Meet our Staff
The CdLS Foundation employs a professional staff, who are available to provide support and information and help with fundraising events and awareness activities.
Acting Executive Director
Kelly Brown( )
Kelly joined the Foundation in 2008 as the part-time bookkeeper. She became the Finance Manager in 2009 and Assistant Executive Director in 2012. Kelly holds a B.A. in Accounting from Central Connecticut University. She started her career as a staff accountant in a CPA firm preparing tax returns and auditing financials. As her family grew (she has three boys), she worked part-time as the treasurer of a nonprofit organization. Interesting fact: Kelly played Division 1 softball in college and shared her skills as a big buddy and volunteer for Challenger Baseball for 10 years.
Antonie Kline, M.D.
Dr. Kline joined the CdLS Foundation in 2001 as Medical Director. In this role, she oversees the Clinical Advisory Board, CdLS Clinic for Adolescents and Adults, the Ask the Expert program, the biennial Scientific Symposium, and much more. Since 2000, Dr. Kline has been Director of Pediatric Genetics at the Harvey Institute of Human Genetics at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Dr. Kline completed her medical studies at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. She spent her residency at Sinai Hospital, where she was Chief Resident. She gained valuable experience in CdLS during a Medical Genetics Fellowship at Jefferson Medical College with Dr. Laird Jackson, the Foundation's first medical director. Dr. Kline is currently an instructor in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Consulting Geneticist with the Department of Pediatrics at Sinai Hospital. Interesting fact: Dr. Kline has gone on medical missions to Haiti and Senegal.
Family Service Manager
Deirdre Summa, L.M.S.W. ( )
Deirdre joined the Foundation in 2006 as a Family Service Coordinator and became the Family Service Manager in 2010. She earned her Master’s in Social Work from Springfield College. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked at organizations providing support and education in the areas of domestic violence, at-risk youth and high-risk pregnancies. She also ran a home preschool when her three children were young. Interesting fact: Deirdre is the fourth of five children of an Irish immigrant father and spent a year exploring Ireland with her family as a child.
Family Service Coordinator
Lynn Audette, L.M.S.W. ( )
Lynn has been serving the Foundation as a Family Service Coordinator since 1996. She earned her Master’s in Social Work from Boston University, where she focused on working with families of children (birth to three) with special needs. She and her husband, Rich, live in northeastern Connecticut with teenagers Jillian and Nicholas and yellow Lab, Dobby. Interesting fact: Lynn is avid reader and knitter and can do both at the same time.
Family Service Coordinator
Justyna Wawrzonek, L.M.S.W. ( )
Justyna joined the Foundation in 2015 as Family Service Coordinator. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. She also holds a Public Health Certificate in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies. Justyna enjoys spending her free time with her two dogs, Blake and Teddy. Interesting fact: Justyna was born and raised in Poland and immigrated to the U.S in 1997.
Kristi Larson ( )
Kristi joined the Foundation in 2016 as Development Manager. She holds a B.A. in Communication Arts/Media Studies from Mount St. Mary College. With 14 years of fundraising experience, she has a deep understanding of nonprofit management and philanthropy. Her most exciting career involvement was being a part of an organization that eliminated sheltered workshops and successfully implemented 100% community-based employment, volunteer and recreation activities for adults with disabilities. When not in the office, you can find Kristi, her husband and yellow lab/pointer at the football, baseball, soccer and wrestling sidelines cheering on their two sons. Interesting fact: In 2006, Kristi had the opportunity to meet and thank her childhood idol, Don Mattingly, for his influence in her playing softball.
Brenda Sawyer ( )
Brenda joined the Foundation in 2012 as Communications Coordinator. She holds a B.A. in Communications from George Mason University. Brenda worked in admissions for her alma mater and at the Connecticut Science Center before joining the Foundation. In 2014, she relocated to Chicago and telecommutes from her urban home office. Interesting fact: Brenda was a singer in a band for seven years, performing at community events, music festivals and weddings.
Francesca Scognamiglio ( )
A staff member since 2011, Francesca is the Foundation’s Graphic Designer/Webmaster. She holds a B.F.A in Graphic and Interactive Communications from Ringling College of Art and Design. Interesting fact: Francesca enjoys baking in her spare time and always shares her treats with the office staff (her flourless chocolate cookies are amazing!).
Susan Salina ( )
Susan joined the Foundation in 2015 as Office Coordinator. She earned her associates degree in accounting while raising her four children. Susan initially worked in Manhattan in the 1980s for a commodities trading group and rejoined the workforce in 2010 at a small employee communications company keeping the books and managing the office. Interesting fact: On her daughter’s 18th birthday, Susan accompanied her on a tandem parachute jump from 13,500 feet.