Linnette Acosta, Program Assistant
Linnette is currently assisting the STAAR Project providing essential administrative support. Previously she served as ALSO’s resident coordinator for the Humboldt Park People Power program funded by Get IN Chicago. As resident coordinator, she recruited participants to promote resident empowerment to reduce violence in the Humboldt Park community, working alongside other community organizers to ensure engagement and full participation of disconnected youth and adult residents. She received her Bachelor in Criminology, Law and Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012. She resides in the Humboldt Park area and is grateful for the opportunity to help empower her fellow community residents. She is excited to work with an agency that is inclusive and strives to provide services both locally and nationally.
Orlando Cintron, Violence Interrupter
Lori Crowder, MSW, Executive Director
Cristina Damiani, MA, Program Manager
Marisol Giraud, Event Manager
Yunuen Herrera, Accounting Coordinator
Yunuen graduated from Benito Juarez High School in Chicago. Her career began in accounting and financial management, and she was employed by two money transfer firms between 1999 and 2008. Her work later took her to Milwaukee where she served as branch supervisor of a TCF Bank for five years. Yunuen returned to Chicago in 2013 and joined the staff of ALSO soon after. She is currently Accounting Coordinator and focuses on programmatic and fiscal aspects of the STAAR Project, particularly through the LINK (Locally Implementing National Knowledge) travel assistance program. Yunuen’s fluency in English and Spanish has been a positive asset to both her local and national work at ALSO.
Zarena Leblanc, MA, Program Coordinator
Zarena now serves as Program Coordinator for the Underserved Technical Assistance Project. She began at the Alliance of Local Service Organizations in December 2015 as Program Assistant. She is responsible for assisting with the programmatic and administrative activities associated with planning, coordinating and facilitating national technical assistance engagements for the STAAR Project and the Underserved TA Project. She is also responsible for helping manage ALSO’s online presence and working with the Associate Director to evaluate technical assistance engagements. Zarena received her bachelor’s in Humanities from the University of South Florida in 2011 and received her master’s in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University in 2014. In her free-time, Zarena teaches and attends dance fitness classes, spends time with family and friends and travels any chance she gets.
Jorge Matos, Associate Director
Jenna Musselman-Palles, LCSW, Associate Director
Rolando Otero, Outreach Worker
Maribel Romero, Program Assistant
Maribel supports ALSO’s local and national violence prevention initiatives. She joined ALSO as a Re-entry Case Manager with the NRI (Neighborhood Recovery Initiative) and then transitioned over to the CVPP (Community Violence Prevention Program) as a supervisor to the Re-Entry component. She was promoted to become supervisor for the Ceasefire/Humboldt Park/Hermosa Communities where outreach played a big roll. She’s currently a State Mandated Reporter with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Before becoming a Case manager, Maribel worked as a family advocate for a program called “Cradle to Classroom” at Foreman High School for pregnant teens. Currently, she provides administrative support to the STAAR Project. Maribel was born and raised in the Humboldt Park Community and graduated from Roberto Clemente High School. She is fluent in English and Spanish. It is her great pleasure to work for such a great organization that provides for the community and an even greater pleasure for her to be able to give back to her community.
Mary Malefyt Seighman, Director of Policy and Justice Initiatives
Mary Malefyt Seighman is the Director of Policy and Justice Initiatives at ALSO. She has worked to address legal issues and policy affecting survivors of gender-based violence since 1994. Mary has served on the ALSO STAAR Project Technical Assistance Team from 2008-2016, and has also worked on ALSO local projects focusing on the connections between community violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault. Mary serves as editor of Administrators’ Corner, a publication focusing on substantive and administrative topics related to the Violence Against Women Act STOP Formula Grants Program, and has written several other STAAR Project resources including the STOP Formula Grants Program Handbook for STOP Administrators, the STOP Formula Grants Program Implementation Plan Template Packet, and the STOP Formula Grant Program Implementation Plan Tool. Mary works in collaboration with staff, consultants, and the Office on Violence Against Women to provide responsive, tailored, and needs-based consultation, materials, and training to STOP Grant administrators, and state and local programs. As an attorney for the National Center on Full Faith & Credit, Mary conducted dozens of tailored trainings and consultations around the U.S. for advocates and attorneys, state and tribal court and judicial staff, prosecutors, and law enforcement, focusing on interjurisdictional enforcement of protection orders and state and federal firearm laws. Mary served on the staff of the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health and the STOP Grants Technical Assistance Project. She has consulted for a number of other national and state domestic violence projects. As director of grant programs for a state government violence prevention agency, Mary had primary responsibility for pre-award grant processes, agency grant budgets, and a number of post-award monitoring and management activities. Mary earned a JD from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, where she participated in the Domestic Violence Community Legal Clinic. She received a BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mary is a member of the Maryland Bar.
Carlee Taggart, Program Manager
Nelson Torrez, Outreach Worker
Silvia Villeda, Accounting Manager
Silvia has worked at ALSO since 2007 and she is the Accounting Manager. She graduated from the Universidad Michoacán de San Nicolas de Hidalgo (UMSNH) in Mexico with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in July 2000. Before joining ALSO, Silvia worked as an Administrative Assistant at Pemex, a petroleum company in Mexico and as an Accountant for a travel agency for 6 years here in the United States. At present, she works too as voluntary member of the financial council of a religious organization.
Nancy Cline, LCSW, Consultant
Laney Gibbes, LCSW, Consultant
Laney is a local, state, and national consultant with over 25 years of experience in the field of victim services. Her consulting assignments have included assisting communities in developing and implementing prevention, intervention and treatment programming for domestic and sexual violence and other victim’s issues. Currently she is providing consulting services through ALSO (Alliance for Local Service Organizations) for the Office on Violence Against Women STOP VAWA Administrators and Consolidated Youth grantees, and is working with ICF International on training and technical assistance projects for the Office for Victims of Crime VOCA grantees.
Ms. Gibbes’ prior work experience has ranged from being an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to Associate Director of a men’s perpetrator treatment program to Executive Director of the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She holds a masters degree in social work, and is a licensed clinical social worker. In her private practice, Laney provided therapeutic intervention to adults, teens, and children impacted by domestic, sexual, and family violence, and other traumas.
In addition, Ms. Gibbes has volunteered on several local and state boards throughout the past 20 years. These include Colorado Domestic Violence Offender Management Board, Advocates Crisis Support Services (a domestic and sexual assault program), Colorado’s 14th Judicial District Victim Compensation Board, and the Colorado Violence Against Women Act Stop Grants Advisory Board.
She recently served as the Chair of the Colorado Department of Public Safety’s Crime Victim Services Advisory Board, which acts in an advisory capacity to the Department in making funding recommendations for VOCA, VAWA and State VALE grant funds.
Lisa Gilmore, LCPC, M.Ed, Consultant
Lisa Gilmore is Principal & Founder of Illinois Accountability Initiative (IL-AI), which strives to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in their self-determined efforts to create and sustain accountability practices in local communities, among individuals, and within systems and institutions. IL-AI believes that community accountability practices can increase safety and reduce harm in the lives of LGBTQ people, transforming communities and directly challenging social conditions that support oppression and violence in many forms.
Previously, Lisa served as Director of Education & Victim Advocacy at Center on Halsted, Chicago’s LGBTQ community center. While at the Center from 2005 – 2013, Lisa provided victim services and guided the work of the Anti-Violence Project, the Legal Program, professional training and technical assistance, and the implementation of the Center’s formal systems-level advocacy efforts—all aimed at reducing the impact of bias in the lives of LGBTQ people.
Lisa has served on the Governance Committee of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs since 2010. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and has provided individual psychotherapy, group support, or crisis counseling to hundreds of survivors and witnesses of domestic, sexual, hate, police, and HIV status-related violence.
In March 2012, Lisa was honored as one of four “Women of Distinction” by Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of the State of Illinois, during the inaugural year of this Women’s History Month event. Before dedicating herself to LGBTQ-specific anti-violence efforts, Lisa worked for several years with adults dually diagnosed with developmental disabilities and mental illness.
Jennifer Rose, MSW, Consultant
Jennifer Rose has been working as an advocate & activist to end violence and promote healing for women, children and families for the past 25 years. Jennifer is the co-founder and co-director of Inspire Action for Social Change and is currently working as a consultant, locally, nationally and internationally, to provide training and technical assistance on the issues of violence against women and children, supervised visitation and safe exchange, engaging men who use violence,coordinated community response, oppression, and community organizing. Jennifer has provided leadership to numerous anti violence organizations over the years. When working at the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, she worked to build a program that provided both crisis intervention and long-term advocacy and support for women and their families. In this role she opened a supervised visitation center that was part of a national demonstration initiative funded through the Office of Violence Against Women. Jennifer works as a consultant for Futures Without Violence, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, ALSO and the Full Frame Initiative. Jennifer received her BA in Anthropology and Women’s Studies from Fort Lewis College and her MSW from San Jose State University.
Robin H. Thompson, JD, Consultant
Robin Hassler Thompson consults with a wide range of clients including universities, state and national public policy and human rights advocacy groups, and international law firms. She was the executive director of the Governor’s Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence for the State of Florida from 1994 – 98 and in that position she served as Florida’s first STOP Grant Program State Administrator. Later, she supervised Florida’s STOP Grant Program until leaving state government. Since 1998 to the present, she has provided technical assistance to STOP Grant Program state administrators, subgrantees and the Office on Violence Against Women. She began her work as a consultant with the STOP TA program, the first technical assistance program created by the Department of Justice to assist STOP Grant Program fund recipients. She has also worked directly with the Office on Violence Against Women on STOP Grant Program policy issues AND has served as a peer reviewer for a number of grant programs administered under the Violence Against Women Act. On the local level, she has volunteered for and served as president of the board for the local domestic violence and rape crisis program and helped found the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC), an anti-trafficking and trafficking survivor support non-profit organization. At the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, Robin served on the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women.
Robin holds a law degree and an M.A. from Florida State University and a B.A. from American University in Washington, D.C. Robin is well grounded on law and policy matters related to domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and dating violence, having worked in this policy arena on local, state, national and international levels for over two decades.
Quenette L. Walton, PHD, AM, LCSW, Consultant
Dr. Quenette L. Walton joined ALSO as a consultant in 2015 and has worked with the STOP Technical Assistance to Administrators Resource (STAAR) Project and the Underserved Technical Assistance Project. In this capacity, Dr. Walton does work that focuses on the intersection of race, social class, gender, mental health, community violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault. In addition, Dr. Walton is a contributor of ALSO’s Administrators’ Corner, a publication focusing on substantive and administrative topics related to the Violence Against Women Act STOP Formula Grants Program.
Dr. Walton’s prior work experience has spanned across multiple systems—child welfare, schools, and community mental health facilities—where she provided mental health services to children and families. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Westside Domestic Abuse Project which is now called the Center for Advancing Domestic Peace, Inc. from 2005-2007.
Furthermore, Dr. Walton is a licensed clinical social worker and is completing her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Health Services and Society where she is expanding her research skills within the context of mental health disparities and the social determinants of mental health. Dr. Walton’s research focuses on understanding the complex interaction of race, social class, gender, and cultural context as factors in behavioral and mental health disparities among middle-class African American women. Dr. Walton earned her Ph.D. in 2016 from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work. Her dissertation was entitled, “The Experiences of Depression Among Middle-Class African American Women: A Mixed Model Study.” She holds an A.M. in social work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.