Board of Directors

Board of Directors

We would like to thank our board of directors for their contributions to Home of My Own of WNY. Their perspective, expertise and time is much appreciated. As we continue grow as an organization, we will add to our board in areas that help us accomplish our mission and reach our goals. If you feel you have something to add and would like to invest the time with us, please contact us at Thanks for your interest!

Connie Stives

Connie Stives:

A small business owner of a technology company for 25 years, living in Williamsville, NY, Connie is a Founding Director of Home of My Own of WNY. She was inspired to pursue Home of My Own of WNY after having visited other similar inclusive communities in other parts of the country. Connie has a wealth of experience in several aspects of the Erie County communities, including helping those with IDD.

Currently the Treasurer of GiGi's Playhouse Buffalo, past board member and Treasurer of the Williamsville School District SEPTSA (Special Education Parent Teacher Student Association) Board. Connie also served as a board member for six years for Bornhava, a non-profit school for children birth to age 5 with disabilities, where she also served as President of the board for one year. Connie served six years on the Board of Directors of Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives, a non-profit business organization, where she served as President for one year and Vice President of Programming for three years. Connie also served as Board President and was a board member for six years for the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce.

Ellen Pachioli

Ellen Pachioli

Ellen Pachioli is a Founding Director of Home of My Own of WNY who currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors. Ellen is the mother of two adult daughters with IDD. She was also the legal guardian for 17 years of her sister, also with IDD, until her recent death.

Ellen has been advocating for her sister and daughters for most of her life. Finding appropriate housing has been one of the most challenging parts of helping her family members become independent and happy adult citizens. In a previous life, Ellen worked as a computer programmer and project manager for Marine Midland Bank and prior to that, she worked as a scientific programmer for IBM.


Hon. Mary Carney

Mary Carney is a Judge in Erie County Family Court currently presiding over matters primarily related to custody and access of children, family offense and paternity. Mary Carney joined the Advisory Board of Home of My Own of WNY after being drawn to its mission which is deeply personal to her and it speaks to her profound sense of inclusivity and justice.

Mary earned her Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Kenyon College in 1993 and her Juris Doctor degree from SUNY Buffalo School of Law in 2000. Before entering law school, Mary worked as an administrator at The Gow School dedicated to children with learning differences. There she gained firsthand experience with children and families facing and overcoming adversity. The school’s emphasis on integrity and character made an indelible impression upon Mary who carries these principles into her present work.

Mary has served her community in many ways over the years. She has served as Director of Yogis in Service (an organization that offers free access to the tools of yoga and meditation to underserved communities) and as a Director of the Erie County Bar Foundation (which assists lawyers in crisis).  She is co-chair of the Erie County Family Court’s Disproportionate Minority Representation (DMR) Committee (which focuses on eliminating disparity for children of color in the child welfare system),co-chair of the Erie County Family Court’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Committee (which focusses on eliminating disparity for LGBTQ+ youth and families) and finally Chair of the Erie County Family Court’s Muslim and Immigrant Community Committee (which focusses on providing resources and education to our refugee and immigrant community).


Karen Cuddy-Miller

Karen Cuddy joined the Advisory Board of Home of My Own of WNY in the spring of 2020 after recognizing that the Mission, Vision, and Values represent a natural “next” extension of her 33+ year career in education.

Her experience includes 18 years as a special education teacher and 15 years in educational administration in Western New York. Throughout her career, she was a passionate advocate for students and families; possessed a determination to overcome obstacles; and was guided by a moral compass focused on doing the right thing – both in the classroom and as an educational leader.

The tagline for our organization says it all: “On my own, but not alone.” As our students leave the realm of public education and move toward adulthood and independence, the focus of providing life opportunities that include safety, health and well-being, independence and membership among friends, are desires we have for ALL of our children.

Mark Carney

Mark Carney

Mark Carney has represented clients in complex litigation matters for over thirty years.  He is well versed in bringing matters before virtually all levels of the court; from local municipal courts to New York State’s Appellate Court and Federal District Court.  Mr. Carney is experienced serving a myriad of legal needs for clients including:

  • Matrimonial and Family Law;
  • Business Litigation;
  • Corporate Law;
  • White Collar Criminal Defense; and
  • Civil Litigation.

Mr. Carney was appointed as a Commissioner to the Erie County Water Authority in 2018 and he currently serves as Vice Chairman of the ECWA’s Board of Commissioners.


Cindy Fohrd

Cindy Fohrd

Cindy Fohrd has recently joined us as an Advisory Board Member with Home of My Own of WNY.  Cindy was born and raised in the Buffalo area and obtained a B.S. Accounting from Canisius College.

After some time in public accounting, Cindy took a position at Seneca Foods as Director of Internal Audit.  Through a variety of promotions that included management responsibility in corporate tax, payroll, human resources, legal, property management, insurance, and talent development,  Cindy now holds the position of Chief Administrative Officer at Seneca Foods Corporation.  Her experience in a variety of business areas brings a well rounded dynamic to our organization.

Cindy has a personal interest in individuals with disabilities.  She has served on a variety of committees and Boards and has volunteered at a variety of agencies, including activities with March of Dimes, United Way, Special Olympics, Bornhava, Junior Achievement and others.

Her genuine commitment to providing an inclusive and interactive future for all individuals in our community is welcomed.