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Meet Our Uncommon Staff

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Susan Kanoff

Susan founded Uncommon Threads out of her passion for empowering women, combined with her unique mix of experience and skills as a social worker, wardrobe stylist and style influencer. Before launching Uncommon Threads, Susan dedicated over 23 years to helping low-income families move out of poverty through the HUD-funded Family Self-Sufficiency Program and has received numerous awards for her work, including the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award, NAHRO awards for program innovation and a Massachusetts state citation for her dedication to supporting families.

Susan’s connections in the fashion world have been crucial to the program’s success. Her social media account, The Midlife Fashionista, has been an important tool for attracting national attention to Uncommon Threads including clothing donations, volunteers and media coverage. Susan’s motto is “kindness makes the world go round".

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Heather Gaspar
Program Director

Heather has been a part of the nonprofit world for a long time. Most recently, she spent ten years with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, where she focused on increasing the number of girl scout troops and volunteers in the area as well as training and managing the local volunteer network. She has lived in the Merrimack Valley for more than 20 years with her husband and two daughters and has been involved in the Lawrence community through Girl Scout action projects, volunteering with Cor Unum and providing fresh vegetables from her church’s permaculture garden to local soup kitchens.

“After so many years of helping to build girls of courage, confidence and character, I am excited to turn my focus to women who are in need of care and a hand up. And what better way to do it than through fashion!”

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Kathryn Ayala

Program Manager

Kathryn was a women and children's advocate for eight years before joining Uncommon Threads. Prior to advocacy, she was a criminal justice student and a veteran with the Army Reserves.


“What brought me to Uncommon Threads was the selflessness and passion displayed by all the staff members.” 

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Meg Shultz

Office Manager

Meg was an associate broker/realtor for 20 years in Phoenix, AZ. Prior to moving to Massachusetts, she was an administrative assistant at an autism non-profit.


“Empowering a woman through clothing is such a simple concept, yet so powerful. The energy is so positive at Uncommon Threads, it's contagious. I don't want to miss a thing!" 

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Michelle Nugent
Store & Inventory Manager

Michelle brings more than10 years of personal styling experience and a passionate desire to give back to a cause which supports women. She has provided stylist services for galas, runway shows and book jacket photos, as well as various social and business engagements.  She lives in Reading with her husband, 2 sons and a daughter.

“Doing a job with purpose is of primary importance to me on a personal level. I believe in this cause, and my experience prepared me to excel in this exact type of arena. The satisfaction of making a person’s inner light shine through clothing and style gives me an unparalleled sense of accomplishment.”

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Katie Sadlier
Ecommerce Manager

Katie began volunteering as a Sales Associate for Uncommon Closet in 2020. She joined the Uncommon Team with extensive experience in Retail Management, Marketing & Brand Management as well as Project Management in the social services sector. She possesses a master’s degree in Merchandising & Retail Management.

"Now more than ever, women need to be collaborating and raising each other up. There is strength in numbers and power in the pack! The women of Uncommon Threads support each other, offer affirmations through good and bad times, and most importantly accomplish huge feats through the mobilization of sisterhood. I feel blessed to have found this tribe and to play a small part"
 Email Katie

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Malene Aguilar-Durbeck

Office Assistant

Malene retired after 25 years with the Boston Public Schools and is excited to have been given the opportunity to explore a new path with Uncommon Threads. She is the proud mom of 2 children and a cat!

"I am drawn to the similarities between the Boston Public Schools and the Uncommon Threads community. At both, I work to empower and improve the future of the people I work with."

Lani Shumway
E-commerce Associate

Lani was adopted from Vietnam at the age of two and grew up in Amherst, MA where she gained a great appreciation for diversity and tolerance of different cultures. Lani has a passion for fashion, photography, music and the beach!


Lani will be the new face of the  Uncommon Closet on Facebook,  Instagram and on the online store. Check it out!


We are grateful to our Advisory Council for their expertise, guidance and support

LIZ SWEENEY, Executive Director, FSMV











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