Casey Gwinn Bio
Casey Gwinn is the President and Co-Founder of the Alliance. Casey is also the visionary behind the Family Justice Center Movement, first proposing the concept of the Family Justice Center model in 1989. He is a national expert on domestic violence, including prosecution, strangulation, and best practices. Prior to this position, Casey was the elected San Diego City Attorney.
Gael Strack, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer
Gael Strack Bio
Gael Strack is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the Alliance. Gael is a national expert on domestic violence and strangulation. Prior to this position, Gael was the founding director of the San Diego Family Justice Center, former prosecutor with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, defense attorney and deputy county counsel.
Clint Carney is the Director of Operations for the Alliance. He oversees the Alliance’s operational and administrative functions under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer. Clint manages the agency’s day-to-day activities including program support, human resources, technology, planning, and finance support.
Director of Technical Assistance
Natalia Aguirre is the Director of Technical Assistance for the Alliance. She provides planning and support services, and training to developing and operating Family Justice Centers worldwide, including serving as the Conference Coordinator for the Annual International Family Justice Conference. Natalia also develops and maintains the Alliance’s new products and tools which are utilized by Family Justice Center staff and partner agencies.
Michael Burke is the Director of Community Engagement for the Alliance. He works with the California Family Justice Initiative, Camp HOPE America, VOICES Survivor Advocacy Network, marketing, branding, fund development, technical assistance and more. Michael was previously the founding executive director of a rural Family Justice Center in Shasta County California.
Director of Finance
Jackie Anderson is the Bookkeeper for the Alliance. She is responsible for supporting the Director of Finance in all accounting functions, including grant management. Jackie assists in the preparation and maintenance of financial data and reporting for internal analysis and external audits. She also helps out with other day-to-day administrative functions of the agency.
Yesenia Aceves is the Director of Pathways to HOPE and is responsible for the development and coordination of this program which works with Camp HOPE youth, guardians and volunteer mentors. The evidence based Pathways program aspires to raise HOPE for trauma exposed youth while exploring STEAM career paths. She is also a professional artist infusing creativity into all aspects of the Alliance including art projects, branding
Director of Camp HOPE America
Karianne Johansen is the Director of Camp HOPE America, a program of the Alliance. She works with Family Justice Centers and multi-agency models across the country to develop and implement Camp HOPE in their own communities for trauma-exposed youth. Karianne writes evidence-based camp curriculum, develops group mentoring models, trains volunteers in trauma-informed care, and equips leaders to deliver a life-changing week of camp to the youth that they serve.
Director of National Family Justice Center Programs
Patricia Bauer is the Director of National Family Justice Center Programs for the Alliance. She provides support and technical assistance to Family Justice Centers across the country. Patricia has a background in advocacy, having worked for five-years at a community-based domestic violence and sexual assault services agency. Her experience includes establishing a nationally recognized collaborative advocacy program on a university campus, training advocates and community partners and leading prevention education initiatives for youth.
Assistant Director of National Family Justice Center Programs
Raeanne Passantino is the Assistant Director of National Family Justice Programs for the Alliance. She provides support and technical assistance to Family Justice Centers across the country, including those funded by Office of Violence Against Women (OVW). Raeanne has been in the domestic violence field for over 24 years as a volunteer, counselor, grants manager, domestic violence program coordinator and in program development. She has extensive experience with Family Justice Centers in the capacity of development and operations.
Sarah Sherman Julien is the Executive Assistant for the Alliance. She provides direct support for Gael Strack and Casey Gwinn, and supports all Alliance programs. Sarah also manages grant applications, website updates, and conference planning for the Alliance. She has more than six years in managing corporate and nonprofit operations and has a background and Master’s Degree in teaching. Sarah worked as a Domestic Violence Prevention and Education volunteer for two years before deciding to work in this field full-time.
Camp HOPE California Coordinator
Maddie Orcutt is a graduate of Middlebury College where she organized an online storytelling platform for survivors of relationship violence and sexual abuse. Additionally, she has conducted research around the United Nations Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. Maddie was selected as the 2015 Truman Scholar from Wyoming. She now serves as a Program Assistant for Alliance for HOPE International and supports Camp HOPE America.
Melissa Aguiar is the Administrative Assistant for the Pathways to HOPE Project, an innovative year-round mentoring program for children exposed to domestic violence and childhood trauma. The Pathways project coordinates monthly STEAM activities exposing teenagers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math to create interests in careers and develop pathways to achieve those goals. Melissa helps plan, coordinate and conduct the Pathways events, and she works directly with students and their families.
Melissa is a graduate of California State University, Chico where she earned a B.A. in Sociology and in Spanish. She previously assisted domestic violence survivors while working with a San Diego attorney.
Chelsea Armstrong is the Administrative Assistant for Camp HOPE America. Chelsea worked directly with survivors with the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. With Camp HOPE America, Chelsea provides administrative and logistical support to help Alliance partners implement Camp HOPE across the nation. A native of Denver, Chelsea is an avid camper and is a graduate from the University of Wyoming where she majored in Criminal Justice.
Alison Bildsoe is the Administrative Assistant for the Alliance’s Polyvictimization Initiative which seeks to develop a national set of best practices on how domestic violence professionals can support survivors who have experienced multiple types of trauma. Alison is a recent graduate of the University of California, San Diego where she received an award for the Most Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis on The Role of Race and Ethnicity in Pocketbook Voting. Prior to working at the Alliance, Alison provided fundraising and programmatic support for a San Diego homeless and women’s shelter.
Elizabeth Cosentino-Vonderahe, MPA
Program Assistant, Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention
Elizabeth is the Program Assistant for the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention and assists Gael Strack coordinating trainings across the nation and around the world on the forensics and physiology of near-fatal strangulation. Elizabeth’s background includes advocating at the state and national level on the movement as to end intimate partner violence, which involved analysis and implementation of women’s rights policy, domestic/sexual violence prevention, sexual health education, and mixed-method research. Elizabeth has a Master of Public Affairs with a concentration in public policy and international development from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Elizabeth’s goal is to help break the generational cycle of family violence that begins early in childhood.
Legal Project Coordinator
Fiona is the Legal Project Coordinator at the Alliance, assisting with legal research on existing and pending felony strangulation statutes, case law, and sentences imposed for strangulation crimes. Fiona recently received her J.D. from California Western School of Law. Prior to entering law school, Fiona worked as a nurse. Before attending nursing school, Fiona served in the U.S. Navy for seven years as a Hospital Corpsman. Her legal, medical, and military background are important to her work at the Alliance as a number of strangulation forensics trainings are held on military bases. During law school, Fiona was a member of the Pro Bono Honors Society, earned a Distinguished Advocate Award, as well as an Academic Excellence Award for academic achievement.
Sarah brings experience in finance, management and operations to the Alliance and serves as Executive Assistant to Casey Gwinn and Gael Strack as well as supporting the Director of Finance. Prior to joining the Alliance, Sarah worked as an Operations Manager for a national bank in Cincinnati, Ohio, managing a number of branches around the region. During college at Muskingum University in Ohio, Sarah served as President of the Women’s Resource Center and was an administrative assistant to Have of Hope, a women’s refuge center. She has also volunteered for Dress for Success Cincinnati, coordinating fundraising events and providing financial training and counseling to survivors of domestic violence. Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science degree in both Business and Psychology, with a focus in gender studies.
Yolanda Ruiz is an Intern for the Alliance and provides administrative and programmatic support. For the past two years, Yolanda has served as a Camp HOPE youth counselor making her the perfect fit to assist Pathways to HOPE program staff by managing calendars, participating in project planning
Gemma Serrano is an Intern for Alliance for Hope that provides administrative support. Gemma began attending Camp HOPE since 2012 as a camper, but for the last two years has served as a Camp HOPE youth counselor making her a perfect fit to assist in the Pathways to HOPE program. She has participated in the recognized PLTW four-year program, giving her the skills necessary to participate in intensive project planning and management, as well as programmatic skills.
Jenny Dietzen is an Intern providing administrative and programmatic support at the Alliance. Jenny has served as a Camp HOPE Counselor since 2012, and her experiences at Camp HOPE California motivated Jenny to work with kids. Jenny is currently a junior at San Diego State University, where she is studying social work.