Our Staff

The International OCD Foundation's staff is a group of dedicated and hardworking individuals all working to provide life-changing programs and create a community of support, with the goal of allowing everyone affected by OCD and related disorders to live full lives.

IOCDF Staff 2022
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Jeff Szymanski, PhD
Executive Director

For over a decade, Jeff Szymanski, PhD, has been the executive director of the International OCD Foundation. Previously, he was the Director of Psychological Services at McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute. Dr. Szymanski is also the author of: “The Perfectionist’s Handbook” based on his work at the OCD Institute. He is the immediate past president and co-founder of the ACBS New England Chapter which provides education and peer consultation on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for a regional audience. As a Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Szymanski has supervised pre-doctoral psychology interns, psychiatry residents, and has run Cognitive Behavior Therapy seminars.

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Matthew Antonelli
Director of Operations

Matt joined the IOCDF in July 2019. Coming from a business management background across various industries he has found his passion in the non-profit sector, specifically by working with a foundation that supports a mental health community. Matt oversees finance, HR, and administrative systems for the IOCDF. In his free time he likes to give back to vulnerable youth populations.

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Stephanie Cogen, MPH, MSW
Program Director

As the Program Director, Stephanie develops new programs for the entire IOCDF community, maintains the quality of the IOCDF’s current programming, and oversees all educational content on our various websites and print materials. Stephanie has worked for the IOCDF since 2013 and is passionate about public mental health. She has a Masters of Public Health (MPH) and a Masters of Social Work (MSW), and is a member of the American Public Health Association’s Mental Health and Public Health Social Work sections. ¡Ella habla español!

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Fran Harrington
Director of Media & Technology

Fran joined the IOCDF in 2010. Fran is a Boston native who calls Jamaica Plain home. Along with Tiia Groden he oversees the IOCDF's Communications Department. Fran manages all in-house graphic design, web development, and IT. In his spare time Fran is very involved in the local soccer community. He is a founding member and former president of The American Outlaws Boston Chapter. He also serves on the board for AO Impact and the leadership council for Boston Scores.

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Tiia Groden, MA
Director of Systems Operations

Tiia Groden works interdepartmentally to ensure the IOCDF is working efficiently and effectively to create a community of support among those affected by OCD and related disorders. She oversees the One Million Steps for OCD Walk and works operationally with the Development Dept to expand and grow fundraising initiatives and the Events Dept with the execution of events, including the Annual OCD Conference and the Online Conference Series. She joined the Foundation in 2014 after completing her Master's degree in Psychology at Boston University, where she studied executive functioning in early child development, and before that Human Development at Boston College for undergrad. She is a native Rhode Islander currently living in Somerville, MA.

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Lise Lawrence
Associate Director of Events

Lise Lawrence manages the logistics for the Annual OCD Conference, the Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI), and the Education Vacation. As someone with OCD, she is proud to produce events providing resources and support to the OCD and related disorders community. Before joining the team in February 2020, she has worked on events all over the world including Cannes Film Festival, Vancouver Fashion Week, Wanderlust Yoga Festival, and events with the 14th Dalai Lama. Today, she dedicates her free time to producing donation based yoga classes for underserved communities.

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Kristen Lynch
Development Manager

Kristen originally joined the IOCDF in May 2018. She oversees all fundraising activities and philanthropy including donor relations, direct mail appeals, grant writing, sponsorships, and corporate relations. With previous experience at suicide prevention and reproductive health nonprofits, she has a passion for these issues and enjoys volunteering.

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Liz Lindley
External Relations Manager

Liz is the primary liaison between the IOCDF and the OCD community, including our various partners, affiliates, special interest groups and advocate volunteers. She joined the IOCDF in June 2022. Working closely with all departments, she increases community support, volunteer opportunities and awareness. Her extensive partner management and business development background includes experience in pharma, media advertising and marketing industries. As a parent of someone with OCD, she brings her personal passion of helping others, especially children, to the role. Liz currently resides in Cincinnati, OH.

Bethsy Plaisir

Bethsy Plaisir, MPH
Education & Community Support Specialist

Bethsy provides information, support, and resources to the OCD and related disorders community via phone, email, and in person at IOCDF events. She also assists in developing new IOCDF programs and the maintenance of existing programs under the guidance of the Program Director. Bethsy started working at the IOCDF in September 2019 and previously worked with Success For Kids and Families as a Family Resource Coordinator doing assessments and providing referrals for Healthy Families and Healthy Start.

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Skyla Buonopane
Digital Marketing Specialist

Skyla joined the IOCDF in February 2022. Raised in Boston, she is a recent alumnus of Suffolk University and brings over three years’ experience in social media management and digital content production. As the Digital Marketing Specialist, Skyla project manages the IOCDF’s virtual livestream program and oversees the execution, measurement, and growth of the organization’s official social media platforms. In her free time, she enjoys visiting antique shops across New England and frequenting local estate sales.

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Boris Litvin, MA
Research Communications Specialist

Boris joined the IOCDF staff in 2022. Raised in Brooklyn, NY, he received an MA in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and has worked in numerous psychology research laboratories over the past five years. Boris is responsible for assistance with the IOCDF Research Grant Program and other research-related activities, as well as writing and editing research-related content for the OCD Newsletter. He enjoys portrait painting, reading, music, and being out in nature.

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Julie Oliver
Events Coordinator

Julie joined the IOCDF in November 2021 after years of event planning in the hospitality industry, book industry, and in higher education. She received an MFA in Writing from Southern Connecticut State University, and worked for non-profits while obtaining her degree. She’s excited to bring those skills together as an Event Coordinator at IOCDF. Julie loves to read, write, and travel, especially if the destination is a tropical locale. She adores her two rescue dogs, Lula and Junebug.

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Ming Li
Operations Specialist

Ming joined the IOCDF in February 2021. Raised in Boston, he is an alumnus of Northeastern University and brings four years of direct care experience in mental health. As the Operations Specialist, Ming oversees all data processing, including donations, memberships, event registration, etc. and works to ensure IOCDF databases are accurate. Ming also takes lead of office management for the IOCDF and in his spare time, he is devoted to strategy games such as Go and competes in tournaments.

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Molly Nylen
Development Coordinator

Molly joined the IOCDF in May 2022. She provides support for development staff in reaching annual fundraising goals. Her interest in fundraising began after volunteering at the Massachusetts Sex Worker Ally Network for several years. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing video games.