Steve Bederman is the Chairman of the FIL Board. He has served as a member of the board for 20+ years and prior to that, attended meetings. Steve’s brother Michael was one of the original five residents at FIL’s inception in 1985.
Steve’s parents were focused on finding a life for his brother that allowed him the same privileges and opportunities as their other children: the ability to meet his potential. After finding no other way to get to this outcome, they began to meet with a small group of other like-minded families, led by Scott and Harriet Mishner, finally deciding that they would do it amongst themselves.
Steve felt deeply about the purpose originally determined by the founding families. He believed that maintaining this distinct approach was the 'secret sauce’ behind why FIL was a magical environment for so many. Steve has seen the incredible outcomes of so many residents and strongly believes in the benefits to residents as the single reason for FIL in the first place, for the next generation, and into perpetuity. He doesn’t want to imagine a day when that changes in any way. Steve firmly believed that his own point of reference would be a critical piece in the establishment of a sustainable future with this perspective in mind.
Steve has been in business management for small to enterprise-level organizations throughout his career. As an entrepreneur, Steve has built companies from inception through growth. He has managed budgets, staff at all levels, and successful outcomes. He has held various board seats and been president and/or CEO of companies for 25 years. Currently, Steve is the President of Nobel Biz, a technology company with offices in the US, Montreal, Morocco, Malta, Dubai, and with world headquarters in Bucharest, Romania. In addition, to his professional background, his family experience aids him in understanding the application of the Foundation and the necessity for it in our society and in his own family.
Steve is a long-distance marathon runner. Author of Mitch Jacob's Corporate Thriller Series (fiction). A songwriter who also plays the guitar Steve is currently writing my fifth novel as well as a business book: ‘Lessons I’ve Learned in No Particular Order.’ He cares deeply for my family, social equality, and financial responsibility.
Charles Mishner, President of the FIL Board
Charles Mishner is the President of the FIL Board. He has been a member of the FIL Board since 1994. Charles' parents, Scott and Harriet Mishner, were the founders of FIL and his sister, Luise, was one of the first five residents of FIL. Charles joined the Board to continue his father’s legacy.
Charles works in construction and is a real estate broker. He has used his connections in the industry to assist FIL with construction, remodeling and repairs and to helping resolve landlord issues. Charles, being local, is always there for FIL.
Charles is an avid sportsman. He keeps up to date with Israeli and Jewish affairs and is an American history buff. He is also a lover of blues, jazz, rock and roll music, and the arts in general.
President of the FIL Board
Larry Koch, Treasure
Larry Koch is the Treasurer of the FIL Board’s Finance Committee. He has been on the board for over a year. Larry first became interested in FIL through his son Jason, who has been a resident of FIL for over 2 years. Larry wanted to join the Board because he hoped to contribute to making FIL the best organization it could possibly be for all its residents. Larry wanted Jason to have the opportunity to maximize his ability to live independently within the constraints of his challenges. He was particularly attracted by the sense of community and the social network into which Jason could integrate at FIL, and by the developmental support programming and the employment support FIL provides. Larry is a CPA and a retired partner with Deloitte & Touche, one of the world’s largest accounting, tax, and consulting firms. He hopes his background and experience will enable him to help support FIL’s financial reporting, internal controls, and financial management. Larry plays a lot of tennis and is a self-proclaimed gym rat. He speaks Spanish and French fluently. Larry’s wife, Caty, is from Barcelona, Spain, and they enjoy traveling there and elsewhere in Europe as often as they can.
Danny Simon, Secretary
Danny Simon has been FIL’s Board Secretary since he joined in 2017. Danny’s brother is Andrew Simon, who has been a part of FIL since 2000. Danny joined the FIL Board because he wanted to maintain a strong connection to the organization that plays such an outsized role in his brother’s life and contribute wherever possible to its success.
Danny served as a Senior Executive for a variety of large consumer brands, most recently as the CEO of Popcornopolis, a gourmet popcorn manufacturer that was sold in 2021 to Grupo Bimbo. He hopes that his finance, operations, and leadership backgrounds can contribute to the Board’s efforts to guide FIL into the future.
Danny and his wife have four children and two dogs, all of whom keep their lives full of fun and love. They love to travel and cheer for their favorite football team, the Buffalo Bills. Danny enjoys baking and cooking, especially sour cream blueberry cake and chicken and dumplings. Danny loves to travel and his wife has recently relocated the family to Costa Rica for six months as they take a break from big-city living.
Tiffanie Bederman, Director and Chair of the Board Development Committee
Tiffanie Bederman is a Director and Chair of the Board Development Committee. She has served as a member of the board since 2012. Prior to that, Tiffanie attended meetings for a few years as an observer. Her uncle Michael was one of the original residents at FIL’s inception in 1985. Tiffanie's grandparents co-founded FIL with the Mishners when she was young, so this community has always been part of her family.
In founding FIL, Tiffanie’s grandparents wanted all residents to have the highest quality of life and greatest level of independence possible. They instilled in her a sense of deep responsibility for and pride in the organization. Being on the board keeps Tiffanie involved in that original mission – making sure each and every resident knows they belong here and are supported – and ensuring FIL is here for them in the long run.
Tiffanie started managing teams in 2005, developing structural engineering software solutions tailored to clients’ needs. From there, she went to Wall Street to work in fixed income derivatives until Tiffanie pivoted to become an independent consultant. Each of these roles has provided critical experience in problem-solving, managing dynamic situations and teams, and ultimately, finding creative solutions to unique problems and scenarios.
Tiffanie holds a master’s degree in business administration from Carnegie Mellon and bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science (BS) and Studio Art (BA) from the University of Denver. Because so much of her professional life has been steeped in analytics, Tiffanie likes to focus her personal time and energy on more creative endeavors. She taught herself how to design and make jewelry, picked up some knitting skills, and even toyed around with 3D printing.
Tiffanie has also liked to seek balance through her physical hobbies. Whether teaching yoga and meditation, skiing and snowboarding, or becoming a certified SCUBA Rescue Diver, she loves to experience life through a series of adventures and build new skills.
Director and Chair of the Board Development Committee
Jeffrey Leck, Director and Chair of the FIL Aging Committee
Jeffrey Leck is a Director and Chair of the FIL Aging Committee. He was the former Board Treasurer of the board. Jeffrey joined the board in the late 1990s, and his sister, Sherri, joined the FIL in the mid-1990s.
Jeffrey is a big believer in the FIL’s philosophy of building and sustaining a long-term community. He thinks it’s truly what everyone is seeking—a place to belong and enjoy life and friends. Jeffrey has been involved with financial planning and analysis all his life. After that, the most important focus is to serve the FIL residents to the best of our ability. The next critical item is to ensure the long-term viability and financial health of FIL.
Jeffrey enjoys playing club lacrosse in North Carolina. He is raising five children who are all at very different points in their life journeys—from kindergarten to recently married. Jeffrey chairs a Haitian charity that provides care and education to 130 mostly handicapped Haitian children.
Director and Chair of the FIL Aging Committee
Clint Corey, Director
Clint Corey was born just outside of Boston, Massachusetts in 1977. The son of a car salesman and waitress, Clint moved with his family to South Florida in 1989. After graduating from Coconut Creek High School in 1995, Clint took college classes in the morning while juggling multiple jobs on afternoons and weekends.
In 1998, Clint was hired by the City of Coconut Creek as a 21-year-old Park Ranger. It was through this position that Clint first came to meet the residents of FIL as one of his responsibilities was to open City facilities for FIL dances.
Clint was promoted to Code Compliance Officer in 2001, and then Police Officer in 2004. During his time at the Police Department, Clint has held various positions including Road Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer, and Detective.
In 2010, Clint initiated the Police Department / FIL Roundtable Talk. These are monthly meetings in which Clint leads discussions on crime prevention and safe behaviors. An additional primary component of the meetings is to familiarize all residents and staff of FIL with all employees of the Police Department. This is accomplished by bringing in other Officers and staff on a regular basis. These meetings and relationship building events have undoubtedly created for a safer, positive, and trusting environment.
The Police / FIL relationship has evolved and grown over the years, and now also includes Field trips to City Hall, Special Olympic events, as well as the annual Police versus FIL Basketball Showdown, a crowd favorite. One of Clint’s proudest moments with FIL, was nominating FIL resident Joseph Benenati to become the 1st and only honorary Police Officer in Coconut Creek History (2017).
Clint lives with his wife, Ashley (a Coconut Creek Firefighter), and their teenage son and daughter in Palm Beach County. When not at work, Clint enjoys spending time with his family at sporting events and touring National Parks.
Detective Clint Corey
Roy Thompson, Director
In 2022, Roy joined the Board of FIL and serves on the Board Development Committee. He attended Board meetings for two years before being asked to officially join the Board. Roy's daughter, Molly, became a resident of FIL six years ago. At that time, Molly was the youngest FIL resident at 22 years old. She came from a residential program in West Virginia, yet Roy and his wife Margrey were looking for a more family-oriented program with oversight specifically by a Board of Directors. When Molly and Margrey visited FIL, they both knew it was the right fit for Molly. They viewed FIL and discussed with Molly that this is her long-term home. Roy’s vision of FIL as Molly’s home gives him a deep level of commitment and a vested interest in the sustainability and longevity of the FIL program. His commitment is to ensure the ability of individual residents to flourish and for their family members to be confident in the residents’ safety and growth within the FIL community.
Roy and his wife Margrey both have a medical background. Margrey is a physical therapist with a master’s degree in special education. Roy has been a general dentist in private practice for 44 years and has simultaneously been heavily involved in the organizational oversight of our profession nationally. For over thirty years, he has served at different levels in dentistry and spent 2016-2020 on the Board of the American Dental Association. Roy has chaired the Budget and Finance Committee of our 2000-member church, which has a $2 million budget. Within his community, dentistry, and church, he’s been involved in successful multimillion-dollar capital campaigns. Roy’s background on multiple boards in the community, church, and in dentistry in both the organization aspect and in fundraising will be an asset to the FIL community.
Roy enjoys reading, traveling, running and clinical dentistry. Throughout his career, Roy’s focus has been on life/work balance, raising his children, being a committed husband, maintaining exceptional clinical skills and staying healthy personally. His family has traveled extensively, and they continue to travel with and without the children. Roy has taken several adventure hikes—the back trail to Machu Picchu in Peru; the Haute Route through the Alps from France to Switzerland; and a thirteen-day hike from the west coast of England to the east coast on the Wainwright trail.
Mark Jacoby, Executive Director
Mark joined the Foundation for Independent Living in December 2020 after a successful 14-year stint as CEO of a large disability service provider in Arizona. With a degree in Architecture, Jacoby’s path has not always been straight, but in 1991 he found his calling and passion serving adults and children with disabilities. Starting as a front-line staff taking four gentlemen – Bob, Dean, Jose and Tom – into the community, Jacoby has worked at all levels including front line staff, Case Manager, Senior Case Manager, Branch Manager, Assistant Executive Director and finally CEO.
Jacoby has a long-standing history of advocating for the individuals he serves. During his 30+ year career, he has served as Chair of Arizona’s provider association, been part of several statewide workgroups that worked to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities and worked closely with legislative and state funding sources to improve system outcomes. He is eager to bring that same style of forward thinking, community engagement, and advocacy to FIL.
“I am excited to be at the Foundation because we have an astounding legacy, a tremendous team, and an unlimited potential to benefit those we serve!”
Betty Cadet, Director, Program Health and Residential Services
Betty Cadet is the Foundation for Independent Living Director, Program Health and Residential Services. In this capacity Betty oversees three major components of FIL’s community: Our meal program, Healthy Café, the Med Room Team, and the relationship that FIL has with Cypress Shores Apartments, the complex where all of FIL’s residents live.
Betty began her introduction to mental health when she managed a group home for eight residents with moderate to severe disabilities while studying Law Enforcement in college. She soon grew an admiration for assisting this particular population which proved to her that “this” was her calling – to serve, protect and become a voice of advocacy for these individuals. Soon after, she pursued a full-time career in the Medical Care field while also continuing her childhood passion as a dancer/choreographer & performer.
Betty eventually relocated to Florida after discovering that she had “more” to offer, but at the time, she didn’t know what “more” meant. It wasn't until she started her journey at FIL, the definition of “more” came to light when she went from medically managing 8 residents at her previous group-home venture, to over 60 residents within the FIL organization. This became a gift, a home and a family that Betty’s heart, mind & soul fully embraced.
Betty’s future plan is to continue to grow professionally within the FIL organization that she loves so much. Her experience here has inspired her to be a key part of “enlarging the vision” and carrying on the legacy left by the Founders to greater heights. To continue to impact and support many lives who are faced with mental challenges and “be the light & difference” that they’ve never or could ever experience elsewhere. Which explains her favorite quote: "As long as you do things with love and care, they become a piece of you – it becomes beautiful.”
Director, Program Health and Residential Services
Lisa Edmonds, Director of Human Resources
Bio coming soon!
Jodi Engelman, Controller
Jodi Engelman was born and raised in South Florida. She started her FIL, Inc. journey back in 2007 as the Controller. As FIL’s controller, she oversees FIL’s daily accounting operations, including the accounting, payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable departments. Jodi graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the University of Miami (Go Canes!) and, subsequently received her Masters of Accounting from Florida Atlantic University. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Florida. Prior to working at FIL, Inc., Jodi worked as the Assistant Controller for The Singing Machine Company, Inc., a publicly-traded company, in Coconut Creek, FL.
Susie Skaf Minnelli, Financial Clerk
Susie Skaf Minnelli is the Foundation for Independent Living’s Financial Clerk. In addition to managing the resident's finances, she makes sure the residents have a budget that meets their needs and that their bills are paid. Susie started working at FIL in September 2021.
Susie is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She received her Bachelorette Degree in Business Administration at ESPM Sao Paulo, Brazil, and an MBA in Entrepreneurship at Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida. Before FIL Susie worked at Transmedia Group in Boca Raton, FL.
Susie Skaf Minnelli
Sharon Otero, Senior Manager of Enrichment Services
Senior Manager of Enrichment Services
Debby Silla, Manager of Enrichment Services
Debby Silla is the Resident Enrichment Specialist for the Foundation for Independent Living, Inc. In her role, Debby is responsible for the development and coordination of various activity programs for the residents. These empowering activities assist the residents to be independent and to thrive in all aspects of their lives. In addition, the Manager of Enrichment Services develops programming that encompasses all facets of an individual’s being: physical, social, intellectual, artistic, and includes activities in and outside of the community.
Debby strives every day to provide quality programming for the residents. She feels so much admiration and respect for the residents. Debby started working at the Foundation for Independent Living on March 8, 2021. Before working at FIL, Inc., she worked at United Community Options as the Respite Coordinator for children with special needs in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. After this, she moved to Bristol, Virginia, and worked for Highlands Community Services as an In-Home Intensive Family Specialist. In this role, she worked with at-risk and marginalized children.
She was born and raised in Miami. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and Debby then received her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at St. Thomas University in Miami Florida.
Daniella Einstein is the Foundation for Independent Living’s Resident Enrichment Specialist. Her role as Coordinator involves planning enriching activities that contribute to the success of residents in becoming more independent. Danielle joined FIL on October 13, 2021.
Danielle recently graduated as a student for Bachelor of Psychology. Last employed at Lynn University as a Wellness Educator.
Resident Enrichment Specialist
Danna James Cooper, Employment Program and Training
Danna James Cooper is the Foundation for Indepent Living’s Employment Program and Training. She started in October of 2021.
Danna's entrance into vocational rehabilitation started over 20 years ago at Robert Wood Johnson Rehabilitation Hospital in Edison, New Jersey. She previously worked as a physical therapist assistant in acute traumatic brain injury for 5 years.Danna’s new life brought her to Florida, where she joined a leading non-profit organization. There, Danna worked for 19 years as the Director of Employment Programs serving Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Danna’s objective is for local, state, and federal government agencies, businesses, community partners, and others to recognize the value of our individual, unique abilities. Having the opportunity to share with them how diversifying, inclusion, and equity build a stronger workforce, thus creating jobs and learning opportunities for many of the talented job seekers who would like to live their dreams with seamless boundaries.
Advocacy, passion, and empathy, along with her spiritual awareness, are Danna’s daily "pilots" to make a difference in the lives of everyone she meets.
Danna James Cooper
Employment Program and Training
Nini Medina, Program Health Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Program Health Professional
Althea Wellington, Program Health Coordinator
Althea Wellington is the Program Health Coordinator at the Foundation for Independent Living, Inc. As a Program Health Coordinator, she ensures that all medical and pharmaceutical needs of the residents are met.
Althea started as a Medical Assistant in 2003 and continues her endeavor as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Althea graduated from Everest Technical College in 2012 with Diploma as a Patient Care Tech.
Program Health Coordinator
Shenika Nichols, Executive Chef
Shenika Nichols is the Executive Chef for the Foundation for Independent Living. She is responsible for all the dietary needs of the FIL residents. This includes a fresh breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for the residents. Shenika joined FIL in February of 2021 as our Sous Chef and in a few months became she became our Executive Chef. Shenika studied at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale Florida earning an Associates’ Degree.
Francesca Thomas, Sous Chef
Francesca Thomas is the Foundation for Independent Living’s Sous Chef. She started working at FIL on October 22, 2022. In her role, Francesca assists our Executive Chef, Shenika Nichols, with all kitchen duties. She stands side by side with Shenika and makes delicious food for the FIL residents.
Francesca was born in St. George's, Grenada, and started cooking in her mother's kitchen at a very tender age. Professionally, she has been cooking for about 34 years. Her passion for cooking led her to Sheridan Technical College, where she studied culinary arts, excelled in her courses and has since worked in the kitchens of well-known restaurants like the Hard Rock, catering companies and hospitals in Broward County and Miami. Francesca is quite the baker and takes pride in whatever she produces: desserts, delicious meals, and prepared meals for busy individuals.
Francesca hosts cooking class on the weekends called "Cooking with Fran." Her class teaches residents how to prepare some of the most delicious meals. Every month, Francesca makes beautiful birthday cakes for the residents to celebrate the past month's birthdays.
Francesca is 54 years old, the mother of one and the eldest of six siblings. The kitchen is definitely her favorite place.
John Washington, Dish Washer
John Washington is the Foundation for Independent Living’s Dish Washer. John assisted in the kitchen. He makes sure all the dishes are clean and maintained. He also helps with food preparation. Prior to coming to FIL, Inc. John worked at the Fort Lauderdale Health and Rehabilitation Center.
John joined FIL, Inc. February 12, 2021.
Sharon Shim, Supervisor, Resident Support Professional
Sharon Shim is the Foundation for Independent Living Supervisor, Resident Support Professional (RSP). Her duties include training and guiding the RSP staff and providing them with tools and resources to succeed in their role. Sharon has displayed great leadership and resident advocacy which became an inspiration to all those around her – resident, staff, and family. Her passion, drive, and eagerness to build the program to greater heights in order to enhance the lives of the residents is her primary goal. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is one of her favorite quotes that she lives by. She applies this principle each and every day she walks into the doors of FIL and encourages others to do the same.
Prior to officially joining the team, she was a caregiver for one of FIL’s former residents who has now passed away. After 4 years of working in the Med Room, Sharon transitioned out of the department to take on the role as the Supervisor, Resident Support Professional. With 20 years of experience in direct medical care, her heart grew in abundance for caring for individuals with Special Needs. Sharon has always gone above & beyond to ensure the life of “her” residents were lived purposely and ensure they received the best of care – in all aspects of their lives - as though they were her very own family. Sharon makes it known that the FIL residents ARE her family and will always advocate for them as such
Residential Support Professional
Elvith Arguz, Live-In, Resident Support Professional
Elvith Arauz was born in Panama and moved to Massachusetts in July 1991 then to Florida in 2001. She started her FIL journey in 2006 working part-time on the weekends, but in 2007 Elvith started working full-time as a Live-In. Elvith has the title of both Live-In and RSP.
Elvith’s responsibility as a Live-In is to be on call every other week. This means, if a resident has any issue after hours, Elvith is one of the people they will go to for help. No issue is too small for Elvith. From apartments flooding to emotional support. Elvith will be there at all hours of the night to answer the call. She has been a Live-in for15 years. As a Resident Support Professional, or RSP, Elvith has a team of residents under her that she trains. Training includes but is not exclusive to, household, shopping, and coping skills. She is always there to help her team.
Elvith graduated from Fisher College in Massachusetts for early Childhood Education. She worked as a teacher’s assistant at Monarch High School. Elvith is a proud mother of two daughters and one son, and a grandmother to one granddaughter.
Live-In, ResidentialSupport Professional
Josie Barnett, Residential Support Professional
Josie Barnett is one of the Residential Support Professional (RSP) at the Foundation for Independent Living, Inc.In her role, she works with a group of the residents supporting them in time management, shopping, maintaining their household, making appointments for grooming (hair and nails) and much more!
Josie relocated from the UK in 2021, where she graduated from Wolverhampton University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business. Josie worked for many years in Local Government supporting children, adults and families.
Residential Support Professional
Stella Binninger, Residential Support Professional
Stella Binninger is a Residential Support Professional for the Foundation for Independent Living. Stella puts 100% into her team of residents. She supplies emotional support, as well as life skills training for her residents. She is always there for her team and any resident that need help.
Stella started as part-time staff in 2014 and became full-time in 2019. She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Stella worked at St. Randazzo Montessori, and St. Luke Catholic School as a teacher.
Stella is mother of three, and a grandmother of three.
Residential Support Professional
Shirelle DeSue, Residential Support Professional
Shirelle DeSue is one of the Foundation for Independent Living’s Residential Support Professionals. In 2005, she began working at FIL, left in 2016, but returned to October 2021. As an RSP, Shirelle sets her team up for success. She is always there for them. If it is household, shopping, or redecorating their apartments, Shirelle is there every step of the way. Shirelle knows how to spread the love and help all the residents, and fellow RSPs, that need it. She is someone everyone can count on. Shirelle also works on the weekend and takes the residents on their weekend activities.
Shirelle also works for Broward County Public Schools.
Residential Support Professional
Jack Minnelli, Digital Marketing Specialist
Jack Minnelli is the Digital Marking Specialist at the Foundation for Independent Living, Inc. In his role, he oversees the Foundation for Independent Living, Inc.’s website, social media, and newsletter. Jack is also one of FIL’s Resident Support Professional. As an RSP, he has a team of residents that trains and sets them up for success.
Jack started in 2016 as a Resident Support Professional. In 2019, he transitioned to the Marketing department.
Jack graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Multimedia Studies: Film and Video.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Rico Thomas, Transportation, Residential Support Professional
Rico Thomas joined FIL in early 2022 and is a part of our transportation team. Rico may be new to the Foundation, but he is already a part of the family. The FIL residents look forward to seeing Rico drive up in one of the FIL shuttles or vans. He always makes residents' transportation fun and as relaxing as possible.
Rico is also a freelance photographer.
Transportation, Residential Support Professional
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