Tori Cohen began her journey with the LIAD Center in 2003. Her ambition and passion for helping and giving hope to families in need is what led her to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, but her grandmother’s diagnosis is what encouraged her to work closely with the dementia community. “I love that we at the LIAD Center are helping individuals and their families from the beginning stages of the disease to the end - helping them navigate through their journey.”
Tori’s warm, contagious personality makes her the successful and genuine Executive Director she is today. “I’m a people person, and I love to connect with families, businesses and supporters that can appreciate our mission.” In addition to the LIAD Center’s mission, Tori values the dedication of the organizations staff and working closely and hands-on with families. Her passion and drive shines in her work.
Outside of the office, Tori enjoys sports, exercising and spending time with family and friends.
Fun facts: Tori loves to clean and is very competitive – both in good ways!
Lindsay Knudsen, LMSW joined the LIAD Center team in February 2015. She came with interest in making a difference in people’s lives – “it means the world to me.” With a passion for working with seniors, Lindsay thrives in her role as Director of Day Program Services. “I believe that seniors are an overlooked population, and they deserve to be treated with love and respect. There is so much we can learn from them, and I enjoy listening to their stories.” She also develops close relationships with the program staff and caregivers. “Everyone works together like a well-oiled machine. I love seeing the smiling faces of our participants.”
Lindsay most enjoys the day program’s afternoon music entertainment – “I like watching our participant's faces light up when they hear some of their favorite songs! It’s so rewarding to see them get up, dance, and be themselves.”
With a close connection to the disease, Lindsay finds true gratification and genuine fulfillment in her work. “I entered this field after my grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. She lived with it for 8 years, after being a caregiver for her husband who lived with it. So the last 15 years of her life were consumed with the disease. I find it a great way to honor her memory and give back.”
Outside of the office, you can find Lindsay breaking a sweat, whether it be at boot camp exercise classes or running at the next 5k. Last year, she completed her first - “of hopefully many!” - half-marathons. She also enjoys spending time with her family, especially her husband, daughter and adorable dogs.
Fun facts: Lindsay is incredibly talented at crafting, and feels her creative side often comes into use when working with the senior population.
Melissa Katz, LCSW joined the LIAD Center in November 2014. Taught from a very young age to care for and about seniors, starting with her neighbors and family, working with this population is “in [her] roots and core.” She especially enjoys learning from seniors and making them feel valued.
Her field work experience in her master’s in social work program at Silberman School of Social Worker at Hunter College also led her to work with dementia caregivers. She specifically cherishes her internship with NY Presbyterian’s Health Outreach Program in their Caregiver Service department.
As Director of Caregiver Services and Grant Management, Melissa facilitates all caregiver support groups and programs, runs the In-Home Respite Program and plays a key role in grant operations. “I really enjoy working with the families, the staff and the ability for me to be a bit creative in programming.” She takes pride in the In-Home Respite program and her team – “I love how much the program assistants/respite workers care about the participants. They come up with the best program ideas! It really makes the participants and caregivers smile, and I love seeing that.”
Outside of work, Melissa spends time with her family in New Jersey and New York, and cuddling with her dog, Harvey.
Fun facts: Melissa grew up in the small town of Metuchen, NJ, where she danced, performed in musicals and played Varsity Tennis.
Frank Abrignani joined the LIAD Center team in November 2018 with interest in helping his community. “It is very rewarding to be part of an organization that does so many things that go a long way towards helping diagnosed individuals, caregivers and families.”
Frank values the LIAD Center’s teamwork and his colleague’s willingness to help in any way they can. “I like knowing that we are all playing a small part in helping make other peoples’ lives better.”
As Director of Finance and Operations, Frank is able to exercise his interest in developing and implementing new ideas for further the mission of the LIAD Center. Staff often turn to him for his innovative suggestions and ability to see the “big picture.”
Outside of the office, Frank enjoys spending time with his wife, two dogs and playing golf whenever he gets a chance!
Fun facts: As a long-time bartender, Frank can make a delicious cocktail and did some modeling as a child.