Gateways To Better Living Leadership

Meet The Gateways to Better Living Team

At Gateways to Better Living, Inc., we provide a dignified, fun and safe environment for individuals with developmental disabilities.  We began as a private non-profit in 1972, and have now expanded to a number of facilities with personalized care unique to each individual. By helping your loved one to believe in themselves, they are empowered to lead happy, productive lives.

Gail Riess, Executive Director

Gail Riess, Executive Director, began her career in vocational rehabilitation after earning a Bachelor of Science in rehabilitation education and a Master of Education in rehabilitation/counseling from Pennsylvania State University.  However, in 1980 Gail made the switch to the field of developmental disabilities and held leadership positions with various organizations before joining Gateways as Executive Director in 1997.  At that time, Gateways operated ten ICF group homes and a thirty-two bed facility in Mahoning County.  Under Gail’s leadership, the agency has expanded and now operates fourteen group homes, twentyfive waiver sites, and two day programs, in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties. 

Jim Linert, Chief Financial Officer

Jim Linert, Chief Financial Officer, joined Gateways in 2013.  Jim earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Youngstown State University.  Jim’s background includes seven years in public accounting and twenty years in executive management positions in the health care industry, garnering extensive experience in optimizing revenues related to various medical reimbursement programs.

Karl Ware, Program Director

Karl Ware joined Gateways in 2015.  Karl earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Southern University and A & M College, and a Master of Education in rehabilitation counseling from Kent State University.  Karl came to Gateways with a solid background of eighteen years in the field of developmental disabilities. 

Mary O’Brien, Human Resources Director

Mary began her career at Gateways in 1998 as Personnel Assistant and advanced to Human Resource Director in 2001.  Mary earned a Bachelor of Science in public relations from Kent State University, and a Master of Public Administration from Capella University.  Mary also holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the HR Certification Institute. 

Kristie Rossi, Vocational Director

Kristie Rossi has held a variety of management positions with Gateways since 2002, leading to her taking over the helm of day services, Gateways Industries Main Campus and Gateways Galleria, in 2016.  Kristie is a graduate of Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. 

Christina Thomas, RN, Director of Nursing

Christina became Assistant Director of Nursing in 2013, and Director of Nursing in 2014.  Chrissy’s nursing background includes eight years as an LPN before being licensed as a registered nurse in 2005.  Chrissy held supervisory positions in hospital and nursing home settings before joining Gateways. 

Elaine Hamilton, Waiver Services Director

Elaine joined Gateways in 2009 as a Home Manager. In 2016, Elaine made the jump into Waiver Services as a Manager, and became the Director of Waiver Services in 2018. 

Gateways’ Board of Directors

Atty. James Dietz, Chairperson

Angelo Perruzzi, Vice Chairperson

Mary Ellen Kovlachik, Treasurer

Darlene Eddinger, Secretary
John Morvay
Christine Klika
Steven Snyder
David Eyster
Barbara Kostelic
Greta Magazzine
Michael Leone
Dianna Mason
Joseph Lyons