Leadership Team: 

Coalition President:
Catherine Townsend
Grants, Research, & National Strategy Manager

Darkness to Light 

Catherine Townsend has been associated with Darkness to Light since its founding in 2000. As Grants, Research, and National Strategy Manager, she serves as liaison to other national organizations, researchers, and experts. She is responsible for Darkness to Light's national legislative advocacy efforts, internal research, external evaluation, grant acquisition, and grant management. 

Vice President:

Julie Novak 

Vice President of Child Safety

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Julie Novak joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in 2004. As Vice President of Child Safety, she serves as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s leading expert and national spokesperson on child safety and youth protection-related matters. She leads the nationwide advancement of effective child abuse prevention and crisis response strategies throughout BBBS’ network, working collaboratively with other national experts from organizations.

Immediate Past President: 

Les Nichols

President, R.L. Nichols and Associates, LLC

Mr. Nichols is an expert in developing child and youth protection programs for organizations. He served as lead youth safety and facility expert for the national headquarters of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which serves approximately 4,000,000 youth at 4,000 sites in 50 states and on domestic and overseas military bases, college campuses, tribal lands and camps, and in public housing, recreation facilities, community centers, churches, and schools.  


Teresa Rafael

Executive Director

National Alliance of Children's Trust & Prevention Funds

Teresa Rafael, has been Executive Director of the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds since 2002.  She has more than 35 years of professional experience in the child abuse and neglect prevention field, ranging from working for eight years with child protective services, foster care and adoption in her early career to extensive work in the private non-profit child abuse and neglect prevention field.

Additional Steering Committee Members:

Communications Committee Co-Chairs: Adrienne Hoffman-Lewis and Julie Patrick

Membership Committee Co-Chairs: Janet Rosenzweig and Keith Kaufman

Policy Committee Co-Chairs: Jetta Bernier and Nicole Epps

Past Presidents:

2015: Jim Hmurovich (retired) Prevent Child Abuse America

2014: Karen Baker, National Sexual Violence Resource Center

2013: Maia Christopher, Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers

2012: Deborah Callins (retired) National Children's Advocacy Center

2005 - 2011: Cordelia Anderson, Sensibilities, Inc.

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