First Founded in
Serving families, through our three missions of services: support, education and remembrance
For 18 years, Forever Footprints has served families who have suffered pregnancy and infant loss. Upon the death of her son Joseph Thomas in 2004, founder Kristyn Von Rotz saw the need for support, education, and remembrance for grieving families. Medical professionals lacked the education and resources to adequately care for the emotional needs of families who had experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, pregnancy loss, or infant death. What began as a small remembrance walk in 2005 with 100 participants, has since evolved into a multi-faceted nonprofit organization that has served families throughout Southern California and around the world. Thanks to the work of many passionate families, sponsors, employees, volunteers and supporters, the organization provides direct services, educates the medical community to improve quality of care and response, and offers opportunities for remembrance to help families find their own path to healing.
Since 2005, Forever Footprints has:
- Provided support to more than 42,000 people through in-person and virtual remembrance walks
- Provided more than 2,000 educational books to families, and the medical community
- Assisted more than 800 medical professionals in bereavement training
- Provided more than 2,100 memory boxes to hospitals and families
- Provided no-cost support groups to more than 1,000 individuals
Board of Directors
More about Blaine
Blaine Annett is current Board Chair for Forever Footprints. Blaine is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance, and is originally from Katy, Texas. Blaine started a commercial real estate company, A Street Partners, with his brother, and today lives in Ladera Ranch, California with his wife Jennie and three children. Blaine has background in business leadership, sales/marketing, and finance that helps Forever Footprints execute on its mission to serve, educate, and support families with pregnancy and infant loss.
When my wife was pregnant with our third child, Rush, everything was pretty normal for the most part. Just as Jennie was entering her third trimester, something didn’t quite feel right, and she wasn’t feeling a lot of movement from Rush late one night. The very next morning she went straight to the doctor just as they opened at 8 a.m. to get checked out to make sure everything was okay. By 11 a.m. that day, she was having an emergency C-Section and delivering Rush at 28 weeks old. For reasons unknown, Jennie had suffered a fetal maternal hemorrhage that resulted in Rush being born with severe blood loss and having to be resuscitated and given an immediate blood transfusion. While in the NICU, Rush developed a severe brain bleed and passed away in our arms after 2.5 days. Rush was a fighter but the extremely difficult delivery at just 28 weeks was too much to overcome. It was through this experience that we found out about the Forever Footprints organization. We still have our memory box that we have all of Rush’s belongings in, and we look through it as a family from time to time. After Rush, we experienced a miscarriage, and having the education and support provided by Forever Footprints helped us get through that trying time as well. I knew after going through such a deep, dark period and coming out on the other side that I wanted to get involved to help other families, so they wouldn’t feel so alone. Getting the opportunity to serve on the board of Forever Footprints is such a blessing to help others in need while remembering and honoring our son Rush as well.
Maria de Vera-Suárez
More about Maria
Maria de Vera-Suárez is the controller at Venture Retail Group, Inc., a real estate development and management company in Aliso Viejo, and at the Indio Surgery Center, Inc., a pediatric dental surgery office in Indio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from UC Irvine, and a Master of Business Administration from Cal State Long Beach.
Maria has been a member of Junior League of Orange County, Inc. (JLOCC) since 2009. JLOCC is a women’s training organization with a mission to serve community nonprofits that support women and children. Maria held multiple leadership positions for JLOCC, including President.
In addition to JLOCC, Maria was a member and served on the board of the Small World Guild, the Irvine charity guild of CHOC Hospital. She also held several positions on the boards at her children’s schools. Maria lives in Tustin Ranch with her husband Carlos and their two children, William and Isabel. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exercising, reading, and traveling.
More about Leila
Leila Gagnon is an Email Marketing Manager at the Automobile Club of Southern California who was asked to join the Forever Footprints Board of Directors in 2018. Unbeknownst to the Board at the time, Leila had witnessed several friends experience pregnancy and infant loss, and she had been seeking an opportunity to help them honor their loved ones. Leila achieved her Master of Arts in Print & Multimedia Journalism from Boston’s Emerson College, and has since worked in print, email, and web for more than 12 years. As part of her contribution to Forever Footprints, she will assist with marketing and multimedia efforts. Leila is honored to be a part of Forever Footprints, and hopes that her skills, compassion, and empathy contribute to the organization’s ongoing successful growth and outreach. Leila resides in Orange County with her husband and their daughter.
Cecilia Aguayo Guest
More about Cecilia
Cecilia Aguayo Guest is a solo practitioner at the Law Offices of Cecilia R. Aguayo in Santa Ana, California. She assists clients with family law, probate and estate planning matters including issues related to divorce, custody, adoption, support, domestic violence, paternity, legal separation, guardianship, conservatorship, name change, power of attorney, wills and trusts. Prior to attending law school, Cecilia was an elementary school teacher for the Fontana Unified School District. Cecilia currently serves as a committee member of the Parent Teacher Association for Holy Family Catholic School in Orange, California. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Chapman University School of Law in 2002, her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the University of Redlands 1998 and her Bachelor’s Degree from Santa Clara University in 1996. Cecilia lives in Anaheim Hills, California with her husband John and son.
More about Shanne
Shanne Ho is the President/Chief Marketing Officer of ProActive Professional Management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from UC Irvine and earned multiple professional designations, including the prestigious Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) certification.
Shanne has been in the community association management industry for almost 30 years. She is an active member of the Orange County Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and served two terms as President of its Board of Directors. She continues to serve on the Education Committee, and as Co-Chair for the Manager Support Committee.
A strong advocate for industry education, Shanne is a faculty member for the Community Leadership Training Program for CAI and California Association of Community Managers and is a frequent guest speaker for community association-related topics.
Shanne resides in Rancho Santa Margarita with her daughter. She is bilingual in English and Chinese Cantonese and enjoys competitive Irish dancing.
More about Ciara
Ciara Johnson is a graduate from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Management, and a minor in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Speech. Shortly after graduation, Ciara began working for McFarlane Promotions, Inc., a San Diego-based event coordinating and PR firm. By her mid-twenties, she was named Vice President of McFarlane Promotions, Inc. Ciara is now working as a self-employed event planner, coordinating events in both San Diego and Orange County with 9 years of experience.
Board Member Emeritus
More about Elizabeth
Elizabeth Pagliarini currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for Summit Healthcare REIT, Inc., a public non-traded REIT that invests in seniors housing real estate across the United States.
Ms. Pagliarini is a member of the Board of Directors of First Foundation Inc. (NASDAQ: FFWM), and serves on their audit, compensation, and nominating and governance committees. She also sits on the Mission Viejo, California City Council Investment Advisory Commission as well as the advisory board of the CFO Executive Summit.
Ms. Pagliarini successfully broke the “glass ceiling” in her mid-twenties as chief executive officer and chairwoman of the board of an investment brokerage subsidiary of a public company in Beverly Hills, California. She also co-founded a boutique investment bank and registered broker-dealer.
Ms. Pagliarini received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Valparaiso University where she was honored with their highest academic award, the Presidential Scholarship. She is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), an advanced designation awarded by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners that focuses on fraud prevention, detection and deterrence.
In 2020, Ms. Pagliarini won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Orange County Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Awards after receiving nominations for CFO of the Year in both 2019 and 2020. She has also been named one of “20 Women to Watch” by OC Metro magazine and nominated for The Orange County Business Journal’s Women in Business Award. Additionally, she has been honored by Step Up Women’s Network as the recipient of their prestigious Commitment to Philanthropy Volunteer Award and by Forever Footprints as the winner of their Compassion Award.
Elizabeth and her husband, Robert, lost their son, Gavin Edward, when she was 8 months pregnant on December 31, 2004. She was so moved and inspired by the first OC Walk to Remember they attended, she knew she had to be involved in some way to help the thousands of parents that suffer a loss each year — especially following her negative experience in the hospital after her stillbirth. She is extremely proud to be a part of this amazing organization and is thrilled with its continued growth and extensive reach.
More about Amber
More about Aditya
Aditya Swaminathan is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelors in Business Administration. He is a Managing Director at Ernst & Young (EY) within the Financial Services sector. He was born in India and grew up in Dubai before moving to the states for higher education. He is a sports enthusiast and even gave the professional tennis tour a run after college before settling into consulting. Aditya lives in Irvine with his wife, Cynthia, their son, Ari, and 15lb Yorkie, Chloe.
Kristyn von Rotz
More about Kristyn
Mark F. von Rotz, CPA
CPA and Advisory Committee Member
More about Mark
Mark F. von Rotz, CPA, is a tax and advisory services partner at White Nelson Diehl Evans (WNDE) in Irvine, California. He is an income tax generalist, specializing in tax planning and compliance, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Mark heads the recruiting effort for the tax department at WNDE and speaks to college students about the profession, the firm and how to succeed in the industry. He earned a B.S. in Accounting from California State University, Fullerton in 1997 and earned his CPA designation in 2001. He lives in Orange with his wife and three children.
I am the proud dad to Joseph Thomas von Rotz, who was born and died on July 8, 2004. Volunteering for the organization since its founding has been an honor. After Joseph died it was hard to express my feelings, but being able to put time and effort to help the organization succeed has been a positive experience for me. Joseph was alive for only a short time, but he has impacted our family and so many other people in a positive way. I’m constantly amazed at the strength that families have after the loss of a baby. A quote that is very special to my wife and is representative of our love for Joseph is: “Sometimes love is for a moment. Sometimes love is for a lifetime. Sometimes a moment is a lifetime”.
Advisory Committee Member
More about Robert
Robert Pagliarini is the president of Pacifica Wealth Advisors, a boutique wealth management firm that focuses exclusively on serving affluent individuals and sudden wealth recipients. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner who also has a master’s degree in financial services and another master’s degree in clinical psychology. Robert is an avid reader and writer. In addition to authoring three bestselling books, he also writes a weekly column for CBS News, which is syndicated to newspapers across the country. Robert is frequently called upon by the media for his financial expertise. He has been featured as a financial expert on Dr. Phil, 20/20, Good Morning America, Fox Business, ABC News, Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers, and in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Money Magazine, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, CNN, and has appeared on hundreds of radio programs. When not working, Robert enjoys going to Disneyland with his wife and young daughter, training for triathlons, and running a non-profit he co-founded called the Band of Brothers Foundation that helps impoverished kids around the world.