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Greater DC Staff

Heather L. Taylor

Executive Director, Greater DC

Heather L. Taylor is a human rights and development professional with 15 years of international experience in the NGO and corporate sectors spanning immigration, women’s rights, capacity building, and non-profit management. As the Executive Director of Tahirih’s Greater DC Office, she ensures the delivery of high-quality legal and social services case management, engages regional stakeholders, and oversees the local office’s financial and operational integrity.

Prior to joining Tahirih in 2014, Heather was a Fellow with International Justice Mission in Zambia, where she co-designed, organized, and facilitated training workshops for the judiciary, police officials, and community leaders addressing capacity gaps in the justice system on behalf of indigent women.

In the corporate sector, Heather practiced as a global finance and business immigration attorney at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and then at Miller Mayer LLP in New York. She also served as pro bono attorney for the Legal Aid Society Haitian Temporary Protected Status Project and received the MFY Legal Services, Inc. Partner in Justice Award. Before law school, Heather worked for several years at the Centre for Development and Population Activities and was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to serve on delegations promoting women’s participation in democracy and governance in Eastern Europe.

“At Tahirih, I am afforded an opportunity to work with an amazing staff to achieve an honorable mission with global impact, while also realizing my dream to transform lives—one courageous woman at a time.”

Education

Heather is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and University of Iowa College of Law, where she received the Dean’s Outstanding Student Achievement Award and Equal Justice Foundation and Ella Baker Scholarship as a legal intern at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York.

Awards and Recognition

  • MFY Legal Services Partner in Justice Award
  • Pro Bono Attorney, Legal Aid Society Haitian Temporary Protected Status Project
  • Former member of U.S. Department of State delegations headed by the Representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, representing the U.S. in Women & Democracy Conferences in Eastern Europe

In the Media

Barfonce Baldwin

Development Manager

Barfonce originally joined Tahirih in 2000, and re-joined in 2016. As Development Manager for the Greater DC office, Barfonce raises critical dollars needed to fund the Greater DC office by connecting and cultivating local businesses, law firms, foundations and individuals with the extraordinary work of Tahirih. As a relationship cultivator, she connects stakeholders with Tahirih’s message of hope, courage, resilience, and equality by partnering with local workplace giving and charitable campaigns, managing local fundraising events, overseeing DC’s annual signature gala, and building meaningful partnerships with private donors. Prior to joining Tahirih, Barfonce worked in the non-profit field in service to women and families living on the margin in Washington, DC – most notably as Director of Capitol Hill Group Ministry and Administration Director of Central Union Mission.

“I am inspired by Tahirih’s unique and unmatched ability to elevate, enable and empower immigrant women and girls press toward transformation and a higher quality of life with dignity and in safety.”

Education: Central Michigan University, MSA

Hometown: Alexandria, VA

Alexandra “Sasha” Bershad

Immigration and Family Law Attorney

Sasha initially joined Tahirih in Spring 2014 as a legal intern and then in Fall 2014 as a Volunteer Attorney, rejoining Tahirih in 2017. As Immigration and Family Law Attorney in the Greater DC office, she represents and advocates for immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence in immigration and domestic relations matters. She provides advice, counseling, and direct legal representation to clients in asylum, VAWA, T visa and U visa cases, and in family law matters such as divorce, custody, support, protective orders, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Prior to Tahirih, Sasha worked as Senior Direct Representation Attorney for Kids In Need of Defense (KIND). Sasha was the recipient of the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference (YLC) Significant Service Award for bar years 2015-16 and 2016-17 for her contributions as a Program Chair for the Immigrant Outreach Committee of the YLC. Sasha was born in Moldova and has spent time abroad in London, UK and Antigua, Guatemala.

“Every day, I am inspired by the courage and strength of the women and girls that Tahirih serves, and the opportunity to empower them to live with dignity, in a world free from violence. Alongside my passionate and dedicated colleagues, I am honored to help elevate the status of women worldwide, by transforming the life of one survivor at time.”

Education: University of California, Hastings College of the Law, JD; University of Maryland, College Park, BA

Languages: Spanish, Russian

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Amy Cheung

Immigration Attorney

Amy Cheung joined Tahirih in 2015. As an immigration attorney, Amy provides free legal services to women and girls fleeing violence, mentors pro bono attorneys, and conducts trainings on gender-based immigration relief. Prior to Tahirih, Amy was a staff attorney at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston where she represented unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings and adults applying for asylum. Prior to that, she was the Program Coordinator at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians where she managed a job readiness program. Amy has traveled throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Freedom of movement and living a life free of violence are fundamental human rights, and it’s an honor and a privilege to empower women and girls to assert those rights for themselves.

Education: Georgetown University Law Center, JD; University of Pennsylvania, BA

Languages: Spanish and Mandarin

Hometown: Cherry Hill, NJ

Alison Domonoske

Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Alison Domonoske joined Tahirih in 2017. As Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator for the Greater DC office, she collaborates with like-minded organizations to plan community information sessions and represent Tahirih in the Greater DC area. She also trains and coordinates volunteers to support Tahirih’s clients and programs. Prior to Tahirih, Alison worked as an AmeriCorps Economic Empowerment Associate and as a Casework Assistant for the International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville, VA. Alison has studied and worked abroad in Ecuador, Sri Lanka, and Palestine.

“The survivors we serve and my colleagues’ selfless dedication to them inspire me. As we work for gender equality and justice, Tahirih’s recognition of our strength in unity motivates my work in the community.”

Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA

Languages: Spanish

Hometown: Harrisonburg, VA

Kathryn Finley

Managing Attorney
Kathryn Finley

Kathryn Finley joined Tahirih in 2015. As managing attorney in the Greater DC office, she supports a team of attorneys, provides legal services to women and girls fleeing gender-based violence, mentors and cultivates relationships with pro bono partners, and facilitates trainings for professional and community audiences.  Kathryn also co-chairs Tahirih’s organization-wide race and gender taskforce.  Prior to joining Tahirih, Kathryn worked with Catholic Charities in Milwaukee and interned with the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Americans for Immigrant Justice.  In 2012, Kathryn assumed the lead role in creating and securing funding for the state of Wisconsin’s first ever Immigrant Justice Clinic.  She has lived, studied, and conducted research on human rights issues in Spain and Latin America.

“I am inspired by the opportunity to instill hope and positive change in our clients’ lives.”

Education: University of Wisconsin Law School, JD; University of Wisconsin-Madison, MA; University of Wisconsin-Madison, BA

Languages: Spanish and basic French

Hometown: Wauwatosa, WI

Maricela Lechuga

Equal Justice Works Fellow

Maricela Lechuga joined Tahirih in 2016. As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Maricela is implementing the Justice for Mother’s Project, which will expand legal representation to mothers and their children recently released from detention centers. Prior to Tahirih, Maricela interned at the Office of Immigration Litigation, Appellate Section and was a Law Clerk at Maggio and Kattar. Her family is originally from Mexico, so as a child, she traveled there about once a year. She also lived in Germany from 2004-2005 as a cultural exchange student and studied abroad in Brazil for three months in 2010.

“Coming from one of the countries with the highest rates of domestic violence in South America I feel particularly touched by the issue of gender based violence. What inspires me the most of Tahirih’s mission is the commitment to empower the many women and girls that we serve, giving them the confidence to pursue a life free of violence and inequalities.”

Education: American University, Washington College of Law, J.D. ; University of California Santa Cruz, B.A.

Languages: Spanish, German, and some Portuguese

Hometown: San Jose, California

 

Chelsea Naylor

Immigration Law Paralegal

Chelsea Naylor joined Tahirih in 2016 as the Immigration Law Paralegal in the Greater DC office. Prior to Tahirih, Chelsea was the Community Outreach Director with Habitat for Humanity of Trenton in New Jersey and FUTURO Program Manager with the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF). She spent the last year living and studying in Costa Rica. During this time, she also worked with Nicaraguan migrants in the coffee plantations, and contributed to upgrading the university’s sexual harassment policy. She has also spent time in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Peru.

“Tahirih is one of the most truly client-centered organizations I have encountered. This focus on the women and girls we serve, rather than on our own ideas, egos, or plans, is what distinguishes a strong, effective organization from the rest.”

Education: United Nations University for Peace, M.A.; The College of New Jersey, B.A.

Languages: Spanish

Hometown: Northfield, NJ

Niku Neshati

Social Services Case Worker

Niku Neshati joined Tahirih in 2017 as the Social Services Case Worker in the Greater D.C. region. As a Case Worker, Niku connects clients to social services within their communities, while advocating on their behalves to remove barriers to other essential needs. Prior to joining Tahrih, Niku worked as an intern for the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index. Before that, she interned at Tahirih in social services, providing referrals and advocacy to Spanish and French-speaking clients. She has studied abroad in Spain.

“Empowering survivors of gender-based violence is at the core of my belief in a compassionate, prejudice-free world”

Education: George Mason University, BA

Languages: Spanish, French, Persian

Estefani Pierola

Social Services Case Worker

Estefani Pierola joined Tahirih in 2016. As the Social Services Case Worker in Tahirih’s Greater DC office, Estefani provides case management to Tahirih’s clients and assists the Social Services Program Manager with outreach and advocacy projects. Prior to Tahirih, Estefani was a Parent Support Case Manager/Adult Instructor at The Family Place in Washington, DC and an Intern at the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Estefani grew up visiting Bolivia, where her parents are from. She has also traveled to Italy, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

“It is an honor to work for an organization that strives to provide a solution to end gender based violence and overall provides legal and social services to its clients, leaving each individual woman with great hope for her future!”

Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, BS; Northern Virginia Community College, AA

Languages: Spanish

Hometown: Fairfax, VA

Anusce Sanai

Family Law Attorney

Anusce Sanai joined Tahirih in 2012. As the immigration and family law supervising attorney, she represents clients in matters related to immigration remedies based on gender based violence as well as cases involving domestic relations issues. She has experience with petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), U-Visa and Asylum. In addition, her family law portfolio includes divorce and custody proceedings as well as spousal and child support petitions. Prior to joining Tahirih, she was an associate at Redmon, Peyton & Braswell, LLP and was handling high value real estate settlements while also maintaining her own sole practice as the Owner and Principal of the law office of Anusce Sanai, Attorney at law, PLLC. Before coming to the United States from Italy, Anusce lived in Israel for one year while volunteering at the Bahá’í World Center. She lives in Alexandria with her husband and two daughters.

“The women we serve inspire me because they embody resilience, strength, and courage.”

Education: New England School of Law, JD; University of Colorado at Boulder, BA

Languages: Italian and Farsi

Hometown: Lucca, Italy