“What makes a difference to our residents is the great culture at Selfhelp. This is due to the staff loyalty and longevity of its employees” Austin Hirsch, Board President
Sheila joined the Selfhelp Home in October of 2016 with close to thirty years of experience managing and running senior communities. She describes herself as having a lifelong passion for providing excellence for all seniors entrusted into her care. Most recently, she served as Administrator/Chief Operating Officer of Montgomery Place in Hyde Park. A native of London, England, Sheila’s family ran a 5-star luxury resort on the English coast. That might be why she says that hospitality is “in her blood.” She is married with four adult children and resides in Peterson Park.
“The Selfhelp Home embodies our rich Jewish traditions while creating a safe, caring and warm living environment for our seniors”
Director of Administrative Services, 20 years
Marvin oversees the accounting office that is responsible for the budget, accounting, human resources, donations and much more. Born in Argentina and raised in Chicago, he lives with his wife in Buffalo Grove and has two adult children. Marvin’s pride and joy are his four grandchildren.
“It feels good to know that I work for an organization that cares”
Nerma Gayosa-Lamier, R.N., BSN
Director of Nursing, 23 years
Nerma has been with Selfhelp for twenty-three years and is responsible for making Selfhelp a 5-star-rated home. Her dedicated, long-standing team is a testament to her work, providing the highest quality of skilled nursing care to residents. The Selfhelp Home has been named U.S. News & World Report Best Nursing Home for several years and maintains the highest ratings with Medicare. Nerma has a bachelors degree in both business administration and nursing. She chose to pursue her life career in nursing because of her passion in making a difference in others.
“Every challenge is an opportunity for learning. It’s the overall culture and caring that sets us apart. That is what makes us different”
Lara Liberman, LSW
Administrator of Healthcare, 9 years
Lara describes herself as an advocate for the residents and assists families through the journey of these aging years. She constantly looks for opportunities to bring meaning to the lives of the residents and their families. Lara’s experience dates back twenty years to her work with Holocaust survivors in Brooklyn, NY. She grew up in London and graduated from Yeshiva University School of Social Work in 2002. She has two teenage girls and lives in West Rogers Park.
“Not only is it a privilege to provide care and support to such honorable people but it gives me the opportunity to learn from them; age brings a perspective like nothing else”
Alfredo Gonzalez Reyes
Building Engineer, 23 years
As a twenty-three year employee, just about every square foot of Selfhelp has Alfredo’s name on it. From building the Sukkah to renovating apartments, Alfredo has worked his way up and now oversees the Engineering Department. His work includes the recently renovated movie theater, sanctuary and media room and countless other repair projects we can’t see.
“I enjoy being part of the everyday work that goes into making this home a great place to live for our residents”
Sofia Metovic, CDM, CFPP
Dietary Manager, 27 years
Sofia began at Selfhelp twenty-seven years ago as an entry-level dietary aid. Her strong work ethic and dedication to Selfhelp drove her to the top. Today, she oversees our dining program, including 40 employees and 700 meals per day. Sofie and her team take great pride in preparing flavorful and traditional homemade kosher meals.
“This is a home away from home for me. I feel that I am a part of something where I can make a difference”
Program Director, 25 years
Fern has been organizing activities for residents at Selfhelp for the past twenty-five years. She is responsible for bringing in over 100 live classical music concerts a year, making Selfhelp a venue for some of the most renowned local musicians. Bookclubs, lectures and tai chi are other ways she makes sure residents have interesting programs. Fern is also an internationally recognized artist.
“This home embraces an atmosphere for lifelong learning; I’m looking for the highest caliber of cultural programming for our residents”
Activities Director Skilled Nursing, 17 years
The best part about Carmen’s job is experiencing life through the residents. Carmen’s positive energy meets residents on whatever level they are on. She’s passionate about discovering new programs that enhance the life of the residents. Her winning attitude and dedication creates an inviting and warm atmosphere wherever she goes. Carmen is a certified Dementia Care Unit Manager and a Certified Activity Director.
“Over the years the residents have helped me grow as a person, I have learned so much about life through them”
Efrat Dallal Stein
Director of Marketing & Public Affairs, 4 years
Efrat joined The Selfhelp Home in October 2012, after spending thirteen years in government managing marketing and media affairs for the City of Chicago. She is passionate about telling the story of Selfhelp to the outside world and oversees the marketing and community outreach. Efrat has twenty years of experience in marketing and holds a BA in Communications from the University of Illinois in Chicago. She lives in West Rogers Park and has a nine-year-old daughter.
“I love what I’m doing here. The greatest joy for me is forming friendships with the residents. The feeling of community is very present”
Director of Development, 1 year
Jeryl joined Selfhelp with extensive fundraising experience in the Jewish community, social justice, the arts and public health. She cut her teeth in philanthropy during her twelve years with the American Jewish Committee, running two programs dealing with inter-religious and inter-ethnic affairs. Prior to joining Selfhelp, Jeryl ran the Chicago region for New Israel Fund for six years. Other experience includes VP of Major Gifts at American Heart Association, Chief Development Officer at Link Unlimited and Executive Director of Alumni Relations at Columbia College Chicago, where she received her BA in Writing/English. Jeryl is married with two children.
“Fundraising is a passion for me, especially when the mission is as compelling as Selfhelp’s and the good work we do so worthy of donor support”
Director of Jewish Life, 2017
Jonathan joined the Selfhelp Home in 2017. His role is to enrich and grow Jewish learning and engagement at the Home. Jonathan has a background in Jewish communal service, having served as the Assistant Director of the Chicago Chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Previously, he practiced law in Chicago and earned his J.D. at DePaul College of Law. Jonathan and his wife Dafna live in Skokie with their 10 year old daughter who attends Chicago Jewish Day School.
Benna Kessler, LSW
Director of Social Services, 2017
A native of North Carolina, Benna has lived in Chicago for the past 10 years, since moving here to attend the University of Chicago as an undergraduate. She received her MSW at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, where she focused on aging and participated in a geriatric scholarship program. She has worked as a program aide at a day center for adults with dementia, and in several skilled nursing and long-term care facilities as a social worker. She is fluent in Yiddish, loves to travel, and has spent time living in France as a volunteer farmer. She is thrilled to join the Selfhelp Home team.
Liza Steinfeld, LCSW
Director of Healthcare Admissions, 2017
Liza is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a broad spectrum of work experience, ranging from her most recent position as a medical social worker at a Chicago Hospital to work she completed in Cambodia, Ecuador and the UK. Liza is passionate about assisting at-risk populations, particularly older adults and refugees. She is a graduate of Cornell University (Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration) and New York University (Master of Social Work). Liza is a curious, lifelong learner with a bit of an adventurous streak- her most recent trip was to Gobon (Central Africa). At Selfhelp, Liza works with families and patients that are making the transition from the hospital to the Selfhelp Home Health and Rehabilitation Center for short-term rehabilitation or to our Long Term Care residence.
Debbie Self, RN
Director of Assisted Living, 2017
Debbie joins our team with 30 years of experience in nursing and a solid background in senior care. Debbie has a strong work history of nursing in a leadership role, particularly in Assisted Living environments, and is passionate about her work. Debbie brings empathy, trust, confidence, accountability and attention to detail. Her experience in nursing management and running assisted living programs is key in ensuring we continue to provide the highest standards of care for our residents. Debbie is married with 2 daughters and lives in Park Ridge with their 2 dogs and 2 cats. She loves to read, enjoys traveling and is an avid Cubs fan. When the weather cooperates, Debbie and her family like to spend time at their lake home near South Haven, Michigan.
Retirement Counselor, 2017
Laura Zellhofer, joined Selfhelp Home in May of this year. She had been a Retirement Counselor at Montgomery Place, in Hyde Park, for 12 years prior to joining our team. Laura attended the University of Chicago and earned her Master’s Degree in Psychology. She also attended Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania. Laura was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., but has made Chicago her permanent home for the past 35 years. She is married to a retired physician and they have two dogs, Samantha and Shelly. Her strength is in fostering long lasting partnerships with her clients to enable them to make a smooth transition from their home to our community.
Administrative Assistant, 2017
Stacey has always had a passion for Judaism, family and the elderly. She began working with the geriatric community a little over a year ago and when the opportunity to combine all three of her passions arose, she jumped at the opportunity. When she is not at The Selfhelp Home she can be found with her husband and son in Deerfield and practicing the Israeli martial art known as Krav Maga. Prior to working in the geriatric community, Stacey was involved Jewish Education for 15 years as a preschool teacher.
“My three passions are Judaism, Family and Love of Life. I have found all these things and more at the SelfHelp Home”