The Caring Place Staff


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Ginna F. O’Connor, Executive Director – Ginna grew up in Nashville, TN.  She is a graduate of Hiram College and holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Cleveland State University. For over 20 years, Ginna has worked to collaboratively and comprehensively address health and human service issues by leading programs and initiatives at organizations such as the Nashville Coalition for the Homeless, the Council for Health and Human Services Ministries and United Way.  Prior to joining The Caring Place, she served as the Vice President of Programs for the Senior Resource Association where she directed the organization’s nutrition, adult day care, in-home and case managed services, and lead the quality assurance process for all grants and contracts.  She has served in leadership positions on the Boards of the Florida Association of Aging Services Providers and the Florida Adult Day Services Association for several years.  Ginna and her husband, Brian, have two children.


Rita-WebRita Turner, Community Engagement Manager -  Prior to coming to The Caring Place she spent 10 years at the Round Rock Police Department as Coordinator of their Victim Services Unit.  She has been with The Caring Place since 2008. She graduated from Mary Hardin Baylor and has called Georgetown home since 1972.


Mark Turner, Information Management Director- Mark, an Austin native, has been working in technology for over twenty years. He has extensive experience in LAN/WAN topologies, network administration, E-Mail, Internet systems, Windows and UNIX environments.    He holds certifications as: CCNA, CCNP, MCP, MCSE 2008, MCTS, and MCITP: Enterprise Administrator.  Mark has been at The Caring Place for 2 years.



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Lorna Symank, Office Manager,  is a Central Texas native. She and her husband have lived in Georgetown since 2006. Lorna retired from the Texas Workforce Commission with more than 34 years of service, which included over 18 years of supervisory and management experience. She was a Client Services volunteer, here at The Caring Place, for 3 ½ years.


Kelly Downing, Human Resources Manager – Kelly is new to The Caring Place and to the Austin area as well. She was raised military and has lived most of her life in Houston. She comes to us with 15 years of experience in Human Resources, a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, and a Master’s degree from Texas A&M University. Kelly has 2 sons, one in the Navy and one in college.


http://www.toddwhite.orgAlicea Jones, Communications Coordinator – has lived with her family in Central Texas for the past ten years. Prior to joining The Caring Place, she was Editor-in-Chief for a community magazine and an award-winning freelance writer whose work appeared in various local and national publications. She has fifteen years’ marketing and public relations experience in both the profit and nonprofit sectors. Alicea Jones earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.


Client Services

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Pam Robers, Programs and Services Director – Pam has had a long and satisfying career in healthcare and human services.  Initially a health professional, she began working on quality of care issues while completing her graduate studies.  She moved to Austin after completing her Ph.D.  Her work experience includes research, teaching, and directing programs for provision of services.  She comes to The Caring Place after decades of advancement while working for several health and human services state agencies.  She has over 15 years of experience coordinating volunteers and is a Certified Volunteer Manager.  She enjoys serving her community by being a volunteer, lay chaplain, and animal rescuer. 



Kerstin2WEBKerstin Cochran, Client Advocate Supervisor - After graduating from U.T. Arlington, Kerstin and her husband moved to Georgetown in 1990. Kerstin spent fifteen years working in the pharmaceutical industry and served on the Board of Directors for Austin State Hospital Volunteer Services Council for six years and was involved with many other non-profits.  Kerstin was a Client Advocate Volunteer at The Caring Place for two years prior to accepting her current position as the Client Advocate Supervisor.


Barbara Bell, Client Services Administrative Supervisor -  Barbara’s career has been in Human Resources and Office Administration.  She comes to us from the telecommunications and high tech industries where she gained her 20+ years of experience.  She attended college at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas.



Buffmire, Nella 119b framedNella Buffmire, SOAR Coordinator - Nella received her Master’s degree in Immigration Studies in Spain, where she lived for a few years.  Prior to moving to Spain, Nella received her undergraduate degree in Spanish Sociology in New York City.  Nella is fluent in Spanish and has case management experience with diverse populations, including volunteer-based programs.


DSCN0929 600 pxLoretta Lambert, Special Programs Coordinator - Loretta joins The Caring Place with 5 years of advocacy for seniors and those who suffer with disabilities.  She has served in many leadership roles, worked on several projects throughout her undergraduate studies and previous employment.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas State University in San Marcos in 2010. Loretta is a 6th generation Texan and native to the Austin area.


The Shops at The Caring Place


Ann Lind, Store Director – Ann, a Georgetown native, has been the Store Director at The Caring Place since March, 2007.  After graduation from The University of Texas at Austin, Ann spent 30 years in retail and wholesale businesses.



Smith, Andrea 118bAndrea Smith, Assistant Store Director – Andrea was a volunteer prior to joining The Caring Place staff in January 2013.  As a Central New York native, she attended Mohawk Valley Community College and worked as a Private Duty Nurse (LPN).  Other work experiences include Gaziano Furniture, Curves, and Ashley Furniture.  Andrea has been married 34 years and has one son.

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Joan Quigg – Retail Sales Associate – joined The Caring Place staff in August, 2013.  Prior to coming to The Caring Place join spent 25 years as an Administrative Assistant with a major construction company in Illinois.  Joan grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Illinois in 1986.  She recently moved to Georgetown with her son Tom.




Donations Management

David Earl, Donations Area Director – David has over 25 years of warehousing experience. A resident of Georgetown for fifteen years he is married and has a 9 year old son.




John Burton, Donations Area Coordinator -  Before coming to The Caring Place, John retired from the Round Rock Fire Department as a Battalion Chief after 28 years. He has a 15 year old son that is a sophomore at Eastview High School. He has lived in Georgetown for 16 years.




Justin Ryan Arzola, Donations Specialist – Justin comes to The Caring Place with 11 years’ experience in construction and 3 1/2 years in warehouse operations. Justin has lived in Georgetown for the past 4 years with his wife, Erica, and his daughter, Juliana. He is originally from Corpus Christi, Texas. “I love my current job and look forward to many years here.Arezola, Justin 122


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Tracy Wilder, Donations Assistant – Originally from San Jose, California, Tracy has lived in Georgetown for 7 years. He has 10 years’ experience in Industrial Food Service and started at The Caring Place as a volunteer in the Donations department.


Chance Wagner, Donations Assistant – Chance joined The Caring Place through Labor Finders in August, 2014 and became an employee in January, 2015. Recently from Springfield, Missouri, Chance likes Georgetown and The Caring Place because “the people are nice and genuine.”

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