Meet the Board

Jill ZinckgrafGabrielle GaultJackie DeVoreCarrie SpeiserNicole BearcePeter J. Boser | renai ellison | artin HaghshenasLinda Sloan LockeJulia L. McClure | ALISON MCGEARY STELLA |

NJCASA, like all non-profit organizations, depends upon our Trustees to be dedicated champions for and ambassadors of our mission. Their leadership is critical for our success and over the next few weeks, NJCASA will be highlighting our board members, who help us promote the compassionate and just treatment of survivors and their loved ones.

If you’re interested in learning about ways you could become involved, the first step involves filling out an application for consideration.


Jill Zinckgraf – board chair

Position / Previous Position
Executive Director, Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Crisis Center of Warren County

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2014

Why did you join the board?

I wanted to be a part of this movement because this movement is about social justice and I am so tired of hearing the stories of devastation surrounding sexual violence. This board gives me the opportunity to contribute on a macro/micro level to those whose voice often goes unheard.

How do you carry out NJCASA’s mission in your day to day life?
I don’t know how to separate who I am at the Board table to who I am in my personal and professional life. I am NJCASA because I know that it is not a question of “if this impacts my life,” it is a question of “when this impacts my life.”

Who is your activist role model?
Alice Paul

What ideal world “big change” do you want to see in sexual violence prevention / response?
I want people to just “believe.” That would be a great, great start.

What is your favorite city / place to visit?
Adirondacks


Gabrielle Gault – vice-chair

Position / Previous Position
Social Worker and Preventionist at the Middlesex County Center for Empowerment

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2013

Why did you join the board?
As someone who works with survivors of sexual violence at the local level, I am often overwhelmed by how devastating sexual violence can be and can change the course of a life forever. While working with survivors shines light on the resiliency of individuals and how healing is possible, it can also stir feelings of anger and hopelessness. It’s infuriating that we live in a world where sexual violence is possible, tolerated, and survivors are shamed. We live within a rape culture and while this can be discouraging because the normalization of sexual violence is so pervasive, it brings hope to remember that culture is something we can change. Ultimately it is this hope that led me to join NJCASA’s board. I feel privileged to serve on the board of an organization that believes change is possible and strives to unify the voices of survivors to create this change.

Who is your ideal dinner party guest?
I would love to have my Nana, my maternal grandmother, join us for dinner. I have been told that she was a charismatic, fiery, and funny woman who I often feel inspired by though we never had the opportunity to meet. While I could certainly seek to narrow in on a well-known individual to share our dinner table, it would be far more valuable to connect with my own roots and experience firsthand why often my Nana is the family favorite of her nieces and nephews.

Who is your activist role model?
While there are certainly many individuals who have helped to spark the fire in my belly over the years, I am most inspired by a group of people, the suffragists. On the days when I feel overwhelmed and sometimes burned out from constantly pushing back, I remember the women (and men) who fought for decades to ensure women would have the right to vote and stayed the course knowing that they may not personally benefit in their lifetime. There is something incredibly selfless and tenacious within this sentiment. The fact that individuals literally gave their lives so that women, that I could have a voice, it’s mind blowing. I think that these individuals are also often a poignant reminder of how a movement can grow from one individual who believed things could be different. Sometimes we can doubt that our actions are valuable, that our voice is powerful–the suffragist movement, as with many grassroots movements, is proof that we can actually change the world.

What is your favorite city / place to visit?
I adore Ireland and had the opportunity to study in Dublin during my final year of college. Some of my favorite memories are of the warmness of people, visiting the prehistoric monuments and monastic sites, and exploring the countryside and castles. Ireland is a beautiful country with a rich culture built upon resiliency, adaptability, and a bit of humor. As many Irish are, I am very proud of my heritage and look forward to journeying back to Ireland in the future with my husband and daughter.


Jackie DeVore – secretary

Position / Previous Position
Attorney, Mayerson & Associates

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2016

How do you carry out NJCASA’s mission in your day to day life?

Life with two small kids can be crazy, but my husband and I strive to be intentional in our parenting, raising our daughter and son to be feminists and seekers of social justice. My children know that their play, their interests, their dress, and their very selves are not bound by typical notions of gender and that they are free to express who they are in a home that is accepting and safe. I do my utmost to shine a light on the insidiousness of rape culture and gender inequality and inequity in every part of our society in my interactions with my family, my friends, and every community that I am a part of.

Who is your activist role model?
bell hooks

What is your favorite book?
The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing


Carrie Speiser – treasurer

Position / Previous Position
Program Coordinator, Prevent Child Abuse – New Jersey

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2016

Why did you join the board?
I joined the Board because I am passionate about prevention and know NJCASA understands its importance. NJCASA has always been at the forefront of sexual violence primary prevention work in NJ, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the board! I also appreciate and enjoy working on a statewide level for social justice.

What ideal world “big change” do you want to see in sexual violence prevention / response?
I envision a world where victims are believed and fully supported by all systems. I believe in a world where those who are responsible for abuse and assault are held accountable through all systems. I see a world where consent is requested and relationships are healthy. I hope for social change to respect the body and sexuality of all people. Where we support one another in equality, understanding that we will all benefit when we protect each other. I envision an ideal world where prevention is supported with sufficient funding as a main public health approach to ending violence in our communities.

What is your favorite city / place to visit?
Puerto Rico 🙂


Nicole Bearce – ex-officio

Position / Previous Position
Unilever United States

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2009

Why did you join the board?
Many reasons: a passion for the work as a survivor of childhood abuse; to make the world a safer and more just place for my daughter; there was a void in my life at the time searching for the activism/social justice work that drew me to law school in the first place.

How do you carry out NJCASA’s mission in your day to day life?
By recognizing and elevating my own voice, by using that voice to advocate on behalf of myself, my daughter, my loved ones, and those who are vulnerable; by volunteering my time as an ambassador for NJCASA in its legislative and programmatic advocacy work; by trying my best to model a fair and optimistic outlook on life.

Who is your ideal dinner party guest?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (living); Jane Austen (deceased)

Who is your activist role model?
Gloria Steinem – the personal is political

What ideal world “big change” do you want to see in sexual violence prevention / response?
A cultural shift that recognizes the sanctity of consent, where purported “locker room talk” is not minimized and normalized, where women are recognized and valued in their whole, complicated, nuanced, beautiful souls.

What is your favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird

What is your favorite city / place to visit?
Anywhere on a sailboat


Peter J. Boser

Position / Previous Position
Senior Litigation Counsel, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2017

Why did you join the board?
Upon my retirement, I wanted to continue to advance justice against sexual violence.

Who is your ideal dinner party guest?
I’m no good at choosing just one! Martin Luther King, Jr., Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Geraldine Ferraro, Oliver Sacks

What ideal world “big change” do you want to see in sexual violence prevention / response?
I wish that discussions about and advances in sexual violence response, attitudes and awareness were not seen through the filter of political polarization, but rather simply as the right way for all to be treated.

What is your favorite book?
Again, I can’t choose just one! Slaughterhouse Five (by Kurt Vonnegut), Stones From the River (by Ursula Hegi), The Power and the Glory (by Graham Greene), The History of Love (by Nicole Krauss), etc., etc.!


renai ellison

Position / Previous Position
Program Manager / Executive Coach, Retail Performance Company (rpr)

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2018

Why did you join the board?
NJCASA does meaningful work and I want to contribute.

How do you carry out NJCASA’s mission in your day-to-day life?
I make every effort to demonstrate compassion and caring for others.

What ideal world “big change” do you want to see in SV prevention / response?
Women sharing their experiences and speaking out even more.

What is your favorite book?
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston


Artin Haghshenas

Position / Previous Position
Advisor, Office of Senator Bob Menendez

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2018

Why did you join the board?
I wanted to be part of changing the tide and supporting a movement that creates a culture which addresses the impact and prevalence of sexual violence.

How do you carry out NJCASA’s mission in your day-to-day life?
Both personally and professionally I aim to use my platform to educate and shed light on sexual violence prevention and response through interactions with family, friends, colleagues, and every community I am a part of.

Who is your activist role model?
Cecile Richards

What ideal world “big change” do you want to see in SV prevention / response?
I’d like to see a culture that does not doubt or punish survivors. Instead, I hope to see one that supports survivors by protecting them, employing them, and believing them.

What is your favorite book?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky


Linda Sloan Locke

Position / Previous Position
Chair – N.J. Health Cares About Domestic and Sexual Violence Collaborative

When did you join the NJCASA board?
2012

Why did you join the board?

After getting my MSW with Certificate in Violence Against Women and Children, and completing Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) training, I felt a need to work against sexual violence on another level. I felt that my experiences as a midwife for (at that time almost 40 years) could add another perspective to the Board, and I was eager to work with the terrific people already on the Board to advance the mission of NJCASA

How do you carry out NJCASA’s mission in your day to day life?
I started the Collaborative due to my concerns about the intersection of sexual violence and health. On a day-to day basis, as I care for women, I see that impact. I feel it is so important to bring the message to a variety of healthcare providers. I also take the message to my grandchildren, as a way of connecting with that generation and ensuring that they have appropriate messaging around sexual assault and encouraging them to not only share it but champion it (I have 10, ranging from ages 6 to 22), and I hope this can continue to be my way to “pay it forward”

Who is your activist role model?
Bonnie Watson Coleman and Cecile Richards


Julia L. McClure

Position / Previous Position
1st Assistant Prosecutor, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (Retired)

When did you join the NJCASA board?
2007

How do you carry out NJCASA’s mission in your day to day life?
Stay informed on current events involving matters relevant to sexual violence and share important information on those topics with friends and family

What is your favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird

What is your favorite city / place to visit?
San Francisco


alison mcgeary stella

Position / Previous Position
Manager of Technology Engagement & Events, Realogy Corporation

When did you join the NJCASA board?
January 2018

Why did you join the board?
As a single mom to four kids, three girls and one boy, I’ve found that it’s important to not only model behaviors that I want them to adopt but also to be involved in causes that could directly impact them.

Being an advocate for sexual assault victims has been something that has always been important me and it is something that I have been a part of since college. When the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible organization like NJCASA came up I knew that it was where I needed to be and what I needed to be devoting some of my free time to.

How do you carry out NJCASA’s mission in your day-to-day life?
The actions that I take in my everyday life- whether it is in being with my kids or working at my job or talking with my friends- are how I live out the mission of NJCASA. It is in speaking up for those who have been victimized and those who are in need. It is in sharing my thoughts and beliefs on sexual assault prevention or equal rights for all. I make sure that my every action and word, whether in person or online or in writing, emulates what NJCASA has put forth as their mission.

Who is your ideal dinner party guest?
I’m sure I could come up with someone famous that I’d like to have dinner with but at this point in my life, after a year of change and growth, I’d really like to sit down with my two grandfathers. Both of them have passed away but I know that the conversations that we could have and the things that they could share, based on where I am now and where I’ve come from, would be so incredibly invaluable. Plus, just the opportunity to have a meal with them again would be incredible!

What is your favorite book?
As a former high school teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to come across a lot of different books and essays. One of the books that I absolutely love and read over and over again is called The Last Lecture. I taught it for many years in my classroom because it is a simple story of life cut way too short but one that was lived to the fullest in a fashion of kindness and the desire to chase dreams and goals.


Escape