Our Team

Great employees make or break a company - particularly a nonprofit. Here at the HER Shelter, we are more than happy to showcase our amazing people without shame! With a staff of more than 25, the HER Shelter continues to grow annually into a more effective and experienced organization. Our core leadership is comprised of a four-person team - Olivia, Joy and Shelly - who provide day-to-day guidance while juggling the rest of their duties. The rest of the staff (listed after the leadership team - in alphabetical order), are responsible for a variety of programs while supporting the mission of the organization as a whole. We take an "all hands on deck" approach to most things here at HER, and at the end of the day we're a team through and through. Our clients deserve the best we can offer - and we're better together.

  • Olivia - Executive Director*

    Olivia Smithberger has served as the Executive Director of HER Shelter since July of 2019.  Although her service as Executive Director is relatively new, her service to the shelter began in 2010.  She is best known for her work as  Crisis Services Director as well as founder of Sweet Haven Baked Goods workforce development program  and a key leader in the opening of the RESTORE Shelter in 2018.  Her enthusiasm and strategy brings a fresh perspective to victim services while preserving our successful current programs to save more lives and build safer, stronger communities!



    (757) 485-1445 or olivia@hershelter.com

  • joy - Program Director & Mental Health Associate*

    Joy is described by everyone she knows as, "the most caring person you'll ever meet." Dedication is a key descriptor here - a long-time employee of the HER Shelter, she has already put in 11 years and plans on many more. A graduate of Norfolk State, Joy brings wisdom and light to her work on a daily basis.


    (757) 485-1073 or joy@hershelter.com

  • Shelly - Office Manager

    An avid sports fan, Shelly is a Walden University graduate with her masters in Human & Social Services! Another local yocal, she enjoys the region and is invested in the community. And guess what? Like so many of our staff - she loves pets too!


    (757) 485-1445 or shelly@hershelter.com

  • Alaina - Stabilization Coordinator

    A recent grad of a small Bible college in Michigan, Alaina is excited to be a part of the HER team and is ready to grow! She plans to continue her education with a degree in Crisis Counseling. A travel-lover, her creative outlet is "sharpie therapy."


    (757) 485-1073 or alaina@hershelter.com

  • Antonette - Housing Specialist

    Antonette is widely regarded by many to be the secret queen of housing in Portsmouth, Virginia. A life-long advocate for the homeless and those in need, she brings years of experience to her position in our Housing Program. In 2013, she received the Virginia Rapid Rehousing Challenge award - because she's da-bomb DOT com.


    (757) 485-1073  or antonette@hershelter.com

  • Chris - Homeless Program Manager

    As a Navy veteran, Chris brings a dedicated, devoted, and disciplined approach to helping the homeless in our community find stable housing. A grad of Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Chris loves God and people. He loves the story of the Good Samaritan and believes that even one small act of kindness has the power to change lives. 


    (757) 392-2167 or chris@hershelter.com

  • Deborah - Community Development Manager

    Deborah is a graduate from Old Dominion University with a degree in Special Education.  Her career has been spent serving individuals with disabilities whether in the classroom or through community program development or fundraising.  When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family hanging out at home, camping or watching her daughter at the bowling alley.


    757-485-1445 ext:503  Deborah@hershelter.com


  • Gareth - Accountant 

    Gareth is one of the newest additions to the HER Shelter team! A previous employee of Geico, he is excited to start working at a nonprofit! Currently, he is working on a Bachelor's at Regent. In his spare time he plays music at church and eats pizza (not necessarily at the same time!). 


    (757) 485-1445 or gareth@hershelter.com

  • Kairee - Sweet Haven Instructor

    Kairee is a kind and wonderful person. When she's not running around the kitchen and working hard with our Sweet Haven program, she's spending time building the positivity that makes our atmosphere at the Shelter that much better. 


    (757) 485-1073 or kairee@hershelter.com


  • Katie - Stabilization Coordinator

    Katie is our exceptionally sensitive and dedicated Family Advocate with a strong commitment to empowering survivors of domestic violence and advocating for social justice and equality. She works closely with clients and their families with empathy and professionalism. Katie is a proud graduate of Virginia Wesleyan College where she earned her Bachelor's in Social Work.


    (757) 485-1073 or kcrogers@hershelter.com

  • Steph - Children's Program manager

    Steph has been a lifelong advocate for children, both in volunteer and professional settings - with a particular passion for working with kids coming from crisis situations. She is a graduate of Mid-Atlantic Christian University, where she focused in youth and family ministry. She's a motorcycle mama, can't do mornings without java, is obsessed with The Walking Dead, and loves both snow and the beach (but not together!).


    (757) 485-1073 or stephanie@hershelter.com

  • Symone - Housing Specialist

    Symone is so cool! A recent ODU graduate, she plans on continuing to get her Masters in Social Work in the near future. Farther down the road she hopes to start her own nonprofit, and do great work for people! She loves the color red, shopping and eating. Her favorite saying (and sometimes life motto): "When life gave me lemons, I made lemonade."


    (757) 485-1073 or symone@hershelter.com

  • Summer Volunteer Coordinator

    Summer is a recent graduate of East Carolina University, where she studied Communications. With having a love for Jesus, she intends on being in positions throughout her career that give her the opportunity to help, encourage, and make a difference in the lives of others for the better. Outside of work, she is a fan of traveling, family, friendship, and being outdoors any chance she gets



    (757) 485-1445 or summer@hershelter.com

  • Suzanne -OFFICE Coordinator

    updates coming soon


    757-485-1073or suzanne@hershelter.com

  • Toni - Grants Compliance Coordinator

    Oh Toni. How to describe this one-of-a-kind soul. She graduated with a BS in Health & Physical Education from West Chester University. After that she did Outward Bound, Youth Conservation Corp, Catering, Food Service at the NJ State Capitol Building, Contract Management, Super Hero, and currently is our compliance specialist. And she thought we'd say nothing about her! Outrageous! :)


    (757) 485-1445 ext: 115 or toni@hershelter.com

  • Ashley - Lead Mobile Crisis coordinator

    Ashley is a Hampton Roads native with a knack for politics and the passion to back it up! After being a part of the Mobile Crisis Team for bit, she stepped up to the challenge to lead it! We are proud to have her with us.


    (757) 485-1073 ext:101 or ashley@hershelter.com

  • Mobile Crisis Services Coordinators

    Our Mobile Team requires special recognition! These amazing folks spend their nights and weekends managing our three shelters with everything from the hotline to the urgent needs of in-shelter clients. We couldn't operate half as smoothly on a daily basis without knowing there's an amazing team who picks up the mantle every day. They are troopers and we're so grateful!