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Vera House Announces 2022 Board Members and Officers

Vera House Announces 2022 Board Members and Officers

Vera House is pleased to share the Board of Directors unanimously elected nine new directors and the slate of officers for 2022.

The 2022 class of directors includes:

  • Kelly Besaw, Vice President, Housing Development and Funding, Nascentia Health
  • Benjamin-Ariel Charles
  • Gregorio Jimenez, Mortgage Loan Originator, M&T Bank
  • Elizabeth Lehmann, Associate, Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC
  • Arriell Mussi, Licensed Realtor, the Rich McCarron Team, ExP Realty
  • Dawn Penson, Disability Advocate; Sociology/Human Services Student, Class of 2022, Le Moyne College
  • Shewa Shwani, Community Health Outreach Worker/Assistant Coordinator, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County; STEP Coordinator, Le Moyne College; Founder/Independent Business Owner, Malika Scarves; Charity Organization Co-Founder, Raha Syracuse

The 2022 officers are:

  • President: Marissa Saunders, Founder and Consultant, Essential Conceptions Consulting; Founder, NIA Ministries
  • First Vice President: James Branche, Human Resources Manager, United Radio
  • Second Vice President: Darrell Buckingham, Program Officer, Strategic Initiatives, Central New York Community Foundation
  • Treasurer: Carolina Cordero Dyer, Chief Financial Officer, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes
  • Secretary: Jalyn Clifford, Human Resources Director, Syracuse Housing Authority


About Vera House

Vera House is a comprehensive domestic and sexual violence service agency providing shelter, advocacy, and counseling services for adults and children, as well as education and prevention programs and community coordination. To learn more, please visit

A Message to Andrew Cuomo

“The Friends of Andrew Cuomo” spent over $300,000 to launch an ad campaign designed to paint former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as a victim of political attacks because of the sexual harassment claims against him. We cannot allow this gaslighting to continue while the ad revictimizes victims of not only Cuomo’s sexual harassment but ANYONE who has ever experienced abuse. The tactics used by Cuomo and his supporters further represent the barriers that survivors face every day that prevent them from coming forward and getting support. 


We at Vera House have asked Andrew Cuomo to take accountability for the harm he has caused on multiple occasions. Instead of admitting to his wrongdoings, he continues to use power and control to suppress and invalidate the truths of the survivors.  Today we released a video, produced by Solon Quinn Studios and supported by Survivors’ Network, that sends a powerful message to survivors, "I believe you."  


We are asking you to help us amplify the video so that survivors throughout New York and the rest of the world know that we believe and stand with them. 


Here’s how to get involved:  

1. Share our post on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter  

2. Engage with our content on Instagram and TikTok   

3. Share survivor support resources from your organization  

4. Tag @verahouseinc  


For any questions or to request an interview with a member of Survivors' Network, please contact us at: