Our Executive Leadership Team
Michael K. Billia is the Chief Executive Officer for Life’s WORC. Before taking on the role of CEO Michael served as Chief Administrative Officer for two years.
Prior to joining Life’s WORC, Michael was Senior Vice President and District Manager for Investors Bank, where he was responsible for the branch network on Long Island. His 38 years of experience building out and managing bank branches and employees across the region are an asset to the Life’s WORC team as we continue to grow and expand our services and staff.
Michael is very active in the special needs community and previously served as Vice Chair of the Life’s WORC Board of Directors. He also is an active board member for the Michael Magro Foundation, and a past board member for Options for Community Living, Girls Inc, APEC and Queens Chamber.
In addition, Michael participates in many volunteer activities supporting several nonprofits throughout the Queens/Long Island Markets. He has also been recognized as the honoree for The Michael Magro Foundation, The Book Fairies, Townwide Fund of Huntington and Alley Pond Environmental Center; and received the 2022 Moxxie Mentoring Foundation Award for advancing the careers of women.
Jenny Antony, Chief Financial Officer, CPA, has a unique combination of public accounting experience and working with nonprofit organizations, making her the perfect person to lead the finance team at Life’s WORC.
Jenny joined Life’s WORC in 2018 as Senior Director of Finance, and was later chosen to become its Chief Financial Officer in 2021. She brings her 15-plus years’ experience to the organization, with 10 years in public accounting, as well as expertise in audit and consulting services for nonprofit organizations, rate reimbursement and cost allocation methodologies.
In addition to her time spent at Life’s WORC, Jenny is committed to continuing education, attending and participating in provider association finance committees, obtaining CPE credits and maintaining her CPA licensure
John Pfeifer, Chief of Clinical Operations, has been a member of the Life’s WORC team for over 20 years, but has been making a difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families his entire career.
John joined Life’s WORC in 2001 as Director of Clinical Services, and when the Family Center for Autism opened in 2015 he became Director of Autism Services. He was promoted to Senior Director of Community Services in 2016, and then Assistant Executive Director in 2019 as his role within the organization continued to grow. He became Chief of Clinical Operations in 2023.
John brings 30-plus years of industry experience working with the IDD and autism community to the agency, and oversees all residential, nursing, clinical and admission functions for the agency.
Robert White, Chief People and Culture Officer, MS, SHRM-SCP, has dedicated his career helping organizations acquire, engage, develop and retain talent, making him a valuable asset to the Life’s WORC team.
Robert joined Life’s WORC in 2022, bringing not only his expertise in talent and human resources management strategies and innovation, but years of experience in the non-profit sector including the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities field where he worked in similar roles at other agencies.
Robert’s human resources education, experience, training, and knowledge makes him a great fit to oversee Human Resources and Talent Management at Life’s WORC. In this role he leads the efforts of the Human Resources and Training Departments that enhance our commitment to acquiring, developing and retaining quality employees to work with the people we support. Robert holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Hofstra University, a Master’s Degree from New York University, and a Certificate in Strategic Human Resources Leadership from eCornell.
Lauren Accovelli, Chief of Residential Services, has been working in the health and human services field for nearly two decades, enabling her to pursue her passion and make a difference in people’s lives when they are experiencing times of crisis.
Lauren joined Life’s WORC in 2022, taking the next step in her extensive career working at nonprofit organizations that specialize in working with people with developmental disabilities. She has significant experience with the oversight, operation, innovation, and support of certified and non-certified sites, and a wide variety of experience in behavior support, crisis settings, residential and non-residential programs and opening new programs.
Lauren’s experience, training, and knowledge working with children and adults with complex needs and behavioral challenges makes her a perfect fit to help oversee Residential Services at Life’s WORC. In this role she will enhance our commitment to our core values, while developing and achieving quality outcomes and working toward person-centered services that ensure quality for the people we support.
Outside of her time at Life’s WORC, Lauren is an active member of the Interagency Council Committee and the LIQA Committee.
Nicky Faranda, Senior Vice President of Community Services at Life’s WORC, knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a career that allowed her to help people achieve their best possible lives. She began her career working at nonprofit organizations working with people with developmental disabilities and her passion turned into over two decades of dedication to the field.
Nicky joined Life’s WORC in 2017 as the Senior Director of Community Services, and since then has also come to oversee the Respite and Community Habilitation programs, and most recently the Family Center for Autism. Under Nicky’s leadership, the Day Habilitation and Employment programs have greatly expanded their services, operations have been streamlined, and the departments boast a skilled, cohesive team equipped to support people of all abilities.
Outside of her work within the organization, Nicky also participates in the Inter Agency Council’s Adult Day Services and Individualized Community Supports committees. She has previously served on committees within the New York Alliance for Community and Inclusion as well as the New York Integrated Network for Persons with Disabilities.
Paulette Elbers, Senior Vice President of Trusts and Financial Support Services, has been an integral member of the Life’s WORC team for over two decades, helping to build and enhance the entitlements and financial service offerings and programs through her expertise and her commitment to supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism.
Paulette joined Life’s WORC in 2002 as an Entitlements Coordinator, and her impact in ensuring people maintained their benefits and receive their much-needed services was immediate. She was promoted to Director of Entitlements in 2005, overseeing and ensuring benefit eligibility for over 250 people in our residential programs. Her expertise and understanding of government benefits ultimately led to the development and creation of the Life’s WORC Pooled Trust Program in 2007, and later the comprehensive Trust Services department in 2011, which Paulette oversees as Trust Administrator, managing over $9.2 million in trust program funds. In 2022 Paulette was promoted again to Senior Director of Entitlements & Financial Support Services, and has taken on the oversight of the agency’s newly expanded Planned Giving Program.
In addition to her professional role at the agency, Paulette is also an important member of and past Chairperson of the Life’s WORC Values Committee, and is helping lead the agency’s DEI programs and initiatives.
Andrea DiVita, Senior Vice President of Residential Services, was drawn to help people with special needs early in life, as she observed how people treated her own sister who has a disability. As a result, she has dedicated her career to working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Andrea joined Life’s WORC in 2017 as a Director of Residential services and was later promoted to Senior Director of Residential Services in 2019, Vice President of Residential Services in 2020 and Senior Vice President of Residential Services in in 2022. In this role she oversees the operations of our 45 homes and the support staff and services for the people we support living in those homes, as well as the development of additional homes across Long Island and Queens.
In addition to her official role at Life’s WORC, Andrea is also a member of the internal Incident Review Committee, Human Rights Committee and Events Committee, helping to further ensure that each person supported is living a happy, healthy, meaningful life. Outside of the organization, she is also a member of the Interagency Council Residential Committee.
Denise Matos, Senior Vice President of Quality and Compliance and Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer, has worked in the health and human service field for over three decades in various roles as a DSP, Coordinator, Staff Trainer and Compliance Analyst. She has dedicated her career to working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be able to live their best lives.
In 2019 Denise joined Life’s WORC as the Director of Compliance. She brought with her significant experience with regulatory issues, NY Medicaid program requirements and OPWDD regulatory compliance. Her ability to lead, plan, organize and implement programs/systems lead to her promotion to SVP of Quality and Compliance in March of 2023. In this role Denise has oversight of compliance and quality assurance standards and improvement and is responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of the effectiveness of the Compliance Program.
She is an active member of Life’s WORC’s Compliance, HCBS Waiver, Incident Review Committee, Human Rights Committee and Safety Committee. Denise is also an active member of the Interagency Council’s Membership and Quality Assurance Committees, The Alliance of LI Agencies Corporate Compliance Committee, and the Quality Management Taskforce Committee.
Melina Madaia, RN, Senior Vice President of Nursing, understands the importance of quality medical care for the people we support. As head of the Nursing Department Melina oversees four Directors of Nursing and twelve Registered Nurses within the department. Melina leads the department with a goal to ensure that the people we support receive the best medical care they possibly can.
Melina started her career 13 years ago as a direct support professional and has never worked outside of the field of supporting people with disabilities. Melina’s compassion and sensitivity to the fundamental needs of the people she was supporting led her to pursue a career in Nursing. Melina understood that as a Nurse she could change a person’s life circumstances by improving their overall health through Nursing Plans of Care.
Melina has extensive experience in the field having worked in an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF), Crisis home, and several Individualized Residential Alternatives (IRAs).
Board of Directors
Board of Directors
E. Christopher Murray
Gregory J. Pond
ADVISOR TO THE CHAIR
Donald W. Barrick
Dawn Del Mastro Chruma
Sylvia E. King-Cohen
Peter J. Klein, Cfa
Anthony Taormina, Jr.
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS
Victoria Schneps-Yunis, Founder
Rick Del Mastro (1945-2020)