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  • Executive Director
  • Chair
  • First Vice Chair
  • Second Vice Chair
  • Shelter Directors Committee
  • Immigration Committee
  • Legislative Issues Committe
  • Committee on Systems Improvement
  • LGBT Issues Committee
  • Religion & DV Issues Committee

 

 

Olivia G. Rodriguez, Executive Director

 

 

Olivia G. Rodriguez is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council. She previously served as Domestic Violence Program Director of Chicana Service Action Center, Inc., often working directly with domestic violence survivors. During her tenure with the Center, Olivia implemented a support group for survivors of domestic violence and played a key role in developing programs to provide vital services for women and children. In addition, Olivia established an annual Urban Latina Conference for domestic violence survivors. Whether conducting a self- esteem workshop in Juvenile Hall, or educating about domestic violence, Olivia’s goal is always the same: to empower people to lead healthy, productive lives, and understand that violence is not an acceptable means to resolve conflict.

Olivia has witnessed firsthand how damaging abuse—sexual or physical—can be to children. While Program Manager of the Violence Intervention Program at LAC-USC Medical Center, she contributed to the Community Empowerment Planning Grant to Prevent Child Maltreatment by assessing medical and psychosocial services in East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights communities. She also developed guidelines for LAC-USC Medical Center to treat substance-exposed infants and their mothers according to medical protocols of SB 2669 (Presley).

Ms. Rodriguez has trained extensively in Domestic Violence and Court Advocacy. She attained a certificate on Pregnancy and Domestic Violence from LAC-USC Medical Center, and has completed the Cultural Competence Training/Building Bridges, the People of Color workshop, and the City of Los Angeles Legacy EmployAbility program. Olivia has also worked on domestic violence issues with Campesinas Lideres and participates on the Community Board of the Violence Intervention Program at LAC-USC Medical Center. She is an active member of the Guide for Effective Response to Domestic Abuse (GERDA) task force, which reviews domestic violence and child abuse protocol to be implemented countywide. Olivia is also a member of the Death Review Team, and has been Supervisor Gloria Molina’s appointee to the Los Angeles County Commission for Women since 1993. She took part in the Board of Supervisors’ Victim Notification Task Force, which implemented the Sheriff’s Victim Information & Notification Everyday system in 1996. A committed member of the Comisión Femenil de Los Angeles, Olivia established archives at the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA to preserve the Comisión’s rich cultural legacy for posterity.

Olivia devotes much of her time to raising public awareness of injustices committed against women and children, yet she does find time for her other passion in life: painting watercolors alongside the Mt. Washington Plein Air Painters, a local group of landscape artists. Her paintings have exhibited at the Bren Art Gallery & Café in Pasadena, Avenue 50 Gallery, LA River Center, and the Ziegler House. “Painting,” she says, “keeps life in perspective and helps me deal with the type of work I do.”

 

 

 

Michele L. Daniels, Chair

 

 

Ms. Daniels is the Head Deputy of the Family Violence Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She chairs the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council and the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) Operations Committee. She serves as a co-chair of the ICAN Child Death Review Team and as a co-chair of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team.

Ms. Daniels received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s degree in political theory from UC Berkeley and a juris doctorate from the UCLA School of Law. She served as Head Deputy of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Sex Crimes Division from 2009-2011 where she supervised the prosecution of child and adult sexual abuse cases. As Head Deputy of the Training Division from 2004-2009, she led the team of attorneys that conducted classes and developed the training curriculum for LADA prosecutors with an emphasis on legal ethics.

Ms. Daniels’ tenure in the District Attorney’s Office included service as Assistant Head Deputy of the Airport Branch Office from 2001 to 2004. She served as Deputy-in-Charge of various area offices between 1997 and 2001, and as a prosecutor in the Career Criminal Unit from 1993-1997 after serving as a felony trial lawyer in the Central Division. She has filed and prosecuted crimes ranging from misdemeanors to serious and violent felonies including domestic violence cases, sexual assaults, and murders in both adult and juvenile court. During her tenure, she helped to revise past editions of the District Attorney’s Legal Policies Manual.

 

 

 

Pat Butler, First Vice Chair

 

Pat Butler’s career in social services truly began in the entertainment industry when she was associate producer of motion pictures for television at Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios. She moved on to produce a nationally syndicated talk show addressing socially relevant topics and ultimately to independent pro-social video production in partnership with Susan Newman and the Scott Newman Foundation.

In 1989, she joined Sojourn Services For Battered Women And Their Children, the second oldest shelter-based service provider in California. There, she worked as Counselor/Advocate and Children’s Program Coordinator before taking on the position of Court Advocate in 1992, counseling victims through the office of the City Attorney in Santa Monica. Since 1995, she has been Sojourn’s Director, overseeing the development of new programs, addition of second-stage shelter, and helping to found the Westside Domestic Violence Network, where she serves on the Executive Board, Steering Committee, and Coordinating Council.

In addition to her leadership within Sojourn, she is committed to effecting systemic change within the larger domestic violence community. Ms. Butler is First Vice Chair of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council and serves as a member of its Shelter Directors and LGBT Committees as well as the Executive Board. She is a member of the LACDVC/ICAN protocol task force, the Superior Court Planning Group, the Los Angeles County Death Review Team and, through the years, has provided training for judges, police officers, lawyers, mental health professionals, and the many volunteers who sustain the essence of grassroots activism.

 

 

 

Diane Franklin, Second Vice Chair

 

 

Diane Franklin is the West Covina Police Department’s Victim Advocate, dedicated entirely in assisting victims of domestic violence and their families. She guides victims through the criminal justice system and regional services networks, interfacing with court officials, local shelters, health organizations, and social services.

As a trained Victim Advocate with over two decades of experience, Diane dedicates much of her time to working face-to-face with victims (conducting intake interviews and domestic violence classes, explaining the “no drop” policy and sentencing options, assisting with crisis intervention and emergencies, coordinating victim and witness court appearances, etc.), but she also finds time to represent West Covina in regional professional groups. She has earned several awards, including the 2002 Women of Achievement Award from the San Gabriel Valley YWCA. Congresswoman Hilda Solis named Diane recipient of the 2005 Women of Distinction Award.

 

 

 

TuLynn Smylie, Co-Chair

 

 

TuLynn Smylie currently serves as Administrative Director of the Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF), an organization dedicated to working primarily with API victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She oversees the agency’s human resources, operations and facilities, and administration as well as serving as a member of the agency’s senior management team. TuLynn speaks and trains on a variety of issues, most notably on the cycle of abuse, cultural competency & underserved populations, and self-care and burn-out of employees in the helping professions.

Since 2014, TuLynn has served as co-chair of the shelter director’s committee to the LA County DV Council. From 2005 to 20012, TuLynn was Executive Director for WomenShelter of Long Beach. She was responsible for all operations including development and fundraising, program planning and development, personnel and financial management. As Executive Director, she was dedicated to expanding services to female victims, while seeking to outreach to traditionally underserved victims including men, lesbians and gay men, and the Latino and Asian communities. Over the past eighteen years, TuLynn has gained a broad range of experience working with at-risk and vulnerable populations in a variety of nonprofit endeavors. In New York City and in Denver, she directed programs that helped inner-city students to remain in school. Upon returning to Los Angeles, TuLynn directed and expanded a school-based health program for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. From 2006-12, TuLynn served as First Vice Chair of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council. From 2010-2012, TuLynn was elected to the Board of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, a statewide network of shelter and non-shelter programs, law enforcement, nonprofits and supporters in the state who work with survivors of domestic violence. TuLynn holds a law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles Law School and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University in New York.

 

 

 

Kate Marr, Co-Chair

 

 

Kate Marr, Managing Attorney, Long Beach Office and Supporting Families Workgroup, oversees all the domestic violence, family law and immigration work for LAFLA, including two courthouse-based domestic violence clinics. Currently, Kate serves on the executive board of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council and is a co-founder and co-chair of the Council’s immigration committee. In 2007, she received the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Award as well as Soroptomist International of Long Beach’s 2008 Women of Distinction Award in the area of human rights.

Kate has worked at LAFLA since 2001. Prior to her role as Managing Attorney, she was the coordinator for the Greater Long Beach Medical Legal Partnership — a collaboration between LAFLA and The Children’s Clinic. Kate received her JD from the University of Colorado School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College.

 

 

 

 

Ardalan Zamani, Co-Chair

 

Mr. Ardalan Zamani is currently working with Castleton Law Group. Mr. Zamani was formerly the Managing Attorney at Institute for Multicultural Counseling & Education Services, Inc., (IMCES) as Managing Attorney at IMCES, Inc., his main responsibility was working on the CalWORKs Domestic Violence Program. Part of the responsibilities included, representing domestic violence survivors in complex family law and immigration matters and prepared preliminary/final declarations of disclosures (including disso master), pleadings, pretrial motions and trial advocacy at complex custody, restraining order, spousal support and division of asset hearings.

Mr. Zamani previously worked at the Law Offices of Scott W. Hanssler, Inc., as a Litigation Law Clerk, conducting research, he analyzed and interpreted legal sources including statutes, ordinances, case laws and legal opinions impacting individual and corporate debtors and assisted in preparation of Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions, reaffirmations, related schedules and Chapter 13 plans.

Mr. Ardalan Zamani has a Juris Doctor degree from Whittier Law School, and he received the Distinction Award of Cali for Future Excellence Securities Regulation, he attended Pepperdine University School of Law and Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution and he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and minor in Business Management from the University of California in Irvine.

 

 

 

Nancy Volpert, Co-Chair

 

Nancy Volpert is Director of Public Policy for Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. In this position, she is responsible for the development and management of JFS’ advocacy and public policy initiatives and building relationships with strategic partners.

Nancy works directly with Board and staff members to advocate on behalf of JFS clients and programs at the local, state and federal level. JFS counsels families, supports the elderly, feeds the hungry, assists the disabled and empowers survivors of domestic violence, serving more than 100,000 people of all ages and backgrounds each year.

Ms. Volpert has an extensive background in community relations and program services, as well as fund and board development in the Los Angeles non-profit community.

 

 

 

 

Debbie Ramirez, LCSW, Co-Chair

 

Debbie Ramirez is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She works at Children’s Institute Inc. (CII) as the Associate Director of Integrated Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Programs. Debbie also has her own private practice in Manhattan Beach, CA and practices as a psychotherapist for individuals, couples and families.

Experience and Expertise
Debbie has been working at CII since 2006 and began her work there as a mental health therapist in the outpatient and school-based clinics. Her caseload consisted of children exposed to trauma and experiencing functional impairments in various areas. She also provided group therapy services to victims of domestic violence and adult victims of child abuse. She received her License in Clinical Social Work in 2010 and became a clinical supervisor to unlicensed staff where she supported and guided staff with their clinical work with children and families. In 2012, Debbie was promoted to Associate Director of Integrated Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Programs where she began to oversee and direct CII’s DART program (Project ERIN) and all domestic violence programs within the SPA 4 area. In 2015 Debbie opened her own private practice in the South Bay area as a way to nourish her passion for direct clinical work with clients.

Accomplishments and Achievements:
Debbie is a certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (TFCBT). Since becoming the Associate Director of Integrated Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Programs at CII, Debbie was able to implement a system and teamwork approach to the DV victims and children that entered CII’s programs in order to establish a continuum of care at the various stages of a survivor’s stage of recovery and healing process. Debbie was an active participant in the RFP process to expand funding for CII’s DART program for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Debbie is an active participant in the Domestic Violence Task Force (DVTF) and Domestic Violence Council (DVC) meetings on a monthly basis and is always eager to expand her knowledge and expertise in the areas of domestic violence, trauma, and mental health. Debbie is a collaborator and presenter with various community agencies and entities on the subject matter of “The Effects of DV on Children.” Most recently, Debbie was a guest lecturer at the UCLA School of Social Work Master’s Program on the topic of “Domestic Violence and Child Welfare.”

Contact Details:
dramirez@childrensinstitute.org
www.ramirezlcsw.com

 

 

 

Gail Pincus, Co-Chair

 

 

Gail J. Pincus has served as Director of Domestic Abuse Center since 1989 and has co-chaired the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council’s Legal Issues Committee since 1985. She participates in several advocate groups, including the Committee to Develop Standards for Batterers’ Treatment Program and the Clemency Team for Brenda Aris. In addition, Gail chairs the Law Enforcement Committee of the City of Los Angeles Task Force on Domestic Violence. She developed the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) in cooperation with Van Nuys and West Valley Divisions of the LAPD. Gail serves on various other task forces working to improve family courts, meet the needs of underserved survivors, and implement standard policy statewide.

Gail earned her MSW and license from USC School of Social Work. Much of her work since has involved counseling groups and individuals, and establishing clinical services. She provided services to and established a peer group for men who batter, and then trained graduate students how to work with them. In addition, Gail developed an empowerment model for battered women’s groups, redesigned an intake assessment tool, and has presented expert testimony on various cases.

Each semester for the past twenty years Gail has guest lectured at the USC School of Social Work and at Cal State University, Northridge. In 1992 and 1993 she guest lectured at UCLA School of Law. Gail has also lectured emergency room doctors and social workers at County USC Medical Center, as well as members of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. She has given presentations at several conferences, often considering how to provide services for less recognized forms of abuse, such as spousal rape or stalking. Her presentations also explore more controversial topics, such as the concept of batterer treatment or clemency for those who kill their batterer.

Gail has appeared on the TODAY Show, CNBC’s America’s Talking, and CNN’s Sonja Live. She has also been a guest on KPFK, KCRW, KCET, CBC Calgary, and BBC London. She worked as technical consultant on four documentaries about domestic violence, and has appeared in articles of the Herald Examiner, the Daily News, and the Los Angeles Times. Gail holds numerous awards, including the LACAAW/Peace Over Violence Humanitarian Award for Services to Victims, and a commendation from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. In 1995, the Los Angeles County Commission for Women named her Woman of the Year for creating the DART program.

 

 

 

 

Rachelle M. Neshkes, Co-Chair

 

 

Rachelle M. Neshkes, Staff Attorney III for Community Legal Services; she represents client-survivors of domestic violence in hearings. Ms. Neshkes works on domestic violence and civil harassment restraining order hearings, family law trials, requests for orders, motions to transfer, quash, and set aside judgments and for reconsideration, also unlawful detainer trials and administrative law hearings with the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department. Of Social Services.

Ms. Neshkes negotiates favorable settlements for client-survivors of domestic violence in the areas of family law, housing, benefits access, and infrequently in the areas of small claims, education rights and employment law. Ms. Neshkes serves at the Compton office as the senior litigating attorney and mentor to less experienced attorneys. She supervises teams of paralegals and volunteers at CLS office, and the court-based self-help and restraining order clinics. She does excellent work in providing support to client-survivors of domestic violence in criminal proceedings when cases involve client testimony, including advocating for client-survivors to the Deputy District Attorney and also consulting with the Public Defender if client-survivor has been charged with a crime.

Ms. Neshkes developed an in-house internship program that recruits and mentors law students. She conducts informational presentations to various community based agencies on a regular basis and she services on the Domestic Violence Advisory Group of the Department of Public Social Services as an alternate.

Ms. Neshkes attended UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, California, and earned her J.D., in May 2007 with a concentration in Public Interest Law and Policy. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California obtaining her B.A., in May 2004 with Highest Honors in Religious Studies.

 

 

 

Mieko Failey, Co-Chair

 

Mieko Failey, Esq., is the Staff Attorney at the The Los Angeles LGBT Center, and Manager, Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project, Legal Services Department; she is responsible for the delivery of direct legal services to LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. She provides direct legal services to LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including U-Visa applications, domestic violence restraining orders, and cease and desist letters. She provides legal services to LGBTQ youth (ages 14-24) survivors of domestic violence/intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, hate violence, and violence in schools. She trains services providers on LGBTQ violence related issues and cultural competency, including social workers, domestic violence shelters, law enforcement, school administrators, teachers, and other legal service providers.

Ms. Failey has extensive work that includes the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic, Los Angeles, where she conducted investigations and intake necessary to bring habeas corpus petitions, advocate for sentencing reduction, and advocate during parole hearings. She also did research on legal issues and wrote appellate briefs to advocate for clients before the California Court of Appeals and/or Parole Board.

Ms. Failey worked on the Gender Equity Resource Center UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA titled SHAPE (Sexual Harassment Assault Advocacy Peer Education) Intern, August 2007-May 2008; she facilitated Workshops on Sexual Harassment, Rape, and Domestic Violence law.

She obtained her Juris Doctor in May of 2013, Public Interest Concentration from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles where she received the Donald L. Snow Scholarship, Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association, Award for Commitment to LGBT Civil Rights; Student Leadership Award, The National LGBT Bar Association, Loyola Law School Dean’s Service Award, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

She attended the University of California at Berkeley where she attained her B.A. in Sociology, Concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies, Identity, and Sexuality, May 2008 Honors Thesis: Attitudes, Identity Management, and Stereotyping in the World of Exotic Dancing. Honors: Highest Distinction in Sociology; Distinction in General Scholarship.

 

 

 

 

Giovanna Martinez, Co-Chair

 

Giovanna Martinez is the Youth Services Coordinator for the WomenShelter of Long Beach and has worked with victims of domestic violence since 2001.

Giovanna specializes in helping youth heal from the abuse they have witnessed and experienced. She accomplishes this through the education, intervention and prevention of violence in the lives of youth.

Prior to becoming a Youth Services Coordinator, Giovanna spent years as a Child Development Center Counselor and Women’s Counselor for the emergency shelter.

In 2004, she was selected to help develop and implement the Youth Services Program for WomenShelter of Long Beach. She has helped developed a variety of support groups and individual counseling geared toward young people. She built a rapport with local area schools and educates students on Teen Dating Violence. Giovanna is Co-Chair of the LGBT Committee with the Domestic Violence Council. Giovanna was also an active member of the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART). DART worked in conjunction with detectives from the LBPD Domestic Violence Detail and provided crisis counseling and emergency shelter services to the victims at area hospitals, private residences or safe locations. She also serves on two local Long Beach Boards, End Abuse Long Beach and Long Beach Pride inc.

In 2012 Giovanna was the recipient of Soroptimist of Long Beach Woman of Distinction Human Rights/Status of Women award, as well as being one of The Long Beach Post 2012, 40 under 40 award winners, and End Abuse Long Beach’s Abuse Prevention Award of 2012. Giovanna was nominated to be Long Beach Pride’s 2014 Female Community Grand Marshal.

With more than 13 years of service and empowering victims to become survivors, Giovanna’s passion for service continues to flourish. She has returned to college to pursue her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy.

 

 

 

Bernita Walker, Co-Chair

 

 

Bernita R. Walker is passionate and dedicated to preventing and ending domestic violence, and enhancing community development. From 1995 to present, she has served as Executive Director of Project: PeaceMakers, Inc., a non-profit agency that provides domestic violence prevention education and support services for survivors of domestic violence. Before co-founding Project: PeaceMakers, Bernita worked fifteen years at Jenesse Center, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence and their children, where she served as Executive Director.

Bernita was promoted to Deputy Sheriff III during her ten years with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. While performing law enforcement duties, she also held upwards of 200 classes each year on domestic violence and on cultural diversity awareness for her Sheriff colleagues and the LAPD. Bernita has also gone before the State of California to deliver expert testimony on Battered Person’s Syndrome.

In addition to serving as Co-chair of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council’s Religion and Domestic Violence Committee, is a member of the Domestic Violence Advisory Committee since it’s foundation, and former Co-chair of the LAPD African-American Community Forum. She is an alternate representative for the Los Angeles City Task Force on Domestic Violence. Since 1982, Bernita has delivered over 3,400 workshops, panel participations, and presentations to education, health, civic, and charitable institutions. She attends Holy Tabernacle of God Baptist Church in Los Angeles, and maintains affiliation with several professional groups and philanthropic societies. Bernita is also part of the City of Long Beach, Role of Men Project and The Marin Abuse Women Services (MAWS) Faith Based Faculty as well as the Executive Board of Project Accountability, which works with families in redirecting their at risk middle school children.

Bernita holds a B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, an Advanced Certificate in Peace Officers Standard Training, and has trained extensively in family law, legislation, cultural awareness, shelter operations, health and counseling, batterer’s treatment, and on training trainers and managing faith-based domestic violence programs. She has earned several awards from civil rights, professional, and religious organizations, and has been honored by colleges and many California public schools. Her awards include the Marjorie Braude Award, the Family Violence and Assault Institute’s Extraordinary Family Violence Advocate in 2005, the California Wellness Foundation Sabbatical Award in 2004, the Attorney General’s Community Service Award, County of Los Angeles Community Service Commendation, and the Golden State Grand Chapter, OES, PHRA, CA Lifetime Achievement Award.