Key People

Executive and Management Team

Workplace Options executive and management team is made up of people with a broad range of technology and business experience of successful startups to fortune 500 companies.

C. Dean Debnam

Chief Executive Officer


Since 1971, Dean has turned ideas into successful businesses. In 1993, he became CEO of Workplace Options and transformed it from a consultancy and management company into one of the world’s largest providers of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services and integrated work-life benefits. Dean’s diverse business background has helped him position Workplace Options as the supplier of choice to EAPs, businesses, and third-party vendors around the globe.


Alan King

President, Chief Operating Officer


Alan brings more than 20 years of employee assistance and work-life experience to Workplace Options. He was VP at the Ceridian LifeWorks EAP, where he oversaw international resource and referral, provider relations, external training, quality control, and customer service. Prior to that, he managed resource and referral and central database operations at work-life consulting firm Work Family Directions.


Mary Ellen Gornick

SVP Global Products


Mary Ellen is a nationally recognized expert in employee assistance and work-life. At Workplace Options, she leads the Global Products and Services division, delivering EAP, Work-Life, and Wellness services in over 200 countries and territories. Prior to joining Workplace Options, Mary Ellen founded the CPA Group, and she is a founding board member and past president of the WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress.


Berjin Adibelli

Chief Financial Officer


Berjin began her career in finance in 1996 in her home country of Turkey with the Accor Corporation (Edenred). In 2000, she relocated to the United States and worked for Accor’s Work Life Benefits division as Accounting Manager and then as Director of Finance. She joined Workplace Options in 2005.


Darrell Shipley

SVP Global Service Delivery


Darrell manages Global Service Delivery for all WPO locations, domestic and abroad, while instilling the mission of “First Serve the Customer.” His prior role with WPO was Director of Service Delivery at the Raleigh, NC Service Center.


Tim Cuthell

SVP Global Account Management


Tim is responsible for the account management of our client companies worldwide. He is an expert in the field of EAP, and has been quoted on counseling and on workplace mental health issues in the national press, broadcast media, and industry publications. He has chaired professional conferences on EAP and work-life balance.


Jean-Baptiste Gruet

SVP Global Business Solutions


Jean-Baptiste (JB) oversees global products sales, consulting with HR professionals, WPO Global Sales and Account Management teams, and WPO partners worldwide on new business opportunities. Prior to joining Workplace Options, he worked in the U.S. in the global EAP industry. JB co-founded a language and cultural publishing company in Paris, France, and worked for an executive language and training company in London, UK. He currently resides with his family in Toronto, Canada.


Stephen Galliano

SVP Global Relations


As head of Global Relations, Stephen works to enhance the development of WPO services around the world. He has worked in the EAP industry for more than 25 years and has extensive global experience in top-level executive positions, including P&L responsibility for a global EAP. He is a licensed psychologist and has worked extensively in global operations. He has spoken at global EAP conferences, is a member of many professional groups and has been featured in industry publications. His expertise and experience brings additional depth and authority to the executive team.

Stephen Galliano

Ryan Kessler

VP Business Solutions


Ryan is the head of the growing WPO North American sales team. He develops new business opportunities throughout the continent and works with the team to cultivate key client relationships. As a member of WPO’s senior leadership team, he also helps to create, develop, and implement a variety of corporate strategies to keep the company successful in an evolving marketplace. Ryan developed his successful approach through 16 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries.


Lisa Zereski

VP Global Product and Content Development


Lisa’s team develops new products and relationships with product partners and develops Web content that supports WPO clients. Prior to joining Workplace Options, Lisa managed Ceridian LifeWorks’ Affiliate Management program.


Clark Adams

VP Strategic Growth


Clark develops and negotiates work-life industry partnerships: acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, and cooperative marketing strategies. Before joining WPO, he was CEO of Mulberry Child Care and grew the company from $4M to $65M in annual revenue. He is cofounder of the Alliance for Work-Life Progress.

Clark Adams

Andrea Carska-Sheppard

General Counsel


Andrea is in charge of legal affairs for Workplace Options. Trained in both common law and civil law at McGill Law School, she has lived and practiced law in several countries on multiple continents. She is licensed lawyer in New York State, Canada (Ontario), the Solicitor of England and Wales, European Registered Lawyer and is admitted to the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York.


Avinash Shankar

VP of Information Technology


Avinash oversees WPO’s IT operations including system infrastructure, network, telecommunications,
and application development. With specialties covering Microsoft products, VMware, virtualization,
cloud-based technologies, and more, he leads his team in creating solutions that allow our company to
grow and prosper. In addition, his skills with business continuity and disaster recovery planning ensure
that our service centers worldwide are able to provide reliable and uninterrupted assistance to
participants in the event of a disaster. Avinash earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from
Nagpur University in 1999


Debbie Jongkind, RD, LDN, PCC

VP of Global Coaching Services


Debbie oversees WPO’s wellness services and directs the global coach training program. She develops coaching teams who deliver wellbeing services to employees worldwide. Before joining Workplace Options as Director of Wellness in 2013, Jongkind served as Senior Coach at ValueOptions and provided health coaching for Duke’s Employee Wellness Program. She is a Registered Licensed Dietitian and is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation.


Molly Hall

VP of Operational Success


Molly is dedicated to driving operational success. She implements new strategies and uses data analysis
and auditing to improve processes. She ensures that staff receive the most up-to- date information on
regulatory changes so that we deliver services to the highest standards. Molly strives to create new
ways to support our growth and success around the world.


Sarah Wood

Director of Global Work-Life Services


Sarah started out on the elder care team, going on to serve as an elder care team lead, a project and resource manager, and the director of learning development. She entered her current role as Director of Global Work-Life Operations in the fall of 2015. Sarah’s current responsibilities include assisting with the maintenance, creation, and implementation of all work-life products. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Furman University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Kennette Thigpen, PhD, MSW, LCSW-S

Director of Global Clinical Operations


Kennette joined the Workplace Options team in May of 2013 as Clinical Operations Manager and transitioned to her current role in 2015. As Director of Global Clinical Operations, she specializes in streamlining and implementing processes across global service centers, maintaining unified processes and service quality while adapting to varying cultural contexts. Kennette holds a PhD in International Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, as well as a master’s degree in social work from East Carolina University.