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Staff & Board Members

Staff Members

Jeanne Buffington

Executive Director
Jeanne has served as the chief executive officer for Rape Response, Inc. since 2010. 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.

jen tarnowski

Advocacy 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 Advocacy Director, where she has served since 2019, 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.

Angel jackson

Community Engagement Director

Angel graduated from the University of North Georgia in 2014 with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology. She started her time with Rape Response as a volunteer in 2013, and completed her college internship with RRI from January through May of 2014. She started working full time for Rape Response in November 2015 as an advocate, then transitioned to the Campus Advocate, and now serves as the Community Engagement Director. As the Community Engagement Director, she coordinates community outreach, education, and donations for the agency. She is a trained Darkness to Light (D2L) Facilitator and is also trained to facilitate OneLove Escalation. In her free time, she loves to crochet and do yoga. She also loves to garden and spend time with family.

Angel uses she/her pronouns.

rebeca ruelas

Volunteer Program Director

Rebeca earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of North Georgia in 2017. She began volunteering with Rape Response in 2011, and she has worked in the fields of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. She worked with Gateway Domestic Violence Shelter from 2012-2015, then worked for RRI from 2016-2018. Most recently, she was a forensic interviewer at Mosaic Georgia before accepting her current position as Volunteer Program Director at Rape Response. As the Volunteer Program Director, she coordinates the Volunteer Program and provides training, support, and supervision for Rape Response volunteers and interns. Rebeca is bilingual in Spanish and English and helps to provide support and advocacy services to the Hispanic community. In her free time, Rebeca enjoys painting, brunches, writing, and traveling to Latin American countries.  

Rebeca uses she/her pronouns.

ariel donaldson

Campus Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator


Ariel graduated from Berkeley College, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. After graduating from college, she began working at the Hall County District Attorney’s Office in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit and served as a victim/witness advocate. Ariel joined our team in February of 2019 as the Mobile Advocate, where she traveled to our six county service area to provide support to survivors and their loved ones. Currently, Ariel serves as the Campus Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator, providing support to faculty, staff and students at ten college campuses. She is a trained OneLove Escalation facilitator, and provides these trainings often to our campuses and community organizations. In her free time, she enjoys photography and spending time with her husband and kids.

Ariel uses she/her pronouns.

laura rodriguez

Bilingual Advocate

Laura received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Texas Woman’s University, where she graduated in 2012. Laura received a job offer while finishing her last semester internship at the Dallas County Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, where she worked as Conservatorship Specialist II and Adoption Caseworker serving children in care. In 2017, Laura moved to Houston, where she worked as Case Supervisor for CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate, becoming the ears and eyes for the Court, and the voice of the children she served. In August 2018, after moving to Georgia, Laura began working with Rape Response as the Bilingual Advocate. As an advocate, Laura provides crisis intervention, support, and advocacy to survivors and their loved ones. She focuses on providing outreach and awareness of our agency and services to the Hispanic communities in our service area.

Laura uses she/her pronouns.

brittany pirrello

Advocate and Social Media Coordinator
Brittany received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Spanish from Valdosta State University in 2019 (Go Blazers!). After graduating, she began working with Rape Response as a Contract Educator, teaching Healthy Relationship classes to middle and high school students. She became a full-time advocate in 2020, and now serves as the Social Media Coordinator and Advocate at Rape Response. In her current position, she provides support and advocacy to survivors and their loved ones and utilizes social media platforms to raise awareness and provide education about sexual assault. She is a trained OneLove Escalation Facilitator. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys spending time at the beach with her husband, playing fetch with her puppy, cross stitching, going to Disney, and gardening.

Brittany uses she/her pronouns.

ASHIA GALLO

Outreach Advocate

Ashia received her Bachelor in Journalism and African American Studies from Georgia State University in 2015. Following her undergrad education, she spent two years as a Health Outreach Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Mozambique. During her service, Ashia led HIV and malaria prevention and treatment projects in her rural village, and also worked closely with local teens leading a youth development program. After completing her service, Ashia attended the University of Vermont to earn her Master of Public Administration. She graduated in 2020 and moved back home to Georgia, working as an activist in grassroots housing justice and as a fund developer for an affordable housing nonprofit. Ashia became an Outreach Advocate for Rape Response in August 2021. She provides support and advocacy for survivors and supports the education program by teaching in middle and high schools. In her free time, Ashia loves spending free time with loved ones, reading, writing, and getting lost in the woods or on the lake in her kayak. 

Ashia uses she/her pronouns.

SOMMER FLOYD

Mobile Advocate

Sommer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a concentration in educational psychology & child development from Georgia Gwinnett College in 2020 and plans to continue her education at the graduate level in fall 2022 to receive her Master’s in Social Work. Before and after graduating, Sommer has worked in a variety of educational settings and completed independent research on topics in educational psychology. She started working for Rape Response in 2021 as a volunteer before transitioning into her current role as the Mobile Advocate, traveling throughout our 6-county service area to provide crisis intervention, support, and advocacy to survivors and their loved ones. In addition to her role at Rape Response, Sommer continues to mentor youth in the foster care system to support their academic and post-secondary goals and is also working on publishing her research. In her free time, Sommer enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

Sommer uses she/her pronouns.

erica autry

Intern Therapist

Erica graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, and she is currently receiving her Masters of Social Work from the University of Georgia, where she is expecting to graduate in May 2022. She has been involved with Rape Response since 2013, when she started as a volunteer. She completed an internship that year, and then began working for RRI in May 2014. Since then, she has held the titles of Advocate, Educator, Volunteer Coordinator, Programs Director, and her current position as the Intern Therapist. Prior to working at RRI, she worked at a bookstore, completed her bachelor’s degree, and had a baby (who isn’t a baby anymore!) Most of her grown up life has been at RRI. In her free time, she likes to read, binge podcasts, be with her kids and family and be outside! She has previously volunteered at the Regional Youth Detention Center as a mentor and group facilitator doing art and playing games with the kids there. Erica has training in perinatal mental health and is currently working towards certification as a doula. After graduating from the MSW program, she plans to work towards licensure as an LCSW.

Erica provides trauma focused therapy and group support for survivors of sexual abuse/assault and their loved ones.

Erica uses she/her pronouns.

carrie anne hunt

Educator
Carrie-Anne uses the Let’s Talk© curriculum to educate students on Georgia laws regarding sexual assault, lowering risk of personal involvement, what constitutes a healthy relationship and how to make smart choices with social media.

Carrie-Anne uses she/her pronouns. 

amaya weekes

Educator

Amaya uses the Let’s Talk© curriculum to educate students on Georgia laws regarding sexual assault, lowering risk of personal involvement, what constitutes a healthy relationship and how to make smart choices with social media.

Amaya uses she/her pronouns. 

abby loggins

Educator
Abby uses the Let’s Talk© curriculum to educate students on Georgia laws regarding sexual assault, lowering risk of personal involvement, what constitutes a healthy relationship and how to make smart choices with social media.

Abby uses she/her pronouns.

abigail williamson

Educator

Abigail uses the Let’s Talk© curriculum to educate students on Georgia laws regarding sexual assault, lowering risk of personal involvement, what constitutes a healthy relationship and how to make smart choices with social media.

Abigail 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

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