“Who’s Who” on the danceability Board of Directors

Meet the danceability Board of Directors. An eclectic group of people from various backgrounds, walks of life, jobs, and perspectives. What they do have in common though is their passion for danceability and desire to see the organization grow and thrive to the best of its ability. This group has been together nearly a year, and is working on strategic planning and setting goals for what they want to see danceability accomplish in the next few years. Next time you see this great group, make sure you give them a wave or a high five!

Krystal Testa, Chairwoman

What made you want to serve on the BOD?

I started as a volunteer for danceability back in January 2009. I instantly fell in love with the organization and kept trying to find more and more ways to get involved. I helped out at fundraisers, and then eventually knew I should join the Board of Directors. It’s been an absolute privilege serving for the past six years, first as a Director, then the Vice Chair, and for the past three years as the Chairman of the Board – I can’t believe my term is up and I’ll need to step down at the end of this year (but don’t worry I’m not going away!)

What ties do you have to danceability?

When I joined I really had no ties. I googled “volunteer opportunities in Buffalo” and danceability came up. I grew up a dancer, and though I hadn’t been dancing for a while, knew it would be a perfect fit to combine my passion for the special needs community and dance in one place!

What’s your favorite memory of being a part of the danceability family?

A single favorite memory is impossible – so I’m going to list a few. There have been so many incredible moments in the studio with dancers that have moved me to tears, and in many ways changed my life. There was a dancer who said nothing to me for weeks (which wasn’t out of the ordinary for this dancer). Then one week, when I least expected it, she looked me right in the eyes and said, “Friend”. It was a WOW moment! There was a dancer who every time she mastered a step got so excited she started cheering. It was beautiful to see unfold in front of my eyes (and to play some small part in it). There were countless weeks when dancers were just so happy to see you that you were greeted with a big hug – what could be better than that?
Each year when I get on the stage with the dancers I get very emotional (it’s a good thing the audience is so far away because otherwise they may see a few tears running down my cheeks as we perform!). To see their journey from September in the studio to May on the stage is truly an impressive transformation. The sheer joy they exude while performing is something everyone should see.

On a more personal note, in December 2015, I suddenly lost my Dad. Over the next few weeks (it happened right before Christmas), I received dozens of holiday cards from danceability families, volunteers and teachers sending me their love and support. I could not believe each day as I went to grab the mail the amount of cards and letters I had waiting for me. It truly made such a difficult time a little easier.

Tell us some fun facts about yourself:

I am the person behind all the danceability social media. So nearly all of the posts you see on Facebook & Twitter, are written by me – as well as most of the posts on this blog. I am a social media junkie – and I love sharing all the amazing stories of our dancers and volunteers! I am a foodie and love exploring all the restaurants Buffalo has to offer (and eating my way through other cities that I visit). I love to travel, take pictures of everything and teach Pilates on the weekends.

 

Caitlyn Kilkenny, Treasurer

What made you want to serve on the BOD?
I have been wanting to volunteer to help on a board for a while now. I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization that works with, or benefits children. I had been involved with Special Olympics through college, and really enjoy my time with those athletes. Danceability seemed like a good fit based on my past experiences.

What ties do you have to danceability?
I really don’t have any actual ties to danceability yet, and I haven’t been involved long enough to have any memories. I am looking forward to going to shows and getting much more involved in the organization. I learned about danceability through work, and through Cara Rossi. Originally when the board reached out to Freed looking for help I was interested, but out of town, so I didn’t respond soon enough. Then when Cara realized she would need help through her pregnancy, she reached out, and it worked out perfectly – I think!

Tell us some fun facts about yourself:

I am a pretty active person. Played college soccer at Niagara University and have continued to play in adult leagues since. That is until I tore a few ligaments in my ankle last summer, and I have spent the past 7 months in surgery recovery. I hope to start playing again in May. When I’m not playing soccer I like to play softball, and I also really enjoy baking for other people. I grew up in Ohio, just south of Cleveland, and my parents still live there. My family is everything to me. My sisters are some of my best friends. I am a soon-to-be aunt and I cannot wait! I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and my MBA with a focus in accountancy. I have been at Freed Maxick CPAs for almost five years now.

Katie Stein, Secretary

What made you want to serve on the BOD?
I started out as an in-class volunteer and fell in love with danceability! There was an opening on the board and I felt that it would be a great honor to sit on the board and help support our great mission in any way possible!

What ties do you have to danceability?
A college friend of mine found danceability through her master’s program and started volunteering. After a year of her telling me how wonderful it was, there was an opening in her class for a volunteer and I joined! Six years later I am still loving that I can be part of such an amazing organization.
What’s your favorite memory of being a part of the danceability family?
Such a tough question! It brings a smile to my face and a wonderful feeling in my heart whenever I hear people talking about danceability or I get to enlighten people of what we do! It’s too hard to pick just one memory! I do think that as a volunteer it was always the best part of my day walking into the dance studio and seeing the smile on my dancer’s face as she would walk through the door. No matter what kind of day I was having, to see that taking 45 minutes out of my day could brighten her day that much always made it worthwhile! Little things could be such huge milestones for the dancers and to see that click and how proud of themselves they become will always stick with me even now that I no longer volunteer in the classroom.
Tell us some fun facts about yourself:

I have a wonderful family which includes my husband of 5 years, two beautiful daughters, ages 3 and 1, and my fur baby Guinness! I work as a nuclear medicine technologist doing stress testing.

Mary Beth Debus, Director

What made you want to serve on the BOD?
I have served on Boards before but was not active on any when the opportunity with danceability became available. The organization has a solid history and still has lots of opportunity – so my hope was to contribute and help the organization continue its success.
What ties do you have to danceability?
My youngest daughter, Eliza, is in her third year dancing with danceability.
What’s your favorite memory of being a part of the danceability family?
At least year’s performance, Eliza came out on stage and looked distracted. I sensed that she was looking for me – and yet she had no idea where in the audience I was. And yet, we found each other, despite me offering her nothing more than a smile. Once we made eye contact, she smiled broadly, and went right to work performing her dance! It was special.
Tell us some fun facts about yourself:
I own my own business doing work primarily with non-profits. I love to write. I work out with a trainer and love it. Walking is my best medicine and problem solver. I have dressed as a mascot – twice!

Diane Klein, Director


What made you want to serve on the BOD?
Danceability is an incredible program that so many dancers and their families benefit from.  I have been a volunteer dancer for five years and felt it was time to contribute more to danceability. 

What ties do you have to danceability?
I have been a volunteer dancer for five years, help out in the office and made many of the costumes for the recitals.
What’s your favorite memory of being a part of the danceability family?
My favorite memory is of the first recital.  Seeing the look of accomplishment on my dancers faces and the proud look on their parents faces and the overall happiness was special indeed. 
Tell us some fun facts about yourself:
I have always loved dancing and have wished I was a professional dancer but have never taken a dance class.  I was one of five children who grew up on a farm in upstate NY.  I came to Buffalo for college.  I have been married for 35 years and have two children and one grandchild.  I was a teacher for 34 years. Since retiring, I have been able to do many of the things I enjoy~ traveling, gardening, spending time with family and friends and my granddaughter and volunteering at danceability.  

Terry Regan, Director

What made you want to serve on the BOD?

My daughter Lindsay has been a dancer with danceability since its inception 10 years ago. danceability has been such a big part of our lives that when Lindsay’s dance teacher Christine Dwyer asked if I would join the board of directors, there was no way I could say no. Through danceability my daughter has grown in confidence, ability, and has made lots of friends. We enjoy every single aspect of being part of the danceability family. I felt and continue to feel it’s important to give back so that others are able to benefit from danceability as my child has. Volunteers are the backbone of any nonprofit agency.
What ties do you have to danceability?
Lindsay’s BFF is a fellow dancer. (She and Jamie Shaw take turns sleeping at each others’ houses every Monday after dance class!) Jamie’s mom Kathy and the other dance moms have become some of my best friends. My daughters Darcy and Terese have enjoyed being volunteer dance partners in a different class and helping with fundraisers.
What’s your favorite memory of being a part of the danceability family?
Maybe too many to list! Watching the girls do Thriller every Halloween in class, crying at ever blessed recital, going out to eat with the gals after, dancing at MRS Christine’s wedding, Hunter’s Hope, Golf Tournaments, having the girls speak at Charter High School for the Applied Technologies… I could go on and on. Lots of Laughs and “Happy Tears”!
Shout out to all the great volunteer dance partners especially to Lindsay Muto who has been with my Linds for many, many years! We are so blessed to have her and all the other dedicated volunteers who give of themselves every week.
Tell us some fun facts about yourself:
My 15 minutes of fame: I was on Wheel of Fortune for 3 nights in 1993

Archana Shenoy, Director
What made you want to serve on the BOD?
I was basically at the right place at the right time. I changed jobs and found myself with some free time since I didn’t have to travel anymore. I saw an opening for danceability online and came in to the studio and was hooked. I chose to serve on danceability’s board because I knew I’d get to roll up my sleeves and make a difference. 
What ties do you have to danceability?
I don’t have any ties to danceability, though I’ve enjoyed meeting our families and volunteers through the years. 
What’s your favorite memory of being a part of the danceability family?
The first recital I attended in 2014. It surpassed all my expectations and I caught a glimpse of all the hard work that went behind it. The energy was contagious that night, and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.
Tell us some fun facts about yourself:
Fun nowadays consists of hanging out with my 2-year-old son. Before he was born though, I traveled to 15 countries (mostly for work). I love music and used to go to concerts all the time. I’m trying to make it to one concert a year now (last year was Adele (amazing!!) and this year is Lady Gaga (and maybe U2)). 
It’s humbling to be on the board. The efforts that our founders, our teachers, our volunteers, our staff, our students and our families put in are inspiring.

Mukund Seshadri, Director
What made you want to serve on the BOD?
I love kids and have always wanted to be involved with an organization focused on the needs of children. I found danceability through a networking event and realized that it is one of the few organizations focused on empowering children (and adults too) with developmental disabilities through dance in our region. And when I walked into the danceability studio, it was “love at first sight.”

What ties do you have to danceability?
In addition to being a member of the board at danceability, I also volunteer at danceability. For several years now, I have been a dance partner to an amazing young man named Marshall. And when I say dance ‘partner’, I am really being generous (to myself) since Marshall is the one with all the moves. Every week, Marshall and I along with the rest of our class (4 other dancers and their volunteer partners) and our wonderful teacher, Elissa, move to our own beat. We stretch, we bounce, we drum, we dance…we basically have fun.

What is your favorite memory of being part of the danceability family?
Although I have too many to list, one of the most memorable moments that I look back with great fondness was during our dance recital a few years ago. In the middle of our dance performance, Marshall decided to do this incredible “improv” solo with some cool moves. Needless to say, the audience went wild. After the performance, Marshall gave a special shout out to his lovely mom, Renee.

Tell us some fun facts about yourself:
In no particular order, I love wine, coffee, and books. I love to travel and intend to visit all seven continents (Africa, Antarctica and Australia are pending on my bucket list). If I am not at work or at danceability, you will probably find me with a book at a coffee shop or taking a stroll around some of our parks.

Being a part of the danceability family has given me a unique perspective that constantly reminds me how not to worry about things that don’t matter. As a board member and a volunteer at danceability, having interacted with the families, I feel that that the impact is very personal. Volunteering constantly reminds me how a little gesture/thought can go a long way. As I have said before, I get WAY MORE BACK than I give.

 

Vilona Trachtenberg, Director

What made you want to serve on the BOD?
I’ve had some BOD experience through other organizations, and being in the classroom every week got me thinking that I really wanted to help the organization continue the growth it’s been part of. I love my danceability Tuesdays with my dancers in class, and I wanted to be on the other side of the organization too, the planning and strategic side. I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

What ties do you have to danceability?
I recently re-entered the world of dance, and one of the dance teachers (who became my close friend) at the studio I take classes at, always mentioned how great danceability was. Every class she would have a new story and great memories to share, and mentioned that volunteers were needed, and I didn’t look back. Now I’m finishing up my second year volunteering, and every class is even more great than the previous.

What is your favorite memory of being part of the danceability family?
The happiness of the dancers is really what does it for me. I help out in a class with some of the older students at the studio. One gentleman in the class is blind, and just always has the biggest smile on his face, bigger than I’ve ever seen on anyone. When he gets to spin the girls around in class or even take some drum sticks and drum or bounce on the exercise balls, he is the happiest person. One of my other dance partners is such a gentleman. Whenever we stretch, he always brings me a yoga mat even when I insist that I don’t need one. I thank him profusely for being so kind and polite, and he is always smiling, full of pride. It’s humbling and inspiring that we get to bring this joy to people, and there is no small gesture of kindness at the studio. Every “how are you?” and “how was your week?” to the students makes them beam and exude pure joy.

Tell us some fun facts about yourself:
I’m the biggest music junkie you’ll ever come across in your life, guaranteed. One of my dance partners also loves music, so we make sure to request Shania Twain in class, probably too often. I also love dancing (shocker), writing, traveling, exploring all the world has to offer.

The past two years with danceability have been awesome. I’m looking forward to being on the board another year, and continuing to volunteer for many years to come.

More information from our other board members (Cara Rossi (who just welcomed twins!) & Monica DiCamillo) coming soon!
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s