Meet the CASS Team!

Fighting street & sexual harassment in DC! CASS staff from l-r: Chai Shenoy, Renee Davidson, Zosia Sztykowski, Julia Strange.

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CHAI SHENOY
Co-founder, Executive Director

Chai Shenoy co-founded Collective Action for Safe Space, originally called HollaBackDC!, in April 2009. As the co-founder, Chai wears the “overseer”, “connector”, & “making people happy” hats (sometimes she wears the “this makes me angry” hat…). On behalf of CASS, she’s appeared in several media outlets, including ABC7, FOX5, WTOP. She was also featured in Washington Post, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and several blogs. By trade, Chai is an attorney who has represented sexual assault survivors in court and at educational hearings.  She is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Women’s Studies program, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on gender-based violence.

Chai’s worked in several non-profit organizations, including WEAVE, Break the Cycle, and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In addition to the non-profit world, Chai worked at a political office, as the Domestic Violence Policy Analyst at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. During her time there, Chai authored Hidden in Plain Sight: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the New York City Subways, a report that studied the prevalence of sexual violence occurring in New York City subways trains and stations. The report garnered international media attention prompting NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority to issue public service advertisements encouraging people to report sexual assault or sexual harassment to appropriate parties. Chai received her B.A. at UCLA and her J.D. at American University, Washington College of Law.


SHANNON LYNBERG
Co-founder

For the last five years, Shannon has worked with nonprofits and public health agencies on women’s empowerment, women’s health, and ending gender-based violence. She currently serves as Program Manager for Empowering Women International (EWI). Prior to joining EWI, Shannon served as the Program Director of the Younger Women’s Task Force under the National Council of Women’s Organizations, where she worked with younger women across the U.S. to develop leadership trainings and raise awareness about the issues affecting women in their 20s and 30s.  In 2007, Shannon worked at PR Solutions, an organization that develops strategies to help nonprofit advocacy groups educate the public.

For the last five years, Shannon has worked with nonprofits and public health agencies on women’s empowerment, women’s health, and ending gender-based violence. She currently serves as Program Manager for Empowering Women International (EWI). Prior to joining EWI, Shannon served as the Program Director of the Younger Women’s Task Force under the National Council of Women’s Organizations, where she worked with younger women across the U.S. to develop leadership trainings and raise awareness about the issues affecting women in their 20s and 30s.  In 2007, Shannon worked at PR Solutions, an organization that develops strategies to help nonprofit advocacy groups educate the public.

In college, Shannon was awarded the Tonya Fellowship by Sewanee, the University of the South in order to work the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she worked to tailor sexual assault prevention programs for college and university campuses. She also worked with Dekalb County Board of Health designing cardiovascular health outreach initiatives for Latina’s in Atlanta.Shannon has volunteered as an advocate for sexual assault survivors at the DeKalb County Rape Crisis Center (in Atlanta) and the DC Rape Crisis Center, spent time researching femicide in Guatemala, and is the co-author of the 2010 report Understanding Sexual Violence at a Large, Urban University. Shannon holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She was featured as one of “Tomorrow’s Leaders” in the November 2008 issue of “O, The Oprah Magazine” and nominated for the “Young Woman of Achievement” award by WIN in 2009. Shannon has spoken at numerous conferences across the U.S. about women’s issues, women’s empowerment, and gender-based violence.


JULIA STRANGE
Director of Programs and Policy

For over ten years, Julia has addressed sexual assault and intimate partner violence through direct victim advocacy, community outreach, education and policy advocacy at the local and federal level. When she’s not working to create safer communities in DC, Julia is a Program Analyst for the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program.

Julia has a Master’s degree in Social Work from The Catholic University of America’s National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS), with a concentration in Social Justice and Social Change. Prior to working for the Navy, she led public policy advocacy efforts at the DC Rape Crisis Center, completed a year-long policy-focused MSW field placement at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), and supervised on-call victim advocates at Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment (SAFE) in Washington, DC. Julia has also previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence. After graduating from Bowling Green State University with a degree in English Literature and Women’s Studies, Julia served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan. She then moved to Ottawa, Ontario, where she worked a coffee shop gig and volunteered at the local rape crisis center.

On Saturdays, you can find Julia combining her love of music and catharsis with Batala Washington, an all-women Afro-Brazilian percussion group.


RENEE DAVIDSON
Director of Communications

Renee helps CASS use online communications to amplify the voices of survivors of sexual violence and empower the DC community to take a stand against sexual harassment and assault. She leads CASS’s numerous online campaigns to fight street harassment in DC and rape culture at large and has successfully helped lead efforts to pressure high-profile companies like Lego, Yes to Carrots and BareMinerals into ditching their pro-street harassment or sexist marketing. Renee manages the CASS blog and social media outlets, develops and leads online campaigns and produces press releases and other web resources. She has been interviewed extensively on the topic of street harassment and her writing on feminist issues has been published by Ms., Salon, Bitch Magazine, PolicyMic, Fem2pt0 and more.

Renee graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a degree in Women’s Studies and American Studies and a certificate in LGBT Studies. At UMD, she served as President of the university’s reproductive rights group and as President and Founding Member of its chapter of Triota, a Women’s Studies Honors Society. She has served as co-leader of DC’s  Women Information Network’s (WIN) Feminist Conversation Series and is a four-time performer in The Vagina Monologues. Formerly with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), she currently works in communications for the League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWVUS). Follow Renee at @reneetheorizes.

 


ZOSIA SZTYKOWSKI
Director of Community Outreach

Zosia graduated from Tufts University in 2007 with a degree in Political Science. At Tufts, Zosia researched urban areas around the world, and reported on local politics for the school’s daily newspaper.

In June 2011, fed up by the sense that issues of street harassment in DC were being ignored by all but a small group of people, Zosia organized a group of women and men to march in an awareness-raising action against it. Ever since then, she has been working with CASS to help start conversations about public sexual harassment and to get community members to pay attention to this problem.