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 firstname.lastname@example.org or click on a staff person’s name to send an email.
Chief Executive Officer
Melissa Lang is Chief Executive Officer at Gilda’s Club Westchester where she brings a range of experience in community-based health services, including several years of experience in hospice and palliative care, long-term care and disabilities, and aging services. Committed to helping individuals and families through difficult health challenges, she actively engages in advocacy and policy development in a variety of settings on issues related to cancer treatment, family caregiving, palliative and end-of-life care, access to healthcare, and medical ethics and decision making. She currently holds leadership positions on several boards, including The Center for Aging in Place, The Advisory Board of The Center for Long Term Care at New York Medical College, the Collaborative for Palliative Care, State Society on Aging NY, and the Westchester Public/Private Partnership, also chairing the Research Committee. Melissa recently co-authored the book: A Public Health Strategy for Living, Aging and Dying: Designing Elder-Centered and Palliative Systems of Care, Environments, Services and Supports. Melissa holds a Doctorate in Public Health, Health Policy and Management, from New York Medical College; a Master’s Degree in Public Health, Health Services Management, from Columbia University, School of Public Health; and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Finance and Non-profit Management, from Columbia University. Building on her interest in exploring the legal and ethical issues in medical policy, practice, and research, she completed a Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and additional coursework in Bioethics at Columbia University.
Director of Business Operations
Cory Ethridge earned an MBA in Finance from NYU, and 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 Falk 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 in various roles designing comprehensive development and fundraising strategies and maintaining relationships with existing supporters while cultivating support and awareness among new donors. 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 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 providing crisis intervention and counseling, including individual, group, couple and family work. She has worked with individuals and families affected 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. Erica also facilitates a monthly group in Spanish for women with cancer and provides counseling in Spanish to anyone impacted by cancer.
Program and Evaluation Coordinator
Judy Freeman began working at Gilda’s Club in June of 2002, following a seventeen-year career at Columbia University School of Social Work. Judy is responsible for managing Gilda’s Club Westchester’s calendar of monthly activities, including social and health and wellness programs. Judy also coordinates lectures and workshops facilitated by physicians, authors, health and wellness experts and community-based organizations. Judy maintains relationships with over 200 physicians, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers and wellness experts who provide their expertise through our lectures and workshops which connect individuals with cancer, and their family members, critical information that assist with decision making and quality of life. Judy graduated from Syracuse University with a BS in Secondary Education.
Oncology Social Worker
Martha Lee Mellis, a Licensed Master Social Worker, began working at Gilda's Club of Westchester in 2013. She manages Gilda’s Club Westchester Bilingual Cancer Support Phone Line that assists those affected by cancer who are unable to access Gilda's Club Westchester in person. Martha Lee also offers individual counseling at Gilda's Club. Martha Lee previously worked as a bilingual social worker for the Stamford Public Schools and for the Member Assistance Program for the members of U.N.I.T.E. in Manhattan. Martha Lee received her BA from Emory University and her Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University with a Health/Mental Concentration. Following graduate school, Martha Lee studied at Middlebury College in an intensive total immersion program to learn Spanish and has received a post graduate certificate for studies in Clinical Social Work from New York University.
Special Events Manager
Aileen joined Gilda’s as the Special Events Manager in May 2019. She coordinates all fundraising events and other special program events at Gilda’s Club Westchester. Prior to this position, Aileen was responsible for implementing Gnosis, Gilda’s database system which enables us to track members, allows them to sign up for classes online, and enables staff to use ADAPT reporting. Aileen has lead and participated in many successful fundraising events for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. She has also volunteered in the clinic at Pet Rescue in Harrison NY, assisting in the vetting and adoption of hundreds of rescue animals. Aileen graduated from The University of Vermont in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Oncology Social Worker
Andrea joined Gilda’s Club in 2018 as an Oncology Social Worker; she facilities support groups, provides individual counseling, and completes intake visits. Andrea earned her MSW with an individualized concentration on health and mental health from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Andrea has worked in both in-hospital and outpatient medical settings with experience in oncology, primary care, transplant, and emergency units for both adult and pediatric populations. She has extensive experience working with a diversity of populations in the community mental health setting, providing individual, family, and group therapy. Andrea has received specialty training in CBT, DBT, substance use, trauma, and chronic-disease management.
Director, Children, Teens and Families Program
Laura Moore joined Gilda’s Club Westchester in October 2017. She brings extensive experience and a strong passion for supporting children and teens whose lives have been touched by cancer. Laura has worked extensively in psycho-oncology in a variety of settings including hospitals, not-for-profits, and schools. She combines emotional support, health education and creative activities to create an environment where children, teens and families can relax and be themselves Prior to joining Gilda's Club Westchester, Laura worked with not-for-profits for over 20 years serving people with life threatening or chronic illnesses. She has extensive experience in health education, health psychology, program design and emotional support. Laura holds a Doctorate in Health and Behavior from Teacher's College, Columbia University and is both a Certified Health Educator and Certified Child Life Specialist. She is currently pursing certification in Pediatric Bereavement.
Oncology Social Worker
Anna joined Gilda’s Club Westchester in the Fall of 2018. While working as an elementary school teacher she realized her passion for not just education, but for emotionally supporting students and their families. Anna returned to school and earned her Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University School of Social Work, completing an internship as a clinical social worker at the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital. There, she provided individual and family counseling for patients and family members, as well as collaborated with staff to implement a holistic approach to the treatment of cancer. Additionally, Anna has facilitated support sessions in schools around mindfulness, coping skills, and developmentally-appropriate psychoeducation. Anna now facilitates support groups, provides individual counseling, and completes intakes in the Children, Teens, and Families program, as well as with adult members.
Amanda Nardozzi is currently the Development Coordinator where her responsibilities include assisting with the planning and execution of special events, prospect research and coordination for major gifts, and overall support for the development team. Prior to working at Gilda’s, Amanda worked at Family Services of Westchester as Development Associate and Volunteer Coordinator where she assisted with special events, volunteer management and fundraising. Amanda graduated from Utica College with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations.
Oncology Social Worker
Christine Paletta facilitates support groups and provides individual counseling with a focus on living fully with cancer, coping with chronic illness, facing end of life and grief counseling. She has extensive experience working at Hospice of Westchester as a Social Worker, providing psychosocial support to patients, families and caregivers who are experiencing a life limiting illness. Prior to Hospice, Christine facilitated online coping skills groups for Reimagine, a web-based program offering supportive tools for thriving in the face of cancer. Christine received a Masters of Social Work from NYU Silver School of Social Work, with an internship on the acute oncology floor at Westchester Medical Center. She also facilitated multiple bereavement support groups for elementary and high school students through the Family Center’s Den for Grieving Kids. Christine has an extensive background in medical social work. She received an MD from New York Medical College and worked in clinical oncology research at Cornell Medical Center.
Senior Director of Program Administration
Jen Scully has extensive experience working with individuals and families who are impacted by serious illness and loss. Jen has held a variety of positions at Gilda’s, including overseeing the Children, Teens and Families Program, School-Based Program, and quality improvement. Jen is currently the Director of Program Administration where oversees administrative and non-clinical aspects of the program including lectures, workshops, and social events. In addition to her work at Gilda’s Club, 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.
Senior Director of Counseling Services
Chris is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working with critically ill individuals and their families since 2011. She joined Gilda’s Club in 2016 as Director of Clinical Partnerships where she served as the clinical liaison to several hospitals and community -based organizations. Chris currently oversees Gilda’s Club Westchester’s counseling program and develops marketing strategies to educate the community about the support that Gilda’s Club offers. 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 with honors at New York University and was selected as a Zelda Foster Fellow which provided additional training and mentorship in palliative and end-of-life care. She completed a focused internship at Westchester Medical Center in acute in-patient 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. Chris has additional training in CBT, DBT, ACT and Narrative Therapy and currently serves as a Teaching Assistant at NYU's Silver School of Social Work.
Member and Volunteer Coordinator
Essie began working at Gilda’s Club Westchester in 2002 and is often the first point of contact for new members Essie coordinates new member meetings and is responsible for overseeing the monthly informational mailing to members and the surrounding community. Essie keeps the Community Bulletin Board updated with current information and travels to hospitals, medical offices and libraries to distribute information on programs and services. Essie manages the volunteer program and the online calendar. Additionally, Essie volunteers at White Plains Hospital. A graduate of Mandl The College of Allied Health, Essie previously owned Modern Hardware and Paint/Essie’s Chocolate.
Clinical Support Manager
Debbie is a Licensed Master Social Worker who joined the staff at Gilda's Club Westchester in 2017, after having been Youth Programs Manager and Director of the Newark Clubhouse for Gilda's Club Northern NJ. Debbie's expertise includes counseling and facilitating groups for those impacted by cancer, and providing supportive counseling, bereavement counseling and psychotherapy to individuals, couples, families, children, teens, and groups in both mental health outpatient centers and home settings. Debbie is a graduate of Duke University and completed her Masters in Social Work with honors from Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service.
Director of Major Gifts
Marjorie Weintraub joined Gilda’s Club Westchester in 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 focuses 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 Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from the George Washington University and a Bachelor’s 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.
GCW Support Group Facilitators
Liz Barnett, LMSW
Deb Botnick-Basile, Psy.D.
Tamara Green, LCSW
Lydia Ecker, LMSW
Erica Forest, LCSW
Lisa Hackel, Ph.D
Laura Himmelstein, LCSW, CHTP
Andrea Markowitz, LCSW
Joan Milano, LCSW
Laura Moore, EdD, CHES, CCLS
Christine Paletta, LMSW, MD
Gillian Rittmaster, LCSW
Ed Schwartz, LCSW
Anna Van Munching, LMSW
Debbie Vincent, LMSW
GCW Program Facilitators
Marjorie Miller: J.D., AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor
Mari Kent: Certified Group Fitness Instructor
Scott E. Weiner: Ph.D. in Philosophy; CH (Certified Hypnotist)
Susie Aybar: BSN, MFA
Mimi Leibman: Ph.D.
Rheba Rosenbluth: MS, LMHC
Marjorie Rosenfield: YET – 500, SYT – 700
Pamela McKenna: Certified Personal Trainer
Liz Sutton: BS; MA; Certified Level 3 Meditation Instructor; Certified 200 Hour Yoga Instructor
Saufung Yeung: Certified Yoga Instructor
Elizabeth Hughes: MAH; MLS
Margaret Matsumoto: Director of Teacher Training, Tai Chi Foundation
Nancy Kardon: M.A. Psychology; M.A. Dance therapy; CIYT certified Iyengar Yoga teacher C-IYAT certified Yoga Therapist
Drew DiVittorio: NCCAOM; Founder, New York Herb School
Diane Midollo: 200-hour YTT - LifePower Yoga; 200-hour YTT - Gokul Yoga; Yoga4Cancer Teacher Training
Vinodray Shah: MD
Carolyn Elizabeth Rodriguez: RN, LMT, CHT