NRCDV receives solid leadership and support from a multi-disciplinary and diverse Board of Directors and staff. Organizational affiliations are included for identification purposes only.
Transition Family Violence Services
Micaela Rios Anguiano
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
Jenna Lodge Foster
Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
Caroline Bishop LaPorte
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center
North Miami State, FL
Upper Marlboro, MD
NRCDV’s diverse and multi-disciplinary staff includes highly experienced advocates and professionals, many of whom have been active in the movement to end domestic and sexual violence for a significant number of years.
NRCDV operates within a team structure, which has facilitated the development of core competencies as well as specialized expertise. The Programs & Prevention Team assumes the lead role to incoming technical assistance and training requests. The Policy & Research Team is also deeply engaged in technical assistance, training and resource development activities. The Communications Team is responsible for maintaining and advancing branding, marketing, messaging, and media efforts. NRCDV’s Operations Team provides comprehensive support for all programmatic activities. NRCDV’s key initiatives often involve cross-team collaborations as well as partnerships with outside experts.
Leadership Team ˇ
Arlene Vassell, Interim Chief Executive Officer
Arlene (pronouns: she/her/hers) joined NRCDV as staff in 2015. Prior to joining staff, she served for several years as Vice-Chair of NRCDV’s Board of Directors. Arlene provides leadership to NRCDV’s Programs & Prevention Team. She oversees several key initiatives, including the Domestic Violence Awareness Project , PreventIPV and the Transforming the GBV Movement: Increasing BIPOC Representation and Actualizing Accountability Project (formerly the Women of Color Coalition Leadership Project). Arlene has over 25 years of multi-faceted experience within the movement to end domestic and other forms of gender-based violence. Her “formal” advocacy work began in Virginia at the YWCA Women’s Advocacy Program. She later worked at the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Arlene has served on numerous community-based, state and national level committees and workgroups and has received many awards and recognitions for her advocacy work.
Arlene is a proud immigrant, born in Jamaica, a mother, a mentor, an Auntie, an entrepreneur, a published author, a storyteller, a thought-leader, a joy-seeker and a hope dealer.
Shenna Morris, Vice President of Policy and Systems Change
Shenna (Black/African American; pronouns: she/her/hers) joined NRCDV as the Director of Policy in 2021. In this role she provides policy vision and expertise across NRCDV areas of focus and social justice issues impacting survivors of domestic violence. Shenna has been a social justice advocate for over 15 years with most of her work being in the gender-based violence movement. She has used both her lived experience as a child witness survivor of domestic violence and professional experience, to lead efforts that engage and mobilize communities, stakeholders, and lawmakers in addressing the intersecting issues of domestic violence, homelessness, racism, and oppression. During her time as the Director of Policy and Community Engagement at the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADAV), Shenna led capacity building technical assistance efforts to culturally specific community based organizations, efforts to strengthen collaborations between community-based and mainstream dv programs, worked with system partners to strengthen service provision and housing advocacy for survivors and people experiencing homelessness in HUD housing programs, provided training and support to systems on addressing systemic racism and building equitable response systems, and advocated for responsive public policies that met dv survivors needs. Shenna continued many of these efforts during her time with Collaborative Solutions Inc. where she provided technical assistance to communities’ implementing HUD and homeless system programs.
Ivonne Ortiz, Interim Vice President of Programs, Prevention and Social Change
Ivonne has been a member of the NRCDV family since 2013. With over 20 years in the field, she has developed expertise in training facilitation, crisis intervention, building culturally and linguistically appropriate services, community organizing, and facilitating culturally relevant support group sessions for women of color. At NRCDV, she provides bold and expert leadership to NRCDV’s Training Institute and technical assistance efforts. Ivonne is also responsible for developing educational resources based on innovative theories and practices guided by the experiences and realities of survivors of domestic violence, with particular emphasis on marginalized communities. A native of the island of Puerto Rico, where she graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.
NRCDV Staff ˇ
Cassandra Aho, Manager of Program Innovation
Cassandra (pronouns: she/her) is driven by her lived experiences as a survivor, midwife, and advocate, to draw attention to the intersectionality of gender-based violence during the perinatal period. she is passionate about investigating stakeholder responses and their impacts on sexual, reproductive, and overall health outcomes. Her work is informed by an inclusive and anti-oppressive lens to identify responder-inflicted harms, barriers, and facilitators to help-seeking and health equity.
She is passionate about initiating innovative strategies that narrow gaps in access to culturally sensitive responses to gender-based violence. Cassandra believes in survivor autonomy and seeks to decrease revictimization, morbidity, and mortality using survivor-centered approaches in tandem with trauma-informed practices that emphasize the complexities of gender-based violence. She is a blissfully happy military spouse and mother of 4 incredible children who inspire her daily. Cassandra has her Masters in Maternal-Child Health Systems from Bastyr University, is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and NACP Credentialled Advocate (CA).
Husna Azizzada, Office and Program Coordinator
Husna was born in Afghanistan. Upon graduating from school, Husna studied at a medical university to become a doctor for two years. She was working as a social activist, but due to the collapse of the republic government of Afghanistan, she left her homeland and migrated to the United States of America in November of 2021. Since April of 2022, Husna has worked at NRCDV. She loves everything about her job and she is passionate about defending the rights of vulnerable people. She is a servant of the people, proud of the society we are building together, and wants to make her family proud. She likes traveling.
Dr. Oyesola Oluwafunmilayo Ayeni, Director of Research and Evaluation
Funmi is a community-engaged researcher and evaluation expert with several years of demonstrated experience developing monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks in gender-based violence prevention and response and conducting process and outcome evaluations in diverse contexts. Funmi’s work focuses on mixed-methods evaluations of community interventions for survivors, improving the community response to domestic and other forms of gender-based violence, evaluating victim/survivor service programs, and policy advocacy. She has deep knowledge and use of participatory, empowerment, and equity evaluation/culturally responsive approaches, and is proficient in using data-driven, learning, and innovation-focused evaluation and assessment methods. She is also an experienced facilitator and trainer in strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and program management. She is passionate about improving the well-being of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and focuses on elevating and centering the values and voices of those most impacted by research and program work. She brings her demonstrated commitment to anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion to her work at NRCDV. Funmi has a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from Michigan State University.
Patty Branco, Senior Technical Assistance and Resource Specialist
Patty (pronouns: she/her/hers) has been a social justice advocate for over 20 years. Drawing upon her lived experiences as an Afro-Latina immigrant, her work is informed by an anti-oppression and intersectional lens. With NRCDV since 2003, Patty responds to requests from a broad-based constituency for information, technical assistance and training on a full range of topics related to gender-based violence. She engages in the identification and development of resources to support NRCDV’s capacity-building efforts and has been the lead staff in the development of several NRCDV publications. Her background includes anti-violence work in Brazil at the intersections of anti-Blackness, poverty, and police brutality. Patty has a Master’s in Community Psychology and Social Change from Pennsylvania State University.
Kim Camacho, Training and Technical Assistance Program Specialist
Kim (she/her) is passionate about systemic level change where we all can experience safety and thrive. Kim joined the gender-based violence movement in 2016. She previously served as an advocate and prevention educator at Boise State University, serving survivors of stalking, sexual assault, relationship violence, and LGBTQIA+ students. Kim has experience developing and facilitating bystander intervention and other educational programs related to violence response/prevention, facilitating LGBTQIA+ workshops, coordinated community response, and grant management. Kim is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work from Boise State University.
Lynne E. Dillard, Administrative Specialist
Lynne joined NRCDV in June, 2020 as a part-time administrative specialist. She has over 30 years working in the non-profit arena in the areas of fundraising, special events coordination, and administering various non-profit programs. At NRCDV, Lynne provides administrative support to the Transformation Team and the Board of Directors. She also provides assistance to the Operations Team with Grants coordination and Fund Development. Lynne graduated from Kutztown University with a degree in Business Administration.
Brittany Eltringham, Manager of Safe Housing Initiatives
Brittany Eltringham (she/her) joined the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) after several years of working at the local level. She draws upon her experience as a feminist, Native Hawaiian woman and maintains a deep commitment to aloha ‘āina, transformation, and liberation. Brittany brings her experience with community engagement, facilitation, racial and reproductive justice, and shelter advocacy to her work at the intersection of gendered violence, housing, and homelessness with NRCDV’s Policy and Research Team and the Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium (DVHTAC). She has a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Hawai’i and is currently based in Baltimore, Maryland.
Breckan Erdman Winters, Senior Program Specialist
Breckan (pronouns: she/her) is proud to be an advocate, a lifelong learner, a cat lady, a friend, and a mother to one amazing kid. Breckan joined the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence at the beginning of 2017, and works with the Programs & Prevention Team on several of NRCDV’s key initiatives and special projects, particularly VAWnet and PreventIPV. Before joining NRCDV, her background includes court and shelter-based domestic violence advocacy, and she has been active in community-based anti-violence activism. Breckan has a Bachelor’s degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.
Casey Keene, Director of Programs & Prevention
Casey Keene (she/her) believes that social change is both possible and necessary. A survivor of childhood trauma and mother to two inspiring children, her passion is nurturing resilient and equitable communities where all children can thrive. With more than 20 years of experience in gender-based violence advocacy, Casey knows that our work must be grounded in and guided by the needs, priorities, and leadership of those with lived experience at the intersections of violence and oppression. As the Director of Programs & Prevention at the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), Casey works to advance the special projects and resource development initiatives of the Programs & Prevention Team. These include PreventIPV, VAWnet, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, and the Adult Children Exposed to Domestic Violence (ACE-DV) Leadership Forum. Casey is a lifelong learner and Licensed Social Worker who earned her Master’s in Social Work from Temple University.
Jacqueline Miller, Director of Racial Equity & Social Change
Jacqueline Miller is the Director of Racial Equity & Social Change of NRCDV. With over 30 years of work experience within the Violence Against Women Movement, she shares her knowledge and expertise on the overlapping intersections of domestic violence such as women and children’s health, trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the adultification of children with an emphasis on Black girls. Jacqueline has spearheaded the issue of the emerging topic of adultification across the nation at several national conferences, trainings and webinars. With over 20 years of training experience, Jacqueline has expertise in working with systems such as the child welfare system, housing programs for homeless youth, the healthcare system and systems designed to reduce intimate partner homicide. Jacqueline is part of NRCDV’s DVAM and the Women of Color Leadership projects. Jacqueline contributed to several national publications including, most recently, on the intersections of sexual violence and intimate partner violence in addressing health equities. Jacqueline is the author of “What Agencies Should Know When Working with Formerly Incarcerated Survivors” published by NRCDV on VAWnet’s website. Jacqueline was the survivor speaker for events with UNWomen Generation Equality and FVPSA.
Marlena Moore, Senior Program Specialist
Marlena (they/them) joined the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence in 2022. They spent several years working at a state domestic and sexual violence coalition after working as an educator and library staffer. Their previous experience includes managing a statewide crisis line that worked to connect survivors of violence with local resources. Marlena has experience educating advocates on the dynamics of intimate partner violence, responses to violence, and the impacts of gender-based violence on and within culturally specific communities. They have developed white papers on intimate partner violence as it relates to the African American community and individuals with disabilities. Their work as a librarian included educating member programs on how to find and utilize resources for material development as well as understanding bias in media that impacts prevention and intervention efforts. Marlena is a certified librarian with a Master’s in library and Information Science from Wayne State University and Bachelors of English Literature and Language from the University of Michigan.
Lavon Morris-Grant, Director of Community Engagement
Lavon joined NRCDV as the Director of Community Engagement in 2021. Working in close collaboration with the Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships and Systems Change, Vice President of Programs, Prevention and Social Change, the Director of Policy and the Director of Housing and Economic Justice, she is a bridge to people with lived experience in communities most impacted by housing insecurity to guide and inform the work of NRCDV’s housing capacity center and across all initiatives. Lavon has been a social justice advocate for over 25 years, where she founded and was the Executive Director of MACOSH Healing Network in 2013 – 2021. It is the first culturally specific, holistic African American non-profit, domestic violence organization providing resources through the Arts in the State of Georgia. She is a gifted international and keynote speaker and dedicated political activist on vital social and psychological issues including; homelessness, domestic violence, sexual assault, mental illness, trauma recovery, suicide prevention and gun control.
Sumra Qadir, Contracts Specialist
Sumra joined NRCDV as the Contracts Specialist, where she works with the Operations Team to provide support for the contractual work of the organization. She also collaborates with various partnerships to ensure NRCDV maintains longstanding contractual relationships with working parties. Previously, she has had experience working in advocacy-based organizations and law firms that inspired her to merge her passions in empowering individuals from an advocate/legal perspective. Sumra has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a minor in General Business from Virginia Commonwealth University.
John Schein, Information Technology Director
John (pronouns: he/him/his) has been with NRCDV since 2003, serving as the Content Administrator for VAWnet prior to becoming NRCDV’s Information Technology Director. He is responsible for building and maintaining network infrastructure, preserving organizational resource integrity and providing budgetary guidance for administrative staff. John provides instruction to and researches technology issues for NRCDV staff members so they can accomplish their jobs more effectively. He graduated from the University of Maine with studies focusing on Political Science, Public Administration and History.
Nyla Webber, Fiscal Coordinator
Nyla prefers the pronouns She/Her/Hers. She currently serves as the Fiscal Coordinator at the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, a position she has held since October 2022. Based out of the Harrisburg office, Nyla's an invaluable asset to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Aside from her work, Nyla is also a devoted mother to her two children, a daughter, and a son. In her free time, Nyla loves roller skating, particularly on quads! Skating is also a way for her to unwind and clear her mind. Another one of Nyla's hobbies is gardening which allows her to connect with nature and provides a sense of relaxation and fulfillment. As a member of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Nyla stands behind the organization's mission to end domestic violence and support survivors. She feels lucky to work with such an inspiring team and is committed to making a difference in the lives of those affected by domestic violence.