About Us

Focusing exclusively on non-profit organizations, Wise Oak Strategies provides a breadth of support for organizations of all sizes, in all sectors, at all stages of their evolution.

With more than 40 years of combined experience, the WOS team provides the highest quality consulting services aimed at driving impact and maximizing operational and programmatic efficiency and efficacy.

Our Team

Alessandra Niceta Rose

Principal

Experience & Qualifications

Alessandra Niceta Rose has worked supporting a variety of non-profit organizations for more than 20 years.  Throughout that time, she has developed expertise in advancement and fundraising, strategic planning, program development and implementation, and board advancement.

Most recently, Alessandra served as Deputy Executive Director at Hour Children, a non-profit dedicated to supporting incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children.  Prior to assuming this role, Alessandra was Hour Children’s Development Director and a member of the organization’s Board of Directors.  Previously, she served as Senior Director of External Relations for Partnership Schools (the Partnership for Inner City Education), a network of six urban Catholic schools in Harlem and the South Bronx, and was the Director of The Children’s Center at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.

In 2005, Alessandra founded the Maggie Rose Perinatal Bereavement Program, a program of the Bereavement Center of Westchester, and continues to provide fundraising support for the program. She has also been an active supporter of her alma mater, Miss Porter’s School, and currently serves as Co-President of the Alumnae Board and Chair of the 175th Anniversary Celebration.

Alessandra holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.B.A from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Heather H. Trotta

Principal

Experience & Qualifications

Heather Trotta has more than fifteen years of experience in development, communications, and public relations.  She has led teams on a broad range of projects including board development, foundation proposals, special events, annual fundraising initiatives, capital campaigns, and strategic initiatives.

She has worked with dozens of nonprofits in a variety of sectors including education, social services, media and emergency services. Prior to her current role, Heather was the Advancement Strategist at Hour Children. She also served as the Director of Development at Cristo Rey New York High School and Ridgefield Academy.

She has a B.S. in public relations from Syracuse University. Heather lives in Bedford, New York with her husband and two young boys. She is an active member of the Junior League of Northern Westchester, serves on St. Patrick’s Church’s Parish Council, and leads of Westchester FaVoRS (Family Volunteer & Recreation Sundays).

Donna A. Marino

Strategist

Experience & Qualifications

Donna A. Marino has extensive experience working with nonprofits in a variety of leadership capacities. Over the past 20 years, she has successful stewarded major events, conferences and workshops.

Prior to joining Wise Oak Strategies, Donna served as the Outreach Coordinator and the Parenting Education Specialist at Hour Children. In these roles, she coordinated community support for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. From 2004-2012 Donna was twice elected as member of the Bedford Central School District Board of Trustees. In addition to serving as vice president from 2007 to 2010, she served as the inaugural chair of the Audit Committee, chair of the Policy Committee, and as the Board Liaison to the Parent President Committee. Donna has been a leader in planning fundraisers and events for CURE – Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, Hour Children, the Bedford Village Elementary School, and St. Patrick’s Church, Bedford, NY

With a commitment to building community through citizen participation, Donna began her professional career as the Staten Island Regional Representative for Governor Mario M. Cuomo.

Currently, Donna sits on the Advisory Board of the Ghana-America Community Development Initiative and volunteers her time as a mentor for Campus Bound Scholars.

Donna holds a B.A. in political science from Amherst College and a J.D. from New York Law School.  Donna and her husband, John A. Marino, have two grown daughters.

Margaret Cutler Patalino

Operations Manager

Experience & Qualifications

Margaret Cutler Patalino has worked in the finance sector for almost 20 years.

Prior to Wise Oak Strategies, she worked at Lexington Partners, a private equity firm, for twelve years, where she was the Director of Fund Administration.  Prior to that, she worked for JP Morgan.

In 2016, Margaret joined the Board of Directors at Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship.  She also is involved with Hamilton College where her involvement has included Chairperson of the Nominations Committee, Co-chairperson of the Annual Fund for the class of 1990 as well as Reunion Chairperson for the class of 1990 for its 25th Reunion.

Margaret graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College with a B.A. and was inducted in Phi Beta Kappa.  She holds an M.S. in Accounting from New York University.  She passed the CPA exam in 1992.

Mary Claire Ryan

Strategist

Experience & Qualifications

Mary Claire Ryan brings more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership and governance experience to her consulting work, offering a breadth of services to nonprofit organizations and schools.

She has experience in founding, leading, and collaborating to guide organizations from start-up through growth and from setbacks to strategic choices. She knows the challenges of managing nonprofit organizations, and her understanding of the priorities and perspective of philanthropic foundations and individual benefactors is strong.

Mary Claire was the Co-Founder of the Cornelia Connelly Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This pioneering school has established itself as a model for quality education for underserved middle school girls. She serves in an educational advisory role with the NY Association of Independent Schools, ELAS Program; and has held previous positions as President of St. Aloysius School in Harlem; President of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Baltimore, MD; Executive Director of NativityMiguel Network of Schools and Executive Director of the Bronx Charter School for Excellence.

She has extensive experience working with Boards of Trustees, both in her various President/ED roles, and as a Board member. Her past board service includes the Cornelia Connelly Center, New York Nativity, Cristo Rey New York High School, and Girls Prep Lower East Side/Public Prep Network.

Mary Claire holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Misericordia University and a M.A. in Theological Studies from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, now Boston College

Elke Dochtermann

Brand and Creative Director

Experience & Qualifications

With deep experience in brand building and campaign development, Elke Dochtermann has worked at 5 award-winning advertising and communications organizations, including serving as Chief Creative Officer at Fenton, where she led the creative effort across all four offices, building brands and narratives that got noticed.

Visually manifesting the mission of an organization so that an audience intuitively ‘gets it’ is something she did with a team of creatives for clients like the UN Foundation, Children’s Aid, Carton Council, Wallace Global Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation and others.

Prior to working at Fenton in NYC, Elke built and spear-headed design studios at four multinational ad agencies: D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowels and Gotham in New York City; Bensimon Byrne in Toronto and JWT in Chicago. Directly responsible for identifying and motivating a staff of designers, Dochtermann has also managed interactive, print production, motion graphics and studio work. She understands creating brands and building equity at every point of communication, and has done so for a range of clients from nonprofits to international corporations including Macy’s, Pfizer, Bank of America and many brands under the Proctor & Gamble, Nestlé, and Kraft umbrellas like Crest [Blend-A-Med], Butterfinger, Swiffer and Puffs, to financial services like Scotiabank, CapitalOne and Scotiabank.