Pronouns: She / Her
Manager of Legal Services
Melissa received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law and holds a B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice from San Diego State University. Melissa is passionate about helping survivors navigate the complexities of the civil and criminal legal systems and empowering them to make informed decisions for themselves. In her free time Melissa enjoys rooting for the San Jose Sharks, spending quality time with family, and dancing.
Manager of Crisis Support Services
Pronouns: She / Her / Ella
Celeste is from a small town in San Diego County named Fallbrook, also known as the avocado capital of the world and the friendly village. She relocated to the Bay Area in 2003 to attend college at San Francisco State University. She received her B.A. in Psychology and La Raza Studies. In 2008, Celeste joined the CORA team as a Crisis Counselor and in 2015 was promoted to the position of Crisis Support Services Coordinator.
Director of Programs
Pronouns: She / Her
Rev. Dr. Aleese Moore-Orbih is the former Senior Director of Programs at Women of Color Network, Inc. and the FaithTrust Institute. She has over 20-years of training and advocacy work in adult domestic and sexual violence, youth violence, adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, clergy and leadership sexual misconduct, community organizing in anti-poverty work at the intersection of racial equity and affordable housing and 25 years in pastoral care, women’s spiritual direction and personal growth.
Aleese has years of experience envisioning and leading national as well as grassroots nonprofit efforts. she has served on the front lines both in middle-management and at the helm as executive director, pivoting and reshaping an entire grassroots organization’s infrastructure to better address gender and race-based violence and equities and to better meet oversight and outreach demands of communities of color at the intersection of other marginalized identities.
Aleese has co-developed many faith-based leadership training curricula, has been published in many faith-based publications and is the editor of: You Are Not Alone, Book of Prayers & Meditations for Women, and 2007 AVA Publication of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC).
Interim Executive Director
Pronouns: She / Her
Jill has worked in the Violence Against Women field for 24 years. Her career started at the US Dept of Justice Office on Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Domestic Violence program. There she worked on the $46 million grant program to help local police departments train officers in responding to & investigating domestic violence cases. Jill moved to Southern California where she served as the Technical Assistance and Training coordinator for the Statewide California Coalition for Battered Women. Jill returned to Washington, DC to become the Director of Public Policy for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. There she helped draft the 2006 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. While in Washington she lobbied for federal appropriations for shelter programs through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act as well as the Victims of Crime Act as a member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. She also coordinated NCADV’s National Lobby Day in partnership with the National Alliance Against Sexual Violence that brought hundreds of advocates, survivors and corporate leaders from around the country to speak to Members of Congress about the issues.
In 2008 Jill moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to work at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape as the Director of Communications. There she worked on the HERO Project to educate parents and grandparents about child sexual abuse. Jill returned to California and joined the team at the Not For Sale Campaign to bring awareness and innovative social enterprise programs to five country projects to alleviate the causal factors that often lead to human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Jill also worked for the NO MORE Campaign as the Field Liaison to assist local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies, college campuses and community action groups implement the campaign’s public awareness assets.
Most recently Jill served as the Chief Operating Officer at TO THE MARKET, a start-up retail social enterprise whose mission is to create business opportunities, stable employment and social services for vulnerable communities affected by exploitation, poverty, disease, natural disaster and war. There she worked with over 60 women artisan groups around the world who created handmade jewelry, home goods and apparel for major retailers.
Jennifer Dow Rowell
Director of Development
Pronouns: She / Her
Jennifer has worked in the field of domestic violence, sexual assault and homeless for nearly 20 years throughout the bay area and beyond. Jennifer has a Master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelors in Anthropology and Women’s Studies. She has over 10+ years of fund development and organizational leadership experience. An unapologetic data and policy wonk, Jennifer has worked tirelessly to develop and sustain programs that are inclusive, intersectional and participant-centered. She has served on the Board of Directors of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, the Tracy Community Homeless Taskforce and currently serves on the board for her local Continuum of Care. Jennifer is an award-winning speaker, a storyteller, and a dachshund aficionado. When not working, Jennifer enjoys time with her family, snorkeling and being in nature.
Assistant Director of Programs
Pronouns: She / Her, They / Them
Lynn has worked in the non-profit field since 1991, focusing on financial and program development. She has raised millions of dollars for services benefitting children, youth and families in the Bay Area. Her financial and program development efforts have included work with the YMCA of San Francisco, Samaritan House and StarVista as well as CORA. Highlights of her efforts include: helping to fund and develop several of the YMCA’s beacon centers and technology centers; developing a plan for and securing an infusion of emergency funds for a cohort of San Mateo County’s safety net organizations during the 2008 financial crisis; securing funding for CORA’s second safe house and StarVista’s Pride Center. A San Mateo County native, Lynn has volunteered for her son’s schools from preschool to high school; her community volunteer work includes her appointment to San Mateo County’s LGBTQ Commission in September 2014. When Lynn isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family and taking vacations to locations of historical significance.