Our People

Passionate People with a Cause

Executive Leadership

Marlene Bessette
President and CEO

Marlene Bessette is President and Chief Executive Officer for Catholic Family Center of Rochester, NY., and is responsible for the effective operation and fiscal viability of all programs which cover areas as diverse as adoption, foster care, homeless shelters, refugee resettlement, employment preparation, mental health counseling, chemical dependency counseling, and in-home services and transportation for older adults. Bessette served as Chief Operating Officer of CFC for 1 year before assuming the position of CEO in 2014.

In 2015, Marlene was named Non-Profit Executive of the Year of Greater Rochester for her transformative leadership of Catholic Family Center, as well as her personal leadership in the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), an unprecedented effort to develop a community-wide proposal to reduce poverty in Rochester.

Bessette earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rochester, a master of business administration from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business and her masters of theology from St Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry in Rochester, NY. She is currently a member of the M&T Director Advisory Council and a very active member of the Church of the Transfiguration in Pittsford, New York.

Bessette and her husband Eric, have two adult children, Andre (AJ) who resides in Raleigh, NC and Danielle who resides in Boston, MA.


Board of Directors

  • Stephanie L. Schaeffer
    Board Chairperson
  • Roger W. Brandt, Jr.
    Immediate Past Chairperson and Vice Chair - Governance
  • David S. Peartree
  • Luke G. Mazzochetti
    Treasurer and Vice Chair – Finance
  • Joseph A. Carello
    Vice Chair – Advocacy and Parish Social Ministry
  • Ann McCormick
    Vice Chair - Compliance
  • Kimberly Ann-Hamer
    Vice Chair – Program & Evaluation
  • William H. Castle
    Vice-Chair – Human Resources
  • Deborah M. Stendardi
    Vice Chair – Fundraising and Marketing
  • Sheila Briody, SSJ
  • John A. Caselli
  • Kathryn A. Castle, PhD
  • Elizabeth Ciaccio
  • Rev. Brian C. Cool
  • Paul F. Gandolfo
  • Louis Howard
  • Alasdair MacKinnon
  • John M. McBride
  • Samuel Noel
  • William Pelino
  • Laurie Sagona
  • William P. Tehan
  • Miguel A. Velazquez
  • Jack Balinsky
    Diocesan Director, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rochester
  • Marlene Bessette
    President and CEO

Who is CFC

A quick overview of Catholic Family Center

Of Every Dollar
given goes directly to programs
Board Participation
Volunteer Hours
= $170,000 of services
Give to CFC