Grace Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services

Grace Hou has served on Governor JB Pritzker’s Cabinet as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) since March 2019. During that time, the team at the IDHS has made notable achievements, include leading Illinois to attain one of the highest response rates for the 2020 Census; launching the state’s inaugural gun violence prevention office; ensuring that families and children have food on their tables and access to public health insurance; elevating people with lived experience with mental illness to share their pathways to recovery; protecting hundreds of community providers; and saving countless lives during COVID-19. Currently, IDHS is leading the effort to resettle asylum seekers being transported to Chicago and other sanctuary cities.

The mission of IDHS is to strengthen Illinois by building up lives and communities which is achieved through an integrated network of mental health, substance use prevention and recovery, rehabilitation, developmental disabilities and family and community services. IDHS operates a $12.5 billion budget with 13,000 staff, operating seven psychiatric hospitals, seven developmental centers, one treatment and detention facility for sexually violent persons 76 local offices and four schools.

Grace also previously served as the Assistant Secretary at IDHS from 2003 to 2012, and during that time she was an architect of Illinois’ Immigrant Integration New American’s Gubernatorial Executive Order which was nationally recognized.

Grace has dedicated her career to advancing social justice by working in the non-profit and public sectors systems for change improvement through public policy development and implementation, social services provision, community organizing and engagement, and philanthropy. Grace most recently served as the President of Woods Fund Chicago from February 2012 to March 2019. Woods Fund Chicago is a bold grantmaking foundation that finds —and funds —projects that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of poverty and structural racism.

She served as the Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA) and as the Development Manager at the Chinese Mutual Aid Association where she became an advocate for immigrants’ rights. Grace is a child of immigrants from Taiwan.

She is on the board of Healthy Communities Foundation; she is a 2001 Leadership Greater Chicago fellow, a member of The Commercial Club, and a German Marshall fellow. In her role as Secretary of IDHS, she chairs the Adult and Youth Redeploy Boards, chairs the Interagency Working Group on Poverty and Economic Security, co-chairs the Interagency Housing Working Group, co-chairs the Opioid Steering Committee, and is a commissioner of the Early Childhood Funding Commission.
Rodney Adams

Vice Chair

Rodney Adams, Former Director, Mecklenburg County (NC) Department of Community Resources

In 2020, Rodney Adams retired from his three year role as Director for the Mecklenburg County Department of Community Resources, where he led the County’s Health and Human Services integration effort to integrate segments of Public Health, Child Support, Veterans and Social Services.

Rodney brings to this role over 30 years in Human Services experience, previously serving as Social Services Department Deputy Director, Support Services Director, Aging Services Director, and Economic Services Director in Mecklenburg.

In June 2018, Rodney pioneered the launch of the first, to be six, place-based Health and Human Services Community Resource Centers, to be strategically located throughout Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Through collaboration with community leaders, non-profit, faith and other civic leaders, the Community Resource Center focuses on delivering integrated health and human service programs utilizing a Social Determinant lens to strengthen individuals and families, promote health and wellness and build communities.

Throughout his tenure, Rodney has served on numerous boards and initiatives, including serving as County Champion for implementation of the North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology (NCFAST), currently serving as a member of the American Public Human Services Association’s Local Council Executive Committee, and the Association’s Center for Employment and Economic Well-Being Committee, and executive member of the Race Matters for Juvenile Justice Initiative in Mecklenburg County. Rodney is a well-respected, sought-out voice engaged in numerous local, state and national panel discussions and initiatives focused on use of social determinants for increased self-sufficiency and stability, and most recently served as a panelist for the Merge Mobility Community Conversation spearheaded by North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District Congresswoman Alma Adams.

Rodney holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies and Master’s in Theology and holds County Administration certification from the UNC School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Rodney also serves as a pastor in his local community and is married to his wife of 32 years, Linda, and they have two children.

Dannette R. Smith

Immediate Past Chair

Dannette R. Smith, Former CEO, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Dannette R. Smith was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Department of Health and Human Services for the state of Nebraska in February of 2019. She brings more than 25 years of executive leadership experience in large, complex organizations to the State. She spearheaded the development of the Department’s fourth annual business plan, which supports Governor Pete Ricketts’ strategic vision. The plan outlines her four-pronged approach to leading the Department.

  • Create an integrated service delivery system.
  • Establish and enhance collaborative relationships.
  • Align DHHS teammates under our mission of Helping People Live Better Lives.
  • Enhance the Department’s internal infrastructure to provide more effective, efficient, customer-focused services to Nebraskans.

Smith seeks to be a catalyst for creating innovative programmatic and technological solutions in human service organizations. In addition to improving the overall operational structure of DHHS, she currently oversees several large-scale initiatives including:

  • Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska also known as Heritage Health Adult
  • Transformation and development of the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (YRTC) System
  • DHHS Division of Public Health’s COVID-19 pandemic response
  • Advancement of iServe Nebraska, an improved integrated information technology structure and business process project
  • Heightened engagement with Nebraska communities
  • Championing new Governor sanctioned initiatives
    • Multidisciplinary Health Equity Task Force
    • Economic Inclusion Summit, North Omaha

Prior to joining the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Ms. Smith was the Director of the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services. She has also worked in a leadership capacity in Seattle, WA, Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC, and Cook County, IL.

A true advocate of public and community service, Smith serves on the boards of the Healing Place of Hampton Roads, Norfolk, VA, and ATTACh (the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children), Minneapolis, MN.

Smith holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Under the auspices of the Child Welfare League of America, she participated in a child welfare leadership program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She also attended the County Administration Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tracy Wareing Evans

President and CEO

Reggie Bicha, President and CEO, American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)

Reggie Bicha, MSW, is a social worker, administrator, educator, and national leader. He has extensive experience working on child welfare, early childhood education, employment, and healthcare issues at the county, state, and national levels.

He served as the Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Human Services for Governor John Hickenlooper, and as the Inaugural Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families for Governor Jim Doyle. He is a former Ascend Fellow, sponsored by the Aspen Institute, focusing on 2 Generation approaches to move children and parents beyond poverty. Reggie served as President of Acelero, Inc., a pioneering provider of early childhood education and family engagement services for thousands of Head Start children and families across the country.

Reggie was recognized in 2014 for his leadership and dedication with the Casey Family Programs “Excellence for Children Award.” Reggie has three children and lives with his wife, Katie, in Denver, CO.


Kathy Park, CEO, Evident Change

As CEO of Evident Change, Kathy Park provides strategic vision to the organization while overseeing programmatic and organizational operations. Kathy has led key initiatives including Data for Equity, ethics in predictive analytics, and Pay for Success and Social Innovation Finance projects.

Kathy joined Evident Change in 2000. She has worked throughout her tenure in partnership with numerous state and local social services agencies across the United States and internationally to transform child welfare, juvenile justice, and adult protective services systems through an infusion of research-based and data-driven approaches to decision making.

Kathy came into the field of social justice out of a desire to prevent youth from escalating within and across the child welfare-juvenile justice-adult corrections systems. She began working as a child protective services front-line investigator with the Georgia Department of Human Resources. She went on to work in ongoing family preservation, in supervising a blended child and adult protection unit, and at the state’s protective services policy unit.

Kathy has served on peer review panels for the National Institute of Justice and the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect. She is a member of the National Center on the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the National Adult Protective Services Association and its Research Committee. She has served as a board member for the Wisconsin Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (WIPSAC) and as a mentor for the Boys and Girls Club.

Kathy is a 2016 Aspen Ideas Scholar and the recipient of the 2011 Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Award from the National Adult Protective Services Association given in recognition of a significant contribution to the knowledge and development in the fields of elder abuse or persons with disabilities. Her writing has appeared in Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, The Crime Report, Wisconsin State Journal, Chronicle of Social Change, Cap Times, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Kathy has spoken and presented for organizations including the American Association of Health and Human Services Attorneys (AAHHSA), American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), Data for Impact, MetroLab Network, Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Operation New Hope, #cut50, Ford Foundation, Social Innovation Fund, and Third Sector Capital Partners.

Derrik Anderson

Elected Director

Derrik Anderson, Executive Director, Race Matters for Juvenile Justice

Derrik currently serves as Executive Director of Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (RMJJ) in Charlotte, NC. As a systems organizer, he provides vision, leadership, and knowledge as he serves a collaborative leadership team of 15 partner organizations and institutions working within the community to reduce disproportionality and disparate outcomes for children and families of color.

In collaboration with the leadership team, he guides the development of the strategic direction for the organization, manages capacity building and sustainability efforts, as well as prioritizes practice change across the organization. Furthermore, Derrik implements the necessary changes within the organizational practices and culture to advance racial equity.

Leading with his authentic voice, Derrik has a passion and genuine interest to share information that fosters relationships and builds healthy teams and organizations. He is a racial equity, diversity and inclusion trainer and consultant.

Derrik obtained a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC. Also, he received a master’s degree in Social Service Administration (MSSA) and a master’s degree in Management of Nonprofit Organization (MNO) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. He is a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) from National Diversity Council; is certified in Systems Thinking from Cornell University; and is certified in Non-profit Management from Duke University. He has also served as Assistant Professor and Bachelor Social Work, Director of Field Education at Johnson C. Smith University.

Derrik is an appointed member for Chief Justice’s Commission on Fairness and Equity for North Carolina Judicial Branch. He serves as a member of the Racial & Ethnic Disparities (RED) Subcommittee for North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission. Also, Derrik was appointed to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, Community Equity Committee and serves as a co-chair for the Educational Opportunity and High Expectations Subcommittee.

Vannessa L. Dorantes

Elected Director

Vannessa L. Dorantes, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Children and Families

Vannessa has worked for the State of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) since 1992 after receiving a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Teikyo Post University. She later earned a master's degree in Social Work from the UCONN School of Social Work where she majored in Casework and Community Organization.

From 2004 until appointment as commissioner, she was an adjunct faculty member at Central CT State University where she has taught several elective and core competency Social Work courses. She has served on the SW Advisory Boards of Central and Western CT State Universities and currently on the UCONN School of Social Work Board of Advocates.

As a licensed, Master Social Worker, Dorantes is also certified in Social Work field instruction from Southern CT State University and has supervised countless undergraduate and graduate level interns in Social Work and related fields from various universities in CT and neighboring states.

As DCF Commissioner she oversees a staff of 3200 across two children's psychiatric facilities, fourteen area offices, central office divisions and an adventure-based, clinically- supported Wilderness School. She co-Chairs CT’s Alcohol & Drug Policy Council and the Health & Safety subcommittee for the Gov’s Council on Women & Girls.

In March of 2021, Commissioner Dorantes had the distinct privilege of participating in a roundtable discussion on the rippling impacts of Child Poverty with The Vice President of the United States- Kamala Harris, US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, CT Gov Ned Lamont and US Senators Richard Blumenthal & Chris Murphy. In October 2021, she received the NAACP award for the 2021 Class of CT'S Most Influential Black leaders.

Elected Director

Sherron Rogers, Vice President and CFO, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Since 2005, Sherron Rogers has worked with large organizations to lead transformative change in a manner that engages and empowers those closest to the work. As chief financial officer of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Sherron strategically leads all financial aspects of the hospital, including planning and analysis, performance improvement, and various strategic and operational accountabilities. The mission of Johns Hopkins Medicine is to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Sherron spent over 6 years at Eskenazi Health, one of America’s largest essential health systems. Sherron was promoted multiple times at Eskenazi Health, culminating in being appointed Chief Financial Officer and Chief Strategy Officer. In the role, Sherron led large growth and improvement initiatives and transformed the way in which information was used and the way people were engaged to make strategic decisions. Sherron was instrumental in steering Eskenazi Health’s ability to realize an >$150M financial improvement over a four-year period, the strong financial results in the hospital’s history.

Prior to joining Eskenazi Health, Sherron spent 11 years at Indiana University Health, leading transformative change in multiple areas including information services, hospital operations, and lean process improvement. And, prior to transitioning into healthcare, Sherron worked in global manufacturing at Cummins where she utilized her lean six sigma black belt knowledge to improve corporate performance and establish a more global approach to areas like Human Resources and Real Estate.

Sherron spent her undergraduate and graduate education years at Indiana University-Bloomington, culminating with a master’s degree in Information Science in 2002. Sherron has continuously sought opportunities to learn and has received recognition along the way. In 2012, Sherron was selected as a member of the Stanley K. Lacy executive leadership series (class XXXVII). And, in 2013, the Indianapolis Business Journal named Sherron one of Indianapolis’ Forty Under 40. In 2016, Sherron was selected as an Indianapolis Fellow by Central Indiana Community Foundation. In 2019 and 2020, Sherron attended Harvard University for finance coursework. And in 2021, Sherron was named a Fellow with America’s Essential Hospitals and awarded an early career award from the Center for Brain Science at Indiana University.

With a passion for improving organizations and communities, and swiftly moving ideas from strategy to action, Sherron co-chaired Great Places 2020, a Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) program to holistically reinvest in 5 historically under-served neighborhoods in Indianapolis’ core. Sherron has held board or civic leadership positions with Newfields (Indianapolis’ museum of art and gardens), PATTERN, the City of Indianapolis’ Cultural Investment Advisory Board, Leadership Indianapolis, Indianapolis’ Chamber’s Advance317, Starfish, and GANGGANG Collaborative (active).

Terry J. Stigdon

Elected Director

Terry J. Stigdon, CEO, American Red Cross, Indiana Department of Child Services

Terry Stigdon, MSN, RN, was appointed as director of the Indiana Department of Child Services in early 2018 as part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s sweeping reform of the state’s child welfare agency. In her first year in her new position, Stigdon implemented changes aimed at offering the best service to Hoosier children and families. As a result of her efforts to provide the right care to the right child at the right time, the state has seen a decrease in children in residential treatment and foster care. When Stigdon joined the Department of Child Services, she was uniquely qualified to understand the mission ahead. Prior to her appointment, she spent nearly 20 years at Riley Hospital for Children. Her work took her to the pediatric intensive care unit as well as the emergency medicine and trauma center; there, she saw firsthand what can happen in the most serious cases of child neglect and abuse. Stigdon, a Chicago native, holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as a master’s degree in nursing leadership and management.

Jennifer Sullivan

Elected Director

Jennifer Sullivan, Senior Vice President for Strategic Operations, Atrium Health

Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H. serves as the senior vice president for strategic operations for Atrium Health, working closely with leaders from its clinical service lines – including children’s, heart and vascular, musculoskeletal, neuroscience and oncology, among others – to develop strategies and outcomes that demonstrate Atrium Health’s national leadership in health.

Dr. Sullivan previously served as the Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration by Governor Eric J. Holcomb effective January 9, 2017. Prior to this appointment, she served as the Deputy State Health Commissioner and Director for Health Outcomes at the Indiana State Department of Health. Dr. Sullivan is currently a Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine.

She served as the Division Chief for Pediatric Emergency Medicine and was the Program Director for the Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics Residency from 2007-2015.

Dr. Sullivan continues to work clinically in the Riley Hospital for Children Emergency Department. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Houston Honors College and her Masters in Public Health at the Richard Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University. She earned her Medical Doctorate at Indiana University School of Medicine and is board certified in Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Sullivan is dedicated to building effective and efficient delivery of health care and social services to Hoosiers. She takes a public health approach to policy decisions and is committed to strategic alignment across government and the private sector to improve health outcomes and fill unmet social needs. She was recognized in 2019 as the recipient of the APHSA Friedman Health and Human Services Impact Award and is a 2017 Indianapolis Business Journal Woman of Influence.

FSSA is a health care and social service delivery and integration agency. The mission of FSSA is to compassionately serve Hoosiers of all ages and connect them with social services, health care and their communities.

FSSA includes: Division of Family Resources (DFR), Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning (OMPP), Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS), Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA), Division of Aging, Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL), and the Disability Determination Bureau.

Eboni Washington

Elected Director - Affinity Group Representative

Eboni Washington, Assistant Director, Clark County Juvenile Justice Services

Eboni Washington serves as Assistant Director for the Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice Services in Las Vegas, Nevada where she leads the agency’s Continuous Quality Improvement, Health Care Services, Information Technology, Training, Human Resources and Fiscal teams. Since her appointment in 2019, Eboni has worked to expand The Harbor Juvenile Assessment Center from two locations to four and implement the agency’s new case management system.

She is a native Nevadan with over 19 years of experience in Human Services working with children, youth, and families in various roles in both government and non-profit sectors.

Prior, Eboni served in various positions at Clark County Department of Family Services, most recently as Assistant Director. Here she oversaw Finance, Child Welfare Field Operations, Continuous Quality Improvement, Contracts, Information Technology, and the hotline. Most notably, Eboni managed the implementation of the Department of Family Services’ analytics solution and development of an agency-wide performance measurement initiative designed to improve the quality of child welfare services provided to children and families in Southern Nevada.

Eboni Washington has a bachelor’s degree in Health Ecology from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Dan Makelky

Local Council Representative

Dan Makelky, Director, Douglas County (CO) Department of Human Services

Dan Makelky currently serves as the Director of the Douglas County Department of Human Services in Colorado. This agency includes Divisions of Colorado Works, Child Welfare, Adult Protection and Community Assistance, which includes Medicaid, Food Assistance, Adult and Aging Services and Child Support Enforcement. He serves on national, state and local boards and committees. He is the Past President of the Colorado Human Services Directors Association (CHSDA).

Prior to this position, Mr. Makelky was the Associate Director of Programs and the Child Protection Administrator for the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Division of Child Welfare, overseeing child welfare practice within Colorado’s state run, county- administered system.