Please note that our offices will be closed on Wednesday, June 19th in observance of Juneteenth.

Meet our Team

Meet our staff! At The Gathering Place we’re dedicated to helping you connect with the right individual when you or someone you know is touched by cancer. When you reach out to a member of our staff, you will discover programs and services we offer to support, educate and empower individuals and families free of charge.


Headshot for Michele Seyranian
Michele Seyranian

Chief Executive Officer

Michele brings strong leadership skills and a deep connection to The Gathering Place. Most recently she worked with Hospice of the Western Reserve as its Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer. Before that, she held several executive positions at KeyCorp (KeyBank). Michele is a proven and dynamic leader whose skills and personal appreciation for the mission of The Gathering Place make her uniquely qualified to be our successor CEO.

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Adam Ross

Chief Development Officer

Adam has years of development experience & comes to The Gathering Place after 9 years as VP of Development with Vocational Guidance Services. Throughout his 20 year career in the non-profit sector, Adam has been responsible for fundraising, marketing, public relations, budgeting, human resources, program development, mentoring, strategic planning, & business development. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University & a member of the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Bridge Builders Class of 2014.

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Karen Hatfield

Chief Program Officer

Karen brings a unique blend of expertise, collaboration, and perspective to The Gathering Place. Previously serving as Director of Grief Services for Hospice of the Western Reserve, Karen served as Director of Integrative Therapies and Dementia Education Coordinator for Heather Hill Care Communities in Chardon for over 12 years. A Board-Certified Music Therapist by background, Karen holds the credential of Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator (CHPCA) through the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association. Karen’s strategic approach to community health and support services positively impacts the well-being of our participants and programs. Karen holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Baldwin Wallace University and a Master’s Degree in Music Therapy from Temple University.

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Jeff Stanicki

VP, Partner Engagement

Jeff brings a wealth of experience building relationships with healthcare systems and community partners to promote growth and continued awareness. Prior to joining TGP, Jeff spent 16 years at Hospice of the Western Reserve where he most recently served as the Vice President of Marketing and Provider Relations. Jeff holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Cleveland State University with a focus on Interpersonal Communication and Group Dynamics. He is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and is trained in mediation. He served as past Board President of Association of Specialists in Aging and currently volunteers with Lake County Council on Aging.

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Suzette Stanitz

Manager of Finance and Operations

Suzette brings decades of successful experience in Executive Administration, Human Resource Management and Payroll Processing to The Gathering Place. Suzette has a professional interest in public service and is passionate about serving her community. She considers it an honor to work with the talented team at The Gathering Place, helping individuals on their cancer journey.

Marketing & Administration

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Holly Bhatt

Volunteer Services Manager

With a background in marketing and a love for volunteering, Holly strives to bring more opportunities to the community to contribute to The Gathering Place’s mission. She offers years of experience in volunteer management from Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, MedWish International, University Hospitals’ Seidman Cancer Center and Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Holly earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications at John Carroll University.

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Beth Elsass

Outreach Manager

As The Gathering Place’s Outreach Manager, Beth is more than just “handshakes and smiles,” (although she loves both). With a broad scope of experience, ranging from integrated marketing communications to non-profit work, she’s skilled in identifying and building meaningful relationships with community and healthcare partners. She takes pride in delivering service excellence and is passionate about increasing awareness of The Gathering Place’s innovative programs that support individuals touched by cancer. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and resides in Bay Village with her husband and daughter.

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Kimberly Johnson

Development Coordinator

Kimberly Johnson brings over a decade of combined Development, Marketing, Strategic Planning, and Administrative experience. Most recently working at University School at The University of Tulsa, she is committed to serving in capacities that positively impact human lives. Kimberly has spent countless hours volunteering in schools and other non-profits and is thrilled to join The Gathering Place in fulfilling its mission. She is an honors graduate of The University of Tulsa.

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Emma Raulinaitis

Marketing & IT Coordinator

With her MS in Family and Human Development and BA in Human Biology, Emma has worked as an Administrative Assistant and Participant Navigator at The Gathering Place, where she ensures that every person who walks through our doors receives the highest level of compassionate care. Inspired by the care she received from The Gathering Place when she was a child, Emma is dedicated to improving and strengthening the services we provide to those impacted by cancer, both behind the scenes and supporting participants directly.

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Jill Schwartz

Development Associate - Community Partnership Development

Jill has been with The Gathering Place since 2011 in a volunteer capacity, including serving on our Board of Directors for 7 years. Prior to Jill's time at The Gathering Place, she led a corporate marketing and sales team at Baxter International. Jill has a BA in Consumer Economics with a focus on Marketing and Psychology from the University of Michigan. Jill brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team, developing our community partnerships and helping to manage our signature fundraising efforts.

Headshot for Hanna Szentkiralyi
Hanna Szentkiralyi

Administrative Assistant

Hanna brings organizational skills honed in her non-profit volunteer work and valuable customer relationship experience. She is committed to improving processes and ensuring that The Gathering Place staff is well organized and helping serve those touched by cancer. Hanna earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from Cleveland State University and looks forward to contributing and supporting the staff, participants, and mission of The Gathering Place.

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Ellen Velez

Warehouse Manager

Ellen is a versatile entrepreneur, skilled chef, and accomplished journalist. With a successful catering business in NYC and then Cleveland, teaching cooking class, and co-founding FlipFort during the pandemic, she brings expertise in sales, marketing, finance and management. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University and an Associate in Occupational Studies & Leadership Award from the Culinary Institute of America. Thrilled to be a part of TGP, she looks forward to leveraging her diverse background to manage warehouse operations with excellence


Headshot for Sarah Axner GIlmore
Sarah Axner GIlmore

Program Staff

Sarah is a highly dedicated professional, with a BA in Psychology from Cleveland State University and an MSSA in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University. With 15 years of expertise, Sarah has excelled in psycho-social care, mental health, and hospice and bereavement care. Sarah prioritizes each individual and family member with an empathetic approach that supports their specific needs with compassion and insight. Sarah is passionate about and committed to making a positive impact in people's lives through her work and is thrilled to be part of the team at The Gathering Place.

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Sydney Roberts

Community Program Manager

Sydney Beeman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a background in Trauma Based Care and Mental Health. She earned both a Bachelor's and Master’s degree in Psychology from Cleveland State University and received an additional Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from John Carroll University. She brings a wealth of experience in group, individual and grief counseling. Sydney looks forward to tapping into the strengths of those whose lives have been impacted by cancer as they navigate their unique journeys.

Headshot for Stephen Cerne
Stephen Cerne

Program Staff

Stephen brings his expertise as a certified cancer exercise trainer (ACSM/ACS-CET), personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach, as well as his own personal family experience with cancer to his role at The Gathering Place. He looks forward to using his knowledge to educate, empower, and enrich the lives of others who may be mentally and physically fragile, providing encouragement, hope and imparting upon them a "some is better than none" attitude.

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Eileen Coan

Medical Librarian

After a decade in the nonprofit mental health field, Eileen obtained a degree in Library Science to address the need for relevant, credible information for people in crisis. She started the first consumer health cancer library in Cleveland at Fairview Hospital’s Moll Center and has been with The Gathering Place since it opened in 2000. Eileen works to overcome the stereotypes of librarians! She also teaches guided imagery, journaling, and craft activities at The Gathering Place.

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Brittani Davis

Program Staff

Brittani is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor. She earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from John Carroll University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Akron. Brittani is an LGBTQ+ affirming counselor with a range of experience including mental health, substance use, grief, trauma, self-compassion & body image, and relationships & intimacy. Brittani offers a safe space for all impacted by cancer and looks forward to providing support and standing beside those who find themselves giving us a call, visiting our office or meeting us while we’re out and about in the community.
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Whitney Hadley

Child, Teen and Young Adult Program Manager

Whitney Hadley is a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Oncology Social Worker who has worked with children, adolescents and young adults (AYA), and adults touched by cancer. She has extensive experience working with the AYA community and is passionate about her work in guiding individuals through writing a new life story as a cancer patient, survivor, or caregiver. Whitney is trained in Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy through Memorial-Sloan Kettering, which allows participants to explore the meaning in their cancer experiences. She is happy to be part of The Gathering Place and its wonderful mission to bring support to anyone touched by cancer.

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Stephanie Hopkins

Program Staff

Stephanie earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree at Case Western Reserve University in nutrition while finishing the coordinated University Hospitals dietetic internship program. Her career started as a clinical inpatient dietitian at Seidman Cancer Center. She became involved with The Gathering Place in 2018 as program staff and has since transitioned to the full-time dietitian. Recently named Ohio's 2021 Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year, Stephanie helps people impacted by cancer to better understand and utilize nutrition as a tool for health.

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Susan Marinac

Program Staff

Susan has been with The Gathering Place since 2008. She is a clinical social worker and a board certified music therapist. Susan has over 25 years of professional experience in the areas of psycho-social oncology, hospice and bereavement care. Susan often incorporates the creative arts into her practice. She leads several groups including a group for caregivers and a group for young women with breast cancer.

Headshot for Karelys Ortiz Santiago
Karelys Ortiz Santiago

Program Staff

Karelys is a licensed social worker who is fluent in English and Spanish. She earned a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Cleveland State University. Karelys has a background in the fields of mental health, substance use, grief, and loss. She has worked with different populations, ranging from children to older adults within the Hispanic community and other populations. She is looking forward to providing support to individuals and those in the Cleveland community impacted by cancer, grief, and loss.

Participant Navigators

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Rhonda Branche

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Kim Day

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Stevi Gutin

Contract Staff

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Anita Bartel

Contract Program Staff, Chair One Fitness

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Mary Fisher Bornstein

Contract Program Staff, Support Groups

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Sabrina Bowens

Contract Staff, Marketing

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Sandy Conochan

Contract Program Staff, Exercise

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Adelle Gates

Contract Program Staff, Family & Children Programming

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Ellen Heyman

Contract Program Staff, Support Groups

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Jeannie Koran

Contract Program Staff, Qigong-Tai Chi

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Lisa Thiel
MA, E-RYT500

Contract Program Staff, Yoga