Mazen Yacoub, Board Chair
Healthcare Strategy & Managment Consultant
Elected: Spring 2009
My most rewarding professional experiences have always involved helping others do their jobs better. As a management consultant who came from a family of medical doctors I naturally became interested in applying that motivation to health and social services professionals like those on the staff at My Sister’s Place. Earlier in my career I saw volunteering on a Board as a means of building my general management and leadership skills by taking on executive level responsibilities that I didn’t have access to as a junior consultant in my day to day work. I quickly became in touch with the idea that when one gets involved with a mission driven organization they take on an unwritten obligation to leave that organization better than it was when they first became involved. Ten years later I like I have learned a great deal through my collaboration with other Board Members, MSP Leadership and Staff. I continue to learn as we grow and the personal satisfaction from helping advance our mission keeps me coming back for more.
Outside of MSP I work as an independent healthcare management consultant. My clients include top tier consulting firms, Federal and State healthcare agencies and private sector healthcare provider organizations. My areas of expertise include policy, business strategy, healthcare payment reform and program implementation. I also teach graduate level public health policy and management at The George Washington University Miliken School of Public health. I hold a Masters in Business Administration from Babson College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Boston College.
In our spare time my wife Sarah and I volunteer for the Washington Animal Rescue League as our dog, Steve, graciously shares his home with the dogs we have fostered over the past several years.
Valerie Graff, Executive Director (Ex Officio)
Interim Executive Director, My Sister’s Place
Elected: Fall 2017
Valerie Graff is so excited to return to My Sister’s Place as the Interim Executive Director. She has over 30 years of related experience in her leadership positions and consulting with senior level executives in nonprofit organizations. She works with nonprofits in the areas of strategic planning, team building, board development, creating and maintaining successful partnerships, improving leadership, surfacing and addressing organizational conflict, managing organizational change and executive coaching. In addition, Valerie is a seasoned Interim Executive Director, having assisted DC area nonprofits through executive transitions.
Prior to starting her company, VG Associates, in 1994, Valerie was Executive Director of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, the then leading international professional association of conflict resolution professionals. She led the organization through a period of membership, programmatic and financial growth.
Valerie has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Case Western Reserve University. She has certifications in conflict resolution, meeting facilitation, organization and systems development and completed interim executive director training.
Martha Shannon, CPA, Board Treasurer
Elected Fall 2015
Martha Shannon came to the MSP Board through a mutual contact. “After serving on the board for one year, I have learned so much about MSP and the great programs they offer to victims of domestic violence which include, women, men and children. I am inspired by the tremendous leadership on our board as well as the very diligent staff at MSP. I look forward to continuing my service with MSP.”
Martha Shannon is a Manager at CohnReznick LLP, a national accounting firm. She is a licensed CPA in the state of Maryland and a member of the AICPA and MACPA. She has extensive experience serving on other non-profit boards as well as auditing similar non-profit organizations. She chose to serve on My Sister’s Place Board because she believes that all women deserve to live safely in their home.
Jackie Paranzino-Malkes, Board Secretary
Senior Implementation Project Manager, SAS
Elected: Summer 2014
Jackie Malkes joined the Board in 2014 after volunteering with the children at My Sister’s Place through the Junior League of Washington. “I immediately fell in love with the children and the amazing opportunity of spending an hour or two with a child doing homework, reading, playing and interacting with them in as a positive role model. After months of coming to the shelter, I saw how that love, learning and joy helped to carry them forward and grow. Volunteering on the Board is how I choose to leave my footprint in the world.”
Jackie currently serves on the Board of Directors at My Sister’s Place as the Board Secretary. Jackie graduated from American University with her Masters in International Economics and currently serves as a Senior Manager at SAS Institute.
Manager-Global Public Sector, Grant Thorton LLP
Elected: Winter 2010
Katrina joined the Board in 2015 and currently serves on both the Finance and Governance Committee. The opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors at My Sister’s Place allows me to be an advocate of those who are in need of the services provided. “I am committed to utilizing my skills, sharing resources and my time, to support the mission, operations, and residents of the program.”
Katrina Clemons is a Manager in Grant Thornton’s Public Sector division. She has over 25 years of combined experience in the public and private sector, and the federal government. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP) skilled in financial management, internal controls, business process improvement, audit remediation, and grants management.
Michelle A. Kisloff, Esq.
Partner, Hogan Lovells
Elected: Fall 2007
Michelle has served on our Board for nearly a decade, and has been working on domestic violence issues and advocacy for more than 20 years. “In law school, I helped women go to court to obtain Civil Protective Orders in court. I quickly saw that the court orders are an important step, but women need more than legal help alone to get on their feet and away from their batterers. I was thrilled to connect with My Sister’s Place, which provides DV survivors and their children with a safe place to live and connects them with the counseling and social services they need. MSP makes a big impact on our community, and I am proud to be a part of it.” In her day job, Michelle is a partner with the Hogan Lovells law firm, as a member of the Litigation and the Privacy & Cybersecurity practices.
George A. Bednar, CPA
Deputy Executive Director, Food & Friends, Inc.
Elected: Summer 2015
George A. Bednar is Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Administration at Food & Friends. As Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Bednar has oversight of the organization’s finance, human resources, and facilities management activities. Immediately prior to working at Food & Friends, Mr. Bednar was Controller for the Eurasia Foundation. He provided financial management to the Foundation’s field offices in the former Soviet Union and traveled throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Mr. Bednar has also served as a senior finance and grants professional at two other nonprofit organizations in the Washington Metro region. Mr. Bedna holds a BA in accounting from Washington and Jefferson College and is a Certified Public Accountant. He lives in Washington, DC with his partner Chip Wheeler.
Beverly Allen, Esq.
Chief Integrity Officer, MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Elected: Spring 2013
Beverly R. Allen is an attorney with more than 20 years of legal, business and consulting experience across multiple industries. Beverly joined the My Sister’s Place Board of Directors in 2013, and was initially drawn by the core mission of the organization as well as the opportunity to support and make a difference in the local community. “I believe that being a part of this Board enables me to give of myself in a meaningful way while working toward the shared goal of breaking the cycle of domestic violence.”
Currently, Beverly is the Associate General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at Inovalon, a leading healthcare technology company. Beverly has also worked with corporate, government and not-for-profit entities on a variety of strategic, operational and transformative initiatives across multiple sectors, including health care, academia and financial services.
Brenda J. Gaines
Cheif Executive Officer, BG Consulting Services
Elected Summer 2015
Ms. Brenda Gaines serves as the Chief Executive Officer for BG Consulting Services, LLC. BG Consulting Services (BGC), LLC, is a Veteran-owned, woman-owned consulting firm specializing in designing; implementing customized solutions to meet the needs of government, nonprofit and corporate clients. Our highly qualified staff brings extensive experience in Healthcare Operations, Management Consulting, Workforce Development Training, Program Management, Data Analytics, Organizational Development, and Information Technology (IT).
Brenda Gaines has been a member of the Board of Directors for My Sister’s Place since 2015. Brenda has been a supporter of domestic violence prevention and was attracted to My Sister’s Place because of the work it does in bringing situational awareness and support to preventing or eliminating domestic violence.
Ms. Gaines has an MBA from the University of Phoenix, Phoenix AZ.
Deidra Abbott, MPH
Health Care Consultant, Mercer
Elected Summer 2015
Deidra joined the Board of My Sister’s Place September 2015. “As an African-American woman I understand all too well the impact of domestic violence. High rates of poverty, poor education and limited job opportunities create barriers for women of color to receive needed supports and services. Being a member of the Board enables me to give back to the community by ensuring the availability of a lifeline for women of color experiencing DV in the local area.”
Deidra Abbott is a Principal at Mercer, a global human resources and health care consulting firm. Deidra has spent her professional career developing strategies to implement and improve public sector programs. She brings to the Board of Directors of My Sister’s Place her dedication to service and passion for supporting and growing community-based programs.
Manager, Corporate Affairs Research, Altria Group, Inc.
Elected Summer 2015
Kristen joined the Board in 2015 after serving as an active volunteer through the Junior League of Washington. In addition to having a passion for MSP’s mission to eradicate domestic violence, Kristen was impressed with the organization’s holistic approach to empower survivors to take control of their lives:
“MSP isn’t just a shelter, it’s a community offering a full continuum of care. From counseling a victim during her first brave call to the hotline to helping her secure employment and permanent independent housing, MSP understands what it takes to break the cycle of domestic violence.”
Kristen’s professional background is in research and strategy. Since graduating with a political science degree from Kenyon College, Kristen has worked to generate insights and strategies for Fortune 500 companies, public policy organizations and political campaign teams. Outside of work, Kristen enjoys researching American history with her local DAR chapter and binge-watching anything on PBS Masterpiece.
Senior Community Health Nurse, Children’s Hospital
Elected Summer 2015
Camille M. Wheeler became interested in My Sister’s Place after serving in the Junior League of Washington. As a registered nurse with experience working with patients who have been victims of unsafe living conditions and abuse, Camille had a strong desire to get involved in My Sister’s Place to ensure the success of an organization that is charged with giving people a new chance.
Camille M. Wheeler is a Health Coordinator at Sidwell Friends School in Bethesda. A native Washingtonian, she attended DC public schools, graduated from Howard University with a B.S. Nursing and a M.A in Health Promotion Counseling from Trinity Washington University. Camille started working as a community health nurse in 1991, primarily working in public and private schools from Pre-K to 12th grade.
Lisa E. Rosenthal
Chief Executive Officer, The Mayvin Consulting Group, Inc.
Elected Winter 2015
Lisa joined the Board in 2015 as a result of her passion in working to advance women and women in business. “My Sister’s Places serves an essential place in the community providing a safe place for women. All people deserve a safe place.”
Ms. Lisa Rosenthal is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Mayvin, Inc. Lisa is a seasoned project manager with significant government and commercial experience managing a broad spectrum of tasks, functions, processes, and systems from concept to implementation. She is recognized for strong leadership skills, facilitating organizational change, and strategic planning for government organizations. She received her Master’s of Business Administration in International Finance and Management of Global Information Technology from The American University in Washington, DC.
Deputy General Counsel
Elected Winter 2016
Zoe Sharp joined the Board in 2016 and is thrilled to contribute to the effort to provide services to domestic violence victims and survivors. “I have previously tried to contribute on a case-by-case basis by providing legal services to victims of domestic violence, but I am so inspired by My Sister’s Place and its structural and cultural efforts to really end the cycle of abuse through a variety of approaches. I wanted to help out on the Board and provide support to these efforts in a more sustained way.”
Zoe Sharp serves on the My Sister’s Place Board of Directors, and is a member of the Governance Committee. Zoe works at Optoro, Inc. as Deputy General Counsel and teaches as an Adjunct Instructor for American University’s Kogod School of Business. She graduated from Yale University and Stanford Law School, and has a M.S. in Accounting from American University and is both a lawyer and a CPA.
Managing Principal, Merito Group
Elected Fall 2015
Carolyn Thompson joined the Board of Directors in 2015. Carolyn Chairs the Search Committee and the Development Committee on the Board of MSP. Both of these allow her to share her natural ability to make connections and contribute to the community.
Carolyn Thompson serves as a Managing Principal at the Merito Group, LLC. Carolyn Thompson has been an Executive Recruiter since 1988. She is a credentialed career coach and has published numerous articles on career development, executive coaching, recruiting and the employment industry. Carolyn currently serves as an Executive recruiter for the Merito Group a boutique consulting firm providing excellence in outsourced solutions in Accounting, Consulting Services and Talent Acquisition. Carolyn graduated with her BA from Kansas State University.
Emily Monaghan (on leave of absence)
Elected Summer 2015