Lori A. Sweetwood, Psy.D.
Dr. Lori is President and Founder of Challenges – and is proud of the fact that we have touched many lives since opening in 1997. She has about a billion interests – and brings many of them to the office, a place where books, dogs, art, jars of sea glass and treats made with stuff from the garden are ready to be shared. Be ready – a session might include walking around a lake, creating something artistic, being read a special poem, or having an exciting new insight. And for sure, anyone who comes in our door can count on a laugh, a hug or a great chat with Gina as well!
Gina Russomanno has been the Practice Manager for Challenges for almost 9 years. She is responsible for streamlining the operations of Challenges and Dr Lori’s private practice which includes personnel mgt, payroll, and scheduling, as well as overseeing marketing and being the point person for all. She prides herself on being available to anyone who needs her, and always in a prompt and considerate way. Her goal is to make all those she comes into contact with feel they are cared about. She is committed to “walking that walk”. Gina’s joys are found in family, friends, and don’t forget her two black labs!
Jo is the Billing Supervisor for Challenges alongside her husband, Sal. She has been a biller for over 40 years and has been a part of Challenges for over 20. She takes care of the billing in both Dr. Lori’s private practice and Challenges. In her and Sal’s spare time, they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and cooking up remarkable Italian feasts!
Amanda Levitt is an office assistant for Challenges, helping with scheduling and greeting patients along with other various duties. Over the past couple months, she has been focusing on helping with various projects for Lori's book. She is currently a graduate student at Monmouth University in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. This past January, she went to India with some classmates in her program where they spent time at an orphanage for children with disabilities. She also works as a behavioral assistant providing in home therapy for youth alongside an in-home therapist. In her spare time, she enjoys playing games and spending time with friends.
As our Marketing Director, we rely on Kyle for ideas and her special brand of kindness and grace. With a strong background in Customer Service and Human Resources at Polaroid then Driftwood Hospitality Management working with the Director of Development, Kyle honed the skills intrinsic to navigating the complexities of Marketing that have stood Challenges in good stead. It is notable that she has received special training to become an Autistic Friendly Business Partner – this tells you a lot about the kind of person she is. Kyle celebrates God, loves being in the sun, and is happiest in the company of friends and family.
Kristen Deeken is a Nurse Practitioner student specializing in mental health, an intern at Dr. Lori’s private practice, and provides medical expertise as needed. Her focus is suicide prevention and reducing the stigma of mental health disorders. She has been an emergency room nurse for 8 years. She has worked in the ER for 14 years. She wants to help people to achieve their best life and happiness. Her interests include doing triathlons, writing poetry and hanging out with her niece and nephew.
Leighann Ertle worked for Challenges full time doing marketing, cultivating new facilities and doctors to join our practice, and continues on as a consultant while pursuing new business horizons. She went to college for education and is currently in school for business administration. She also runs a non-profit Color Guard and is the mother of the sweetest Rottweiler on the planet!
Widget and Hinani
Along with her side kick, Widget (a mostly sleeping Shih Tzu), Hinani (or Nani) will happily greet you at the door and invite you for a tug of war – she may even let you offer her one of her doggie treats! As you can see from her picture, she feels right at home – and wants you to feel that way too! Both our therapy dogs are gentle and sweet – and if you have any concerns, please notify the office and they will be removed from the treatment area for the course of your session!
Daniel White is the accountant for Challenges. He is a Certified Public Accountant with over 15 years experience in the accounting field. Dan is a graduate of Rowan University, earned a Master of Business Administration from Monmouth University, and donates his time to various non-profit organizations. In his spare time he enjoys being with his two daughters.
PS – We LOVE Dan and recommend him to anyone seeking a brilliant, reliable and responsive accountant!
Jay Laubauskas is a freelance illustrator, happy to be working with Dr. Lori Sweetwood, doing illustrations for her book. Jay is a New Jersey resident born and raised, and has freshly graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in Animation and Illustration. In her free time Jay also enjoys writing, tabletop role playing games, video games, and reading!