STRIDE employs 4 full-time staff members: CEO, COO, Development Director, and Program Director. They also employ various unpaid interns from local colleges during the year, and seasonal program directors for Camping and swimming programs.
STRIDE operates with a ten-person Executive Board. Each individual brings their own strengths and attributes to the organization either in the form of skill-set, financial contributions, service within their particular field of expertise or assistance with our various fundraisers, events and programs. The Executive Board meets ten times per year to discuss items and topics relevant to sustaining the organization, including formulating and continually updating the Strategic Plan for continued growth.
STRIDE’s management team is led by Whitney, who took a full-time leadership role in 2006 after running the organization for over 20 years as a volunteer while teaching in public school system. Whitney holds a M.Ed from Lehigh University in Special Education and a BS in Health and Physical Education / Adaptive Physical Education from East Stroudsburg University. She is accredited or certified through numerous national organizations including Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA), American Association of Snowboard Instructors, Disabled Sports USA, United States Paralympics, Red Cross, Special Olympics, American Heart Association, and the National Association of Underwater Instructors and is educational staff /examiner for PSIA/AASI Eastern division. She has been recognized for her leadership skills statewide and nationally including such honors as Named in Time Magazine for Wounded Warrior programs; National Community Leadership Award from President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; Beacon Leadership Award by Independent Living Center of Hudson Valley, Excellence in Business Award, Jefferson Award for American Institute of Public Service, Woman’s Day magazine “Woman of the Year” award, NYS Senate “Woman of Distinction” Award; Rensselaer County Good Scout Award; and was inducted into both Muhlenberg High School and East Stroudsburg University Halls of Fame.
Whitney resides in North Greenbush, NY with her husband Jonathan (LJ) and two American Eskimo dogs. Besides the obvious love of skiing/snowboarding, she enjoys fitness and yoga classes, biking, sailing, water sports and adventure world travel.
Chris is thrilled to be the newest member of the team at STRIDE in the role of Development Director. Previously, Chris worked for Rensselaer County, initially as Project Director for Tourism and the County’s Film Commissioner. Most recently she was with the Rensselaer County Civil Commission. Prior to Rensselaer County, Chris was the Vice President for Programs for the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Public Information Officer for the New York State Tax Department and as a consultant for her own company providing event planning and communications services to a variety of organizations in Rensselaer County. Chris is a graduate of Taylor University with a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis on Marketing.
Chris lives in North Greenbush with her husband Steve and their puppy, Jasper. Chris’ son recently relocated to Tennessee and her daughter is a student at UConn.
Alli is excited to join the STRIDE team as the new Program Director. She has 5+ years experience working with individuals with disabilities, and is ecstatic to take on a position where her passion for helping others, and love for sports, can come together. Alli graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a Bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal Communications. She also holds an Associate’s degree from Columbia-Greene Community College, where she focused on Psychology and Communications courses. Prior to working at STRIDE, Alli has worked as a Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional at Living Recourses, a Direct Support Professional at COARC, and has held administrative and clerical positions as well. She is dedicated, hard working, and is always up for a challenge. In June of 2022, Alli had the honor of helping her friend who has Cerebral Palsy and is legally blind, complete his first Spartan Race (5k with 20 obstacles), and is hoping to help STRIDE navigate their own team in the future.
Alli is a Columbia County native, and currently resides in Valatie. She loves snowboarding, biking, bowling, kayaking, and grew up playing many sports as a child. She also enjoys singing, and if you ever get the opportunity to visit her in the office, ask her how fast she can solve a Rubik’s Cube.
Miller was Senior Agent at American National Insurance (formerly Farm Family), helping business owners and families protect their assets since 1984. He specialized in agribusiness protection and was inducted into the Farm Family Hall of fame in 2010. A dedicated skier for nearly forty years, Dick has served as a ski instructor with STRIDE since 2000. Beginning in 2002, he also participated annually as a ski instructor for the Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans, young and old, ski again, held in Aspen, Colorado. He plays soccer year round and enjoys cycling when lack of snow prevents skiing. Dick lives in Loudonville, NY. He has three daughters who are also great skiers: Roxanne, Libby, and Sammi, all college graduates.
Earing is a partner attorney with Lavelle & Finn, LLP, Attorneys at Law, in Latham NY. concentrating in estate planning, elder law planning, estate administration, corporate law, not-for-profit corporations and tax planning. Amy received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting degree from Siena College and received her Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School. Amy grew up in the close-knit community of Castleton, New York, where she now lives with her husband, Chris, their son, Carson and their chocolate lab, Tucker.
Reiss spent her entire career in the publishing industry, having spent 20+ years with Matthew Bender Company most recently as VP of Operations, then worked for an international software firm providing business systems to major publishers. She has an undergraduate degree in English and an MBA from the RPI Lally School of Management. Retired, Linda lives in North Greenbush with her husband Don where she enjoys participating in in several wood carving groups, traveling, and spending time at Saratoga Lake with her children and grandchildren.
Dan is an EHS and Security professional with over 25 years helping protect and serve others. He is a US Marine veteran and served 17 years in the fire service serving all ranks up to 1st Assistant Chief and Commissioner with the Delmar Fire Department. Dan has also previously served on the Local Emergency Planning Committee’s for both Rensselaer and Albany Counties where he served as Chairperson. He started working with STRIDE as a 100k Vertical Challenge team captain for Delmar Fire Department and has continued to get more involved ever since. A resident of Wynantskill, NY with his wife, kids and 2 dogs he is an avid skier, hiker and loves to fish with his son Aidan who has also volunteered as a ski instructor with STRIDE. Dan holds a master’s degree from Georgia Tech and is completing his doctorate in Criminal Justice/Homeland security.
Adams served as vice president of the Americas region. In this role for SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, he supported the company’s growth agenda throughout North and South America.
Adams has over 25 years of global experience in roles leading business units, as well as marketing and growth operations. Prior to his current position, he served as vice president of global industry marketing & strategy for SABIC’s former Innovative Plastics business. From 2005-2013, he was the vice president of the company’s global automotive business.
Adams currently serves on the board of the engineering advisory board at his alma mater, the State University of New York at Oswego; and was on the Supervisory Board of Inpro, a joint venture dedicated to collaborative innovation in automotive production in Berlin. He has recently returned back to his home in Lenox,MA
Bayly has been reporting for television and radio since 1975. He was a member of the news staff at WNYT since June 1986, and recently retired as the morning news anchor. He grew up in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. When he graduated from Colorado State University, Bayly was already a reporter for KHOW Radio in Denver. He also worked as a reporter for KLOV Radio and KRNK/NBC All News Radio before he moved to television. At KJCT-TV in Grand Junction, Colorado, Bayly won numerous Associated Press awards for his reporting and rose to News Director. Metroland named him ‘Best Television Reporter.’ For many years, Bayly served as WNYT’s political reporter as well as a general assignment reporter. Bayly raced on the ski team at Colorado State University and continues to race on the masters level. He serves in various capacities for the STRIDE organization, including the Master of Ceremonies for such fundraising events as the annual Gala and Silent Auction and Wounded Warrior Snowsports Event. Bayly is married to wife Carolyn, and is an avid skier.
Braverman is an attorney who is well-versed in the myriad legal issues faced by boards and founded what is now Braverman Greenspun. He has continued to further build upon his father’s 50 year legacy. Since joining the firm in 1993 and overseeing its exponential growth with partner Scott Greenspun, they have maintained the basic principles on which the firm was founded—hardworking, innovative and compassionate counsel who provide the firm’s clients with an unparalleled level of service and commitment.
Having provided legal counsel to boards for over a quarter of a century, there is unlikely to be an issue that Braverman has not encountered. His in-depth knowledge of co-op and condominium law is just one area. Equally important, is understanding of how best to practically approach the legal issues faced by co-ops and condominiums. Braverman joined STRIDE as an adaptive ski instructor and sat on the Executive Board for many years. He lives in Connecticut with his wife Jane and dogs, he also enjoys visiting his twin sons in college. Hi is an avid skier and sailor in his free time.
With an MBA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Tyler Fairbank manages and oversees the group of businesses, the Fairbank Group that includes the ski resorts Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Cranmore Mountain Resort and Bromley Mountain as well as EOS Ventures, Bullwheel Productions and other endeavors. Collectively, the three resorts welcome over a half a million skiers each year. With 20 years of business experience, Tyler partners with his Dad, Brian. The duo is dedicated to providing fun skiing experiences for families, teaching kids self-confidence through winter sports, and giving back to their community and the environment. EOS is a leader in renewable energy in the Northeast region. As well as overseeing the business side to Jiminy Peak, Fairbank also serves as President and oversees day to day operations. Jiminy Peak has graciously held numerous STRIDE events and races. Fairbank’s assistance throughout the years has helped STRIDE propel to where it is today.
Chris Gibson grew up in Columbia County, in the town of Kinderhook, and attended Ichabod Crane public schools. At 17, he enlisted in the New York National Guard and later earned an ROTC Commission at nearby Siena College. The first in his family to go to college, Chris graduated magna cum laude with a BA in history, and later earned an MPA and PhD in government from Cornell University and is the author of Securing the State, a book on national security decision-making published in 2008.
Over the course of his 24 year Army career, Chris rose to the rank of Colonel and deployed seven times. This included four combat tours to Iraq, and separate deployments to Kosovo, the Southwestern US for a counter-drug operation, and most recently – just prior to his retirement – Haiti where he commanded the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) during the opening month of that humanitarian relief operation.
Chris earned two Legions of Merit, four Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with Star, the Master Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab. Other key assignments included tours teaching American Politics at the United States Military Academy at West Point, serving as a Congressional Fellow with US Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA), the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and completing a Hoover National Security Affairs Fellowship at Stanford University. Chris was also the Distinguished Honor Graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College.
After retiring , Chris and his family returned home to Kinderhook. He was elected to represent the 20th Congressional District in 2010 and re-elected in 2012 and 2014 to represent the 19th Congressional District. In Congress, Chris served on the House Armed Services, Agriculture, and Small Business Committees. After his term in Confgress he tok a professorial position at Williams College, MA. In 2020 he was hired as president of Siena College in Latham NY.
Chris has been married to Mary Jo, a NYS Licensed Clinical Social Worker, for 25 years and they have three children: Katie, Maggie, and Connor.
John graduated with honors from LaSalle Institute, Hudson Valley Community College and SUNY Oswego. Over nearly 3 decades, John has covered many big stories including the terrorist attacks of September 11th , the Pope’s visit to America and a number of Presidential campaigns. However, his favorite stories involve helping people right here at home. John volunteers with a dozen local charities including, ALS, M.S., Special Olympics, Juvenile Diabetes, Hospice, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters to name a few.
He has won numerous awards for his television work and writing, most recently winning a prestigious Emmy Award for his story about STRIDE athlete, Steve Ferro.He has been awarded “Columnist of the Year” honors from both the Associated Press and New York News Publishers Association.
John’s passion is writing and for 20 years his column in The Record and Saratogian newspapers has become a local favorite, along with thousands of social media followers. John has three children and two dogs. In his spare time John enjoys skiing, rollerblading, golf and travel. He lives in North Greenbush with his wife and dogs.
Haffner, a long time resident of the Capital District, received a BA in Sociology from Hartwick College and a Masters of Health, Physical Education from East Stroudsburg State University. After a body surfing accident left him paralyzed as a quadriplegic, he returned to school and received his JD from Western New England School of Law where he was awarded the Marjorie Sullivan Scholarship Award for Academic Achievement. A former High School Athletic Director and Physical Education Teacher in Pennsylvania, Haffner returned to the Capital Region to work for United Community Insurance Co. as a Staff Attorney, handling various aspects of Civil Litigation and Subrogation. Haffner had been self-employed in a private law practice. Haffner has also served on the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of Schenectady, and involved in counselling newly injured spinal cord patients at local hospitals.
Kathleen Jimino grew up and was educated locally at Catholic Central High School, and Siena College, from where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. She received her Master’s degree in Social Policy from SUNY Empire State College.
She then began a long career in service, political and elected positions. In 2001, Kathy was appointed Rensselaer County Executive. Six months later she was elected by the largest margin ever afforded any Rensselaer County Executive in history! Unopposed, Kathy was subsequently reelected in 2005, 2009 and 2013. Rensselaer County administration under her guidance is steadfastly dedicated to the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. Kathy is also noted for her aggressiveness in advocating new businesses in the County, and encouraging expansion for the ones who already call the County their home, being convinced that community-sensitive economic growth is the proper path for success.
Among other governmental and community responsibilities, Kathy currently serves as Co-Chair of the Center for Economic Growth’s Local Government Council and is on the board of the Commission on Economic Opportunity, as well as serving on the Community Advisory Board of the Sage Colleges Academy for Character Education.
Kathy is slated for retirement in 2017 and will continue to live in Lansingburgh with husband Vince. They have two children and two grandchildren. STRIDE is thrilled to have he join us in an advisory position!
McLane is one of five people nationwide to be inducted into the National Hall of Fame for Individuals with Disabilities in 2000. During his 11-year tenure at VESID, nearly 150,000 individuals with disabilities joined the State’s workforce with the help of VESID services. He has participated in advocacy efforts that led to the development of laws and regulations that greatly expanded employment and independent living opportunities for adults with disabilities and have strengthened programs and raised academic standards for students with disabilities in New York State. Before coming to VESID, McLane served as Assistant Commissioner in the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. He also served as Senior Executive Assistant to NY Assemblyman Melvin Zimmer. A longtime advocate and consultant for the rights of persons with disabilities, McLane served as a New York delegate to the 1977 White House Conference on the Disabled, and as Chairman of the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. He has served as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on the Handicapped, the NYS Mental Hygiene Planning Council, the Governor’s Disability Constituency Cabinet Workgroup, and the Governor’s Task Force on Accessibility – 1980 Winter Olympic Games. McLane has also served on the Onondaga County Cerebral Palsy Center Board of Directors and on the Onondaga County Task Force on the Handicapped. McLane’s has a long list of many distinguished awards and honors. A graduate of Syracuse University, McLane also holds a Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University. He has been active as a basketball coach at the semiprofessional level and is a member of countless sports and community associations.
Myers has a rich history with STRIDE as a community partner when she served as District Superintendent for Questar III BOCES. As Professor Emerita at Sage Colleges where she was Founding Director of the Sage Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and of the Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center of the Promotion of Mental Health and School Safety. Prior to her career in higher education, she was District Superintendent at Questar III BOCES, a regional educational organization in Upstate New York. She is a national facilitator affiliated with the Center for Courage and Renewal. She leads Circle of Trust® retreats, leadership development programs and strategic planning for school districts and nonprofit organizations. Ann was a consultant for the Metro Nashville Public Schools on the trust building project. She is the founding chair of New York State Association for Women in Administration and remains on the board for that organization. To all of this work, Ann brings a unique mix of intelligence, wisdom, and intuition. She brought us to understand the nature of an edge walker, called to innovation and exploration and to reflection and growth for herself and others. Ann is co-author of Leadership 360, a blog published by Education Week. Ann lives between the Adirondacks in New York State and the gulf coast of Florida with her husband Ed Hallenbeck and her golden retriever.
Governor Paterson served as the 55th governor of New York from 2008-2010. He was the first African American Governor of New York, and the second legally blind Governor of any US state. Prior to service as Governor of New York, Paterson received a B.A in History from Columbia University in 1977, and later graduated from Hofstra Law School. After law school, Paterson worked in the District Attorney’s office in Queens County, NY. He also served on the staff of Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins. In 1985, he was elected to the New York State Senate. Upon his election, he became the youngest State Senator in Albany. He won the seat again in 1986 for a full term representing the 29th District in the New York State Senate. He served as senator for that district until assuming the office of Lieutenant Governor on January 1st, 2007. Paterson was elected as Minority Leader by the Democratic caucus of the State Senate on November 20th, 2002, and became the first non-Caucasian state legislative leader, and the highest ranking black elected official in the history of New York State. Paterson became known for his consensus-building style coupled with his sharp political skills. Since leaving office, Paterson has been working as a radio talk show host on the station WOR in New York City. David Paterson continues to inspire us in his career achievements that he has been able to make as someone who is blind. He wholeheartedly supports our programs, particularly our programs for visually impaired youth.
Robinson, a truly inspirational and motivational individual, was born a congenital amputee, without extension of his arms and legs. Only 26 out of every 100,000 children have congenital amputations, and in most cases it is only one JohnRobinsonor two limbs. Despite his challenges, Robinson has reached insurmountable success, which lead to his decision to write “Get Off Your Knees: A Story of Faith, Courage and Determination” to share his inspirational story. Robinson was the subject of a 60 minute documentary created by and featured on WMHT, and served as the Keynote Speaker for STRIDE’s 25th Silver Anniversary Celebration. In 2001, he was selected to carry the Olympic torch as it passed through Albany on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 games. Robinson acknowledges the importance of first impressions as the best way to make people just as comfortable about his body as he is. In 2014, John Robinson was named one of ten national White House Champions of Change for Disability Employment and honored with the Excelsior College President’s Award for Advocacy in 2010. Since 2011, he’s served as managing partner, CEO and Founder of Our Ability, which provides inclusive workforce and employment consulting, mentoring, workshops, keynotes and seminars on disability and diversity.
Married and a father of three, Robinson enjoys playing golf in his spare time and riding his handcycle.
Chaplain Donald L. Rutherford is a native of Kinderhook, New York. Ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in 1981, he served as Associate Pastor of St. Gabriel’s Church in Schenectady, New York; as Roman Catholic Chaplain of Albany
Medical Center Hospital, Albany, New York; and as Parochial Vicar of St. Mary’s Parish, Oneonta, New York. Chaplain Rutherford became the 23d Chief of Chaplains, United States Army, on July 7, 2011. He has served in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Hurricane Andrew Relief, Operation Desert Thunder, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His military awards include the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the South West Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Army Superior Unit Award, the Saudi Arabia Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, the Army Staff Identification Badge, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.
Command Sergeant Major Frank Wicks was born in Troy, New York. He entered the Army in November 1982 and attended Basic Training in Fort Dix, New Jersey, and advanced individual training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Command Sergeant Major Wicks has served in every leadership position from Team Leader to Command Sergeant Major. He has also served as an Instructor at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. Command Sergeant Major Wicks’ awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with bronze oak leaf cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with 2 bronze oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with bronze oak leaf cluster), Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (with 4 bronze oak leaf clusters), National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (“M” device 4th award, bronze hourglass), the NCO Professional Development Ribbon (with numeral 4), Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, and the Combat Infantry Badge. CSM Wicks is currently on a leave of absence from his civilian employer, the New York State Police, to serve as the New York State Command Sergeant Major. He is married to the former Beth Johnson from Clifton Park, NY. They have two children, Jake and Julia and reside in West Sand Lake, NY.
4482 NY Highway 150
West Sand Lake, NY 12196