About Us


Mary Haag, RN, BSN, OCPC, ICPS

President & CEO

Mary Haag is a registered nurse and certified prevention specialist with over 20 years of achievement in substance abuse prevention, coalition building and non-profit management. Haag currently serves as President & CEO for PreventionFIRST! She recently graduated from the Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Cincinnati, Class 39. Mary currently serves on the ADAPAO Think Tank, is past president of the ADAPAO board, was a coach/faculty for the ADAPAO Mentoring project, and was their Visionary Award recipient in 2015. She is past-President of the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board and has served as a coach/mentor for the National School for Prevention Leadership. Mary holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the College of Mt. St. Joseph.

Nicole Schiesler, M.Ed., CHES, OCPC

Senior Director Coalition Strategies

Nicole Schiesler is a Certified Health Education Specialist and Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist with over 17 years of experience in the substance abuse prevention field. She currently serves as the Director of Coalition Strategies at PreventionFIRST! and oversees all prevention strategies that are implemented through the Coalition's three strategic pathways: Prevention Science, Community Engagement, and Prevention Action. Nicole received her undergraduate degree in Community Health from Ohio University and a Master's Degree in Health Promotion from the University of Cincinnati. Nicole participates on the Program Advisory Committee through the Health Promotion and Education Program at the University of Cincinnati. 

Christi Valentini-Lackner, BS, OCPS

Director of Prevention Action

Christi Valentini-Lackner is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist and has worked in the field of prevention for 14 years. Christi serves as the Program Manager supporting the Center for Prevention Action. She manages all two-way communication and support strategies for youth empowerment and other specific sectors/population related to identified local conditions targeted for change. Christi graduated from Ohio University with a B.A. in Psychology. Valentini-Lackner is the co-author of the low risk drinking course for adults, Minimize Risk-Maximize Life. She is a current board member for ADAPAO and was the 2016 recipient of the ADAPAO Advocate Award. 

Amanda Conn Starner, MS, CHES, OCPS

Local Coalition Development Manager

Amanda Conn Starner is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist (OCPS). She serves as the program manager for local coalition development. She is responsible for building, growing and sustaining substance use/misuse prevention coalitions across the Greater Cincinnati region. Amanda graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BA in English Literature and a Journalism Writing Certificate along with a Masters of Science in Health Promotion and Education with a concentration in community health. She is a graduate of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) National Coalition Academy. Amanda worked for the public sector for several years including as a member of senior staff at the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services and the Ohio Senate. She began her professional career as a journalist including winning an Emmy Award. Amanda is currently an Advisory Council member for the Statewide Prevention Coalition Association through Prevention Action Alliance.  

Jennifer Bierer, BA/BS, RA

Program Manager 

Jennifer Bierer is the Program Manager of Environmental Prevention. Before joining PreventionFIRST!, she was Traffic Safety Educator for Butler County Safe Communities; Coordinator of Marketing and Education for Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative; and Grant Coordinator and Public Relations Specialist for Hamilton County Public Health. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts & Sciences in Communication & Public Relations from Xavier University. She brings synergy around ideation, takes complicated jargon to a conversational level, and works across systems. Jennifer currently serves on the Prevention Drug Abuse Action Group, a workgroup of the Ohio Department of Health.

Flora Popenoe, MS, CHES, RA

Community Coordinator

Flora Popenoe is a Certified Health Education Specialist and serves as PreventionFIRST!’s Community Coordinator. She is responsible for building, strengthening, and supporting substance abuse prevention programs, partnerships, and coalitions in the Greater Cincinnati region. Flora received her undergraduate degree in International Studies from Iowa State University and a Master’s Degree in Health Education with a concentration in public and community health from the University of Cincinnati. Flora has a background in teaching and her most recent job was teaching Healthy Eating and Staying Active to adult learners through the Ohio State University Extension in Hamilton County. During her time with the OSUE she was awarded two awards, John Stitzlein Diversity Award for her efforts working with diverse populations, and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Paraprofessional State Award.  Flora is also a writer and a published author.

Sarah Sawmiller, BS, MPH, RA

Program Manager of Evaluation

Sarah Sawmiller is PreventionFIRST!’s Program Manager of Evaluation, responsible for implementation of the biennial Student Drug Use Survey and the Coalition Evaluation Center. Sarah has a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education, with a focus in Public and Community Health, a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics, both from the University of Cincinnati. She is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist.

Angela Cowart, BS

Development Coordinator

Angela Cowart serves as Development Coordinator for PreventionFIRST!. With an extensive background in leading donor focused stewardship and relationship building strategies, she is responsible for developing and executing various fundraising initiatives including the Annual Fund, and special events. She assists in fostering positive strategic relationships with corporations and community leaders to help build awareness and support for PreventionFIRST! in the tri-state area.

Prior to joining PreventionFIRST!, Angela served as Development Advisor for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital where she was responsible for stewarding relationships with a portfolio of over 1,500 Major Donors. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a minor in Nonprofit Management from Kennesaw State University.

Cathy Born, BS

Administrative Assistant

Cathy Born serves as the Administrative Assistant for PreventionFIRST!.  She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer and Family Sciences from Purdue University, and has over 20 years of professional experience in the private and non-profit sector thru roles in office management, project management, and customer service. As a resident of Madeira, Cathy has supported the Madeira City School District Planning Commission in various leadership roles for over 10 years. She recently received the "I Make A Difference Award" from the Board of Education for her service. In 2010, Cathy co-chaired the Centennial Birthday Gala for the City of Madeira and chaired the Centennial Mural Project raising private funds to complete the 6' x 25' mural within the City Hall. For her efforts, she was given a key to the City. Cathy has held additional board positions for various non-profits including the Parent Association for Gifted Education.