Our Team

MEET THE LIFE STORY CLUB STAFF!

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Stacy Abramson

SHE / HER

Executive Director 


Stacy brings 20+ years of nonprofit leadership experience, working across a range of cultural and civic organizations helping them to realize ambitious programming goals.   These organizations have included Reimagine End of Life, Facing History and Ourselves, Reboot, WNYC Radio, and Sound Portraits Productions (predecessor of Storycorps). Stacy has significant expertise in launching new media initiatives, cultivating partnerships, devising strategies, building trust in hard-to-access communities, and finding and developing talent. At the heart of her work is a passion for storytelling that amplifies the voices of regular people— storytelling that sparks connection, fosters empathy, and helps to bridge divides.

Stacy is a Peabody award-winning radio journalist who has written for the New York Times and is author of the book Flophouse. She was a CORO Leadership New York fellow. Originally from Washington DC, Stacy currently lives in Brooklyn with her family.

ROBIN CHAMBERLAIN

SHE / HER

Director of Operations & Partnerships

Robin is passionate about improving the happiness and well-being of older adults using non-pharmacological approaches. She believes that many of the barriers to successful aging can be addressed with accessible technology and an emphasis on human connection and community. Robin has spent the last three decades in the nonprofit sector, the last decade helping to successfully scale personalized music for residents of long-term care at Music & Memory. She holds a Master’s in Art Education and a professional certificate in philanthropy and nonprofit management from NYU. 

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Luke Rackers

LUKE RACKERS

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Director of Development

Luke is excited to bring his passion for social engagement, creative aging, gerontology, and ageism awareness to Life Story Club as Director of Development. Following a 10+ year career as a pianist, composer, and educator, Luke transitioned to nonprofit aging services in 2016 as an AmeriCorps Member at CVCOA, and developed innovative programs as a leader at CVCOA over 7 years. In 2020, Luke designed a program called Creative Care Kits to provide skills-based, practice-focused, and social-centric arts opportunities to older adults at home. This program received an Aging Innovations award from USAging in 2022.

EZRA GUERIN GATES

They / Them

Program Director

Ezra spearheads curriculum design and member experience for Life Story Club. You’ll find them hosting many of our most long-standing clubs. Ezra has a Masters in Creative Writing and taught English Composition and Creative Writing at Minnesota State University before moving to New York. They have been designing and facilitating inclusive community-based workshops since 2016.

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EFFY TAM

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Bilingual Chinese-English Facilitator & User Experience Designer

Effy deeply values the experiences and stories that come with age, and her work is informed by a commitment to community-led design and research that amplifies marginalized voices. With an MFA in Design for Social Innovation from SVA, Effy has experience in designing and teaching English courses for Chinese elderly immigrants with language barriers, as well as exploring mobile map design strategies for elderly users.

STEPHANIE YANES

SHE/HER

Bilingual Spanish – English Facilitator & Client Experience Lead

Stephanie is our bilingual Spanish-English Club facilitator. She is a first-generation American of El Salvadoran heritage who has a deep-rooted passion for making a community-based impact. Stephanie has an MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College and believes in the power of storytelling to empower and embolden those who need it most. As the Member Experience Lead, Stephanie is the first person with whom many of our participants speak, and an expert event planner.

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ESTHER DE ROTHSCHILD

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Facilitator & Program Designer

Esther is our facilitator and program designer. She is an educator and filmmaker who was raised with all four of her grandparents. She loves all kinds of stories, especially the truer-than-true ones. She’s also the creative mind behind “All I Can Tell You Is…”, a Podcast that answers tough life questions with true life stories. In every episode, a young person shares a conundrum and three elders shed light on it. Esther has a BA in Immigration Studies from Brown University and a Master’s in Education from Northwestern. 

MEET OUR BOARD!

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SUPRIYA KUMAR

Board Chair

Supriya Kumar is a senior partnerships manager at Candid. She supports the organization’s quantitative and qualitative research and data-driven initiatives with the goal of advancing knowledge and practice in philanthropy. She has over 10 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. Prior to Candid, she was an analyst at China Beige Book, one of the most comprehensive economic and financial surveys on the Chinese marketplace. She also served as the communications manager for the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research organization. She holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

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TAJREENA TABASSOOM

Treasurer

Tajreena Tabassoom is a partner at SeaChange, where she leads lending and investment activities, overseeing Contact Fund and The New York Pooled PRI Fund, both of which lend to New York City nonprofits, as well as The New York Impact Opportunities Fund, an impact investment vehicle that makes equity and credit investments. Prior to joining SeaChange, Taj worked in JPMorgan Chase’s credit risk and emerging markets groups. Taj initially gained exposure to nonprofits through consultancy work and volunteer board positions, the most recent with Women’s World Banking, where she advised the organization on the launching of micropension products for low-income women in India. She began her career working at Basel Asset Management, a hedge fund of funds. Taj holds a Master of International Affairs in Economic Development from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Baruch College. She sits on the board of the Life Life Story Club, a nonprofit that seeks to promote healthy aging and reduce social isolation amongst older adults.

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Lily Zhou

Founding Board Member

Born into a Chinese family, Lily’s parents had grown up in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution which required a rejection of the past. Family ties, cultural traditions and Confucian principles of respect for the elderly all became revolutionary targets in an attempt to erase old culture and customs. As a teenager in Illinois, Lily knew virtually nothing about the generations of her family that had lived before her. This felt like a huge gap, a disorienting loss.  

Twenty years later, in 2019, Lily began volunteering in a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. She wanted to help older adults record their family histories so that young people could grow up understanding more than she had about who they were and where they came from.  Lily discovered that while there was interest in recording stories, older adults were also feeling alone and isolated… and what they really wanted was to be together with other people, to record their stories in community with their peers. 

And so began Lily’s mission of using meaningful storytelling to foster community and purpose, and to stave off isolation and loneliness. 

Lily has a background in nonprofit management, data science and policy research. She earned her Master’s in Public Affairs at Columbia University.

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SABINE HOUBEN

Director

Sabine Houben is a Senior Associate in the Global Finance practice of Paul Hastings LLP and is based in the firm’s New York office. Sabine’s practice focuses on complex finance transactions and credit arrangements involving secured and unsecured loan and capital markets transactions for both U.S. and non-U.S. transactions, including leveraged buy-outs, bank/bridge commitments, first and second lien financings, mezzanine financings, and ABL facilities with a particular expertise in cross-border transactions. Sabine, represents across a variety of industries a broad array of private equity funds, corporate borrowers, alternative lenders and investors, other financial institutions and agents. Sabine obtained her J.D. from KULeuven, Belgium and LL.M. from UC Berkeley, Boalt, School of Law. Sabine also holds a master degree from HEC Paris, France, in law and international management.

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ZAINAB ASLAM

Director

Zainab Aslam is an Engagement Manager with The Chartis Group. Her work has focused across the Strategy and Performance practice in service of provider and payor clients. Ms. Aslam’s recent experience has focused on partnership and strategic organizational planning. Most recently, she worked with an academic health system to structure a partnership with a regional community system that would enable continued development of its academic enterprise. She has also worked with payors looking to partner with independent primary care providers on practice performance improvements. Beyond her strategic project portfolio, she has also worked on a number of performance improvement initiatives in areas such as perioperative optimization, care model redesign to address physician burnout, and plan development for health plan clinical quality.
Prior to joining The Chartis Group, Ms. Aslam worked at the investment bank at JPMorgan. Ms. Aslam holds an MBA from the School of Management and an MPH from the School of Public Health at Yale University. She also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Macaulay Honors College at Baruch (CUNY).

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NANCY FARRELL

Director

Nancy Farrell is the retired Chief Administrative Officer of the Weill Cornell Physician Organization. She held senior healthcare management positions at several academic medical centers in New York during her almost 40-year professional career.
Throughout her career and continuing to the present, Nancy is an active volunteer with nonprofit organizations primarily in the public health sector. Nancy was a Board Chair of Fountain House, a mental illness recovery organization with a national network of replica clubhouses, from 2014- 2019. At present, Nancy is on the Board of Managers of East Side Settlement House, a social services organization focused on the South Bronx, and Life Story Club that reduces social isolation among seniors through storytelling.
Nancy is past co-president of the Hermann Biggs Society, a Fellow at the New York Academy of Medicine, a member of the Episcopal Charities Advisory Group, and a member of the Cosmopolitan Club.

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Sahebba Sabherwal

Director

Sahebba Sabherwal works as an interim CFO for high growth technology companies. Prior to this she was CFO of Komodo Health and Nayya and she has spent 20+ years working at prominent technology companies like Google, Spotify and Pandora music. In her spare time Saiba has been actively involved in women’s empowerment as a founding member of Chief, and various social causes through her service on the Board of Hudson Guild. Sahebba earned a BA, Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in New York City with her family.
 

MEET OUR ADVISORY BOARD!

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ANN ADENBAUM

Retired from Weill Cornell Medicine

Ann Adenbaum retired from Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) in December 2020 after more than 33 years of distinguished service focused on the Revenue Cycle for the Physician Organization comprised of more than 1400 physicians.

Ann is a nationally recognized healthcare leader with a proven track record in academic medicine for establishing and meeting best financial performance, implementing new technology to streamline business processes, developing high-performance teams and guiding through change, leading with integrity and professionalism while delivering service excellence. Ann is a founding member and remains on the Board of the East Coast CORE, an EPIC electronic health record User Group. As a Revenue Cycle leader, Ann directed a team of more than 200 staff. She was a member of the WCM Billing and Compliance Oversight Committee that focused on ensuring Medicare and Medicaid billing practices were compliant with federal and state regulations. In addition, Ann guided patients, physicians and staff through the complexities of insurance benefits and claims adjudication.

Ann is proud of her lead role in the development of the La Guardia Community College Medical Billing Certificate Program in collaboration with La Guardia Community College, WCM Human Resources and the Harvard Business School NYC Alumni Group. Due to the program’s initial success, additional partners
included The New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH) and the NYC Department of Small
Business Services (SBS). The program has created a career path for unemployed or underemployed NYC residents while providing a feeder of trained candidates with ambition and potential to fill entry level Revenue Cycle positions at WCM and other NYC healthcare institutions.

Since January 2021, Ann has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Medicare Rights Center, a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives. Prior to her position at WCM, Ann held positions at New York City Health + Hospitals Woodhull Medical Center and State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. Ann has always shown an interest in science and healthcare. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

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MILTON SPEID

Executive Director at VC Include

Milton is an expert social impact advisor. Currently, he’s the Executive Director of VC Include, a platform created in 2018 to accelerate investment into historically underrepresented emerging managers — women, Black, Latinx, Indigenous and LGBTQ — to drive economic growth through the power of diversity. He has also held senior roles at The ImPact, Epic Foundation, TED Talks, and Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

At Epic, he worked closely with the founder and CEO to grow its network of charitable minded entrepreneurs in North America. While at TED, Milton helped fortune 500 companies share their best ideas with the world. During his first tenure at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, he advised companies on their philanthropic strategies including SAP, Dolby, SanDisk, LinkedIn, Texas Instrument, Stub Hub, and Intuit. At Bank of America Charitable Foundation, he was responsible for crafting and executing the community and employee engagement strategy for the San Francisco Bay Area.

As the son of Jamaican immigrants, Milton has a personal commitment to poverty alleviation and developing partnerships that maximize resources and achieve greater impact.

Milton holds a Psychology Degree from The University of Hartford. He sits on the Boards of several nonprofit organizations including, The International Center for Research on Women, We are Family Foundation, Equality League, and SEEDs of Africa. He’s also on the New York Committee for the Human Rights Watch. In 2018, Milton was selected as University of Hartford College of Arts and Sciences Alumni of the Year and was inducted into his High School Hall of Fame.

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SHEILA LIRIO MARCELO

Co-Founder and CEO of Ohai.ai and Founder of Care.com

Sheila Lirio Marcelo has more than 20 years of leadership experience in internet consumer marketplace businesses, including as the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ohai.ai, a cutting-edge technology startup leveraging generative AI to improve the lives of families. She was a former Venture Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and is a founding board member of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF).

Ms. Marcelo previously
founded Care.com in 2006 and took it public in 2014; she was Chairwoman and CEO until early 2020, when the company was sold to IAC. Ms. Marcelo has been honored with numerous accolades. She was just on Forbes 50 Over 50. She was one of Fortune’s Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs and appeared at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit. She is a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute, a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ms. Marcelo earned a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, which also conferred upon her an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2015. She has a J.D. and M.B.A. with honors from Harvard University. In 2014, Marcelo became the youngest recipient of the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement
Award.

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DR. ARDESHIR Z. HASHMI MD, FACP, FNAP, AGSF

Endowed Chair of Geriatric Innovation And Section Chief, The Center For Geriatric Medicine At Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Hashmi completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at Yale University and Internal Medicine residency at Yale-Saint Mary’s Hospital, serving as Chief Medical Resident. Trained at Massachusetts General Hospital, he rose to Faculty and Medical Director of MGH Senior Health-Harvard Medicine before transitioning to the Cleveland Clinic. A Fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, the American College of Physicians, and the National Academies of Practice, Dr. Hashmi is a graduate of leadership programs at Harvard Business School, certified as an Advanced Peer Coach through the Cleveland Clinic Center for Excellence in Coaching and Mentoring. He is Co-Chair of the national American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Patient Priorities Care and Health Systems Leadership Special Interest Group (SIG) and serves on the AGS Health Systems Innovation Economics & Technology Committee and the Society for General Internal Medicine’s Geriatrics Commission.

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DR. MIRNOVA CEÏDE

Associate Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry And Geriatric Medicine at Montefiore Einstein

Dr. Mirnova E. Ceïde, Associate Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry and Geriatric Medicine at Montefiore Einstein, is the Assistant Program Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship and Associate Director of Psychiatry at the Center for the Aging Brain. Completing her Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at SUNY Downstate, she joined Montefiore Medical Center in 2013. Dr. Ceïde, a consultant for Montefiore Home Care and the Center for the Aging Brain, globally presents on behavioral risk factors for dementia and psychiatric integration models. In 2018, she completed the Albert Einstein Clinical Research Training Program, earning a Master of Science in Clinical Research. Awarded grants for apathy and cognition in diverse populations, Dr. Ceïde spearheads Montefiore Einstein initiatives for non pharmacological interventions, collaborating with community-based organizations to support older adults with behavioral symptoms and cognitive disorders.

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ALLISON LICHTER

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

Allison Lichter, a journalist, educator, and innovator, presently serves as the Associate Dean at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. Formerly leading the program in Journalism + Design at The New School, Lichter connected traditional journalism with design, systems thinking, and community engagement. Her role included overseeing the undergraduate curriculum, conducting nationwide newsroom trainings, and creating a certificate program for community colleges to empower non-journalists with journalistic tools for civic impact. Starting her career at New York Public Radio, she later edited at the Wall Street Journal, contributing to Life & Culture, Corporate Management, and Audience Development desks. Lichter, along with journalist Lane Anderson, co-publishes a weekly newsletter on care work and the care economy.

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STEPHANI SHIVERS

Chief Innovation Officer of Caringkind, The Heart of Alzheimers’ Caregiving

Stephani Shivers serves as the Chief Innovation Officer at CaringKind, an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive care for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. CaringKind’s initiatives include programs for individuals with dementia, support for caregivers, awareness campaigns, research collaboration, and advocacy for public policy. With over 30 years of experience, Shivers, formerly Chief Operations Officer – VP Community Services at LiveWell (formerly Alzheimer’s Resource Center), drives systemic change in dementia services. Her extensive background in program development, operations, public speaking, teaching, consulting, and clinical practice spans sectors such as senior living, healthcare, education, disability services, community organizations, private foundations, and startups across the US and internationally.

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DR. JESSICA ZWERLING, MD, MS

Professor of Neurology
Director, Montefiore Hudson Valley Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease (CEAD)

Dr. Jessica Zwerling, MD, MS, specializes in identifying cognitive decline risk factors, dementia, and successful aging, with a focus on marginalized populations. Her research enhances healthcare delivery for equitable outcomes. At Montefiore Health System, she developed programs for Alzheimer’s care, recognized nationally. Zwerling advises on diversity in the workforce and neurodegenerative disease trials. A pioneer in age-friendly initiatives, she secured the highest recognition for her center. She contributes to Montefiore Neurology’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee as a founding faculty member. Zwerling is board certified in neurology and neuromuscular medicine by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She is a member of the American Geriatrics Society and the American Academy of Neurology. She has been named “2020 Health Care Hero” by Westchester Magazine, and was named one of the New York Super Doctors in The New York Times from 2016 to 2023. She has also been appointed to the Physician Leaders Program at Montefiore Health System.

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KAREN TAYLOR

NORC Program Director at Selfhelp Community Services

Karen Taylor has been a passionate advocate for older adults for 30 years. Her aging services career path began at UJA-Federation of New York, working on what was then a new concept: supporting older adults who moved into their homes decades ago to remain aging in place, rather than moving to a “planned” retirement community. Today, there are over 40 Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) programs in New York State. Karen’s work has come full circle: she now leads Selfhelp Community Service’s NORC Program in Jackson Heights/East Elmhurst, which serves 700 older adults who live in the Northridge, Southridge, and Brulene co-ops. The NORC program offers on-site health and social services, wellness programs, and information and referrals for older adults and their loved ones.

In the 2000’s, Karen was the Program Director for SAGE/Queens (now the Queens Center for Gay Seniors) in Jackson Heights, and then moved to SAGE/USA as the National Advocacy & Training Director. At SAGE/USA, Karen expanded and strengthened the affiliate network of SAGE programs across the country and built national consensus on LGBT aging advocacy through her facilitation of the National LGBT Aging Roundtable and implementation of the Fourth National Conference on LGBT Aging. 

Karen is also active in Jewish communities, and has served on the boards of synagogues in New York City and Long Island. She also served as Director of Jewish Outreach for Long Island Gay & Lesbian Youth, and worked with synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, and religious schools to create safe and inclusive spaces for young LGBT people.

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ELANA KIEFFER

Director of the New York Academy of Medicine’s Center for Healthy Aging

Elana Kieffer is the Director of The New York Academy of Medicine’s Center for Healthy Aging.
She has 15 years of experience working in a wide range of older adult services, with a focus on project management, program development, and sales and marketing. Prior to her time at the Academy, Elana worked at The New Jewish Home and at MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care. She also worked in affordable and market-rate senior housing for two Boston-based organizations, The Community Builders and Hebrew SeniorLife. Elana has an MBA in nonprofit management with a concentration in aging services from the Heller School at Brandeis University.

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JOHN L. DAMONTI

President of Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation

John Damonti recently retired as President of the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and Vice President of Patient Assistance and Global Corporate Giving for the Bristol Myers Squibb Company, a global bio pharmaceutical Company.

John has more than 40 years of experience working in the areas of health policy, government affairs and social responsibility. The mission of the BMS Foundation is to seek innovative approaches to reducing health disparities by strengthening community-based healthcare worker capacity, health system strengthening and supportive servicesand by mobilizing communities to fight disease. His leadership has focused on some of the world’s most challenging health issues of our time, such as HIV in Africa, hepatitis B and C in Asia and lung cancer and clinical trial diversity in the US to name a few. John also led the $4 Billion BMS Patient Assistance Foundation which provided BMS medicines free of charge to patients who were unable to afford their medications in the US and Puerto Rico.


John began his career as Manager of Community and Government Relations for Mutual of New York. He was also Director of the Primerica Foundation (predecessor company to Citigroup) and before joining Bristol-Myers Squibb served as Director of State Government Relations for Ciba-Geigy Corporation (now Novartis).

In addition to his professional accomplishments, he serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of the New York Academy of Medicine where he is also a Fellow and the advisory boards of Changing our World, Share My Meals, Baylor College of Medicine
and NOMI Network.

John received his Master’s in Social Work Policy from Fordham University and has also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Fordham University and the Baylor College of Medicine. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Princeton in Africa Medal, the Council on Foundation’s Robert Scrivner Award and the Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) Charles Moore Award.

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MICHAEL P. HOFFMAN

Chairman Emeritus and Senior Advisor, Changing Our World

Mike Hoffman is Chairman Emeritus and Senior Advisor of Changing Our World, a company he co-founded nearly two decades ago. Changing Our World was the first philanthropic services firm to provide fundraising, management and corporate social engagement strategy to nonprofits and corporations alike, and the first fundraising consultancy to become part of the Omnicom Group.

As an expert in philanthropy, Mike has provided strategic guidance to the world’s leading nonprofit organizations, philanthropies and corporations in organizational development, fundraising, branding and corporate social engagement. Among his clients are: Ascension Global Mission; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; The Case Foundation; Cordaid; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Scalabrini International Migration Network; and Synergos. Corporate clients have included Bally and Harry Winston.

Prior to founding Changing Our World, Mike was executive vice president of external affairs for the Franciscan Health Partnership, Inc., an international Catholic healthcare system with assets over $1.1 billion, and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Foundation, Inc., a multimillion-dollar international healthcare foundation.

Mike has served as a trustee of the College of Mount St Vincent, the Catholic University of America and Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, and as a board member of The END Fund and the Ursuline School. He is currently on the development committee of The Culinary Institute of America and is chairman of the board of advisors for Seeds of Africa in Ethiopia. He is president and CEO of The Hoffman Brothers Foundation.

Mike is a past president of the West Point Society of New York, and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is a graduate of West Point and holds masters’ degrees in human relations from Webster University and aviation management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Mike and his wife, Maggie, have three children: Siobhan, Michael and Shannon.

MEET THE ELDER COUNCIL

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WANDA DOBSON

Club participant since 2020


Wanda is a mother, grandmother, and longtime resident of Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy community. Her creative passions include writing, collages, storytelling, book art, found object art, and sharing. She is also a retiree who works part-time with older adult programs and communities.

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Life Story Club organizes small social clubs for older adults to share life stories, to foster connections and enhance a sense of belonging and purpose.

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