MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
For over 20 years, Selisse has been a pioneer in workplace equality, strategic planning, and non-profit management. Founder of Out & Equal, Selisse built the global LGBTQIA+ workplace equality movement by creating a network of multi-national companies and governments to work towards LGBTQIA+ education, empowerment, and visibility. Recipient of numerous national and international awards and board member to both Safe Place International and ORAM, Selisse Berry brings a wealth of experience, guidance, and global vision to the Safe Place International Team.
Owen Harris is one of the cofounders of Safe Place International and served as our first Director of Operations. After working at our shelters in Turkey and Greece, he returned to the United States to pursue a Masters's Degree. Owen currently works as a Grants Management Specialist at the U.S. Department of State. He also serves as the Board Secretary at Safe Place International.
Yvonne St. John-Dutra
Working with teens and adults in schools and communities since 1980, Yvonne has been instrumental in designing and implementing over 20 different nationally recognized prevention, intervention and Leadership programs for teenagers and adults. Yvonne’s earliest experiences varied from classroom presentations, school assemblies, to TV programing on eating disorders, gender stereotypes, and all forms of social oppression. She later focused her attention on working with at-risk youth, creating addiction and recovery programs, emotional intelligence, peacebuilding, couples, parenting, and family workshops. Yvonne and her partner Rich are the Co-Founders of the award-winning Challenge Day Program and non-profit.
Rich Dutra-St. John
A former high school teacher and championship wrestling coach, Rich has worked with teens and families since 1978. As a licensed family therapist and drug intervention specialist, Rich was recruited to open and direct two unique adolescent treatment facilities in Northern California – most notably the Thunder Road Adolescent Treatment Centers in Oakland, California, where he served as founding clinical director and program designer. As a man committed to social justice and equality, Rich has facilitated several men’s groups over the years and was honored as one of the Men of Merit by STAND! For Families Free of Violence and Contra Costa’s Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence Initiative. Rich currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at California State University, East Bay. Rich and his partner Yvonne are the Co-Founders of the award-winning Challenge Day Program and non-profit.
Jennifer is a director who specializes in new play development. She has directed the world premieres of The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter, Bed by Sheila Callaghan and Better by Jessica Goldberg. She has worked across the country at theaters such as The Geffen Playhouse, The Echo Theater , IAMA, Cal Arts, UCLA, Center Theatre Group, South Coast Repertory, The Old Globe, The McCarter Theater and Barrington Stage Company. She is honored to be a member of the new class of The Kilroys and is all about using her voice and her work to change the paradigm and achieve gender parity in the theater. Jennifer is also a philanthropist and cares deeply about human rights issues. She currently serves on the board of Safe Place International and her family foundation.
Alex is a Senior Manager at Hilton Global Headquarters, where he supports hotel owner relations and strategy. In his previous role at Hilton, he helped launch the company’s first-ever foundation to strengthen Hilton’s positive impact in local communities and ensure we protect the planet for future generations of travelers. Alex also serves as the Leader of Hilton Headquarters’ Pride Employee Resource Group, responsible for organizing global diversity programming events for employees in order to advance LGBTQ+ inclusivity across the company and in our greater society. Alex is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, where he finished his four years as a Schreyer Honors Scholar and Vice President of the undergraduate student body. He previously volunteered with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Organization and served as the Director of Program, leading the programmatic planning and execution of the multi-day seminar.
Founder & Executive Director
An etrepreneur, writer, passionate activist, personal growth, and spiritual leader who is deeply committed to social change. Justin has worked in India, Nepal, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Mexico on LGBTQ+ transformational work focused on combating oppression and advocating for inclusion for over 3 years. Justin founded SafePlace International in 2018 after years of working in grassroots advocacy and relief work. Justin now serves as the Executive Director of Safe Place International. In recent years, SafePlace a sister NGO called Safeplace Greece which housed the projects that preceded them, Athens Housing Collective and Moms2moms. In addition to supporting over 20 unique shelter locations in Greece and a thriving community center, Safe Place International supports small nonprofits around the world working with Doubly Marginalized Refugee (DMR) communities through its Global Family project.