Jessica C. Brayden, Chief Executive Officer
Selected by the Board of Directors in early 2008, Jessica Brayden (she/her/hers) brings over 20 years of not-for-profit management experience to New England’s first domestic violence agency. Serving as the Executive Director, Jessica oversees all aspects of programs and management ensuring efficiency, fiscal and service accountability, and the organization’s innovative growth. Jessica’s career has focused on program development and stabilization and she has distinguished herself through creative change management and strategic programmatic growth. Jessica has been an advocate for healthy communities, not only by providing safety to all those experiencing domestic violence, but also addressing the many social dynamics that contribute to domestic violence.
Jessica is active in the local community, serving on several boards including the Somerville Chamber of Commerce and Riverside Community Care. She has received numerous awards for her leadership, including the coveted Fox 25 Hometown Hero Award. Jessica is a sought-after domestic violence expert, often asked for her commentary on related issues from the local print and broadcast media such as WBUR, WCVB, WFXT, The Boston Globe, Somerville Journal and periodicals such as Working Mother Magazine. Jessica holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Salem State College and a Master of Business Administration from Endicott College.
Tanina Dawidowicz, Law Enforcement Partnership Program Coordinator
Tanina Dawidowicz (she/her/hers) has dedicated her career to supporting survivors of both domestic and sexual violence. Tanina started out with the New Bedford Police Department through an internship in their Domestic Violence Unit, which was an eye-opening experience for her. It helped her realize that domestic and sexual violence prevention work was her calling. After graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in Crime & Justice Studies, she secured a position as a DV/SA Counselor & Outreach Specialist with YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts. In this role, Tanina was tasked with teaching youth in her community how to identify unhealthy relationships. While working full-time in this role, she completed a Master’s degree followed by a graduate certificate in Domestic Violence Prevention. First joining RESPOND as a Domestic Violence Counselor and Civilian Advocate, Tanina is excited to bring her years of domestic violence and prevention expertise and leadership to the Law Enforcement Partnership Program were she will serve as its Coordinator.
Darcie DeLuca, Director of Finance and Administration
Darcie DeLuca (she/her/hers) is responsible for overseeing RESPOND’s finance, human resources and information technology functions. She brings over 15 years of financial experience in both for profit and nonprofit industries. Darcie has expertise in financial control and reporting, audit, budget creation/monitoring and deposit and loan operations. Her experience includes risk management, budgeting and asset/liability management.
Darcie holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Suffolk University and a Master of Business Administration from Endicott College.
Greta Hagen, Director of Philanthropy & Engagement
Greta Hagen (she/her/hers) is honored to engage our community in its support of RESPOND’s critical counseling, shelter, and advocacy services. Greta came to Boston from Maine the long way: through Montreal, Seville, Toronto, and Western Massachusetts. While she began her fundraising career in a large nonprofit development office, she caught her stride in small shops, and is excited to bring nearly a decade of experience leveraging this more holistic, community-based approach to resource generation to bear in her role at RESPOND. Through her work and board service, Greta has been involved in municipal housing advocacy, racial justice work, and support for women birthing behind bars, but she is especially passionate about empowering survivors and advocates alike – and ensuring they have what they need as they work together to end domestic violence.
Greta holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish Literature from McGill University, and a Master of Political Theory, with a concentration in Diaspora and Transnational Studies, from the University of Toronto. She serves on the board of the Malden Chamber of Commerce.
Desiree Headley, Manager of Talent & Systems
Desiree Headley (she/her/hers) manages human resources initiatives at RESPOND. She has more than 15 years of experience working at human service agencies across Greater Boston that focus on a range of issues from youth development and homelessness prevention, to incarceration and domestic violence advocacy.
Desiree’s approach to human resources relies on the principles of trauma-informed care and active listening skills she honed through her years of peer counseling and program management. She is truly an advocate’s advocate! She brings this rich experience and a profound passion for working with underserved populations to bear in her role supporting staff in their professional development and leading the advancement of RESPOND’s goals surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
A native Bostonian, Desiree holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Johnson & Wales University.
Victoria Helberg, Director of Programs & Services
Victoria Helberg (she/her/hers) has been providing services to survivors of domestic violence for the past 14 years. She is a passionate and dedicated support to our clients and our staff. During her tenure at RESPOND she has worked with survivors from all over the world and helped them find success. Victoria is certified to conduct and score high risk assessments. She has provided numerous trainings in the community on domestic violence, high risk assessment and safety planning. Victoria has years of experience working alongside law-enforcement and district courts. Prior to beginning her work at RESPOND, Victoria worked in child care administration. She has worked with at-risk families for the past 25+ years. During this time she has established working relationships with many community partners. These relationships are life-saving when working with the high risk survivors, allowing her to make quick and smooth connections to the needed services. Victoria has dedicated her career to addressing short-term and long-term safety needs of survivors of domestic violence.
Ashley Platt, Housing Program Coordinator
Ashley Platt (she/her/hers) brings over 15 years of experience working in the Human Services field to her role as RESPOND’s inaugural Housing Program Coordinator. Throughout her career, Ashley has worked with young people, low-income families, families in the Emergency Shelter system, and individuals with disabilities. Working with young people is where Ashley first discovered her passion for advocacy and for helping those whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. As a Youth Worker, seeing first-hand how domestic violence impacted students and families, motivated Ashley to provide education and training about domestic violence to those she served.
Ashley has worked with survivors throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. She has supported survivors in multiple roles, including as a Residential Counselor, a Safehouse Advocate, a Case Manager, a Housing Specialist, and a Training Facilitator. She has held leadership positions as a Youth Programs Assistant Director, Director, and has managed Housing Support Services programs. In addition to experience in the domestic violence field, she is also a trained Facilitator and Diversity Training Consultant. Ashley is passionate about education and working with survivors, and is dedicated to supporting and empowering others to achieve their goals.
Ashley is a graduate of Morgan State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.
Jennifer Wolter, SAFER Program Coordinator
Jennifer Wolter (she/her/hers) oversees the development of our work with Sheriffs’ Departments and the Department of Correction, including the inaugural Survivors of Abuse Feeling Empowered for Re-entry (SAFER) program at the Suffolk County House of Correction. She came to RESPOND with over 15 years experience in education, both as a teacher and school administrator. While in these positions, she worked closely with young adults who had experienced trauma, and developed health and wellness programming, youth leadership opportunities, residential services, and built community. This passion led her to RESPOND, Inc. where she enjoys helping empower others to follow their passions and live happy, healthy lives. She coordinates our outreach and education programming in the community-at-large, supports those seeking counseling and services within our organization, and works to expand our reach and build stronger, trauma-informed, gender-specific support for both men and women in custody. Jennifer recognizes the complex relationship between victimization and criminalization. She works hard to provide maximum support for incarcerated and detained individuals who have experienced abuse and to set them up with skills and resources for success after their release from custody. She has a BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University and is a Certified Teacher in Massachusetts. She continues to enjoy sharing her compassion for others through counseling and program development at RESPOND.