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Staff & Board Leadership

Transition House has incredibly dedicated staff and leadership. Together, we are fully committed to our organization’s mission to end domestic violence in our community.

Transition House Leadership

Risa Mednick Executive Director


Risa began her work with Transition house in 2008 as a board member. She was named Executive Director in 2012. She brings over 25 years of experience working for social justice in the nonprofit sector. She has experience in direct client service and counseling as well as organizational development, capacity building and strategic planning. An advocate for human rights and social change in local, national and international contexts, Risa is a noted leader in the Cambridge community where she serves on a variety of cross-sector commissions has been instrumental in creating the Cambridge Initiative on Domestic and Gender Based Violence as well as the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition. She was named an Outstanding Woman of Cambridge by the YWCA in 2012, a Massachusetts Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women in 2014, and Community Advocate of 2016 by Eastern Bank.


Ronit Barkai Assistant Director


Ronit came to Transition House in 2002. She immigrated from Israel with her family in 1996 and completed an MS in Counseling and Psychology soon after. Committed to expanding housing and support options for victims of domestic violence beyond shelter, Ronit has been instrumental in developing new programs for Transition House. Born to a feminist father, she has always believed in walking the walk and not just talking the talk – which is why she chose to work in this field. Working with people as they change their lives fuels and excites her.


Julie Kahn-Schaye Clinical Director jkahnschaye@transitionhouse.org

Julie has worked at Transition House since 2006. She coordinates clinical and counseling resources at the organization, provides mental health support for our residents, and recruits and supervises graduate level interns. Prior to joining Transition House, Julie was a school social worker and mental health clinician for children and families experiencing domestic violence and intersecting traumas. Her work is inspired by the courageous families who come to Transition House unsure of what is next, making dramatic change to build better lives.


Ester Serra Luque Director of the Community Support Partnership


Ester has worked at Transition House since 2009 and was selected to help develop and lead our new Community Support Partnership in 2013. Following a career as a journalist in Barcelona, Ester came to Boston to attend graduate school at the Tufts University School of Law and Diplomacy. Prior to her work at Transition House, she worked at Trust House, a transitional living program for veteran women survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse and conducted research on gender and political violence in post-war Kosovo, El Salvador and the U.S.


J. L. Herrera Director of Operations


Jenny moved to Boston from her native country of Venezuela to study Political Science at Emmanuel College and Second Language Acquisition at the University of Maryland. After working on a gubernatorial political campaign, she knew a career in politics was not for her. Jenny came to Transition House as a volunteer nine years ago and is now the Operations Director. Jenny hopes her work inspires her own children to see the direct link between what you do and how you can contribute to make a change in people’s lives.


TBD Director of Housing Services


Photographs: Maria Verrier www.mariaverrier.com & Lucas Mulder www.lucasmulderphoto.com Cover image: Cristy C. Road, 2004, www.croadcore.org
Website Design by: Lucas Mulder & Kunjal Shah

United Way
Transition House receives support from the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

Blue Cross Blue Shield
This website was developed with a grant from The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.