Don Goldman, Executive Director & CEO
Don has a background in marketing, strategic planning, operations, and technology. He spent much of his career as an executive with Sprint and Birch Telecom. His most recent position in the for-profit sector was Chief Operating Officer at Birch Telecom. In the past few years Don decided to refocus his professional energy into the not-for-profit sector. Most recently, Don was the Director of Adult Jewish Learning at the Jewish Community Center. Don holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Cindy Ross, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer Cindy joined JFS in March 2012 in the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer. Her unique blend of strategic business skills, innovation, and solid CPA foundation supports the Executive Director and the Board of Directors in achieving JFS’s strategic goals. Cindy is responsible for oversight and leadership of all financial matters, day-to-day business operations and new agency opportunities. She has experience in innovation and business management leadership from Hallmark Cards and American Century Investments.
Brenda Althouse, Director of Marketing
Brenda joined JFS in March, 2014. She brings a background of strategic and consumer marketing, having held marketing positions at Hallmark Cards, AT&T and in healthcare consulting. Prior to moving to Kansas City she served as the Development Director for a Chicago social service agency while completing her MBA in marketing and nonprofit administration. Brenda works with program staff to develop marketing and communication strategies, as well as the management team to implement overall agency strategies.
Dawn Staton, Director of Older Adult initiatives
Dawn has been with JFS since June 2007. She directs the JET Transportation Program and Help @ Home, JFS’ “aging in place” program for the 65-plus generation. Dawn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and human services from Marymount University and has more than 25 years of experience in the non-profit field. She has worked and volunteered within the Kansas City Jewish community for the past 17 years.
Jo Hickey, Director of Food Pantry
Jo has been with Jewish Family Services since October 2013. She has been involved in the Kansas City area non-profit community for over 7 years, most recently as Director of Operations at the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. Jo has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Northwest Missouri State University. She looks forward to the relationships she will develop to help enhance the Food Pantry Program.
Rachel Krantz, Development Director
Rachel has a background in outside sales, most recently in pharmaceuticals, and previously served as President of the Memphis Jewish Community Center. She combined her professional and volunteer paths when she left the for-profit world to serve as Annual Fund Director at Memphis University School. She earned a BA in Personnel Administration from the University of Kansas. Rachel joined JFS in August, 2010.
Richard Odiam, LCSW, LSCSW, Director of Clinical Services
Richard began his clinical practice in 1993 and has worked with a variety of clients in different settings. Long inspired by Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, Nelson Mandela, and others who find meaning, purpose, and vitality in the midst of pain and suffering, Richard recently began incorporating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) into his counseling work. The aim of ACT is to help create a rich, full, and meaningful life while accepting the pain that life inevitably brings. “I find ACT compelling as it comes from a point-of-view consistent with those who inspire me. It has also been personally liberating in my own journey of letting go of my struggle with ruminative thoughts and painful feelings and more fully engaging in what’s important to me. I regard my client as a fellow traveler: someone who, like me, gets caught up in painful thoughts and feelings and ends up struggling with life.”
Richard joined JFS in 2009 as Director of Clinical Services and is delighted for the opportunity to serve in such a dynamic and committed organization. In addition to outpatient psychotherapy, Richard oversees the agency’s counseling and case management services. Richard is a licensed clinical social worker, earning his master’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas. Along with his work at JFS, Richard teaches graduate students in the UMKC School of Social Work and serves on the board of NAMI-KC. He can often be seen on his bicycle, uphill or down, enjoying the ride.
Kim Romary, Mental Health Coalition Coordinator
Kim joined the JFS staff in August 2014 and manages the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition’s work as it aims to reduce the stigma of mental illness in our community. Her experience lies in nonprofit marketing, having spent 18 years with United Way of Greater Kansas City, including six years as Vice President of Marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Kansas State University.
Rabbi Jonathan Rudnick, Jewish Community Chaplain
Rabbi Rudnick joined the JFS staff in September 2006. He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1988 from Claremont McKenna College, a diploma of International and Comparative Law of Human Rights from University of Strassbourg, a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, a master of arts degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University, and a fellowship in education and policy at Mandel School for Educational Leadership. In addition, Rabbi Rudnick has a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Studies from the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where he was ordained as a rabbi in December 2004.
Taly Friedman, Director of Volunteer Engagement
Taly earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health at the School of Education at the University of Kansas. Taly has a background in non-profit work in the Kansas City area, including working as a Nutrition Educator and coordinating the nutrition education program at Harvesters-The Community Food Network and being the teen leadership director at BBYO, Inc. Taly has worked with volunteers both professionally and as a volunteer herself and enjoys connecting community members to meaningful volunteer opportunities.
Sarah Albin, Older Adult Care Manager
Sarah Albin joined the older adult care team in 2013 and has worked with older adults in varied settings since 2007. Most recently, she worked for the Area Agency on Aging on the Missouri side, coordinating the volunteer ombudsman program, providing community outreach on aging issues, and doing case management with older adults. Sarah earned her M.S. in social gerontology from the University of Central Missouri in 2011 and previously graduated from Truman State University with a B.A. in communications.
Mary Ann Altenbernd, Licensed Therapist
Mary Ann considers it a privilege to be invited into client’s lives to collaborate with them towards the changes they desire. She employs research based modalities such as emotion focused, family systems and cognitive behavioral therapies. She enjoys working with individuals and couples. When someone is able to find healing and growth she feels a sense of accomplishment and joy. Mary Ann has bachelors’ degrees in Education and Nursing and holds masters’ degrees in Education and Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas. Professional certifications: Missouri – Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC /Kansas – Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC.
Wendy Anderson, Child and Family Therapist, MSW, LMSW
Wendy is a Licensed Master Social worker. She has helped clients in a variety of settings, including residential treatment programs, community outreach, schools and outpatient clinics. Her focus has primarily been with children and families, with an emphasis on family systems, cognitive behavioral and play therapy approaches. In all of these she strives to help people learn how to help themselves. Wendy earned her bachelor’s degree in Social work at the University of Kansas, and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver.
Sondra Atherly, Operations Manager, Older Adult Initiatives
Sondra earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies at San Francisco State University. After working in telecommunications management for 25 years and moving to Kansas City, she changed directions and moved into the non-profit sector. Sondra joined JFS in 2004 as a volunteer. When JFS began developing older adult programs she took responsibility for coordinating the day to day activities of Help@ Home and JET Express. She works toward helping older adults remain independent and active.
Steven Agron, JET Express+ Driver
Greg Baber, Technology Coordinator
Mary Beth Blackwell, LCSW, LSCSW, Eating Disorder Resource Center Director /Therapist
Mary Beth facilitates an adolescent girls program (BLING) for the prevention of eating disorders within the schools and the greater KC community. She also directs the eating disorder resource center, which provides assessments, referrals, educational support and treatment for individuals who have eating disorders and their loved ones. As a therapist, she works with individuals with eating disorders and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Mary Beth is also a member of the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare Advisory Board. LSCSW Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker and LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Cari Boasberg, Manager, Jewish Employment Services
Cari is a Career Coach and Administrative Coordinator for Jewish Employment Services. Cari, a certified teacher and employment specialist, has an extensive background in providing support and guidance with all aspects of a successful job search. Cari has worked in the non-profit sector for most of her career and is leading a younger job seeker initiative with KU Hillel, partnering with them in a Professional Development series. Cari holds a BS in Journalism from the University of Kansas.
Amy Breashears, Older Adult Advocate
Amy mainly serves as an advocate/case manager for the elderly. She has an emphasis in aging studies and has been a social worker since 1994. She also provides some case management for the emergency assistance program at JFS. Professional Certification as a Masters Level Social Worker.
Patricia “Tee” Carter, Older Adult Programs/ AmeriCorps VISTA
Tee is currently a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas finishing her foundational year of a Master’s in Social Work program. After more than fifteen years working in the telecom industry, she decided it was time for a change. Needing to work with people, she found herself enrolled in school with a major in addiction counseling; obtaining her BS in Christian Counseling she immediately beginning work on the MSW. Tee has one daughter and one grandson who live in Colorado. She enjoys gardening and hopes to bring in the fruits of her labor this summer… she hears that zucchini grows like crazy.
Sarah Chao, Russian-Speaking Care Manager
Sarah has a BA in Russian Language from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and is currently pursuing an MA in Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Kansas. She brings with her a wealth of experience having lived, worked and taught in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. Sarah will be working out of the Missouri office; although, she will certainly be out in the community visiting with our Russian-speaking clients.
Vicki Cohen, Licensed Therapist
Vicki is a licensed clinical social worker who has been practicing for more than 20 years. She has training and experience working with individuals, couples and families who are struggling with a wide range of challenges including relationship and parenting issues; divorce; infertility and adoption; grief and loss; and eating disorders. She offers focused short-term, long-term and crisis-oriented psychotherapy using a Family Systems treatment model, and co-facilitates JFS’ grief and loss support group program.
Laura Gilman, Care Management Team Manager
Laura has a bachelor’s degree from Goucher College, a master’s degree in clinical social work from University of Maryland and a master’s degree in Jewish Communal Service from Towson University. She has worked in the field of aging since 2005, specializing in dementia care and meaning making in the later stages of life. Laura manages the older adult Care Management program and is currently working on increasing the depth and breadth of our evidence-based services.
Jody Gittleman, Chaplaincy Program Assistant
With experience in communications, administration, health care and graphic design, Jody will be using her energy and excitement to help Rabbi Jonathon Rudnick administer the Chaplaincy program. She has a B.S. in Advertising from the University of Texas. She will be working from the Overland Park office. She enjoys reconnecting with the Jewish community since moving back to Kansas City, cooking, entertaining, and various creative projects.
Carol Ducak, JET Express+ Driver
Carol grew up in Washington, DC; attended college in Syracuse, NY where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree; spent a year in Charleston, WV as a VISTA volunteer; moved to Chicago, where she met her husband Ed (now deceased); moved to Dallas, TX and later Austin, TX; and finally moved to Kansas City in 1993. She loves her job at JFS because she meets so many interesting people.
Roger Goldblatt, Licensed Therapist, LMSW, LCSW
Roger has been practicing Social Work since 1989 when he earned his MSW at KU. Roger works with adults of all ages and couples. He has a particular interest in clients challenged by grief and loss issues, suicidal ideation, depression, severe and persistent mental illnesses, and addictions. Roger’s theory base is eclectic, though he is fundamentally grounded in Carl Rogers’ person centered theory. In this model the client is the expert on their life and challenges. In addition, Roger has had 40 hours of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) training and offers this as part of his treatment protocols, especially for trauma work. Roger’s outside interests include film, written literature, the visual arts, photography, and his big clumsy white dog, Alaska.
Nicky Hall, Development & Chaplaincy Program Assistant
Allie Hartman-Frost, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator/ VISTA
Allie started in July 2014 as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of Kansas. Allie plans to work toward her Master’s in Social Work after her time at JFS.
Jennifer Hawkins, Therapist
Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University and master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Friends University. She has over 15 professional years experience working with children and adults. Her professional background includes a history with KCMC Head Start program as the mental health/disabilities manager, Truman Behavioral Health as a qualified mental health professional, Catholic Charities of KC-St. Joseph as the educational coordinator and therapist. Jennifer offers confidential and compassionate care to individuals, couples and families from a family systems and attachment style perspective. Professional Certifications: Licensed Professional Counselor, National Board of Certified Counselors, Stephen Ministry, Prepare/Enrich Facilitator (marriage).
Terri Herman, Marketing and Communications/ VISTA
Terri joined JFS as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Industrial design and was an Interior Project Designer with Wynn Resorts for many years while she lived in Las Vegas; but, often engaged herself in graphics and social media through her numerous volunteer positions.
Susan D. Hurst, Adolescent Specialist/C.H.A.I. and Director of Family Life Education
Susie is the Adolescent Specialist for C.H.A.I. (Channeling Healthy Adolescent Interaction). She offers preventive education workshops and individual consultations for adolescents, parents, educators and youth workers. In addition, she serves as the Director of Family Life Education, offering a variety of education and support programs across all age groups. Susie holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in Psychology from the University of Missouri Kansas City. She also attended the One Year Program of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Susie earned the local Jewish Teacher of the Year award and the national Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
Steve Katz, JET Express+ Driver
Kelly G. Loeb, Older Adult Care Manager
Kelly joined the staff of JFS in August 2014. With a master’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Missouri, Kelly loves both sides of the state line; but, will always call Los Angeles home. Prior to JFS, Kelly traveled the 105 counties of Kansas as an educator for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, helping Medicare beneficiaries understand and use their benefits. She’s worked as an outreach coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association – Heart of America Chapter, and fervently hopes for the day when Alzheimer’s disease is just a memory. During a favorite summer adventure in Antigua, Guatemala, she used her Spanish fluency to interview older adults about quality of life and to reminisce.
Jennifer Lydon, Missouri Office Manager
Cindy Myler, Kansas Office Manager
Cindy joined the JFS team in November 2011. She has owned and managed several businesses for over 20 years. Cindy manages the day to day operation of the Kansas office.
Brooke Nelson, Food & Shelter Team Manager
Brooke joined JFS in February 2009 as the case manager for the community assistance program. In 2006, Brooke graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas with a clinical concentration in children and families. Her undergraduate degree is in philosophy and religion. Previously, Brooke has worked in non-profit organizations and for the state of Missouri doing foster care case management.
Julie Nielsen, Food and Shelter Case Manager
Julie started at JFS as an intern while getting her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Avila University. She was hired after her internship in 2014 as a Food and Shelter Case Manager. She is currently working toward her Master’s degree at the University of Kansas and will Specialize in Women and children with Trauma and Abuse.
Diane Schmidt, Career Coach
Diane joined the Jewish Employment Service team with experience as a Career Coach/ Interim Director at Career Management Associates d.b.a. Career Partners International and as a counselor. She has facilitated career workshops and provided individual and group career coaching.
Dana Schwartz, Career Coach
Dana is a Career Coach for Jewish Employment Services. She designs and facilitates workshops and provides individualized coaching for JES clients offering a comprehensive and customized plan to job seeking resulting in the potential for a more efficient and successful outcome for her clients. Dana brings many skills to her position including employee and client relations, performance consulting, curriculum design, facilitation, research and analysis, along with training & development capabilities. Dana has a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Loyola University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Concentration in Business from Indiana University.
Mary Scimeca, Therapist
Seroj Terian, Lead Community Handyman
Seroj joined JFS in January 2009 as the Community Handyman for Help@Home; providing minor home repairs and computer troubleshooting. He holds bachelor degrees in math and English from the University of Kansas and is experienced in many facets of home construction and repair. Previously, he worked as a technical writer and process analyst for Sprint before leaving the company to start his own remodeling and handyman business.
Sandy Terwilliger, Food Pantry Coordinator
Steve Wendt, Food Pantry
Dale Wilcox, Handyman