Mariel Hufnagel

Guided by an unwavering dedication to honor the innate worth and dignity of all human beings, and devoted to social, racial, economic and environmental justice, Mariel has long been a champion for the marginalized and disenfranchised. With more than a decade in the nonprofit sector, she is an award-winning, strategic, nonprofit executive and consultant nationally recognized as a passionate advocate, motivational speaker and expert trainer. Currently the Executive Director of CASA of Union County, Mariel previously led The Ammon Foundation as its Executive Director, and previously worked at both the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-New Jersey (NCADD-NJ) and Young People in Recovery. She sits on numerous stakeholder, advisory and trustee boards, including the New Jersey Coalition for Addiction Recovery Support (NJ-CARS) Advisory Board, Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children & Family Services (née Colored Orphan’s Asylum) Board of Directors, Police Treatment and Community Collaborative (PTACC) National Leadership Council, the Ocean County College Foundation Board of Trustees and the Union County Local Advisory Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (LACADA). 

Mariel graduated Summa Cum Laude with Distinction from Kean University with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, holds two graduate certificates in Executive Leadership from Cornell University, is among only 15,000 executives nationwide to earn a Certified Nonprofit Specialist (CNP) distinction, and is a New Jersey Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS). She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Adler University.

Mariel has a track record of innovative leadership driving the advancement of strategic goals via board growth, maximizing operational excellence, and resource development; and, substantive experience in brand management, coalition-building, program development, implementation, management and evaluation, and volunteer mobilization. Mariel battled with addiction, bipolar and bulimia throughout her teenage years – leaving her bankrupt emotionally, physically and spiritually. Mariel entered abstinence-based recovery in 2007 at the age of 21. Once homeless, formerly incarcerated, and a sex trafficking survivor; Mariel embodies transformation and uses her experience to share hope, smash stigma and help create holistic systems of care.

Today, during her spare time, she can be found traveling, practicing yoga, running, hiking, drinking black coffee and spending time with her husband, Anthony, foster son Kenny, and rescue pups, Bentley & Eleanor.

NRI Trainer - Mariel Hufnagel