Leadership Team


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Karen has been working in the non-profit sector for more than 30 years as both a volunteer and a staff member. She began the role of Executive Director of CARITAS in 2000. In 2007, Karen took on the dual role as Executive Director for The Healing Place, a long-term residential recovery program for men struggling with substance use disorders. She guided the efforts to merge the organizations in 2012. Karen works with the Board of Directors and staff leaders to set the vision and priorities for the year, ensuring that the programs have the resources they need to help our participants successfully navigate their journeys. In addition, Karen builds relationships with other community leaders and partners.

Karen has a Bachelor’s of Science from Oklahoma State University and is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond. Karen’s awards and honors include: the Stettinius Award for Non-Profit Leadership, United Way’s “Champion for Change” of 2008, 2010 YWCA Outstanding Woman Award, 2010 Better Housing Coalition’s Creative Collaborator Award, Richmond Magazine’s Bold Women of 2020, 2021 Richmond Times-Dispatch Person of the Year Honoree, and the Leadership Metro Richmond’s Ukrop Community Vision Award in 2022. Karen has served as an appointed member of the Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism and on the boards of Homeward and Leadership Metro Richmond. In October 2012, Karen was inducted in the Virginia First Lady’s FLITE Hall of Fame for Women in Business. She previously served on the vestry of St. James’s Episcopal Church.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: I love seeing the light come back in our program participants’ eyes and seeing them start to believe in themselves. We always say that we love our participants until they can love themselves.

Her favorite place in Richmond: Any new restaurant that’s getting rave reviews.

Karen Stanley

President & CEO

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Karen has been a leader at CARITAS since 2009. She has helped drive the growth and vision of the agency, including founding the CARITAS Furniture Bank and turning the CARITAS Center project into a reality. She leads and oversees the operations for all of CARITAS’s programs and facilities. She is passionate about effective leadership, powerful partnerships, and sustainable change. While her business background started at a Fortune 500 company, Karen’s entrepreneurial spirit and expertise sharpened as a co-owner of a GE distribution center in Richmond, VA.

Karen graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a minor in math from Hartwick College. Karen is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, a 2016 Stettinius Leadership Award winner, and recipient of Boomer Magazines “IT” list award for 2013. Karen also earned a Mini MBA from the University of Richmond and graduated from the Bank of America Program.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: My life is richer thanks to the people I work with and the neighbors we come alongside. Radical HOPE demands we always believe the human spirit is stronger than our brokenness. This belief is at the center of our work, our culture, and in our hearts at CARITAS, making every day an opportunity for mutual healing.

Her favorite place in Richmond: Outside! I love spending time on the river, state parks, golf courses, bike/walking trails, and the pickleball court!

Karen O’Brien

Chief Operating Officer

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Clara directs all fundraising efforts at CARITAS. She joined the staff in 2015 and soon thereafter helped launch and manage the largest capital campaign in the agency’s history. With a fabulous team of development professionals, Clara is responsible for ensuring the financial needs of our programs are fulfilled through the philanthropic support of our community.

Prior to CARITAS, Clara has more than a decade of nonprofit fundraising experience as well as eight years as a Specialty Cut Flower Farm owner and operator. Clara received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Wofford College and is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond and a 2001 graduate of Leadership Charlotte. Clara serves on the executive board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Virginia Chapter and also as the Chairperson of AFP’s National Philanthropy Day. She is a member of the Appomattox Education Foundation Board of Directors, and President of the A.R.G.S. Theater Arts Boosters.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: I love authentic conversations with supporters and learning about their inspiration to give. It is my great privilege to work alongside our participants where I witness a magical space of loving and living that is uniquely CARITAS.

Her favorite place in Richmond: When I am not at work, you can find me hiking along the river, at the VMFA, or sitting on my porch with neighbors.

Clara Stokes

Chief Development Officer

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As our Chief Financial Officer, Elly provides leadership and management of the financial and accounting departments at CARITAS. She sets and tracks the success of our long-term operational goals, budgets, and forecasts and implements strategies to improve CARITAS’ overall performance. As our Director of Human Resources, Elly plans, leads, directs, develops, and coordinates the policies and activities associated with CARITAS’ staff from recruitment to wellness to legal compliance.

Elly earned a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Vassar College.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: I get to see first hand the positive impact CARITAS makes in people’s lives, plus I get to work with amazing people–people who are incredibly inspiring and awesome.

Her favorite place in Richmond: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts because it is a living example of creativity across time.

Elly Flippen, CPA, SHRM-SCP

Chief Financial Officer and Director of Human Resources




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Ben developed and now manages the newest CARITAS program: the Recovery Residences, which offers a safe, substance-free living environment for newly sober men and women to live, save funds, navigate resources, connect to the local recovery community, and build habits to support long-term sobriety. Ben began as a participant of The Healing Place in 2017 and applies his own experiences in his work every day. He is a CARITAS Works graduate and an alumnus of The Healing Place. He has since earned several honors and certifications: Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, Registered Peer Recovery Specialist, Certified REVIVE! Trainer, and Virginia Association of Recovery Residences Board of Directors member.

What he loves about working at CARITAS: This organization has given me the opportunity to attempt to repay the debt that I owe for my life. There were others before me that paved the way of compassion and support, and I get to try to pay it forward on a daily basis.

His favorite place in Richmond: Pocahontas State Park; Galley Restaurant and anywhere I can get to the water, woods, or trails.

Benjamin Carr, CPRS, RPRS

Director of Recovery Services

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Dominique is responsible for the accounting functions of our growing organization. She is a critical member of our operations team, helping ensure our daily mission is carried out smoothly and with confidence. Dominique has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and English and a Leadership Studies Certificate from Randolph-Macon College, and a Master of Humanities and a Master of Business Administration from Tiffin University.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: I love working at CARITAS because I am constantly being challenged and, thus, am constantly learning and problem-solving.

Her favorite place in Richmond: I don’t have a favorite place in Richmond, but I love trying out different local restaurants throughout the city.

Dominique Harvey-Ryan, MBA

Director of Accounting and Finance

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Steph came to CARITAS with more than 20 years of experience as an innovative data analytics leader in the healthcare industry. She specializes in program evaluation, financial analysis and data story-telling– turning numbers into narratives. In 2020, Steph was recognized as a national leader in healthcare data visualization, and she is extremely excited to help develop this potential within the non-profit industry in Richmond. Steph holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering and education from the University of Virginia.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: CARITAS is a Latin word meaning “love for all people”. This is a perfect way to describe what happens inside this organization. The love that CARITAS staff have for each other and for the people we serve is simply incredible. Being a part of this community is what I love most about working here.

Her favorite place in Richmond: I love to visit the Japanese Garden at Maymont Park, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, weekend farmer’s markets and any sunny, green space to kick back and listen to live music with family and friends.

Steph Herndon

Director of Data and Evaluation

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Emily oversees fundraising operations, special events, and community engagement at CARITAS. Her goal is to connect funds, supplies, and people with the needs of our program participants. Emily accomplishes this by building relationships with donors, volunteers, and community partners.

Emily earned a master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy from Auburn University and a bachelor’s in Psychology from William & Mary. In addition, Emily is a 2018 graduate of the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program and a 2020 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond. She currently serves as Chair of Impact 100 Richmond.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: I rarely meet anyone in Richmond who doesn’t know and admire the work of CARITAS, which is really special.

Her favorite place in Richmond: My happy place is anywhere outside with friends, live music, or lots of plants and dogs.

Emily Millhiser

Director of Community and Donor Engagement

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Marilyn creates and implements programs and processes for workforce development and trainings for both program participants and staff at CARITAS. Marilyn has more than 25 years of experience in education and training, program development, management, non-profit leadership, and community development. She is passionate about and dedicated to adult education, social justice and equality, and uniting resources to strengthen the community. Marilyn is very active throughout the Richmond community. She is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond and served as a past president of the Historic Jackson Ward Association.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: It is an honor to work with servant leaders so very committed to our mission to create a safe space to heal and time to rebuild. I learn something each day from witnessing the growth of our participants and staff. My heart is full working at CARITAS.

Her favorite place in Richmond: I love the James River Parks System; however my favorite place is in the presence of all 5 grandchildren.

Marilyn Milio, CPRC, CPC

Senior Director of Workforce Programs and Training

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Sandy has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years. She is passionate about helping people and building relationships. As Director of the Furniture Bank, Sandy manages the complex logistics of working with thousands of case managers and clients from our 80+ community partners. She greets and welcomes all staff, clients, volunteers, and donors who call and come into the CARITAS Center. Sandy studied Mass Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University with an emphasis on Broadcasting. She served as a mentor through VCU’s African American Alumni Council and is also a 2011 graduate of the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program. As part of Sandy’s mentorship commitment she was a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: I love people, I enjoy watching the transformations and I enjoy building relationships. I am passionate about helping people and I strive to exceed expectations through great customer service.

Her favorite place in Richmond: I enjoy concerts, plays, church, local events, museums, marketplaces, new restaurants, and shopping.

Sandy Morris

Director of the Furniture Bank and Customer Service

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Jenn oversees the staffing and operations of the Men’s and Women’s Emergency Shelters. CARITAS recently refocused our energy on becoming an emergency shelter with a housing focus, offering a 24/7 supportive program to help individuals fully address barriers to accessing stable housing. Jenn has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor – Assistant as well as a 2022 graduate of the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: Fairness and compassion are two of my core values, making my role at CARITAS my dream job. Not only am I proud to work for an organization that offers compassionate care and a safe place, I revel in the opportunity to get to be a part of the bigger picture of advocating for how Richmond can better support individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

Her favorite place in Richmond: My favorite place to be is eating Alamo’s on the bench at Jefferson Park, overlooking my favorite city.

Jennifer Patterson, BA, QMHP-C

Director of Emergency Shelter

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Paul makes sure everyone eats well and that our buildings are operating at their best for CARITAS staff, participants, volunteers, and visitors. That means nurturing partnerships in the community to help us secure food to serve more than 273,750 meals a year. With 175,000 square feet over two campuses, there is never a day that is the same. With talented people on his team, our participants are fed and our buildings are operational, ensuring our ability to serve our participants with our mission and values in mind. Paul brings 30 plus years in the hospitality industry with his values and own long-term sobriety journey to his work at CARITAS.

What he loves about working at CARITAS: The people. From our staff and participants, to our volunteers and board of directors, to our community partners and all those that support us in what we do I feel blessed, honored and grateful beyond measure.

His favorite place in Richmond: My screened-in porch with my morning coffee.

Paul Start

Senior Director of Food Service and Facilities

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Stephen oversees the operations of both The Healing Place programs, of which he is an alumnus himself. Stephen entered The Healing Place in 2011 and went on to serve as a Peer Mentor and Transition Coordinator. Stephen is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and a Certified Recovery Dynamics provider. He earned the James E. Ukrop Scholarship to attend the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program and was awarded a Manny Award from My Brothers’ Keeper, one of CARITAS’s long-time nonprofit partners. Stephen became Program Manager of The Healing Place for Men in 2019. Following the opening of The Healing Place for Women, Stephen became Director of both campuses of The Healing Place in June 2021.

What he loves about working at CARITAS: I enjoy the opportunity to serve our community’s Substance Use Disorder population. As staff, we practice a high standard of dignity and respect for each other and participants.

His favorite place in Richmond: I love to visit Pocahontas State Park.

Stephen Vicoli, CPRS

Program Director for The Healing Place




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Lexie manages relationships with private foundations, congregations, businesses, and local, state, and federal agencies, and crafts critical communications to spread awareness about the CARITAS mission. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. Lexie also holds membership in the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Grant Professionals Association (GPA).

What she loves about working at CARITAS: At CARITAS, I get to work with a group of people who are compassionate, hard-working, and dedicated to making Richmond a better place for everyone to live. The work is meaningful, and the teamwork is fun!

Her favorite place in Richmond: Running the Capital Trail.

Lexie Haglund, CFRE

Senior Grants & Communications Manager

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Christopher recruits, trains, and coordinates volunteer activities with groups and individuals around the Richmond community to support the CARITAS mission. He also coordinates the intake of any physical in-kind donations to CARITAS that are not furniture-related. Christopher earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems from Strayer University.

What he loves about working at CARITAS: I love CARITAS’ mission, and the way in which it is delivered is beneficial to all stakeholders in the community. It is also populated by wonderful hardworking staff and volunteers that I am constantly in awe of.

His favorite place in Richmond: Aside from my own home, I love shopping at places in Richmond that sell fun “recycled” items like 2nd and Charles and Goodwill. Also, you can’t go wrong with a nice walk in any of the great parks that we have!

Christopher Lee, MBA

Volunteer Engagement Manager

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What he loves about working at CARITAS:

His favorite place in Richmond:

Ray Porter

Facilities Manager

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Lori coordinates all of the furniture and household essentials arriving at the CARITAS Furniture Bank warehouse, the disbursement of essential items to clients at their homes, and manages an energetic warehouse team who help us serve the Richmond community with these critical services. Lori also helps welcome our dedicated volunteers who sort through donated items and set up our Furniture Bank shopping floor for participants. Lori has a Bachelor of Arts from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was honored by AmeriCorps as a National Service Alumni 2018 Outstanding Alumni Member.

What she loves about working at CARITAS: I love how innovative CARITAS is. I love that I can attend meetings with the participants and learn from them.

Her favorite place in Richmond: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or the swing under my tree.

Lori Schmiege

Warehouse Manager

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Justin manages and supervises the operations of The Healing Place to ensure that the participants coming into the program get the same services, if not better, that saved his own life. As an alumnus of the recovery program, Justin started as a Peer Mentor in February of 2018 and joined the staff in 2019. Justin is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Assistant and a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist.

What he loves about working at CARITAS: It gives me an opportunity to help people just like me and show them a way to be a productive successful member of society.

His favorite place in Richmond: Maymont Park is absolutely beautiful!

Justin Woods, CPRS

The Healing Place Program Operations Manager

Kayla Smith, Senior Development Coordinator,, 804-612-1727

DeAndre Whitehurst, Business & HR Coordinator,, 804-418-3048

Food Service
Jackie Wilson, Kitchen Senior Coordinator–Dinwiddie,, 804-249-7359
Raymond Holmes, Kitchen Coordinator–Stockton,,
Matthew White, Kitchen Coordinator–Dinwiddie,, 804-249-7359Facilities
Mark Barbee, Facilities Assistant,
Kenny Davis, Housekeeping and Janitorial Supervisor,

Case and Resource Management
Megan Corbitt, Senior Case Management Coordinator-Men’s,, 804-612-1750
Tori Purcell, Senior Case Management Coordinator-Women’s,, 804- 887-1575
Samuel Robinson, Resource Coordinator,, 804-887-1590
Shelter Support Staff
Ci’Yasia Blackman, Women’s Emergency Shelter,, 804-887-1588
James Connor, Men’s Emergency Shelter,, 804-887-1583
Penny Dortch, Men’s Emergency Shelter,, 804-887-1583
Paula Pruitt, Women’s Emergency Shelter,, 804-887-1588
Caitlin Reilly, Women’s Emergency Shelter,, 804-887-1588
Khalil Sheffield, Men’s Emergency Shelter,, 804-887-1583
Diana Thomas, Women’s Emergency Shelter,, 804-887-1588

Huey Gordon, Warehouse Coordinator,, 804-887-1569
Rodney Green, Driver,
Darnell Coleman, Driver,
Samantha Mitchell, Client Support Specialist,, 804-887-1593

Vicki Mollenauer, Senior Career Development Coordinator,, 804-887-1587
Dustin Shipp, Senior Works Coordinator,, 804-887-1599

Deja Olds, Administrative Coordinator,, (804) 887-1589
Michael McFadden, Program Data Assistant,, 804-230-1185
Justin Woods, Program Operations Manager–THPM (804) 887-1584
Tyrone Bates, Program Coordinator–THPM,
Patricia Saunders, Men’s SOTS Coordinator,, 804-230-1184
Linda Anderson, Men’s SOTS Team Lead,, 804-230-1184
Michael Embrose, Men’s SOTS Team Lead,,
Anna Murphy, Program Operations Manager–THPW,, 804-401-8671
Casandra Jefferson, Program Coordinator–THPW,, 804-801-5079
Carol DiPerna, Women’s SOTS Coordinator,, 804-418-3049
Toni Simonson, Women’s SOTS Team Lead,, 804-418-3049

Brian Kelly, Transition Coordinator,, 804-401-8672
LaShonda Henderson, Resident Coordinator,, 804-801-5082
Michelle Friedhoff, Peer Navigation Specialist,

Megan Wilson, Marketing and Communications Manager: or (540) 894-6245