Movers and Shakers

Meet our Board of Directors, the people who keep NextStep Raleigh exciting, respected, and moving forward.

Board of Directors


President and Founder, NextStep Raleigh

Karen Thor worked in banking for over 20 years, holding positions as Director of Treasury Management, Small Business, Group Banking and Credit Cards. She completed her career in banking as CIO and Executive Vice President at National Commerce Financial, a $26B financial institution. She also ran a successful consulting company, Revenue Enhancement Associates, teaching community banks how to establish high performing treasury management and group banking divisions. Karen then joined Deluxe Corporation’s Treasury Management Solutions division as a national sales manager, leading a nationwide team selling complex payments software. In 2015, Karen’s son was hit by a car and suffered a C2 break, paralyzing him from the neck down. She and her family immediately moved to Atlanta so that Michael could rehab at the Shepherd Center, one of the top SCI rehab centers in the country. It was there she saw the immense benefits of activity-based therapy. After 2 ½ years, it was time to come home to the Raleigh area, but we found that the opportunity to continue aggressive activity-based therapy was very limited. We decided to open NextStep Raleigh to allow our son to continue his recovery while giving this same opportunity to others.

Alexander "sasha" rabchevsky(pHD)

Professor of Physiology at the University of Kentucky, College of Medicine

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Alexander “Sasha” Rabchevsky (PhD) is a tenured Professor of Physiology at the University of Kentucky, College of Medicine and is a core member of the Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Research Center. Notably, he is, himself, paralyzed from the chest down as the result of a motorcycle accident in 1985 which fractured his sixth thoracic vertebrae rendering him a complete T5 paraplegic.  He has gained international recognition as a leading expert in the pathophysiology of both mitochondrial and autonomic dysfunction following SCI.  

Dr. Rabchevsky has and continues to serve on various study sections, both federal and private, he is an associate editor and reviewer for various scientific journals, and his distinct studies have been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the International Spinal Research Trust, the Paralyzed Veterans Administration, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the University of Kentucky. 

Since 2009, Sasha has served on the Board of Directors for the non-profit, No Barriers USA, that provides transformative experiences to empower people with various forms of disabilities to manifest ground-breaking innovation and discover the potential that lies within themselves – to overcome impairments in a world full of perceived obstacles. Since 2013 he has also served as co-founder and vice president of the Kentucky Congress on Spinal Cord Injury (KCSCI) that advocates for individuals with SCI in the commonwealth, and he serves on the Board for Independence Place, KY, a non-profit that supports KCSCI and further fosters inclusion and employment for individuals with a range of abilities.

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Business Partner Claudio Five Corp.

Janice Claudio, an economics graduate of Union College in Schenectady New York, began her career in international banking with Bankers Trust before taking a turn in international marketing with Avon Products.  Leaving Manhattan, Janice returned to a decade long career in banking in suburban Maryland and later suburban New York.  In 1990 Janice became the co-owner of a three restaurant, marina, retail complex on the east end of Long Island.  As an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry for thirty years, she elevated the profile of the property to become a celebrated destination of the New York metro area and helped to create a revitalized downtown waterfront in her hometown of Greenport, New York.  Janice also has the distinction of being Michael Thor’s first employer in a commercial kitchen.  Other areas of distinction include her long-term membership on the local hospital board of directors and the founding member of Greenport’s Business Improvement District.