Executive Director & Staff

The President's Council's Executive Director and staff carry out the mission of the President's Council to educate, empower, and engage all Americans across the lifespan to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition.

Shellie Y. Pfohl, MS

Executive Director

Shellie Pfohl was appointed by President Barack Obama in February 2010 to serve as Executive Director of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. She manages the activities and operations of the Council and leads the Council's efforts related to First Lady Michelle Obama's national Let's Move! initiative to solve childhood obesity within a generation. Shellie earned her BA in Community Health Education from the University of Northern Iowa and a MS in Exercise Physiology/Fitness Leadership from Northern Illinois University. She also has a certification in Non-Profit Management from Duke University and is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina Class XIII.
Full Bio

Lauren Darensbourg, MPH

Strategic Partnerships for Minority & Underserved Populations
Lauren.Darensbourg@hhs.gov

Lauren joined the President's Council in April 2010 to cultivate and manage strategic, health-lucrative partnerships with organizations that target racial and ethnic minorities as well as individuals with disabilities. In her role as Technical Information Specialist, Lauren leads all minority health-related activities and initiatives including coordination of an expert panel to revitalize a national physical activity and nutrition-based mentoring program for children and youth with disabilities; participating in speaking engagements; and often times leading physical activity segments on the Council's behalf. Lauren joined the US Department of Health and Human Services in May 2008 as an Oakridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow at the Office of Minority Health, where she contributed to the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity and the A Healthy Baby Begins With You initiative. Lauren earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry as well as a Masters degree in Public Health from Florida A & M University. She is committed to leading a healthy lifestyle and does so by playing recreational sports, working out regularly and eating lots of fruits and veggies.

Yesenia Diaz, MS

Public Health Advisor
Yesenia.Diaz@hhs.gov

Yesenia joined PCFSN in October 2013 as a Public Health Advisor. She performs a wide range of operational functions including but not limited to advising executive leadership on budget analysis and execution, contract management, controlled correspondence, and Federal Advisory Committee Act compliance. In addition, Yesenia plays a key role in partnership development efforts to reach underserved populations. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the City University of New York/Lehman College and holds a Master of Science degree in Organizational Counseling from the Johns Hopkins University. To maintain an active and well-balanced lifestyle, Yesenia enjoys dance fitness, reading, running, and writing; however, her most consistent and treasured pastime is eating a nutritious dinner with her husband and children.

Shannon Feaster, MS

Deputy Executive Director & Director of Public Affairs
Shannon.Feaster@hhs.gov

Shannon Feaster joined the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) in May 2010 as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs. In this role, she oversees the Council's expanding health promotion portfolio and develops strategic partnerships with key media, community and governmental organizations. In July 2013, Shannon was also named Deputy Executive Director of the Council. Prior to joining PCFSN, she was the Public Affairs Chief for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has also served as a guest booker and field producer in the DC bureau at CNN. Shannon earned her BA in Mass Communications from Howard University and MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. To stay physically fit, Shannon competes in racquetball leagues and tournaments year-round.

Joey King

Deputy Director of Communications/Webmaster
Russell.King@hhs.gov

Joey King joined the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in November 1991. As the Deputy Director of Communications, he crafts messages and talking points, coordinates media efforts for Council events, initiatives and programs, and manages logistics for speaking engagements for Council members and the Executive Director. He also serves as Webmaster for the Council's website: www.fitness.gov. He received his BA in Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. As a proud car-free citizen, he enjoys walking, biking, and in-line skating not only as alternative methods of transportation, but also as fun forms of recreation and physical activity.

Meredith Aronson, MPS

Partnerships & Communications
Meredith.Aronson@hhs.gov

Meredith Aronson joined the President's Council in April 2012 as an Oakridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow. In her position, she supports both the partnerships and communications sides of the Council. Meredith supports the implementation and communication surrounding the Presidential Youth Fitness Program and Let's Move! Active Schools. Additionally, she acts as the program manager for the President's Challenge program. In December 2012, she earned a Master's degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University. Meredith started her undergraduate collegiate career at Colby College in Maine, where she played two years of varsity basketball. After transferring to the University of Virginia in 2009, she graduated in 2011 with BA in economics. She leads a healthy lifestyle, staying active through sports and working out.

Zachary Parolin

Partnerships & Communications
Zach.Parolin@hhs.gov

Zach Parolin joined the President's Council in January 2013 and became an Oakridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow soon after. Zach works primarily with the Council’s communications strategy and external partnerships, supporting the outreach efforts of Let’s Move! Active Schools, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans report, the Joining Forces Fitness Initiative and several other programs. He also leads the Council’s research on the social benefits of sports participation. Zach graduated from the University of Missouri with a Journalism degree in 2012 and is now in the process of acquiring his Master of Public Policy from The George Washington University. Zach stays healthy by running and working out regularly, eating quality foods and competing in recreational sports.  

JoHannah K. Torkelson, JD, MPH

Special Programming & Communications
Hannah.Torkelson@hhs.gov

Hannah joined the President’s Council in January 2014 as an Oakridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow. In her position, Hannah works to promote older adult fitness through the development of new programming, implementing new activities, and creating partnerships with leading organizations across the nation. Her role also includes managing the President’s Council Science Board comprised of 16 leading experts in health-related fields that serve to provide evidence-based recommendations and guidance on the Council’s programs. Hannah completed a Masters of Public Health in Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Hannah stays physically fit by running half marathons, eating healthy, and playing other recreational sports, including skiing and golf.

Chris Watts, MBA

Advisor
Chris.Watts@hhs.gov

Chris Watts joined the President's Council in July 2010 as an Oakridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow to manage strategic partnerships and special projects. Chris has led the President's Council's partnership strategy and development as well as the implementation of the Council's Joining Forces Fitness Initiative to serve America's military families. Chris earned an MBA from George Washington University, with a focus in strategy, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility in the sports industry. Proudly from Pittsburgh, Chris graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a four-year starter and Captain of the Men's Varsity Soccer team. He continues to stay active by working-out, running, and playing sports.