LEAP (Leadership Education and Advancement for Professionals) Cohort 1
Carmen E. McDonaldLos Angeles Center for Law and Justice
Carmen E. McDonald is a Supervising Attorney at Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (LACLJ). Prior to working at LACLJ she was an attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County where she represented survivors of domestic violence in family law and immigration matters, and worked in the Shriver Access to Justice Project assisting tenants with Unlawful Detainers.
Carmen also worked at Break the Cycle where she represented teen survivors of domestic violence in family law matters. Prior to becoming an attorney she interned at the YWCA of San Diego County assisting survivors of domestic violence in family law matters and at the Gay and Lesbian Center of San Diego County assisting clients who were HIV/AIDS with accessing benefits.
Carmen has served as a Trustee on the San Fernando Valley Bar Association board. Carmen graduated from California Western School of Law with her Juris Doctorate. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minored in Women’s Studies at the University of Central Florida. Carmen is fluent in Spanish.
Kim DartezFamily Tree Healthcare
Lisa CameronYWCA Lancaster
I am a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the state of Pennsylvania and have served as primary therapist for offenders and victim survivors of sexual violence. I am passionate about empowerment of all people, and educating communities about primary prevention.
Sara Rudolph-PollardArkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence
Sara is the Domestic Violence Project Coordinator at Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences since 2012.
Her prior experience includes serving as the Victim Advocate for the Louisville Metro Police Department’s felony domestic violence and sexual assault unit for over seven years, as the Installation Victim Advocate at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA, and as the Program Coordinator for the Criminal Justice Institute in North Little Rock, AK, coordinating nationwide sexual assault training for rural law enforcement personnel. Additionally, Sara has worked as the Family Self-Sufficiency Program Administrator with Pulaski County Housing in Little Rock, AR.
Sara holds an Associate of Arts degree in general studies from Jefferson Community College along with Bachelors and Masters Degrees of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Louisville. Sara is a member of the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society, the Golden Key International Honour Society and in 2007 was nominated as a Presidential Fellow.
Irene Strong Oak LefebvreVisioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition
Strong Oak Lefebvre is currently the President of Board and founder of the Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition, American Indian of Maliseet and MikMaq descent. Strong Oak is co-author of the Walking in Balance with All Our Relations teaching curriculum. She writes grants and serves as the elder of the VBCIC. Strong Oak gives national presentations on curriculum that is designed to decolonize indigenous peoples and reclaim historical ways of being in the community. Strong Oak, LICSW, has a Masters in Social Service Administration from Case Western Reserve University School of Social Work. Ms. Lefebvre currently serves on the Advisory Council for the National Sexual Resource Center and is in her second term. She is the Chair of the Research Advisory Group to the NSVRC and is an at large member of the Steering Committee. Ms. Lefebvre represented the NSVRC as a voting member to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) from September 2010 to September 2014. The VBCIC was incorporated through a capacity building project under Ms. Lefebvre’s sexual assault prevention work at the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition. Ms. Lefebvre is currently in participating in the LEAP Cohort Leadership Academy for women of color at the California Coalition Against Rape. Ms. Lefebvre does grant reviews for state agencies regarding Rape Prevention Education funding.
Adrienne SpiresCalifornia Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Alexis FlanaganHopeWorks of Howard County, Inc
Faalu Faletoese luliAmerican Samoa Alliance against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Faaalu Iuli or ‘Alu as she is fondly known by her family, friends and colleagues, in that order. ‘Alu is the Executive Director of American Samoa Alliance against Domestic and Sexual Violence in American Samoa.
Alu credits her success to her family, rich and colorful surrounding of friends and colleagues that has nurtured her commitment, consistency, connectivity and credibility to a career that spans over 37 years in the field of homeless youth and adolescent, child protection, elderly abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault work in Australia and American Samoa.
With a career that spans over 37 years, these are but a few of the core areas that Alu has trained and has been skilled in a consistent and credible reputation respected both in Australia and no American Samoa.
Kristiana HuitronVoces Unidas for Justice
Ms. Huitron is a Founding Board Member and the Executive director of Voces Unidas for Justice, a cultural and language based organization responding to sexual and domestic violence in Colorado Springs, providing training, products, and technical assistance across the state and nationally.
Ms. Huitron has been advocating for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors for more than 15 years. Working in Rural and urban settings she developed curriculum and supportive programming for youth and child survivors and the children of survivors in both English and Spanish. As manager of a 38 bed shelter and 24 hour crisis line in an urban area she was able to institute trauma informed and inclusive principles and policies. She has worked with the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) as either an employee since 2009 providing technical assistance and training. In 2011 and 2012 she worked on the Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative with Red Wind Consulting, Inc. coordinating trainings on Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) and Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) Certifications at all project sites, and being the program liaison to Navajo and Alaskan domestic violence funded programs.
For the last three years, Ms. Huitron was the Latin@ Outreach Project Director for CCADV developing culturally and linguistically based responses in rural locations across Colorado.
Micaela RiosCasa Esperanza
“Micaela Rios serves as a Project Manager for the National Latin@ Network, a project of Casa de Esperanza. She brings a deep commitment toward racial, economic, and gender equity, and a deep interest in promoting the interest of the Latino community in the movement to end violence.
Prior to Casa de Esperanza, Micaela worked for the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence team for over five years in the engagement, planning, and coordination of various funded programs to implement the understanding of the intersectional systemic oppressions, the impact of societal forces on marginalized communities, and importance on centering marginalized voices and histories at the core of all efforts.
Her commitment is strengthened through her participation in organizational development, movement building and cross organization collaboration. Micaela works to develop meaningful and effective engagement and connection with the Latin@ community on a local and national level by addressing the differences, embracing diversity, and building cross-cultural understanding to challenge systems that disproportionately affect individuals who are historically marginalized by society.”
Qumyka Rasheeda HowellInnocence Stolen Innocent Still Foundation
Thi SynavoneSouthwest Crisis Center
Vivian St. Juste
In her role of Executive Director at Family Resource Center (FRC) in St. Thomas, Vivian feels quite fortunate to be able to serve in a useful and meaningful capacity, assisting some of the least among us, victims of crime. She applauds her active and dedicated FRC Team and the St. Thomas community that has been supportive as she navigates from the helm of a much needed agency, through continuous surprises, which result in challenging and triumphant experiences. She finds the work that needs to be done within this community to be extensive, but much has been accomplished under her leadership. The most difficult challenge for Vivian occurs when children are primary victims of sexual assault, and when she is called upon for suicide intervention. Those occurrences yield for her, the most arduous of days and nights. Vivian takes pride in her responsibilities and remains passionate and dedicated to the valuable work and mission of her agency in educating and intervening for youth and adults, surrounding the scourges within our community that are Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Child Abuse and other Violent Crimes. It is a fact that the work being done at Family Resource Center directly affects the safety of residents of St. Thomas, Water Island, St. John, St. Croix and directly affect visitors’ desire to return to our ports. FRC continues to be recognized as a Best Of Social Service Agency in the territory for multiple and ongoing years.
A native of the US Virgin Islands, Vivian St. Juste migrated to the mainland United States after high school. After twenty-five years there, Vivian returned to her native shores and has been lending her skills and expertise to the only domestic violence and sexual assault oriented agency, serving the islands of St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island. Vivian has remained comfortable being on the frontlines of providing direct services to victims of crime.
Vivian’s most recent accomplishment includes authoring of three grants to purchase then rehabilitate property that had been abandoned for decades, to be re-purposed as the only transition house for special victims of crime, to be opened in the Spring of 2017. Vivian has been recognized multiple times for her many contributions to her communities of North Carolina and the US Virgin Islands. Vivian is the mother of two adult sons, Kenneth and Khawon.