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Our Team

Our Team

Debra Manners, President & CEO, has dedicated her career to serving children and families. Her innovative leadership and visionary work to lead the child welfare and behavioral health fields has resulted in positive changes for thousands of children in the foster care system throughout California. Ms. Manners’ advocacy and reform efforts, most notably as a member of the Katie A settlement team, have included ensuring that foster youth have access to mental health care, that programs focus on reunification with family and that foster youth spend less time in out-of-home care. Starting at ҳ in 1987, she served in a variety of roles, culminating in her current role as President and CEO. During that time, the organization expanded from a single site with a $2.5 million operating budget to 11 service locations throughout Los Angeles and Riverside Counties, and an operating budget of $68 million. She has led the agency in developing new programs that have been adopted as the standard-of-care throughout California. In this critical time, Ms. Manners continues to be an influential advocate and leader focused on improving outcomes for the most vulnerable at the State and County levels. Ms. Manners is the President of the California Council for Community Behavioral Health and served on the board of the California Alliance for Children and Families. She was previously on the CEO Council for the National Council for Strong Families and Communities.

Ms. Manners received a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington.

Harriet Boyd, Chief Financial Officer, brings her extensive knowledge of the private sector to her role at ҳ. Her experience in the communications world includes executive roles at Tribune Publishing and Media companies (Senior Vice President Technology), The Los Angeles Times (Vice President), and M.W. Kasch Co., a privately held distribution firm (Chief Operations Officer). Ms. Boyd’s first nonprofit position was as a Senior Fellow at Community Partners, where she served as an executive advisor to ҳ and other nonprofit organizations. She has served on the boards of several organizations including The Boys & Girls Club of Watts Willowbrook and STEM Advantage.

Ms. Boyd received an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA.

Dr. Jana Lord, Chief Operating Officer, brings her vast experience in mental health to her oversight of ҳ’ operations. Prior to her current role, Dr. Lord served as ҳ’ Chief Program Officer, overseeing all the organization’s mental health services provided in the Antelope Valley, San Fernando Valley, Highland Park, Covina and the agency-wide operation of Co-Occurring, Psychiatry departments. In addition to working for ҳ since 2007, Dr. Lord has taught graduate courses on Interventions with Children and Adolescents, as well as on Psychological Testing. She has also been in private practice since 2004, specializing in loss and grief, anxiety, and navigating life transitions. Dr. Lord is seasoned in conducting training for mental health professionals throughout Los Angeles County in law and ethics, child abuse, crisis management, loss and grief, and differential diagnosis.

Dr. Lord received bachelor’s degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology from Muskingum University in Ohio, and her master’s and doctoral degrees at California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, at Alliant International University.

Christine Bae, Chief Program Officer, oversees adult mental health services, managed care programs, Enhanced Care Management (ECM) and Community Supports (CS) at ҳ. Ms. Bae began her career as a clinical social worker at King Drew Medical Center and worked at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health for 14 years supporting major initiatives including community planning for the Mental Health Services Act, program implementation of the Katie A. Settlement Agreement, and Prevention and Early Intervention system transformation. She first joined ҳ in 2014 leading the Quality Management Division and brings a wealth of experience in the public sector with expertise in strategic planning, system enhancements and change management. As a consultant, she co-led the evaluation of a countywide 5-year, $20 million implementation of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) for First 5 LA, collaborating with the Los Angeles County Departments of Mental Health and Children and Family Services, and UC Davis. She has a small private practice serving Asian American clients, and remains passionate about health equity, social justice, and Anti-Bias, Anti-Racism work.

Majoring in Maternal and Child Health, Ms. Bae received her MSW and MPH degrees from San Diego State University, and her BS degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Shannon Boalt, Chief Advancement Officer, has spent close to 30 years working in nonprofit advancement and fundraising. Ms. Boalt joined ҳ in May 2021 and served as the organization’s Senior Director of Development prior to being promoted to Chief Advancement Officer in May 2022. During her career Ms. Boalt has also worked as the Director of Development at Marantha High School, White Memorial Medical Center’s Charitable Foundation, and El Centro de Accion Social. In addition to beginning her fundraising career at Para Los Ninos, Ms. Boalt also spent several years as a development consultant, working with a variety of nonprofits throughout Los Angeles County. Ms. Boalt feels passionate about supporting the welfare and mental well-being of our community’s most vulnerable citizens, especially children. As a result, she considers it a privilege to help raise funds to further ҳ’ mission and vision. As a volunteer, she also served two terms on the Board of the Tournament of Roses Foundation, including serving as Treasurer.

Ms. Boalt attended Loyola Marymount University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.

Joe Ford, Chief Program Officer, is an award-winning youth advocate with 34 years of experience working with young people. At ҳ, he oversees the Residential, Community Mental Health, and Transitional Independent Living programs. Beginning his career as a crisis management and recreation specialist at Pacific Clinics, he concurrently worked at Five Acres in Altadena, where he served for 17 years as a residential treatment child caregiver, crisis intervention specialist, and director of multiple programs. Later, he worked at the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena for over 16 years and served on its Board of Directors for over 10 years. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Association of Children’s Residential & Community Centers where he served as Board President, and currently sits on the City of Pasadena’s Human Services Commission. Mr. Ford has been recognized for his outstanding work with the 2010 Professional of the Year award from Los Angeles County for dedication and advocacy for children and families, and the 2014 NAACP-Pasadena Branch President’s Award.

Samuel Gonzalez, Chief Business Development Officer, focuses on strategic projects and funding initiatives which will ensure ҳ’ growth, diversification and sustainability now and into the future. Mr. Gonzalez started as a Clinician at ҳ in 2001 within the Transitional Independent Living Program, working with former foster and homeless youth – helping them obtain housing, develop independent living skills, reduce symptomatology and cultivate relationships. Following his time at ҳ, he further honed his skills as both a Clinician and Clinical Supervisor at the Almansor Center. Mr. Gonzalez was then offered the opportunity to return to ҳ in 2010 as the Director of Transitional Age Youth Program. His continued professional growth at the organization has led to continued leadership roles culminating into his current role as Vice President. Mr. Gonzalez is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has had a private practice since 2009.

Mr. Gonzalez received his Master of Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.

Lin Min Kong, Sr. Vice President for Programs/Chief Counsel for Guidance and Quality Care, has spent 25 years serving and advocating on behalf of under-represented communities. For the past 17 years at ҳ, she has held a variety of roles, including Clinician and Clinical Director. As both an attorney and a licensed marriage and family therapist, Ms. Kong brings both the clinical experience and the advocacy skills needed to bring about systemic change. Ms. Kong represented children in foster care in the state-wide, class action lawsuit Katie A. v. Bonta, which was instrumental in reforming the child welfare and mental health systems, and implementation of the core practice model. Ms. Kong has worked at the Center for Law in the Public Interest, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Ms. Kong has provided years of mental health trainings and has also served on the board for the Foundation for Early Childhood Education.

Ms. Kong received her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her JD from the University of San Diego, and her MA from Antioch University Los Angeles.

Marisa Perez-Martin

Marisa Perez-Martin, Chief Program Officer, oversees mental health services provided at ҳ’ San Gabriel, San Fernando, and Antelope Valley locations in addition to the Highland Park site. She joined ҳ in 2001 working in School-Based Services – ҳ’ innovative program designed to remove barriers to accessing mental health services and give students the support they need to be able to focus on learning. Ms. Perez-Martin’s professional growth in the organization led to a variety of leadership roles which included supporting the growth and implementation of School-Based Services in various school districts and Special Education Local Plan Areas. She also provides clinical training and supervision and supports the implementation of evidence-based practices as both a Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP) supervisor and agency trainer. Ms. Perez-Martin is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has worked with children, adolescents, and families in her private practice since 2017.

Ms. Perez-Martin received her BA and MA degrees from San Diego State University.

Wendy Wang, Chief Public Policy & Advocacy Officer, is a champion of many issues critical to the success of community-based organizations, including the importance of culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate care practices. This crucial work reflects the experience and insight acquired not only during her time at ҳ (where she co-facilitates the organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee), but also her previous experience at Pacific Clinics, the Association of Community Human Services Agencies and as a member of Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn’s administration. Ms. Wang currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Association of Children’s Residential Centers (ACRC) where she is also a board member. At her alma mater, USC, Ms. Wang served as President of the Price Alumni Association Board of Directors and on the board of the Asian Pacific Alumni Association. She was recognized for her dedication and years of service with the USC Widney Alumni House Award, the GPAC Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award and the Student Health Administration’s Honorary Alumna of the Year Award.

Ms. Wang received a Master of Public Policy from University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts from Claremont McKenna College.

Jonathan Wu, Chief People Officer, came to ҳ in 2018 with both business and nonprofit experience. Previously, he served as Vice President at an HR consulting firm, working with employers from a variety of industries, including nonprofits, on their HR strategies. Mr. Wu’s prior experience is primarily in nonprofit healthcare where he held executive roles overseeing the HR functions at those organizations. He has also served as a board member at nonprofit Tierra Del Sol.

Mr. Wu has an MBA with an emphasis in Human Resources from Cal Poly Pomona, where he later served as an Adjunct Professor.