The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) is proud to announce that Denise Rodriguez and Robert Baran, who have been serving as Interim Co-Directors for the past year, have been appointed full-time as “Co-Directors.”

With a background in fundraising and organizational development, Denise Rodriguez began her career at NJCASA in 2019 and since then has demonstrated a dedication to expanding our community outreach, building partnerships, and strengthening the scope of our anti-racist and anti-oppression work. Through her leadership role, Denise seeks to continue to fortify a culture at NJCASA that centers anti-oppression principles and emphasizes collaboration, transparency, and accountability.

Denise shares, “Working with the team at NJCASA, our colleagues across the membership, and our community partners has truly been the highlight of my career, and I’m looking forward to our continued collaboration as we strive to build more equitable communities in NJ and beyond.”

With over 20 years of experience working with those who have been impacted by trauma, and nearly 15 years specifically in the anti-violence sector, Robert Baran brings a survivor-centered approach to systems advocacy. Committed to uprooting oppression (as a root cause of sexual violence), Robert endeavors to embody a service model of leadership that uplifts those who give so much of themselves to this work.

“I am truly humbled to have been asked to serve NJCASA in this capacity.,” Robert shares, “Our organization is defined by our partnerships with survivor communities, our member programs and allied providers, community partners and colleagues, and all of those impacted by sexual violence and oppression in general. I am committed to contributing to a culture in which we always ask ourselves, ‘What can we be doing better?’ With the amazing team at NJCASA, I know we are well poised to move forward in a way that transforms the anti-sexual violence movement in New Jersey.”

As stated by Nicole Bearce, Chair of the NJCASA Board of Trustees, “As an organization, we have seen and experienced firsthand that shared leadership allows for more equitable and supportive ways of working together and creating impact. Our co-leadership model is an opportunity to exemplify the vision of what NJCASA is truly working to achieve in dismantling systems that may recreate or perpetuate harm.  We are excited for where NJCASA will go from here, elevating its work on behalf of all survivors.”

As we enter this new chapter, we look forward to continuing our transformation as an organization, and we reaffirm our commitment to centering anti-oppression and anti-racist principles to eradicate sexual violence and support survivors and their loved ones. Thank you for your continued support of NJCASA.

The Team at NJCASA