team

Change built on relationships

The experience, skill, and personality of our team shapes our impact. Driven to redefine the norm and fueled by possibility, we are harnessing the power of human connection to accelerate social change.

  • DOROTHY J. EDWARDS, PH.D.
    DOROTHY J. EDWARDS, PH.D.
    President
    Bio

    Dr. Edwards, the founder and president of Alteristic, specializes in primary prevention and provides training and consultation in power-based personal violence, workplace harassment, capacity building, program implementation, strategic planning, and community mobilization. Her work has been the focus of multiple studies that show statistically significant reductions in interpersonal violence. In a career that has spanned over 25 years, she has held multiple positions in program management, teaching in higher education, and in counseling. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University.

    See Dr. Edwards in action!

    Quote

    I do this work because I believe with everything in me that current rates of power-based personal violence are not inevitable. I do this work because if I didn’t believe this could change, I would be accepting some truths about humanity that I am just not willing to accept. As a victim myself – even as my soul bleeds for my daughter – I am here in defiant resistance to this violence. I don’t know all the answers. I try each day to do this work with integrity and humility. I may be an imperfect vessel for this movement – but I am a persistent one – and I will keep trying until something works.

    Fun


    The window to my soul can be found through show tunes. Defying Gravity (Wicked) speaks to my refusal to accept the status quo and determination to change the world. She Used to Be Mine (Waitress) gets to my acute awareness of my own vulnerability and imperfection yet my belief that I make a difference despite those things. Light (Next to Normal) reflects my choice to love and feel despite the inevitable pain and loss that accompanies those choices. Then, no life narrative would be complete without a song from Hamilton. Grab every breath of your life, and see what you can make happen: My Shot.

  • KALKIDAN GOSSAYE
    KALKIDAN GOSSAYE
    Senior Vice President
    Bio

    Kalkidan leads Alteristic’s financial management and strategic planning. She oversees communications, development, and external and media relations. She also directs finance and operations policies and procedures. Kalkidan has 10+ years of experience in external relations, strategy, data management, and operations. She formerly served as the Senior Director of Growth and Stewardship at Teach for America. She also served as Chief Development Officer at Washington National Cathedral. She has an MA in Political Science from Indiana University and a BA from Indiana University-Purdue University.

    Quote

    I am in this work because I feel there is nothing impossible about our ability to create a world without violence – I don’t have all the answers and yet I know I have to wake up every single day and try my hardest to show up, learn, and lead in this movement as only a black, immigrant woman could. I know that in all of my very being I am compelled to move our world faster and still faster to a culture where no one suffers from violence – a world where girls and women, boys and men can reach their full potential because they live lives free from violence.

    Fun

    Here is everything you need to know about me – I love potatoes with every fiber of my being that absolutely, most ardently hates onions. My favorite part of going to the movies is seeing the previews and my biggest fear in life is dying without reading all the books that humanity has produced. I say that fully recognizing that my biggest fear will eventually come to bear. Until then, I will use every moment I can reading books. Now, I want you to understand this has to do with more than mere fears of intellectual inadequacy; I feel it is a moral obligation.

  • David Stobie
    David Stobie
    Senior Vice President Strategic Initiatives
    Bio


    David identifies, develops and oversees strategic initiatives that will facilitate the work of Alteristic to have the greatest impact. As president of Student Success, he guided the development of a suite of online interpersonal violence prevention programs and oversaw that implementation at hundreds of colleges and universities. Prior to that work, David was involved in the development of numerous Soldier safety and well-being programs including the SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention) efforts of the US Army. He spent much of his early career in advertising and marketing.

    Quote


    Until the last few years, I had a rather typical business career centered on people buying “stuff”. My work in prevention provides unparalleled meaning and purpose. I believe life should be lived with passion and that everyone can make a difference while on this Earth. The essential question is, “What kind of impact will I choose to make today?” To that end, I try to be respectful, good-natured and considerate of whoever I encounter. When I engage individuals where that is the most challenging, I realize I haven’t walked in their shoes and that their mom probably likes them.

    Fun


    I love authentic diners, fishing, Bill Murray, Malbec and Cardinal baseball. I believe in relishing the journey. In life, I have always preferred The Road Not Taken even after Mrs. Trumane made me memorize it in 8th grade much to my chagrin. Cari and our kids can tell you most of my faults, and I will tell you all of their strengths. My father was my biggest influence and best friend. He found joy everywhere. I am becoming my father. I say that with humility as he was much kinder, smarter and funnier but no better at fishing. I will forever wonder why life has been so good to me.

  • SIRAJAH RAHEEM
    SIRAJAH RAHEEM
    Senior Trainer, Campus TA Specialist
    Bio

    Sirajah holds a Master of Public Health from Georgia State University. She provides training and technical assistance in the domains of power-based personal violence prevention and contributes to prevention program curriculum development. Sirajah’s graduate research focused on applying Title IX compliance efforts to develop comprehensive sexual assault prevention and response strategies in higher education. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Berea College.

    See Sirajah in action!

    Quote

    I believe interpersonal violence and gender-based violence can be directly addressed and reduced through collective work and responsibility. I believe that achieving a beloved community, one preserved by “understanding and redeeming goodwill for all,” is possible. My belief is driven by fantastic people around the world already putting in the work to reduce how communities are harmed. Together we have the capacity to change the world in a way that sustains us all. I believe another world is possible. To achieve it, we all have to put our fingers in the clay. This work is my contribution.

    Fun

    I enjoy swimming, but I don’t find myself around the water as often anymore. I write little stories and doodle in the margins of my very serious work. I like to read dystopian science fiction, fantasy, stories where black kids have happily-ever-afters, and angry blog posts written by funny people about current events. I am so thankful for the family that I was born to and for my chosen family. I dedicate my work to them and all that they endured.

  • KRISTEN PARKS
    KRISTEN PARKS
    Vice President of Project Development
    Bio

    Kristen co-leads Alteristic’s programs and training efforts and contributes to strategic planning, capacity building, and prevention program development. She provides training and technical assistance in power-based personal violence prevention. Prior to joining Alteristic, Kristen worked for a community based agency in Lexington, Ky., as the Education Coordinator and implemented Green Dot in middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the state. She also provided anti-violence presentations and workshops for the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky and medical and legal advocacy for survivors.

    See Kristen in action!

    Quote

    I am here because I believe in a different world. I believe in a world where power-based personal violence is not a common experience. I believe in a world where my kids will think of the current rates of sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and bullying the way I think of the time before television—a distant, far off, sounds too unreal to have ever actually been true, past reality. This is not just a dream: it is a real possibility, and it is ours to take.

    Fun

    Kristen grew up in a town in Kentucky and moved to a slightly larger city where she met a handsome man. They would get married and have kids (but not in that order, dun dun dun). Over the course of a decade, she would become addicted to coffee, be ‘that parent’ who talks about her kids all the time, and watch as her metabolism slowly turned on her.  Hold onto your seat as you watch her live life with passion for her work and family while she tries to maintain her double life as a Netflix enthusiast and a perpetual procrastinator. Suspense, passion, intrigue, potato chips.

  • LEA HEGGE
    LEA HEGGE
    Vice President, Research and Program Development
    Bio

    Lea co-leads Alteristic’s programs and training efforts. She works on strategic planning and capacity building, and she provides training and technical assistance in power-based personal violence prevention. Lea provides leadership in developing prevention curriculum and coaching of staff trainers. She has served as a violence prevention educator and domestic violence/sexual assault advocate in Montana and as a program evaluator for local and statewide violence prevention initiatives in Montana, Kentucky, Idaho, and Alaska. She holds a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Kentucky.

    See Lea in action!

    Quote


    I do this work because I can imagine with complete clarity, a world where interpersonal violence is talked about as a historical lesson learned. Something we refer back to when we talk about great cultural shifts and major social justice movements. I do this work because I’m not willing to resign to the world as it is, where interpersonal violence feels inevitable, where almost everyone I know has a connection to this issue, directly or indirectly. I do this work because this issue has gone on far too long and the time to fix it is now.

    Fun

    I find that coffee shops, chapstick, mountains, sleep, mac and cheese, and the Green Bay Packers winning are all imperative to my happiness. I also get sad when pomegranate season is over. I overthink EVERYTHING and I often think out loud. For example, this paragraph took me 8 hours to write and now my dog knows my likes and dislikes even more intimately.

  • Khalid Battle
    Khalid Battle
    Senior Trainer
    Bio


    Khalid is a Senior Trainer at Alteristic. He began his career as a family advocate with Neighbor to Family Foster Care Agency in Atlanta.  He went on to serve as a Program Manager at The United Methodist Children’s Home where he worked with families experiencing homelessness. Prior to joining Alteristic, Khalid delivered workshops on creating safer, more respectful work, living and learning environments at schools, hospitals, and other service organizations nationally as an Instructor at Crisis Prevention Institute.  He has a BA from Hampton University.

    Quote


    Embracing one’s authenticity can be daunting and at times overwhelming, especially if we have accepted false narratives shaped by ignorance, hate or fear. Yet, on the opposing and winning side of those narratives is wisdom, love, and hope. My great passion is to consistently and compassionately shine a light on ways that we can connect with one another to truly be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers —to know ourselves and others as peaceful, complete, and whole.

    Fun


    I am infinitely intrigued by astronomy. I spend hours reading and watching YouTube clips about stars, moons, other planets and interstellar travel!  In my opinion, 24, the original TV series, is the greatest show ever! I typically won’t watch a movie in its entirety more than once, but, I watch my favorite scenes over and over again.  Speaking of doing things repeatedly, I’ve read The Alchemist more times than I can count — speaking of books, I buy more books than I read. I plan to read them all one day.  I also enjoy sending and receiving hilarious GIFs.

  • MELISSA EMMAL
    MELISSA EMMAL
    Director of Training
    Bio

    Melissa Emmal is the Director of Training at Alteristic. She provides training and technical assistance in power-based personal violence prevention and contributes to curriculum development. A native Alaskan with 14+ years of experience working to prevent and intervene against interpersonal violence, she was previously the Deputy Director at Alaska’s largest provider of domestic violence intervention and prevention services, Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis. From 2012 to 2015, Melissa took a leadership role in Alaska’s statewide implementation of the Green Dot initiative.

    See Melissa in action!

    Quote

    I believe that most people are fundamentally good and want the people around them to be safe and fulfilled. I believe that people will step into that place if they are met with kindness and non-judgment about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I believe that my most important contribution to making the world a safer place for me and my family is by building positive relationships and connections with people who have different thoughts and beliefs.

    Fun

    I am first and foremost an Alaskan at heart. Alaska is known as “the last frontier,” and I grew up with adventure and exploration at the heart of my family. I was raised to believe I could do anything I put my mind to and that humor is often the best medicine (my laugh can be heard a mile away). I am the youngest of 9 children, many of whom are also working toward making the world a better place as nurses, teachers, lawyers, or social workers. I love to read and, most importantly, love all things Harry Potter.

  • LaVonne Pepe
    LaVonne Pepe
    Senior Trainer
    Bio


    LaVonne is a Senior Trainer at Alteristic. She earned her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, and BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland. Most recently, prior to joining the Alteristic team, she worked in higher education, instructing peer educators and educating the campus on power-based violence. LaVonne is particularly passionate about connecting prevention efforts to wellness and identifying how we can best support the overall well-being of ourselves and others.  LaVonne grew up a military brat, but she claims the DC-Maryland-Virgina (DMV) area as home.

    Quote


    Every day I strive to be unapologetically comfortable with my authentic self. I remind myself that everyone has a purpose, and I tell myself that I am purposed to surround myself with people who will help me change the world.  I do this work because whether they know it or not, everyone I know has been impacted by power-based personal violence.  Change is hard, uncomfortable, and sometimes ugly, but we’re moving in the right direction. This is an active journey; we cannot get there passively. I am proud to contribute to the work that will make this world safer and more inclusive for everyone.

    Fun


    I have fully embraced being Type A, adorkable and sassy. I’m terrible at small talk and missed the boat for online dating so writing about my likes and dislikes is a skillset I’m missing. Luckily, I’m really good at rambling so to know me is to know: Anxiety (this is my baseline, it’s not you, it’s me), Virgo (see Type A), Loud 90s Music (“adulting” is living for the throwback Thursday Spotify), Harry Potter (7 books of life lessons), & beach days fix most things. I love to end the day talking to my partner and look forward to when I can re-write this to say my partner…and my puppy.

  • MARIGAIL SEXTON
    MARIGAIL SEXTON
    Director of Strategic Partnerships
    Bio

    Marigail Sexton is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Alteristic. She has worked with the organization since its inception as Green Dot, etc. Inc. Marigail holds a Bachelor’s in Communications and a Master’s in Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation from the University of Kentucky. Previous professional experience includes serving as the Executive Director of the KY Association of Sexual Assault Programs and work with the KY Governor’s Office of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Services, the UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

    Quote

    My mantra is “be kind and do good.” I try hard to live by it every day. I believe that kindness is the way to peace and happiness. I’m dedicated to doing good work. Work that doesn’t just make me feel good about doing it, but work that is effective and creates real change. We have the power to create a world without violence that is as good as it can be for everyone. I’ve see what happens when people are filled with a vision of a kind world and given the tools to do good work. It’s magical.

    Fun

    I’m goofy and geeky. I love cooking classes, disco dancing and find a great amount of pleasure in the “60 Second Fold of the Week” videos on YouTube (check it out!). I’m the kind of person who will dress up like a zombie and do “Thriller” down Main Street on Halloween. I find anything/anyone out of the mainstream interesting and good for my mind and soul. I live a fair amount of my life in the slow lane, however, I love doing yoga, playing tennis, hiking, hangin’ with my fabo kids and hubby, and having fun with friends (especially if it involves disco dancing!).

  • SALEM SOLOMON
    SALEM SOLOMON
    Senior Finance and Administration Coordinator
    Bio


    Salem is the Finance and Administration Coordinator at Alteristic. Salem has a BA in International Studies with a concentration on Social Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her role at Alteristic is integral in making sure the organizations’ day-to-day and logistical functions run smoothly. She coordinates training materials, manages training and event logistics and assists with database management. She also coordinates Green Dot Institutes and directs relevant information as needed.

    Quote


    I believe in a better world. I believe there is good in humanity. I would have no reason to get out of bed otherwise. I believe, with every fiber of my being, that we create the world we want and seeing the dedicated social justice warriors around the globe, as well as my co-workers who work tirelessly to eliminate power-based personal violence, inspires me to get up every morning and try. Try to work towards a brighter future where violence is non-existent. Ultimately, I want to make sure I leave good in the world…long after I’m gone.

    Fun


    I thoroughly enjoy binging on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu…you name it. I love the water and looking up at the sky. I love people that laugh and can make me laugh. I enjoy live concerts, food (!!) and spending time with people that I love. I’m very much so a Spring baby and love warm weather and beautiful flowers (even though I’m miserable half the time cause of pollen allergy).  I find myself day dreaming about all the beautiful places around the world I have yet to see. I hope one day I can break some world record for how many countries I have been to, so here’s to 5…and counting

  • Jessy Lyons
    Jessy Lyons
    Assistant Director, Research and Program Development
    Bio


    Jessy provides leadership for Senior trainers, contributes to developing Alteristic’s research-informed programs, and specializes in bridging theory to practice in prevention strategy. Prior to joining Alteristic, Jessy worked at the community level training professionals, leading collaborative initiatives, and building prevention capacity. She is a former domestic violence program director skilled in both prevention and response. Jessy holds an MA in Gender Studies from the University of Louisville.

    Quote


    I believe in our fundamental human ability to create the world in which we want to live and I want to live in one where violence is anomalous, not inevitable. Violence is an injustice that strikes at the very core of our beings, our relationships, and our communities. I believe the effort to prevent violence and harassment is one of the great social movements of our day. Given our pervasive connection to this issue, the strength of our humaneness, and the power of our collective moments to shift norms, there is no reason to think we cannot make outrageous rates of violence a thing of the past.

    Fun


    I am a passionate woman trying to change the world while also making sure my kid occasionally eats something besides peanut butter & jelly. I am an east-coaster with a mid-western soul. My heroes include Lisa Simpson, Thurgood Marshall, General Leia Organa, Mary Daly, and Leslie Knope. I am unapologetic about my aversion to hiking and defense of the Oxford comma. Things I like include baking, karaoke, and the Beatles. Quick shout-out to my awesome parents, ruggedly handsome husband, and the five other people who actually read this.

  • DARCIE FOLSOM
    DARCIE FOLSOM
    Assistant Director, Training and Technical Assistance
    Bio

    Darcie discovered her passion for violence prevention as an undergraduate student at the University of Rhode Island, and has been in the field ever since. She worked as the Community Educ. & Involvement Coord. and Advocate at Safe Futures in New London, CT and sat on multiple statewide task forces with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Most recently, Darcie was the Dir. of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy at Connecticut College, which was one of the first colleges to implement Green Dot. She also coordinated the DOJ Campus Grant there and was an Adjunct Instructor.

    Quote

    I believe that we can absolutely reduce the instances of power-based personal violence. When people are empowered and believe in themselves and their community, amazing things can happen and ending violence is no different. This work isn’t about one person but the collective moments from all of us that will continue to create true culture change.

    Fun

    I’m a firm believer in a positive attitude and not taking life too seriously (although I’m terrible about taking my own advice). I unapologetically call my dogs “my kids” and I overshare pictures of them on social media. Snow skiing, being barefoot, and wine are some of my favorite things and there’s nothing better than driving around with the windows down and the music up on a warm, sunny day. As a native Mainer, I love lobster and I know that the ocean is some of the very best medicine. And my husband and family are pretty awesome too.

  • GAIL SCHOOLFIELD
    GAIL SCHOOLFIELD
    Executive Assistant
    Bio

    Gail Schoolfield is the Executive Assistant at Alteristic. She provides direct support for the President, including scheduling, travel, communications, and coordination of daily operations of the President’s office. She has a degree in English (writing) from George Mason University. Prior to coming to Alteristic, she worked in the publishing industry for 35 years.

    Quote

    I work with an incredible group of committed professionals who are determined to reduce violence by intervention and prevention in our community. I work to ease the tasks of the President so she can concentrate on what she does best – and not worry about the daily administrative details of the office.

    Fun

    I am NOT a public speaker, and am very happy working behind the scenes. I have been married for 35 years, have two great, adult kids, and we are adjusting to being “empty nesters”. I’m so happy this writing assignment is completed!