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.

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.

Andrea Shoemaker

Volunteer Program Manager

Andrea graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a double minor in Criminal Justice and Christian Counseling. Andrea has served over 25 years in advocacy as Volunteer Coordinator for CASA Enotah Circuit, DFCS Investigator, DFCS Regional Resource Development Supervisor, and State Coordinator of Georgia’s Wednesday’s Child Program. Before joining Rape Response, she served as a Senior Victim Advocate with the Hall County District Attorney’s Office. Andrea is a Certified Forensic Interviewer and is Nationally Certified as an Advanced Advocate. Out of all her roles in life, her favorite title is “GiGi” and her favorite pastime is playing with her grandchildren..

Andrea uses she/her pronouns.

Sarah Marin

Campus Advocate

Sarah recently 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, spending time with family, fostering pets and volunteering at the local animal shelter.

Sarah uses she/her pronouns.


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, MSW


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 when she started as a crisis line volunteer and advocacy intern. She then began working for RRI in May of 2014. Since then, Erica has held the titles of Advocate, Educator, Volunteer Coordinator, Programs Director, and her current position as Therapist. In her free time, Erica likes to read, explore new places, and spend time with her family outside!

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


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. She also trains new educators. She has been teaching with Rape Response for 7 years. 

Carrie-Anne 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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