Subject Matter Resources

Volunteers of America has been on the forefront of social services for 123 years. Our talented and knowledgeable team is comprised of trusted professionals, who together, have decades of experience in the human services sector. Many have deeply rooted careers within the organization and have contributed to the development of some of our most innovative programs. They offer unique perspectives, insights, and information on a wide variety of timely issues including affordable and supporting housing, corporate social responsibility, family homelessness, domestic violence, the impact of childhood trauma, and behavioral health as it relates to veterans, youth, and individuals with a history of substance abuse.

We encourage you to read more about our staff below. Our staff are available for media, speaking engagements, panels, and events that support our mission. To inquire about their availability, please contact Rachel Weinstein, Vice President of Communications and External Relations at (212) 496-4305 or

  • Tere Pettitt

    President and Chief Executive Officer of Volunteers of America-Greater New York

    Tere Pettitt was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Volunteers of America-Greater New York in 2014. In her current capacity, she oversees a staff of more than 1,300 professionals and manages approximately 80 programs in the New York metropolitan area that serve individuals and families in need. 

    Areas of Expertise:

    • Aging
    • Clinical Engagement
    • Nonprofit Fiscal Management
    • Supportive Housing Development
    • Tax Credits and Other Nonprofit Financing

    Read more about Tere Pettitt

  • Paul Kress

    Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

    Paul Kress is responsible for carrying out the organization's strategic plan for growth in the areas of real estate development, new capital projects, and the development of new lines of business to sustain and grow the work and mission of VOA-GNY.

    Areas of Expertise:

    • Supportive Housing Development
    • Tax Credits and Other Nonprofit Financing

    Read more about Paul Kress

    • Julia A. Oliver

      Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

      Julia Oliver is responsible for the overall fiscal stewardship of VOA-GNY and related entities as well as information technology. She oversees all aspects of the organization’s finance, including the development and management of budgets, preparation of financial statements and reporting to VOA-GNY board.

      Areas of Expertise:

      • Nonprofit Fiscal Management

      Read more about Julia Oliver

    • Lynne Plavnick

      Vice President of Human Resources, Chief Compliance

      Lynne Plavnick has been with our organization for 25 years, and in that time has grown from a one-person department to a fully functioning Human Resources department, managing the benefits, insurance, and safety for our 1,300 employees across New York and New Jersey.

      Areas of Expertise:

      • Nonprofit Human Resources

      Read more about Lynne Plavnick

    • Dolores Swirin-Yao

      Vice President, Development

      A 30-year veteran of the nonprofit world, Dolores Swirin-Yao has served in senior leadership roles across many prestigious charities, and specializes in helping organizations start, turn around or take their fundraising programs to the next level. At VOA-GNY, Dolores is developing a robust fundraising pipeline and supporting campaigns for Operation Backpack® and the annual Gala.

      Areas of Expertise:

      • Nonprofit Fund Development

        Read more about Dolores Swirin-Yao

      • Rachel Weinstein

        Vice President, Communications & External Relations

        Rachel Weinstein directs the organization’s overall communications strategy including traditional and digital marketing, public relations, media relations and internal communications. She is the founder of Operation Backpack®, produces the organization's annual gala, and serves as the VOA-GNY spokesperson. 

        Areas of Expertise:

          • Operation Backpack®
          • Corporate Social Responsibility and Volunteerism

            Read more about Rachel Weinstein

          • Noelle Withers

            Associate Vice President, New York City Housing and Homeless Services

            As Associate Vice President for NYC Housing and Homeless Services, Ms. Withers manages a $35 million service sector with close to 400 employees, comprised of 22 programs serving more than 5,000 clients annually. She has worked with the homeless population for the past 16 years.  

            Areas of Expertise:

            • Family Homelessness
            • Performance Improvement and Quality Assurance

              Read more about Noelle Withers

            • Leslie Armstrong

              Assistant Vice President, New York City Emergency Housing and Shelter Services

              A 22-year veteran of the social services field, Leslie Armstrong currently works with individuals and families in specialized housing, overseeing transitional, emergency, and assessment shelter services for Volunteers of America-Greater New York. 

              Areas of Expertise:

              • Family Homelessness
              • Individual Homelessness

              Read more about Leslie Armstrong

              • Thea Jandzio

                Assistant Vice President, Northern New Jersey Behavioral Health, Community Support Services, & Outreach

                At VOA-GNY, Thea Jandzio is responsible for management of the Northern New Jersey service sector, which encompasses a broad portfolio of programs serving adults living in supportive housing, fee for service programs, residential youth services, and individuals living with developmental disabilities. She also oversees the homeless outreach programs at JFK and LaGuardia Airports and VOA-GNY's shelter for women in Queens. 

                Areas of Expertise:

                • At-risk Youth
                • Behavioral Health
                • Clinical Engagement

                  Read more about Thea Jandzio

                • Nicole Gniewkowski

                  Director of Performance Improvement & Corporate Privacy Officer

                  Nicole has had extensive experience in human services from starting as a case manager and moving into quality assurance. She's been with VOA-GNY since 2014.

                  Areas of Expertise:

                  • Performance Improvement/Quality Assurance

                  Read more about Nicole Gniewkowski

                • Ana Rolon

                  Director of Domestic Violence Services

                  Ana Rolon has 21 years of progressive clinical experience, including six years overseeing the domestic violence programs at VOA-GNY. As Director, she manages the operation of three emergency shelters as well as off-site dwellings, provides clinical consultation, and acts as a resource for her staff. In addition, she is involved with community outreach and assists with the cultivation of donors, community board partners, and governmental relations.

                  Areas of Expertise:

                  • Domestic Violence
                  • Family Homelessness
                  • Trauma-Informed Care and Childhood Trauma

                  Read more about Ana Rolon