Meet Our Amazing CHS Team
President & CEO
Krystal is a human service professional with many years of experience in the nonprofit, for-profit, and public arenas. She has experience in program development and implementation, grant writing, fundraising, strategic planning, budgeting, regulatory compliance, and human resource management.
She was previously CEO with New River Community Action, State Director with Family Preservation Services, Executive Director for the Brain Injury Services of SWVA, and Chief Operating Officer at Commonwealth Catholic Charities. In the 1990s, Krystal worked as a social worker in the CHSVA Roanoke office.
Krystal has a Master of Arts in Counseling Education and Student Personnel Services and a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Child Development from Virginia Tech. She also has a Certification in Mission-Based Leadership and Organization Development from the University of Notre Dame and Catholic Charities USA. Krystal has served in multiple board leadership and volunteer roles in her community.
Krystal grew up on an Angus cattle farm in Craig County VA (no stoplight in Craig back then and no stoplight now). Her love for animals, especially horses and dogs, started there. She enjoys Hokie basketball, music, traveling, riding horses, sports, and almost anything outdoors and adventurous. She also loves spending time with her two absolutely delightful adult daughters, Izabelle and Olivia, and her dogs, Knox and Mia.
Pets: Knox – 90 lbs. of Goldendoodle and Mia – American Staffordshire Terrier
Favorite sports team: VT
Favorite candy: Anything chocolate.
Favorite singer: Chris Stapleton
My hobbies: Horses and walking my dogs
My happy place is… Anywhere with my kids
Krystal may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 260
Chief Programs Officer
Tory joined CHS in July of 2021. She has worked for over 18 years to support youth and families in the community and began her service working in group homes and residential settings. For close to a decade, she was employed at a community services board and continued to provide mental health work and leadership in day treatment, adult case management, and crisis services. Tory found her passion for foster care and adoption while working at a local child placing agency. In this capacity, Tory realized the importance of advocacy and appropriate community services that were able to meet the needs of families. For the last 7 years, Tory was able to supervise many programs and services including; Treatment Foster Care, Intensive Care Coordination, Integrated Behavioral Health, Intensive Recruitment, and Clinical Support Services.
Tory holds a BA in Sociology from Christopher Newport University and M.Ed. in Community Counseling from VA State University. Tory’s greatest goal is to improve services and permanency rates for youth and families and she believes this can be achieved by increasing collaborative efforts, empowering youth and families to have a voice in their journeys, and approaching each family with the same energy and passion that called us to this amazing work.
The best part of my job is: seeing youth and families beat the odds and remind us all of what resiliency really looks like
My pet is: Remington (Remi) a 3 year old big and beautiful boxer boy
Favorite children’s book: The Poky Little Puppy
Favorite cereal: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes
Favorite color: Royal Blue
Why I chose to work as a Programs Officer: I have always been passionate about being a part of a collaborative team to support youth and families in their journey towards permanency and healing. I believe that the best gift that we can give to our community and ourselves is a generation of healed, connected and resilient families.
Tory may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 190
Post Adoption Program Manager
Amber joined CHSVA in August 2022. She began her career in the field almost 10 years ago, working with children and families in a variety of positions in the local area. Throughout her career, Amber has worked in Therapeutic Day Treatment in Richmond Public Schools, residential settings, and in foster care and adoption. She was most recently the Community Based Services Supervisor at a local non-profit agency, overseeing the therapeutic foster care program and helping to support high-risk children in achieving permanency. Amber found her passion for foster care and adoption over the last several years and wishes to continue these efforts in post-adoption. She holds BA in Social Work from Norfolk State University and a M. Ed in Counselor Education from Virginial Commonwealth University. Amber is also a certified practitioner in Collaborative Problem Solving through Think:Kids.
Best part of my job: Seeing children achieve permanency
I collect: Indoor plants!
My happy place is: Near the water
Someday I want to: Teach a terrarium making class
Favorite children’s book: The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
Why I chose to work as a Program Manager: I chose this field because I have a passion for working with children, and those who support children and their healing. My mother was a foster parent when I was a child, and I watched children transition in and out of our home regularly. I chose to work in this field to make an impact on children and families involved in the foster care system and wish to continue supporting them in their post-adoption journey through this role
Strategic Projects Social Worker
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
Foster Care & Adoption Program Manager
Justina is a native of Sacramento, California. She completed her undergraduate studies at Simpson University in Redding, CA and received her Master of Social Work degree from California State University, Sacramento. Justina is an experienced human service professional who has spent the bulk of her career providing clinical case management services to child welfare involved children and families, at-risk transitional age youth, probation youth and kinship care providers. Since relocating to VA a year ago, Justina has worked as an adjunct professor at VCU and also provided services as a hospital social worker at a local facility. Justina brings a wealth of knowledge from the “trenches” of social work as well as a driving passion for connecting children with permanent families.
The best part of my job is: Uniting children with loving, permanent families
My dream vacation: Europe – France, Spain and Italy
I collect: Magnets from the places I visit
Favorite children’s book: Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Someday I want to: Write a book
Justina may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 290
Foster Care & Adoption Social Worker
Connie graduated from VCU’s Master of Social Work program in 2019, after a ten-year career in marketing, to pursue her passion for making a positive impact in the lives of others. Since earning her Master’s, Connie has been helping youth in foster care find their forever homes and guiding prospective adoptive parents as they navigate the logistical requirements of adoption. Connie is an advocate for children who need a safe and loving home and for parents who are looking to expand their family by accepting a child (or children) into their household and caring for and nurturing them into adulthood. Throughout the adoption process, Connie counsels, educates, and assesses all parties’ needs to help ensure the goal of permanency is met. In addition to her work in foster care, Connie was a case manager at Encompass Rehab Hospital in Richmond, assisting patients and families navigate the healthcare system while facing acute health crises. With extensive experience developing continuous plans of care for patients coming from a wide range of backgrounds and with a variety of mental and physical health diagnoses, Connie values and respects the importance of focusing on the unique needs of each child and family in order to provide individualized assistance throughout the adoption process. Connie joined CHS in 2022 as a Foster Care Adoption Social Worker.
Pets: Ben- Chow, Molly- Icelandic Sheepdog
Favorite candy: Twix
Favorite family activity: Going to the beach
My hobbies are: Running, writing
My happy place is… The porch of the beach house
Connie may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 120
Foster Care & Adoption Senior 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.
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
Search and Reunion Social Worker
Kristy first joined CHSVA in 2007 and has held many roles since beginning. She began her work with the Adult Adoptee Program and as the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter before she returned to school to obtain her Masters in Clinical Social Work at VCU. Following her graduate work, she developed the post adoption program here at CHS and now returns to work after being at home with her twin boys. Kristy previously held roles working in the mental health field and child protective services.
My happy place: Cape Charles and any place with a good front porch and cup of coffee
Favorite spot in Richmond: the bike trails all over Richmond and around the James River
Favorite Sport: Lacrosse, I have played my whole life and have met my best friends through this sport!
Someday I want to: drive cross country with my family in an RV
The best part of my job is getting to help adoptees and birth families find answers to lifelong questions through connection with one another
I choose to work as a social worker because I believe in helping one another
Kristy may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext. 330.
Foster Care & Adoption Worker
Julie graduated in 2000 with a BA in Psychology. She then worked for the Department of Health and Human Resources as a Children’s Protective Services Worker where she developed a passion for child welfare. Upon earning her MS in Psychology in 2004, she began a family and devoted much of her time to raising her own children. After her husband retired from the military, they settled in the surrounding area of Richmond where she worked once again with children in the child welfare system. Julie came to CHS in 2020 as a Foster Care Adoption Worker and is thrilled to be a part of finalizing adoptions for families.
My favorite snack: Tortilla chips and queso
Favorite children’s book: Llama, Llama, Mad at Mama
Favorite color: purple
Favorite spot in Richmond: Maymont
The best part of my job is: getting to be a part of the happy ending of adoptions
Julie may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext. 320
Post Adoption Social Worker
Shamenese Robinson, Post Adoption Social Worker for Children’s Home Society of Virginia is a native of Newport News, Virginia. She achieved her bachelor’s in psychology from Virginia State University, Masters from Liberty University in Marriage and Family therapy and since furthered her education currently pursuing her PhD in Clinical Psychology. She has a driven passion and is committed to working with children and families, understanding the power of collectiveness and clinical interventions to promote healthier lifestyles and identifying positive skills to enhance better decision-making outcomes.
Shamenese has used her background in psychology to work in multiple disciplines of case management, conducting assessments and treatments, providing therapeutic supports and counseling to individuals and adolescents across the spectrum. Her realm has allowed her to offer social and community supports as a social worker resourcefully helping individuals to live at their maximum potential. She embraces every given opportunity as a privilege to work with children and families to encourage, support and impact the lives of others remarkably.
Dream vacation: Bora Bora
I collect: birthday cards!!
Favorite movie: Matilda
Favorite color: purple
Favorite snack: homemade chocolate chip cookies
Shamenese may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 180
Senior Foster Care and Adoption Social Worker
Sarah joined CHS in 2021 as a Senior Foster Care and Adoption Social Worker. She brings over fourteen years of experience working with at-risk children and families in New Jersey and Virginia. As a native of New Jersey, Sarah began her professional career working directly with at-risk teens in a residential specialty bed setting. Throughout the years, Sarah successfully managed and developed a variety of residential programs that provided services to adolescent males and females with complex trauma and behavior challenges. Sarah holds an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Virginia State University and a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University. Sarah is also a Licensed Master Social Worker who believes in meeting clients where they are, while creating an empathic and safe environment for individuals and families to work toward change and achieving their goals.
Favorite Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chip (green please)
Favorite Color: Black-it’s my happy color
Dream Vacation: Stay in overwater bungalow in Maldives and explore their underwater restaurants
Favorite Place to Visit in VA: Carter’s Mountain
Favorite children’s book: The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
Why I chose to be a Social Worker: At risk populations need the most help, but have the hardest time getting it. They need someone willing to help make their voice heard, advocate for their needs and navigate systems to help them obtain the necessary knowledge and resources they need to flourish.
Sarah may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 240
Post Adoption & Foster Care Adoption Social Worker
I have been working in the social work field for nearly 35 years. I started my career with Massachusetts DSS in 1988 and joined Henrico DSS in 2007. I have predominantly worked in foster care and adoptions and have been blessed to supervise many extremely talented and dedicated social workers who have made a tremendous positive impact on children and families. We have been able to put so many families back together safely and to provide permanency for so many children through adoption. While I am retiring from my current supervisory position, I am hopeful to draw upon my vast experiences to be able to assist families in my new role at CHS.
I am a married father of five (grown) children and have a 15 year old dog named Zeke. I enjoy running, working out, martial arts, and relaxing on the beach with family and friends. I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a cancer survivor, and a proud grandparent (my granddaughter was born July 2023).
Favorite Team: Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots
Favorite Children’s Book: Dr. Seuss
Favorite Book: The Boys In The Boat
Favorite Children’s Movie: The Lion King
Favorite Movie: Rocky
Favorite Candy: M&Ms
Favorite Singer: Bruce Springsteen
Jim may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 210
Admissions & Outreach Specialist
Kristina grew up in Richmond, VA. In 2012, she left home and took her talents to Greensboro, NC where she attended Bennett College. At Bennett, not only did they lay the foundation for her as a woman but also gave her the opportunity and education to earn her bachelor’s degree in social work. While residing in NC, Kristina had the opportunity to work with many different populations in this field. She returned to Richmond, VA in 2020 and was able to continue the work of helping change lives. Kristina is so excited to be a part of CHS’s wonderful team and looks forward to continuing the wonderful work the agency does!
My pet is: A micro bully named Coco
My happy place is: Spending time with my son
Dream vacation: The Maldives
Why I chose to work as an Admissions & Outreach Specialist: Because I love to meet people where they are and understand the complexities in one’s life. Being able to be apart of the process of watching one blossom into everything that they wanted for their self is what drives my passion
Kristina may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 310
My Path Forward Program Manager
Chris brings extensive experience in youth development and leadership, starting as an after-school counselor with the YMCA of Greater Richmond in 2005. His commitment continued through various roles, including working at a camp for underserved youth, volunteering with AmeriCorps, and building capacity in youth mentoring programs after graduating from VCU.
In 2015, Chris joined the Becoming A Man (BAM) mentorship program in Chicago, where he cultivated resilience and positive choices in young male students. By 2017, he assumed the role of Director for a Boys & Girls Club and later supervised a residential treatment facility for adjudicated youth near Pittsburgh, PA. Returning to Richmond in 2021, he discovered his passion for supporting youth aging out of foster care as an Independent Living Program Manager with Intercept Health. Chris is ready to contribute his wealth of experience to support CHS’s mission.
Favorite sports team(s): Chicago Bears
Favorite ice cream: Tillamook Mudslide
Favorite movie: Remember The Titans
Favorite spot in Richmond: Belle Isle
My hobbies are… Hiking, camping, exploring
My happy place is… the beach with my wife!
My Path Forward Case Manager
My name is Tomeka Booker. I am from a rural county in Virginia called Cumberland. I have eleven years of mental health experience. My passion is working with children and adolescents. I attended Virginia Union University for undergrad and received my bachelor of Social Work. I decided to attend Walden University to enhance my career in 2021 to receive my Masters in social work. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my loved ones and shopping.
Favorite family activity: Family dinners/cookouts
My happy place: retail
Favorite singer: Mary J Blidge
The best part of my job: helping others
Favorite sport: Football
An interesting fact about me is…I was the first in my family to graduate from college and I will be first in my family to graduate with my masters.
My Path Forward After-Hours Program Support
Nicole joined the CHS family in May 2023. She started her mental health journey 19 years ago working with at-risk youth in foster care. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and reading. Nicole received a master’s degree in education from Strayer University, and a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Education and Social Sciences.
My Path Forward After-Hours Program Support
Chief Financial Officer
Russ is a CPA with over 22 distinguished years of accounting, auditing and information systems experience. He has spent the last ten years working with a who’s-who list of Virginia-based start-ups and large companies consulting extensively as both a fractional CFO and Controller. Prior to moving to Virginia, Russ tracked countless miles from his start in Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C. leading both small and large companies in their Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts. Before joining the private sector, Russ worked and lived in the European theater as a Budget Director with the DOD. Additionally, he is a former University accounting and finance instructor whose Masters studies in Information Systems focused on relational database design.
Why I chose to work as a CFO: CHS facilitated my adoption in the 1970s and I literally would NOT BE HERE TODAY if it weren’t for this organization. I owe it so much.
Best part of my job: Helping to secure the mission…which is so vital to so many young adults in need
Dream vacation: The Maldives (but I hear the plane ride is quite arduous)
Favorite spot in Richmond: The National!
Favorite family activity: we see a lot of live music. In just the past 2 weeks we’ve seen Smashing Pumpkins, Interpol, Billy Idol, Arctic Monkeys, Death Cab for Cutie, Postal Service, and Cannons
Russ may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 337
Leann comes to CHS with ACP Resources, Inc., in helping with our finances since February 2014. She is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She has her B.A. from the University of Louisville. She has been doing bookkeeping for over 20 years. She loves helping her clients fulfill their needs and watching their business grow while supporting their mission.
I collect Limoges
Favorite cereal is grits (yes, I’m a southern girl)
Favorite pizza topping is black olives
Favorite children’s book is Guess How Much I Love You
Favorite family activity is anytime spent with my husband and 3 kids
The best part of my job is getting to meet and work with a variety of people
Chief Operating Officer
Cassie joined CHS in February of 2018. Her experiences as an attorney and guardian ad litem led her to find her passion in helping at-risk children and youth. While running her own law firm, Cassie became involved in the non-profit community including volunteering for Hanover Safe Place, serving on YWCA Richmond’s Young Women’s Leadership Alliance and as President of Hanover Cares. Cassie is thrilled to continue helping Virginia’s children and youth by promoting and advocating for stronger foster care and adoption policies both locally and statewide. Cassie has a BA in Political Science and International Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and a JD from University of Richmond, T.C. Williams School of Law.
The best part of my job is: Helping people
Favorite movie: The Sound of Music
My pet is: Cami, a Great Pyrenees-Hound rescue!
Favorite pizza topping: Just cheese
My happy place is: the beach of the mountains, anywhere near water
Why I chose to work as a Policy and Research Analyst: I want to help children and youth on a higher level and make long-lasting changes in Virginia to support them.
Manager of Administration
Erika joined CHS in September 2022. Previously, she worked as an administrative/executive assistant, office manager, and program coordinator in a variety of industries, including local/state government, hospitality, multi-level marketing, and data/web services. She holds a BS in Public Relations from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MBA from Strayer University. She developed a passion for community service at a young age and has volunteered extensively with more than 30 non-profits supporting at-risk youth and families, individuals with disabilities or illness, and rescue animals. She spent time living and working in Florida and Northern Virginia before excitedly returned “home” to Richmond for her role with CHS.
Favorite movie: Up
Favorite family activity: game night
Favorite ice cream: Salted Caramel
I collect: Christmas ornaments to represent places I have been and things I have done
My pets: two pitbulls (Kevin & Doug) and two tail-less cats (King Bob & Hamilton)
Someday I want to… take my mom on a trip to Thailand to visit an elephant sanctuary and play with baby elephants!
Ericka may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 100
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
Ali graduated from James Madison University with a B.F.A in Graphic Design. After working in both the government and business sectors, Ali is thrilled to be able to use her marketing and design skills in a field she is passionate about.
She and her husband love living in Richmond and are blessed to be surrounded by family. Ali is her (4) kids’ biggest fan and spends a great deal of time cheering at sporting events or taxing them around town. She enjoys cooking, walking, planning travel adventures and reading. Their youngest child was adopted at 23 months in 2013 and she remains active in the community supporting other adoptive moms, foster families, and families in crisis.
Favorite snack: Chips and guacamole
Someday I want to: Take a road trip across the country
Favorite place to visit in VA: JMU
Favorite family activity: Time at the beach
Ali may be reached by e-mail or by calling the Richmond office at (804) 353-0191 ext: 130
Donor Database Specialist
My professional background includes stints as a civil (structural) engineer, an IT specialist supporting the National Park Service, and a donor database specialist. Throughout my career progression I have worked in many states including Texas, Idaho, Alaska, and Arkansas! I am happy to have found an organization like CHSVA so that I may share my varied skillset, especially my donor database skills, with the CHSVA Development Team. My passion is to provide information, insight, and expert support in the form of donor database administration and maintenance. Outside of work I enjoy biking, bikepacking (pretty much going camping on a bike), traveling, and spending time with my family.
Favorite movie:Red Dawn (the original 1984 version)
Favorite color: Green
Someday I want to: Bikepack the Great Divide Mtn. Bike Trail (or similar route)
Dream vacation: Bikepacking to discover a new place
The best part of my job is: Providing information, insight, and support to the CHSVA Development Team!