The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence is pleased to present our board of directors for the 2010-2011 service term. This board has a complimentary set of skills, education, and experience to propel GCADV to a greater place of strength, understanding and accountability.
Meagan Fulmer is the President and CEO of member program, Partnership Against Domestic Violence. Ms. Fulmer's experience with non-profit leadership includes roles with the American Heart Association and, most recently, March of Dimes. During her tenure with both organizations, she developed a strong foundation in organizational development, volunteer recruitment and revenue generation. In 2010, she successfully led a 6 percent revenue increase while managing over 200 employees in five states for the March of Dimes. Additionally, three of the states managed by Fulmer received the March of Dimes President's Team Award for financial performance in 2010.
Ms. Fulmer earned a B.A. degree from Western Kentucky University in 1993 and earned certification in executive leadership and change management at Cornell University. Meagan and her husband have four furry children and reside in the Atlanta area.
Sonia Viera- Harper is the Executive Director of Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House in Tifton, Georgia where she is privileged to serve the organization, its staff, board members, and extended community to realize the agency’s goals. Ms. Harper brings over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector. As a consultant, Ms. Harper provided capacity building assistance to non-profit organizations. Areas of focus included non-profit administration, strategic planning, governance, fiscal management and sustainability, resource development and grant writing. A sought after speaker on women’s issues, Ms. Harper brings her passion for the issues that women and their children face to the forefront of the community conscience. Ms. Harper has served on numerous committees including the Tift County Commission on Children & Youth and the Community Partnership for Protecting Children. She has collaborated on the writing of training materials on women’s issues and leadership development and has presented at statewide women’s conferences. Ms. Harper lives in Tifton, Georgia with her husband Glenn and their five children.
Michele W. Johnson
Michele W. Johnson is a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP who practices in Atlanta in the areas of labor and employment law, business litigation, and appellate work. She represents management in lawsuits and administrative proceedings arising out of all aspects of the employment relationship, including race, sex, age, disability, and other discrimination claims; whistleblower suits; enforcement of non-compete, non-solicitation, trade secret, and confidentiality covenants; wage and hour disputes; and other matters.
Ms. Johnson routinely counsels employers in connection with hiring, discipline, terminations, wage payment practices, the preparation of executive employment agreements, employee training, the drafting and review of personnel policies, compliance with state and federal recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and strategies for the prevention of employee lawsuits. She also assists businesses with employment issues arising out of mergers and acquisitions, stock and asset purchase agreements, and other corporate transactions.
Shannon Willis-Clark, Board Vice President
Shannon Willis Clark is the Executive Director of Peace Place, Inc. located in Winder, GA. She has been in this position for approximately one year. Prior to this Ms. Clark was the Director of Turning Point Battered Women’s Program in Alexandria Louisiana. Ms. Clark has had experience working in the field of domestic violence since 1998, working additionally at domestic violence programs in Fort Collins Colorado, and Ruston, Louisiana. She holds a Masters of Education degree in Professional Leadership and Counseling from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She has been certified as an instructor from the Department of Justice, Office of Homeland Security in the fields of domestic violence and abuse later in life. She is a qualified expert witness in the field of domestic violence and has testified on seven separate occasions. She is a consultant for domestic violence programs and has assisted programs with best practices in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She has served on several committees during her life experience as an advocate including Piedmont Domestic Violence Task Force, Louisiana Coalition against Domestic Violence- Board of Directors-Nominating Committee, The Governor’s Office on Women’s Policy Committee on Quality Assurances, The Rapides Parish Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force, The Homeless Coalition, The Children’s Cabinet, and the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Community Action Team. Ms. Clark is a survivor of domestic violence.
Amy Weaver, Board President
Amy is the Executive Director of Rome’s domestic violence shelter program and has worked with the agency since 2000. Prior to her work with Hospitality House, she spent time as an intensive case manager for adults with mental illness in Indiana and Vermont. She also worked as a family advocate for a non-profit child advocacy center in Rome. Ms. Weaver served on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Northwest Georgia. For more than 15 years, the focus of her work has been victim advocacy. Ms. Weaver believes in working from a consensus model, respecting all voices and allowing all involved to communicate openly in order to provide the best possible support for those we serve. She looks forward serving on GCADV’s Board of Directors to further the mission of our work and to unify our collective voice for victims of violence in Georgia.
Lisa Volentine, Board Treasurer
Lisa Volentine has worked for the Marriott Corporation since 1997, and has been working at the largest Atlanta airport property hotel, the Atlanta Airport Marriott (a 30 million plus property) for the last six years as Director of Finance and Accounting. Ms. Volentine’s focus is to provide financial leadership in order to drive positive financial results. She has been deployed on several special Marriott fiscal projects in other communities and received the Special Contribution Award for work done on a task force in New Orleans in 2006.
Ms. Volentine believes that there is no cause more worthy than the work we do, is very excited about the idea of serving on the GCADV board and hopes to greatly contribute to the future success of this organization.
Joel London is a Certified Health Education Specialist and has been on staff as a Health Communication Specialist at the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 1999. In 1998 he received his Masters in Public Health from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, Georgia. Joel served as president of the Rollins School of Public Health Alumni Board from 2002-2003. His major areas of experience and training include social marketing, media relations, and mass media training. He is married and has two children.
Morton Aronson is of Counsel and the head of the Franchise Team at Federal & Hasson. His practice focuses on domestic and international franchising and mediation, representing both franchisors and franchisees. He also focuses his practice on the hotel industry. Mr. Aronson spent 25 years with the Holiday Inn hotel chain, most of which as Vice President and General Counsel-Franchising. He has written numerous articles on franchising and has spoken before the International Franchise Association, the British Franchise Association, the Mexico Franchise Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising. He is also an adjunct professor at Emory University Law School where he teaches franchise law. Mr. Aronson served as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association from 1996 to 1998. In August 1998, he was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Franchise Council and served in that position for two years. In November 1999, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Ravinia Club in Atlanta, Georgia and served in that position for two years. In May 2002, he was elected for a 2 year term as Chairman of the Steering Committee of the National Franchise Mediation Program and currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee. Morton Aronson's civic activities include serving on the Law School Council of Emory Law School, serving on the executive committee of the Boston University Law School Alumni Association, a member of the Board of Directors of Atlanta Israel Bonds, and a member of the Atlanta Council of American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC.
Dr. Maya Gupta
Dr. Maya Gupta earned her BA from Columbia University and her MS and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Georgia, where her research focused on applying information about the connections between animal cruelty and domestic violence to enhance typologies of domestic violence perpetration. She has provided training or guidance on this topic to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, the National Alliance to End Domestic Abuse, and local/state agencies in the fields of domestic violence, child protective services, adult protective services, law enforcement, counseling and mental health, animal protection and veterinary medicine. Her clinical training included work with both adult and child victims of violence, as well as with perpetrators. She is currently Executive Director of Ahimsa House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the human and animal victims of domestic violence across Georgia reach safety together. She previously served as the Program Evaluator for the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addictive Diseases in the Georgia Department of Human Resources. Dr. Gupta also currently holds advisory roles with the American Psychological Association, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the National Link Coalition and the California-based organization Not Without My Pet.
Dr. Mesha Ellis
Dr. Mesha Ellis is a licensed psychologist who specializes in providing psychological assessment, testing, and forensic evaluation services for children, adolescents, adults, and families. She has over 10 years of assessment and treatment experience. In addition to providing evaluation and treatment services, Dr. Ellis also conducts intervention research. She has co-authored several peer-reviewed publications as well as presented at professional conferences. She is licensed to practice as a psychologist in Georgia, Tennessee and California.
Dr. Ellis is dedicated to reducing the effects of trauma on adults and children. She is the founder of Ellis Evaluation and Consulting Services, a psychological practice dedicated to assisting youth and adults maintain optimal health through the provision of evaluations designed to increase understanding of emotional and behavioral issues.
Dr. Ellis has volunteered at Domestic Violence shelters and was previously on faculty at Pepperdine University. Currently she serves as a faculty member of Morehouse School of Medicine, Department of Community Health and Preventative Medicine. Dr. Ellis looks forward to creating opportunities with GCADV to develop and implement public health initiatives and supporting survivors of domestic violence.
Heidi Day is the Founder and Executive Director of Chayil Inc. Chayil Inc.,(pronounced Ky-eel) is a non-profit organization that helps domestic violence victims THRIVE. This program utilizes an innovative Life Coaching model, the Chayil Personal Development curriculum to bring beauty and peace from the ashes of the victims lives. It is Heidi’s desire that this ground-breaking intervention will change the face of domestic violence intervention and provide a conduit of healing for victims of domestic violence and concerned women within the community.
Chayil was born from Heidi’s burning desire to truly change lives. Heidi is no stranger to life’s hardships. The suffering of women, including Heidi’s own pain is the motivating force behind her life. Heidi attended Oakwood University, earning a B.S. degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and went on to pursue Life Coaching training from the Graduate School of Coaching. Heidi has spoken and conducted workshops all over the country on domestic violence, self esteem and creating and living your “Divine Ideal.” From a child she knew she wanted to help others and always had a passion for helping her “sisters.” After working in various areas of Behavioral Health she went on to pursue experience in corporate America in professional sales. The spirit of volunteerism has been a part of Heidi’s fabric from her earliest years. From that time to the present she has volunteered in various women agencies and shelters.
It was in surrendering her all to God that Heidi discovered her “Divine Ideal.” It is in reaching out that she is fulfilled within. Heidi now pursues healing, her own and that of her sisters with an insatiable passion because she has discovered that this is not simply her life journey but her life calling. Heidi is the Past Vice President of The Dogwood Festival Board and the past Advisory Board Member of Visions Anew.
Katie Bates is an associate in the Atlanta office of King & Spalding and is a member of the Intellectual Property Practice Group. Ms. Bates’ practice includes copyright, trademark, and patent prosecution, as well as litigation in all of those areas and with regard to general business litigation matters. Ms. Bates has participated in litigation at both the state and federal level, and has served as federal appellate counsel.
Prior to receiving her J.D., Ms. Bates was a Performance Audit Supervisor for the State of Georgia, evaluating and advising the State of Georgia and its citizens on the efficiency and effectiveness of their programs. In this capacity, Ms. Bates also provided compliance review and developed extensive skill in designing analytical methodologies and in investigative work involving highly confidential information.
Ms. Bates received her Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology and Political Science, magna cum laude, with honors, from Tulane University where, in addition to other honors, she was elected to the Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University Of Georgia School Of Law and was selected to the Order of the Coif and as a member of the University’s Blue Key Honor Society. While in law school, Ms. Bates served as Editor in Chief of the Georgia Law Review.
Ms. Bates is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and Georgia state courts. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, American Bar Association, Atlanta Bar Association, American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers.
Aparna Bhattacharyya was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She has served as Executive Director of Raksha since 1998. Aparna graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She has volunteered and worked as a Victim Advocate for 5 years for the city of Atlanta's Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP). She also worked as a Project coordinator/Employment Specialist for the Newcomers' Network's Refugee Family Violence Prevention Project (where she developed and implemented the License to Freedom Project).
Prior to becoming and employee of Raksha Inc., she also volunteered and served as a steering committee member of Raksha Inc., since its inception in 1995. As a representative of Raksha, she has served as founding Task Force member and Board Secretary for International Women's House and a founding member of Tapestri, the Immigrant and Refugee Coalition challenging gender based oppression.
She has served as a member of the Georgia Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, board Vice President for Tapestri, Inc, an Advisory Board member for the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women and Advisory Board Member for Georgia State's School of Social Work. She is currently a board member for the Dekalb County Domestic Violence Task Force and part of Class of 2010 of Leadership Atlanta.
She was awarded with the Indian Professionals Network (IPN) award in 1997 and 1998 for her service to the community. Ms. Bhattacharyya was awarded the Director's Eagle Award from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in 2006, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence Gender Justice Award, and the Dekalb County Domestic Violence Task Force’s Deborah C. McDorman Award in 2008. Aparna is an alumna of Leadership Atlanta's Class of 2010, and a 2009 recipient of the Center for Pan Asian Community Service's Asian Women's Leadership Development Grant. Aparna was recently recognized by the Indian American Cultural Association for Excellent and Continued Contribution to the Community.
Michele Bedingfield, Board Secretary
Michele Bedingfield is working to break the cycle of domestic violence and open the door to a better future for men, women and children . . . because they can’t wait any longer.After graduating fromReinhartCollegein ’90 andLaGrangeCollegein ’93, she began working in the Georgia Court System as a Probation Supervisor and later as a Program Coordinator. She served as the Executive Director of The Pregnancy Center in LaGrange before becoming a private contractor with the Department of Family and Children Services and traveled all around the West Georgia area.
In September, 2006, Michele accepted the position as the Executive Director of Harmony House, Domestic Violence Shelter, Inc. Since then, the organization has been able to receive certification from the Family Violence Unit of the Department of Human Services. Under her supervision, the shelter offers safety, shelter and support to families that are involved with domestic violence. Since their doors opened in October of 2005 the staff and volunteers have been able to assist over 2000 individuals.
During the last 16 years, she has realized that there is a thread that connects many of the issues that concern us the most. If left alone, these issues often lead to violence in the home, the work place and the community. It’s time to break the cycle.
Beth serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center in Dalton. For over 11 years she has been working with survivors in the North Georgia area. Beth is a graduate of University of West Georgia. In the past, she has served as Co-Chair of the Cherokee Circuit Domestic Violence Task Force, Co-chair of the Lookout Mountain Circuit Domestic Violence Task Force, and Chair of the Gordon County Family Connection Board of Directors. She has also served as a member of the Georgia Bar Association 7th District Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.
Beth believes that a coordinated community response is essential in providing comprehensive services which have an empowering impact on survivors and their families.