Keynote Speakers

Gloria Estefan

Miami, FL

International Superstar, Gloria Estefan, is a Grammy award-winning singer, actress, songwriter, author of two New York Times best-selling children’s books, philanthropist and humanitarian. She is considered one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved performers and the most successful Latin crossover artist in music history, per Billboard Magazine. Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Estefan has garnered eight Grammy Awards and an Oscar nomination for her performance of the song “Music Of My Heart.” She has received an American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.  Continue reading…

Daniella Levine Cava
Mayor of Miami-Dade County

Miami, FL

Daniella Levine Cava was elected Miami-Dade County’s first-ever woman Mayor in November 2020. She entered the Mayor’s office following a 40-year career as a relentless advocate for South Florida families in public service and elected leadership.

As Miami-Dade County’s Mayor, she oversees a metropolitan government with nearly 30,000 employees serving nearly 3 million residents, managing an annual budget of approximately $10 billion.

Since taking office, she has worked to protect lives and livelihoods by deploying a countywide operation to distribute coronavirus vaccines efficiently and equitably across Miami-Dade; appointing the County’s first Chief Medical officer; and working closely with city leaders and the business community to spread a unified pandemic response message. In collaboration with the Board of County Commissioners, she is working to distribute millions of federal dollars in American Rescue Plan relief funds to support small businesses and residents impacted by the pandemic, invest in critical infrastructure projects, and kickstart long term recovery. Continue reading…

Margaret Mitchell


Washington, DC

Margaret Mitchell anticipates trends and has a proven track record of creating competitive breakthrough strategies. She communicates vision, purpose, and core values. As a strong decision maker who builds consensus, she is a consistent top performer who pursues growth with energy and drive.

Margaret strives for personal and organizational excellence. Recognized for savvy in building relationships at all levels inside and outside the organization, she guides an organization with a steady hand and maintains focus, even in challenging situations.

Prior to becoming CEO of YWCA USA, Margaret served as the President & CEO of YWCA Greater Cleveland, a 150-year-old social justice organization that provides direct service, collaboration, and advocacy in the community, focused on racism, empowering women, and homelessness. She has more than doubled the budget, the staff, and the services of YWCA Greater Cleveland through her leadership, financial acumen, and fundraising.
Continue reading…

Christine King

Chairwoman | City of Miami District 5 Commissioner

Miami, FL

City of Miami Chairwoman and District 5 Commissioner Christine King is passionate about serving the public and has been since an early age. Born in Guyana, she moved to Miami at age five. She would go on to serve her community as Chief of Constituent Services for a Miami-Dade County Commissioner and later as an executive with the Community Action Agency (CAA). 

Subsequently, she studied at Nova Southeastern University earning her Juris Doctor Degree, becoming a practicing attorney. She most recently served as President and CEO of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation, where she managed meaningful community programs like ‘Wheels to Work’ which addresses transportation hardships for families in need of vehicles to function within their daily lives. Continue reading…

Caroline Bettinger-Lopez

Senior Advisor on Gender and Equality | Department of Justice

Miami, FL

Caroline Bettinger-López is Senior Advisor on Gender and Equality at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she has helped to lead the development of the first-ever U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.

In Fall 2021, she served as a Special Advisor to the White House Gender Policy Council. She is currently on leave from her role as Professor of Law, Faculty Chair of the Human Rights Program, and Director of the Human Rights Clinic at University of Miami School of Law, which she founded in 2011. Continue reading…

Christina Kolbjornsen

Christina Kolbjornsen, SVP, Corporate & External Affairs NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises.

Miami, FL

Christina Kolbjornsen, SVP, Corporate & External Affairs NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. Award-winning seasoned corporate affairs executive with nearly three decades of experience leading integrated marketing, communications, multicultural marketing and communications, executive and corporate communications, and public affairs.

Alejandra Molina

Journalist | News Anchor Telemundo 51

Miami, FL

Alejandra Molina is an Emmy® Award winning journalist who currently anchors the station’s newscast, “Noticiero Telemundo 51”, weekdays at 6:00PM and 11:00PM, from the station’s Miramar based studios. 

Molina joined Telemundo 51 / WSCV, the local Miami television station that serves the Spanish speaking community, in July of 2015. As part of the Telemundo 51 award winning news team, she not only delivers the day’s local news, but also breaking news and major stories impacting the South Florida community. Molina also anchored the Noon, 5:00PM and 5:30PM newscasts for many years. Continue reading…

Mayor Francis Suarez

City of Miami 

Miami, FL


Francis Suarez believes in an America that lasts forever and works for everyone. Serving as the 43rd Mayor of Miami, he has worked to build a Miami that serves as a beacon of freedom, opportunity, and responsibility across America. Now, he wants to do the same for all Americans!

The son of Cuban American immigrants, Mayor Suarez believes America must remain the greatest country in the world by ensuring every American can enjoy the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by preserving a strong America for our generation and for future generations. Continue reading…


Marie Alcineus

Director of Quality Assurance

Lotus House Women’s Shelter – Miami, FL

Marie Alcineus has been the Director of Quality Assurance since October 2019.  In this role, Marie assures the quality and continuous improvement of the clinical, resource coordination, programming, and services offered by the Foundation.  Marie assists with monitoring, overseeing, managing, implementing, and auditing all aspects of current and future accreditation, licensure, permitting, contractual and other regulatory licensing, reporting, and compliance matters for the Foundation. Continue reading…

Tara Armbruster

Executive Director

McKemie Place | Mobile, Alabama


Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Mrs. Tara Armbruster graduated from Faith Academy High School and pursued her education through the Alabama Dental Hygiene Program on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She received her license as a Registered Dental Hygienist in 1999 and practiced until 2010 when she transitioned into the nonprofit sector.  Continue reading…

Muriel Ayala

Director of Children’s Services

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Muriel Ayala is the Director of Children’s Services and leads an amazing team of well-trained child counselors and assessment, data, and engagement professionals that work together to provide evidence-based assessment and treatment for the families who stay at the shelter. Muriel Ayala has been actively serving the Miami-Dade community since 2008. Continue reading…

Dorlie Banbanaste

Program Director & MBSR Facilitator

Mindful Kids Miami | Miami, FL

Dorlie began her journey with Mindful Kids Miami in 2015 when she attended her first mindfulness training, the Mindfulness-Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. She immediately knew mindfulness would be an essential part of her life and work. At that time, she was working with children, teens, and adults as a mental health therapist and witnessed the therapeutic benefits of combining therapy practice with mindfulness. Continue reading…

Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg

President & CEO

Carrfour Supportive Housing, Inc. | Miami FL

Stephanie Berman is the President of Carrfour Supportive Housing, a not-for-profit organization established by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce in 1993 to develop and operate innovative housing communities for vulnerable families through a unique approach combining quality affordable housing with comprehensive on-site supportive services. Under Ms. Berman’s leadership, Carrfour has developed 23 innovative communities housing more than 10,000 formerly homeless men, women and children since 2006. Continue reading…

Allison | Al Blakeney

Assistant Shelter Manager

The Delores Project | Denver, CO

Allison/Al Blakeney (they/them) is a care worker, dancer, performance artist, and activist. They currently work as the Assistant Shelter Manager for The Delores Project. Allison supports the Shelter Manager in overseeing the operations, management, and programs of the shelter to ensure the dignity, safety, and support of guests and staff. Continue reading…

Ronide Blanc


Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique | Miami, FL

Ronide Blanc is the Director of the Lotus Thrift Chic Boutique, and an alumna of Lotus House since 2014. She initially started as an Operations Manager, making sure that new intakes and current guests feel at home and provide assistance wherever was needed. 

Now, she is the Director of the Thrift Boutique, and she and the team make sure that every guest receives their clothing vouchers as requested – providing the ladies who are in transition to their new housing with furniture, such as mattresses and bed frames, pots and pans, and other household items. Continue reading…

Ron Book


Homeless Trust | Miami, FL


Ron Book is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ronald L. Book, P.A. Since founding the firm in 1987, Ron has developed a client list that is a “who’s who” of business and industry, local governments, health care and not-for-profit associations. His reputation as a hard worker, dedicated to his client’s causes, has earned him a place in the upper echelon of Tallahassee power. Associates, clients, and lawmakers describe Ron Book and his firm as committed, tenacious, knowledgeable, and credible. Continue reading…

Patricia Bosman

Executive Director

The Haven of Grace | St Louis, MO

Patricia R. Bosman is the Executive Director of The Haven of Grace in St. Louis, MO, a shelter for pregnant women and their children. She is a strategic, operational, and entrepreneurial executive with more than 30 years of experience across nonprofit and corporate sectors. Lauded as a natural connector and peacemaker, she is skilled at collaborating cross-functionally, communicating persuasively, and problem-solving with ease. Continue reading…

Kenyatta Bruson

President & Chief Executive Officer

N Street Village | Washington, DC

Mrs. Kenyatta T. Brunson is a dedicated nonprofit professional with over 25 years of experience in direct care and managerial positions. She has worked with individuals who tend to be the most vulnerable populations in society’s at-risk youth, developmentally delayed individuals, those with substance abuse disorders, mental health issues, and chronically homeless women. Mrs. Brunson has utilized her leadership and communication skills with the ability to develop programs to oversee social service programs effectively and efficiently. She is a proven leader that has successfully overseen and managed the fiscal and operational components of programs to ensure that clients receive outstanding customer service. Continue reading…

Kevin Byrne

Chief Executive Officer

Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation- Elisabeth C. DeLuca Foundation | Pompano Beach, FL

With more than three decades of experience in nonprofit and philanthropy, Kevin joined the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation and the Elisabeth C. DeLuca Foundation as CEO in March 2022. 

With the two private family foundations dedicated to inspiring, educating, and preparing pathways to opportunity for more people to achieve their dreams, Kevin leads the foundations’ strategic grantmaking and innovative investments to work alongside dedicated organizations supporting children, students, and families from underserved backgrounds. Continue reading…

Nicole Carnero

Clinical Director of Families Program

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Nicole is the Clinical Director of the Families Program at the Lotus House Women’s Shelter. Nicole received her masters at Florida International University in Psychology.  

She is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida and is certified in trauma-focused therapy, child-parent psychotherapy, and a trainer in parent child interaction therapy. Continue reading…

Charlotte Cassel, ESQ., MPH

Partner & Co-Founder

FC Law & Purpose StrategiesMiami, FL

As a co-founder of FC Law and Purpose Strategies, Charlotte Cassel is dedicated to using her legal experience to support nonprofits working to change communities for the better.

Charlotte began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Florida Legal Services. Her project focused on ensuring that low-income Floridians were able to receive access to health care under the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Continue reading…

Chasity Chamberlin

Managing Director – Employment and Community Services and Vision Rehabilitation Services

Carf | Tucson, AZ

Chasity Chamberlin, Managing Director of the Employment and Community Services and Vision Rehabilitation Services accreditation areas, has 20 years of experience working in the rehabilitation field. Before joining CARF International full-time in 2022, Chasity served as a surveyor for 7 years. She has experience managing CARF accredited organizations with a focus on community and employment services for adults and children with disabilities. Continue reading…

Constance Collins, JD

Founder and President Sundari Foundation, Inc | Lotus House Women’s Shelter

President and Executive Director of the National Women’s Shelter Network

Miami, FL

Constance Collins is the Founder and President of the Sundari Foundation, Inc., a non-denominational 501c3 public charity, best known as the Lotus House Women’s Shelter, and its supporting foundations, Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc., Lotus Village Development, LLC, Lotus Village, II, LLC, and Lotus Supporting Foundation, Inc.  

A lawyer and businessperson prior to founding Lotus House, Constance has been a full-time volunteer for the Lotus family of charitable organizations since 2004, establishing and overseeing the development, operations, programming, services, research and growth of the Lotus Village. In the all new, state of the art, comprehensive homeless services facility in Lotus Village and its planned expansion in the Children’s Village at Lotus Village, Lotus House is setting new standards on a national level with trauma informed, evidence based, best practices, and proven strategies to end and prevent homelessness that put children first and respond sensitively to the gender specific needs of sheltered guests. Continue reading…

Geneva Comeau, M.S., LMHC

Program Director

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Geneva Comeau is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Florida native stemming from New York. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in 2010. She went on to continue her studies at Nova Southeastern University focusing on Mental Health counseling. She completed her internship at Broward Hospital psychiatric unit working with severely mental ill adults and youths. She graduated with her master’s degree in 2014. Continue reading…

Anastasia Cousins

Program Director

Assistant Supervisor for the Court Teams Civil Division Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts | Miami, FL

Anastasia Cousins is a long-time resident of Miami-Dade County, Florida.  Ms. Cousins is a graduate from Florida International University earning a Bachelor of Public Administration from the College of Health and Urban Affairs. She has worked for Miami Dade County Clerk of Courts for 25 years and is a Licensed Insurance Agent. Anastasia serves as a Board Member and Secretary of Lotus House. She is a member of Trinity Church Miami and serves as the Secretary for Norland United Women in Faith. United Women in Faith is a 154-year-old organization of faithful women organized for mission that is dedicated to tend to the needs of women, children, and youth.  Anastasia values service and dedication and is very passionate about helping her community.  Continue reading…

Dr. Shana Cox, LCSW, PSYD

Deputy Director of Children’s Services |  Research Project Director 

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Dr. Shana Cox is the Deputy Director of Children’s Services and the Research Project Director and along with the Director of Children’s Services, heads an amazing team of well-trained child counselors and assessment, data, and engagement professionals that work together to provide evidence-based assessment and treatment for the families who stay at the shelter. Continue reading…

Meredith Damboise

Chief Quality and Compliance Officer

New Reach | New Haven, CT

Meredith Damboise is the Chief Quality and Compliance Officer at New Reach, Inc. She joined New Reach in 2013 and has over 26 years of experience in the fields of quality assurance, compliance, contract management, program evaluation, research design, survey design, and statistical analyses. At New Reach, Meredith oversees the collection and analyses of all agency data, serves as the agency’s privacy officer, leads corporate compliance and risk assessment activities, and is responsible for ensuring agency adherence to funder and CARF accreditation standards. Continue reading…

Sharonee Delevante, CBHT

Operations Director

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Sharonee has been with Lotus since 2018, she’s worked her way from assistant operations manager, to the Director of Operations! Sharonee’s story is similar to our guests we serve, successfully completing the program, Sharonee is a proud alumni! 

She supervises the operations team, providing support to the guest services directors on the morning, afternoon, and overnight shifts. Continue reading…

Isabella Dell’Oca

Executive Director

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Isabella Dell’Oca is the Executive Director of the Lotus House Women’s Shelter, the largest women’s shelter in the country. She began her career after graduation from Loyola University Chicago, where she got her degrees in Social Work and International Relations. Passionate about making a lasting impact on her community, she joined Lotus House’s Employment and Education team, later transitioning to Community Outreach. Continue reading…

Carey Dougherty

Chief Development Officer

Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa | Santa Rosa, CA

Carey Dougherty is currently the Chief Development Officer at Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa in Northern California. With a background in interior design, she has been committed to bringing the gifts of trauma-informed, dignified and inspiring environments to nonprofits and those they serve. Projects have included a transitional living program for mothers and babies where she served for 6 years as Executive Director, an emergency shelter, a methadone clinic, and a residential program for women in recovery from substance use disorder. Continue reading…

Anna Frusciante

Partner & Co-Founder 

FC Law | Miami, FL

Anna Frusciante provides consulting and legal services for tax exempt organizations as a Partner at Purpose Strategies and FC Law. She also serves as Associate Counsel at Citrus Health Network, Inc., a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center and community mental health center serving adults and children in South Florida.

 Previously the Director and Co-General Counsel of  the Lotus House Women’s Shelter, Anna understands firsthand the opportunities and challenges nonprofits face in fulfilling their critical missions while meeting the legal, risk management and compliance demands on the charitable sector. Continue reading…

Neha Gajwani

Research Associate

Lotus House Women’s Shelter /National Women’s Shelter Network 

Miami, FL

Meet Neha Gajwani, a multifaceted entrepreneur. In 2009, Neha started an e-commerce business that grew rapidly, quickly earning recognition from Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest-growing businesses in America, and one of the 10 fastest-growing women-led businesses in the country. Continue reading…

Carly Grimm


Lotus House Endowment Fund, Inc. | Miami, FL

Carly Grimm is the Director of Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc., the 501(c)(3) supporting foundation for the Sundari Foundation, Inc. and its initiatives, including the Lotus House Women’s Shelter and the future Children’s Village. Continue reading…

Joshua Goldfein

Staff Attorney

Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Rights Project | New York, NY

Joshua Goldfein is a Staff Attorney in The Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Rights Project, where he represents homeless single adults and families in individual and group actions. He also provides representation to Coalition for the Homeless and Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York in impact litigation and government and policy advocacy. Mr. Goldfein started at the Legal Aid Society in 1993 in its Harlem Neighborhood Office, where he represented clients in landlord-tenant, public benefits and family law matters. He joined the Homeless Rights Project in 1998. Continue reading…

Olga Golik, Esq

Privacy Officer & In-House Counsel

Citrus Health Network, Inc. | Hialeah, FL

Olga Golik, Esq. is the In-House Counsel and Privacy Officer at Citrus Health Network, Inc.  She holds a Juris Doctor from Florida International University College of Law and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Ms. Golik is President of the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition. Ms. Golik has over twenty-five years of experience in the area of health, housing and community development. She has participated in statewide advocacy initiatives for persons with disabilities to have increased access to affordable housing, including the 30/30 campaign to target housing units for extremely low income persons and the special needs initiatives to set aside units and funding for persons with special needs. Continue reading…

Beatrice A. Gonzalez


Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Beatrice A. Gonzalez (Bea) is the Director of the Lotus House Women’s Shelter, working closely with every department to ensure that programs are running as they should and that women and children are benefitting from the resources available while consistently engaging in new collaborative relationships with community organizations and providers, bringing more resources to Lotus House and its guests. Responsible for the oversight of the financial health of the Foundation, she collaborates closely with the financial, development and outreach teams as well as program Directors. Continue reading…

Paulo A. Graziano, PH.D.

Professor of Psychology
Director, S.E.L.F.-Regulation Lab

Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT)

Department of Psychology and Center for Children and Families 

Florida International University | Miami, FL

Dr. Graziano is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the S.E.L.F.-Regulation Laboratory at the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University. Dr. Graziano’s program of research strives to integrate theory and methods from developmental psychology and neuroscience to examine the development of children’s self-regulation skills and how such processes can be applied to the understanding and treatment of disruptive behavior disorders (e.g., ADHD). Continue reading…

Shakoya Green Long, MA/MSW/ACSW

Executive Director

Thomas House Family Shelter | Garden Grove, CA

Shakoya Green Long, is an established professional in the behavioral health and social services field. A native of Southern California, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from San Diego State University and a Master of Human Behavior from National University. She also obtained a second master’s degree in Social Work from California State University Dominguez Hills. Continue reading…

Julie Grimes

Managing Partner

Hilton Bentley Hotel | Miami, FL

Julie Grimes is Managing Partner of the Hilton Bentley Hotel, and VP Philanthropy Heafey Group.  An innovative, active and well-respected community leader in the City of Miami, Grimes has extended her reach well beyond her business operations. She co-founded the Miami-Dade College Hospitality Institute connecting thousands of Miami underserved residents with training and job opportunities in the local hospitality industry.  After the devastating hurricanes in Haiti, Grimes chaired the City of Miami’s Operation Hope for Haiti in partnership with World Vision to provide emergency and sustained support. Recognizing the great difficulties facing at-risk youth, Grimes implemented the Big Brothers & Big Sisters workplace mentoring program in her hotels and serves as an ambassador for the program. Continue reading…

Jennifer Hanlon-Wigon

Executive Director

Women’s Lunch Place | Boston, MA

Jennifer Hanlon-Wigon, MBA, is the Executive Director at Women’s Lunch Place (WLP), a daytime shelter and advocacy center in Boston that provides nutritious food, housing support, recovery programs, and other services to women experiencing hunger, homelessness, and poverty. Prior to being named to that role, she served as the Director of Finance & HR. Through her leadership, WLP has successfully navigated the COVID pandemic and is now implementing a proactive Strategic Plan focused on innovative new programming to address the disproportionate impact of food insecurity, housing instability, and economic disenfranchisement on the physical and mental health of women. Previously, Ms. Hanlon-Wigon worked as a finance business partner in the high-tech industry. Continue reading…

K. Lori Hanson, PH.D.

Chief of Research, Evaluation and Strategic Planning

The Children’s Trust | Miami, FL

Lori Hanson has led The Children’s Trust research and evaluation efforts since 2003. She ensures key data and information are available to tell the story of The Trust’s investments and impact, as well as to inform policy decisions regarding children and families in the community. She is responsible for organizational strategic planning, community research regarding the needs and well-being of children, program evaluation of The Trust’s major service initiatives, and contract-level performance metrics that support continuous learning and program quality improvement. Continue reading…

Heather Hilligoss

Program Director

Rose Haven | Portland, Oregon

Heather Hilligoss is the Program Director at Rose Haven, a day shelter and community center dedicated to assisting women, children and marginalized genders in the Portland, Oregon metro area. With a strong background in public health and a passion for community empowerment, Heather has made a significant impact on the organization. Heather’s journey with Rose Haven began while she pursued her degree in Public Health, where she had the opportunity to contribute as a Development intern. Continue reading…

Liddy Hintz, MSW

Client Success Manager

WellSky Syracuse | NY

Liddy (Elizabeth) Hintz, MSW is the Client Success Manager – Solution Focus: Community Services for WellSky. She has been part of the WellSky team since May 1, 2015. 

Prior to joining, she worked for the Salvation Army Syracuse Area Services for 16 years and  Supervised Family and Women’s Shelter Rescue Mission, Syracuse for 15 years.Continue reading…

Belinda James, MSW, LCSW, MOFDC

Director of Counseling

Our Lady’s Inn | St. Louis, MO

Belinda James is a passionate advocate for children, youth and families.  A native of St. Louis, Missouri, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, a Missouri Family Development Credential from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, a Master degree from The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, and certification in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina. Continue reading…

Grettel Jimenez-Singer


National Women’s Shelter Network | Brooklyn, New York

Grettel Jiménez-Singer has been the director of the National Women’s Shelter Network since the initiative first emerged in 2021. Before the NWSN, she worked as the Editor-in-Chief of the first online platform for MTV Latin America, Viacom, as Chief Creative Officer of Tropix Media and Entertainment, as Editor-in-Chief of Cubaness Journal, and as a volunteer, treasurer, and board member at Lotus House Women’s Shelter.  

A writer at heart, she has also appeared in numerous publications (Paper Magazine, Vogue, and Huffington Post) and anthologies (“Cines de Cuba,” “Mi juguete preferido,” “Miami Unplugged”), where she deconstructs the topics of womanhood, Cubanism, and migration. Grettel dives deeper into these concepts in her books (“Mujerongas,” “Tempestades solares,” “La Traviata” and “La bella durmiente en Central Park”). Continue reading…

Rai Johnson, MCAP, MSW

Substance Abuse Director

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

As the Substance Abuse Director, Rai provides direct support to our guests-meeting with each of them individually to implement appropriate interventions in all areas of Substance Abuse Treatment.  Rai spearheads the foundation’s addiction treatment services for adults, youth, parenting youth and for families, with a commitment to provide intensive outpatient and relapse prevention services in-house, utilizing evidence based treatment modalities in addition to the development of new and innovative treatment perspectives. Continue reading…

Debbie Kleban


Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen | Chicago, IL

A founding member of Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, Debbie concentrates her practice on community economic development and affordable housing finance. Debbie started and leads the firm’s New Markets Tax Credit group and focuses on structuring and closing of new markets tax credit and historic rehabilitation tax credit transactions, often involving both state and federal tax credits. Additionally, she has over 20 years of experience representing and counseling investors, syndicators, developers, and lenders in affordable housing transactions utilizing low-income housing tax credits and other federal, state, and local loan and grant programs. Continue reading…

Laura Klinefelter, LMHC, CAP

Director of Intake and Victim Services

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Laura Klinefelter is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with a specialization in Trauma-Informed Care, Domestic Violence, Family Systems and relationships. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). Continue reading…

Jatericka Lamons

Lotus Village Voices Podcast Host

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

I am an alumna of Lotus Village. I first began working at Lotus Village through a program managed by the City of Miami, where I then was hired on directly by Lotus. I was about 19  years old at the time, and I started out as a Program Coordinator. As of today, I work alongside the data team at Lotus Village and am also the Lotus Village Voices Podcast host. I have worked with brands like L’Oreal, Armani Beauty, Urban Decay, Kiehl’s and many more high-end makeup corporations to host a beauty event for the women at the shelter. I also had the opportunity of hosting, alongside my amazing team, the Lotus Village annual Prom for women who did not have the opportunity of attending theirs. Continue Reading…

Gloria Lee

Chief Program Officer

Our Lady’s Inn Maternity Homes | St. Louis, MO

I am an alumna of Lotus Village. I first began working at Lotus Village through a program managed by the City of Miami, where I then was hired on directly by Lotus. I was about 19  years old at the time, and I started out as a Program Coordinator. As of today, I work alongside the data team at Lotus Village and am also the Lotus Village Voices Podcast host. I have worked with brands like L’Oreal, Armani Beauty, Urban Decay, Kiehl’s and many more high-end makeup corporations to host a beauty event for the women at the shelter. I also had the opportunity of hosting, alongside my amazing team, the Lotus Village annual Prom for women who did not have the opportunity of attending theirs. Continue reading…

Kimberly Livsey

Chief Program Officer

Atlanta Mission | Atlanta, GA

Kimberly Livsey is currently the Chief Program Officer at Atlanta Mission. She received her Masters of Science in Community Counseling from Mercer University and earned her bachelors in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor by trade and also provides clinical supervision to emerging counselors. Kimberly’s professional experience includes managing various mental health clinics throughout metro Atlanta as well as providing individual and family counseling to children, adolescents, and adults. Her experiences have led her to work in the fields of juvenile justice, foster agencies, group homes, local school systems and city municipalities. Continue Reading…

Georgette Madison

Guest Services Director & Purchasing Manager

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Georgette Madison is a 2013 alumni of Lotus House and started her 8 year career in 2015. She started as an Assistant Operations Manager and has excelled in engaging hundreds of women and children during her time. 

She is a mentor and role model to those that call Lotus House home. Her present roles include: Guest Services Director, Transportation Manager, Purchasing Manager and Outreach Coordinator! She takes pride in her work and is an amazing asset to our team. Continue Reading…

Lisa Michaelson

Vice President Women’s and Children’s Programs 

Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities | St. Paul, MN

Lisa Michaelson is an inclusive servant leader with a proven ability to inspire and activate diverse people, partnerships, and resources to maximize social impact for individuals, organizations, and communities. 

Lisa currently provides strategic and visionary leadership as Vice President of Women’s and Children’s programs at Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities. Previously, as Executive Director of YMCA of the North’s Youth and Family Services, she collaborated with local and global communities to develop innovative responses to reduce disparities and advance equity and social justice. Continue Reading…

Gladys Montes

Former Group Vice President

United Way | Miami, FL

Born in Puerto Rico. Mother of two and grandmother of six. My educational explorations started in Puerto Rico where I completed my bachelors in Home Economics and Child Development. Immediately I understood that my passion was the much needed work with very young children. My husband joined the Air Force and our family began a new quest. Our first assignment was Eglin AFB located in the Florida panhandle, where my early childhood experiences provided me the opportunity work as  a two year old classroom teacher.  Continue Reading…

Dr. Saliha Nelson

Chief Executive Officer

Urgent, Inc. | Miami, FL

Dr. Saliha Nelson is a highly respected non-profit executive and youth development practitioner with a wealth of experience in empowering urban youth. As CEO of URGENT, Inc., she has led the development of innovative programs such as the Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival and the first registered media arts and creative technologies youth apprenticeship in Florida. as the Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival and the first registered media arts and creative technologies youth apprenticeship in Florida. Continue reading...

Sandra Newson, LCSW

Vice President of Resident Services

Carrfour Supportive Housing | Miami, FL

Sandra Newson LCSW is the Vice President of Resident Services for Carrfour Supportive Housing,  a not-for-profit organization that develops and operates innovative housing communities for families in need through a unique approach combining quality affordable housing with comprehensive on-site supportive services. In addition to her role at Carrfour, Ms. Newson serves as a member of the Miami Dade County Homeless Trust Board of Directors (CoC), the CoC Provider Forum and the CoC Sub Committee. She also serves on the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition, a statewide advocacy group promoting supportive and affordable housing for persons with special needsContinue Reading…

Katie O’Brien

Executive Director

Rose Haven | Portland, OR

Katie O’Brien has served as Rose Haven’s Executive Director since 2020, after working with the agency in a variety of capacities since 2009. With 30 years of non-profit experience, her proven track record of success in strategic visioning and cultivating relationships has played a pivotal role in building the infrastructure for Rose Haven to support increased demand for services in Portland, Oregon where they are experiencing the 2nd highest rate of unsheltered homeless in the countryContinue Reading…

Stephanie Padro

Deputy Director of Clinical Programs

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Stephanie Padro has been serving South Florida for over 13 years. She is currently the Deputy Director of Clinical Programs at Lotus House Women’s Shelter, a homeless shelter in Miami for women and children. Continue Reading…

Ashley Rogers

Director of Family and Domestic Violence Shelter Services

Crossroads Rhode Island | Providence, RI

Ashley Rogers, MSW is the Director of Family and Domestic Violence Shelter Services at Crossroads Rhode Island. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Goshen College, and her master’s degree at Indiana University. Continue Reading…

Laura Rossbert

Research Team

Shopworks Architecture | Denver, CO

Laura joined Shopworks Architecture in 2019 after co-leading the development of Arroyo Village in Denver, which created a new homeless shelter for women and transgender individuals, 35 units of supportive housing, and 95 units of workforce housing using a trauma-informed lens. Continue Reading…

Katy Roth, EIT, LEED AP:BD+C

Deputy Director of Operations and Compliance

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Katy Roth is a nonprofit professional and engineer by training with a passion for social and environmental justice. In her current role as the Deputy Director of Operations and Compliance at Lotus House, Katy oversees the shelter’s operations, maintenance and culinary departments and is actively involved in the upcoming development of a neighborhood children’s resource center, the Children’s Village. Continue Reading…

Gabriela Saenz

Research, Policy and Public Education Director

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Gabriela Saenz is the Research, Policy, and Public Education Director at the Lotus House Women’s Shelter. Prior to joining Lotus, Gabriela received her master’s degree in International Studies with a concentration in International Law and Human Rights from Johns Hopkins University. Continue Reading…

Teresa Sanders

Chief Program Officer

YWCA Greater Cleveland | Cleveland, OH

Teresa Sanders has served as the Chief Program Officer at YWCA Greater Cleveland for 10 years. Sanders also served as YWCA’s interim CEO from December 2021 to July 2022. She leads a diverse team that facilitates transformative programs in early childhood education and youth services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Teresa holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and is an Independently Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. Continue Reading…

Emily Sepulveda Wheeland

Chief Executive Officer

The Delores Project | Denver, CO

Emily Sepulveda Wheeland (she/her) is the CEO of The Delores Project (TDP), located on the ancestral and unceded land of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Ute Nations in Denver, Colorado. TDP is named after Delores Big Boy, a Lakota Sioux woman who experienced chronic homelessness in Denver and died on its streets in 1999. Continue Reading…

Tony Smith

Partner & Executive Vice President

SB Friedman Development Advisors, LLC | Chicago, IL

Tony is a Partner and Executive Vice President as SB Friedman Development Advisors, LLC, a leading development finance consulting firm based in Chicago. Tony leads SB Friedman’s community and economic development finance practice, providing technical support and strategic guidance to clients seeking to implement challenging mission-driven development projects that serve disadvantaged communities. He has expertise in a range of financing tools including New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Opportunity Zones, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and others. He has assisted with underwriting and structuring of over $2.5 billion in financing, resulting in over $5 billion of project investment. He is registered with the SEC as a Series 50 and Series 54-qualified Municipal Advisor Principal. Continue Reading…

Alexis Steel


St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children | Dorchester, MA

Alexis Steel joined St. Mary’s Center in February 2018 as Senior Vice President of Operations and Compliance; she was appointed as the Chief Operations Office in January 2020 and was named President of St. Mary’s Center in September 2020. In her role, Ms. Steel oversees all operations of the agency, including six residential, education, employment, and prevention programs. She also oversees government contracts, human resources, facilities management, finance, and fundraising. Ms. Steel is a member of the National Women’s Shelter Network’s Steering Committee, which is focused on raising awareness of the unique needs of women and children experiencing homelessness. Continue Reading…

Taylor Tannehill

Associate General Counsel

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Taylor Tannehill is the Associate General Counsel for Lotus House Women’s Shelter. Taylor was born and raised in Miami and attended Florida International University for both undergraduate studies and law school. While in law school, Taylor participated in the study abroad program in Seville, Spain. She also worked in the FIU Law Community Lawyering Clinic assisting pro bono clients with a variety of legal issues, including drafting wills and advanced directives, and helping parents of adult children with disabilities to begin the guardianship process. Continue Reading…

Catherine Trapani

Executive Director

Homeless Services United | New York, NY

Catherine has been working in the nonprofit sector for nearly 20 years.She started her nonprofit career providing direct services in a domestic violence shelter and has since played leadership roles developing and directing programs, public policy and system change work all designed to enhance the safety net and promote housing stability. As Executive Director of Homeless Services United she leads a coalition of nearly 50 nonprofit homeless service providers in New York City advocating for a stronger safety net with fair contracts and, provider informed, client centered practice to end the crisis of homelessness. Continue Reading…
Amy Turk, LCSW

Chief Executive Officer

Downtown Women’s Center | Los Angeles, CA

Amy Turk, LCSW, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC). Amy has held leadership positions in the field of social work and homeless services since 2001. Amy began her tenure at DWC in 2013 as the Chief Program Officer, where she administered all of DWC’s programs and social enterprise. In 2018, Amy served as DWC’s Chief Innovation Officer, providing leadership in the development and implementation of new organizational projects and fostering vital relationships with community partners in efforts to end women’s homelessness. Appointed as CEO in early 2020, Amy has grown revenue by 60%, created a new three-year strategic plan, and is deepening DWC’s focus on social justice. Continue Reading…
Victoria Varela

Community Outreach Director

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Victoria Varela is the Community Outreach Director for Lotus House, working with our community to help uplift the lives of the women, youth and children sheltered nightly at Lotus Village. In partnership with her team, Victoria manages the organization’s fundraising events, community outreach initiatives, marketing materials, community events, social media and other projects bringing awareness, funding and in-kind support to the very vital programs at Lotus House. Continue Reading…
Marta Vega

Director of Grants Management, Compliance and Quality Assurance

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Ms. Vega is a passionate  leader, with more than twenty-five years of professional experience in the social service sector, mostly in nonprofit settings. She has a solid educational foundation and a passion for women’s services. Continue Reading…
Angela Verseane

Human Resources Director

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

Angela Verseane is currently the Human Resources Director at the Lotus House Women’s Shelter for the past two years. 

Angela is an advocate for creating a motivated and happy work environment in which employees feel safe. She has over 12 years of experience working within the non-profit and corporate sector. Continue Reading…

Monica Vigues-Pitan

Executive Director

Legal Services of Greater Miami | Miami, FL

Monica Vigues-Pitan is Executive Director of Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc, which provides legal assistance to Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties’ low-income residents. Monica is passionate about ensuring the promise of equal justice for everyone in our community. She is responsible for a staff of more than 60, including 30 attorneys. Continue Reading…
Jennifer Watkins

Vice President of Emergency Shelters and Housing Problem Solving

Crossroads Rhode Island | Providence, RI

I am a wife to an amazing husband (who waited 6 years to marry me) and mom of 2 biological adult daughters now 24 and almost 23 (she was born on my 30th birthday) and 1 bonus daughter (who passed away last July (she would have been 37 this year).  

I have worked in the human service field since 1989 with my first job working with 25- 5 year olds at the YMCA in a camp.  I stayed at the YMCA until 1992 working in different jobs at the Y, one being a program manager of an after-school program while still a full-time student. I studied at the University of Rhode Island from 1988-1991 studying early childhood education. My plan was to be a kindergarten teacher. I ended up taking a year off from school as working full time with school full time was very stressful. Continue Reading…

Sarah Wedderburn

Management Information Systems and Reporting Coordinator

Lotus House Women’s Shelter | Miami, FL

I am a results-oriented, hard-working individual with strong analytical skills, with the ability to organize, analyze and disseminate information with attention to detail and accuracy. I have a disciplined mindset and approach towards all tasks and a talent for thinking outside the box, additionally I have acquired a proficient skill-set in MS Office suite including Excel, PowerPoint and Word. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science with an integrated minor in Business and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida State University. Continue Reading…

Jennifer Westerbeck

Vice President | Sr. Business Development Associate

US Bancorp Community Development Corporation | Pittsburg, PA

Jennifer Westerbeck has worked in Historic & New Markets Tax Credit (“NMTC”) Investments at US Bancorp Community Development Corporation (CDC) for 16 years.  The CDC’s Historic & NMTC Investment team structures and originates equity investments in tax credit related projects and real estate developments throughout the country.  Since the inception of the NMTC program, USBCDC has been involved in over $27.5 billion of Qualified Equity Investments (“QEIs”) with 255 Allocatees in more than 1,804 transactions.  Jennifer was hired in August 2006 to open the Washington, DC, office and help expand activities in the east coast and Gulf Opportunity Zone. Continue Reading…