An all-volunteer Board of Directors manages the day-to-day work at RFNJ. This includes planning and running events, communicating with the membership, publishing the quarterly newsletter, providing assistance to play groups and support groups, handling media requests, and being advocates for our families. Board members are elected by the general membership for two-year terms.


Liz Bennett
Liz and her partner Ellen have 3 girls, ages 6, 4 and 10 months. Since the couple moved to NJ 3 years ago, Liz has been a stay-at-home mom. Prior to that she worked for 10 years for the City of New York, heading their domestic violence unit, and for the Federal government in Head Start. Liz received a BA from Yale University and a JD from the University of CT School of Law. She and Ellen are also mentors to a Point Foundation/Matthew Shepard scholar at Princeton University.

Sherry Braun (Secretary)
Sherry joined the RFNJ board in 2006. She and her partner Laurie are parents to two adopted children, a son of 8 and a daughter of 7. Sherry has over twenty years of experience in marketing and sales in the pharmaceutical and medical laboratory industries. She earned her B.A. in communications from Seton Hall and MBA in marketing and finance from Fordham University. They live in central NJ.

Michelle Breaud
Michelle Breaud has been a member of RFNJ for over a year. She is currently the Director of Marketing for Arden Courts Alzheimer’s Assisted Living. She also runs a private tutoring business for grade school children and frequently teaches Psychology classes as an adjunct professor at Montclair State University. She has given lectures on Child Development, Utilization of Medication Management and Parent-Child Relationships. Previously held professional positions have been in marketing and psychology. Michelle has her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. She has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross and the Young Leadership Council, and is currently a member of the Chamber of Commerce, The Caregiver’s Coalition of Essex County and the Executive Women’s Association of Morris County. She enjoys playing golf, bowling and trying new restaurants. Michelle and her partner plan to be married in May 2008 and are in the process of starting a family.

Kathleen A. Burns (Treasurer)
Kathleen has been on the RFNJ Board since 2004. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration and a J.D. from Rutgers University and is the proud single parent of a middle schooler. Prior to moving to central NJ, Kathleen was a trustee and officer of the Trenton Gay and Lesbian Civic Association for several years. As an attorney, Kathleen has been involved in civil rights litigation, discrimination investigations and harassment prevention training. She held a two-year term as secretary of the Individual Rights section of the NJ State Bar Association and was NJSBA liaison to the Family Equality Coalition which drafted and promoted legislation that eventually became the Domestic Partnership Act in 2003. Kathleen is active in her community, serving on the PTO executive committee and as a Girl Scout leader.

Eddy Byam
Eddy has been a RFNJ member for the past two years. He has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years and is currently pursuing a shift in career focus on becoming an entrepreneur. He holds a B.A. in English from Rutgers University and a M.A. in Media/Film from the New School. Eddy and his partner David live in Hoboken with their son Simon.

John Davis Jr.
As a resident of Northern NJ and a father of two great boys from the foster system, John is a transplant from SC. Professionally he is a Realtor with RE/MAX Village Square and although an expert in Real Estate he is also very computer, web and marketing savvy. Personally he is involved with a loving husband and enjoys music, theatre, technology and of course his kids.

Greg Farnham
Greg has been on the RFNJ Board since 2006. Greg is the owner of his own consulting firm, Customer Intelligence Consulting, which helps companies improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Prior to starting his company, he worked for a Fortune 100 company for many years in several positions including account management, marketing, and developing customer experiences.  He holds a B.A. in English from Hunter College.  Greg and his partner Christopher have two daughters. They live in Glen Ridge, NJ.

Kim Galberaith-Capeless
Kimberly Galberaith-Capeless is excited to join the board of RFNJ this year. She and her partner Jodi live in Bergen County and are proud parents of a 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son. Kimberly is the Executive Vice President of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a national non-profit that serves the Duchenne muscular dystrophy community.

Elena Gerstmann
Elena has been a RFNJ Board of Director member for four years and is currently serving as President. Elena shares her life with her partner of 15 years, Linnea, and their two children. They reside in the gay family-friendly town of Highland Park, NJ. In Elena's professional life, she is the Staff Director of Corporate Strategy & Communications for IEEE – a non-profit professional association for the engineering and technology professionals. She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and is a proud graduate of Clark University (BA) and Rutgers University (MS, Ph.D.)

Alexis Hanes
Alexis and her partner Anna have been together since 1999. They live in Glen Ridge with their 4 year old daughter. Alexis has worked for the foodservice company Compass Group since 1991, where she is the Business Relationship Manager for the Eurest Eastern Division. Alexis has been a member of Rainbow Families since 2003.

Janine Mazzaro
Janine Mazzaro is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Spa manager at The Milagro Spa/Atlantic Club in Red Bank, NJ. Prior to her 10 year career in massage, Janine worked in the foreign banking industry. Janine and her partner Debbie live in Central NJ where they are raising their 4 year old daughter.

Mary McManus-Smith
Mary McManus-Smith is a legal aid lawyer who, along with her wife, Karen M-S, has a multi-cultural family formed through domestic adoption. Their three children range in age from 6 to 12. Mary is keenly aware of the issues for older children of same-sex parents, including the limited quantity and quality of activities available for them in NJ. She has contributed many articles to Jersey Gaze, the magazine published by Jersey Pride, Inc., regarding family and legal issues for our community. Mary has trained a significant number family law attorneys around the state on the effects and nuances of the Civil Union Act. She has served on the DYFS Working Group on LGBTQI Youth since its inception in 2005. Mary was instrumental in achieving court-sponsored (Lambda Legal) trainings for judges, attorneys, and DYFS caseworkers on the issues facing lgbtqi youth in foster care.

Maria Towe (Vice President)
Maria Towe, RFNJ Board Secretary, has been delighted to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the past two years.  She and her 5 year old son live in Montclair.  Maria has an MA in audiology from Gallaudet University, and is a sign language interpreter at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

Amy Van Pelt (President)
Amy has served on the RFNJ Board for 5 years and is currently the board's Vice President. She and her partner, Laura, live “down the shore” with their 5-year-old son. Amy is a graduate of Temple University and is the Manager of Volunteer Programs at Homefirst - a non-profit social service agency serving the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.

©2006 Rainbow Families of New Jersey, All Rights Reserved.