JAMES L. KAUFMAN, LCSW-R, President and CEO
Joining the agency in February 2013, James Kaufman comes to Abbott House with a long and notable record of achievement in social services. He began his career with Westchester Jewish Community Services where he was a Psychiatric Social Worker and later Clinical Director over an eleven-year period. After a year with Professional Services Center for the Handicapped as the Assistant Director for MR/DD Services, Mr. Kaufman joined Family Services of Westchester. From 1995 to 2013, he has served as Program Director, Senior Program Director, Vice President, and most recently Senior Vice President of Family Services of Westchester. Mr. Kaufman holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology and Behavioral Medicine Psychology, respectively, from the University of Miami and a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
LUIS A. RODRIGUEZ, MD, Senior Vice President
Dr. Rodriguez is an accomplished administrator in many fields with a resume that includes work in social services, human resources and healthcare. He has worked in both the profit and not-for-profit realms and brings this knowledge to our agency. At Abbott House, Dr. Rodriguez acts as the main administrator for all child welfare and clinical programs. Dr. Rodriguez received his advanced training in Pediatrics and Child/Adult Psychiatry from Harvard University, and his Master’s in Business Administration from the City University of New York.
GERARD P. FINN, CPA, Senior Vice President & CFO
With over 25 years of accounting experience, Gerard Finn blends his in-depth knowledge of nonprofit accounting with an expertise in accounting systems to help the executive team successfully grow each of Abbott House’s programs. His professional history illustrates his innate capability to identify potential problem areas and design solutions to ensure a secure and strong financial foundation. Mr. Finn possesses a strong knowledge of OPWDD funding and rate setting as well as procedural systems. Joining Abbott House in 2010, Mr. Finn is responsible for overseeing all contract funding, reporting, investments, accounts and audits.
MYRA C. GRAY, Vice President for Human Resources
Since joining the staff in 1977, Myra Gray has spent the majority of her professional career serving in the field of Human Resource Management. She was promoted to the position of Assistant Executive Director for Human Resources in 2004. At Abbott House, Ms. Gray is responsible for the development and implementations of all policies, programs and benefits offered through the agency’s Human Resources Department. She also serves as a member of the Abbott House Executive Management Team. Ms. Gray holds a BS in Community and Human Services from Empire State College and did graduate work at Manhattanville College.
JUSTINE CHRISTAKOS, LMSW, Vice President of Programs
Justine Christakos joined the Abbott House family as the Vice President of Programs on February 1, 2016. She spent the last 22 years working at ARC of Rockland holding various Administrative positions, with her last position being the Associate Executive Director for Day Habilitation Services. In her role as VP of Programs, Ms. Christakos is responsible for the Services for People with Developmental Disabilities (SPDD) Program and for the Bridges to Health (B2H) Program. Ms. Christakos holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College and a Master of Social Work degree from New York University. She is a licensed Master Social Worker.
LAUREN CANDELA-KATZ, MSW, CFRE, Director of Development & Communications
Lauren Candela-Katz recently joined the team at Abbott House as Director of Development & Communications. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and speaker with over 25 years of nonprofit experience helping small and large organizations achieve their goals. Lauren founded LCK Consulting in 2013 to help nonprofits develop and evolve their culture of philanthropy to achieve their missions and works with nonprofits on board development to help them maximize their organizational effectiveness. Her recent experience includes serving as the VP of Development and Communication for Hudson River Healthcare, the Capital Campaign Director for White Plains Hospital and has consulted with a variety of clients, including achieving the capital campaign to build The Trove at the White Plains Library. Lauren is a board member of AFP Westchester, Chair of Westchester’s National Philanthropy Day, and a committee member of the National AFP Fundraising Effectiveness Project. She is also a 2015 Volunteer New York Leadership Westchester graduation and was honored with the 2008 Professional Fundraiser of the Year Award by the Association of Development Officers. Lauren earned a Master’s Degree of Social Work from Yeshiva University and a BA from The Ohio State University.