I joined Challenge in November of 2015. Prio to that I served as the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, creating and completing a capital campaign of over $6 million while building new health centers in Hornell, Corning and Ithaca.
i have served as Executive Director of the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center in Boston, and as Assistant VP of Operations for Community Healthcare Network in New York City. In these positions I lived and learned the difficult but rewarding work of running community-based non-profit health organizations. Before that, I served on the legislative and district staff of New York State Senator Catherine Abate; I began my career as a grassroots activist with the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Skilled and experienced in non-profit management, community health operations, legislative advocacy and leadership development, My focus at Challenge Workforce Solutions is to steer the agency through a difficult financial recovery while deepening the integration between Challenge’s mission and its businesses, and increasing visibility and impact for the community.
i live in Cayuga Heights with his wife, Mary Schiavone and son, Julian Sammons.
Director of Human Resources and
My favorite things about Challenge are Wednesday afternoon bus duty; Thursday morning visits from my pal KW; getting emails from staff of a community placement; listening to the inspiring stories at the awards dinner; and of course Donut Day!!!I am working on my 26th year at Challenge.
Director of Employment and
I have almost 40 years experience providing services and management of residential and employment services for individuals with disabilities. I have worked in senior management at Challenge for 17 years, served as faculty at Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute and The Institute for Community Inclusion in Boston providing staff training and technical assistance related to Employment and Transition from School to Work. I have served as co-author and principal evaluator on multiple state and federal grants. In my current position, I am responsible for the development and implementation of all pre-vocational, employment and other support services to youth and adults with disabilities and other employment barriers. When not at work I live with my husband Doug Bayer and our two dogs, Gabe and Zak, in our retreat in Danby where we enjoy hiking, swimming, x-country skiing with the dogs and reading good mystery novels.
Director of Development
I have been working at Challenge since October 1, 2014. Deciding to change careers late in life and join the Challenge family was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My role here is not just what I do it’s become who I am. It’s hard to point to one thing as the best part of working at Challenge. I am grateful every day that I can work alongside some of the most genuinely caring and dedicated people I have ever met. The is no greater feeling than knowing the work you do helps other people pursue and accomplish their dreams. If you believe it you can achieve it!
Director of Social Enterprise
I started at Challenge as the General Manager of Commercial Cleaning in December of 2016 and have been the Director of Social Enterprises as of July 2017. Prior to that I worked in both the private and public sector in various jobs and positions which including being on the ground floor of the Health and Safety Department at T-S-T BOCES. I also spent many years at Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services (CARS) as the administrator of a 60 bed residential facility for the treatment of drugs and alcohol. As an Entrepreneur, I owned and operated a Health and Safety consulting business as well a house painting and repair business. I have always had a core belief that the work that I do be meaningful and helpful. The opportunity to help grow Challenge’s businesses and continue to grow their financial success while having an important social impact on our community is very exciting to me.
It is my lifelong experiences and core principles that have lead me to Challenge, where my belief that dignity, respect and opportunity are fundamental rights of all human beings. It is with these core principles that I embark on the challenges that are offered to me as the Director of Social Enterprise.