Jenny Gessler, Ph.D. joined the Women’s Center in 1993, coming from New York where she had been in charge of a domestic violence center for several years. Dr. Gessler was aware at an early age that she had a “calling” which has directed her entire life. Knowing the abuse her grandmothers lived through, she wanted to spend her life helping women in like situations. This calling and her extensive experience allows her to create a compassionate, caring, and all-encompassing atmosphere for Brevard County women and their families who are in the position of requiring the services of the Women’s Center.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology from State University of New York, and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Rollins College, Dr. Gessler continued her studies at Maimonides University, receiving a Ph.D. in Sexology. She is an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and a Diplomate, The American Board of Sexology, as well as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in both Florida and New York. She serves as an adjunct professor at Webster University. Her knowledge and experience has led to her making presentations on an international level on topics including cybersex and domestic violence. She was selected by the Rotary Clubs to participate in their Group Study Exchange Program and spent four weeks in France visiting with social service professionals in an exchange of ideas.
Under Dr. Gessler’s leadership all Center programs have expanded including additional counseling groups for children, an advocate who goes into high schools and presents to students on dating violence, and new programs have been initiated; i.e., a transitional housing program comprised of 13 apartments, a used furniture store for the public and to help our clients, and a microloan program to support the entrepreneurial plans of low to moderate income clients. Dr. Gessler feels that her most outstanding accomplishment is that she has increased awareness on women’s issues and has helped improve services in our community.
She was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the Women’s Center Board of Directors, received A March of Dimes Salute to Women of Achievement, and a Florida Today Newspaper 2003 Organization of The Year Finalist.
Her vision for the Women’s Center is to continue to grow it into a center for ALL women.