Joseph Center's operations are overseen by a dedicated Senior Management
Team that consists of Executive Director Va Lecia Adams Kellum; Director of Programs Erin McGinnis; Director of Programs Courtney Kanagi; Development Director Paul Rubenstein; Director of Operations Tifara Monroe; and Director of Housing and Resource Management LaCheryl Porter.
Executive Director Va Lecia Adams Kellum has extensive experience in counseling as well as non-profit program design and management. Before joining St. Joseph Center, Va Lecia spent six years as Director of Transitional Living for United Friends of the Children. While there she helped create and oversee Pathways, an 18-month transitional housing program that assists former foster youth with housing, college readiness, career development, financial assistance, mentoring, and individual counseling. While working on her Ph.D., Va Lecia served as Executive Director of The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP), housed in the Stanford University School of Medicine. SMYSP reaches out to low-income youth who are interested in becoming physicians. Va Lecia has also held the position of Vice President of Counseling Services for College Bound, a Cerritos-based non-profit organization that provides college counseling and guidance to minority youth.
Born and raised in Southern California, Va Lecia graduated with a B.A. from the University of Southern California and earned an M.A. from Ball State University before completing her Ph.D. at Stanford University. Throughout her doctoral program, she researched the factors that create stress (such as poverty, academic under-achievement, and family problems) in ethnic minority youth. This work resulted in a chapter (co-authored with Dr. Teresa LaFromboise) entitled, “Relational Group Therapy with African American Female Adolescents and Their Mothers,” published in the book The Intersection of Race, Class, and Gender: Implications for Multicultural Counseling (D. Pope Davis & H. L. K. Coleman, Eds.).
Director of Programs Erin McGinnis is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a decade of experience working in community mental health with marginalized populations. Her background includes experience treating severe and persistent mental illness along with extensive training in trauma-informed care. For the last five years, she has developed and led multidisciplinary teams, including at St. Joseph Center where she previously supervised the agency’s chronic homeless intervention programs as a Division Manager. As Director of Programs at St. Joseph Center she applys her clinical and leadership skills to oversee a variety of programs dedicated to assisting homeless and low-income adults and families. Erin is passionate about helping the most vulnerable members of our community find ways out of poverty and she is dedicated to ending homelessness.
Director of Programs Courtney Kanagi was born and raised in Southern California. She holds a degree in Sociology from California State University, Northridge and has significant experience addressing homelessness in the community. Prior to joining St. Joseph Center she spent eight years at PATH, where she held a number of leadership roles. Most recently, as the Director of Street Outreach, she helped develop and oversee outreach teams that served those living on the streets. Courtney brings strengths and experience in housing and community engagement; show is now working on St. Joseph Center’s behalf with Venice Forward, a consortium of stakeholders dedicated to developing local solutions to homelessness.
Development Director Paul Rubenstein has worked in nonprofit fundraising for more than a decade.
He manages St. Joseph Center’s private fundraising efforts and oversees in-kind donations and volunteer services. Before joining St. Joseph Center's development staff in 2004 he worked with City Garage Theatre in Santa Monica, an acclaimed alternative ensemble that the LA Weekly called the “Best Theatre Company in Los Angeles.” At City Garage he obtained the company’s first public arts funding from Los Angeles County and implemented fundamental development strategies, including audience surveys and an annual campaign, for an organization that had little existing fundraising infrastructure.
Director of Operations Tifara Monroe earned her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and has worked in the nonprofit sector for the past nine years. Prior to joining St. Joseph Center, she served as the Program Manager for United Friends of the Children’s Transitional Living Program. She is responsible for the daily upkeep of multiple St. Joseph Center program facilities, addressing neighborhood concerns, coordinating with the onsite users of the Center’s Hampton Drive facility, and ensuring agency compliance with the terms of its facility’s conditions of approval. Tifara is a member of several social service organizations and is committed to serving the poor and disenfranchised.
Director of Housing and Resource Management LaCheryl Porter is a native of Los Angeles and has extensive experience in housing for special needs, low income and homeless populations. She began her housing career as a Housing Advocate for people with AIDS/HIV in San Francisco. LaCheryl went on to work in more administrative positions with the Oakland Housing Authority and as a private practice attorney where she took on cases that involved housing, real estate, landlord/tenant disputes and contracts. LaCheryl has deep knowledge in many aspects of permanent supportive housing and affordable housing from her experience as a Project Manager at the Community Development Commission for Los Angeles County and Skid Row Housing Trust, where she was the Director of Resident Programs, overseeing services to residents in 1600 units of permanent supportive housing. LaCheryl holds a BA from Cal State Long Beach, a JD from New College of California and is a member of the California State Bar. La Cheryl is heading St. Joseph Center’s strategic initiatives related to housing developer partnerships, and resource management.