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OUR CREW

AT THE HELM
Get InvolvedOUR HISTORY

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

 

Sylvia Oblak

Sylvia Oblak

Execute Director

Sylvia first heard of Healing Winds two years ago at a Sailabration event and was moved by the testimony of Karen Newman. Like most people in our community, Sylvia’s family has been touched by cancer. Her uncle passed away due to cancer, and her mother was diagnosed with Leukemia ten years ago, and she has journeyed with her through the ups and downs of cancer care.

 

Sylvia is deeply committed to Healing Winds Vermont’s mission and organization and drawn on her twenty years’ entrepreneurial and nonprofit experience to lead Healing Winds through the challenges of 2020 and into the 2021 sailing season. She feels honored for the incredible opportunity to work side by side with some of the most exceptional volunteers in the community.

 

Captain Kym Ketcham

Captain Kym Ketcham

Lead Captain

Kym has been one of our most dedicated captains, taking more than 100 guests out on therapeutic, uplifting sailing excursions. Kym brings a wealth of experience and a passion for showing cancer patients a good time out on his beloved Lake Champlain.

Captain Ketchum is no day sailor. He received his USCG Captain’s license in the early 90’s and has sailed in Tahiti and all over the Caribbean. “It’s my great fortune to have sailed many romantic island destinations,” he says, “I’ve faced and navigated nearly every sailing scenario out there, and my priority is simple: Fun and Safety.” For six years he lived a life most of us only dream about – living on his boat, sailing up and down the Eastern Seaboard in a yearly ritual: Summers in Vermont, winters in West Palm Beach.

Vanessa Fortune

Vanessa Fortune

Finance

Vanessa is passionate about volunteering her time in and about the community for several nonprofits. In addition, she will be scheduling sailing excursions nominees. With over 22 years of working in finance, Vanessa has a wide range of valuable experiences. She has worked as Chief Financial Officer in the for-profit sector, as Director of Finance for a local nonprofit, and currently co-owns Paw Prints, a local printing company, with her husband, Tim. When Vanessa is not working, she enjoys volunteering at multiple nonprofits, running, and spending time with her husband and four boys. Vanessa’s wide range of experience in finance, management, and nonprofits make her the perfect addition to our team!

ADELE FORBES

Board Chair

Adele is currently a professional volunteer. She is an experienced fundraiser, event planner and specializes in nonprofits.  Adele  comes from a corporate environment prior to moving into the nonprofit world.

PATRICK KNOWLES

Board Member - Treasurer

Following his retirement as Commander after 26 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Patrick is a federal employee with the Department of Homeland Security. It was his desire to serve his community that brought him to Healing Winds, where his leadership abilities, attention to detail, and sailing knowledge were put to quick use. With 35 years of sailing experience, including two transatlantic sails and teaching future Coast Guard officers how to sail, Patrick can often be found volunteering on the Gypsy Wind, helping our guests enjoy their excursions.

CINDI LAFAYETTE

Board Secretary

Cindi brings more than 20 years experience working for local non-profits.  She finds it very rewarding to bring her organizational, administrative and event planning skills to Healing Winds Vermont.

NANCY SCHWARTZ

Board Member

Nancy recently retired from Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, or VSAC, where she was a professional speaker, traveling all over Vermont, helping students understand how college was an attainable goal. Nancy brings those public speaking skills to Healing Winds, and is invaluable in her community outreach and fundraising efforts. When she is not volunteering for HWVT, Nancy can be found cultivating her beautiful gardens.