Tish Henry, MEd, Board Presidenttishhenry@connectingforkids.org
Tish has been in education for 26 years. She received her bachelors degree from Kent State University in Elementary Education. She then went on to get her special education license and her Masters Degree in School Counseling from Cleveland State. Tish has taught at all grade levels in both regular and special education. Currently, she works as a crisis coordinator for Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Tish lives in Westlake with her husband and two children.
Stephanie McNamara, JD, Vice President
Stephanie McNamara has a BA in International Relations from Boston University and a JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is a Guardian Ad Litem with Voices for Children, Lorain County’s CASA program. Stephanie serves on the Board of Directors of Game On and is active at Westlake United Methodist Church. She lives in Bay Village with her husband, Mickey, and her two children.
Susie M. Akers, RDN, LD, CLC
Susie is a pediatric dietitian working with specialty medical teams in the Cleveland area for over 20 years. She recently became certified as a lactation counselor and hopes to educate families on healthy feeding habits to benefit their health today and tomorrow. In her free time, she loves cooking, gardening, being physically active and spending time with friends and family.
Christine Chambers, MEd, OTR/L
My passion is working with children. I have been a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for over 30 years. I treat from a Sensory Integrative, play-based approach which means my "work day" is all about being creative and having fun. The children that I work are exciting and energetic; they keep me hopping and teach me something new every day. I am never bored! I am also blessed to have a wonderful husband and two amazing adult daughters. We like to be outdoors as much as possible: taking walks, bike rides, hiking, swimming, camping, having campfires and just enjoying our life together. I am so excited to be a part of Connecting for Kids. They do such a wonderful job of helping families meet new friends and find fun community activities, as well as connect with much needed therapy/medical services.
Alaka Chandurkar, MD
Dr. Chandurkar has been a general pediatrician on the west side of Cleveland since 1986 and is interested in parent education as well as teaching children importance of healthy body and healthy mind. She and her husband of 45 years, Dr. Sudhakar Chandurkar, have one son, Dr. Rohit Chandurkar, one daughter, Menaka Chandurkar, and three grandchildren.
I have had the honor of working with children and some adults in a clinical setting at the Silver Lining Group for the last 11 years. I began my career as a Behavior Technician in a direct care role and have since worked in a variety of other supervisory roles, including my current one of Training Coordinator. I received Bachelor's Degrees in History and Psychology from Cleveland State University and have lived in the greater Cleveland area all my life. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and watching live music. I am thrilled to join the board of Connecting for Kids, which is a fantastic organization I have long admired.
Ryan Kilbane is a commercial banker at KeyBank. He works with middle market businesses in Northeastern Ohio, including manufacturing, distribution, service and non-profit companies. A native Clevelander, Ryan and his family live on the west side. In his free time, Ryan is an avid runner, golfer and reader.
Lois Leonard, MEd
Lois is a retired educator who taught in the elementary grades for 33 years, most of them at Hilliard Elementary in Westlake. She received her BA from Allegheny College and MEd from Cleveland State University. Additionally she is certified in gifted education. Lois’s favorite pastime is traveling with her husband Mark, and spending time with family and friends. She loves being outdoors either hiking, biking, or practicing her newest hobby disc golf. She is thrilled to have more time to read since her retirement in 2018. Lois and Mark live in Westlake and have two sons.
Veronica Liebchen, RDN, LD
Veronica is the dietitian for Northern Ohio at Shield Healthcare. Veronica earned bachelor’s degrees in Dietetics and in Sociology as an adult student from the University of Akron, and is currently working on the completion of her Master’s degree in Public Health. Veronica has spent the last decade working in community-based nutrition, and focuses on access to quality healthcare, which includes family and caregiver support and education. She is very passionate about empowering families and caregivers to advocate and provide the best quality of life for their children. Prior to working as a dietitian, Veronica was a daycare director and is attributed with creating inclusion programs for children with disabilities. Veronica resides in Strongsville, with her teenage son and too many houseplants, and has a daughter living in Columbus, Ohio, attending THE Ohio State University.
Bryan is a Business and Finance Director at Avnet, Inc. He manages the financial, administrative and other aspects of several business units at Avnet. As a foster parent, he has experience raising children with various needs and he has seen how difficult finding resources to support those needs can be for families. Bryan and his family like to go camping, travel and try new things. Bryan is excited to contribute to an already-great organization.
Santosh Mishra, PhD
Dr. Santosh Mishra is a banking executive with 15+ years of combined experience in banking sector and academia and is currently the Head of Credit Modeling and Analytics at KeyCorp. Santosh resides in Avon, Ohio with his wonderful wife (Trupti) and adorable son (Bidwat). He is passionate about literature and philanthropy and his desire to contribute to the future of the next generation aligns perfectly with the vision of Connecting for Kids.
Julia M. Pritchard
Julia is the owner of Fortitude Fitness, a personal training gym in Indianapolis, where she moved from in 2018. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and Behavior Change Specialist and has expanded her business to virtual and private training here in Cleveland. She also serves as Board Chair for Storefront Theatre of Indianapolis. Julia grew up in North Ridgeville, and after living out of state for 13 years, she is excited to get involved in the nonprofit world in Cleveland, starting with Connecting for Kids. Julia recently moved from downtown Cleveland to Bay Village with her husband (Tom), young daughter (Avery), and dog (Jax).
Joanne M. Smallwood, MBA
Joanne works for KeyBank Wealth Management as Director of Strategy Implementation. In this role, she serves as Editorial Chair for Key’s Wealth Institute and manages firm initiatives aimed to improve client experience and streamline internal processes. Joanne has a BA from Ohio State University and an MBA with a finance concentration from Ashland University. As a parent of two children with varying needs, Joanne has personally felt Connecting for Kids' impact over the last 10 years. Joanne lives in Lakewood with her husband and two children and enjoys running, biking and playing the saxophone.
Kristi is an Associate Vice President at Falls & Co., a Marketing, Communications and Digital firm located in downtown Cleveland. She received her bachelor's degree in Speech Communication and Marketing Promotion from Miami University. Kristi lives in Avon with her husband Patrick and sons, Ryan and Aidan. During the winter months, you'll find Kristi and her family either playing or watching sports; while summers their time is spent at Catawba boating on Lake Erie. "Being a parent is overwhelming - especially navigating the pressures and influences of today's society. I was so excited to find Connecting for Kids to help unite with other parents to learn and share experiences and resources to do what's best for our kids and our families."
Beth Phillips Synk
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Beth is a communications lead on the Provider Communications team at Cigna. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Western Ontario in London, ON. After college, she spent several years living and working in Washington, DC before returning to her hometown of Cleveland. She lives in Rocky River with her husband (Mike) and two young daughters (Annabelle and Imogen). As they navigate raising a child with global developmental delays, Connecting for Kids has been an invaluable resource for Beth’s family, and she is excited to help further the mission of this vital organization. In her free time, Beth enjoys traveling, being active and spending time with friends and family.
Shavaun Tucker, LISW
Shavaun is a Prevention Social Worker at Bellefaire JCB. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters of Social Work from Cleveland State. She lives in Pepper Pike with her husband, Todd, and their three children.