Our staff is always available to make your visit to Gilda’s Club Westchester enjoyable and beneficial. If you have any questions, please e–mail us at email@example.com or click on a staff person’s name to send an email.
Chief Executive Officer
Melissa Lang, DrPH, MPH, MPA, MA
Melissa Lang has been Gilda’s Club Westchester’s Chief Executive Officer since 2011. She brings a range of experience that includes healthcare management and delivery, public policy, and health advocacy. Her background includes several years of experience in long term care and disabilities, hospice and palliative care, and aging services. Melissa is committed to the field of psychosocial oncology and delivering quality programs that improve the lives of individuals and families as they navigate through difficult medical circumstances.
Melissa actively engages in advocacy and policy development in a variety of settings and serves on several committees that address issues related to cancer treatment and survivorship, family caregiving, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, aging and end-of-life care, and access to health care. Committed to the dual focus of quality of care and quality of life affecting older adults, Melissa served as a New York State Certified Long Term Care Ombudsman and is currently the Vice President, Board of Directors, for The Center for Aging in Place.
Melissa holds a Doctorate in Public Health, Health Policy and Management, from New York Medical College; a Master’s Degree in Public Health, Healthcare Management, from Columbia University, School of Public Health; and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs. Building on her interest in exploring the legal and ethical issues in medical policy, practice, and research, Melissa completed a Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and is currently pursuing a degree in Bioethics at Columbia University.
Ginael joined the Gilda’s Club Westchester’s Development Team as the Development Coordinator in October of 2016. In this role, she is responsible for documenting and acknowledging donations, maintaining donor records, and assisting with the organization of special events. She has 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer service, working for broadcasting, luxury goods and consumer goods companies such as Capital Cities/ABC (now Disney/ABC), Granite Broadcasting Corporation, Bvlgari Corporation of America, Pepsico Beverages and Foods, and Danone Waters of North America. Ginael’s background and enthusiasm are an asset for Gilda’s Club, as she transitions from corporate America to the not-for-profit sector. Ginael earned her Bachelors degree in Communications from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.
Oncology Social Worker
Liz Barnett, LMSW
Liz has been with Gilda’s Club since 2016, facilitating support groups and providing individual counseling for Gilda’s Club members. Prior to Gilda’s Club, she worked as an oncology social worker at the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital, where she provided individual and family counseling to oncology patients. Liz earned her MSW from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and also has a B.S. in Engineering from Cornell University. She is currently an MSW Fellow with the Zelda Foster Palliative and End-of-life Program at NYU.
Director of Business Operations
Having earned an MBA in Finance from NYU, Cory has worked with numerous nonprofit organizations in the areas of bookkeeping, accounting and donation processing. She has in-depth experience in electronic giving and has helped dozens of nonprofits with their online donations and monthly giving programs. She also has an extensive background in moving-for-health fitness programs that complement Gilda’s Club Westchester’s mission.
Director of Corporate Giving and Partnerships
Stephanie joined Gilda’s Club Westchester in 2008 and is presently the Director of Corporate Giving and Partnerships. In this capacity, Stephanie is responsible for developing strategic partnerships with the Westchester, Rockland and Connecticut business communities and also oversees the organization’s Resource Advisory Council which is made up of long-time Gilda’s supporters and former Board members.
At Gilda’s Club Westchester, Stephanie has worked as both the Director of Special Events (2008-2012) and as the Director of Development (2012-2015). She designed a comprehensive development and fundraising strategy for the organization and was responsible for maintaining relationships with existing supporters and cultivating support and awareness among new donors, while also leading the organization’s engagement and major gifts initiatives. Stephanie also directed all of Gilda’s Club Westchester’s major fundraising events including the Annual Comedy Gala, Golf Invitational, Women’s Tennis Classic and Wellness Symposium, Mah Jongg Invitational, and Night of Laughter at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC.
Prior to working at Gilda’s, Stephanie worked as a Vice President, Retail Brand Director for Lady Foot Locker and then as a marketing and communications consultant, providing strategic planning and brand development for corporate clients in the areas of special events, retail and marketing. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Syracuse University.
Oncology Social Worker
Erica Forest, LCSW
Erica is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 10 years of oncology experience. She joined Gilda’s Club in 2014. She previously worked as a clinical social worker at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in both Manhattan and Sleepy Hollow, NY providing crisis intervention and counseling including individual, group, couple and family work. She has worked with individuals and families impacted by all cancer diagnoses and stages, and has extensive experience working with people undergoing stem cell (bone marrow) transplant. She graduated with a Master’s of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and has received DBT, family therapy and psychotherapy training.
Program and Evaluation Coordinator
Judy began working at Gilda’s Club in June of 2002, following a seventeen year career at Columbia University’s School of Social Work. During the past eleven years, her position has evolved. Judy’s primary responsibility is to make sure the calendar is kept as full as possible with activities, lectures and workshops. She coordinates the monthly scheduling of approximately 25 continuing day-time and night-time volunteers and she also reaches out to the community at large to book open to the public lectures and workshops facilitated by physicians, authors, exercise specialists, community organizations and many others who are considered to be experts in their fields. She gets pleasure in being able to offer a varied schedule of activities for members.
A native of White Plains, she enjoys interacting with members of the community, both inside and outside the clubhouse. Judy graduated from Utica College of Syracuse University with a BS in Secondary Education.
Clinical Support Manager
Joan Jacobus, LCSW
Joan Jacobus joined Gilda’s Club Westchester in May 2017 as Clinical Support Manager. She brings a wealth of experience in program management, aging and end of life care, and navigating health care systems. Her primary focus at Gilda’s Club is program development, overseeing clinical staff and meeting the emotional needs of Gilda’s Club Members.
Joan’s prior work experience with not-for-profits includes twenty years of clinical work, serving people with life threatening or chronic illnesses. During her time in business, she was honored by New York State Governor Cuomo’s Office for Leadership in Serving the Community and was the Vice President for Corporate Volunteers of New York. Joan has a Master’s in Social Work degree from Hunter College and a Master’s of Business Administration degree from New York University. In addition, she completed a post-graduate program at Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy.
Children, Teens and Families Manager
Laura Moore, EdD, CHES, CCLS
Special Events Manager
Robin Wexler joined Gilda’s Club Westchester in May 2016 as the Special Events Manager. In this role, Robin leads the portfolio of Gilda’s Club Westchester special events including the Stair Climb, Annual Gala, Comedy Night, Mah Jongg Invitational, and Golf, Tennis & Yoga Classic to raise funds and generate awareness for the organization.
Robin has more than 20 years of experience in strategic marketing and brand development, media relations, event planning and execution, and digital marketing for both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Prior to working at Gilda’s, she directed the marketing and media relations efforts at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center and Stepping Stones Museum for Children. Robin also supervised both the national celebrity and national ambassador programs for the March of Dimes in its national office.
Prior to her non-profit work, she served as the director of public relations for Starter Corporation in New Haven, CT. Robin’s career started at Edelman Public Relations in New York City in the consumer marketing group. Robin proudly holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Director of Program Administration
Jen Scully, ATR-BC
Jen Scully has extensive experience working with individuals and families who are impacted by serious illness and loss. Since she was hired in 2007, Jen has overseen the Children, Teens and Families Program, School-Based Program, and quality improvement at Gilda’s Club Westchester.
Jen is currently the Director of Program Administration. She oversees administrative and non-clinical aspects of the program including lectures, workshops, and social events. In addition to her work in the GCW clubhouse, Jen also provides support and education to the larger community by coordinating and carrying out GCW’s school outreach program, Gilda’s CLASS, and serving as a resource to community organizations. She is also responsible for program evaluation and other quality initiatives to ensure high quality programming and clinical excellence.
Jen has a Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University and is a board certified registered art therapist. Prior to working at Gilda’s Club, Jen worked as Children’s Program Coordinator for Hospice of the North Shore in Massachusetts. She has also served as an adjunct lecturer, teaching Creative Arts Therapy in Clinical Social Work, at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work.
Director of Clinical Partnerships
Christine Speck, LCSW
Chris is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 5 years of experience working with critically ill individuals and their families. She joined Gilda’s Club in 2016. Previously, Chris worked as a Social Worker with Hospice of Westchester, providing supportive counseling to patients, families and caregivers. She has worked in a variety of settings including at home, in hospitals, and in-patient and skilled nursing facilities. Chris is experienced in individual, family and group counseling and has worked with all ages across many diagnoses. She completed her Masters in Social Work at New York University in 2011 and was selected as a Zelda Foster Fellow which included additional training and mentorship in palliative and end-of-life care, as well as a focused internship at Westchester Medical Center in oncology. Chris completed a Post Masters Certificate in Palliative and End of Life training at NYU, and was the winner of the Association of Oncology Social Worker’s Conference Scholarship in 2011.
Member and Volunteer Coordinator
Essie began working at Gilda’s Club Westchester in March of 2002, and is the point person for many of the programs. She assists members by signing them up for new member meetings and is responsible for coordinating the monthly mailing to members and outreach contacts. In addition to formatting the monthly calendar, Essie keeps the Community Bulletin Board updated with current information. She also travels to hospitals, medical offices and libraries to distribute outreach material. Essie oversees the volunteers for reception, clubhouse caterers, clubhouse events, monthly mailers. Additionally, Essie volunteers her time at White Plains Hospital. A graduate of Mandl The College of Allied Health, Essie previously owned Modern Hardware and Paint/Essie’s Chocolate which was sold in 2009.
Essie enjoys every day spent at Gilda’s Club Westchester with the members, volunteers and staff. Helping others is the best way to help yourself!
Director of Major Gifts
Marjorie Weintraub joined Gilda’s Club Westchester in March 2017. She brings significant fundraising expertise with national and area not-for-profit organizations to Gilda’s Club as the Director of Major Gifts. An accomplished non-profit executive, Marjorie will focus on major gifts, donor cultivation, board development and special targeted initiatives.
Marjorie served in many development roles during her career, raising funds to support arts, education, religious, and a variety of cause-based organizations. Locally, Marjorie served successfully as in-house Development Director and Development Consultant for a host of institutions including the JCC of Mid-Westchester, J-Teen Leadership, Northern Westchester Center for the Arts, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, The Harvey School and Westchester Reform Temple.
Marjorie earned a Masters degree in Non-Profit Management from the George Washington University and a Bachelors degree in Family and Community Development at the University of Maryland. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the American Society for Training and Development and Women in Development, New York. She has two college aged children and is a twenty five year resident of Westchester County.
Clinical Support Group Facilitators
Susanne E. Berman, LMSW
Haya Caspi, MSW, LCSW-R
Miranda Dold, LCSW
Lydia Ecker, LMSW
Craig Haen, PhD, RTD, CGP, LCAT, FAGPA
Laura Himmelstein, LCSW, CHTP
Joan Milano, LCSW
Christine Paletta, LMSW
Debbie Vincent, LMSW
Heidi Weiss, LMSW, MHA