MEET OUR TEAM
PILATES • NUTRITION • PERSONAL TRAINING • STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION
We are more than just a group of professionals. We are like a family, a community aligned with the common goal of helping each of our clients realize optimum health and well being. Regardless of your starting point, each member of our team is prepared to make a detailed assessment and help craft an integrated plan designed specifically for your needs.
Elly Mandarakas, BFA
Elly Mandarakas graduated from Montclair State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She and Focus Physical Therapy co-founder, Cathy Stephenson conceived the Pilates program at Focus. Through her years of practicing movement, she began to regard the body not only as artwork but also as an essential vehicle for living a long and healthy life. Shortly after she was introduced to Pilates, she earned her certification from Pilates Association International. Elly works with various clientele including; professional athletes, serious athletic students, pre and post-op patients, specific populations- including vision impaired, parkinsonisms, arthritis, Fibromyalgia and back and neck pain to name a few. She also holds a certification in dance and acro-tumbling levels I, II and III through Dance Educators of America. Elly has performed with numerous companies contemporary and modern dance companies in the NYC/NJ area. Her diverse experience compliments the variety of clientele who seek wellness at Focus Physical Therapy.
Alexandra Williamson BFA, PMA
Alexandra is a graduate of Montclair State University. A Dean’s List and Honors recipient, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Minor in Musical Theater. After recovering from a back injury, Alexandra took interest in Pilates. It was recommended to her to help keep her body healthy and injury free. Alexandra received her first Pilates Certification from Steele Pilates in New York City. Then continued her education with BASI Pilates. “Pilates is a great way to cross train for any physical activity. You relieve stress, gain flexibility, and leave class feeling taller!” Alexandra has continuing education credits in Pre and Post Natal Pilates, Pilates for the Aging Population, Dancers and Athletes, and is currently working toward a Neuroplasticity credit. She currently dances professionally for Darrah Carr Dance, Jennifer Chin, Moe-Tion Dance Theater and DiMauro Dance Company. She is also on staff at Hofstra University and Union County College where she teaches Dance.
Gianna-Leigh Bastar, BFA
Gianna-Leigh Bastar graduated Montclair State University in 2016 with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Musical Theater. Postgrad, she has danced with Neville Dance Theater in New York City, and Ballet Mink in Brooklyn, as well as performing as a Shark girl in Summerstage at Leonia’s West Side Story. She received her Core Mat I and II certifications with Power Pilates, and often teaches an athletic class, based on the needs of the clients. Gianna is very excited to be growing with the Focus team!
Jessica Berliner, MS
Clinical Integrative Nutritionist
Jessica received a Bachelors of Science in Food and Dietetics from New York University. Following several years in the field, she developed an interest in utilizing food sources to help heal the body. She traveled to the west coast to study at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, where she received a Masters of Science in Integrative Nutrition. Jessica uses her knowledge to help normalize inflammatory issues that plague many of us. She utilizes nutrition and supplement protocols to aid women with fertility. Jessica enjoys working with mothers to create healthy and nutritious meals for children of all ages. Her scope includes lecturing on numerous topics: cancer care management, nutritional concerns for addictions and dependencies, organic foods and nutrition related to chronic illnesses. We hope that Jessica can help each of us learn how to maximize our health potential through the benefits of proper food sources.
Throughout his many years of junior, varsity and collegiate sports, Derek has developed a passion for health and fitness. He received his personal training certifications from the World Fitness Association and the National Academy of Sports and Medicine. Now Derek assists a variety of clients on an array of levels, from those looking to build strength and endurance to those who want to improve their overall health. Derek has been an integral part of the Focus team for numerous years in many roles and has gained insight into how best to work with the rehabilitative and sport-centered client. He is the assistant varsity basketball coach and the head JV track coach at Montclair High School. Derek is currently completing his B.A. in Exercise Science at Montclair State University.
Minki Kim, BA, LCMT
Structural Integration Therapist
Minki Kim thinks you are a unique individual. You are more than just a set of issues that need correcting. You’re a whole person with feelings, behaviors, thoughts, and goals with social roles within a larger community and society. He emphasizes client-centered care whereby the patient’s goals and meaningful activities provide a framework for personalized therapy. He treats you as a whole person and wants you to feel heard, seen, and listened to. You don’t neatly fit into a biomedical mold, rather I mold my
abilities towards you, your story, and your goals. "With a background in Rolfing Structural Integration, I employ a spectrum of touch to induce calm and ease rather than excite and stress the system. I promote self-dependence, confidence, and control back into people’s lives." He tries his best to rely on evidence and science-based research to effectively promote our natural ability to heal and move by using hands-on techniques, movement/exercise approaches, and education. He has a background in psychology and finds himself down plenty of rabbit holes in anatomy and physiology, science-based care, honing his humanistic/person-centered care, neuroscience, and pain research. In his off time, he’s with his 2 young kids, likes to cook, and settling in in his new home in NJ.