Willard became the first Director of Alpha New England in 2001 and is now the Chairman of the Board. Originally from Wyoming, after selling his family run auto dealership and experiencing the empty-nest, Willard and his wife Sally took the plunge to move east. The Lord didn’t waste any time in finding a new call for him! Willard and his wife Sally come to the New England area from the big skies and open spaces of northern Wyoming. Sally was born and raised in Cody, which is one of the gateway towns to Yellowstone National Park; Willard was raised in Sheridan, in the eastern part of the state near the Big Horn Mountains. Upon graduating from Dartmouth College and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, Willard served in Vietnam. He spent some time in Washington, D.C., where he met Sally. After they were married, Willard brought his bride back to Sheridan where they lived, worked, worshipped and raised their family of two daughters near the foothills of Willard's beloved Big Horn Mountains. Willard's first career was as Sheridan's Ford, Lincoln-Mercury dealer--a family owned business which he shepherded in partnership with his father, and then on his own, for 30 years before selling the dealership in 1998. With an empty nest and an exciting new freedom to contemplate, Willard and Sally decided to spend the winter of 2000 - 2001 in Marblehead, MA, to avail themselves of the culture of Boston--Sally's affinity for music and the arts having been a defining factor in her life in Sheridan for many years. The decision proved to be a good one. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, the museums, and the many suburban music offerings were just a few of the delights they found, and their relative proximity to New York City allowed them to attend the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera as well. The many and varied handball games available to Willard throughout metro Boston, and the excellent teaching and warm communities provided first by Christ Church, Hamilton, MA, and then Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, Danvers, MA, simply made their experience all the better. The result of Willard and Sally's experiences during this transitional year was that the summer of 2001 was a critical decision making time for them. After much thought and prayer, they decided to sell their home in Wyoming, and relocate to Boston's North Shore.Upon their return to Boston in November of 2001, the de facto Alpha New England Board of Directors approached Willard to become the first Director of Alpha New England. The timing was perfect for both Willard and Alpha. The Lord had clearly moved the Cooks to the Boston area, and into the circle of Alpha New England. Willard finds working with Alpha to be an invigorating endeavor. He appreciates the people, the course, and the blessings of the Lord on a daily basis. He wants to be of service in any way he can to those running Alpha, or those curious about it.
Chairman of the Board
Lisa has served on staff at Alpha New England for over 15 years and is currently the Executive Director. She enjoys building and equipping teams to ignite new outreach initiatives and provides information, training and support to those wishing to launch Alpha . She was first introduced to Alpha when she attended the course as a guest in 2001 at Grace Chapel after having had a long series of negative experiences with “religious people”.
She is passionate about creating safe places for others to explore questions about life and faith and feels especially called to reach those who seem disenfranchised by religion, overlooked or on the fringes of society. She has spoken locally, nationally and globally about her experiences. Lisa and her husband David live in the beautiful state of New Hampshire.
Schedule a time to meet with Lisa via Zoom or phone.
James joined the Alpha New England team in 2023 and serves as an associate director. Coming from a background in academia, James works to empower churches with the information and resources they need to do the work of ministry through Alpha programs.
James has a particular heart for young people who have felt ignored, pushed aside, or hurt by the church. Having taught religious studies and history courses at Gordon College in Wenham, MA and at St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland, James brings a wealth of interdenominational and international experience to Alpha. James and his wife Caitlin live on the beautiful north shore of Boston with their two cats.
Diahne serves as the Alpha New England Catholic Coordinator. She brings 20 years of experience in parish ministry and leadership. Diahne is also a Leadership Coach with Divine Renovation Ministry, which seeks to equip and inspire Catholic churches in moving from maintenance to mission and through that bring people to Jesus. "I was first exposed to Alpha through my parish's connection with Divine Renovation in 2016. After experiencing it and seeing the fruits I am convinced that Alpha is a powerful and essential tool for evangelization and church renewal."
Diahne has been and continues to be passionate about equipping parishes and individuals to encounter Jesus and joyfully share the fruits of that with others – to live out the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ to “go and make disciples…”
Schedule a time to meet with Diahne via Zoom or phone.
Steven currently serves as Director of Family Engagement at MQOA parish in Salem, MA. and has led Alpha there for several years. He is an innovative, faith filled leader, serving us part-time as our Marketing & Communications Director.
Marketing & Communications
Meet Our Amazing Volunteer Coaches
Greta Ernst shares her free time with Alpha New England as a NH regional Coach. She offers local understanding and expertise for churches in NH.
A member of Christ the King Catholic Church in Concord, NH, Greta has been involved in parish ministry for 15 years and has been involved with ALPHA for 6 of those years. She has witnessed lives being changed and her parish being renewed and is excited to help others experience the same. In this world people need a safe space where they can gather to discuss their greatest hopes, fears and challenges. Greta firmly believes that ALPHA creates this space through personal invitations, the small group environment and a reliance on the Holy Spirit.