Our Team

STAFF & VOLUNTEERS

Natalie Payne
Executive Director
Natalia Kivimaki
Director of Operations
Debbie Lyon
Program Director and NY State Licensed Guide
Gail Pollard
Director of Philanthropy and Grants Administrator
Sydnie Brown
Creative Director
Jim Higgins
Project Director
Laura Stom
Grant Administrator
Pat Atkinson
Museum Educator and NY State Licensed Guide
Kathy Corry
Bookkeeper
Helen Heizyk
Social Media Manager and Photographer
Scott Janas
Programs Assistant

Natalie has been involved with the Finger Lakes Museum since its inception in 2008. Having grown up in the Finger Lakes region, she has always had an intrinsic motivation to bring to life a destination that can celebrate the countless places and stories that make this region one she still chooses to call her home. She earned her MS degree, with a focus on nonprofit leadership, from Keuka College, and her BA degree in history from St. John Fisher College. Prior to joining the FLM, she held numerous leadership positions at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion in Canandaigua, NY, including historical curator. She brings over 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit and tourism industries. Natalie and her husband, Alex, live between three of their favorite Finger Lakes (Canandaigua, Seneca and Keuka) with their two sons, Roland and Huxley, and English Springer Spaniel, Tali. Natalie is passionate about family, the great outdoors, traveling (wherever dogs are allowed), cooking, gardening, the environment, and, of course, everything Finger Lakes!

Many people ask Natalia why she and her husband moved from Florida to the Finger Lakes in late 2012. The response is always the same-it’s beautiful in the Finger Lakes! The last years have been about exploring the Finger Lakes and all it has to offer. The charm of the Finger Lakes, with its fantastic scenery, beautiful lakes, quaint downtowns and incredible history, has won her over. She lives in Geneva with her husband and two children.

Debbie has been an educator for over a decade after a career as Captain with the United States Air Force and then as a Civil Engineer. Debbie’s diverse background as an environmental educator has taken her to Belize, Guatemala, and to various institutions here in the United States. Her passion for learning and educating enable her to be an ideal education leader with the SFLM and if you haven’t experienced it yet, Debbie also ensures that all experiences she leads are laced with FUN!

Gail has enjoyed her time as a project manager spanning a 25-year career, working for Fortune 500 companies including Charles Schwab, Franklin Templeton Investments, Corning, Inc., and various high tech start-ups. She moved to the Finger Lakes region in 2009, where she and her husband, JC, share a love of the outdoors, and spend quality time with their 2 English Setters. She has been a longtime museum supporter, involved in various roles since its implementation.

Sydnie is a recent graduate from Keuka College where she studied Art & Design and Marketing. During her time at Keuka College, she helped with various design-related projects for the Finger Lakes Museum. She is very excited to join the FLM team and to be a part of their future development. She loves living in the Finger Lakes region with all its natural beauties and hidden treasures. In her free time, she enjoys painting murals, hiking, kayaking, and exploring new places!

Jim has been involved with the Museum since 2008. He initially assisted in the Museum site selection process. Since, he has volunteered to assist the Museum staff with general site work, small projects and special assignments. Recently, Jim was appointed as the Museum’s Project Director overseeing an array of capital projects. He has been a professional project manager for over 30 years with skills in design, engineering and field implementation. In 2014, he retired from LeChase Construction Services after leading two final paramount capital projects at Penn Yan Academy and the Student Leadership Center at SUNY Alfred. Jim and his wife, Kathy, have been residents of Branchport since 2006 and have owned a cottage on Keuka Lake since 1995.

Laura Stom was born and raised in the region, resided at various places around the country for a decade, and recently returned here to the Finger Lakes with her family. Laura and her husband reside in Vine Valley off from Canandaigua Lake with their two young children and golden retriever. Laura has extensive non-profit and volunteer management experience and has a keen interest in outdoor educational opportunities for young children. She enjoys all things outdoors including hiking, paddleboarding and traveling with her family.

Pat was born and raised on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island where the beach and bay fostered her curiosity and love of the natural world. After earning a BA from the University of Rhode Island, Pat managed college stores for Barnes and Noble in several states until 1986. That same year she earned her MS.Ed from Nazareth College of Rochester, NY, and began her teaching career as an Elementary Educator in the Penn Yan School District, where she worked for the next 27 years. Upon her retirement in June of 2013, she joined the museum staff as an educator and licensed guide. Pat lives in Canandaigua with her husband, Marc. Pat and her family enjoy paddling, hiking and bicycling.

Kathy joined FLM in 2015 as volunteer bookkeeper. She retired from Canandaigua National Bank after 42 years during which time she served as VP/Accounting Manager. Kathy and her husband Steve live in Canandaigua.

If you follow the SFLM on Facebook, you have been fortunate to see the beautiful photographs taken by Helen Sullivan Heizyk. Helen is a retired systems analyst from Harris RF Communications. She is an active participant in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project Feeder Watch with over 25 winters counting for them! Most of the beautiful photographs of the Museum’s grounds, programs, and 2018 Focus on the Finger Lakes campaign are by Helen. She has given countless hours helping with office work, gardening, writing blog posts, updating social media, and outreach for the SFLM. If there is a need at the Museum, Helen is one of the first to offer assistance.

A lifelong resident of the Finger Lakes Region, Scott’s passion for the outdoors was reignited in 2015 when he tagged along with a friend on an impromptu fly fishing trip. He became a Discovery School Coordinator with LLBean shortly thereafter, introducing hundreds of people to new outdoor activities including fishing, kayaking, snowshoeing, and archery. Scott holds instructor certification in kayaking from the ACA, Wilderness First Aid and CPR/AED from ECSI, and NY Boating Safety through NYParks. He currently resides with his family in Clifton Springs. 

Board of Trustees

Leslie Connolly
Chair
Laurie Broccolo
Vice Chair
Jeff Kotalik
Vice Chair
Martha Swift
Treasurer
William Gaske
Secretary
Paul Alioto
Trustee
Rebecca Barone
Trustee
Lisa Dreste
Trustee
Don Budmen
Trustee
Eileen Feinman
Trustee
John Halstead
Trustee
Henry Maus
Trustee
Fred McCoy
Trustee
Wendy Mervis
Trustee
Natalie Payne
Executive Director
Patricia Redding
Trustee
Tim Sellers
Trustee
Mark Stash
Trustee

Leslie, a retired partner with Harter Secrest & Emery LLP,  has more than two decades of experience counseling clients in a broad range of environmental, health and safety compliance matters, land use and zoning projects, and alternative energy developments.

A graduate of Fordham University School of Law, she has several awards related to her excellence in environmental law. She has served on boards of many civic organizations across the region over the last two decades.

Laurie is owner and CEO of Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care. She started working in the landscaping field in 1976. While working part-time at a garden store, she completed her AAS in Ornamental Horticulture at Finger Lakes Community College. Then she worked at a local landscaping company for 13 years, helping it grow from 30 employees to 90. She then decided to start her own company. Laurie and her husband Albert live in Fairport, and have two children, Mary Anne and Vincent. Laurie’s interests include Pollinator Preservation, Storm Water Management.

Jeff grew up in the Rochester area and his family has called Keuka Lake “paradise” for more than 50 years! Spending the early part of his career working on Wall Street in Chicago and Boston, the opportunity to live near the Finger Lakes was one of the primary reasons his family made the choice to come back to the region; Jeff has represented same investment firm for over 20 years.

Jeff, Leslie & their girls (Ryan & Jamie) happily call Pittsford their home and spend much of the summer on Keuka Lake. Deeply invested in family and community, Jeff and Leslie have always loved nature and sports; their support of USA Volleyball, USA Swimming & USA Diving span more than 30 years.

Martha Swift grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree at Dartmouth College in religion and philosophy, she studied medicine at Harvard Medical School and completed her residency at the University of Rochester/Highland Hospital Family Medicine Program. She joined the teaching faculty at the Family Medicine Residency Program and served as Medical Director for the Residency’s clinical practice until she moved with her husband David and their son Michael to Shanghai, China. During her Rochester years, Martha was active in the medical community and served on the board of the Monroe Plan for Medical Care. Although they have subsequently lived in numerous places, Martha and David have kept a home on Keuka Lake which has served as the family gathering place for nearly two decades.

Bill is a retired attorney who specialized in nonprofit organizations, and he worked as a museum administrator for the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York. He earned his BA degree in Art History from Syracuse University, his MA degree in Arts Administration from New York University, and his JD degree from Fordham University School of Law. He enjoys kayaking, gardening, hiking, cross-country skiing, and museums.

Paul works as Superintendent of Schools for Dansville Central School District. He earned his Ed.D. degree from Syracuse University, his MS Education degree from Brooklyn College, and his BA degree from SUNY Oneonta. Paul is a founding board member of The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY. He enjoys hunting, hiking, raising and breeding Fox Red Yellow Labrador Retrievers. He is a conservationist and sportsman who believes in the wise stewardship of Finger Lakes natural resources, especially our native fauna and aquatic species. He and his wife Nicole are raising their daughter Natasha, and four Labrador Retrievers, Sarge, Rose, Holly & Hunter, in Dansville.

A licensed architect with 25 years of experience, Rebecca has a portfolio that includes award-winning and nationally published projects in Arizona, Boston, and her hometown of Rochester, New York. Her architectural education in the desert southwest sparked her passion for designing buildings that reinforce the human connection to nature, a principle she applies to all her work.

Rebecca finds joy in painting, drawing, and outdoor activities with her family, including husband Anthony, children Ben and Allie, and their two French bulldogs, Goose and Sammy, at their cottage on Conesus Lake. Embracing the Finger Lakes community, Rebecca cherishes the shared sense of belonging and the opportunity to connect with the outdoors that the region offers.

 

Lisa Dreste is in her “retirement” part-time position as the current director of client services for Scott Zurat CFP. Prior to this, her career was spent at Entercom Marketing Results Group as a senior sales representative for 5 major radio stations. Over this career, she developed strong relationships with many local businesses, assessing goals, objectives and developing strategic solutions to help them reach a desired outcome.

Having grown up in Victor, you will often find Lisa and her family enjoying everything that the Finger Lakes has to offer- hiking, boating, skiing or biking. She is often found enjoying the quiet tranquility of a trail with her horse.  Her family roots to the area are very strong and she grew up spending weekends on Canandaigua Lake with many of the family relatives.

Don served as Senior Counsel for over 30 years; 21 as partner with Ferrara Fiorenza PC in Syracuse, NY.  He earned his degrees from S.U.N.Y. Oneonta and Cornell Law School.  Don primarily represented school law clients in education law matters including: labor relations, constitutional law issues, and school business management and contract issues.  He provided ongoing training and professional development regarding topics that reflect his core practice areas.  These included: sexual harassment prevention, effective student discipline strategies, search and seizure issue guidance, mandated abuse reporting, child abuse in an educational setting, bullying, transgender student rights, technology use and abuse issues, religion in schools, attendance issues, safety and security, student and employee mental health. 

Don now practices part-time.  Don and his wife reside in Liverpool and find themselves on the shores of the Finger Lakes often.  Their son and daughter-in-law own Scout Vineyards on Seneca Lake where most weekends, you will find Don in the tasting room sharing the family’s superb wines with guests.  

 

Eileen works as Superintendent of Schools for Wayland-Cohocton Central School District. She earned her Ed.D. from St. John Fisher University, her MA from Alfred University and her BS degree from SUNY Brockport. Eileen is a passionate educator who has spent the past 30 years advocating for students and serving as a voice to those who may not have had an avenue to do so themselves.

Eileen and her husband Bob, raised their four children, Kelsey, Michael, Kayden and C. Matthew enjoying everything that the Finger Lakes region has to offer.

Eileen enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking and scrapbooking.

John is President Emeritus of both SUNY Brockport and Mansfield University of PA, following a 45-year career in higher education, 35 years at the executive level. He earned his PhD from The Ohio State University, his MA degree from Michigan State University, and his BA degree from Colgate University. He and his wife Kathy live in Penn Yan, and have a grown daughter, Christine. He is interested in boating, kayaking, biking, skiing, fly-fishing, craft brews, reading, travel, and foremost family.
Henry retired in 2003 after a 40-year career working in education at Brockport Central School and Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC). At FLCC Henry worked in the departments of history and anthropology, and he was Director of the International Department and Director of the Teaching Center. Henry earned his BA degree and MA degree from SUNY Albany. His education also includes coursework and study at Oxford University, the University of Illinois, the University of Indiana, Syracuse University, SUNY Geneseo, The College at Brockport, and Penn State University. Henry lives in Canandaigua with his wife Patricia. They have two grown daughters, Jennifer and Carin. Henry enjoys reading, nature/natural history, hiking, biking, tennis, and domestic and foreign travel.

The list of things that Henry loves about the Finger Lakes region includes: “local and regional history; the broad array of outdoor recreation activities in a beautiful natural setting; increasing multicultural opportunities from festivals to cuisines to museums; arts & theater; reasonable travel to and among communities that offer needed everyday services; tourism venues; and cultural activities.”

Fred is a consultative client partner with 12 years of marketing experience. He has worked with a variety of brands and industries in his career. He supports causes related to the environment, arts/culture, science/technology as well as many others.
Wendy is Executive Director of Camp Good Days & Special Times, Inc. in Branchport. She earned her BA degree from Colgate University, and her BS, MA, CAS degrees from SUNY Brockport. She and her husband Gary live in Rochester. Her interests include athletics, animals, nature, and wine.

Wendy loves the geography, history, and attractions of the Finger Lakes Region.

Natalie is the Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Museum. She earned her MS degree from Keuka College, and her BA degree from St. John Fisher College. She and her husband Alex live in Canandaigua with their two sons, Roland and Huxley, and Springer Spaniel, Tali. Natalie is interested in the great outdoors, traveling (as long as she can bring her dog!), cooking, gardening, reading, and the locavore movement.

When asked what she loves most about the Finger Lakes Region, Natalie says, “Do I have to pick? The lakes have to be my number one. Next would be the diverse landscapes and cultures surrounding each.”

Patty graduated from Ithaca College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She has more than 15 years’ experience working at Saunders Mgt. Inc., a property management company in Rochester, NY. Her knowledge base has expanded along with her position. As President of Saunders Management, she began tracking and creating investment portfolio reports for the Chairman of Saunders Management. Patty along with her staff, oversees preparation of audited financial statements, and tax returns.

Patty’s family has been very involved in philanthropic endeavors in and around the Rochester area for over 30 years. From 2012 through 2017 she served as Vice President of the Saunders Foundation and rose to President of the foundation in 2018. In this role, she oversees grant requests, facilitates grant-related reports and schedules to support financial reports to the foundation’s board of directors.

In addition, to these two crucial roles, Mrs. Redding has stepped into the role of President of, EPS Holdings LLC, a holding company with a diversified portfolio of financial investments.

Tim is the Associate Provost of Academic Innovation, Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, and the Director of the Center of Aquatic Research at Keuka College. He earned his Ph D (Environmental Biology) and MS (Biology) from the University of Louisville and his BA in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After completing his PhD, he was a postdoctoral fellow in mathematical modeling in oceanography at Texas A&M University. His interests include aquatic biology, skiing, sailing, diving, running, and music (piano, guitar). He has two children (Lily and Owen) and currently resides in Avon, NY.

Tim’s favorite aspects of the Finger Lakes area are “the lakes and everything and everyone that the lakes attract. It’s an amazing place.”
Mike is connected to the Finger Lakes through his cottage on Keuka Lake and the limitless outdoor activities he enjoys across all 11 lakes.

Mark is the production manager at Fahy-Williams Publishing in Geneva, New York, where he is also part owner. Along with his duties at the publishing company, he is also the editor and part owner of Life in the Finger Lakes magazine. Art plays a huge role in his life, and an art gallery and studio at his home is where he feeds his creative side. Mark’s interests include outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, running, camping, hunting, and skiing. He also enjoys working out at the gym, reading, watching movies and listening to various bands in the Finger Lakes Region. Visiting different restaurants, wineries and craft breweries is also high on his list.

Mark says that the Finger Lakes Region “has so much to offer. There is such a variety in geography – such as lakes, rivers, mountains, woods and farms. There are many interesting and cute villages and hamlets with lots of history. There’s always something to do, even in the dead of winter.”

Trustees Emeritus & Founding Trustees

John Adamski
Founding Trustee
John Meisch
Trustee Emeritus
George Slocum
Trustee Emeritus
Rolf Zerges
Founding Trustee

John’s memory lives on since his passing in July 2020. His passion and dream for the Museum will live on forever.

Many knew John as the founder of the Finger Lakes Museum where he served as the President until 2015. He had a passion for the outdoors, which was shown through his lens as a photographer, as well as his writing as an outdoor author for many magazines and newspapers. John was a successful architect and homebuilder for many years. He designed many homes in the Rochester area, as well as in the Finger Lakes region. He loved fishing and was a charter boat Captain on Lake Ontario for over 10 years. Most of all, John loved sharing stories about his wildlife encounters and adventures in person or through social media, where he posted multiple times a day.

John is retired. He earned his BA degree from St. Bonaventure University. He and his wife Katherene live in Canandaigua. His interests include local history, the Bristol Valley Theater and travel throughout the United States and abroad

When asked what he loves most about the Finger Lakes Region, John says, “the beauty of the lake country—its hills, valleys, and waterfalls.”

George Slocum grew up in the Finger Lakes region and moved to Houston early in his career. He and his wife, Priscilla, live on Cayuga Lake six months each year, where he owns and operates the 1,200-acre Cayuga Lake Farm. The Slocums have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Slocum is a private investor and entrepreneur engaged in proactive investments in agriculture, energy and venture capital. In his former corporate executive career, he served as chief financial officer and chief executive officer of Transco Energy Co., now part of the Williams Cos. Before that he was a vice president in charge of energy project financing at Citibank.

Rolf’s dedication to the Finger Lakes Museum will be greatly missed as of his passing in spring 2022.

An active member of the community, Rolf was an adjunct faculty member at Keuka College, and had been a member of the FLM board since 2008. He earned his BS degree from Ohio University, his MA degree from Indiana University, and his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University. He had many interests, not the least of which included supporting others promoting a more sustainable environment and humane society. Rolf lived in Keuka Park, and spending the winter in Carmel, CA. He and his wife Lynda have three grown sons, William, Brian and Andrew.