Founder & President: Jeffrey Sitcov
Jeffrey Sitcov is Founder & President of Doors of Change. Jeffrey, a physical therapist for 18 years, suffered a career-ending injury while treating a patient in 1998. After much soul searching, he decided to volunteer his life to help youth make better choices in their lives. He interviewed over 100 nonprofit San Diego organizations that empowered youth to make better choices for themselves. One of those organizations was San Diego Youth Services’ Storefront. He spent 5 hours on the streets with the Storefront Outreach Program and was shocked to find there were over 2,000 homeless youth under the age of 18 in San Diego County, and 4,000 more between the ages of 18 and 24. Jeffrey decided to devote himself to saving homeless youth, and Doors of Change was born.
Jeffrey is an award-winning photographer. His first break photographing music concerts and celebrities came when Bill Silva asked him to be the house photographer at San Diego State Open Air Theater. Jeffrey’s relationships with Billy Joel, Elton John, B.B. King and others facilitated the donation of autographed guitars, keyboards, and other memorabilia that were signed and sold, raising over $750,000 for Doors of Change.
Jeffrey’s newest venture is “Arts for Hope, Empowering Homeless Youth.” He will partner with ex-homeless youth and mentor them in sales, marketing, and PR in a for-profit business selling art, photography and music. Jeffrey’s goal is to teach them how to be financially secure so they, in turn, can mentor other ex-homeless youth.
Jeffrey has received awards locally and nationally by being a semifinalist for Volvo For Life Awards, the Channel 10 Leadership Award, and the Jewish Family Service Volunteer of the Year Award.
Chairman of the Board: Michael Ishayik
Secretary: Steve Bram
Steve has more than a decade of experience in real estate development, including developing, constructing, and managing affordable housing which offers rents that are half the cost of market rates. This provides safe and decent housing for low-income people and families who would otherwise not be able to do so. An example of who this benefits would be a family of 4 that makes $37,500 or less annually.
In addition to Steve’s participation in affordable housing, he has donated his time to further building education as Chairman of the University of California San Diego’s Architectural and Construction Department and has volunteered and contributed to rehabilitate family housing shelters, including participation with the Building Industry Association.
Steve has also assisted another non-profit teen homeless shelter organization to develop a facility in the Inland Empire and supported foster care providers. Steve has run, volunteered and donated funding each of the past 5 years to Providence Place, which is a program that helps women who have been incarcerated get back on their feet and stay out of trouble. Steve has also been the Nation Chief for the YMCA and responsible for running their Annual Giving Campaign for the Coyote Nation, as well as leading approximately 300 dads and children in this dads and daughters program.
Steve is married to Wendy Deaver Bram, an elementary school teacher. They have 3 school-aged children. Steve is very involved in his children’s activities, including the YMCA’s father-daughter Indian Princess program, Dads Club, coaching youth soccer, and supporting other activities like swimming and dance.
Board Member : Anna Slaby
Ms. Slaby is a Senior Project Manager with BRIDGE Housing Corporation, a San Francisco based affordable housing developer. With a real estate career that spans eighteen years, Ms. Slaby has enjoyed the privilege of overseeing the development of nearly 1,500 units of multi-family affordable housing and has developed in excess of 700 market rate single family homes. Ms. Slaby’s involvement in the affordable housing industry provides her a rewarding opportunity to produce safe, quality housing options for lower income households, seniors, disabled individuals and those at risk of homelessness. Ms. Slaby’s expertise includes oversight of all phases of real estate development from due diligence, acquisition, underwriting, entitlements, financing, architectural and site design, environmental and agency approvals and construction management.
As a volunteer for San Diego Youth Services in 2013, Ms. Slaby participated in the outreach program working to educate San Diego’s homeless youth about Storefront Shelter, connecting children with services that provide access to stabilized housing. With her own two children in college, volunteering with San Diego’s homeless youth gave Ms. Slaby hope that those we reach out to on the street of San Diego will one day enjoy the same opportunities of our own children of privilege. Serving on the Board for Doors of Change is both a tremendous honor and commitment to providing the best possible solutions for San Diego’s homeless youth.
Board Member : Tom Kowalski
Tom Kowalski is a successful businessman with over 40 years experience in retail sales. He was instrumental in building a chain of 17 retail liquor stores, wine shops, and cheese stores in the Chicago area before relocating to California. Tom is the former owner of the Los Angeles Wine Co., and the San Diego Wine Co.
After selling his stores, Tom became a real estate broker in San Diego. In his first year, he was ranked in the Top 10% of agents nationwide. Now affiliated with Ascent Real Estate Inc., Tom specializes in representing buyers and sellers in the metro area from Point Loma to Kensington.
Throughout his life, Tom has supported programs to help homeless youth. After learning about Doors of Change’s work in San Diego, he decided to focus on fundraising to help Doors of Change continue to find, rescue, and save homeless youth.
Tom has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree from Iowa State University. He has been involved in many professional organizations and has received numerous awards for his business leadership.
Board Member : Ken Thygerson
Kenneth J. Thygerson has served as an academician, business and government consultant, business executive, and Presidential and Congressional advisor.
As founder of Digital University, Thygerson directed a fourteen-year old company that provides training courses and information resources to employees of financial institutions and other professionals over the Internet. Digital University was acquired by On Course Learning in 2012.
His previous business experience included serving as President and CEO of the Freddie Mac, President, CEO and Vice-Chairman of Imperial Corporation of America, and President of Western Capital Investment Corporation.
As academician, Thygerson has authored or co-authored over a half dozen books and over fifty articles for professional and trade journals.
As a Presidential and Congressional advisor, Thygerson served as a member of President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Housing in 1981-82. He testified in over twenty Congressional hearings in both the House and the Senate of the United States as well as the California State Legislature and also served as an advisor to government officials in Latvia, Indonesia, and Mexico..
Dr. Thygerson received his Ph.D. in finance at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
Mrktg Asst to President : Cindy Palermo
Cindy Palermo has been Founder Jeffrey Sitcov’s Assistant since 2009. She assists with administrative tasks for the organization including grant writing, donor communication and special projects. Cindy’s background and experience includes marketing and marketing communications roles with Cargill, Kelco and GTE. She currently works for Optum Rx Specialty Pharmacy in Carlsbad, CA. Cindy has B.S. and M.B.A. degrees from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL where she resided until 1985.
Program Director : Chera Tribble
Chera Tribble, M.A., is program director for the Doors of Change Housing Program for Self-Sufficiency and the Expressive Arts program. Chera has been working in the social services field for over seven years. Prior to joining Doors of Change, Chera was a Connections Coach/Case Manager with TAY (Transitional Aged Youth) Academy at the YMCA where she provided extensive case management to homeless and at-risk, young adults (ages 14-25), facilitated peer group meetings and activities (independent living skills, support groups, art therapy), and implemented new and innovative projects to improve participant involvement, empowerment, and growth. One of the most frustrating parts of her job was not being able to find all of her clients stable housing. With only 25 beds available for youth ages 18-24, it was nearly impossible to find safe housing. Chera is thrilled to be a part of Doors of Change and have the opportunity to provide homeless youth with the resources they require and deserve!
Chera strongly believes in creating programs that promote empowerment, healing, growth, compassion, and self-sufficiency. Chera is extremely grateful to be a part of Doors of Change and working with the incredible team of people who are dedicating their lives to solving youth homelessness. Everyday Chera strives to provide as much support, compassion, and love to the individuals she works with.