Leigh Goldie is the founder and Executive Director of Empowering Epilepsy. She is a teacher, a community wide event planner, a wife, a mother and an epilepsy survivor. When she was eight years old, she was struck by a car while walking home from school, which led to complex partial seizures caused by traumatic brain injury. Living with epilepsy throughout her formative years was difficult because her seizures were so unpredictable. When looking for others, who just like her, experienced epilepsy, she could not find them. People did not talk about having seizures because of the centuries old stigma affiliated with epilepsy and seizures. Through Empowering Epilepsy, her goal is to allow people with epilepsy and their families to meet others just like them, learn strategies to successfully manage their seizures, and discover resources and best practices to empower their mind, body, spirit and life.
Lisa ZingalesFounding Board Vice President
Lisa Zingales is a business owner and the mother of four daughters, one of which was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 6 years old. Although her daughter’s seizures have been under control for the past few years, experiencing difficulties with learning and medication side effects still affect her daughter daily. Empowering Epilepsy provides a place where her daughter will no longer feel alone and will be able to overcome her struggles with others that share her experiences. Mrs. Zingales is a founding board member and Vice President of Empowering Epilepsy’s Board of Directors.
James Mitchell Brown survived a cerebral hemorrhage in 1994. His epilepsy is the result of his surgery but that has not stopped him from representing people on Social Security Disability, Veteran’s Disability and Personal Injury claims. Jim also has a business consulting for attorneys and is widely thought of as the nation’s leading consultant for contingency fee law firms. He has appeared on local and national television and radio speaking on legal as well as social justice topics. Mr. Brown is a founding Board Member and serves as Empowering Epilepsy’s Legal Advisor.
JoAnne Dawson joins our Board of Directors from Akron by way of Montevallo, Alabama where she taught college music for 25 years. After retiring from the University of Montevallo, she moved up to Akron and opened Bama Babes Bakery in Canal Fulton, Ohio with Tana Alexander, a long-time friend who also taught in Montevalllo. Both are avid supporters of Empowering Epilepsy. JoAnne is also a licensed chef and plans to offer a class in “Cooking With Epilepsy.”
Matthew Eccher, MDEmpowering Epilepsy Medical Advisor
Dr. Matthew Eccher studied neurology and the subspecialty evaluation and treatment of epilepsy at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Since completing training in 2005, his practice has been almost exclusively dedicated to the evaluation and medical treatment of epilepsy, and clinical neurophysiology (the evaluation of nervous system electrical function). Dr. Eccher is a Founding Board Member and serves as Empowering Epilepsy’s Medical Advisor.
Danene LegarthEmpowering Epilepsy Special Education Consultant
Danene Legarth, M.Ed. works with families in the hospital, school, and home based settings to ensure that their child is receiving quality educational services that meet their individual needs. Her goal is to help children continue to make educational progress to the best of their ability. She does this by helping families access services and resources to meet their child’s specific needs, acting as a liaison between hospitals and schools to ensure the child’s needs are being met, and assisting with 504 Plans and IEP’s, along with educating teachers and school staff about the child’s medical and educational needs in the classroom. She also runs her own private tutoring practice and she is certified in the Wilson Language Program.
Holly Maggiano, MDEmpowering Epilepsy Medical Advisor
Holly Maggiano, M.D. is a neurologist/epileptologist in private practice in Warren, Ohio. During her training at Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Dr. Maggiano was on the advisory board of the Northeast Ohio Epilepsy Foundation and is currently the moderator for Jan’s Clan Epilepsy Support Group in the Mahoning Valley. She is the director of Earth Angel Farm (EAF), a nonprofit organization which supports individuals with physical and developmental disabilities through wellness initiatives for mind-body, the environment and the community. After receiving her horticulture therapy degree from Chicago Botanic Garden, Dr. Maggiano has been working on the EAF Nature Therapy Assistant (NTA) program which encompasses training in horticulture, domestic and farm animal care, and healthy living. Participants in the therapeutic EAF NTA will learn potential vocational skills and social engagement. She is excited to be working more closely with Empowering Epilepsy.
Krista Scott RodriguezMarketing Director
Krista Rodriguez has helped to empower those with epilepsy ever since her best friend’s daughter was diagnosed. She hopes to encourage as many people as possible to live their lives to the fullest no matter what life hurdles they face. Krista is also the vice president of client fulfillment at the Impact Group in Hudson, Ohio. She works with a diverse range of clients and has successfully helped several boards of developmental disabilities reach their goals. She has also managed hundreds of successful marketing campaigns for municipalities, businesses and individuals throughout Ohio and across the United States. She is a Founding Board Member and serves as Empowering Epilepsy’s Marketing Director.
Our Valuable Team Members
Ella Arieta is a yoga instructor accredited with Yoga Alliance and Mini Yogis to work with teens and tweens. At the age of 12, she was diagnosed with epilepsy, and is passionate about helping people live well with epilepsy. For that reason, she specifically studied yoga and epilepsy. Her goal was to find ways to lessen or eliminate seizures for adults and children with epilepsy. She has created Empowering Epilepsy Restorative Yoga and leads our monthly Empowering Epilepsy Support Groups in both the Cleveland and Akron areas. She resides in Northfield, Ohio with her husband and son.