Our team of professional mentors have extensive experience in youth development and women’s studies. Each member of our team has been background checked and throughly vetted. (alpha order)
ANNETTE L. THOMPSON
Annette L. Thompson is a business owner and entrepreneur born and raised in Norwalk, CT. She received her B.S from The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and her EMBA from UCONN before starting her eclectic career in Marketing, Promotions, Project Management, Interior Decorating, Property Management, Legal Assistant and Event Planning. In addition to her vast career, Annette is involved with many local organizations serving on their boards and as an active member. Annette has served as Former Vice President and current Teen Advisor for the Stamford-Norwalk Chapter of Jack & Jill of America Inc., President of the Board for the Norwalk Mentor Scholarship Dollars of Scholars, Treasurer of the Board for Parkway Assembly of God in Norwalk, Junior Achievement Entrepreneurial Instructor at Norwalk High School and graduate Mentor of the Norwalk Mentor Program. When Annette is not working or active in her community, she enjoys planning adventures with her daughter Mackenzie and spending time her mother Ann.
Caroline B. Simmons serves as a Connecticut Congresswoman representing the 144th District in Stamford, Connecticut. She is House Chair of the Commerce Committee. Previously, Caroline worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for four and a half years. As Director of Special Projects in the Counterterrorism Coordinator’s Office at Homeland Security, Caroline provided support for DHS’s domestic and international counterterrorism programs. Before this, Caroline interned at the U.S. Department of State for the Middle East Partnership Initiative within the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, where she assisted with economic empowerment programs in the Middle East. Caroline received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 2008 and a Master of Arts degree in Middle East Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University in 2011. Caroline also studied at the American University in Cairo, Egypt and the Arabic Language Institute in Fez, Morocco. She currently serves on the Board of the Women’s Business Development Council.
Erika Brunwasser is a New York State Certified counselor who has been working with K-12 students for more than eight years. Erika has worked in some of New York City's most diverse and largest public schools. During her time as a school counselor, she saw a great need for girls to have female role models and mentors.
Farrell Lindemann is a social worker who believes in the resilience, strength, and uniqueness of adolescent girls. Farrell graduated from Boston University in 2014 with a Masters in Social Work and a specific focus on clinical work with adolescents. She believes that important work happens for teenagers in a group setting, as teens will always remember the advice and encouragement they receive from each other. Farrell has worked with amazing and inspiring teen girls in a residential setting and currently spends her volunteer time as a mentor and group facilitator at her local church. As a mother of a young daughter, an older sister, and female social worker her interest in empowering young women in Fairfield County is professional— and personal!
JENNIFER H. DEVINE
Jen has spent the bulk of her professional life working in all aspects of professional theatre in New York City and beyond, and she remains a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Jen is the Founder and President of Mocking Bird Arts LLC, which has been providing creative educational, professional development, and coaching services to schools, organizations, and individuals since its inception in 2014. She is a 2004 summa cuma laude graduate of Hunter College, and this fall is commencing work on a Masters Degree in Management from Harvard University. Jen is also a devoted wife to Nicholas, the proud mother of two young kids, a dedicated volunteer, and actively developing several writing and speaking projects.
Juana Yanes is the Counseling Coordinator & Child Advocate for The Center in Stamford, Connecticut. She is responsible for providing both English and Spanish crisis intervention and counseling to victims of sexual assault and their families throughout the community. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University and received her Masters of Science in Criminal Justice from Iona College. Juana is passionate about serving as a positive role model for girls while empowering them to be leaders.
Katie Campbell is a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Saxe Middle School with 12 years of teaching experience. In addition, she has coached girls volleyball at the middle and high school level for ten years. She has her BA from Skidmore College and MA from Sacred Heart. She feels strongly about empowering girls to discover and explore the dynamic characteristics which make them unique and valuable parts of the larger community. Her life motto is, “Don’t forget to be awesome!"
Kelly is the Support Group Coordinator and Bilingual Educator at The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford, CT. She is responsible for co-facilitating support groups for primary and secondary victims as well as educating the community on topics regarding sexual violence both in English and Spanish. She aspires to help make a difference in young girl’s lives so that they may continue to be motivated and empowered.
LYTASHA MARIE BLACKWELL
LyTasha is a writer, educator, motivator, and lover of words. She has been featured on stages with legends such as Nikki Giovonni, Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, Ericka Huggins and the late Dr. Maya Angelou. She is currently a Student Advocate and Adjunct Professor at Southern Connecticut State University (teaching Intellectual and Creative Inquiry Seminar). She has an M.A. in Women's Studies from Southern Connecticut State University where she focused on Programming and Curriculum Development. She is the Founder of "She's A B.O.S.S.-- Beyond Ordinary Setting the Standard" which focuses on young urban women ages 14-25.
Meaghan Davis is the Founder of The BRAVE Institute. She first established BRAVE in the Spring of 2013 while working as a social studies teacher in Connecticut. Meaghan attended the University of Connecticut for both her undergraduate degrees in History and Education, as well as her graduate studies in Education, Feminist Studies, Nonprofit Management, Peace Studies and the Human Right to Education. Her experiences with teaching and learning have had a profound and rewarding impact on her life and has further developed her genuine belief in the transformative power of education and leadership for social justice. Meaghan truly believes in the positive power of humans and she is determined to help humans discover their best self and realize their own full potential. She continues to be inspired everyday by the words, actions and stories of courageous people from around the world. Meaghan is fiercely dedicated to living BRAVE and bringing the BRAVE mission to life.
Megan is a New Canaan native and small business owner. She is a Quinnipiac University graduate with a BS in Business Management and enjoys channeling her creative energy into her event planning company Events by Megan Rose. Megan is passionate about encouraging girls to pursue their dreams and create their own opportunities. She is an avid believer in mentorship and leading by example.
Sara is a seventh grade Social Studies teacher at Saxe Middle School in New Canaan. Sara attended the University of Connecticut where she studied History and Secondary Education. Sara previously worked as an Assistant Trip Director for the Alternative Breaks Program overseeing and training team leaders. She also served as an intern at the Connecticut Historical Society where she taught diverse students in grades K-12 from the Hartford area using artifacts, images, exhibits, and hands-on activities. Sara is passionate about gender equality, equal educational opportunity, and community service.