Our small, dedicated staff works closely as a team to support WE CAN participants: Andrea (Andi) Genser, full time Executive Director, works closely with the WE CAN Board, serves as chief development officer, supervises staff and oversees all program operations. Ivana Amato, Assistant Reception Coordinator, provides support to reception volunteers and the staff as a whole. Siobhan Clune, Development Coordinator, assists with fundraising and manages our database, along with providing IT support. Kara Kennedy Duff, Program Coordinator, coordinates our legal programs, including legal workshops, and 1:1 work support sessions. Dawn Walnut, Volunteer and Operations Coordinator, organizes and directs our cadre of volunteers and manages our administrative office needs. Tracy Johnson, Program Coordinator, oversees the PathMakers Mentoring Program in both Harwich and Falmouth. Karen Ryan, Communications and Program Coordinator, oversees our Financial Empowerment Program and manages the website and other communication streams such as email outreach and social media. Elisa Wilson, Program Director, oversees all programs and supervises program staff. Each staff member also oversees the efforts of specific staff-dedicated volunteers that are all essential to carry out WE CAN programs.
Andi Genser was born and raised on the south shore of Long Island, New York. She lived in the Chicago area between 1969-1976 to attend Northwestern University and teach elementary school in Winnetka, Illinois. Andi moved to the Boston area in 1976 to study at the Wheelock College Graduate School where she also served as a graduate assistant supervising student teachers; she received her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Supervising student teachers in child care programs excited Andi and she began to consider working in the child care field as a career choice. She held a number of roles in the field that increased in responsibility and scope. Initially she became the Executive Director of a stand-alone child care program, then moved on to work on an action research initiative at the Wellesley College Centers for Women (School Age Child Care Project) which led to her becoming the Executive Director of the state’s largest and oldest Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. Other positions included creating and running a statewide early childhood training program based at Wheelock College as well as creating and teaching graduate courses in Financial Management for Child Care Programs and Child Care Resource and Referral.
Perhaps most rewarding in Andi’s career were the multiple opportunities that have allowed her to work with others to start new organizations or projects. She served as co-founder (and continues to serve as a Board member) of the Wheelock Family Theater, operating for more than 30 years; she began a national Institute for Leadership and Career Initiatives that conducted research and technical assistance in the child care field nationally; she organized a statewide charity cycling event at the AIDS Action Committee and prior to moving to Cape Cod, also at AIDS Action, she managed and helped to create BE SAFE—a collaborative youth initiative that involved 6 partners working across the interconnected issues of sexual and mental health; sexual violence and substance use. Andi learned a tremendous amount from each of these efforts that she now brings to her role at WE CAN. She began serving as the Executive Director in March, 2010 after relocating to the Cape in 2008. Andi feels that being at WE CAN allows her to make a difference in the Cape community and she is inspired daily by the women she meets. When not working, Andi loves cycling and is a member of the organizing committee of the Harbor to the Bay AIDS ride and is an avid photographer of the amazing Cape landscape. She is especially pleased with her role as grandmother of Alivia.
Ivana Amato Assistant Reception Coordinator
Ivana is the Assistant Reception Coordinator for WE CAN. She provides reception and clerical support to the organization on a daily basis. She warmly welcomes participants, provides general information and referrals along with telephone support, helps with the data base, and works with volunteers including coordinating schedules and room assignments. She additionally brings her much appreciated trilingual skills to the WE CAN office.
Ivana likes to keep busy. She is a student at Cape Cod Community College, earning a certificate in paralegal and an associates degree in liberal arts. She helps with promoting her new business with her husband called “Ivy’s Heating & Cooling” in Brewster. Her hobbies include photography, choir singing, dancing, and spending time with loved ones!
Siobhan is the Development Coordinator for WE CAN. She assists with fundraising at WE CAN and is essentially our “IT support” and manages our database and website. For the past ten years, Siobhan worked as an Independent School fundraiser in and around Boston. Her non-profit experience ranges from data entry to major gift solicitations.
Originally from Western Massachusetts, Siobhan graduated with a B.S. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2002 and received her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Wheelock College in 2009.
Siobhan moved to the Cape in July, 2014 to open a boutique consignment shop, Changing Tides, in Chatham with a friend. She joined the WE CAN team part-time in Fall, 2014. Siobhan was inspired by WE CAN’s mission and wanted to support the organization from behind the scenes.
Kara Kennedy Duff
Kara is the Program and Administrative Coordinator at WE CAN. She is often the familiar voice on the line that answers the phone “WE CAN, How can I help you?” At WE CAN her job tasks are varied. Kara is largely in charge of the legal services program, which includes scheduling and coordinating legal consults. Kara loves WE CAN and is so happy to come to work every day. She has a unique perspective on the organization as prior to working here she was a client. Kara credits her time in the Pathmakers mentoring program as the turning point in her life— going from surviving to flourishing.
Kara holds an Associate in Arts degree from Cape Cod Community College and counts her life experience of being a former single parent as invaluable. During that time Kara became familiar with many of the available resources on Cape Cod which she now tells others about. She is both an accomplished public speaker and published writer.
Kara lives in Brewster with her husband, and 2 boys, along with their sizable grey cat, Elise, rescue mutts, Rocky and Trixie, and a big house rabbit with a personality to match named Milkshake, affectionately known as Milkie.
Tracy was born and raised on the Connecticut shoreline and moved to the Cape from Northwestern Connecticut in 2012, upon her retirement from service to the State of Connecticut, fulfilling a long time dream for her and her spouse to return to the water.
The combination of education, life experience and the support of various circles of women have all served to guide her journey and to ultimately prepare her for her work with WECAN.
Tracy comes to WE CAN from a career working initially with incarcerated persons, female and male, from all backgrounds and circumstances, and ultimately with the formerly incarcerated toward personal empowerment and reintegration into family and community life. For several years her work involved making the possibility of moving to one’s home state during this process a reality through her role in managing the Interstate Compact Unit of the agency. She also served as the agency’s Training Coordinator for a period of several years.
Recognizing a passion for working with people in transition, Tracy pursued a degree in Human Services which was a stepping stone to her career path. As a single mother making her way on her own, she found the support of similarly situated women invaluable. Wanting to further her education, she joined an accelerated program at the University of Hartford; receiving a BA in Women’s Studies in 2000. It was at this time that she made the transition to working in a community setting, using her accumulated knowledge to focus on programming specifically designed for women. Tracy came to see her work as more of a vocation in this process and chose a seminary experience in order to understand this sense more deeply. She received a Master of Arts in Spirituality from Hartford Seminary in 2009 and went on to pursue a Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School, which she completed in 2014. The Rev. Tracy Johnson was recently granted Preliminary Fellowship through the Unitarian Universalist Association and ordained into ministry on December 6, 2015.
Throughout her education and the relationships developed through shared life stories she has realized her own worth and has sought to engage others in a process where they are able to see themselves in a new light. As a WE CAN volunteer, she has witnessed first-hand the value of the organization in providing grounding and resources for women on Cape Cod. It is the kind of agency she wishes was available to her so many years ago. As Program Coordinator for WE CAN’s PathMaker Program, Tracy hopes to provide a safe environment for women to discover their deepest selves, define their goals and move toward a place of continued thriving.
Tracy can be found gardening, cycling, walking the beach and trails with her spouse and their rescue dog, Emma, or curled up with a good book when not at WE CAN. She has a passion for good food and quiet times that supply balance to a busy life.
Communications and Program Coordinator
Karen Ryan is the Communications and Program Coordinator for WE CAN. She oversees the Financial Empowerment Program, including both 1:1 sessions and financial workshops. Karen is the staff liaison for WE CAN communications including the newsletter, other social media and the website.
Karen is a Massachusetts native from the greater Boston area. After earning a BS in Nutrition, she relocated to Vermont where she worked as a nutritionist for the Vermont Older Americans Act Nutrition Program and also as an advocate/case manager for community-living elders and adults.
Ten years later, Karen became the director of a nonprofit hostel in Hanover, NH, serving the needs of adult cancer patients traveling a distance to receive medical treatment at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Arriving on Cape Cod full-time in 2011, she worked at a large affordable housing complex, providing educational programming, recreational opportunities, and social services for residents of all ages. Karen enjoys building community through her work, assisting both individuals and organizations to make connections for the greater good.
Karen has held various volunteer positions including a board member for a housing & community development nonprofit, the fundraising president for her children’s band program, and as communications coordinator for a social justice group. Karen, her husband and their two sons reside in South Yarmouth.
Volunteer and Operations Coordinator
Prior to working at WE CAN, Dawn held a variety of eclectic jobs. She has been an artist’s assistant, a theatrical dresser on Broadway, a downtown guide for the City of Portland, Maine, an elementary school teacher, and a volunteer coordinator at Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod. She also has considerable volunteer experience herself, and she has served on the boards of First Parish Brewster and the Brewster Ponds Coalition. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cooper Union in New York and a degree in Education from the University of Southern Maine.
Dawn is inspired by WE CAN’s mission of empowerment, and knowing that participants are given the tools they need to make an impact in changing their own lives, as well as impact their communities. She loves that she has a job where she gets to work with volunteers, people who could be doing anything with their free time, but have chosen to spend it helping others.
Dawn lives in Brewster with her husband and two sons.
Elisa is the Program Director at WE CAN. She oversees all WE CAN programs, takes the lead in new program development, supervises program staff, assists in program delivery, and represents the organization in the community. In addition to overseeing all programs, Elisa takes the lead in coordinating the Personal Development Programs (From Surviving to Thriving and Designing Your Life). As needed, Elisa provides direct services to WE CAN participants and assists in fund development and reporting. Additionally, she will help grow WE CAN services in the Upper and Lower Cape.
Elisa resides in South Chatham with her two young boys and her husband.