CEO OF BATTERED WOMEN’S SHELTER & RAPE CRISIS CENTER
Teresa M. Stafford is the Chief Executive Officer at Hope and Healing Survivor Resources Center, the home of the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center of Summit and Medina Counties. Teresa’s experience includes more than a decade of leadership at a Northeast Ohio rape crisis center and establishing a witness victim unit for one of the largest county Prosecutor Office’s in Ohio. She has over 25 years of experience in strategic leadership, organizational development, coaching, consensus building, operations management, program development, and system advocacy. She recently shared her expertise as a contributing author for the book, Sexual Assault Kits and Reforming the Response to Rape. Teresa advocates for the systemic change needed to create a trauma-informed and culturally responsive climate for all survivors and staff. She is a social justice activist committed to eliminating factors that marginalize survivors to increase their ability to access services.
Teresa approaches this work through her own lived experiences as a survivor of incest, rape, and teen dating violence. Teresa’s passion and dedication to serving survivors and leading systemic change have been recognized across Ohio and nationally. She is the recipient of the Ohio Attorney General’s Robert Denton Special Achievement Award and Visionary Voice Award from the National Sexual Violence Resources Center. Teresa has partnered with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to enhance law enforcement’s response to gender-based crimes and the Law Enforcement Innovation Center at the University of Tennessee to institute a cultural competency certification program for law enforcement. She expertly creates safe spaces encouraging individuals to lean into discomfort and seek self-awareness.
Teresa is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., graduated from Tiffin University with a master’s in Criminal Justice Administration, and is an Intercultural Development Inventory® Administrator.
CPO OF BWS & RCC
Ashley joined Hope and Healing in 2016. In her role as Chief Program Officer, Ashley oversees the program operations of the Rape Crisis Center and Battered Women’s Shelter ensuring that all survivors receive trauma-informed services to support healing and to promote resilience and empowerment in the aftermath of trauma. From a leadership perspective, Ashley approaches leadership through a lens of empathy, empowerment, and trauma-informed supervision to promote wellness and sustainability for professionals in the field of survivor advocacy.
Ashley is also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with supervision designation (LPCC-S). Ashley specializes in the treatment of PTSD and trauma due to experiences of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. She also provides clinical supervision for the trauma therapy program at Hope and Healing.
Ashley is dedicated to advocating for accessible trauma-informed services and systems change for all survivors impacted by traumatic crimes. She is committed to working towards ending sexual violence and relationship violence within our community through awareness, advocacy, and collaboration.
“Daring leaders who live into their values are never silent about the hard things.” – Brené Brown
CFO OF BWS & RCC
Stephannie joined Hope & Healing in December 2020. She has been an active member of the Akron community since 2004.
A graduate of The Ohio State University, Stephannie has a Master’s of Science in Accountancy. Stephannie has extensive accounting experience both in For-Profit and Non-Profit working as Controller for Klein’s Pharmacy and Vocational Guidance Services.
She is a member of Leadership Akron Signature Class 39. Her volunteer board work includes serving as Chair of the Gay Community Endowment Fund, an affiliate fund of the Akron Community Fund and Treasurer and past Treasurer for Caring for Kids and the Weathervane Playhouse respectively. She is the proud mother of a Copley High School student, Emma and furry kid, Ginger.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” -Mother Teresa
Director of Services, Battered Women’s Shelter
Marya L. Simmons provides technical assistance and training on a national level to diverse audiences on sexual assault, trauma-informed and victim-centered best-practice approaches, domestic violence, victim advocacy, human trafficking, strengthening multi-disciplinary teams and leadership techniques, and supporting families of homicide victims.
Ms. Simmons obtained a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Tiffin University with honors. In her current role as the Director of Services at the Hope & Healing Survivor Resource Center, she oversees the daily operations of the Battered Women’s Shelter and provides leadership and management to all programs and services provided by the agency.
Previously, Ms. Simmons was the Victim-Witness Unit Supervisor at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, where she supported victims and witnesses throughout the judicial system process. Prior to joining the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, she was a Justice System Advocate for victims of sexual assault at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Marya is adept to working with diverse populations, providing crisis intervention, and supporting individuals who are diagnosed with chemical/alcohol dependency and mental health illnesses.
Ms. Simmons is a Registered Advocate with Senior Standing with the State of Ohio, and she received the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Victim Advocacy.
Favorite Quote: “Be the Change You Want to See in the World” – Mahatma Gandhi
Director of Donor Relations & Community Engagement
Sarah has over 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, including executive leadership roles at Teen Leadership Corps and Hope & Healing Survivor Resource Center. Sarah has been with Hope & Healing since 2018 and in her current role as Director of Donor Relations & Community Engagement at Hope & Healing, she is responsible for increasing funding by cultivating donor relations, brand building, and event management.
Sarah graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in Political Science, and also holds a leadership role at Mission Possible – Dominican Republic. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her dog Winter, volunteering with refugee organizations, the Cleveland Guardians, and traveling to new places.
“Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.” – Maya Angelou
Director of Permanent Housing and Supportive Services
Director of Services, Rape Crisis Center
Megan joined the Rape Crisis Center in January of 2018. She is a two-time graduate from The University of Akron with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and a Master’s in Higher Education Administration. Megan has a desire to strengthen community collaboration and create a strong continuum of care for survivors. Megan’s goal is to disrupt cycles of trauma and eliminate barriers for survivors to support them on a path of Hope and Healing. Megan has a passion to educate and inspire others to take a proactive stance against human trafficking, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence!
Megan currently holds leadership roles in the Sexual Assault Coalition in Summit County and is the Chair of the Domestic and Sexual Abuse Coalition in Medina County.
Megan plays an active part in educating and eliminating Human Trafficking in Ohio by sitting on the Attorney General’s Public Awareness committee for Human Trafficking and actively working alongside the Summit Regional Human Trafficking Task Force which serves Summit, Medina, Stark and Portage Counties. She hopes to continue connecting, advocating, and educating our community alongside our RCC team.
“We owe future generations a world free of sexual violence. I believe we can build that world. Do you?” Tarana Burke
Director of Grants & Public Policy
Kate Robbins, MPH, is passionate about the intersections of policy, community, art, equity, and health. Born and raised in Akron, OH, she earned her B.A. in English Literature and minored in Management & Information Systems at Kent State University. She graduated with her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia’s Mailman School for Public Health in 2014. She lived in New York City for over a decade, advocating for universal healthcare as Executive Director of Physicians for a National Health Program NY Metro and Director of the Campaign for New York Health. When the pandemic hit, she navigated the shutdown by finding her way back to Akron to be close to family. She’s excited to bring her expertise in policy and grant writing to serve the mission of the Hope & Healing Survivor Resource Center.
“Contrary to what we may have been taught to think, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark us. What we allow the mark of our suffering to become is in our own hands.” -Bell Hooks
Director of Human Resources
Janet joined the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center in August 2022. She has a BS in Human Resources and Business Management and maintains her CP-SHRM certification, Certified Professional from the Society of Human Resource Management. After providing HR guidance with a for-profit Fortune 50 company for ten years, Janet shifted her focus to non-profit. She has now worked in the non-profit world for more than 15 years in the Akron area.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” Dalai Lama