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Our Staff

Sophie Phillips, LMSW

Chief Executive Officer

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.

Jessica Trudeau

Managing Director

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

Vice President of Operations

Brandy joined TexProtects in March of 2016. Brandy is the Vice President 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.

Kerrie Judice, LMSW

Child Protection Policy Manager

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.

Gloria Lerma

Director of Communications

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.

Parijat 'Kitty' Surve

Community Alignment Specialist

Kitty has over 20 years of experience as an innovative and collaborative Human Resource professional, with the last 10 years in the Healthcare industry as a Benefits and Client Services Manager. She is passionate about Women and Children’s health and well-being initiatives. Over the years, she has successfully introduced several wellness programs and D&I initiatives in the workplace which facilitated positive and sustainable organizational change. She has a Bachelor of Science in Human Psychology and Child Development and a dual master’s degree in Business Administration and Sociology.

Brittney Taylor-Ross

Prenatal to Five Advocacy Manager

Prior to her role at TexProtects, Brittney worked for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission as a Policy Analyst for Medicaid/CHIP. Brittney has 8+ years of experience working in child welfare. She first worked as a caseworker for Child Protective Services followed by a non-profit child-placing agency. During graduate school she completed a Congressional Fellowship on Capitol Hill working for Congressman Danny K. Davis, advocating for and drafting child welfare legislation. While in graduate school, she also worked as a Senior Student Associate for the Child and Family Research Partnership at UT Austin. Brittney earned her Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin and she holds a Bachelor of Social Work from UT Austin. Brittney lives in Austin with her fiancé and three pets (two dogs and one cat). In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, running around Lady Bird Lake, and eating breakfast tacos.

Michelle Wittenburg

External Lobbyist

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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