Friends of Hope & Healing,

We’re delighted to report that the Board of Trustees of BWS/RCC has named Teresa Stafford as our next Chief Executive Officer. As a strategic leader with proven success in emergency response for survivors of intimate personal violence and sexual violence, Teresa will succeed Terri Heckman and assume responsibilities mid-March.

We’re grateful to have found Teresa. She is a strategic leader and visionary thinker. She embraces our mission and has deep experience running non-profits and building reciprocal relationships in the community with the criminal justice system, as well as social services and community-based programs. She will work with Terri as she transitions to her well-deserved retirement.

Teresa’s experience includes more than a decade of work with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center in direct service and program leadership positions, including Victim Advocate, Director of Victim Advocacy, Senior Director of Victim Services and Outreach, Chief Advocacy Officer, Clients Rights Officer and Chief Program Officer.

She is a nationally sought-after speaker and trainer with expertise in strategic planning, program and professional development, organizational health and training, and trauma-informed and culturally inclusive practices. She has held leadership roles with numerous community coalitions, task forces and advisory boards, including a term as President of the Board of Directors of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including Cleveland Rape Crisis Center’s Peter A. Demarco Extraordinary Service Award, National Sexual Violence Resource Center Visionary Award, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Robert Denton Special Achievement Award.

Teresa has spent years providing hands-on crisis intervention, advocacy and support services to sexual assault survivors in addition to working with law enforcement to develop policies and procedures to respond to sexual violence. She has expert knowledge of local, state, and federal policies that impact survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking. Teresa is well-respected in the Northeast Ohio law enforcement community and justice system, and we all look forward to working with her.

As supporters of BWS/RCC and our mission, I know you will help us in welcoming Teresa as she works to take our organization to the next level for the individuals we serve.


Darann Warner, Board Chair Battered Women’s Shelter

Angela Walls-Alexander, Board Chair Rape Crisis Center