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Anne Beauregard

Fitness Instructor

Fun Fact: I am one of the most organized people you will meet. Favorite quote: I am very inspired by my clients. Role at Beat PD: I teach classes in Marlborough, CT with a focus on posture and core strength. Best part of job: Being inspired by the participants.


Kathy Szabo, PT

Fitness Instructor 

Fun fact: I lived in Colorado for 4 years while my husband was active duty in the Air Force. Favorite quote: "You get what you work for, not what you wish for.” Role at Beat PD: I teach online classes and classes in Branford, CT! Best part of job: To be able to assist and be apart of the Parkinson’s community helping each individual to fight the disease.


New Trainers Welcome!

Call us today!

(860) 918-9594

Beat Parkinson's Today

Board of Directors


Michelle Hespeler

Vice Chairperson

Victoria Kulas


Daria Lupacchino


Betty Anderson

Marketing Director

Nina Shea

Medical Advisor

Dr. Sule Tinaz

Member At Large

Scott Beecher

Member At Large

Donna DiPalma

Member At Large

Eileen Powers

Member At Large

Charles Schmidt

The Board of Directors Executive Board meets on the 1st Monday of each month. The entire Board joins them quarterly. Financial statements and meeting minutes are available upon request.

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