Meet Our Executive Team and Leadership Council
President & CEO
Bob Arnold has been the President and CEO of Family Centers for over 30 years. Since assuming the agency’s top role in 1982, Bob has led Family Centers through a time of significant growth to better meet the community’s needs. By leading seven successful mergers, Bob has helped shape Family Centers into a multi-faceted organization that assists over 23,000 children and adults each year. Bob is a past chairman of the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies, a past president of the Greenwich Kiwanis Club and has served on a variety of advisory boards and task forces. He holds a Masters degree from Columbia University and is a licensed social worker and marriage and family therapist.
Chief Operating Officer
Carole Elias' career with Family Centers began in 1989 and she is currently the agency's Chief Operating Officer. Carole oversees Family Centers' clinical and outreach programs, self-sufficiency programs, Early Care and Education preschools, as well as workplace services. She holds a Masters of Social Work degree from Columbia University's School of Social Work, where she was an adjunct professor for over 10 years. Carole also completed post-graduate training at the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy in New York City and has been licensed for more than 20 years as a clinical social worker in both Connecticut and New York.
Chief Advancement Officer
Jim Vivier started with Family Centers in 1999 as the agency’s first Marketing Director. After serving as Vice President of Development and Communications for 12 years, Jim assumed his new role of Chief Advancement Officer in November 2016. In addition to continuing to oversee Family Centers’ development initiatives, Jim works closely with the Human Resources and IT departments to improve employee and agency advancement. Jim has been a member of the Greenwich Rotary Club since 2001, and was Club President from 2011-12. He is also a Board member of his church, Sacred Heart Parish in Greenwich. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from Arizona State University and an MBA from Sacred Heart University.
Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Stephanie Johnson manages the accounting and finance functions of Family Centers. Prior positions included head of finance at a variety of organizations including both public companies and smaller venture capital backed firms. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music from Oberlin College, an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and an Advanced Certificate in Accounting from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business.
Senior Vice President
Bob Short joined Family Centers in 1976 as a clinician working in several outreach programs and providing general clinical services. He moved up the ranks to eventually become a Senior Vice President overseeing licensing and accreditation, and managing Family Centers’ various facilities. Additionally, he manages the Greenwich School Readiness grant and serves as the Greenwich School Readiness Liaison to the Office of Early Childhood. Bob also collaborates with the Greenwich Commission on Aging, a partner in the Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program. Bob also serves as the agency's HIPPA Officer.
Leslie P. Sexer
Leslie P. Sexer oversees and develops Family Centers’ programs aimed at persevering at-risk families and preventing child abuse and neglect. She also works to foster community partnerships and facilitate initiatives with collective social impact results. In 2016, Sexer launched two collaborative projects focused on closing the achievement gap for low income families in Stamford and Greenwich. Leslie started at Family Centers in 2006 as the agency’s Director of Clinical Outreach Services and WorkLife Solutions.
Dennis Torres leads Family Centers’ medical, dental and mental health programs and services. Under his oversight, he has helped to create access to critical primary health, dental and health education services for thousands of Fairfield County residents. This past summer, Dennis led the opening of Family Centers Health Care – a Federally Qualified Health Center offering medical, dental and mental health services to public housing residents in Greenwich. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Fredonia College, a J.D. from Pace University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University.
Bill Brucker drives Family Centers’ marketing, communications and strategic planning efforts. In addition to growing the agency’s overall brand awareness through effective public relations, marketing, social media and e-media tactics, Bill was also instrumental in the development of Family Centers’ latest strategic plan. He also facilitated a comprehensive review of the agency’s overall economic value along with the Harvard Business School – Community Partners. Bill holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Quinnipiac University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, also from Quinnipiac.
Chief Technology Officer
Joe Fox is the Chief Technology officer of Fairfield County Information Technology Collaborative (FCITC), the shared IT collaborative between Family Centers, Family and Children’s Agency and LifeBridge Community Services. Joe brings more than 20 years of technology experience in development, delivery and operation of business enabling solutions. He also has many years of experience building out and leading enterprise IT organizations, platforms and services to ensure organizations have the right technology, people and policies to meet business objectives. In his role, Joe is responsible for shaping long-term operations and technology while driving innovation across all three agencies.
Senior Director of Behavioral Health
Stephanie Haen, LCSW oversees all clinical-based programs, including the Center for HOPE, Counseling & Mental Health Program, Trauma Response and The Den for Grieving Kids. In addition to providing psychotherapy to clients, facilitating crisis intervention services and supervising the agency’s clinical team, Stephanie implements oversees the maintenance of regulatory standards, serves as a liaison to community providers and engages in community awareness activities. She is also a level I certified AEDP therapist with a post graduate certificate from NYU in Clinical Supervision. Stephanie holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree from Providence College.
Director of Early Care and Education
Yenny Toone, MSW brings 15 years of combined social work, program coordination and education experience to Family Centers’ Early Care and Education program. As the program director oversees all operational and education aspects of the Early Care and Education and Greenwich Head Start programs. Yenny has been trained by The Ackerman Institute for the Family, the Parents as Teachers Supervisors Curricula, and various Head Start Leadership Institutes. Her proven expertise in the field of Early Childhood has been displayed in discussion panels for the Office of Head Start webinar trainings as well as in her key role of implementing innovative program models such as Family Childcare and a Parent as Teachers Baby School model.
Director of Self Sufficiency
Gayle Paquin, MSW is the Director of Self Sufficiency, and oversees all programs focusing on the areas of self-sufficiency, supportive housing/independent living, literacy, and senior services. In her role, Gayle also fosters collaborative relationships with internal partners, community partners and stakeholders. Gayle earned a Masters of Social Work from Fordham University and a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut University.
Director of Development
Brooks Truesdell joined Family Centers in June of 2018 with over 10 years of experience in Development, including work with foundations and individuals at Save the Children, event planning with Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation and Development operations at the International Rescue Committee. In her role at Family Centers, Brooks oversees donor engagement and events, corporate and foundation relations, fundraising appeals and database operations, in order to raise critical funds to support the continuation and expansion of integral and innovative programs for our neighbors in the Lower Fairfield County community.
Director of Human Resources
Joanne Derwallis is an accomplished HR professional with over 20 years of experience in the Financial Services, Non-Profit and Technology sectors. Joanne is responsible for leading the effort and executing on Human Resource objectives, strategies, policies, and programs aligned with Family Center’s strategic directions. Joanne holds a Bachelors in Sociology from Clark University and is certified through the Human Resource Certification Institute as a Senior Human Resource Professional (SPHR).
Director of Quality Assurance & Data Management
Melissa Schreff joined Family Centers in 1998, and held a variety of positions in the agency’s Early Care and Education program and within the Administrative team. As Director of Quality Assurance and Data Management, Melissa works with all Family Centers staff to develop, implement and maintain systems that ensure high quality and effective services to clients. She also helps program directors to collect and maintain data and statistics that reflect productivity and outcomes. Melissa holds MBA from the University of Connecticut and a BA from Rice University.