Alliance Leadership

Allen Connely,

President & CEO, Mozaic and Challenge

 

 

Allen began his professional career in the international business arena where he held senior management roles.  He has worked in over 20 countries and upon his return to the states, began his own company in the automotive industry.  He served as the Executive Vice President of Keystone Independence Management, an organization that offers management and leadership services to non-profits, where he consistently demonstrated the ability to ensure sustainability as well as providing jobs for the people they support. 

As the current President & CEO of Mozaic and Challenge, Allen possesses extensive leadership experience in the field of developmental disabilities and an understanding of the challenges facing human services agencies. Allen has a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and a Master’s degree in both Business Administration and International Management.

In his free time, Allen enjoys reading and playing golf. Allen and his wife Brenda are now empty nesters; their son and daughter-in law live in Colorado and their daughter and her fiancé live in San Francisco. 

 

 

 

Ebru Arslan,
VP of Finance, Challenge

 

 

Ebru was born in Turkey and came to the United States in 2000. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Brooklyn College while working full-time at a construction company and later earned a master’s degree in Economics while serving as the Finance & HR Manager for a specialty food importer.

About 12 years ago, Ebru’s brother came to Cornell and bought a house in Freeville that soon became a favorite summer getaway spot for the whole family. Through these visits, Ebru fell in love with the people and the scenery of the Finger Lakes and began to look for job opportunities in the area.

For Ebru, her current position isn’t just a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city but is also a long-sought opportunity to apply her skills to a worthy mission: “We all have to work for a living, but doing something good for the community is so important to me, and I’m so glad that I got the chance to merge both of these things.”

As a key member of Challenge’s leadership team, Ebru oversees the financial management of Challenge and, in partnership with the President & CEO, is responsible for coordinating and executing the growth of the organization through mergers and acquisitions.

Ashley Burke,

VP of Clinical and Business Operations, Mozaic

 

 

 

Ashley began her career at the Arc of Yates after graduating from Keuka College with her Bachelor’s in Business Management. She began her employment with minimal knowledge of the field of disabilities and quickly grew passionate about the work.  She became committed to offering quality services to those supported and took on additional roles to spearhead improvement projects.  In her tenure she held various roles and was then promoted to the Vice President of Programs and Services where she was responsible for the overall operations of the following programs: Residential Services, Community Habilitation, Medicaid Service Coordination, Central Intake, Guardianship and Day Habilitation at The Center for Lifelong Learning.  She also obtained her Master’s in Business Management from Keuka College during that time.

Ashley is currently the Vice President of Clinical and Business Operations for Mozaic and Challenge.  She oversees the Article 16 Clinic program across four counties; Mozaic Services, which provides custodial, floor care, lawn maintenance and snow removal services; Finger Lakes Textiles, which is a textile manufacturing facility that produces cold weather hats for the Department of Defense, as well as commercial hats through their Arctic Gear brand, and the Marketing and Communications Department.

Ashley lives in Yates County with her fiancé and their four children and spends her free time cheering for them while they participate in a variety of sports.  She also enjoys completing home improvement projects and traveling to explore new places.

 

Tess Fraser,
Director of Development & Marketing, Challenge

 

 

Tess has always been passionate about sharing the meaningful impact and achievements of non-profit organizations with the greater community. Having spent more than half of her career working for a human service organization, she feels truly connected to the mission of Challenge and the incredible work that we do. Thrilled to be a part of the Challenge family, she is very much looking forward to sharing our successes with our supporters, connecting with the community, and expanding our development efforts.

Originally from Buffalo, Tess and her family relocated to Ithaca in June of 2017. She loves the natural beauty of the Ithaca area and has found the community to be incredibly loving and welcoming. When not out promoting the amazing work of Challenge, you can find her out on the lake, or somewhere outdoors with her family. Tess lives in Cayuga Heights with her husband and 2 children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tammy Raub,
CFO, Mozaic

 

 

Tammy is a Certified Public Accountant that earned her Master’s of Business Administration in Fraud Management from Utica College after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from St. Bonaventure University. 

She began her career in public accounting where she focused on auditing nonprofit and governmental entities.  She moved to the higher education sector after the birth of her son, beginning as Controller of St. Bonaventure. She went on to work for Alfred University where she was known for her ability to navigate complex relationships and negotiations; she was frequently selected by the President to oversee special projects.  She then advanced her career even further and became Vice President of Financial Affairs and Treasurer of Utica College where she oversaw budgets of $70 million and endowment funds over $30 million.

 After taking advantage of a full year sabbatical and moving to Canandaigua, Tammy decided to pursue a career with a nonprofit that had a mission that she could feel passionate about.  That was how she became the CFO of Mozaic and Challenge.  She loves the opportunities to get directly involved in the mission, like assisting at summer camp, BINGO and other events.

She is consistently focused on providing better customer service and more efficient support of the mission by implementing software that automates processes and allows users to access their own data.  Her motto has always been, “Finance is not an obstacle to overcome; we are your partner to get things done!”

Tammy enjoys camping all across the country and loves to cook with her partner who occasionally caters small events. 

 

Briggs Seekins,
Director of Employment & Vocational Services, Challenge

 

 

Briggs is our Director of EVS. He became part of the Challenge family 9 years ago when he decided to change careers. Tired of breeding cows in Cortland, he wanted a more meaningful job so he decided to go back into Human Services. Before moving to the Ithaca area in 2005 from Maine he taught creative writing and Human services.

His favorite part of his job is working with the participants. “They are harder workers than most people without barriers and most of them complain less.” I’ve have seen Briggs interact with our participants…he is brilliant!
Briggs wants people to know that we help people become more productive and contribute to the community in a positive way.

When Briggs is not at work he spends time working out both for himself and coaching special Olympians. As a boxing enthusiast Briggs also spends time writing for a boxing magazine.

Something surprising that people may not know about Briggs – He is probably the only person in the US that has an MFA in creative writing and can breed a cow! He also served in Desert Storm as an infantry soldier. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tammy Slayton,
Senior VP of Administration, Mozaic

 

 

Tammy Slayton, SPHR, SHRM-SCP has been a human resource professional for over 25 years.  She is currently the Senior Vice President of Administration for Mozaic and Challenge overseeing Human Resources, Training, Payroll, Strategic Planning and Transportation.  Prior to her role at Mozaic, she was Director of Human Resources for the Arc of Seneca Cayuga for 7 years and held the same position at the Arc of Steuben for almost 17 years. 

Tammy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with a concentration in Human Resources.  Tammy is NYS Notary Public and a certified Mediator for the Center for Dispute Settlement.  She is a member of The Arc (US) Board Development Committee and a member of the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES Joint Advisory Committee.  Tammy is a member and former Vice-President and Secretary for HR-PRO; a member and former Chairperson for the Recruitment and Retention Committee for the Collaborative of NY; and served as the Legislative Chairperson for the Human Resources Association of the Twin Tiers.  Tammy has also served as the Chairperson for the Center for Dispute Settlement Advisory Council and was a member of the board for the ArcNY Worker’s Compensation Trust.

In her free time, Tammy enjoys spending time with her dogs and other animals, playing guitar, making jewelry, riding her motorcycle and nature photography.

Denise Vreeland,
VP of Services/COO, Mozaic

 

 

Denise Vreeland has been in the Intellectual and Developmental Disability field for more than 30 years. She is currently the Vice President of Services/COO at Mozaic and Challenge overseeing Day Habitation, Community Pre-Vocational, Supported Employment, Community Supports, Residential, Nursing and Intake. She began her career right out of college at Seneca ARC and has been with the Agency through the merger in 1997 with Comprehensive Technology Center to form Seneca Cayuga ARC and again in 2020 with Arc of Yates to form Mozaic.

She has her Master’s degree in Education as well as a wealth of knowledge in the human services and developmental disabilities field having grown up in a family that opened their home to others in need through foster care. She also has a brother who receives services through Mozaic, making the mission of the organization very close to home. Denise is a member of the I/DD sub-committee in Seneca, Cayuga and Yates Counties.

She’s lived in the area her entire life and is adamant that there is no place better than the Finger Lakes.  Denise currently lives in Waterloo with her husband, 2 children, dog, 2 cats, fish and hermit crab. In her free time, she enjoys crafting and spending time with her family traveling to warm destinations.