Staff Directory

Jeremiah Bakerstull


Senior Data Analyst

As the Senior Data Analyst, Jeremiah Bakerstull is responsible for program and system data analysis, evaluation and reporting. Prior to joining Community Shelter Board in 2010, Jeremiah worked for Pilkington. He has a master’s of science in management degree, which he earned from Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Lianna Barbu


Associate Director  | Download Bio

Lianna Barbu directs the internal operations of Community Shelter Board. She oversees the operation and management of all finance activities, grants, housing, information technology, and human resources. She also directs the data, research and evaluation affairs of CSB and is responsible for program and system evaluations necessary for programmatic and planning decisions. Lianna drives the work of the Continuum of Care for Columbus and Franklin County – a broad stakeholder group that oversees the strategic plan to respond to homelessness – aligned with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

She represents CSB on a local, regional, and national basis. With a budget of $47 million and a staff of 35, Lianna focuses on operations leadership and management, external relationships, and knowledge management.

Before joining Community Shelter Board in 2007, Lianna worked for the Columbus Chamber, where she managed benefits for the Chamber’s 3,000 business members. Before her role at the Chamber, she managed export operations, logistics, and finances for a business in Romania, stewarding vendor relationships throughout Europe. Lianna holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and an undergraduate degree in computer sciences.

Thaddeus Billman


Operations Administrator

As Operations Administrator, Thaddeus Billman analyzes data, ensures data integrity, conducts research, proofs and edits materials, and prepares and submits reports. Additionally, he oversees CSB’s information technology and provides overall administrative support for the data and evaluation team. Before joining CSB, Thaddeus worked as an actuary at Nationwide, where he also delivered in-house technical support. He earned his bachelor’s degree in actuarial science from the Ohio State University.

Jennifer Birmele


Housing Director  | Download Bio

Jennifer Birmele oversees Community Shelter Board’s housing programs for people facing homelessness. This includes the direct client assistance program for short-term rent and utility assistance, the Unified Supportive Housing System for lease-up and vacancy management of permanent supportive housing, and strategic work to build and expand partnerships with property owners. She ensures that housing programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are administered effectively and in compliance with funder requirements.

Jennifer has more than 16 years of experience working with affordable housing programs and housing homeless families in the Springfield area. She most recently worked for the Springfield Metropolitan Housing Authority. Jennifer received her bachelor of business administration degree in 1999 from Franklin University and master of public administration degree in 2019 from Arkansas State University.

Nicholas Brenner


Client Housing Manager

Nicholas Brenner works with partner agencies, local agencies, and government entities to help obtain client documentation for housing. As a member of the housing team, he provides administrative and clerical support for CSB’s rental assistance and unified supportive housing programs. Nicholas comes to CSB from Home for Families, where he was a member of rapid re-housing programs as a case manager. He has more than seven years of experience in the human services sector, as well as experience in property owner relationships. Nicholas received his bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Toledo.

Janae Casto


Community Housing Manager

Janae Casto builds partnerships with property owners and landlords to support CSB’s partner agencies in their work to quickly resolve housing crises for people experiencing homelessness. She works to collaboratively and strategically expand partnerships that result in increased access to a diverse array of local housing options for people in need. Janae comes to CSB from Community Properties of Ohio, where she managed permanent supportive housing. She also has experience in child development and juvenile justice, in Dayton, Ohio. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University.

Cathy Ellerbrock


Grants Administrator

Cathy Ellerbrock administers partner agency contract activities and manages the program review and certification process. She is responsible for coordinating funding applications to ensure effective stewardship of investments in partner agency programs. Cathy has previous experience in the food manufacturing and home goods industries with over 25 years of experience in customer service, operations and vendor compliance. She attended Mount St. Joseph University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Candy Faught


Accounts Payable Accountant

Candy Faught supports the financial operations of CSB by performing accounting and accounts payable functions. She ensures timely and accurate payment of invoices and supports all accounting and payables functions. She has over 15 years of accounting and operations experience, most with banking institutions.

Derek Fry


Housing Inspector

Derek Fry completes housing inspections to ensure safe and high-quality environments for Community Shelter Board’s housing programs. He is a compliance expert with local, state, and federal housing code and regulations, and he coordinates with property owners to help them achieve compliance and participate in CSB’s housing programs. Derek has experience managing property owners’ associations and most recently worked for Capital Property Solutions.

Melissa  Garver


Chief Development Officer  | Download Bio

Melissa Garver is the Chief Development Officer for Community Shelter Board, leading private fundraising efforts by developing strategy, building donor partnerships, and raising funds to support CSB’s impact: preventing and ending homelessness. Melissa works with companies, businesses, and community leaders – in partnership with CSB’s Executive Director and board of trustees – to build strong partnerships in support of CSB leading our community's response to homelessness. Melissa earned a bachelor’s degree in business communications from Rockhurst University in 2003 and a Master of Business Administration from Capital University in 2014. She is a CFRE-certified fundraising professional.

Melissa’s interest in community efforts began in high school and college while she worked for Missouri Mansion Preservation, Inc., an organization responsible for the restoration and educational programs at the Missouri Governor’s Mansion. After graduating in 2003 from college, Melissa moved to Columbus to work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the regional fundraising office. There, she spent four years dedicated to helping children with cancer by organizing many fundraising events. Melissa joined Community Shelter Board in 2008.

Katie Goehring


Data & Grants Operations Coordinator

Katie Goehring supports data, grants, and evaluation operations. She maintains partner agency contract files, assists with the program review and certification process, and handles several data reporting functions. Katie worked at Kirche in Aktion in Frankfurt, Germany as an English interpreter/translator and administrative assistant before joining the CSB team. She earned her bachelor’s degree in youth ministry and Christian education from Cedarville University. She also holds a master’s degree in urban theology – community development from Nazarene Theological College.


Gillian Gunawan


Grants Administrator

Gillian Gunawan manages the annual application for federal funding on behalf of homeless programs in Columbus and Franklin County and helps oversee how the funds are used. She staffs the Continuum of Care – a broad community stakeholder group that oversees the strategic plan to respond to homelessness. Gillian also assists with the program review and certification and invoicing processes. Prior to joining Community Shelter Board, Gillian worked for Columbus Literacy Council. She earned two undergraduate degrees in English and sociology from the Ohio State University.

Shaun Gunnell


Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion  | Download Bio

As Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Shaun Gunnell works within Community Shelter Board as well as across its system of 20 partner agencies to challenge current structures and policies to ensure that systems, programs, services, and training support true equity and inclusion. His work is rooted in CSB’s values centered on collaboration, passionate and committed effort, accountability, integrity, curiosity, innovation, and transparency. Shaun is part of the senior management team that drives strategy for the organization and represents CSB on a local, regional, and national basis.

Shaun has a deep understanding of institutionalized oppressive systems and is skilled at designing and implementing effective diversity and inclusion programs. He worked at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio from 2017-2022 where he most recently served as the Director of Multicultural Student Affairs. He held leadership roles at the University of Rio Grande, including as an adjunct professor for health sciences.

A first-generation college graduate, Shaun earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Rio Grande. He is originally from the Weinland Park neighborhood of Columbus and is a proud graduate of Linden McKinley high school.

Michelle  Heritage


Executive Director  | Download Bio

Michelle Heritage has extensive non-profit and public sector experience including more than 30 years in leadership roles in the homeless system, mental health, child welfare, and the alcohol and drug systems. Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in criminology from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Dayton, and has been a licensed social worker and a certified chemical dependency counselor in the State of Ohio.

Michelle has served on national, statewide, and local boards and committees for human services, diversity, homelessness, and community research. She currently serves as board chair for the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio and as a board member of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus.

Michelle is a founding member of the Economic Mobility Coalition, a group of private and public sector leaders working on solutions to poverty. She is also a founding member of the Prevent Family Homelessness Collaborative focused on addressing the upstream causes of homelessness among families. Michelle is a member of the Franklin County Early Childhood Advisory Council, Franklin County Workforce Advisory Council, the Ohio Council to Advance Maternal Health, and the Pregnancy Care Initiative Leadership Council. She is a certified Fierce facilitator.

Michelle was honored with a Smart 50 Award from SmartBusiness Columbus in 2022, a YWCA Women of Achievement Award in 2021, a Central Ohio Social Justice Advocate Award in 2019, and was named to Columbus Business First’s Power 100 List of the community’s most influential leaders. She received a Pillar Award for Community Service as Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year in 2015. She received both Business First’s C-Suite Award and SmartBusiness Columbus’ Smart 50 Award in 2014. She was named Woman of the Year by the Niagara Foundation in 2014, and she was named among the 2013 Class of Power Players in Columbus by SmartBusiness Columbus. Community Shelter Board was named One of Five Nonprofits to Watch in 2014 by The Columbus Foundation. Michelle was recognized with the 2010 Levy Champion Award from Franklin County Children Services and was featured in the 2010 WELD calendar as one of 12 Women You Should Know. In 2009, Michelle received the Barry Mastrine Award from the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board for her work in promoting system collaboration. Under her leadership, Community Shelter Board has received the Smart Women Award from Smart Business Columbus, Better Business Bureau Torch Award for ethics in business, United Way’s Richard V. Carrick Leadership Award, United Way’s Award of Excellence for Employee Volunteerism, and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Award of Excellence for Operation Feed.

With a budget of $47 million, Michelle facilitates and leads work with our community to make sure everyone in Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio has a place to call home. She brings together diverse organizations to work together as an efficient system, rather than as a fragmented set of resources.

Don Hollenack


Finance Director  | Download Bio

Don Hollenack joined Community Shelter Board as Finance Director in 2015. He is responsible for the budget and financial operations of CSB. He has 30 years of experience in accounting and finance in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Don received his bachelor of science degree in business administration from the Ohio State University and is a certified public accountant. He previously served as Chief Financial Officer for Community Housing Network for 10 years.

Don is active in community service in the areas of non-profit finance and youth athletics.

Valerie Holtz


Housing Administrator

Valerie Holtz ensures that CSB’s housing programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are administered effectively and in compliance with funder requirements. Valerie previously worked as an asset manager at Springfield Metropolitan Housing Authority doing property management. She has more than 20 years of experience in property management, rent calculation, voucher administration, and file audit.

Kirstin Jones


Grants & Compliance Director  | Download Bio

Kirstin Jones manages Community Shelter Board’s contracts with all public funders, including sub-awarding, invoicing, and monitoring activities. She oversees review and certification of CSB-funded programs to assure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Kirstin joins CSB with five years of experience in HUD funding and working with another unified funding agency, formerly serving as their Director of Grants and Operations. She earned an MBA focused on Information Technology Management from the University at Albany, SUNY.

Emily Juengel


Program Administrator

Emily Juengel administers Community Shelter Board’s financial assistance programs. She works with case managers in shelters and outreach programs to provide short-term rent and utility assistance to people experiencing homelessness. Emily previously worked as senior case manager for a homelessness prevention program at Gladden Community House. She earned her master’s degree in public administration from the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University, as well as her undergraduate degree in social work from The Ohio State University.

Tom Lather


Grants Administrator

Tom Lather monitors partner agency spending to ensure proper expenditures of federal grant funding. He also assists with the program review and certification process. Tom has over 25 years of experience in the field of financial services, working in both the public and private sectors. Tom received his master’s degree in business administration from Ashland University as well as his undergraduate degree in business administration from the Ohio State University.

Sara  Loken


Community Relations Director  | Download Bio

Sara Loken leads Community Shelter Board’s community relations, government relations, and communication efforts. In this role, she works to build public awareness about CSB’s work to make sure everyone in our community has a place to call home. She engages a broad array of public and private stakeholders and participates in local, state, and federal advocacy activities. Sara leads media relations efforts and crafts presentations, speeches, and public testimony to advance CSB’s mission.

Sara serves on the board of 1girl, a leadership development organization for school-age girls. She is also the board chair of Partnerships for Authentic Learning & Leadership, a non-profit organization transforming the way we teach, learn, and serve our communities. She is a certified trainer in Fierce Conversations and is a member of Leadership Columbus’ Signature Program Class of 2020.

Sara has more than 25 years of non-profit experience in the field of homelessness. She joined CSB in 1998 as an Executive Assistant, and later held roles as Administrative Director and Chief of Staff. From 1995 to 1998, Sara was the Manager of Administrative Services for Friends of the Homeless, Inc.

Jaynina MacMillan


Program Manager - USHS

Jaynina MacMillan handles lease-up and vacancy management of permanent supportive housing. To ensure that the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness are prioritized, Jaynina manages a common method for application, screening and placement into permanent supportive housing across the homeless system. Jaynina worked in customer service at Nationwide before joining the CSB team in 2018 as an Administrative Assistant. She holds a certification in customer service and earned her bachelor’s degree in human and consumer sciences from the Patton College of Education at Ohio University.

Monisa Mason


Homelessness Prevention Network Manager

Monisa Mason manages a comprehensive, coordinated network of prevention partners and resources for people at risk of homelessness. Monisa has more than 10 years of experience working with different community populations, from the education to nonprofit sectors. She most recently worked as a director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism from the University of Toledo and her master’s degree in entertainment business from Full Sail University. 

Katie Ocasio


Relationship Officer

Katie Ocasio coordinates donor partnerships and helps raise funds to support CSB’s impact for people facing homelessness. She works with companies to share CSB’s impact and also leads individual and family giving programs. Katie worked for the past 12 years running programs to assist individuals with disabilities find employment and achieve full community integration. She attended the Ohio State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies.

Carol  Patzkowsky


Executive Assistant

Carol Patzkowsky provides a wide variety of executive support to the Executive Director, Associate Director, and Programs & Planning Director including scheduling, meeting and event planning, research, special projects, and coordinating activities across teams. Carol held various roles at BMW Financial Services over more than ten years. She joined Community Shelter Board in 2013.

Lilia  Perez-Chavolla


Grant Writer

Lilia Perez-Chavolla manages all private sector grant writing and reporting. In this capacity, she helps the development team raise funds to support CSB’s impact for people facing homelessness. Lilia has worked as a consultant for the United Nations system in the areas of communications and social development. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in communication from The Ohio State University.

Amber Scott


Relationship Coordinator

Amber Scott leads individual giving programs through a variety of fundraising channels and manages community giving campaigns. She also engages and coordinates with companies for volunteer projects and community service. Prior to joining Community Shelter Board, Amber worked for a non-profit eating disorder and mental health clinic where she helped develop and implement a new treatment for adults with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and anthropology with a specialization in cultural anthropology from Miami University of Ohio.

Steven Skovensky


Programs & Planning Director  | Download Bio

As Programs & Planning Director, Steven Skovensky has overall strategic and operational responsibility for all program areas, including prevention, street outreach, emergency shelter, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing. He is part of the senior management team that drives strategy for the organization and represents Community Shelter Board on a local, regional, and national basis.

Steve has extensive experience in the field of homelessness. He holds a deep and unwavering commitment to housing as the solution to homelessness, and has a long track record of demonstrating collaborative and productive relationships to best achieve that vision.

Steve was with YMCA of Central Ohio from 2016 – 2020 where he most recently held the position of Executive Director of Supportive Housing, managing operational aspects of their permanent supportive housing portfolio. Prior to that he held the position of Senior Director of Operations, providing leadership at Van Buren Center, the largest homeless shelter in Columbus and Franklin County. Steve held a leadership role on the Maryhaven Outreach Team as the Program Coordinator, at Faith Mission as the Supportive Services Manager, and at Southeast as the Project Liaison Case Manager. He also worked in Chicago with individuals with HIV/AIDS, inpatient mental health patients, and at emergency shelters for single adults experiencing homelessness.

Before coming to Columbus, Steve worked for Lakefront SRO – now Mercy Housing Lakefront – an innovator in permanent supportive housing and blended management. He was a partner in the Aids Foundation of Chicago's Hospital to Housing program and study, and was named as a Harm Reduction Champion by Heartland Health Outreach in Chicago.

Jennifer Slusarz


Senior Accountant

Jennifer Slusarz serves as Senior Accountant, responsible for CSB’s accounting system and related reporting. She also participates in provider agency contract monitoring, review and certification. Before joining Community Shelter Board, Jennifer worked in accounting, billing and accounts receivable for an electrical contracting company in Cincinnati. She holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from the Ohio State University.

Travis  Theders


Database Administrator

Travis Theders is responsible for the Columbus and Franklin County homeless management information system – Columbus Service Point – to ensure the availability of timely and quality data. Travis oversees the daily operations of Columbus Service Point for close to 300 users with an emphasis on quality management. Working closely with partner agency staff, Travis conducts training for administrators and data entry personnel. He previously worked for CLEAResult as a Program Analyst for energy efficiency programs. He attended the University of Cincinnati where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences.

Michelle Trudeau


Staff Accountant

Michelle Trudeau processes accounts payable and receivable, as well as grants payable. She assists with federal grant payments and banking. She also provides human resources support and payroll processing. Michelle attended the Ohio Dominican University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history with education certification.

Christy Tucker


Administrative Assistant

Christy Tucker staffs the front desk and assists with finance and housing department operations. She also provides administrative and clerical support for all staff. Christy worked at Capri Gardens, a rehabilitation and nursing facility, and The Next Door rehabilitation facility in Nashville as a front desk specialist before joining the CSB team. She also worked as a senior program developer in North Ireland for six years, traveling to schools and speaking to youth. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Chad Weese


Development Operations Manager

Chad Weese leads production and logistics for CSB’s fundraising events. He also manages community giving campaigns and coordinates development operations functions. Prior to joining Community Shelter Board, Chad worked as a plant manager in the fulfillment/distribution industry with over 10 years of experience in operations and project management. Prior to that he had 10 years of experience as a nuclear thickness gauge field service engineer after serving 6 years in the U.S. Navy as an electronics warfare technician aboard the USS Enterprise. Chad earned his associates degree in business management from Hocking College.

Twila Wellmaker


Outreach & Youth System Manager

Twila Wellmaker works with partners and stakeholders across the community as part of a comprehensive, coordinated response to young people, under age 24, facing homelessness. She also works with street outreach partners who engage people living outdoors to help them get to the safety of shelter or housing, facilitating access to benefits and targeted financial assistance, among other services. Twila has been a service provider for non-profits, state, and county government for over 28 years. She has worked extensively with youth at the Ohio Department of Youth Services in a leadership role and with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office in Charlotte, NC. She worked with women coming out of incarceration at Changed Choices in Charlotte, NC where she assisted with a high success rate for clients gaining housing after program completion. In her latest role at the Center for Healthy Families, she served as Housing Supervisor overseeing the housing program for pregnant and parenting teens along with managing the emergency rental assistance program. She has worked with landlords and partners to assist youth in gaining housing and avoiding eviction. Twila holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University.

Courtney White


Development Associate

Courtney White handles gift processing, reporting, and records management for CSB’s development activities. She also assists the development team with administrative and logistics support. Prior to joining Community Shelter Board, Courtney worked as an administrative assistant in construction. She was also an independent financial coach and recruiter for a financial services company for two years, along with several years of experience doing event coordination and staffing recruitment. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications from The Ohio State University.

Natalie Zimmerman


Systems Manager

Natalie Zimmerman works with partners and stakeholders across the community as part of a comprehensive, coordinated response to people facing homelessness. Her work focuses on the homeless hotline and programs for shelter, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing. Natalie has worked with diverse populations over the last decade, including youth, parents receiving rental assistance and coaching, women with substance use disorders, seniors, refugee and immigrant communities, and those facing eviction. Prior to moving to Columbus, Natalie lived in eight different countries where she worked on human rights and international development issues that affect vulnerable populations.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Ohio University, a master of philosophy degree in development economics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and a post-graduate specialization in family health from the Catholic University in Curitiba, Brazil.

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