Meet Our Team
ELIZABETH HIRSH, OWNER AND DOWNSIZING MANAGER
After helping several family members with challenging moves, Elizabeth launched The Downsizers, the Triangle’s leading move management team specializing in serving the senior community and individuals in transition.
Downsizing through a move can be mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. After speaking with senior communities and individuals going through a transition, Elizabeth realized the tremendous need for these services in the Triangle region and is now driven by a sincere desire to help.
Thriving on building teams who exude compassion, efficiency, and positivity, Elizabeth enjoys serving the Triangle community. Elizabeth and The Downsizers are members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce, National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC), Health Affairs Roundtable (HART). The Downsizers are also a Business Partner of The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), an Orange County Living Wage Employer and are certified as a Dementia-Friendly Provider through the Orange County Department of Aging.
JEN HARRIS, DOWNSIZING MANAGER
IBBY WOOTEN, DOWNSIZING MANAGER
Four years ago, Ibby and her husband made the decision to downsize. After all, the kids were grown and the house seemed so big. They both were caught off guard by how much stuff had accumulated over the years, and how attached they had become to their cherished items. While they managed to overcome the mountains of stuff and their sentimental bonds, the move was actually a much larger “life event” and an emotional journey. They realized that letting go was freeing, liberating and could lead to new experiences and opportunities. Ibby enjoys offering compassion, empathy and encouragement to others throughout the moving process.
When she joined The Downsizers, Ibby’s professional life became a tale of three unlikely, but well-traveled career paths converging into one. With an 11-year career as an Activities Director at a local continuing care retirement community, a 10-year career with an antiques and auction firm, and a career as an event planner, Ibby brings strong project management skills to her clients. With her background, Ibby understands how the senior living industry works and is very familiar with retirement communities in the Triangle Area. She loves to help individuals with decorating projects and understands what it takes to turn a house into a home.
Ibby enjoys spending time with her husband and family. Healthy cooking, photography, antiquing and spending time at the coast are her favorite past times. Ibby is also an avid Carolina fan. Go Heels!
MELINDA KIZER – LEAD DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST AND TRAINER
Working with seniors in many different capacities for over 20 years, Melinda has experienced first-hand how difficult transitioning can be for a senior. She has assisted seniors and their families with the moving process for years. Melinda has the drive, compassion, and patience to work with seniors during what is often one of the most frightening and difficult times in their lives. She has been an advocate for seniors and enjoys helping them achieve their desired outcome. Working with seniors is truly Melinda’s passion.
KRISTI LAMB – LEAD DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST
After her mother-in-law passed away, Kristi was faced with the challenge of going through many years of precious possessions and memories that had been lovingly collected and inherited over several decades. A short time later, she was faced with the same challenge when her mother had to leave her home due to Alzheimers. It was overwhelming having to find homes and useful places for practical, valuable and sentimental possessions accumulated over a lifetime, all while finding the best home for her mother and taking care of her mother’s needs as well.
With time and patience, she was able to care for both estates and settle her mother into assisted living nearer to Kristi’s own home. A few years have passed and now Kristi is excited to meet Downsizers, where she can apply the skills and knowledge she learned from her own experiences to help make the same journey a bit easier for other families. Her genuine desire to help each client she works with is seen as she treats each family’s possessions with the same loving care she had for her own families.
KAREN WATT – DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST
As a restless retired corporate project manager and baby-boomer who couldn’t sit home any longer, Karen completed organizational management training as her next career after downsizing and transitioning friends and family members.
Karen knows the importance to be able to make new surroundings uniquely represent what a home means and needs to be for each individual. She utilizes many ways to make a new home environment your own by working to help you establish and accept what needs are important for you to successfully move forward.
NINA MCPHAUL, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST
Nina has always been the “go to” family member when anyone in her family needed to relocate. Being the eldest daughter in a family of seven children, Nina has both the organization and communication skills needed to help people “downsize” by eliminating the superfluous and retaining the important.
Nina and her husband, a local real estate appraiser, ran a “short-term furnished” rental business in Chapel Hill for over twenty years. She was “Air B&B” well before they were even dreamed of. Nina planned, designed and implemented the furnishings and room layouts while also being the Manager of over 14 rentals. Nina’s people skills and ability to listen to people and their wishes has proven to be one of her best attributes.
Nina has also created a boutique floral business out of her home where she nurtures her insatiable artistic eye. Nina’s typical response when asked “What do you do?” is “Whatever it takes!” and she means it!
SARAH RHYNE, LEAD DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST
After spending over 15 years working at various non-profits and receiving her Master’s Degree in Public Health, Sarah realized it was time for a change. Her last position, Disaster Program Manager at the American Red Cross, was quite literally a 24/7 job that held a lot of responsibility with very high stakes. She managed 100’s of volunteers within 6 counties in NC during calm times and various local disasters.
But in every job the two aspects that she enjoyed the most were: 1) organizing and 2) working one-on-one with clients. Early on in her career, she spent 5 years working at The Container Store, where she got a lot of experience helping people organize, in particular helping to design their closets, but it wasn’t until she decided to embrace her love of organization that she realized buying all the cute containers in the world will not solve the real problem. Decluttering first is the key to creating a calming and lasting organizational system. This is also true when it comes to downsizing.
Sarah’s organizational skills came in handy after her dad died and she had to help her mom downsize from her 6,000 sq ft childhood home to a 2,500 sq ft home. And now 15 years later, she is helping her mom in the beginning stages of another downsize. It is with this knowledge and experience that Sarah wanted to help other individuals and families who are overwhelmed and stressed by the downsizing process.
BARBARA TURNER, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST
After helping her parents downsize their home of 42 years and move into independent living facilities, Barbara realized the value of having someone respectfully and carefully assist seniors as they transition into new homes. A “people person” to her core, Barbara has a degree in Anthropology and loves working with people of all ages and backgrounds. In her previous life as a gym owner, personal trainer, and fitness and nutrition coach, Barbara spent years helping people solve problems and overcome significant personal challenges. After successfully selling her gym, Barbara is excited to be working with the Downsizers team, meeting new clients, and moving boxes instead of barbells. When she’s not working, Barbara enjoys reading, hiking and traveling with her husband, two daughters and their chocolate lab, Annie.
JUDI DIXON, DOWNSIZING SPECIALIST
MARNIE SIEGEL, OPERATIONS MANAGER
With over 25 years of managerial experience, Marnie brings a wealth of administrative expertise to The Downsizers team. Six years ago, Marnie was lucky to have her parents move to North Carolina from Florida. During the move, Marnie enjoyed spending time helping them get acclimated to their new space by arranging, rearranging and downsizing. Marnie is excited to be a part the downsizing team as it gives her an opportunity to utilize her operational skillset of planning and execution, organizing and logistics while getting the opportunity to help others.