760.340.3220

Board and Staff

The Joslyn Center's leadership consists of a ten-member Board of Directors, who oversee six full-time and three part-time staff.

Joslyn Center Board of Directors 2017-2018

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Jack Newby, Executive Director

 Jack has over 15 years of diversified and successful experience in non-profit management from the LGBT Center and AIDS Project Long Beach to the last seven years with the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs where he most recently served as the Director of Marketing and Development.  Jack has a broad range of experience in fund development, grant writing, public policy, public relations and organizational development experience.  He holds a Masters degree in Organizational management and a Juris Doctorate.  In addition, Jack serves as a Director on the Desert Communities Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  

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Aurora Wilson, President

Aurora Wilson, a Palm Desert resident, brings to Joslyn’s Board extensive regional government experience including serving as the Director of the Community Resources Department at the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, the Legislative Assistant to the late Fourth District Riverside County Supervisor Roy Wilson; Executive Director of the Regional Access Project Foundation. She has held other non-profit Board positions, including Family Services of the Desert, the Health Assessment Resource Center (HARC), Friends of the COD Library and the Desert AIDS Project.  Mrs. Wilson also holds public office as Board Trustee of College of the Desert representing District 4 (Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and La Quinta).

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Ed Walsh, Vice President 

Ed has an extensive background in Canada and the United States, as both a social worker and senior administrator in the field of aging.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the overall Director of Senior Service Systems and the Office on Aging for Riverside Country, one of the largest and fastest growing counties in California.  Previously, he worked in a wide range of community based settings, including a Medicaid Waiver program in Boston, internationally recognized British Columbia Long Term Care Program in Vancouver and the nationally recognized Senior Care Network in Pasadena, California.  He also held positions in tertiary care hospitals as well as in primary care and geriatric care clinics.

Ed has a special interest in programs and services that strive to maintain optimal independence for older adults.  Based on his experience in developing and promoting innovative programs that promote and enhance community based initiatives that address chronic care continuum, Ed continues to be an advocate for a continuum of community based long term services and supports and community initiatives that target the most vulnerable adults

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Barry Kaufman, Treasurer

Barry Kaufman has approximately 20 years of experience in non-profit finance, accounting and administration with Tri-Counties Regional Center and Family Service Agency, both located in Santa Barbara, CA.  He joined the Board of Jewish Family Service of the Desert in 2007 and is Board Treasurer.  He is Board Chair of the  finance committee  and  also  serves on the Executive, Personnel and Services Committees.   He  is  also  Board  Treasurer  for The  Joslyn Center  in  Palm  Desert and serves on the Board of Animal Samaritans in Thousand Palms.  He was Board Treasurer/Controller of the Jewish Community School of the Desert.  His education includes both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Chemistry and an MBA.

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Mary Gilstrap, Secretary 

Mary E. Gilstrap is a litigation partner of Roemer & Harnik LLP and has been practicing law for over 23 years, concentrating on business litigation and contested trust and probate matters in both state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies.   She is a past president of the Desert Bar Association, a founding member of the Inland Empire Federal Bar Association and a former  member of the Warren E. Slaughter/Richard I. Roemer Inns of Court.  She currently serves on the Legislative Outreach Committee of the Riverside County Superior Court, and acts as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Shelter From the Storm and Vice President of Habitat for Humanity of the Coachella Valley.

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Beverly Fitzgerald, Director

 Before launching her real estate business, Beverly Fitzgerald cultivated a successful 25-year career in public relations, which included work with the US Department of Veterans Affairs.  Beverly now focuses her professional career objectives in real estate.  As an agent with Tarbell, Realtors, Beverly distinguishes herself with her attention to details for her clients.  Beverly shares her talents outside of real estate as well, regularly volunteering her time and resources to local charities and programs benefiting veterans and the senior community.  She serves as the President of the California Desert Association of REALTORS(2015) and is a recent graduate of Leadership Coachella Valley (Class of 2015).

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Berit Reistad, Director

Berit Reistad was born in Oslo Norway and came to the US as an exchange student in 1960. She became an American citizen in 1976.  Berit received a Social Work degree from the University of Texas in Austin.  She has worked professionally in the medical field as a Social Worker, Marketing Director, Community Relations Director, Daily Activity Director, Counselor and Group Therapist.

Her dedication to nonprofits and volunteerism is evident in her service on many local board. Berit is a widow with two children, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild and resides in Rancho Mirage. She has lived in the Coachella Valley for 28 years and is looking forward to serving on the Joslyn Center board

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Berrylynn Freeby, City of Rancho Mirage Representative, Director

Berrylynn and her husband Dwayne moved to Rancho Mirage in 2001. Berrylynn’s career was in retail having worked at Bullocks Wilshire and Nordstrom. She and her husband lived in Grand Cayman BWI for a few years where Berrylynn worked for two developers in their offices; a learning experience banking in two different currencies, and learning about “island time.” Dwayne did the in-flight magazine for Cayman Airlines. They have two sons, two grandsons, and one great granddaughter. Having those grandsons were what brought Dwayne and Berrylynn home from the island. Berrylynn and her husband stay busy doing estate sales, as EZ Estate Service. Berrylynn loves doing genealogy and volunteering;she is currently a Commissioner for Rancho Mirage MHFP, a volunteer a the R.M. Library, Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and also a volunteer for the BNP Paribas Tennis for over six years. Berrylynn joined the board of directors for Joslyn as a representative for City of Rancho Mirage.

Anna Rodríguez, Director

Anna Rodríguez, a Cathedral City resident, has 28 years of service in the public sector.  Anna has worked in  the Community and Economic Development fields, and is currently a Project Manager for the Riverside  County Economic Development Agency, focused primarily on County construction projects.  She is currently  serving on the Board of the Reynaldo J. Carreon Foundation, a private nonprofit college scholarship  foundation for students of Mexican descent.  She also serves on the City of Cathedral City Planning  Commission.  Anna’s education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree in Public  Administration. 


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Karen Wendt, City of Indian Wells Representative, Director 

Karen Wendt, a resident of Indian Wells, is relatively new to the desert. Before retiring in 2007, she managed Elderly Housing properties in the Southern California area for 20 years. Beginning in Arcadia, Karen branched out to Panorama City, Simi Valley and Granada Hills, assisting in the opening of 3 additional HUD subsidized Housing facilities for both the elderly and handicapped/disabled. The responsibilities of Project Management were quite diverse and demanding but far the beyond the bricks and mortar and the administrative responsibilities, Karen found her niche in the Housing Industry, working alongside the Senior population in developing and establishing living environments where the residents felt a strong sense of community and belonging. It proved to be much more than an occupation because it provided an opportunity to fulfill a desire to help and serve others and improve their quality of life. Karen and her husband Ron have 2 married sons and 4 grandchildren.




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Eileen Packer, Director

Eileen Packer retired March 31, 2015 from her position as Chief Executive Officer of HARC, Inc., (Healthcare Assessment Resource Center) which was founded in 2006.   In this capacity, Ms. Packer coordinated the development of the triennial needs assessment, oversaw the research design, survey tool development, data collection and analysis, data preparation and reports.  As well as coordinating the fundraising efforts, Ms. Packer worked with the Director of Research and Evaluation to market and coordinate HARC’s research and evaluation services to the community.

A Registered Dietitian and former Certified Association Executive, Ms. Packer worked in the Los Angeles area as Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Tarzana Regional Medical Center.   After 11 years there, she took the CEO reins at the 7,000-member California Dietetic Association located in Los Angeles.   She restructured the organization and its foundation during her decade-plus tenure there, restoring profitability and building a reserve fund to sustain future outreach.  The Canadian educated professional moved to the Coachella Valley in 2000, serving in various management positions for the county’s Office on Aging.  Three years later, the Stroke Recovery Center hired her as Executive Director.

In her volunteer capacity, Ms. Packer currently serves as a member of The Joslyn Center Board of Directors, Riverside County Office on Aging Advisory Council and a member of the College of the Desert’s Citizens’ Oversight Committee.  Previously she served as President of the CA, Desert Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and, also President of the Southern California Society of Association Executives.



Joslyn Center Staff Listing

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Jack Newby
Executive Director
jnewby@joslyncenter.org
Ext. 106

Bob Elias Ed.S.
Director of Social Services
bobe@joslyncenter.org
Ext. 110

Daniel Coover
Program Director
danielc@joslyncenter.org
Ext. 102


Diane Sylvester
Finance/Operations Director
dianes@joslyncenter.org
Ext. 108

Kristine_Gula_Staff_photo__2_Kristine Gula
Marketing & Membership Assistant
kristineg@joslyncenter.org
Ext. 105

Edie Willard
Volunteer Coordinator
ediew@joslyncenter.org
Ext. 103

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Judi Olivas
Director of Development & Marketing
judio@joslyncenter.org
Ext. 107

Abel Becerra
Lead Custodial