Meet our passionate management team:
Irene Paxia, MBA, MS, grew up in Venice, Italy. She has a master’s degree (Laurea) from the University of Bologna, Italy, in International relations, and an MBA from IPFW. Irene held the position of Community Development Specialist in the Office of Housing & Neighborhood Services for the city of Fort Wayne. While working as Community Development Specialist, she supported public relations and the coordination of federally funded projects, outreach activities, research, and administration of federal housing and community development programs. Previously, Irene directed the MIX (Multicultural Information Exchange) program of the American Red Cross, where she oversaw international services, community engagement, document translation, and interpreting. During that time, she launched the disaster plan for immigrants and refugees and developed the first community based language interpreter training program in the community. Irene also is co-founder of the Public Safety Committee of the Multicultural Council and oversaw the four editions in three languages of “International Guide to Greater Fort Wayne.”
Irene is a Leadership Fort Wayne and NINA graduate, is certified as First Aid Rescuer and in Disaster Relief and International Humanitarian Law, and is a certified interpreter trainer. Irene's native language is Italian and she has extensive knowledge of French and Spanish. She has traveled across the United States, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa and has experience teaching medical interpreting and cultural awareness programs.
Ewelina Connolly, MS Ed, LMFT, LCAC, serves as the Clinical Director at Amani Family Services. Ewelina is native of Plock, Poland and has been living and working in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the past 20 years. She is an IU Alumna and graduated with a Master’s of Science in Education degree in 2009. Ewelina is a Pre-Clinical Fellow Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and is licensed in the state of Indiana as a Marriage and Family Therapist, as well as Clinical Addictions Counselor. Ewelina has an extensive experience working in the mental health industry, as well as in a higher education setting. She is also highly involved in community initiatives focused on justice and advocacy, and serves on a number of advisory boards and collations.
Mandeep Kaur, CPA, was born and spent most of her childhood in India, before moving to Battle Creek, Michigan. She began her career working for the big four public accounting firms, Deloitte & Touche, LLP in Detroit, Michigan, after earning her BA in Economics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and her Masters in Accountancy from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. She also completed the Summer Institute Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in Stanford, California. Since then, she has been working for local public accounting firms for over 7 years. She recently moved to a Fort Wayne home, where she resides with her husband and her 6 year-old daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, dancing and doing yoga.
Victim Care Manager
Shannon Norris was born in Michigan and came to Fort Wayne in 1999. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies and has received formal training from the Federal government and Indiana State Bar Association, among other professional organizations on civil rights issues. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership at Purdue Fort Wayne. Prior to joining Amani Family Services Shannon worked as a Civil Rights Investigator for the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission for over 12 years. In this position, Shannon was responsible for providing training and outreach to the community, as well as local businesses, to support diversity and inclusion practices. She has served as the secretary of the Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Agencies. She is also a board member of Welcoming Fort Wayne and active member of the multicultural community through participation in various events with Fort Wayne’s Multicultural Council.
Family Support Manager
Antionette Johnson has worked in the human services and mental health fields for over 17 years. Her career started after she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Indiana University-Purdue University. Antionette specializes in case management services and has a long history of partnering with the Department of Child Services. Her past experiences include working with teenage mothers practicing self-sufficiency activities, assisting children in an intensive care residential facility, and facilitating substance use groups (Moral Reconation Therapy with a domestic violence component, Seeking Safety, and The Matrix Model). She has partnered with many community agencies, such as Allen County Probation and Choices, and volunteered her time for social progress events like Child Abuse Awareness Month, A Day of Caring, and Veterans Day at Wayne Township. She has also volunteered at Turnstone in their preschool program. Antionette has contributed to the creation and development of several family support programs and strengthened the organizational leadership at local agencies. She is a part of multiple multicultural committees and currently develops supportive services in partnership with immigrants and refugees at Amani Family Services. She is working on her Master’s in Social Work at Walden University.
Substance Use Manager
260.484.1414 x15 / 260.452.6788
Josefina Cervantes is the Substance Use Manager She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to Los Angeles, California in the 1990s. In 2005 Josefina made her way to Indiana. She completed her education in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from IPFW. Josefina is certified from Indiana Credentialing Association on Addictions and Drug Abuse for Addiction and Drug Abuse CADAC II. Josefina is also a certified Community Health Worker, certified in Prime for Life and Wellness to Recovery, and a certified Spanish Interpreter. Josefina has a total of 16 years experience in social services. Her passion is to volunteer with local organizations during her free time and spending quality time with family, friends, and herself. She loves to learn about new cultures and travels frequently to new places.
Additional Staff Member information can be found on our staff directory page.