Jeanne Allert, Coalition Director
Jeanne has an eclectic career history: from high school English teacher, to instructional designer for the Intelligence Communities, to technology director, Internet consultant and entrepreneur. She has a 25 year career as an international public speaker, has provided on-camera hosting and speaker talent for a wide variety of distance learning productions and has served as adjunct faculty for six universities.
Jeanne holds a Bachelors in English, a Masters of Education and is pursuing a Divinity degree, specializing in Urban Ministry. She is also a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy.
Jeanne directs the Maryland Coalition, a gathering of committed organizations and individuals who are affecting change in the areas of awareness, prevention, intervention and victim care. She works regularly with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and local law enforcement and has testified before the Maryland General Assembly on anti trafficking legislation.
Jeanne was awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award in 2009 for her ability to cast a big vision and mobilize community volunteers to make that vision a reality. In 2012 she received the Ruby Award for making a difference in the lives of women and girls from Soroptimist International of Howard County as well as the South Atlantic Region. She was also a featured speaker at the BSO’s Women of the World event and at the Governor’s State Conference on Sex Trafficking. In 2012 Jeanne presented on “Identifying Human Trafficking in a Medical Setting,” at Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health. She will also be co-presenting a program on “Victimology” for the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Jeanne founded The Samaritan Women in 2007 and today serves as Executive Director. The Samaritan Women includes a therapeutic residence program, culinary arts vocational program and operates Baltimore city’s largest urban farm. The Samaritan Women is the first therapeutic residence program for victims of human trafficking in the MidAtlantic. Future plans include establishing a residential program for rescued minors. Jeanne also serves on the board of the Abolition International Shelter Association and as National Vice Chair of the 2013 Weekend of Prayer to End Human Trafficking.
Melissa Yao, Coalition Chair
Melissa works to increase awareness and deepen community engagement on issues around human trafficking.
Originally from the sunny state of California, Melissa moved to Maryland in 2002 to attend American University. While in school she met and eventually married her husband, James. Along their journey they have adopted their two adorable dogs, Lucy and Peyton.
After finishing grad school Melissa began searching for ways to serve women in need in the surrounding area. She stumbled upon TSW’s website where she learned more about TSW and the Maryland Coalition. After attending her first Coalition meeting she knew this was right where God wanted her.
Prior to joining the Maryland Coalition Melissa worked in the Faith-based and Community Outreach Office at the United States Agency for International Development. She has also work with Dr. Ron Sider with Evangelicals for Social Action doing policy work on the multi-generational injustice of the Federal Governments rising debt. Additionally, Melissa has worked with Bread for the World where she was involved in church engagement and advocacy on issues impacting poor and hungry people both domestically and abroad.
Melissa has her master’s degree in International Development from Eastern University and her Bachelors in International Relations from American University.
Melissa oversees coalition activities, including development, advocacy, awareness, and more. Melissa supervises social media use, social partnerships, and coalition meetings.
Danielle Lohan, Community Partners Liaison: Collegiate Sector
Danielle is a recent graduate from Johns Hopkins University, where she is earned her B.A. in Public Health Studies. She began working with The Samaritan Women after an internship in her sophomore year of school and has been working on a variety of projects over the past two years. Her projects include a fair-trade gift guide, list of national survivor resources, and writing a play on human trafficking.
Her focus is on Collegiate Sector outreach, including supporting and developing campus groups against trafficking. Additionally, she oversees development of social enterprises including bath and beauty supplies. Danielle maintains the website and conducts research on news of anti-trafficking efforts. She also is skilled at finding resources such as individual programs, halfway houses, and recovery homes for survivors.
Danielle Longchamps feels a calling to engage the church and unite communities around ending gender-based violence, victim blaming, slut-shaming, and rape culture. She enjoys planning events that raise awareness and mobilize people into action. She has designed and coordinated an event examining the modern slave trade as a business, and a film screening event that lead to meaningful discussion and action to end the exploitation of children in the cocoa industry.
Prior to joining the Maryland Coalition, Danielle interned at the Baltimore City Department of Juvenile Services and worked as a live-in-nanny. These experiences connected her even more to the issue of human trafficking. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Justice and Criminal Justice at James Madison University. While attending college, she created and led two different week-long community service trips for students. The volunteer trips were designed to push participants to think critically about systematic poverty, its root causes, and issues of power and privilege. As soon as she graduated, Danielle took on a leadership role in planning the 2011 DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk, the largest anti-trafficking event in the nation. She became active in the Occupy movement and helped organize an eviction defense with Baltimore’s branch of Occupy Our Homes for a victim of predatory lending and fraudulent foreclosure practices.
Danielle feels blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of The Maryland Rescue and Restore Coalition. Currently she is helping to research grants and secure sponsors for the Church United Conference. She is also coordinating a volunteer day for her neighborhood to help with a project on the Samaritan Women’s farm.
Katie Wallis is a newlywed and recent graduate of Virginia Tech, with a B.S. in Human Development and minor in Psychology focusing on Child and Adolescent Development and Professional Helping Skills. She works part time at the Howard County Pregnancy center, serving women with crisis pregnancies as an assistant to the director. Katie is one of our newest interns at The Maryland Coalition, working to provide training, education, and resource materials on Human Trafficking to teachers and students starting with the Baltimore City school systems. During a Christian conference in Atlanta, God broke Katie’s heart for the victims involved in the horrific epidemic of Human Trafficking; it was through Divine intervention that Katie stumbled upon The Samaritan Women and The Maryland Coalition.