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 five-person team - Olivia, Joy, Symone, Stephanie 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 *

    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

  • Stephanie - Youth and Family Services manager*

    Stephanie 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. As a Certified Parent Educator, Stephanie strives to equip parents to overcome the obstacles that often come as a result of trauma, while providing them with resources to foster resilience in their children. Her goal is to provide programming that benefits the entire family through a holistic approach. Outside of work, Stephanie volunteers with a motorcycle organization that empowers abused children to not live in fear and actively works with the youth group at her church. She is obsessed with coffee, loves spending time with her family and is a big fan of random road trips



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

  • Symone - Crisis Services and Shelter Manager*

    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) 392-2167 or symone@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 Advocate

    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

  • Ashley - Lead 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 or ashley@hershelter.com

  • Chris - Housing Advocate

    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) 485-1073 or chris@hershelter.com

  • Courtney- Youth and Family Services Assistant

    Courtney is an energetic go-getter that loves to check things off her to-do list! She is a graduate from North Carolina State University with a bachelor's degree in general psychology followed by two years of volunteering in the College Advising Corps sector of AmeriCorps. She hopes to use the leadership experience in this new position to propel her thoughts on the future of her career working with children


    (757-485-1073  or courtney@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 or  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





  • 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

  • Michelle - Court Advocate

    Coming Soon

    757-485-1073  michelle@hershelter.com


  • MELOdy- ECM and Shelter Coordinator

    Melody enjoys inspiring others to go beyond what they can see.  She believes in the power of hope and storytelling and will use by training as a Peer Recovery Specialist to encourage others during their transformations process.  She is  currently persuing her Bachelors in Psychology at Regent University.  My favorite motto is "Live, Laugh, and Love"


    757-485-1073 or 757-392-2167 or melody@hershelter.com



  • Ryanne - Mental Health Associate

    Ryanne began her journey with the HER Shelter as an intern working on her undergrad degree. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Human Services, she joined the team as the Court Advocate. Although she found the role fulfilling, she left the shelter in order to continue her education. Ryanne obtained her M.S.Ed in Counseling from ODU in 2015 and is now a board certified counselor. With a smile on her face and a coffee in her hand, Ryanne helps our clients work through their traumas so that they can thrive and move forward in their lives.


    757-485-1073 ryanne@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 -Administrative Assistant

    updates coming soon


    757-485-1073 or suzanne@hershelter.com

  • Toni -  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 or toni@hershelter.com

  • Crisis  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!