MAWOCN Board Co-chair, Lovern Gordon
Lovern (she/her) is a two-time sur-THRIVER of domestic violence (a child witness until she was 15 years old in Trinidad and a 2-year, young adult relationship in the United States).
Ten years after escaping the adult relationship, she became the Founder of Love Life Now Foundation, Inc. (LLN), where she used 2 back-to-back pageant wins to increase awareness around the issue in 2010 and the following year, LLN was formed. Today, Lovern continues to head LLN, which is now a global awareness and education organization that supports survivors of abuse through their year-round initiatives and direct assistance to other domestic violence programs.
She is also a DV awareness book author of the international memoir called, The Legacy He Left Me and conducts DV awareness workshops worldwide, in-person and virtually. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows including CBS This Morning nationally, ABC4 News Utah, NBC Boston’s This is New England, and Trinidad’s TV6 News.
Print features include articles in Huffington Post as the cover story, USA Today, CIO Views Magazine, Boston Voyager Magazine, and The Story Exchange. She has been awarded the Boston Celtics ‘Heroes Among Us’ honor, featured as part of Instagram for Business – ‘togetHER’ mini-docuseries for Women’s History Month, and many others.
MAWOCN Board Co-chair, Josephine Pang
Josephine (she/her/hers) is a first-generation Chinese-American. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California where she completed her BA at the University of California- San Diego. Josephine earned her MSW degree at Boston College’s School of Social Work, is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LICSW), and is a Certified Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (TCTSY-F).
Josephine is a trauma-informed, community-oriented counselor and yoga practitioner who is committed to approaching the work from anti-oppression and anti-racist frameworks. She is passionate about using empowerment and person-centered frameworks alongside mindfulness-based and embodiment practices for supporting individuals who have been impacted by interpersonal abuse, as well as those impacted by systemic and institutional oppression. She currently has the privilege of working at Newton Wellesley Hospital in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault program, is a part of the MenHealing Weekend of Recovery Facilitator Team, and serves on the board of The Resilient Sisterhood Project.
Co-chair of Administration and Finance Circle: Deborah Collins
Deborah (she/her/hers), Chief Operating Officer at Brookview House is a Boston native who graduated from Boston Public Schools and Emerson College. Before joining Brookview House, she worked for nearly thirteen years at Casa Myrna, a comprehensive provider of domestic violence services. She started as Director of Emergency Programs and eventually assumed responsibility for all of the agency’s direct service programs. Prior to joining Casa Myrna, Collins worked for fourteen years at the Elizabeth Stone House, another Boston provider of shelter and community-based services to survivors and their children affected by domestic violence. She has extensive experience in direct services, program development, staffing, budgeting, volunteer management, education and outreach, and outcome measurement and reporting. She is President of the Jane Doe, Inc board and a member of the board of the Massachusetts Women of Color Network (MAWOCN).
Co-chair of Community Care & Connection: Circle: Trudy Benoit
With a Forensic Science background, Trudy (she/her/hers) began working with perpetrators of domestic violence in the Boston Court system in 2009 conducting competency evaluations alongside a court psychologist. Shortly after in 2011, Trudy transitioned to working at domestic violence shelters. Later, in 2019, she shifted gears to community advocacy, providing advocacy and stabilization for homeless and low-income families in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan.
Trudy has a trauma-informed lens and is rooted in community through involvement with neighborhood forums and roundtables. Due to structural and institutional racism in healthcare. Trudy also has doula certification with the sound belief that Black Maternal Health is crucial to the well-being of black families. She also believes that sustainability in neighborhoods can be achieved when everyone in the community has agency and equity.
When Trudy is not working, she serves as a Board Member of the Massachusetts Women of Color Network. With the Network she continues her personal passion for advocating for women and families traumatized by domestic violence. In Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Trudy shares that, “the work we do as Women of Color is so important to give a more in-depth look into a cultural lens others may lack and make a way into leadership roles.” She also participates in a traveling roller skating crew to participate in National Skate parties.
Co-chair of Training & Technical Assistance Circle:
Dr. Jean Clarke-Mitchell
Dr. Jean is a multicultural, multiethnic practicing Psychotherapist focused on addressing the psychological traumas throughout the family system with trauma informed-care.
Dr. Clarke-Mitchell is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Lesley University. She has taught at Cambridge College Psychology Department; Elms College School for Social Work and has Lecturer at Smith College, School for Social Work. Her scholarly work has investigated issues of domestic violence in the family and her current research explored the effects of IPV on mothers and adolescent children.
Prior to teaching higher education, Dr. Jean was the Clinical Director of the Elizabeth Freeman Center, a domestic and sexual violence services organization for 12 years.
Dr. Clarke-Mitchell serves on the board of directors for Western Mass and Albany Psychoanalytic Psychological Association (WMAAPP) and on the MCLA Foundation Board and serves on the Trustee board at MCLA. She is a graduate of UMASS-Lowell, MCLA, and Smith College School for Social Work for her MSW and Ph.D. She mentors girls of color through the Rites of Passage and Empowerment Program. Dr. Clarke-Mitchell is very proud of her Jamaican heritage and is the mother of three grown-up daughters and two grandchildren.
Co-chair of Communications & Fundraising Circle:
Isa (she/her/hers) has been the Executive Director of The Center for Hope and Healing, Inc. since 2012. Prior to this, she worked in the anti-violence field for twenty-five years. She is a well-respected leader and national trainer in the fields of child abuse, domestic and sexual violence, system change, policy, and practice. She is known for her activism in the areas of race and racial disparities and has authored several articles on topics such as family-centered practices in child welfare, racial and ethnic disproportionality, and immigration. Isa is also a Board member of Women of Color Inc. and the co-chair of the MAWOCN.
Board Member: Hema Sarang-Sieminski
Hema (she/they pronouns) is Deputy Director of Jane Doe Inc., The MA Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. They have led JDI’s efforts to increase funding for services, shift the focus and reliance on the criminal legal systems, and enhance support and options for those who experience abuse as well as accountability for those who cause harm. Hema has dedicated her career to creating opportunities for wholeness and dignity for survivors and is committed to approaches to ending sexual violence that addresses and challenge the intersections of various forms of oppression. Sarang-Sieminski has worked with survivors of partner abuse and sexual violence for over 20 years in a variety of capacities, including private practice as an immigration attorney for survivors, community engagement in LGBTQ communities with The Network/La Red, as a Staff Attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services, and as a Senior Attorney at the Victim Rights Law Center where she both worked with survivors and conducted training and technical assistance across the country. She is a Board Member of Mirror Memoirs, an organization dedicated to ending child sexual abuse in LGBTQQIA+ communities, and the MA Women of Color Network and former Steering Committee Member of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. Hema received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her JD in 2005 from Northeastern University School of Law.
Board Member: Asia Thompson
Asia (she, her, hers) is a dedicated advocate for vulnerable populations. Asia has spent the last decade providing vital support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Through years of working within residential programs, she has honed her skills as an active listener and compassionate guide, committed to helping others overcome their challenges and reclaim their lives. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Rehabilitation, Advocacy, and Justice from Bay Path University, Asia is proud to use her education and experience to advocate tirelessly for those in need. Above all, Asia is passionate about making a positive difference in the world and helping others find their voice and strength.
Board Member: P. Falasha Harrison
P. Falasha Harrison (she/her), Harvard-Certified Leader | Championing Economic Equity for Black Owned Businesses | Disrupting Nonprofits & Business with Innovative Org Development & Program Mgmt. | 15 Years Nonprofit & 25 Years Business Experience
Board Member: Desiree Marie Headley
Desiree (she/her/hers) is the Manager of Talent & Systems at RESPOND, Inc. Desiree manages human resources initiatives at RESPOND, which includes supporting staff in their professional development and leading the advancement of the agency’s goals surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. She has more than 15 years of experience working at human service agencies across Greater Boston that focus on various issues ranging from youth development and homelessness prevention to incarceration and domestic violence survivor advocacy. Desiree’s experience in domestic violence relies on the principles of trauma-informed care and active listening skills she honed through her years of peer counseling and program management. She is truly an advocate’s advocate!
A native Bostonian, Desiree holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Johnson & Wales University. In her free time, Desiree enjoys traveling, mentoring young girls in the community, and attending concerts.
Board Member: Marienelly Vazquez
Marienelly (she/her/hers) is currently the Director of Clinical Services and Community Outreach at the YWCA of Central MA. She obtained a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University and is a licensed social worker in the state of MA. She is a bilingual, bicultural, first-generation Puerto Rican cis-gendered woman who primarily identifies with her native Taino descendants. Her work focuses on stressors related to trauma and PTSD, women’s issues, and racial inequities. For over 10 years, she has worked directly with survivors of sexual and domestic violence in the Worcester community to advocate for systemic changes in their prevention efforts and responses to gender-based violence. In 2018, she was awarded the Jerry Wright Direct Service Employee Award by the Provider’s Council. Ultimately, Marienelly is committed to uplifting the voices of marginalized women who have survived trauma as well as supporting and mentoring other upcoming social workers. Particularly Latinas and other women of color in the Central Massachusetts region. In her free time, she loves powerlifting at her local gym and watching superhero movies with her family.
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