Meet Our Staff
When Michael is not working or spending time with his children and grandchildren, you can find him attending one of The J’s signature events or working out in the The J’s Fitness Center under the watchful and motivating eye of his personal trainer. He enjoys cooking and plays six musical instruments. Michael and his wife Susan live in Beachwood and are members of Beachwood Kehilla congregation.
Janice, a lifelong Clevelander, has worked for The J since February 1999 in several positions, and has been the Executive Assistant since 2006. Janice is married to Mitchell and is the mother of three grown children; Melissa, Jeremy & Ryan. She is an active member of Park Synagogue attending daily services and participating on various committees as needed. She enjoys cooking, movies and time with family and friends.
Gil Rubanenko has served as the Vice President of Operations of the Mandel JCC since 2010. Gil brings many years of experience in the hospitality and service industry to this position. Most recently, Gil had been an owner of My Gym, a children’s recreation center in Solon. He has also served as VP of Marketing for the national franchise My Gym Enterprises. Earlier in his career Gil worked for the Hyatt Hotel chain. Gil holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Johnson and Wales University and serves on the board of B’nai Jeshurun. Gil and his wife, Kelly, have three children and live in Pepper Pike. You might say Gil and his family are Mandel JCC “super users.” Whether it’s competing in The J’s Indoor Triathlon and Biathlon, performing in a Playmakers Youth Theatre production, attending J-Sports Camp, Performing Arts Camp or Camp Wise, attending a FilmFests screening or working out in The J’s Fitness Center, Gil and his family can nearly always be found somewhere around The J.
Deborah has served as the Vice President of Finance of the Mandel JCC since 2006. Deborah brings many years of experience to the position having spent the majority of her career within the Non-Profit Sector. Prior to this Deborah served as CFO at Applewood Centers which provides behavioral health services, child welfare social services and alternative schooling options for children. Deborah spent 2 years as a Manager within the Non-Profit Division at Hauser & Taylor LLP a Northeast Ohio CPA firm and 7 years as Director of Financial Services and Vice President/CFO at The Nord Center in Lorain. Deborah began her career in Public Accounting spending 6 years with Walthall & Drake, She graduated from Cleveland State University and passed the Ohio CPA exam. When Deborah isn’t working, commuting (she lives near Oberlin), gardening or golfing with her husband, Harry, you can find her working out in The J’s Fitness Center often with encouragement from her personal trainer.
Traci attended undergraduate and graduate school at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut where she received degrees in organizational communication & communication/marketing. Traci began her professional career in 1993 when she was hired by Mayor Michael R. White to serve as Special Assistant to the Mayor of Special Events & Marketing for the City of Cleveland. Traci began her health and human non-profit experience as the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio region of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Ohio and Kentucky. She was fortunate to help women & children as the Regional Director of Dress for Success Cleveland & Columbus and as Executive Director of the Old Stone Education Center/VP of Grants & Partnerships at the YWCA Greater Cleveland. In 2013 Traci became the Director of Major Gifts & Endowment Campaign at the Menorah Park Foundation where she focused on securing private funding to support & continually raise the bar for greater quality of care, services and programs for adults as they age.
Traci is very excited about the opportunity to systematically build, grow and sustain The J’s core programs and services through financial support. In her spare time, she is busy with her children’s activities, spending lots of time in hockey rinks and basketball courts.
Debra has served in this position since 2007. Prior to this role, Debra was Director of Marketing and Development for Healthnetwork Foundation a national Chagrin Falls-based nonprofit. Debra served as Director of Marketing and Communications for University Circle Incorporated. In this role she launched the popular summer concert series, Wade Oval Wednesdays. Debra served for ten years as Director of Marketing for University Hospitals Health System and also worked for the Cleveland Clinic. Earlier in her career she worked in Chicago for two national associations, and while in Chicago earned her MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. Debra and her husband Don live in Solon and are members of Fairmount Temple. Their son Daniel lives in NYC. When Debra isn’t sending out yet another email blast, you can find her in The J’s Pilates or Spinning studios. She’s a late-blooming “athlete” who only recently discovered the joys of sweating.
Liza has been in the field of Early Care and Education for more than seven years and serves as the Interim Director of Early Childhood services.
She understands the importance of creating a warm and welcoming classroom environment for children and adults alike.
Liza graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor degree in Human Development and Family Science. She obtained her Master’s degree in Jewish Education from Siegal College of Judaic Studies. Liza also completed JECELI (Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute,) a two-year postgraduate program specifically designed to prepare talented teachers for Early Childhood leadership roles.
Emma Baugher is the Fitness Services Supervisor at The J. In her role, Emma oversees the Fitness Service and Kid Kare staff to bring a memorable experience The J’s members and guests. Emma received her degree in communication arts in 2013 from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She began her career as a video producer and graphic designer, but quickly realized her true passion is in health and wellness. Emma is currently training for a 50k trail race and loves spending time outdoors. Some of her favorite things include journaling, getting brunch with her siblings at the Original Pancake House, reading, and hanging out with her husband and dog.
MBA Cleveland State University
BS in accounting Syracuse University
Certified Public Accountant
Manages the day-to-day fiscal operations of The J.
Married to Priscilla, father of two daughters, Molly and Emily. I am a foster dog parent and have two dogs of my own. I am an avid follower of Syracuse University Basketball and I bleed Orange.
B.A. from Indiana University
M.S.S.A. from Case Western Reserve
Certificate of Jewish Communal Service from Cleveland College of Jewish Studies
Jill helps The J use technology to improve service from the administrative office, to purchasing Film Festival tickets online, to the scheduling personal training. Her goal is to increase efficiency and improve experience through utilizing technology to the fullest degree possible. Jill can occasionally be heard saying “Have you tried rebooting yet, that will probably solve your problem."
Jill is the mother of twin boys, Josh & Ryan, and married to Brad. When she's not taking her boys to sports practice Jill is a news junkie and knitting addict.