Our Board

Our Board

A COMMUNITY OF LEADERS WHO ARE GIVING BACK


Brett Truitt, Ed.D. Founder/Executive Director

V-ELMS is the outgrowth of Brett's thirty years as an English teacher and supervisor in New York inner-city schools. She has been a mentor/Adjunct Professor at Empire State College/State University of New York in Brooklyn, New York for over twenty years. These experiences have led her to receive a doctorate at St. John's University in Educational Leadership and create V-ELMS. Her dissertation, titled "Case Studies of Student Mentoring in Three New York City Organizations", captures the very essence of Social Capital and its efficacy upon Human Capital when properly structured. As a Social Entrepreneur she is making a difference in America's underserved.

Anne Bush

A Brooklyn native, Anne is the president of Society for Clinton Hill and is currently serving on many other local non-profit boards. Her years in corporate banking guides V-ELMS in important decision-making, plus she has a long-term passion and much experience in assisting the underserved.

Adler Bernard, JD

Adler has served as a mentor this past school year. He will continue in both capacities to guide V-ELMS’. He is an attorney with JPMorgan Chase & Co.  Prior to joining JPMorgan, Adler served as a litigation attorney with New York based law firm of Dornbush Schaeffer Strongin and Venaglia, LLP (currently known as Schaeffer Venaglia Handler and Fitzsimmons, LLP).  Adler primarily focused on commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense matters including securities fraud, employment law and libel.  He previously worked as a prosecutor with the New York County District Attorney’s Office in the Office’s Special Prosecutions division. Adler holds a B.A. in Psychology and Africana Studies from New York University, and earned a doctor of jurisprudence from The George Washington University School of Law.

Frances Rodriguez

Frances has been a part of the board of V-ELMS since 2012 and has taken on the role of not just a Board Member but a cheerleader and supporter in more ways than can be listed. Frances was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She came to the United States to study Art History at Yale and then moved on to a career in marketing, finally as a representative for European designers in the fashion industry. She now lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jeffrey Stern and three children, and serves on the board of Positive Planet, Society for Clinton Hill and the Children Art Foundation.

Patricia Martin-Gibbons, JD

Patricia has practiced law for nearly three decades.  After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Brooklyn College in 1981, she attended Brooklyn Law School where she earned a Juris Doctorate degree in 1988. She then joined the Kings County District Attorney's Office as an Assistant District Attorney, and while there worked in the Juvenile Justice Unit. In 1991 she founded her private law firm.  The vast majority of her caseload focuses on child protective proceedings, adoption, custody, guardianship and visitation, juvenile delinquency, and divorce, wherein she represents adults as well as children.  In her spare time she enjoys sharing her various crafting skills with children and adults.  She also enjoys music and paddleball.  The mother of two sons, she resides in Brooklyn.  She’s a member of the Brooklyn Bar Association, the National Law Association of Defense Attorneys, Kings County Family Court Black History Month Committee, and The Children’s Enrichment Program of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Pat is new to the V-ELMS Board.

Lindsay Casler-Browne, M.B.A.

 Lindsay Casler, a creator, operator, and builder, is experienced in developing and scaling businesses that


consistently deliver innovative solutions in areas including operations, business strategy, supply chain and sales.


As the Vice President of Operations at Linkbee, a connected home product and service company, Lindsay


manages all facets of business operations including all Finance, Human Resources, Planning and Product


Management & Supply Chain.  Prior to Linkbee, Lindsay spent three years as the Vice President of Operations of


Quirky. In this role, she managed the Sales & Product Operations, Retail Design, E-commerce, Channel Marketing


and Logistics teams. Together these groups worked to ensure the best brand experience possible for both e-


commerce and wholesale customers. Previously, Lindsay spent eight years in the apparel and accessories


industry where she served in a variety of roles including Product Development, Production, Logistics, Planning,


and Retail Operations. Lindsay holds a BBA in Marketing as well as an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Brand


Management from LIM College. We welcome Lindsay our Board and know she will be an important ascent.


Frieda Huddleston, M.S.

Frieda, has served as a Board Member from the beginning of V-ELMS inception. Frieda's measured advice and


editorial skills have been constant. She served as the Director for Patient & Hospital Relations at her community’s


largest Army Medical facility.  She has a myriad of experience in education, healthcare management, counseling,


business administration, and accounting. Her honed skills as a technical writer and editor provide guidance to the


V-ELMS leadership.


Tenasia Hatch, B.S.

Tenasia has been involved with V-ELMS as a mentor since 2013. She is a health and fitness ambassador with over a


decade of experience in the field. A graduate from Michigan Technological University, where she received a B.S. in


Mechanical Engineering, a B.S. Psychology, and an Art Minor. Tenasia likes to think of herself as an anomaly of sorts.


She began her career within the combine engine industry, gaining early experience at both Caterpillar and John Deer. 


Realizing that she much preferred to enhance the “mechanics of the body”, she went on to become a top-tiered


fitness coach at one of the leading fitness brands, Equinox and, since then, has managed the Personal Training


Department at multiple facilities throughout the city.


Tenasia has extensive experience in talent acquisition and team development, strategic planning, quality control, and


customer relations. She has been involved with V-ELMS for 3 years and can be found exploring the arts in her spare


time. 


Devonta Williams, B.S.

DeVonta is a Strategic Finance and Technical Operations Executive with over 25 years of experience managing


large scale global teams for multiple fortune 500 companies.  a Strategic Finance and Technical Operations


Executive with over 25 years of experience managing large-scale global teams for multiple is a native of Brooklyn,


New York and is now working as a Chief Financial Business Manager at Morgan Stanley for their Operations


Compliance and Technology division. Early in her career she was afforded opportunities to work closely with


senior level management, build her network and expertise, and create a business foundation where she was


promoted to Vice President before having finished her Bachelors degree in International Business and Economics


at New York University.


Paula van de Nes, Ph.D.

Paula is the Director of Medical Strategy at a healthcare communication agency in NYC, bridging internal strategy with external medical insights. She received a doctorate degree in Molecular Neuroscience, a master’s degree in Life Science Engineering, and has published in peer-reviewed journals. Before her transition into advertising, Paula was an adjunct professor and taught the anatomy and physiology of the human body at the City University of New York. A bona fide science geek, she brings her experience in the the life sciences, cognitive psychology, and science communications.

Kirkland Vaughans, Ph.D.

A graduate of NYU Postdoc, is on the faculty of Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies. He was founding editor of the Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (JICAP) and served as its editor for 10 years. He made JICAP a special venue for the publication of papers on the treatment of children of diverse ethnic groups and economic backgrounds. He has a private practice in NYC and is a school psychologist at Hempstead High School. He is co-editor of the book  The Psychology of Black Boys and Adolescents  volume 2.

Linda Scher Deputy Director

A retired arts and humanities teacher in a New York inner-city school, Linda has written comprehensive curricula. A community activist and entrepreneur, she serves on a local historical society board where she chaired the House Tour Fundraising and is instrumental on securing partnerships with other vital organizations. She has apprenticed local high-school students in brownstone restoration,and plays a pivotal role in funding assistance to research assistants in the Department of American Art at The Brooklyn Museum.

Peter Grossman, JD

Peter was a practicing attorney for several years before moving to the financial markets.  He worked at Shearson

Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley before forming Centaur International in 1993, an emerging markets fund

manager and boutique investment advisor.  Centaur was merged into FG Capital Management in 2000, a firm that

specializes in investments in emerging markets, particularly those involving active or potential litigation.  Peter also

runs a business that investigates corruption and other infractions of the securities laws of the United States.

Victoria McNair, M.A., M.B.A.

Victoria has been involved with V-ELMS as a mentor and how will wear both hats of Board member and mentor to

guide the growth of V-ELMS. She is a Social Media and Marketing Specialist with John Jay Online and the Division of

Professional Studies, holds a Bachelor Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University, a MBA from the

University of Phoenix, and MA Public Relations from Kent State. Victoria comes to John Jay College following a two-

year contract with the United Nations. Victoria is most proud of her time with Outspoken Media Group where she

shattered myths of attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), of which she is a proud alum.