Our Team

Leadership 

Howard Olshansky - Executive Director

Howard joined Jewish Family Services of Greater Charlotte in 2016. He has an impressive 28 year background as a leader of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations in a variety of industries, ensuring mission fulfillment and sound financial viability.

Howard has expertise in organizational, operational, and management and has successfully led capital campaigns, endowment growth, donor cultivation and stewardship efforts. He brings vision, passion, and experience to take JFS to new heights of service to the Charlotte community.

Prior to coming to Charlotte and JFS, Howard led numerous organizations including Boys Town, Nevada, The Children’s Place at Home Safe in West Palm Beach, The Arc of the Piedmont in Charlottesville, Va. and The Arc of Palm Beach County. He was also executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Ostroff Group in Boca Raton, overseeing operations and providing consulting services primarily to Jewish nonprofits.

To reach Howard, please contact him at howard.olshansky@jfscharlotte or  704-364-6594.

Rachel Green, MSW, LCSW - Director of Programs and Services
   

As Clinical Director of Programs and Services, Rachel Green is responsible for guiding, managing and directing all aspects and functions of JFS’ programs and services, including program planning, development and delivery. She supervises all clinical and programmatic staff. She comes to JFS with an extensive background in community mental health and non-profit clinical management. As the Director of Mental Health Programs of South Bay Children’s Health Center, a non-profit agency located in Redondo Beach, CA, Rachel managed outpatient, in-home, and school-based mental health services.  Just prior to coming to JFS Rachel worked  as a Licensed Mental Health Clinician for Mecklenburg County Trauma Justice Partnership in the Child Development, Community Policing Program.

Rachel holds certifications in Triple P Parenting and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, both evidence-based therapy practices. She is a Diplomate and Certified Member of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. 

Rachel is a native of Greensboro, N.C. and is happy to be back in the Tar Heel state! 

Susan Meyer - Development Manager

Susan has a diverse background in building relationships, leading events and inspiring committees and staff in the successful execution of vibrant annual campaigns and in engaging fundraising events.

Susan, who is deeply committed and connected to the Jewish community she has lived in for the past 29 years, takes great pride in working with a variety of stakeholders to build and increase financial resources for JFS.

Her previous role at JFS, handling donations and processing tribute cards, combined with her passion for “doing good” in the community she lives in, makes Susan ideal for her current position.

Prior to coming to JFS, Susan honed her craft of developing relationships in the hospitality industry where she specialized in sales and marketing for over 20 years. 

Susan is a graduate of Georgia State University.

 

 

Elizabeth (Beth) Leonard - Administrative Services Manager

Bio Coming Soon!

 

Clinical Staff 

Claire Alessi Cabellos, MTS, MSW, LCSW - Clinical Therapist
    

Claire Cabellos is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who works with teens, adults, seniors and LGBTQ+ people to address a range of concerns including depression, anxiety, relationships, self-esteem, life transitions and spiritual/faith integration. 

Believing that the therapeutic experience can provide the clarity and support that every individual needs in order to make the best decisions for their life, Claire empowers her clients using an eclectic therapeutic style. She incorporates a blend of evidence-based, client-centered interventions from a variety of therapeutic orientations such as the mindfulness- based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), solutions-based therapy, psychotherapy and narrative therapy.

Through open communication, empathy and promoting self-resiliency, Claire has the ability to connect and build positive therapeutic alliances.  Her experience as a high school teacher in inner-city Chicago earned her two AmeriCorps Education Awards which led to her work with adjudicated juveniles at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center in Concord, NC, where she collaborated with clinical treatment teams and developed curricula for trauma and skills-based group therapies.

Claire received her Masters of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Masters of Theological Studies from Duke University. She is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and serves on the board of Transcend Charlotte, a local non-profit agency that provides social services to those who identify across the gender and sexuality spectrum.

Loriann DeVito, MSW, LCSW-A - Clinical Therapist

Loriann DeVito completed her Masters of Social Work at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.  Since that time, her primary focus has been in crisis intervention for individuals and families experiencing complex mental health emergencies. By tapping into her wealth of knowledge of community resources, she was able to develop customized treatment plans designed to stabilize a situation or environment. She has worked with children, adults and the senior population, employing various interventions including the mindfulness-based Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and a person-centered approach.

Helping people through challenging situations and transitions, Loriann views people as experts of themselves and of their own lives. She is passionate about people having access to mental health services and believes the therapy relationship to be a powerful healing tool, building positive therapeutic alliances with her clients through open communication, intensive and caring listening and open-hearted support. 

Amanda Levine MSW, LCSW-A - Senior Engagement Therapist

Amanda Levine, clinical therapist, earned her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Loyola University in Chicago. It was through her two internships working with memory impairment and kids and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities that she became passionate about working with older adults. 

With a specialization in Geriatric Mental Health, her primary focus is on the health issues specific to senior populations and the challenges associated with aging, such as life transitions, grief, loss, stress, depression, depression-related isolation, anxiety and managing family relationships. Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and a person-centered approach, she assists seniors with life decisions brought about during the aging process. 

Through an honest, non-judgmental and safe environment, Amanda is able to empower her clients to work on sensitive challenges, slowly working to get them where they want to be. Her approach is strength-based and solution-focused.  She feels that few people are prepared to deal with aging-related issues and views her role as one of educator, partner and advocate, assisting clients in navigating resources and encouraging them to become their own advocates. 

Alexis Strouse, MSSW, LCSW - Clinical Therapist

Alexis Strouse is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), who specializes in working with children, adolescents and adults. As a youth advocate, she helps her clients adjust and cope during different transitional states, providing them with the knowledge and skills needed for situations at home, in school and with their peers. Her therapeutic orientation is client-centered, solutions-based therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  She uses her previous knowledge and experience as a school counselor to help youth develop social skills and coping skills to manage life’s transitions and adverse events. 

Alexis, certified in the evidence-based Triple P Positive Parenting Program, utilizes Triple P principles to enable parents to manage their child’s mild to severe behaviors in order to build stronger relationships with their children.

Through open communication, empathy and self-empowerment to promote self-resiliency, Alexis has the ability to connect and build positive therapeutic alliances. 

Alexis’ strengths lie in her ability to connect parents and children or adolescents through building a shared understanding and partnership. 

Alexis earned her Master’s of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in New York City and her undergraduate degree in psychology from The University of Michigan.

Senior Engagement Staff 

Sheryl Gerrard - Senior Engagement Manager
   

A former psychologist with experience in hospitals, schools and private practice, Sheryl is the Senior Engagement Manager for JFS, responsible for developing and executing all programs and services delivered to senior adults geographically dispersed throughout the greater Charlotte area. She ensures the diversity of offerings and integrity of Jewish experiences for seniors living on their own or in a residential community and for local area Holocaust survivors and their family members. 

As an expert in community resources, Sheryl provides support, information and knowledgeable direction for those planning care options for senior family members or for themselves. 

Sheryl graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Psychology; a Masters in Clinical Psychology from The New School in NYC and she holds a Post-Masters Certification in School Psychology from Montclair State University. She recently graduated with a Certificate in Gerontology from UNC-Charlotte, is now part of the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners and is an Alzheimer’s Association Community Educator.

Dana Kapustin - Senior Engagement Specialist
   

Dana joined the JFS family in June 2018 and quickly became part of the fabric of the agency. She has been instrumental in assisting with the creation and development of programs for Holocaust Survivors and the 2nd /3rd generation community. Her love of learning each survivor’s personal story led to her involvement and an increased role in all things related to our community’s seniors and Holocaust survivors.

Very involved in the Jewish community through various leadership roles, Dana brings her energy and passion to everything she does.  She helped create the Levine Jewish Community Center Butterfly Project and educated over 6,000 middle school students. She is an Educator with the Anti-Defamation League and as a graduate of the 2016 Glass Leadership Institute, she works nationwide to educate teachers on How to Teach Holocaust to their students.   

Administrative Staff 

Bonnie Bonomo - Marketing Specialist
 

Marketing, branding and media expert, Bonnie Bonomo, has seen first-hand how communicating with different audiences has shifted in numerous ways over the years.  

For over 3 decades Bonnie has advised employers and clients on their marketing, public relations, communications and outreach strategies to help them achieve maximum exposure and acceptance within their communities.  Through planning, creating, developing and most importantly real-life in the trenches hands-on experience, she has the ability to quickly adapt to new environments, bringing fresh ideas and concepts to each individual scenario, campaign and project. 

Before coming to JFS, Bonnie held many positions within the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 caregiving organization. During her tenure, she was the Program Director of a caregiver resource center, National Director of Operations, overseeing branding, marketing, communications and program integrity for 10 centers nationwide, and ultimately served as their chief of operations. Unlike many others, 

After graduating from the University of Florida, Bonnie began her career in the advertising agency industry working primarily on the McDonald’s Restaurants of Southeast and Southwest Florida account.

Jean Morgan - Client Services Specialist

 

As the Client Services Specialist, Jean is often the first face you will see or voice you will hear when coming in contact with JFS. She is responsible for the overall effectiveness, efficiency and customer service aspects of our counseling program, setting a supportive atmosphere for all callers, visitors, and staff.

Throughout her 30-year professional career, Jean developed a keen sense of delivering exceptional customer interactions in the insurance industry where she held a variety of positions in customer service, staffing and management.

 

 

Roberta Rodgers - Community Liaison

Roberta Rodgers joined Jewish Family Services of Greater Charlotte in 2017 as the Community Liaison. She is responsible for the vision and strategic direction of the volunteer program, assisting with JFS’ collaborative events in the community and representing JFS with other agencies, schools, organizations and stakeholders. She also ensures and oversees the smooth running of the JFS Food Pantry.

Roberta has lived in Charlotte and been involved in the Jewish community for more than 20 years serving in many different capacities. She is a Registered Nurse, earned her MBA from Fordham University and her Bachelors of Science degree from the University City of Vermont.

Executive Director’s Message

Welcome to Jewish Family Services’ website. I hope whether you are visiting our site to access support, interested in helping out or just looking to gain more information about JFS that you are able to easily find the information you need.

Jewish Family Services of Greater Charlotte has been serving our community for 40 years. With the support of our community, JFS is providing critical services to members of our community. We are committed to raising awareness around social issues impacting our community as well as celebrating Jewish culture and traditions.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are unaable to access the specific information you need or if you have further questions. JFS staff are here to help.

Thank you for your interest in JFS!

Howard Olshansky

Executive Director

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