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Our Board

Maria LaSala, President

Maria LaSala serves as the Spiritual Care Coordinator at Whitney Center, a Senior Living Community in Hamden. She is also a lecturer at Yale Divinity School. She has been deeply involved in women's issues and feminist theology for years and maintains her presence as an active community leader in this realm. Maria is a past Chair of the Board of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and in January became the President of the board of the Connecticut Women's Consortium. Maria holds degrees from Barnard College, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Emily Aber, Vice President

Emily Aber, LCSW maintains a private psychotherapy practice in North Haven, where she sees both young adults and adults. She has many years of experience in various clinical, supervisory and administrative roles in community based and inpatient programs.  Emily was a founding member and past co-chair of the Connecticut NASW Clinical Social Workers Network and is a volunteer with the Greater New Haven Trauma Recovery Network. Emily earned her Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University and a post-graduate certificate from the Westchester Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, is certified in E.M.D.R., and completed training in hypnotherapy.

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Diane Young Turner, Secretary

Diane Young Turner spent 37 years of her career at Yale University. Upon retirement, she served as the Senior Human Resources Administrator. She retired in 2014 after successfully establishing a hiring program to recruit city-wide residents, as Director-New Haven Community Hiring Initiatives.  Diane earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Grambling State University and a master’s degree in History Education and Counseling from SUNY-Albany, New York.  Over the years, she continued her educational growth and development in the fields of Human Resource Management and Leadership. Diane has received numerous honors for her professional, civic and community service.      

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Jessica Walker, Co-Secretary

Jessica Walker is a Partner at the law firm of Koch, Garg & Brown, practicing in the areas of criminal defense and post-conviction relief. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, summa cum laude, having earned her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. Jessica received her J.D., with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2006. Jessica’s success stems from her ability to empathize with and listen to her clients, many of whom have suffered through unspeakable traumas, significant substance abuse addictions, mental health afflictions, and racial discrimination, garnering unparalleled loyalty and trust from her clients. Jessica believes that a lawyer must truly understand her client’s plight and be able to relate to that grief as a necessary first step in creating a successful attorney-client relationship. She brings that same passion to CWC that she displays for her clients.

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Tracy Beckley, Treasurer

Tracy Beckley is the Director of Payroll & Benefits for Community Solutions, Inc. and serves on their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.  She has over 20 years’ experience working in non-profit organizations in financial leadership roles.  Past positions include Director of Finance and Administration for both Family Services of Greater Waterbury and Living in Safe Alternatives, Inc.  Tracy has always had a passion for volunteering and served Treasurer for the Wolcott Activities and Learning Center for several years. As Treasurer for the CT Women’s Consortium, she will share her knowledge and expertise in non-profit financial analysis and reporting.  Tracy lives in Wolcott with her husband and has 2 children.

Steve Driffin

Steve Driffin is the Youth and Community Programs Manager at Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology.  In addition, he maintains an active role in his local community. Steve serves on the Youth Advisory Board for Y2Y—an organization addressing the needs of homeless youth, mentors young men from the New Haven Area and is a playwright and screenwriter. He is the proud father of two daughters, Kendall and Kayla.

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Opal Harmon

Opal Harmon is Director of Operations and Human Resources at Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology(ConnCAT). She has 20+ years of experience in Accounting & Finance,  Human Resources and Operations in both corporate and nonprofit settings.

Along with being a certified Human Resources professional, Opal has demonstrated expertise in managing operational processes including budgeting, policy development, grant writing and project coordination. Opal established a Human Resources Department at ConnCAT in 2018 implementing processes and polices from the ground up.

Opal holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Bridgeport and a Professional Human Resources certificate from Central Connecticut State University. She is a member of several community and civic organizations including The Links, Inc and J.A.C.

Opal is a proud mother to two and grandmother to one and resides in Hamden, CT

Dr. Jozlyn Hall

Dr. Hall has a doctorate in Psychology and Religious Studies, along with a Master of Social Work. Over the past 13 years, Dr. Hall has served the community and the Court by assessing and developing unmatched rapport with criminal defendants to assist with sentence modifications, sentence commutations, re-entry plans and treatment recommendations. Her mission is to value each individual and bring dignity and respect to their lives, regardless of the criminal act charged or committed. 

 Dr. Hall began her career in social work and will always be a social worker at heart. Having the experience of a seasoned social worker and the skills acquired through Pastoral Counseling has resulted in a unique knowledge and experience base, creating a trusting working relationship with clients. Dr. Hall went on to earn a Doctorate in Psychology so she could conduct assessments, making the process more time and cost efficient. 

Kevin Paulin

Kevin is a co-founder and the Executive Director for Winning Ways Inc. Prior to his present position, Kevin held managerial positions at both Marrakech Inc. located in Woodbridge, Connecticut and Columbus House located in New Haven, CT. Kevin has over 8 years’ experience in serving demographics such as those experiencing homelessness, the intellectually disabled and other mental illness diagnoses, those experiencing reentry, veterans, and those experiencing recovery.

In addition, Kevin holds the role of serial entrepreneur that takes great pride in educating his community of financial literacy. Kevin passion to educate those about the financial sector is evident by receiving an associate degree in business management from Gateway Community College as well as receiving his bachelor’s degree in business management from Charter Oak State College. Kevin also is a motivational speaker and avid sports fan.

Terre Daniels

Terre is a graduate of Albertus Magnus College where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Services; of Southern Connecticut State University where she received her Master’s degree in Urban Studies/Management; and from Reach the Nations Kingdom College where she received a Diploma in Practical Ministry.  She has worked as an Adjunct Professor in the Psychology Department at Albertus Magnus College.


Terre has extensive knowledge and experience in the human resources field, having worked as a human resources professional for over 15 years, from entry to Director level.  Currently, Terre works for a home health care agency in Woodbridge, CT as their Human Resources Manager, having returned to work after 2 years in retirement.   Terre has also worked in the social services/nonprofit arenas for many years in varying levels and positions.  In addition to her secular work, Terre is also a Minister and serves as an Associate Ministry at her church in New Haven, CT.  She feels she has a particular calling to minister to the hurts (spirit, soul, and body) of women from all walks of life and across the lifespan.

Catherine John

Catherine John is a Trinbagonian currently residing in the Newhallville section of New Haven, mother of two amazing young adults, Helping Women Period board member, and lead organizer for Black and Brown United in Action. Catherine has years of community organizing and nonprofit experience. She has organized urban renewal and health equity tasks, created and implemented community-building strategies that engaged residents and anchor institutions, and assisted with establishing a grassroots volunteer organization throughout New Haven County. Always an advocate for the voiceless and a fighter for the unheard, Catherine volunteers her time for various projects including the Connecticut Cross Disability Lifespan Alliance, and the Medical Assistance Program Oversight Council, while writing and presenting legislative testimony for various social injustices, organizing and co-organizing calls to action to raise awareness and press for change to empower communities in various matters.

Cathleen Meaden

Cathleen Meaden has worked at the intersection of housing and trauma for over 30 years.  She is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Columbus House in New Haven, CT serving people who are or are at risk of experiencing homelessness.  Cathleen is passionate about serving our most vulnerable neighbors.  She holds a Masters Degree from CCSU in Criminal Justice and is a Certified Addiction Counselor.  She is also a Certified Trainer in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention.  Cathleen lives with her wife in Meriden, CT.

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