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Staff

Jane Cottrell, Executive Director
Jane is both a lawyer and a mediator. She has mediated with individuals and corporate parties in the US and the UK, focusing initially on entertainment, employment and commercial matters and more recently on divorce. After commencing her legal career at a Wall Street law firm, Jane switched to a corporate setting, first at Cablevision, then as Vice President and General Counsel of CBS Cable. While at CBS she started on the path to mediation, studying negotiation with the late Roger Fisher.  After leaving CBS, Jane moved her practice to England, where she completed basic and advanced mediation training at Regent’s College, London. Upon returning to the US, she trained at the Mediation Center under Jody Miller. She has served on the board of directors of the Mediation Center, where she also mediates divorce.

Jane earned her law degree at Columbia University. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Utah and completed summer studies at Harvard University and Oxford University. She is a member of several dispute resolution bodies, including the New York State Dispute Resolution Association and the Dispute Resolution Sections of both the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association.  Jane can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x208 or via email at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Liz Ruiz (DeFalco), Operations and Communications Coordinator
Liz currently handles our office administration, fund development support including database, events, marketing, website and social media. Liz, who's bilingual, has more than 20 years of professional experience in providing high-level financial and superior customer service.  She's worked in fast-paced environments, demonstrating her organizational, management, technical, marketing, design and interpersonal skills.  Liz worked for one of the top financial organizations in New York City, initially as an assistant in the Public & Community Affairs Department then later became an officer of the organization's Economic Development Division managing the loan processing unit and then the account opening unit of their Private Banking VIP Division. She has experience coordinating complex sales drives and fund-raisers.  United Way, NYC Bike-a-Thon, the March of Dimes, UNCF Mentor Fellowship Program are some of the events she's coordinated and worked on in the past, as well as management and direct supervision of staff in VIP operations, economic development and account audits. Very involved in her community, Liz volunteers extensively in her children's schools and in her place of worship as well as other non-profit and out-reach organizations. Liz has also completed the Basic Transformative Mediation Training in May 2014.  We are delighted to have her join our staff.  Liz can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x212 or via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leanne Lawson, Family & Divorce Program Coordinator
Leanne has 10 years of experience working with families in Dutchess County. She was the former Coordinator for the Dutchess County TASA program where she implemented a comprehensive case management program for pregnant and parenting teenagers.  Leanne trained and supervised case managers to assist young families in navigating through available supports while increasing their self-sufficiency skills. Leanne has also worked at the Crime Victims Assistance Program where she was trained to provide advocacy and support for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Leanne received her Bachelor of Arts in English from SUNY New Paltz. She is certified in the Northeastern University Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) training along with the Cornell University Family Development Credential (FDC).  Leanne can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x209 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Honey Minkowitz, Anti-Bullying Initiative Coordinator
Honey is our Bullying Prevention Coordinator and works on the Anti-Bullying Initiative, which includes implementing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and the Annual Anti-Bullying Youth Summit. She is a certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Trainer and has worked on youth, family, community development and education programs in many communities.

While working in college student affairs, she coordinated residential living learning programs and also served as the Director of Residential Life. An Americorps Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA) alumnae, she was an appointed Commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission for Race and Diversity in Lansing, Michigan and was also appointed by Ingham County, Michigan as a Commissioner on the Mid-South Substance Abuse Commission. She holds a Masters degree in Higher Adult and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College at the University at Albany. Honey can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x211 or via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mary Mulligan, Community Program Coordinator
Mary can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x207 or via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. More information to come.