Staff + Board Members

Jen Tarnowski

Executive Director

Jen graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After graduating college, she worked at the Covenant House in Fort Lauderdale as a Case Manager, Assistant Coordinator, and then Grants Coordinator. She then moved to Georgia and worked as a Middle School Youth Minister in Snellville and a Youth Ministry Event Planner for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. She began working for Rape Response in 2017 as a Contract Educator, and then moved to the Campus Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator. She currently serves as the Executive Director, where she has served since 2022, supervising staff and providing intervention, support, and advocacy for survivors and their loved ones. Jen is a member of the Gainesville Rotary Club and serves on the advisory board for FullCircle Georgia in Forsyth County. She is a VIRTUS certified facilitator on prevention of child sexual abuse and is a trained OneLove Escalation facilitator. In her free time, she enjoys gardening and baking.

Jen uses she/her pronouns.

Erica Autry Henderson, LMSW


Erica graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and from the University of Georgia with her Masters in Social Work. She has been involved with Rape Response since 2013, holding the titles of Advocate, Educator, Volunteer Coordinator, and Programs Director before transitioning into her current role as Therapist. In her free time, Erica likes to read, explore new places, and spend time with her family outside! Erica leads the Rape Response Counseling Program and provides trauma focused therapy and group support for survivors of sexual violence. She is trained in a variety of therapeutic modalities/specializations including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Perinatal Mental Health, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy. Erica works alongside her therapy dog, Blue, a rescued Great Dane who completed her Canine Good Citizen course in April 2023. Blue loves her job providing comic relief and unlimited snuggles to clients during individual and group sessions with her mom!

Erica uses she/her pronouns.

Jeanne Buffington

Fundraising Manager

Jeanne served as the Chief Executive Officer for Rape Response, Inc. from 2010 to 2022. She is a graduate of Mercer University with a degree in Organization Leadership. As Executive Director she advises and consults with the Board in fiscal management, policy development, implementation and agency operations while maintaining the authority, responsibility and accountability for the daily operations and management of Rape Response. Jeanne is responsible for grant acquisition, funding and fiscal management and ensures the agency’s responsibilities to its clients and the community are met. Jeanne volunteers with two great nonprofit agencies: Thumbs Up Mission and Adults Protecting Children. Additionally, she serves on the Advisory Board for Truett McConnell University Rielin and Salmen School of Nursing and the Fetterman School of Nursing at Toccoa Falls College. She is a past Rotarian, Wisdom Keeper, United Way Hall County and Still Waters Counseling board member.

Jeanne uses she/her pronouns.

Sommer Floyd

Education & Outreach Coordinator

Sommer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a concentration in educational psychology & child development from Georgia Gwinnett College and is now pursuing her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Georgia. Since graduating, Sommer has worked in a variety of educational settings, completed research on topics in educational psychology, and worked with adolescents in the foster care system. Sommer joined Rape Response as a volunteer in 2021 before she transitioned into her previous role as the Mobile Advocate. In her current role as the Outreach & Education Coordinator, Sommer manages Rape Response’s Let’s Talk© Healthy Relationships Prevention Education Program, coordinates services for students in the K-12 school system, and provides advocacy to survivors and their loved ones. Sommer is a member of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Rape Prevention Education Advisory Board, allowing Rape Response to implement evidence-based prevention strategies in the community. 

Sommer uses she/her pronouns.

Sarah Marin

Campus Advocate

Sarah obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, with a minor in Education from Brenau University. She began volunteering with RRI in February of 2021 as a way to help survivors in her community. She is now the Campus Advocate & Outreach Coordinator. In her role, Sarah will serve as the primary advocate for the 4 Universities and 2 Technical Colleges in our 6 county radius. In addition, she will also schedule, coordinate and facilitate University/College outreach & awareness programs, develop campus resources for survivors of sexual violence, and provide advocacy as a trainer for campus professionals. In her free time Sarah enjoys hiking, shopping, binge watching Netflix shows, spending time with family, and fostering pets.

Sarah uses she/her pronouns.

Kalia Jordan


Kalia obtained her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Kennesaw State University. She began volunteering with Rape Response in 2011. She then switched roles to CCR in 2018. She now serves Rape Response as an advocate. She offers direct services to survivors in our 6 county districts of Hall, Habersham, Lumpkin, Forsyth, Dawson, and White. During her free time, Kalia loves to spend time with her husband and three children, paint, cook/bake, and craft.

Kalia uses she/her pronouns.

Maddie Weiss

Contract Therapist

Maddie graduated from Southeastern University with a degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. She is currently pursuing a MS in Clinical Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Trauma and Forensics. Maddie began seeing clients as a therapist at Rape Response in 2022. In her free time, she enjoys being outside hiking, spending time with her cat, and visiting with friends.

Maddie uses she/her pronouns.

Miriam Murphy-Gary

Contract Therapist

Miriam Murphy-Gary is a Master’s Level Clinical Counseling Intern in the state of Georgia. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Studio Art Minor from Brenau University in 2019. In her first internship she worked with children who were survivors of trauma in 2018 as an intern at Gateway Domestic Violence Shelter. She then worked as a mentor for young adults on the Autism Spectrum at Brightstone Transitions in 2019 before beginning her graduate program in 2020. Currently she is in pursuit of a Masters in Clinical Counseling Psychology from Brenau University, and in 2022 she began seeing clients as a Psychotherapist at Rape Response under the supervision of Anjana Freeman, LPC.

Miriam uses she/they pronouns. 

Lily Sheppard

Volunteer Coordinator

Lily has experience working in behavioral health and human services in northeast Georgia. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of North Georgia and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Georgia. While also providing advocacy services to survivors of sexual assault as a Volunteer Coordinator, her goal is to create meaningful and impactful volunteer and intern experiences that align with individuals’ interests, skills, and values. She places a strong emphasis on providing ongoing support and training to ensure volunteers and interns feel confident and prepared for their roles. By investing in volunteers’ development, Lily believes organizations can create a positive and lasting impact on the individuals served by Rape Response. Lily enjoys cooking, working out, and spending time with her two cats Doja and Rufus.

Lily uses she/her pronouns.

Katherine Mitchell

intern Therapist

Katherine graduated from Ave Maria University in Naples, FL in 2014 with her BA and is currently completing her Master’s in Social Work through the University of Central Florida. She began her career as a teacher at Pinecrest Academy before pursuing a career in social work. Katherine started working with sexual abuse survivors in 2017 as a staff member at Jesse’s House, a trauma-informed group home for teen girls, and then in 2022 she entered into the role of counseling intern for Jesse’s House. She joined the Rape Response team in January 2023 as a counseling intern and looks forward to accompanying survivors on their healing journeys. Katherine is in her final year of her graduate level social work program in hopes of pursuing clinical counseling. She is certified in Crisis Prevention Intervention, and is working towards her certification as a Clinical Trauma Specialist for Individuals (CST-I). In her free time, Katherine enjoys hiking with her family, going to the gym, and playing outside with her children. 

Katherine uses she/her pronouns.

Madison Roberts

Forsyth Advocate

Madison joins us with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgia State University and several years of advocacy experience. Madison has experience working with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and elder abuse, as well as working with survivors of cold case crimes. Madison is excited to be able to serve Forsyth county as well as Hall, Dawson, Habersham, White and Lumpkin. When Madison isn’t busy at work, she loves to read, exercise, and spend time with her husband, three dogs, and two cats!

Madison uses she/her pronouns.

Emily Britt

SANE Program Coordinator

Emily graduated from UNG with her BSN in 2018 and began working as a Labor and Delivery nurse. She has worked at Northside Cherokee, Northside Atlanta, and Emory Midtown. Emily joined Rape Response as a contract SANE nurse and enjoyed working with survivors so much that she jumped at the opportunity to become a full time program coordinator. Emily continues to perform SANE exams as well. In her free time, Emily enjoys working out, spending quality time with friends and family, and walks with her dog. 

Emily uses she/her pronouns.

Board of Directors

President: Melissa King

Vice President: Sally Walden-Crowe

Treasurer: Jeremy Perry

Secretary: Leigh Stallings-Wood

Members at Large

Natasha Alvarado     Kris Brown

Debbie Edwards     Kevin Gaddis

Chris Gailey      Monica Hayman

Amanda Lammers     Gail Lane-Seabolt

Laura Major     Shelly Martin

Carol Martin     Sean McCusker

Ashton Meeks     Alyson Paul

Carol Shirley     Wanda Vance

Camille Viera     Trey Wood