Meet Our Amazing CHS Team
Chief Executive Officer
Nadine enjoys many strong connections to CHS. She is a CHS adoptive parent, former member of the CHS Board of Directors, and attorney who provided legal counsel to families adopting through the agency. Prior to joining the CHS staff, she served as the Executive Director of Volunteer Emergency Families for Children (VEFC). Before working at VEFC, she practiced law at Hill, Tucker & Marsh Law Firm. Nadine has also served on several nonprofit boards, including the National Network for Youth Policy Council, the Mid Atlantic Network for Youth (MANY), the Old Dominion Bar Association, and Richmond Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
Nadine has also served on the alumni associations for both the University of Richmond and the T.C. Williams School of Law. Nadine has been a presenter at the National Network for Youth Symposium in Washington D.C., the Business Women’s Network Leadership Summit, the National Host Homes Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.
Best part of my job: Seeing the smiles on the faces of the families we create
Favorite color: Teal
Favorite magazine: National Geographic
Someday I want to: Visit Hawaii and Tahiti
Favorite children’s book: The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
Why I chose to work for CHS: Because I am passionate about the mission and I am energized everyday by having the opportunity to tell the CHS story.
Chief Operating Officer
Dale joined CHS in January 2014. She has spent the majority of her career working with nonprofit organizations. Her focus has been helping nonprofits increase their program impact and improve their financial health. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work, a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and a Certificate in Fund Development. Dale is a strong advocate of the importance of strategic management and performance measurement. She has worked as a Social Worker, Program Manager, Deputy Director, Interim Executive Director, and Organizational Development Consultant in the nonprofit sector.
Best part of my job: Working for an organization with such a great purpose/mission
Favorite movie: The Muppets
Favorite magazine: Cooks Illustrated
My pet is: I have four – 2 great dogs and 2 great cats who are very loving and have lots of personality
Someday I want to: Have a farm for animals who need help/rescue
Dream vacation: Rainforest in Costa Rica
Favorite family activity: Taking an outdoor hike together
Chief Programs Officer
Laura is a licensed clinical social worker with more than twenty years of experience. In the past, she supervised the independent living program in Baltimore County’s Department of Social Services, worked in medical social work, as well as in private practice. She joined CHS in October 1999 to work with the foster care adoption program. Today, Laura supervises all of the programming at CHS. Laura is a Certified Trauma Practitioner and a TBRI Educator.
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite ice cream: Anything chocolate
My pet is: My sweet dog Macy
Favorite magazine: Southern Living
Favorite family activity: Being together and doing anything with my husband and best buddies (my boys)
Why I chose to work as a social worker: Because at CHS, we truly care about families
Chief Advancement Officer
Bruin joined CHS in July of 2016. An attorney by training, he comes to CHS straight from serving as Interim Executive Director of the Maymont Foundation, where he was a former President-Elect of the Board and Chair of the Development Committee. Prior to serving at Maymont, Bruin was a litigator at several Firms in the Richmond area including Hunton & Williams and LeClairRyan. Bruin has served on several non-profit Boards including Maymont, East District Family Resource Center and the Vestry of St. Mary’s Church, Goochland.
Bruin is delighted to help support the great work being done by CHS and works closely with donors to match their interests to the needs being met by CHS. He holds a BA in Politics from Washington & Lee University and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School.
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Oysters
Dream vacation: Several weeks in the National Parks
Favorite family activity: Grilling on the back deck
Favorite spot in Richmond: Maymont’s Italian Garden when the tulips are blooming
Why I chose to work in Development: Because by raising money I can help my colleagues at CHS change lives
Chief Marketing Officer
Dave has led marketing and branding efforts for non-profit and human services organizations for twenty years, and joined Children’s Home Society of Virginia in July of 2016. A Richmond, Virginia native, Dave started his career in advertising as a creative director and account manager, and where he first developed a national television and advertising campaign for Special Olympics International. Dave owned and operated Martin Branding for ten years, where he focused on the non-profit industry with branding work for Family Lifeline, Family Matters of Greater Washington, Virginia Home for Boys and Girls, Boy Scouts of America, and the Children’s Home Society of Virginia. Before joining CHS full time, Dave served as the marketing director for Infian, a medical technology company, and partnered at BizConX, a sales and marketing consulting firm. Dave served on the advisory board for the Children’s Home Society of Virginia, as well as the University of Richmond Institute of Philanthropy, Boy Scouts of America/Heart of Virginia Council, CapUp and the Byrd Theatre Foundation.
Favorite ice cream: Mint chocolate chip
Someday I want to: Take a year off to travel
Favorite sport: Lacrosse
My happy place is: My sectional sofa in my TV room
Favorite family activity: Game night at home
Why I chose to work in marketing: I hope to improve people’s lives by generating awareness and creating opportunities for growth and success
DEBRA A. WILSON
Infant Program Manager
Debra joined Children’s Home Society of Virginia in November 2006 as the Child Placing Supervisor. Prior to joining CHS, she worked at Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia, Inc. from 1994 to 2006, first as a social worker and then as the Director of Child Welfare. In addition, Debra was employed by New York Foundling Hospital in New York City for 14 years as an adoption social worker, supervisor, and Director of the Adoption Unit. Debra is also a member of ADOPT – Adoption, Development, Outreach, Planning Team – a voluntary child advocacy group committed to promoting and assuring the right of Virginia’s children to have permanent homes.
The best part my job is: Placing an infant in an adoptive home knowing that baby is going to have many more opportunities in life to succeed.
Favorite cereal: Honey Nut Cheerios
Favorite movie: Happy Feet
Favorite pizza topping: Extra cheese and sausage
Dream vacation: Cruise to Hawaii
Favorite family activity: Taking my grandson to the Bounce House and train shows
Foster Care Adoption Program Manager
Laura first became involved with Children’s Home Society in September 2011 as a social work student intern. During this time, she helped prepare families to adopt children from foster care and worked diligently to meet the needs of adult adoptees. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2012 with a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work, Laura joined the Foster Care Adoption team full-time. Laura is a Certified Trauma Practitioner and a TBRI educator.
Favorite color: Green
Favorite snack: Chips and salsa
Favorite movie: The Lord of the Rings series
Dream vacation: Visiting Italy and Greece
Favorite children’s book: The Phantom Tollbooth
Why I chose to be a social worker: I love teaching and encouraging families as they look forward to an adoption
Post-Adoption Program Manager
Sara is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.S. in Psychology and a Minor in Family Studies. After graduation, she spent a year volunteering in Americorps’ NCCC program and during this time solidified her wish to become a social worker. Sara then attended VCU’s Master’s of Social Work program, from which she graduated in 2010 and was awarded the VCU School of Social Work 2010 Service Award. Sara pursued a career in medical social work and later worked as a therapist for children and teenagers who have experienced acute trauma. Sara joined CHS as a social worker with the Foster Care Adoption team in 2014 and then moved to lead the Post-Adoption Program in 2015.
I collect: Postcards from wherever I travel, the cheesier the better
Favorite ice cream: Vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles
Favorite magazine: Real Simple
My happy place is: Bethany Beach, Delaware… I’ve been vacationing there with the same friend for over 10 years
Favorite spot in Richmond: Kayaking on the James
Why I chose to be a social worker: The need for people to adopt children from foster care is great and there is so much that is misunderstood about adoption and foster care. I wanted to help those who have an interest in adoption break things down and meet their goals.
DIEHDRE J. GREGORY
The Possibilities Project Program Manager
Diehdre joined CHS in 2017 as manager of The Possibilities Project. She brings over seventeen years of experience working to serve children and families in Richmond City and surrounding counties. She began her career in the mental health field working directly with at-risk teens in a residential setting. Over time, Diehdre effectively utilized her knowledge and skills to develop and manage many successful therapeutic programs throughout RVA while strengthening communities along the way. However, Diehdre’s most proud of the numerous children, families, and professionals in the field that have been able to reach their own levels of success based on the advocacy and training provided by programs under her leadership. In addition to her undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and Behavioral Science, Diehdre also holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Professional Clinical Counseling.
The best part of my job is: Seeing individuals reach their goals.
My pet is: My sweet dog, Zoe.
Favorite magazine: Essence Magazine
My happy place is: My hometown of Hampton Roads, VA
Why I chose to work as a Program Manager: I enjoy developing programs that will improve communities and help “level the playing field” for individuals and families who need the extra assistance. My goal is to continue building effective therapeutic programs that will be advantageous long after I’m retired.
Special Projects Manager
Lavinia joined CHS in September 2015 as manager of The Possibilities Project, a new program offering housing and services to youth who have aged out of foster care. She has devoted most of her career to organizations that serve young people, advance their opportunities, and support their education and growth. Prior to joining CHS, she worked in strategic planning and marketing in Washington, D.C. as well as social entrepreneurship in Mexico City. Before that, she directed a coalition of youth-serving organizations, ran her own successful tutoring and tutoring consulting organization, and managed several tutoring centers in South Carolina. Lavinia has a master’s in international business from the University of South Carolina and bachelor degrees in English and French & International Trade from Clemson University.
My happy place is: The dusty, colorful streets and lively beaches of Sayulita, Mexico
Favorite children’s book: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Favorite ice cream: Pralines and Cream
Favorite spot in Richmond: The swimming hole and diving rock just across from the pipeline
Favorite family activity: Traveling and exploring the world together
Why I chose to work as manager of The Possibilities Project: I am passionate about helping young people develop their talents, skills, and abilities to build thriving, happy lives.
Beverly joined CHS in October 1969 as the fund clerk. In that position, she kept track of donor lists and handled the mailing of our direct mail appeals. At the time, records were kept on small cards in a file cabinet and the addressing of envelopes was done by an antique Addressograph. In 1987, Beverly became secretary/registrar and was responsible for providing secretarial services to our social workers. She was also responsible for the legal work necessary to finalize adoptions. She was named executive administrative assistant in October 2006 and provided administrative support to the management team, social workers and the board. Most recently, Beverly was promoted to Office Manager in 2015.
The best part of my job is: That we are like a family
Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite movie: Overboard
Someday I want to: Win the lottery
Favorite pizza topping: Green olives
My happy place is: Myrtle Beach
Favorite family activity: Christmas night at my house
Wendy's Wonderful Kids Recruiter
Krista graduated from Mary Baldwin College in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in child psychology. After graduation, she worked as a kindergarten teacher and then a Head Start teacher. Krista then became interested in child welfare and took a position as a family stabilization worker with the Richmond Department of Social Services. Before joining CHS in August 2009, Krista was a child mental health family case manager with Richmond Behavioral Health Authority. As the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter, Krista focuses her efforts on finding permanent families for children in foster care.
The best part of my job is: Getting to spend time with kids
Favorite snack: Chex Mix
Favorite movie: When Harry Met Sally
Favorite magazine: VegNews
Someday I want to: Skydive!
My happy place is: At home with my husband and son
Favorite spot in Richmond: Maymont
Marny grew up in Arlington. She has a BFA from the VCU School of the Arts in Communication Arts and Design. When her husband was offered a job in Los Angeles, they lived the California adventure until family ties beckoned and they moved back to Richmond. Marny has worked as a visual merchandising manager, folk arts coordinator for the City of L. A. Cultural Affairs, registrar for a costume museum, and curator for a regional history museum. Working in the museum field she discovered her knack for fundraising and grant writing. She then asked herself the question: “What good are the arts if one child is in need?” and so took a position in fundraising at a congregate care home for children. She later worked at Virginians for the Arts and the Museum of the Confederacy. Marny has now answered her question with her position of Development Officer at CHS. At the end of the day, after knowing that there is hope for these kids, Marny can work on her art.
The best part of my job is: Seeing how generous our donors are and hearing about an adoption
Favorite family activity: A big dinner with all the relatives
Favorite movie: It’s a tie between Gone with the Wind and Edward Scissorhands
Favorite sport: Kayaking
My happy place is: At my drawing table
Favorite pizza topping: Anchovies, but nobody will let me order it
Outreach and Training Specialist
Lauren joined CHSVA in 2015 as the Outreach and Training Specialist. Lauren has a Masters Degree in Social Work from VCU and has previously worked for the department of social services and in private foster care. Lauren is an active member in the Trauma Informed Community Network and is a certified TBRI Educator. Lauren is pleased to share her passion for children through her outreach and advocacy work on behalf of the agency.
My favorite color: Yellow
Favorite ice cream: Cookies and cream
My pet is: A destructive but sweet beagle mix named Baxter
Someday I want to: Travel to Egypt and stand next to a pyramid
My happy place is: Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore
Why I choose to work as the Outreach and Training Specialist: I enjoy working with and educating others to help children to achieve permanency and stability within a loving family.
Foster Care Adoption Social Worker
Emily graduated from Grove City College in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduation, she moved to China and worked as an English and Special Education teacher at a foster home as she prepared children for adoption. Through her work overseas, Emily became passionate about foster care and adoption. She attended Virginia Commonwealth University for her Master’s of Social Work degree and gained experience working with international foster care, child protective services, and refugee resettlement. After graduating, Emily joined the Foster Care Adoption team at CHS in 2015. Emily is a Certified Trauma Practitioner.
Favorite color: Turquoise
Favorite snack: Smoothies
Favorite movie: Les Miserables
Someday I want to: Travel throughout Asia
Favorite spot in Richmond: Belle Isle
Why I chose to be a social worker: I love working on behalf of children and families to help create positive change and achieve permanency.
The Possibilities Project Case Manager
Kristen began working at CHS in February 2016 as the Case Manager for The Possibilities Project, a new program connecting young people who have aged out of the foster care system to housing and services. Kristen has worked with children, teens and families involved with the foster care system for the past 8 years in both South Carolina and Virginia. Kristen began her work in foster care as a residential counselor and teacher in several group and congregate care homes in South Carolina. She later worked as a mentor with teens and as a foster care social worker for the Charlottesville City Department of Social Services. Kristen received her B.A. in Sociology in 2008 from Coastal Carolina University and eventually went on to get her M.S.W from the University of Southern California in 2012.
Favorite color: Red
Favorite ice cream: Mississippi Mudd
My pets are: 2 cats named Marley and Mochi
Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni
Favorite children’s book: The Big Friendly Giant
The best part of my job is: Helping my clients find their voice, explore their potential and talents, and use those things to achieve their goals
The Possibilities Project Independence Coordinator
Prior to joining the CHS team, Kim spent 20 years working in the education field, in both public and private school settings. During this time, she felt the need to obtain a Master’s degree in Counseling to further assist parents and children in building strong families. Kim then worked with youth and families through Intensive In-Home counseling and as a Therapeutic Foster Care case manager, providing therapeutic interventions for foster families. Kim is excited to continue helping young people achieve stability in their lives in her role at CHS.
The best part of my job is: Observing the resiliency that young people exhibit through tough situations
Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite snack: Any type of crackers
Favorite family activity: Traveling to different places and/or playing games with the whole family
Dream vacation: A European cruise!
Post Adoption Social Worker
Amy is a licensed clinical social worker with a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a wide range of clinical and scholarly experience working with children and families who have experienced trauma including direct practice, supervision, program development, social work education, international/cross-cultural initiatives, and community-based research. With a concentration in working with trauma exposed youth and families involved in the Child Welfare system, she recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress at Duke University, honing her expertise in trauma-informed best practices. Shortly thereafter she joined CHS and completed training in the Trust Based Relationship Intervention (TBRI) model and is a TBRI practitioner. Her focus continues to be improving permanency for youth and families.
I collect: Interesting-looking, eye-catching rocks
Favorite color: Teal
Favorite snack: Soft Pretzels
My happy place is: Hiking in the mountains
Favorite sport: Horseback riding
Favorite family activity: Holiday gatherings, cooking, eating and celebrating together
Why I chose to work as a social worker: To help strengthen kids, families, and communities