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Staff

Amy Strite, Chief Executive Officer

Amy Strite became the new CEO of Voices for Virginia’s Children in October 2020.  In this role, Amy leads work that focuses on systems-level change, with an emphasis on racial equity and trauma-informed care.

Amy has 25 years of progressively responsible non-profit leadership. She is mission- and values-driven in directing organizations in their long-term strategies and daily operations. Amy effectively builds and sustains trusting relationships with boards, staff, funders, community partners and other stakeholders. She has experience with change management, building employee engagement, and resource development. Amy has a strong commitment to and demonstrated effectiveness in leading an organization to embrace the importance of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Prior to her work with Voices, Amy served as President & CEO of Family Lifeline for the past 13 years. Amy held roles with Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now), Sacred Heart Center and Richmond AIDS Ministry.

Amy currently serves on the boards of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation and Smart Beginnings RVA. A clinician at heart, Amy holds a Bachelor of Social Work from West Virginia University and a Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University.

To reach Amy please contact her at amy@vakids.org.

Cynthia Coleman, Chief Philanthropy Officer

Cynthia Coleman is the Chief Philanthropy Officer at Voices for Virginia’s Children. She is responsible for setting and strategically executing the organization’s development plan, raising the profile of Voices, and building relationships with new and current donors, partners and funders.

Cynthia was most recently Director, Community Investments, at United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg where she managed the grant process and the group of dedicated volunteers who support that process as part of the Community Building Committee (CBC). She also served as Co-Chair of the newly formed committee addressing diversity, equity and inclusion both internally and with CBC volunteers. Cynthia began her work at United Way in Resource Development, leading fundraising efforts at its top-tier corporate workplace campaigns.

Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Government from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond.

Cynthia can be reached at cynthia@vakids.org.

voices-297-EmilyEmily Griffey, Chief Policy Officer

Emily Griffey is the Chief Policy Officer at Voices for Virginia’s Children. She is the key contact for government relations and policy analysis for issues that impact the health and well-being of Virginia’s Children. Emily provides expertise in child care and early learning issues and brings additional experience and background on the many issues she has worked on during her eight years with Voices.

Emily has been an advocate for the expansion of preschool opportunities, equitable access to safe and affordable child care, and family economic supports. Notably, Emily has paved the way for engagement with candidates running for office through the organization’s electoral advocacy and gubernatorial forums as well as ensuring that children are a priority once officials take office, such as her involvement with the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and many stakeholder committees. Additionally, Emily enjoys hearing the perspectives of parents and front-line professionals to help shape Voices’ policy agenda and highlight priority issues.

Emily comes to Voices with experience in working on early childhood issues at a local and regional level for Greater Richmond’s Smart Beginnings, Richmond City Social Services, and Baltimore’s Safe and Sound Campaign. Emily is a graduate of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond and earned her master’s degree in public policy at Johns Hopkins University.

Emily can be reached at emily@vakids.org.

Allison GilbreathPolicy and Programs Director

Allison Gilbreath is the Policy and Programs Director at Voices for Virginia’s Children. She leads the organization’s child welfare policy work as well as the implementation of advocacy programs, elevating policy conversations across all policy areas.

Allison created Voices’ foster care policy network, a group comprised of partners, direct service providers, families, and youth who create a foster care unified agenda each year. She also helped to create the first-ever bi-partisan foster care caucus with the Virginia General Assembly. Together, with the network and foster care caucus, she successfully led the charge in creating the kinship financial assistance program during the 2020 General Assembly session.

Allison came to Voices after several years of working on behalf of children and families, most recently at Prevent Child Abuse Virginia. She was included on Style Weekly’s 40 under 40 in 2019 and has presented at several national and state conferences.

She earned her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University, and completed the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership in 2016. She is the board president of Collective 365, an organization founded to support Black and Brown communities through philanthropic giving and capacity building.

Alison can be reached at allison@vakids.org.

Lauren Snellings, Research Director

Lauren Snellings is the Research Director for Voices for Virginia’s Children. Lauren is responsible for providing data and research expertise that informs our policy work. She manages the Virginia KIDS COUNT data platform, supporting the Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT efforts. She also leads our 2020 Census advocacy and education initiatives. She is an appointed Commissioner on the Virginia Complete Count Commission, serving as a trusted voice and resource to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 Census, including our youngest children.

Lauren is an epidemiologist with a strong research background having most recently worked at the Center on Society and Health studying social determinants of health. Lauren earned her Masters in Public Health from Virginia Commonwealth University and graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education. Lauren is a mom to Brooks. In her free time she likes to do yoga and spend time outdoors. She is excited to use her skills and talent to further the data-informed advocacy at Voices.

Lauren can be reached at lauren@vakids.org.

Chloe I. EdwardsPolicy Analyst

Chloe Edwards is the Policy Analyst at Voices for Virginia’s Children. She leads policy and advocacy work in domains related to the social determinants of health (SDOH) with a focus on healthcare, family economic security, trauma-informed care and equity.

In 2020, Chloe launched Virginia’s first Racial Truth & Reconciliation Week, which was recognized by Governor Ralph Northam. Now, the initiative has evolved into a campaign that empowers the voices and experiences of marginalized communities in acknowledgement of truth to promote healing, reconciliation, and justice. In implementation, Chloe shapes the campaign’s policy priorities and provides support to the coalition. During the 2021 GA session, Chloe helped lead efforts to successfully recognize racism as a public health crisis in Virginia, making the state the first in the south.

Prior to Voices, Chloe served as director of Connecting Hearts to solve Virginia’s child welfare crisis. In 2021, Chloe was recognized by The Valentine as a Richmond History Maker for the social justice category. In 2020, she was named on Style Weekly’s top 40 Under 40. She also received the Outstanding Service Award from Connecting Hearts in 2018 and she was named Radio One Richmond’s top 30 Under 30 in 2017.

Chloe holds a Master of Public Policy in Leadership from Liberty University. She also completed the Minority Research and Law Institute Program at Southern University and the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Emerging Leaders program in 2019. Chloe currently serves as the founder of Chloe Edwards, INC and president of Black Lives Matter 804.

Chloe can be reached at chloe@vakids.org.

Megan Mbagwu, Operations Manager

Megan Mbagwu is the Operations Manager at Voices for Virginia’s Children. She is responsible for assisting in all administrative functions and providing leadership in organizational culture development and implementation.

Megan spent 10 years working in South Africa as both a direct service provider and a nonprofit leader with an organization focused on providing care to children affected by the HIV pandemic. Most recently, she worked at Family Lifeline as an Administrative Coordinator where she established organizational processes and procedures to ensure smooth operations throughout the organization and focused on creating a more inclusive, equitable and trauma-informed culture internally.

Megan has an Associate’s Degree from John Tyler in Business Administration and is currently working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Megan can be reached at megan@vakids.org.