We are Achieva Family Trust

People are our passion, and our life’s work is helping individuals with disabilities and their families lead better lives through special needs trusts. We have extensive knowledge and experience in social services, trust administration and government benefits.

Get in touch

Did you know?

Our professional Trust Administrators average 20 years of experience with social service and government benefits.


Amy Dolan Strano

Amy Dolan Strano is a Senior Vice President of Achieva and the President of the Achieva Family Trust. She was one of the original members of the planning committee which guided Achieva in the creation of Achieva Family Trust in 1998. She was also a long standing member of the Achieva Family Trust Board of Trustees, including serving as the Board's Chairperson.

Prior to joining Achieva Family Trust, Ms. Dolan Strano spent more than 10 years in the UPMC Corporate Legal Department, representing Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic and Magee-Women’s Hospital as Associate Counsel. She also represented the Department of Human Services for Allegheny County as Assistant County Solicitor, a job she held before working at UPMC.

Ms. Dolan Strano is a graduate of Bethany College and Duquesne University School of Law. She taught Mental Health Law at The University of Pittsburgh School of Law from 2005 through 2008. Amy is a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association's Board of Governors. She is active in the Elder Law Committee and Committee on Law and Disability. She served as Chair of the Health Law Section from 2011-2012 and as Chair of the Elder Law Committee from 2016 - 2018. Amy is a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) as well as the Pennsylvania Chapter (PAELA). She also serves on the Vincentian Collaborative System Board and is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Pittsburgh.                                                                                                                               


Jacquelyn E. Connell

Jacquelyn E. Connell, Esq. is the Director of Legal & Trust Administration Services for Achieva Family Trust. In her current role, she works with attorneys, families, and individuals with disabilities on reviewing and establishing special needs trusts. Prior to working at Achieva Family Trust, she focused her practice on estate planning and estate administration. She has extensive experience in drafting and reviewing Wills and Powers of Attorney, as well as advising clients on estate planning techniques with regard to trusts, real estate, and long term care. Jacquelyn is a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association and its Law and Disability section. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude and her Juris Doctor from Duquesne University                                                                                                                                                                                  

Kurt R. Emmerling

Kurt R. Emmerling is the Director of Strategic Operations for the Achieva Family Trust. Kurt has worked more than 25 years in the human services field and has many years of experience in geriatrics, behavioral health, and education. He is also a licensed and nationally board-certified mental health counselor.

Kurt was responsible for the creation of several best practice methods within the State of Pennsylvania, including advanced practices within Older Adult Protective Services and the Ombudsman Program. He headed the only CMS ongoing hospital diversion project in the nation and lead a team that gained the highest three-year accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the gold standard of accreditation in health care. Kurt also teaches for several local universities and mentors psychology professionals who are seeking licensure and accreditation.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Mary Peterson

Mary Peterson is the Trust Manager at Achieva Family Trust. Mary has served on the Advocacy Action Team at Achieva for the past year.
Prior to joining Achieva Family Trust, Mary served as the Senior Program Manager in the Supports Coordination Department at Familylinks where she was employed for 19 years. Her initial role at Familylinks was in the Supports Coordinator position prior to being promoted to Program Manager and Senior Manager. Mary was an agency trainer in Risking Connection which is a trauma-informed care model of service.

Mary has worked with individuals diagnosed with both intellectual disabilities and mental health, for the majority of her career. Her previous employment history includes Pressley Ridge Schools where she worked as a Therapeutic Support Staff in family and residential treatment homes as well as Allegheny Intensive Treatment Program (AITP) where she worked with juvenile offenders for several years.

Mary is a graduate of Penn State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

Call (412) 995-5000 x 565 or email us at familytrust@achieva.info.




Jeff Ash Trust Administrator 2 x 586
Valerie Benik Trust Assistant x 442 
Jessica Briggs  Trust Administration Supervisor x 498 
Jennifer Britton Benefits Counseling Specialist jbritton@achieva.info
Devorah Brown Trust Assistant x 622 
Jacquelyn E. Connell, Esq. Director of Legal & Trust Administration Services x 452 
Constance Darnley Special Projects Assistant  x 651 
Diane Edgar Trust Administrator 1  x 414 
Kurt Emmerling Director of Strategic Operations  x 479 
Chrissy Grimes Trust Administrator 1  x 577 
Romaine Knox-Chapman  Trust Administrator 1  x 595 
Nicole Martin Regional Trust Liaison - Philadelphia (215) 678-0609
Nancy McMillan Benefits Counseling Specialist x 437
Mary Peterson Trust Manager  x 478 
Katherine Reim Regional Trust Liaison - Erie (814) 504-5556
Natalie Rosborough Legal Assistant x 441
Maria Smith Director of Education & Outreach x 434 
Daniel Snyder Trust Administrator 1  x 594 
Jennifer Stoyer Residual Account Coordinator x 493 
Amy Dolan Strano President x 405 
April Trostle Regional Trust Liaison - Capital Region (717) 542-2255
Patty Yerina Education & Outreach Coordinator x 589 
Laurie Zola Benefits Counseling Coordinator  x 633