Heather, a career nonprofit leader and social justice activist, joined Allies for Every Child in 2010 because of her commitment to changing outcomes for children in foster care.
Inspired by staff who combat social inequality and prioritize underserved communities with heart and skill, she has led an agency cultural transformation, instilling adherence to high expectations and a practice of continual reflection on mission advancement. During her tenure, she also transformed the financial health of the agency while also aligning programs with best practices. In particular, she has prioritized the development of strong clinical supports, instituting cross-agency roles to address the deep (and largely unfunded) needs of children and families across early education and child welfare populations who often face comparable patterns of risk factors. Heather and her team brought Allies for Every Child through the economic downturn better and stronger, growing the agency by 84% and earning accreditations from the Council on Accreditation and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The urgency behind Allies’ mission—anchored by the understanding that unmitigated childhood trauma can shape children’s futures—became even more pronounced as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Los Angeles and disproportionately impacted low-income families. Under Heather’s direction, Allies quickly adapted its service model and never ceased operations.
Prior to her work at Allies, Heather was the COO of the ACLU of Southern California where she spent 12 years advancing social justice causes. During her time there, the affiliate led groundbreaking advocacy efforts through landmark cases in: criminal defendants’ rights; poverty law and homelessness; immigrants’ rights; racial, gender, class and sexual orientation discrimination; education; and foster care.
Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Heather attended Princeton University. She moved to Inglewood, California as part of the inaugural class of Teach for America and graduated with a law degree from Southwestern University.