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Our Staff

Sophie Phillips, LMSW

Chief Executive Officer
sophie@texprotects.org
469-399-6900

Sophie is the Chief Executive Officer for TexProtects, effective Oct 1, 2018, being named the successor to founder Madeline McClure. Prior to becoming CEO, Sophie served as Chief Operating Officer 2015-2018 where she managed the daily operations of the organization, and she has been with TexProtects since 2012. As a social worker, her passion and interest is in addressing the root causes of child abuse and neglect and creating partnerships to advance state policies and practices. She led the statewide Texas Home Visiting Consortium for many years, a collaborative of home visiting providers, funders, researchers and state agency resources to raise awareness and coordinate legislative efforts around the expansion of home visiting in Texas. She received her B.A. in Social Work from the University of Iowa and a Master’s in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis.

Jennifer Lucy, MPaff

Managing Director of Programs
jennifer@texprotects.org
512-971-9347 (Cell)

Jennifer is the Managing Director of Programs for TexProtects. In that role, she provides leadership, strategy, and coordination for TexProtects policy, research, and education activities and staff. She also manages the statewide Home Visiting Consortium and serves as a steering committee member and Supported Families lead for the Prenatal to Three Collaborative. Prior to her role at TexProtects, Jennifer managed quality assurance and advocacy for over 40 home visiting programs across the state. With over 10 years' experience as an educator in public schools, Jennifer understands the ways in which adverse childhood experiences impact educational and health outcomes over the course of a child's life and why prevention, family support programs, and trauma-informed care are critical. Jennifer earned her Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree from Texas A&M University at College Station. She is a native Texan and lives in Austin with her husband and two children.

Jessica Trudeau

Director of Strategic Initiatives
jess@texprotects.org

Jessica previously served as Executive Director of Momentous Institute and Family Compass. She has worked in the field of public health including unintentional injury, HIV/AIDS, child abuse prevention, education, and mental health since 2001. Jessica received a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in public health from Tulane University. She is a current member of Stagen Leadership Academy.

Brandy Lindsey

Director of Operations
brandy@texprotects.org
469-399-6900

Brandy joined TexProtects in March of 2016. Brandy is the Director of Operations for TexProtects and is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations necessary to ensure that TexProtects achieves its mission. Brandy most recently worked in the private business sector as an Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and prior to that, she was a police officer for five years. A native of Dallas, she attended the University of North Texas (Go Mean Green) and earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice in December 2004.

Judy Schecter

Director of Development
judy@texprotects.org
972-523-6038

Judy joined TexProtects in August of 2020. She brings over 20 years of experience as a development/fundraising professional to the team. A native of Dallas with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Drake University, Judy specializes in mission-driven strategic development. Judy has been privileged to work with many non-profit agencies in our community with a passion for helping all children. As Development Director at Dallas Children’s Theater her worked centered on children and arts education, successfully developing, implementing and managing Phase 1 of their Rosewood Center Capital Campaign. She went on work with and consult for many arts and social service organizations, later, joining Educational First Steps. Over her tenure with Educational First Steps, Judy was responsible for all development and marketing activities for Dallas and Ft. Worth, including a multi- million - dollar capital campaign, agency re-branding, donor relationship and cultivation as well as special events. Most recently she was the Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving for Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas. As a volunteer and lay leader, Judy has been actively involved with Temple Emanu-el, National Council of Jewish Women, and Greenhill School. Judy is married and a proud grandmother of 2 and spends her free time as a fused glass artist.

Gloria Lerma

Communications Manager
gloria@texprotects.org
832-398-2366

Gloria Lerma, a Texas Tech graduate, is passionate about advocacy and community education. During her time in Lubbock, Texas, she worked for the Women's Protective Services, supporting domestic violence victims. After graduation, Gloria held critical positions in corporate communications, marketing, and digital strategy, where she developed and implemented strategies to achieve measurable company goals. Now, she serves as the Communications Manager for TexProtects, responsible for developing internal and external communication outreach strategies.

Kerrie Judice, LMSW

CPS Research and Policy Analyst
kerrie@texprotects.org
512-299-7925

Kerrie is a Licensed Master Social Worker and is the CPS Research and Policy Analyst for TexProtects. She has dedicated her career to advocating for children and families in various roles, including working for CPS for 8 years. Kerrie has grown more passionate over time about advocating for children and families to have a healthy and positive future. After working at CPS, she worked on juvenile justice policies at Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and later worked in the Senate during the 86th Legislative Session on child welfare reform. She aspires to use these experiences in her current role to advance policies that will further ensure children’s safety and well-being. Kerrie received her Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor of Social Work from Lamar University in Beaumont.

Beth Cortez-Neavel, M.A.

Administrative Assistant + Editor
beth@texprotects.org

Beth is the Austin-based administrative assistant and editor for TexProtects. She has an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and is working on a second Masters in Professional Counseling at Texas State University. She has reported on the foster care system for eight years and is excited to assist in advocating for foster youth, trauma-informed care, and the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Texas. Beth also a sexual assault advocate with the SAFE Alliance, a domestic violence, sexual assault, and child welfare help center.

Michelle Wittenburg

External Lobbyist
MWittenburg@mwittenburg.com

Michelle Wittenburg serves as TexProtects' lobbyist. She has over 20 years of broad based experience in all three branches of state government, having worked in the Texas Senate, as the Executive Assistant to the Comptroller, and most recently as the General Counsel to the former Speaker of the House. She earned her law degree cum laude from South Texas College of Law, was an editor of Law Review and an award-winning national Moot Court participant, worked for the national law firm of Holland & Knight, and later became a partner at Hance Scarborough Wright. Michelle now operates her own firm, Wittenburg & Associates.

Kristi Comuzzi

Marketing Consultant

Kristi has over 20 years of executive-level experience working on Madison Avenue for Young & Rubicam and as CEO of REELbigideas•The REELPeople Company, LLC creating, developing and implementing global brand development/strategy/marketing communications for a wide range of Fortune 500 clients from Dove to Disney, AT&T, IBM, Time Inc, Verizon, OWN, J&J, Unilever, PBS, and more. She is a prolific brand development ideator and storyteller. She brings strategic direction to TexProtects' strategic development and creating branding/marketing communications. She is currently generating several new and unique marketing/revenue platforms to increase funding and awareness of TexProtects and its mission. In her role, she will continue to cultivate partnerships/sponsorship with corporations, foundations, and individual donors. Kristi received a Masters of Arts in Communications/Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin and Bachelors of Science in Political Science/Ibero American Studies from Southern Methodist University. Kristi is also a Certified Texas Mediator, CEO of REELbigideas•The REELPeople Company, LLC. and consultant to TexProtects.


Our Mission

Our mission is to protect Texas children from the trauma of abuse and neglect and empower families to thrive through education, research, and advocacy. Our vision is that all children are safe, nurtured, and resilient. Learn more about the work we do. You can help protect Texas children from abuse & neglect. Find out how you can help.

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