Shannon Cobb, President and CEO
Shannon Cobb, a Danbury resident for over fifteen years, comes to Ann’s Place from United Way of Westchester and Putnam, as their Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Community Impact. She is a strategic, goal driven communications and program professional with more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit agencies across the country. In the past decade, she has focused her career on internal and external communications, brand development, training, public speaking, content management, advertising and strategy. Having started her career in volunteer management, she continues to value and build diverse volunteer and community involvement wherever she works and at all leadership levels. Through the years, she has recruited, trained and supervised thousands of volunteers to help increase socialization skills for people with disabilities, assist low income seniors live independently at home, advocate for youth in foster care, and enhance the management of nonprofits.
When Shannon is not at work, she can be found each week guiding and mentoring middle school youth at her church, Jesse Lee Memorial UMC in Ridgefield. She is delighted this gives her opportunity to play games such as laser tag and capture the flag. She is a Certified Lay Servant in the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and speaks a few times a year from the pulpit. Ms. Cobb has a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College, and is a graduate of the Parent Leadership Training Institute in Danbury. She loves spending time with her two boys and college sweetheart, taking photos while exploring a new trail, and losing herself in a good book.
Jeff Beekman, Accounting & Contracts Manager
Jack Bouffard, Events Specialist
Jack came to Ann’s Place as a newly diagnosed Stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma patient in 2008 and helped cultivate the Young Adult support group here. Before coming on as staff in 2017, he spent nine years as a passionate Ann’s Place volunteer and serves as emcee for the Amber Room Run From The Sun 5K and Entertainment Chair for Festival of Trees.
In his free time, Jack can be found loading up his nieces and nephews with sugar, travelling the globe, attending concerts or Broadway shows and spending relaxing days at home with his cat, Lily.
Matt Boyle, Director of Development
Matt Boyle joins Ann’s Place bringing with him extensive development and leadership experience having worked in healthcare, university, children’s rights and religious organizations. He has dedicated his career to the nonprofit world for over 20 years, after enjoying great success in the business sector. Matt serves the clients of Ann’s Place by developing and implementing strategies to secure the funding required to meet the needs of our clients, and to provide for Ann’s Place as we continue to grow in service.
Some of the organizations where Matt has worked that have benefited from his development and leadership experience, as well as his passion and commitment to helping others have been: Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital in New Haven, Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, the Connecticut Federation of Catholic School Parents where he advocated for children’s rights, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, and most recently at Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Maryknoll, New York.
Matt is a native of Fairfield County residing there until 2011, he now lives in Mahopac, New York. He and his wife Nancy have two sons and they all enjoy the outdoors, including biking, kayaking and hiking. Matt is an alumnus of Sacred Heart University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration and a master’s degree in Education.
Lynn Stubbe, Volunteer Coordinator
Lynn joined the Ann's Place as Volunteer Coordinator in April 2014. Lynn oversees more than 400 volunteers during the year at special events, fundraisers, reception, student interns, and office work.
Before joining the staff at Ann's Place, Lynn volunteered her time at Ann's Place and other non-profits in the area as well as in the Brookfield schools.
Lynn is a graduate of Stony Brook University in New York with a degree in Psychology.
Dawn Schulze, Donor, Events, and Clinical Support Coordinator
Dawn spent the past twelve years working for a non-profit organization (the Regional YMCA) running many programs. The programs were heavily funded by corporate, private and state donors. Dawn was also in charge of organizing committees to allocate the funds. Dawn also contributed to the success of the special events for fund raising.
Dawn is originally from New York and moved to Brookfield CT in 1999, were she resides with her husband and two sons. In Dawn's leisure time she enjoys being outdoors with her family. Dawn is thrilled to be a part of the team at Ann's Place, where she can contribute to making a difference in people's lives.
Suzanne (Su) Murdock, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Su joined Ann’s Place in 2000 with a medical social work background in Connecticut and New York through positions at the Connecticut VNA, Homecare, Vassar Brothers Hospital and the Salvation Army. She is active in community organizations and is a member of the Association of Oncology Social Workers and the National Association of Social Workers. Su is on the board of CT Social Work Oncology Group, which provides networking and educational opportunities for oncology social workers in Connecticut, and is also on the board of Oncology Social Work Certification.
Su is a compassionate advocate for cancer survivors. She completed a two year Practicum at the Mercy Center in Madison, CT, on Spiritual Direction. Su holds an advanced certificate in Contemplative Clinical Practice at Smith College of Social Work in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Kevin Berrill, MSW, LCSW
A clinical social worker, Kevin joined the staff of Ann's Place in 2012 after moving back to his native Connecticut from Washington, DC. His clinical experience includes work as a psychotherapist, bereavement counselor, and hospice medical social worker. He works with individuals, couples and groups and is a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist.
Kevin's professional background also includes work as a publicist, national organizer for LGBT human rights, documentary program coordinator, author, factory worker, elevator operator, and dishwasher. His wide ranging and occupational journey has helped him to better understand the lives and concerns of those whom he serves.
Kevin's approach to healing and growth is to help clients identify strengths, reflect on what matters most in life, find practical solutions to problems, relax through imagery and breath and cultivate mindful awareness and compassion.
"I feel privileged to join the ranks of such skilled and caring staff and volunteers," said Berrill, "and to serve cancer survivors and their loved ones. This work opens my heart, grounds me in the present moment, and reminds me of what matters most in life."
Laura Donnelly, MSW, LCSW
Laura began her association with Ann's Place as a volunteer bereavement facilitator. She now serves as a staff clinical worker. Laura received her Masters in Social Work from the Widener University Center for Social Work Education in PA. She has experience as a medical social worker at the Chester County Hospital in PA and at Stamford Hospital in CT, where she provided psychological assessments, crisis intervention and community referrals. Laura has worked individually with adults and children.
"I am continually amazed and inspired by the strength, courage, and resiliency of clients facing cancer and other life challenges. I find it a great privilege to be part of our clients' journeys."
When not at work Laura enjoys spending time with her family, her dogs, and the outdoors.
Candy Dayana Murias, LMSW
Candy is a bilingual clinical social worker at Ann’s Place. She graduated from Western Connecticut State University cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and Sociology/ Anthropology, with a minor in International Studies. After working as a Bilingual Mental Health Counselor in Waterbury, CT and realizing how rewarding social work can be, Candy went on to obtain her Master's degree in Social Work at Fordham University. Candy is a former representative of an NGO for the United Nations and a member of various NGO committees for the United Nations. Most recently, she was a clinical intern at Jewish Family Service providing individual counseling, as well as community outreach and program development. Candy is the first clinician hired as part of our Health Equity Initiative and provides Ann’s Place cancer support services here, at 80 Saw Mill Road, as well as at the Greater Danbury Hispanic Center – Centro. In her free time Candy loves to travel and learn about different cultures worldwide; she loves spending time with her family and being outdoors.
Martha Shilstone, MSW, LCSW
Martha is a clinical social worker at Ann's Place, primarily working with children, teens, and their families. She holds a BS degree in Child Study and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Georgia. Martha has worked extensively with children in both medical and mental health settings. She is also employed as the Student Assistance Counselor at Newtown High School and Middle School. Martha resides in Ridgefield with her husband and three children.
"A cancer diagnosis impacts not only the patient but the whole family. Ann's Place recognizes this and provides counseling, support and activities for all members. It is such a privilege to support children and their parents during their journey with cancer."
Jackie Brady, MA
Jackie was first introduced to Ann’s Place when she completed a one- year internship there in graduate school. The warmth, caring, and connection of the entire Ann’s Place community left a meaningful and lasting impression. Jackie has recently completed a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Western Connecticut State University. She is very happy to be back at Ann’s Place as a volunteer facilitator. Jackie will be facilitating the partners group starting in October. Jackie lives in Patterson, New York, and enjoys reading, the outdoors, and especially spending quality time with family and friends.
Jackie facilitates both the Partners group as well as the Women Together Group for women who are newly diagnosed at Ann's Place.
James Coffey, MA
Jim leads our very active monthly Men Together group for men living with prostate cancer on the first Wednesday evenings of the month. This group is active in continuing education and enjoys bringing in guest speakers. It is also affiliated with the national prostate cancer group – US Too.
An avid golfer and two time cancer survivor, Jim is retired from a career in education and counseling. He came to Ann’s Place in 2004.
Jean Conover, MA
Jean has a masters degree in Counseling and has run many groups over the years. She currently runs Women Only, a support group for women with gynecological cancers. Jean has served cancer patients at Ann’s Place faithfully since 1996, after her retirement from school counseling. Jean is a former co-chair of the Quilter’s Corner for our Festival of Trees. Jean also does vacation relief for clinical office staff.
Cindy Corn, MSW, LCSW
Cindy has an Masters in Social Work from Boston University and has worked in mental health facilities in Massachusetts and New York . After a cancer diagnosis in 2005, Cindy joined a support group at Ann's Place and has been involved there ever since. In 2008, she began facilitating the Parent's Group.
"Our group is unique at Ann's Place because our members are younger. They are forced to face their future with a cancer diagnosis before they have had a chance to fully actualize the dreams & expectations they had for their lives and they feel isolated from their contemporaries. We give them a voice to share feelings and ideas with others who understand this. They help one another to navigate their way through their illness."
Jennifer Salkin, MA
Jennifer earned her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University. She has worked with individuals, children and families to decrease anxiety and depression. She has a long time interest in the healing power of nature and complimentary medicine. She is a certified forest therapy guide. In addition to being an RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and a Reiki master, Jennifer also works with the power of nature as a community herbalist and flower essence practitioner. Jennifer joined Ann’s Place in August of 2017 and facilitates the Daytime group.
Rudy Spannaus, MA
Rudy earned her Master's Degree in Counseling from Fairfield University. She has worked with adolescents, families and educators in a school setting for the past seven years and is honored to join Ann's Place as a volunteer group facilitator. Rudy lives in Brookfield with her husband and enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her dog on Candlewood Lake.
Rudy facilitates the Caring group at Ann's Place.
Helen Tomasko, MS, LPC, NCC
Helen, a licensed counselor, joined Ann’s Place in 2013. She facilitates our Women Together Graduates group once a month for women who have finished their breast cancer treatment.
Timothy Bayley, DO, MS (Medical Educator & Nutritional Scientist)
Tim came to Ann's Place in January 2015 as a wellness volunteer. Dr. Bayley received his Doctor of Osteopathy from the National University of Medical Sciences in Madrid Spain, his Master of Science in Nutritional Biochemistry from the McGill University in 1998 and holds a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Cornell University. Tim is a Connecticut-based medical communications professional at MedWrite International with extensive experience in the development and management of evidence-based education for healthcare professionals and the general public. Nutrition and healthy living has been a long-time interest and mission of Tim’s. "I believe in nurturing the long term benefits that are derived from consuming healthy foods that are produced using techniques that are earth-friendly and am passionate about nutrition education that leads to long term sustainable health and well-being.
Susan Carbone (Reiki)
Susan works in the field of laboratory medicine, at New Milford Hospital.
Her formal study of Integrative/Complementary self-care began in 2000, while completing her Master's Degree in Health Administration at Western Connecticut University. She then enrolled in The Graduate Institute in Connecticut where she received a Masters of Arts degree in Experiential Health and Healing.
A certified Reiki Master practitioner, Sue believes each of us influences our well-being with our lifestyles, perceptions and coping skills.
Nancy Chapman (Art)
Nancy is a local artist from Norwalk, CT. As a painter, illustrator, and designer, she believes that art is one of the most relaxing and peaceful forms of therapy. Nancy has worked as a graphic designer for 22 years. She is currently revisiting her passion of the fine arts.
Nina Deyglun (Reiki)
Nina is a Licensed Massage Therapist trained at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy and a certified Reiki Master practitioner in the Usui method of natural healing. Reiki is a gentle hands-on technique that works with the body's own energy system to help balance and restore itself to its natural state of well being. Nina is a dedicated practitioner of Tibetan Dzogchen meditation and a volunteer Reiki practitioner with the RVNA (Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association) since 2014 and will be offering Reiki one morning a week at Ann’s Place.
Alison DiPinto, MA, LPC (Healthy Steps Movement & Dance)
Alison DiPinto has been a certified Healthy Steps instructor since 2006 and has been leading the Healthy Steps group at Ann's Place for just as long! Alison has 30 years experience in dance and loves to share the joy of dance and movement with her students. Alison is also a local psychotherapist and a mother of two beautiful daughters.
Amy Fernandez earned her Bachelor's as well as her Master's Degree from St. John's University in Elementary, Special Education, and Reading. Amy was a New York CitySchool Teacher for fourteen years. She is also a certified Usui Reiki Master/Teacher and a member of the International Association of Reiki Professionals. As a Reiki Master, Amy will guide you through this gentle, yet powerful modality to assist you with reducing stress, relieving pain, and encouraging overall well being. Reiki treats the whole person including body, mind, and emotions/spirit creating feelings of inner peace, relaxation, security, and well being. Reiki works well in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote healing. Amy also shares this practice at monthly Healing Touch & Reiki Healing Circle.
Joe Gillotti (Yoga)
After twenty years as a weekly wellness volunteer at Ann’s Place, Joe Gillotti has transitioned to be an occasional sub for our yoga instructors. We are grateful for Joe's continued presence.
Karen Gillotti (Yoga)
Karen Gillotti was certified to teach Integral Yoga in 1996. Her certifications include gentle, beginner, intermediate, and prenatal yoga. Also received certification from Kripalu Yoga to teach Yoga Nidra (guided deep relaxation). For the past 15 years, Karen has been teaching at the New Fairfield Senior Center and Redding Parks and Recreation . She is also currently teaching a Yoga Nidra class at Yogaspace in Bethel. Karen graciously fills in as a Yoga instructor as needed.
Virginia Goin (Usui and Karuna Reiki)
Ginny is a certified Usui and Karuna Reiki Master who studied with William Rand, International Center for Reiki Training. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. She was previously a volunteer at Masonicare Home Health & Hospice of Brookfield, CT, where she did Reiki for hospice patients. She is available for appointments at Ann's Place on Mondays.
Beth Holland (Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga)
Beth Holland has practiced yoga for many years but not until more recently did she actually “fall in love” with all its wonderful effects. Having always been physically active, she has come to realize that yoga heightens her sense of well-being, her state of mind and her healthy and flexible body far more than any other practices or activities. She is eager to share the joy of yoga with anyone who will listen and join her! Beth began her teaching career with her training to teach the Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga Method and completed her 200-hour Certified Teacher subsequently, training with the Pranatthon Yoga Guild., based on Kripalu methodology and philosophy. She especially enjoys sharing yoga with people who are new to yoga, a bit more senior in years and/or physically challenged. Her grandchildren who call her “nana”, knowing her passion for yoga as well as for them, have given her the nickname “NANAste”!
Marc Howard, RYT (Kripalu Yoga)
Marc began Tuesday daytime classes for us in 2006 and is the owner of There’s No Place Like Om on Padanaram Road in Danbury. Marc currently offers his yoga classes to all Ann's Place clients on Tuesdays.
Jyoti Kelkar (Yoga)
Jyoti was born and brought up in India. She was introduced to yoga in her childhood by her father who was a Surgeon and practiced Yoga everyday. Jyoti continued her practice of Yoga through her school and college years. After she graduated from Physical Therapy school, she had an opportunity to work in an out-patient Physical Therapy clinic where Iyengar Yoga was used as one of the treatment modalities to treat patients suffering from stroke, cancer, heart and lung diseases, and wide array of disorders. Jyoti came to US in 1996 and since has been working as a Physical Therapist in a variety of settings. She pursued Yoga Teachers' Training certification with Lotus Gardens Yoga under the guidance of Ms.Lara Ward. She has a vision to create a restorative Yoga program for the survivors of cancer. Jyoti truly believes in daily practice and building the strong foundation to move from simple to complex. She currently works in Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel, NY as an In-patient Physical Therapist. Jyoti joined Ann's Place in 2017 and offers weekly yoga on Tuesday evenings.
Erik Keller (Horticulture Therapist)
Erik came to Ann's Place in April 2009 as a volunteer. He earned a Master Gardener's certificate from the University of Connecticut in 2000 and holds a certificate in horticultural therapy from the New York Botanical Gardens. Eric graduated from SUNY at Stony Brook with a bachelor's degree in engineering science and has worked as a journalist, market analyst, director of research, author and a management consultant. In helping to create our special therapeutic landscaping and woodland trails between 2009 and 2011, Erik has supervised teams of corporate volunteers, teens, athletes and community volunteers. Horticultural Therapy sessions are held on the first and third Tuesday of every month.
Claire Owens (Reiki Master)
Claire Owens is a Karuna (Usui) Reiki Master and has been a practitioner for the past 7 years. She is also a Licensed Massage Therapist and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner with a practice in Danbury, CT and Carmel, NY. Claire offers Reiki at Ann's Place on Wednesdays at 4:30 and 5:30 PM. Claire began volunteering in 2017.
Rochelle A. Schwartz (Kripalu Yoga, Devine Sleep and Maj Jongg)
Rochelle is a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher volunteering since 2003. Her gentle style classes encourage each student to work at their own pace in a non-judgemental atmosphere. What she loves most about yoga is that anyone at any age can practice. Yoga is available to all, no matter what the experience and physical ability. Everyone can benefit from the practice of yoga. She enjoys spending time with her family and being outside as much as possible. Rochelle offers yoga classes at Ann's Place on Wednesday afternoons, Divine Sleep once a month and Maj Jongg on Friday afternoons.
Nancy J. Ryan (Tai Chi)
Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese movement art that can provide great health benefits to the body, mind and spirit. Nancy Ryan has been practicing Tai Chi Chuan for more than 13 years. She shares her love of Tai Chi and its benefits with the clients of Ann's Place in her weekly class. Tai Chi is offered at Ann's Place every Monday evening, 6:00 - 7:00 pm.
Renee A. Simon
Renee A. Simon is a Board Certified and licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist, published author, Certified Reiki master, and registered yoga teacher. She received her M.S. in Clinical Nutrition from Bridgeport University and her degree in Holistic Nutrition at the American Academy of Nutrition. Renee has been practicing as a Nutritionist since 1999, energy healing practitioner since 2005, and yoga teacher since 2011 in NY and CT. She was one of the key principals who started the Wellness Center at Northern Westchester Hospital's Center for Health and Healing, and has developed and taught nutrition modules to Doctors as part of the Arizona School of Integrated Medicine fellowship program. Her motto is to find the underlying cause of a problem vs. treating symptoms, and to restore the body back to its natural balance.
Marlene Tendler, E-RYT (Usui Reiki)
Marlene is a Reiki Master in the Usui System of Reiki. She was certified by Master Melanie Chong and continues to study with Reiki Master Libby Barnett. She is also a Yoga Alliance certified (E-RYT) yoga teacher. Marlene has practiced and studied Iyengar Yoga for many years and was certified by Judith Lasater in Restorative Yoga as a Relax and Renew Trainer. She offers Reiki sessions at Ann's Place on Tuesdays 12:30 - 2:15 pm.
Kim Wien, MA
Kim Wien has a master's degree in literacy and special education. She has taught middle and high school for over 20 years.
Kim's love with food began to develop when she worked for Weight Watchers International as a weight management leader. Her position there provided instruction, tools and motivation for members making better food choices in their weight loss and weight management journey. Today, Kim volunteers at Share our Strength's Cooking Matters which, together with their partners, have helped more than 120,000 low-income families in communities across the country. Her time there is spent teaching adults and children how to eat better on a budget through education, interactive grocery store tours, as well as hands-on cooking courses.
Kim's husband Stan, their family and friends will overwhelmingly agree, Kim is an excellent cook. She has a passion for creating nutritious and delicious foods -- in minutes. She loves teaching those interested how easy and fun it is to eat smart(er). She currently holds a food handling license and is working toward obtaining her nutritional coach certification this year. She is so excited about contributing her time and talent to Ann's Place.