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.
Celeste Aronoff, Director of Administration and Communications
Celeste has been with JFS since 2008, and has over 25 years experience in administrative management, with an emphasis on organizational management, human resources and operations. Prior to working at JFS, she was the office manager for AMLI Residential in Chicago, overseeing administration in their 100-person corporate headquarters. Celeste holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Boston University, and believes in the power of communicating through telling stories. She has taught and studied meditation for over 28 years, and returned to Kansas City in 2007.
Dawn Herbet, 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 2010 as Interim Development Director, and became Development Director in 2011.
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 traveller: 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.
Gayl Reinsch, Director of Jewish Employment Services
Gayl Reinsch, Director of Jewish Employment Services, coordinates the program and connects job seekers and employers. She brings a non-profit background and employer relationships to her position. Previously, Gayl connected schools and the workplace as Client Services Manager at YouthFriends. She also created the New Business Development division at United Way of Greater Kansas City, establishing new funding sources for agencies. Gayl has a bachelor’s degree in Communications.
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 Yeyni, 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.
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.
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.
Cathy Banks, Finance Assistant
Cathy has been with JFS since 1998. Her financial background consists of extensive experience in researching and reconciling of corporate bank accounts and developing and writing procedure manuals. She assists the Finance Director with data entry support such as entering accounts payables, invoicing, writing assistance checks and updating program information for financial reporting and agency grants.
Mary Beth Blackwell, LCSW, LSCSW, Eating Disorder Resource Center Director /Therapist
Mary Beth is in charge of facilitating an adolescent girls program (B.L.I.N.G.) 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, Career Coach and Administrative Coordinator
Cari is a Career Coach and Administrative Coordinator for Jewish Employment Services. Cari is also a certified teacher and employment specialist. She 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 Certifications: Masters Level Social Worker
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.
Anna Feldman, Food and Shelter, and Older Adult Advocate
Anna is an advocate/case manager for older adults, and predominantly helps the elderly Russian-speaking community. She works with Jewish Senior Network clients and emergency assistance program clients, providing case management and translation services. She also helps with resettlement and acculturation to individuals from the former USSR. Anna has a BA from the University of Kansas in clinical psychology.
Laura Gilman, Care Management Program Coordinator
Laura has a BA from Goucher College, a master’s in clinical social work from University of Maryland and a master’s 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 coordinates JFS’ older adult Care Management program and is currently working on increasing the depth and breadth of our evidence-based services.
Roger Goldblatt, Licensed Therapist
Roger has been practicing Social Work since 1989 when he graduated from KU and earned his MSW and licensure (LMSW) in the State of Kansas. He is a generalist clinical practitioner with a particular interest in clients challenged by grief and loss issues, suicidal ideation, depression, severe and persistent mental illnesses, and addictions. Roger is currently under supervision for his clinical licensure. He works with individuals of all ages and couples. Though Roger’s theory base is eclectic, he is fundamentally grounded in Carl Rogers’ person centered theory, one that cultivates a therapeutic atmosphere of unconditional positive regard, congruence, genuineness, and empathy. This “non-medical model” is one in which the individual is the expert on their life, and given the optimal therapeutic conditions, the individual will unleash and actualize their potential. Transcending theory and technique, clients who work with Roger will identify the problems they wish to address; their long-term goals; and the very concrete and measureable behaviors which will lead to those goals. Roger’s practice is also informed by his deep interest in film, written literature, and the visual arts, including photography.
Nicky Hall, Development & Communications Associate
Nicky assists in creating marketing pieces, e-blasts and front end website updates, along with maintaining and utilizing the donor database for JFS. Nicky is also the Program Assistant for the JFS Chaplaincy Program. She joined the JFS staff in 2012 and has worked in the non-profit industry for over twelve years.
Jennifer Hawkins, Therapist
Jennifer acquired 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).
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.
Christine Jamerson, Care Management Coordinator
Christine joined JFS in October 2009 when the Jewish Senior Network and Simcha Food Box programs were transferred from the Jewish Federation. She has worked with these programs since April 2005, and has an extensive background in working for nonprofit organizations. Christine works with the JSN case managers to provide support to new and existing clients of the Jewish Senior Network and the Simcha Food Box programs.
Betsy Low, Children’s Therapist
Betsy is a child and family therapist. She provides individual and family therapy to kids from preschool age to high school and their families. She also facilitates parenting groups at the Jewish Community Center and other Jewish preschools.
Professional certifications: LSCSW- Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker, LSCW- Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri
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 and Shelter Coordinator
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.
Dayle Reed, Missouri Office Manager
Dayle joined the JFS team in April 2005. She comes with 18 years medical billing experience. Dayle manages the day to day operation of the Missouri Counseling office. She handles all medical billing for the counseling department.
Deborah Snow Sheridan, Licensed Psychologist
Deborah joined the staff of JFS in July 2005 as an outpatient therapist, working with adults and families. She is a generalist but also has specialties in stress resilience, substance abuse and psychological treatment of individual’s with medical problems.
Professional Certifications: Missouri Licensed Psychologist, Missouri Health Service Provider, Kansas Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist.
Seroj Terian, Lead Community Handyman
Seroj joined JFS in January 2009 as the Community Handyman for Help@Home, the agency’s aging in place program for the 65-plus generation. He provides minor home repairs and computer troubleshooting to Help@Home members.
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
Jaclyn Williams, Volunteer Recruiter/ VISTA
Jackie received her bachelor’s degree in French and liberal arts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is currently working on her Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management at UMKC as well. She got involved with Jewish Family Services after volunteering with many other local nonprofits including Literacy Kansas City and Reach Out and Read KC. At JFS Jackie works with older adult initiatives volunteers.