Flor Avellaneda is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Her dissertation builds on her experiences with the intersectional challenges faced by minority women. She completed bachelor's and master’s degrees in social work, and prior to her doctoral studies she served as an advocate for victims of domestic violence at the Family Abuse Center, Executive Director of AVANCE, and faculty member of the Baylor University Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, all in Waco, TX.
Samuel Bradley, DSW
Dr. Samuel L. Bradley, Jr. has joined the Boston College School of Social Work as Assistant Professor of Macro Practice focused on equity, justice, and inclusion. He is an accomplished musician, community activist, and administrator with extensive experience in fundraising and communications. Dr. Bradley has expertise in diversity and inclusion, public health, and program innovation. He is particularly passionate about utilizing design thinking as a strategy for developing innovation in higher education as well as leveraging higher education programs to support community outcomes in marginalized communities.
As a professional fundraiser for the College of Music and Media at Loyola University New Orleans, Dr. Bradley worked with individual donors, business partners, and foundations to help create opportunities for philanthropy for gifts between $25,000 and $1,000,000. In addition to his work, Dr. Bradley is proud to have served as a member of the board for the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans—an organization dedicated to supporting and empowering the culture bearers of New Orleans. Prior to joining BCSSW, Dr. Bradley was Chair of the Forum for Equality, Louisiana’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender human rights organization dedicated to creating a society free from discrimination. Among Dr. Bradley projects, he has led undergraduate immersion programs to Kingston, Jamaica; organized to enhance educational outcomes in the New Orleans public school system; and worked with the Obama administration’s Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships on creating interfaith community service projects. Dr. Bradley has achieved the status of Fellow for Life with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.
Donisha Cotlone, MSW
Donisha is a recent graduate of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) where she received her Master’s degree in Social Work with a Macro concentration. During her time at the GCSW, she became heavily politically engaged. She began registering voters in Harris County and other counties surrounding Houston. She later completed her first Texas legislative session where she was able to analyze policy based on its impacts on working class Texans. During her time at the Capitol, she learned more in-depth about the lack of urgency Texas leaders had on issues that disproportionately impacted Black and Brown Texans.
Her first semester after completing session, she was introduced to this theory of decolonization. As she researched this theory, she learned not only how colonized America was, but how colonized the Social Work profession is. Donisha and a few classmates presented on decolonizing social work in class and later discussed creating a non-profit that will assist social work agencies with decolonizing the way they interact with employees and clients.
When she was presented with the position at Full Circle Strategies and learned about the racial equity consulting they were currently providing to non-profits, she immediately knew that working with and among the leaders of this organization would help prepare her for her long-term goal of decolonization, the profession she has dedicated her life to. However, this internship is not only important to her because of personal gain. She believes that the work we do is necessary and provides an opportunity for everyone to “rethink what we think we know” and unlearn the teachings that divided us and learn how to utilize our differences as building blocks to becoming better as a whole.
Donisha is honored and blessed to be a part of this movement forward to help discover, change and lead a generation forward to a world with an racial equity lens.
Lauren Emmerson, LMSW
Lauren Emmerson is a Licensed Master Social Worker and strongly believes in being a part of work that aligns with her life mission “leave it better than you found it.” With over 10 years’ experience in research, she has focused the last 5 years on program evaluation and research that centres equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in facilitator development, trend analysis, program changes/updates, and overall goal attainment. In addition, she is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator. Lauren brings experience in social work and sport to her facilitation style with an expertise in team building, with specific focus on individual strengths and group cohesion. Originally from Scotland, she played soccer for 23 years from the club level to professional, including representing her country as captain. She has a passion to work with athletes as they navigate all that is involved in playing a sport at a high level. In 2010, she moved to Texas to play soccer where she won a National Championship and was named NSCAA National Player of the Year. Lauren completed a B.S. in Biomedical Science from Glasgow Caledonian University. She gained a B.A. in Social Work from Texas Women’s University and her Master of Social Work from the University of Houston - Graduate College of Social Work. In her spare time, she loves to go on adventures with her wife, watch the UK version of Gogglebox, and have tea and biscuits.
Bob Fulkerson is a consultant specializing in fundraising, personal ecology and performance, and anti-racist organizational development. He co-founded the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada in 1994 and served as Executive Director until 2019. He was Executive Director of Citizen Alert, a statewide grassroots environmental justice organization, from 1984 to 1994. As adjunct faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno, he taught classes on oppression and privilege. A fifth-generation Nevadan, Bob was on the staff of Senator Paul Laxalt while attending George Washington University. He is a 2006-7 fellow in the Rockwood Leadership Program’s yearlong national fellowship for transformative leadership in the nonprofit sector, and a recipient of the “Leadership for A Changing World” Award from the Ford Foundation. Bob received the Arcus Social Justice Leadership Fellowship at Kalamazoo College in 2011. The City of Reno recognized him as one of 150 citizens who’ve made a difference since the city’s founding. Bob’s premier loves are his family, teaching yoga, folk music, the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada.
Stacy Grundy, DrPH, MPH, CHES
Dr. Stacy Grundy, a public health practitioner, researcher, and health equity champion, has a distinguished 10+ year career that reflects driving innovative, cost-effective population health strategies within healthcare systems and diverse communities. Her practice and research focuses on the drivers of health inequities among underserved, vulnerable, and marginalized populations. Dr. Grundy is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received her B.S. in Human Nutrition. Dr. Grundy also holds a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, and a Doctorate in Public Health in Advanced Practice Leadership from the University of South Florida, College of Public Health.
Temara J. Holt, M.A., M.Ed.
Temara J. Holt, M.A., M.Ed. is a Ph.D Candidate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Houston. Her dissertation and research interests focus on trauma disclosure among women of color and the impact of intergenerational and cultural trauma on interpersonal relationships.
For more than a decade, Temara has studied the intersections of mental and sexual health in communities of color, with a focus on understanding how systems of power and injustice are often the driving force of maladaptive patterns and global mental health concerns. She is passionate about reducing shame and stigma among marginalized communities, with aims to provide psychoeducation on trauma and tools to empower healing journeys. Temara is committed to the collective healing of individual, familial, organizational and cultural trauma experiences, with the understanding that disclosure and conversations that address systems of power lie at the root to ultimate change.
Temara earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Women and Gender Studies at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She holds a Master’s of Arts in Women’s Health from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston. She has served in a variety of settings and capacities, providing a culturally informed and intersectional lens to human functioning and relational concerns.
Margaret Mayer, LMSW
Margaret Mayer serves as a consultant and facilitator in Houston, Texas with a focus on justice, equity, and inclusion. In addition, she works with the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work as Field Coordinator for the face-to-face student program, Adjunct Professor, and Field Supervisor for the Houston Policy Practice Placement Initiative. She has worked extensively across systems, working in government, nonprofit and the private sector in evaluating both racial equity and LGBTQ+ inclusion. She is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and a trained state facilitator of equity and inclusion workshops. Margaret has trained healthcare professionals, including Texas Health and Human Services employees across all levels of the agency, members of the judiciary, government agencies and employees, business corporations, nonprofit organizations, and students, staff and faculty of higher education institutions.
Margaret is a proud alumnus of the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work, avid creative writer, and Lebanese-Cajun from South Louisiana. She is married to her wife with whom she shares a passion for social work, two wonderful fur babies, a love for travel, and an endless desire to try all desserts from The Great British Baking Show
Amittia Parker, LMSW, MPA
Amittia Parker, LMSW, MPA has worked for a decade as a mental health consultant across a variety of settings in Kansas City, including home-based services, childcare centers, school-based services, and health clinics. She is currently a fourth year doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare and engaged in research, teaching, and service. Her research agenda is focused on promoting minority mental health, with a particular interest in Black and Latinx families with young children. Her current research projects focus on maternal mental health among African American mothers, natural helping spaces, and behavioral health service availability and delivery. Amittia promotes racially sensitive practice both within the courses she teaches and in guest lectures. Amittia provides consultation services across the state and also serves in leadership roles in local, state, and national venues focused on infant and early childhood, the African American community, and Black social workers.
Juan Sazo, LCSW
Juan P. Sazo is a Latinx Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has experience working with children, adolescents, adults and family systems in faith-based, school-based, and community-based environments where he has facilitated individual, family, and group interventions, addressing different topics such as trauma, grief and loss, self-harm, relational aggression, anger management, social inequities, and life adjustments. He has extensive knowledge in the field of trauma as it pertains to its physiological and somatic impact on individuals. He utilizes a humanistic and culturally-attuned approach to his work and believes that all persons he is working with have the capacity and innate skills to find improvement in their lives.
Luana Da Silva, LCSW, SEP
Luana Da Silva (she/they) is a trauma and grief healer. Her work focuses on addressing the impact of generational trauma and/or grief through a decolonial lens. She engages in this work by offering different types of services: individual therapy to youth and adults, coaching to community-based clients, as well as consulting to professional clients (individuals or organizations). Her expertise lies in the intersections of cultural trauma (-isms), perinatal and attachment trauma, developmental trauma as well as interpersonal violence and abuse. As a somatic practitioner, Luana utilizes “bottom-up” approaches to help facilitate shifts of physiological patterns that have become “stuck” in the body, mind and spirit due to significant, disturbing experiences: abuse, bereavement, oppression.
Luana holds firmly to the principle that there can be no healing of trauma without addressing and healing the harm of systemic oppressions past and present. Whether at the individual, familial, organizational, or cultural (national, international and global) levels, racism, heteronormativity, ableism, transphobia, xenophobia and other forms of systemic oppression must be eliminated - not through suppression, but through accountability, healing and reparation processes - for equity, peace and justice to be realities for all beings.
Anti-oppression as a framework, compass, and critical reflection is what guides Luana in all aspects of her work, as well as in her personal life. She approaches this lifelong journey with humility and acceptance that there is always growth to be made and things to unpack and unlearn. Because of this, the professional relationships she develops with those she works with bases itself on the shared humanity that exists between all people: fallible, and capable of growth and meaningful change when committed and given appropriate tools to do so.
Luana earned her B.A. in Sociology with minors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Latin American Studies from the University of Houston in 2013. She then earned her Master’s in Social Work from the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston in 2015. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP). Luana is also a labor and birth coach (AKA “doula”), performing artist and advocate of the power of cultural arts to connect, heal and promote wellness in the community. Luana is a mixed-race queer Brasilian immigrant, a capoeirista and musician. She is partnered with a talented Brasilian artist, and together they parent two adorable children and care for many critters including dogs, chickens, geese, turkeys, guinea fowls, and even a peacock.
Kimberly Smoots, BA
Kimberly Smoots is a co-facilitator with Full Circle. She is a first-generation college graduate from El Paso, Texas. She is currently a rising fifth-year school psychology doctoral student at the University of Houston, with a focus on bilingual service delivery. She received her BA in Psychology from Texas A&M in Corpus Christi. Kimberly is bilingual, bi-ethnic, and biracial and is interested in working with culturally and linguistically diverse families and children. She is passionate about reducing mental health and/or disability stigma and hopes to increase knowledge, awareness, and acceptance among the families and communities. Her research interests include school-based mindfulness and cultural factors in service delivery, family-school relationships, and family-focused service delivery such as parent management training. She is experienced in conducting assessments, interventions, and consultations in both English and Spanish. While Kimberly enjoys working in schools, she is also knowledgeable about the challenges faced by individuals and families in marginalized communities and uses an equity lens to explore aspects of cultural humility with research and practice. In her free time, she enjoys singing, dancing, cooking, reading, spending time with family and friends, and working out.
Stephanie Yudovich, LCSW
Stephanie Yudovich is a licensed clinical social worker with a speciality and passion for working with children and adolescents who have experienced significant deaths and/or traumas. Stephanie believes in the importance of creating strong, culturally-attuned relationships with the youth and families she serves and fostering an environment in which they feel empowered to actively engage in the healing process that is most aligned with their strengths and values.
She also provides clinical supervision, consultation and trainings to individuals, organizations and schools in these areas of expertise. Through this work, she aims to educate and destigmatize grief and trauma experiences and advocate for clinical and community environments that honor each persons’ history without shame or fear of judgment. Stephanie hopes to bridge her professional background in her practice with Full Circle by facilitating meaningful dialogue around recognizing and understanding the impact of historical and intergenerational trauma, as well as grief and loss, when engaging in antiracist work. While Stephanie brings experience in these fields of knowledge, humility and endless growth remain core values that drive her both personally and professionally.
Stephanie received her B.A. in Psychology with minors in Human Development and Communications at the University of California, Davis and completed her Master’s of Social Welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles. When not working, she enjoys being outdoors, drinking tea, and spending time with her husband, three kids and loving dog.