Our Team, Board and Partners

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Annette Oltmans

Founder, Chairman of the Board

Annette Oltmans is a philanthropist and passionate human rights advocate. She currently serves on the Board for Pepperdine’s Boone Center for the Family. She is a survivor of covert abuse, especially the kind of secondary abuse and group abuse that emerges via patriarchy emboldening the perpetrators. The uncommon conclusion to Annette’s story is that when her husband was appropriately confronted and held firmly accountable, he was able, over time, to make significant changes in his thinking patterns and actively work to restore their marriage. In 2016, Annette founded The MEND Project out of her personal experiences of recovery and extensive research into the topics of abuse and trauma. Annette’s passion is in providing information to religious, institutional and support communities regarding covert abuse and the correlation between unconscious and conscious patriarchy, the abuse it fosters and the liability it creates.

Johanna Tropiano

Co-Founder, Executive Director

Johanna Tropiano has spent the last eight years working with International Justice Mission and other organizations on justice related human rights issues, such as human trafficking, violence towards women and children, and police brutality. She is a survivor of domestic violence and Double Abuse from friends, family members, and church leaders who refused to believe her cries for help and emboldened her Alleged Perpetrator. As a result, Johanna is a passionate advocate for those who have no voice. Her work has been published in multiple media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Darling Magazine, The Girl Who Knows, The Yellow Conference, Holl and Lane, and others. In 2016, she co-founded the The MEND Project with Annette Oltmans.

Kelsie Snowden

Director of Administration

Even before graduating from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Kelsie Snowden had spent several years holding administrative roles in a variety of industries. However, her compassionate spirit sparked in her a devotion to non-profit and missions work. And now, with almost 12 years of experience, she takes on the role of Director of Administration for The MEND Project. Joining the team in the beginning of 2017, Kelsie puts her talents to use for a cause that she is incredibly passionate about and that is very close to her heart.

BOARD and ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

Bill Clark

Chief of Strategy and Staff, Fuller Theological Seminary

Bill Clark stepped into the newly created position of chief of strategy and staff as of November 1, 2015. The appointment came after he had worked for five months with the Fuller Foundation, serving as director of donor-advised funds and expanding its client base. During this time he also served as a strategy consultant for the seminary.

Prior to Bill’s joining the Fuller community, he worked for nine years at International Justice Mission (IJM), where he served as a vice president and as a senior vice president in the areas of mobilization and organizational development. In those roles, he pioneered a mobilization strategy leading to the recruitment of thousands of prayer partners, policy advocates, church leaders, and donors who propelled IJM from an emerging start-up to the largest global organization providing rescue and justice for the oppressed. As part of the mobilization strategy, Bill recruited and led a world-class fundraising team raising $195 million in seven years. Bill also served on the President’s Council, providing direction on all aspects of the IJM mission and leading department heads in the development of multi-year strategic plans. Prior to joining IJM, Bill worked as a senior manager for a software company providing leadership for process improvement.

Bill was led to faith through the ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and after earning his bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Irvine, served as a team leader with InterVarsity for six years. During his time in college ministry Bill spent two summers in Northwest Pasadena working with and learning from John Perkins at Harambee Center, which serves the local community through youth leadership development. He has since served on the preaching team at Newsong Community Church in Irvine. Bill has been married to his wife, Joy, for 19 years, and they have two daughters.

Haley Smith

Regional Representative, Hope International

Born and raised in East Texas, Haley Smith is a graduate of Baylor University and Fuller Theological Seminary with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry. She worked for a strategic fundraising agency for four years in Dallas and in 2012 left her home in Texas and moved to Pasadena, California to pursue her theological education while working full-time for the Fuller Youth Institute, a research center focused on providing resources for leaders, churches and families. Now fully converted to the beauty of the west coast Haley serves as the Regional Representative for HOPE International in Los Angeles, Arizona and Nevada. Her role is to gather people around the mission of HOPE and the desire to see entire communities flourish through the blessing of good work. Haley lives with three of her good friends in the Hollywood Hills and is an avid reader, eater and reality TV watcher.

Kylie Schuyler, PhD

Founder, Global G.L.O.W.

MomX7. Original Global Girl – traveling, learning, feeling inspired and grateful. Passionate promoter of girls worldwide: strong, educated girls will transform the world! Advocate for the power of mentoring. Proponent of positive psychology. Entrepreneuse Social at california-bliss.com.

Jeffrey R. Baker, J.D.

Director of Clinical Education and Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law
Advisory Board: TheMENDProject

Professor Baker is the School of Law’s Director of Clinical Education and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Law. He directs the clinical program which includes the legal clinics, externships and practicum courses. He supervises and teaches the Community Justice Clinic, and he serves as the school’s pro bono director.

In the Community Justice Clinic, Professor Baker practices with law students to provide pro bono legal services to local nonprofits and international nongovernmental organization dedicated to justice, human rights, and community empowerment among vulnerable and marginalized populations. The Clinic serves clients at work in fields of homelessness and poverty, gender-based crimes and women’s empowerment, sustainable agriculture and rainforest conservation, human trafficking and access to education, farm-worker rights and access to justice.

Professor Baker graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School before returning to his home state of Mississippi where he had a diverse trial and appellate practice in health care, mass tort, products liability, pharmaceutical liability, medical malpractice, insurance, toxic tort and personal injury litigation with the firm of Watkins & Eager. From 2006-2013, Baker was an associate professor of law and Director of Clinical Programs at Faulkner University Jones School of Law in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was Professor of the Year in 2011-2012. At Faulkner Law, Professor Baker taught the Family Violence Clinic, designed and launched the Elder Law Clinic, and supervised and taught the Externship Program, among other courses. Professor Baker is a mediator, and coached Faulkner Law’s national championship teams in the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition.

His scholarship addresses domestic violence and gender justice in families, including intersecting fields of moral philosophy, religion, legal history, social science, and multidisciplinary professional responses. Professor Baker speaks and writes regularly on clinical education, professional formation, public interest lawyering and social justice. He also edits the Clinical Law Prof Blog and is actively involved with the Clinical Legal Education Association and the Section on Clinical Legal Education of the Association of American Law Schools.

In Alabama, he received the Montgomery Advertiser’s Martin Luther King Spirit Honors Award and the Justice for Victims Award from the area domestic violence shelter. He has served as co-chair of the Montgomery County Task Force on Domestic Violence, on the Pro Bono Task Force for the Alabama State Bar, and on organizing committees for the One Place Family Justice Center. He also is an honorary member of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.

In California, he serves on the boards of nonprofits committed to access to justice and health care in vulnerable international communities. He is actively involved in church, local public schools, and youth sports.

He is a member of the Mississippi, Alabama and California bars.

Jackie Leslie

Dedicated traveler, adventurer, river rafter and one time van dweller. Current RV’er, wife and literature nerd. Jackie Leslie is an early observer of the pain and destruction families experience in the grip of abuse, developing from youth a desire to work with and for women. This is Jackie’s first board appointment. She is honored to be a part of The MEND Project, where her passions are given the opportunity to serve in a real life application.

CONSULTANTS

Gwyneth Kerr Erwin, Ph.D., Psy.D.

Gwyneth Kerr Erwin, Ph.D., Psy.D., is a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst in private practice in southern California, working with adults, couples, families, adolescents, and children.  Her areas of expertise include infant and child development, the repercussions of trauma upon development and its assessment and treatment, unresolved trauma and its assessment and treatment, and the use of creativity in the healing process.

She is the Past President of the Newport Center for Psychoanalytic Studies and its Training Division, the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute, and its Board of Directors. In addition to being a Faculty member at NPI, ICP, and LAISPS, she is an active keynote and contributing presenter at conferences.  She is a Member of the Newport Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, The Association for Autonomous Psychoanalytic Institutes, the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education, and the American Counseling Association.  As a professional writer, book doctor, and editor of twenty-five years, she conducts private professional writing groups and is a dissertation consultant.

Dr. David Hawkins – MBA, MSW, MA, PhD

Dr. Hawkins is a Christian Clinical Psychologist who is a speaker for the American Association of Christian Counselors and has been writing an Advice Column for Crosswalk.com and CBN.org for several years and is now writing for Believe.com. He is a weekly guest on Moody Radio and Faith Radio and is the author of over thirty books. He is happily married to Christie, an Interior Designer, and lives on Bainbridge Island, outside Seattle.

PARTNERS