Meet KenCrest’s Newest Executive Leaders
This year, KenCrest welcomes several new Senior Leaders within our Delaware and Pennsylvania programs, including these four leaders.
By Sydney Kerelo
Ellen Mansfield, Chief Development Officer
As a history major working for the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission, Ellen Mansfield had no idea that her career would lead her to a nonprofit supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Growing up, her parents were avid helpers. Her mother was a cancer nurse, while her father worked for the Army Corps of Engineers as a flood expert, and he would advocate for people who lived in a floodplain to get their homes bought out so they could move somewhere safer.
Mansfield admired their commitment to helping others and knew she wanted to do the same in her career. So, she left her first post-college job at a historic site and joined the fundraising team at her alma mater, Ursinus College. After working at two other educational institutions, she began working for the Center for Autism as a Grant Writer to hone her craft. This was the first human services organization she worked for. “I didn’t know much about Autism when I started, so I read everything I could, joined as many online groups and email listserves as I could to better understand what individuals with autism and their families needed.”
Then, Mansfield left the Center for Autism to work for Melmark as the Annual Giving and Grants Manager, then the Director of Advancement before coming to KenCrest.
“I applied to KenCrest back in 1999,” she laughs. “They have an excellent reputation, and I admire how the Organization tried to adapt to the future and be inclusive. I admire that we serve various people and offer meaningful opportunities.”
Brett Askin, Executive Director of Adult Residential in Delaware
With a Psychology degree and 12 years of experience working within group homes, Brett Askin understands the ins and outs of Community Living. Askin joined the KenCrest family last December as a Division Director for New Castle County before becoming the Executive Director of Adult Residential in Delaware in January 2023.
Previously, Askin served at Chimes, where he worked his way through their residential program as the Residential House Manager, Residential Coordinator, Program Coordinator, and finally, the Assistant Director of Residential Services.
“At the time, the Organization was making some changes that I didn’t view as person-centered,” says Askin. “So, when applying to jobs, I was looking for a company that I thought would offer that person-centered approach.”
Now, in his newest position, Askin oversees all 20 of KenCrest’s adult Community Living homes in Delaware, and one of his favorite aspects of the job is visiting the homes. He was impressed with how the houses were decorated and how the entire Delaware team prioritized the happiness of each resident.
“I like going downstate and seeing the new sites, how well the staff is doing, and making sure everyone feels comfortable,” he says. “And this new role gives me that opportunity.”
Melinda South, Executive Director of Community Collaborative Services, Region Two
In October 2022, Melinda South joined the KenCrest team as the Executive Director of Community Collaborative Services for Region Two in Pennsylvania. Since her graduation from college, South has wanted to work in a field supporting people, whether those with a brain injury or in IDD services. She began working for ReMed, as a Practice Manager supporting adults with an acquired brain injury.
From there, South managed ReMed’s program for adults and children with autism before transitioning to Keystone Human Services’ Regional Director, and then Bancroft as a Director before she became the Executive Director of Adult Residential for KenCrest Delaware.
“Working with adults and children with autism sparked a love of supporting people,” says South. “And what I love about KenCrest is being in a company that puts gratitude in the forefront; I think it leads us to be innovative.”
South has always wanted to work with KenCrest, so she jumped when this opportunity presented itself to lead the Delaware Adult Residential division. In October 2022, she transitioned into her newest position. For the past few months, she’s found that this change in roles allows her to be curious, learn, and explore the different areas of the industry.
“I’m excited that I have the opportunity to learn more about vocational services and the much larger portion of residential services in PA, where we’re supporting people with IDD,” says South.
Gregg Kelinson, Assistant Vice President of Innovation
For over 35 years, Gregg Kelinson’s worked in the human service industry, bringing efficiency and access to the people he’s supported through Enabling Technologies. As the recent Assistant Vice President of Innovation at KenCrest, Kelinson hopes to help the Agency find new and creative ways to become more efficient through technological innovation.
Previously, Kelinson worked for JEVS Human Services as the Vice President of Technical Operations. He helped create systems that reduced costs and invoked automated purchasing and HIPPA-compliant paperless systems. He hopes to enact other procedures within KenCrest to better support those with an IDD.
“There is an emphasis on enabling technology, and I believe that it is here now and will be the way of the future,” says Kelinson. “Technology helps people become more independent, but also it allows us to become more efficient and have more objective data.”
While Kelinson’s only been with KenCrest for a short time, he is excited to learn the ins and outs of how KenCrest operates and discover the best solutions for different pain point areas. Including developing a strong, creative, and technologically competent team to serve the people, KenCrest supports’ Enabling Technology needs better.
Looking to make a career change? Join KenCrest! Click the link below to view our current open positions.