Joint Council Staff & Key Volunteers
Thomas DiFilipo, President & Chief Executive Officer
Tom DiFilipo serves as President and CEO of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services. As part of his work as a child advocate, Tom has elevated the cause of every child’s right to a permanent family through his travel to 28 countries, testimony before the U.S. Congress, service as a non-profit board member for the Council on Accreditation, Focus on Adoption, Discovery Ministries and Joint Council on International Children’s Services, and through presentations, speeches and guest lectures at over 40 child welfare convenings including the UNROW Human Rights Clinic at Washington University and the Russian Ministry of Education Conference on Child Protection. Tom also advocates on behalf of children without family care through repeated appearances on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, ROTIV Russia and numerous other media outlets.
Tom is currently a member of the Council on Accreditation’s Sponsoring Advisory Council and the executive committees of the Families for Orphans Coalition and the Children in Adversity Policy Partnership.
Prior to his position at Joint Council, Tom spent nine years as Vice President for the CASI Foundation, Chief Operations Officer for International Children’s Alliance and held executive positions at a variety of private corporations.
Marie Blum-Capizzi, Director of Programs and Services
Marie Blum-Capizzi is the Director of Programs & Services for Joint Council on International Children’s Services. Marie comes to Joint Council with years of administrative experience, two Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Dance and Sociology, a Master of Arts Degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and a passion for seeing every child grow up in a loving home. Marie is also interested in researching international conflicts and discovering peaceful and lasting solutions. Marie currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their rescue cats, Hootie and Boh Boh.
Jennifer Mellon Peterson, Chief Development Officer
Jennifer Mellon Peterson is the Chief Development Officer (CDO) at Joint Council on International Children’s Services. Prior to serving as CDO, Jennifer functioned as Executive Director of Joint Council until the birth of her first of two girls in 2008. During her hiatus, Jennifer founded two start-up companies and served on the Board of The Campagna Center, which provides much needed educational services to children and families in the DC Metro region.
Jennifer first moved to DC over a decade ago to work for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) as their Corporate Communications & Special Events Program Manager, eventually serving as their International Program Manager before joining Joint Council. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bucknell University in International Relations and Religion with concentrations in East Asia Studies and Mandarin.
Mikaela Coggins, Programs and Services Assistant
Mikaela Coggins is the Programs and Services Assistant for Joint Council on International Children’s Services. She recently graduated from Westmont College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. During college, Mikaela spent a semester in Washington, DC interning for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and learning about the legislative process. Her experiences growing up in Cambodia and working with foster children in Texas has fueled her passion for the welfare of children in adversity around the world.
Shannon Berenbaum, Partnership Intern
Shannon Berenbaum is the Partnership Intern for Joint Council on International Children’s Services. She is a rising senior at the College of William and Mary where she studies Government and Italian. Shannon spent her junior year abroad in Perugia, Italy, studying first at the University for Foreigners and then at the University of Perugia. She is an avid reader and looks forward to learning all that she can during her time at Joint Council.
Michelle Laflam, Partnership Intern
Michelle is a rising junior at Stonehill College, where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Sociology. In the coming school year, Michelle will be studying abroad in Shanghai, China and Wellington, New Zealand. Michelle is from New Hampshire but is spending her Summer in the Washington, DC area to learn more about Intercountry adoption, non-profit organizations, and advocacy work.
23 Joint Council Members play an important role in informing Joint Council’s policies, programs and services. These members serve as the Chairpersons of our Caucuses (large groups of professionals with expertise in select countries or service areas). In total, over 93 volunteers play vital and ongoing roles in our service to children and families.