Bernadette Griswold, Executive Director
Bernadette became Executive Director of Community Access Unlimited (CAU) in February 2019.
After graduating from East Carolina University with dual degrees in Human Environmental Science/Family and Community Services and in Elementary Education, Bernadette found a career she was passionate about in November 2003. Her first position with CAU was as an Independent Living Skills Coordinator, developing and implementing independent living skills curricula for adults and at-risk adolescents. She also created and conducted staff and member trainings, as well as facilitating anger management groups at the Union County Jail.
As CAU grew, so did Bernadette’s responsibilities. As the Advocacy Assistant Director, she tracked legislation, developed positions and responded. She organized federal, local and state campaigns and recruited, developed and trained organizers with disabilities. In 2006, Bernadette was promoted to Assistant Executive Director, for which she maintained all contractual obligations, including outcomes, reporting, licensing and program inspections. She ensured the health and safety of members through rigorous program inspections and records review. She successfully achieved targeted levels of service and secured opportunities for development and growth.
In 2008, Bernadette became the Managing Assistant Executive Director of CAU, administering all aspects of CAU programs supporting people with developmental disabilities. She oversaw staff development and training and continued to maintain compliance with agency policies and contractual obligations. She also oversaw all agency quality assurance functions, including CAU’s expanding nursing and behavioral staff. She was responsible for analyzing budgets and ensuring fiscal policy compliance. During this time, CAU residential programs expanded from 13 to 50.
Bernadette became CAU’s Associate Executive Director in 2015. She adhered to national best practices to administer a social service agency with 1,100 full- and part-time employees and managed an operating budget of more than $33 million. Bernadette developed and implemented short and long-range plans and continued to oversee the expansion of programs, including writing grants, developing new programs and implementing a host of agency fundraising activities. She developed and operationalized CAU’s statewide Support Coordination program and continued developing and maintaining close working relationships with members, families, legislative leaders, and community organizations.
Bernadette is a member and active participant on many community boards, including:
- NJ State Representative for the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), 2019-Present
- Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities (ABCD), 2013-Present
- ABCD, co-founder Support Coordination Alliance, 2015-Present
- American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, New Jersey Chapter, 2005-Present
- National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, 2008-Present.
- East Front Condominium Association, Board Member, 2005-Present
- Joelle Manor Condo Association, Vice President, 2005-Present
- North Broad Street Condo Association, Secretary, 2005-Present
- 1250 North Broad Street Condo Association, 2005-Present
- 502 Morris Avenue Condo Association, 2005-Present
- Linrose Manor Condo Association, Secretary, 2005-Present
Sidney Blanchard, Associate Executive Director of Community Relations
Sidney Blanchard, known as Sid to CAU’s members and staff, is the founder and executive director of Community Access Unlimited. From the back of his Volkswagen Beetle to 80 West Grand Street, Sid has guided the agency to its current staff of 1,100-plus strong, a $62 million annual operating budget, and $111 million in assets. He is a pioneer, leader, and advocate of providing community supports to people in need.
Sid’s efforts to create better lives for thousands of youth and adults over the past four decades has not only established CAU as a national leader within the human services landscape, but embedded CAU into the fabric of Elizabeth and the state of New Jersey. A nationally-recognized speaker on social policy, disability, child welfare, and housing issues, Sid is an active member of the Human Service Advisory Council (HSAC) and the Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities (ABCD), president of the AAID’s New Jersey chapter, AAIDD Region IX vice president, and a gubernatorial appointee on the NJ Task Force on Homelessness.
Rolando Zorrilla, Managing Assistant Executive Director
Rolando graduated from The College of New Jersey with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and possesses more than 16 years of experience in support services. He joined Community Access Unlimited in 2007 as the director of clinical services for the Transitional Opportunities Program and has worn many hats since, including assistant executive director of a supervised apartment program.
Today, Rolando oversees all CAU residential programs as the managing assistant executive director and is an active member of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), Youth with DDD Committee, the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), The Leadership Institute, and NJ Alliance. He thoroughly enjoys helping others and is honored to participate in CAU’s mission.
Rosemary Schaefer, Managing Assistant Executive Director of Professional Services
Rosemary graduated from Kennesaw State University with a BA in psychology and a strong desire to provide support to individuals with disabilities. Starting as a recreation organizer and direct care worker for a mental health care provider, her work eventually progressed into the realm of quality assurance and trainings.
After joining CAU as a Quality Assurance Coordinator in 2004, Rosemary’s team has grown from a one-woman band to a staff of more than 20 QA experts, trainers, and nurses who provide program support, quality assurance, home health care, and assistance at CAU’s day program. With a sharp eye for detail that has helped secure licensing success and multiple CARF accreditations for CAU, Rosemary’s original aspiration to deliver a better quality of life for people with special needs continues to motivate her every day.
Robyn Wright, Managing Director of Human Resources
Upon graduating from Montclair State University with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Psychology, Robyn started her career as a direct care worker for a mental health provider. After two fulfilling years as a direct support professional, Robyn secured a position within the human resources department at this company and worked her way up to Human Resources Manager. In 2004, Robyn joined Community Access Unlimited as the Recruitment Director before being promoted to Managing Director of Human Resources in 2016.
As Community Access Unlimited’s Managing Director of Human Resources, Robyn facilitates hiring and onboarding processes, oversees the cultivation of healthy employee relations, and secures high quality benefits and employee incentives, among various other responsibilities.
Millie Aurigemma, Director of Accounting
Millie has a passion for using her accounting skills to serve those in need of support. Starting as a junior accountant at CAU in 1992, Millie worked her way up and today oversees all financial reporting and accounting activities for the agency’s $82 million annual operating budget. Each day she balances compliance requirements and the needs of CAU members and staff. She began her career as an auditor with the Navy Resale and Services Support Office before moving into the nonprofit sector, first with a group home and then an educational service district.
Millie graduated from Wagner College in Staten Island with a bachelor of science degree in accounting. She was a finalist for the NJBIZ CFO of the Year award in 2011.
Call CAU at 908-354-3040
Assistant Executive Directors of Residential Services
Other Services and Supports
Alison Goodrich, AED of Support Coordination
Bernard Jones, Operations Director- Property
Carolee Marano, AED of Development
Danie Theodore, Director of Nursing
George Murray, Manager of Self-Directed Services
Jeanette Lebron, Director of Intake
Joshua Bradley, Director of Quality Assurance
Linda Gately, Director of Electronic Health Records Administration
Luis Serrano, Operations Manager
Marshall Christie, AED of Youth Services
Millie Aurigemma, Director of Accounting
Onekia Grier, AED of Day Habilitation and Educational Services
Robyn Wright, Managing Human Resources Director
Sandra Lynch, AED of Employment Services
Sheila McDowell, AED of Emergency Placement and Respite
Tracy LeBaron, Managing Director of Behavioral Services
William Busch, AED of Membership Services