MNADV StaffTrisha Gentle, Executive Director
For more than 20 years, Trisha has dedicated her career to serving victims of crime through her work in nonprofit, government, and private consulting work. Most recently, she served as the Deputy Assistance Director at the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services where she was responsible for all administrative and programmatic components of the Homeless Services Continuum, Eviction Prevention, Energy Assistance, and other poverty reduction services and strategies. She has also served as Director of Victim Services for Washington, D.C. where she established the first office dedicated to crime victims within in district and was responsible for a $24 million agency budget and implementing a District‐wide five‐year strategic plan, approved by City Council, to maximize funds and outline strategies for District response to crime. Previously, she’s held positions such as Director of Justice Grants Administration for Washington D.C., Executive Director of Public Safety at the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Juneau, Alaska, and Executive Director at Standing Together Against Rape in Anchorage, Alaska, among many others. Trisha has a Master’s in Human Services Administration and Development from Lincoln University, and a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Social Change and recently published her thesis, “Voices of Women: The Intersectionality of Oppression.”
Tei Pearson, Project Manager, LAP
Tei is a MNADV’s National Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) Manager. She will be responsible for managing LAP implementation as well as training and technical assistance for designated jurisdictions. Tei is tasked with participating in the development and ongoing coordination of LAP training and technical assistance, and compiling, developing and assisting in the evaluation of national LAP reports and coordinating with staff, national partners, consultants, selected sites, and OVW.
Tei graduated in 2013 from The University of Maryland, University College with her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and minor in Forensic Science. Over the last 15+ years, She has worked with non-profits, governments and private companies providing education/training, administrative support, case management, technical assistance and program development. She has a passion to “make a difference in the lives of others” and uses her comedic personality to help others smile. When not at work, Tei volunteers at her daughter’s school as a mentor, feeds and spends time at local homeless shelters and facilitates domestic violence support groups for women, men and children.
Caterina Marzella, Project Manager, LAP
Cat is responsible for managing the Lethality Assessment Program-Court Initiative and providing support to the Maryland DVFR Teams and the LAP data review process. Before starting at MNADV, Cat worked in both research and direct practice settings and is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community, Management and Policy Practice from University of North Carolina and bachelor’s degrees in Government and Politics and Communications from University of Maryland. In her free time, Cat enjoys cooking, eating what she cooked, camping and reading.
Ayana Wallace, Project Manager
Ayana is a MNADV’s new Project Manager. She has recently transitioned from her position as a one of MNADV’s national Lethality Assessment Program Managers into working on the Maryland side, being responsible for building and expanding the response and quality of services to survivors of domestic violence with a focus on culturally specific populations. These populations include but are not limited to racial or ethnic minorities, faith communities, immigrants, and LGBTQ survivors. Ayana graduated in 2012 from Dickinson College with her Bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and minors in English, History, and Creative Writing. She went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from Towson University in 2014. While completing her Master’s program, she interned at the House of Ruth Maryland, and upon graduation began working as a Client Case Coordinator at the Betty Ann Krahnke Center. Ayana considers herself to be a womanist and has a passion for animal rights.
Jess Staskal, Project Manager
Jess Staskal is the Project Manager for Communications and Training, assisting with the development of publications, coordinating branding and messaging, maintaining MNADV’s social and digital media presence, and helping to educate the public about domestic violence. Jess has trained more than 600 professionals at 40+ trainings on best practices for working with intimate partner violence survivors. Jess graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, IA with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and minors in Women’s Studies and Anthropology. She was previously the Program Coordinator at the National Stalking Resource Center, and the Communications Specialist at the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the National Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project. Jess lives with her partner and cat and is obsessed with carbs, politics, reading, bad reality tv, feminism and funny cat gifs.
Renee Wells, Administrative Manager
Renee Wells is the Administrative Manager and is responsible for the overall management, oversight and evaluation of all organization-wide administrative and operations functions. In her role, Renee provides strategic and solutions-oriented guidance, development and/or direct supervision of the following areas: fiscal management, human resources, office management, communications, and Information Technology (IT). Renee is passionate about being instrumental in maintaining a high-functioning work¬culture in which all employees have clear expectations and guidelines, professional development opportunities, and access to necessary resources. Renee earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Bowie State University. She has over 15 years of experience working in the non-profit sector in administration, social service supervision, community outreach management, volunteer coordination, field implementation and resource development. In her personal time, Renee loves to explore new adventures with her significant other, family and friends that incorporate travel, music, wine, and food. Renee also enjoys time with her cat Hendrix, is obsessed with coffee, loves comedy and coloring as therapy, is a certified bartender, a certified ServSafe food safety manager and enjoys voice-acting with many years of experience as an on-air radio personality. For the past 10 years Renee has owned and operated an independent online radio show as well as an artist management company providing management services to a variety of artists in the entertainment business.
Hiba Ahmed, Project Specialist
Hiba is MNADV’s Project Specialist and is responsible for coordinating domestic violence training activities for professional audiences, and various other administrative tasks that aim towards the elimination of domestic violence in Maryland. Always driven by the conviction that every human warrants the right to love, health, and security, she graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in English Language & Literature, as well as Family Science. She has previously worked in organizations aimed to fight for vulnerable populations including refugees and victims of human trafficking. However, domestic violence initiatives hold a special role in her heart and she is absolutely excited to learn on this journey with her new team! Hiba is obsessed with all animals, traveling, snowboarding, reading, watching Korean dramas, and long naps with the people she loves.
Jessica Harris, Project Specialist, LAP
Jessica is MNADV’s Project Specialist and will be responsible for supporting the LAP in various capacities through administrative and organizational responsibilities. Jessica graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Africana Studies. Throughout college, Jessica has been involved in community activism, critical race theory education and research and various environmental justice and sustainability initiatives. Jessica enjoys traveling, painting, gardening, reading, going to museums and galleries, and binge watching shows on Netflix.
Lauren Dougherty, Project Manager, LAP
Lauren Dougherty is the new Project Coordinator at the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, working on the Lethality Assessment Program – Maryland Model (LAP). Her role consists of working on Maryland-based LAP, including LAP Regional Meetings, Homicide Tracking, Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team work, and LAP Structural work. Lauren started her professional career managing a traditional Alternative Living Unit that served adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. She then shifted to a career in Domestic Violence through Family and Children’s Services of Central Maryland (FCS) where she provided crisis intervention and case management services to victims of intimate partner violence, coordinated the LAP, and supervised a team of domestic violence case managers. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and a Master of Science degree in Human Services Management.
Alexandra Brown, Project Manager, LAP
Alexandra Brown is the Project Manager for LAP Certification and Retraining. She manages the expansion of the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative, which includes developing an evaluation and certification process, as well as ongoing education and training materials for existing LAP implementers throughout the country. Alexandra is a two time alumna of The Ohio State University, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in 2013, and receiving her Master’s in Public Health in 2018. Alexandra began her career working in domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in Ohio as an advocate and prevention specialist. Most recently she worked as a Project Assistant at the Ohio Domestic Violence Network where she worked to increase the capacity of domestic violence service programs to serve survivors with brain injury and/or severe mental illness. As an Ohio native, Alexandra is an avid fan of Ohio sports (except the Browns because no one should subject themselves to that kind of sadness). If it isn’t October when the trifecta of football, hockey, and playoff baseball converge, you can usually find her reading a good book, wandering a new D.C. neighborhood, or taking in a new play or musical.
Lucane LaFortune, Deputy Director of Programs
Lucane LaFortune, M.Ed., is a Haitian-American intersectional womanist. Currently pursuing a PhD in Education and Transformational Leadership, her work is concerned with survivors on the margins. Lucane has served as a victim service expert for more than 20 years. She is the co-founder of Culture Works, a social justice firm that aims to enhance the way organizations, government agencies, and businesses engage culturally diverse communities.
Darrell Holly, LAP Administrator
Tannequa Roker, Executive Assistant Tannequa Roker is the Executive Assistant at MNADV. She is responsible for assisting with managing the day to day operations of the office. She has a proven track record of senior-level executive support, maximizing efficiency, and helping to set new standards to optimize performance. Previously working at the Prince Georges County Dept. of Social Services, she was responsible for the administrative operations under the Quality Assurance and Compliance Division. In her role, Tannequa investigated the CPS backgrounds of individuals indicated for physical and sexual abuse in the State of Maryland. She has also worked with social workers, counselors, and other professionals to provide resources for clients that may be suffering from poverty, temporary hardships, substance abuse, domestic violence, and those with short and long term medical needs. Enthusiastic and personable, her passion is to contribute, support, and make a difference. Currently pursuing a degree in social science, she is open to learning, willing to lead or follow, and is self-motivated. When she isn’t working, you’ll find Tannequa enjoying time with her friends and family, volunteering for community events and exploring life with her children.
MNADV Board of Directors
Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP)
Family and Children’s Services of Central Maryland
The Rest Of A Life (TROAL)
My Covenant Place
Attorney, Consultant, and Mediator
Westminster Police Department, Carroll County
Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Inc.
Tannequa Roker is the Executive Assistant at MNADV. She is responsible for assisting with managing the day to day operations of the office. She has a proven track record of senior-level executive support, maximizing efficiency, and helping to set new standards to optimize performance. Previously working at the Prince Georges County Dept. of Social Services, she was responsible for the administrative operations under the Quality Assurance and Compliance Division. In her role, Tannequa investigated the CPS backgrounds of individuals indicated for physical and sexual abuse in the State of Maryland. She has also worked with social workers, counselors, and other professionals to provide resources for clients that may be suffering from poverty, temporary hardships, substance abuse, domestic violence, and those with short and long term medical needs. Enthusiastic and personable, her passion is to contribute, support, and make a difference. Currently pursuing a degree in social science, she is open to learning, willing to lead or follow, and is self-motivated. When she isn’t working, you’ll find Tannequa enjoying time with her friends and family, volunteering for community events and exploring life with her children.