Working to end violence

Ashley Dunn
President & CEO

Ashley Dunn joined The Center in January 2022. She holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path University in Massachusetts and a Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. Previously Ashley served as the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director for Almost Home, Inc. a non-profit organization in Brighton, Colorado. Almost Home provides Emergency Assistance programs and services to households at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. During her tenure at Almost Home, she initiated the first domestic violence programming in the region. She implemented Trauma-Informed Care programs, services, and employment practices to best meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness, including the victims of violence. Before joining Almost Home, Ashley served as Vice President of Housing Stabilization Programs at Way Finders, Inc. in Springfield, Massachusetts. She also worked as a clinician with group addictions and recovery therapy for Rushford Behavioral Health in Middletown, Connecticut. In addition, she managed intensive in-home counseling and crisis intervention services for Youth Villages, Inc. in Massachusetts and Tennessee. While working in these positions, she gained valuable experience addressing and resolving complex problems with limited resources. She has a strong track record of implementing creative and effective programs that meet the needs of a diverse and ever growing client base. Ashley is sensitive to the needs of a diverse clientele from many backgrounds and cultures. While working in the housing and mental health sector, she saw first-hand the relationship between housing instability, domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Lynn Nichols
Director of Victim Services

Lynn Nichols joined The Center in 2006 as a Court Advocate, working closely with domestic violence and sexual assault victims at Danbury Superior Court. She now serves as Director of Victim Services. Lynn holds a Bachelor of Science in Justice and Law Administration and a Master of Science in Applied Psychology.  As an advocate, she helped thousands of crime victims and facilitated trainings for the Connecticut Counseling Association, National Association of Social Workers, law enforcement, state universities, and local community organizations. Lynn has also contributed to Connecticut’s Dual Arrest Task Force, Domestic Violence Prosecutor Round Table meetings, and is active in advancing legislation that directly affects sexual assault and domestic violence victims. In addition to leading The Center’s direct service team, Lynn is a forensic interviewer, a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis counselor, the Lethality Assessment Program Coordinator for Greater Danbury, and is qualified by the State of Connecticut as an expert in the field.

Cheryl Kunst
Director of Administration & Human Resources

Cheryl Kunst joined The Center as Office Manager in 2008. Today, she is the Director of Administration & Human Resources, working closely with the other management team members, administrative staff and volunteers. She also manages all of The Center’s social media and public relations. Cheryl previously managed the office of the Public Works & Engineering Departments for the City of Danbury. Prior to that position, she managed the part-time administrative office of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury for many years. Cheryl holds a B.A. in English from San Diego State University.

William Montero
Director of Finance

William Montero joined The Center in January 2017. As Director of Finance, he is responsible for all financial matters of the Organization. William comes to us with 25 years of financial experience, most recently as Chief Financial Officer of Dental Associates of CT. He brings a dynamic skill set which includes strategic planning, treasury management, financial reporting, analysis, and budgeting. He has the ability to work across all functional groups to solve operational and financial issues and facilitate balanced decisions. William holds a B.A. in Accounting from Western Connecticut State University.

Samantha Conetta Flynn
Director of Development

Samantha Conetta Flynn joined The Center in August 2012. As Development Director she plans, coordinates and directs all development activities and major fundraising events, as well as assists with communications and outreach projects. She holds a B.A. from Western Connecticut State University, a certificate in Fundraising from New York University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration through Marist College.

Matt Austin

Director of Education, Training & Outreach

Matt is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University with a B.A. in English with a minor in Theater Arts. He is certified in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counseling. Matt has been heavily involved in the Fairfield County arts community over the last 15 years, working with many local theaters in a variety of capacities; including organizing various education programs. Before joining The Center full time as a prevention educator and then the Education Coordinator, he was an actor in our Act Out theater program.

As the Director of Education, Training, and Outreach, Matt provides strategic direction for all department activities, and represents the Center on various community initiatives and collaborations. Matt schedules and facilitates trainings for professionals within the community, and all adult education programs.

Contact Information: 203.731.5200 x226/matthew.a@wcogd.org

Cara Mackler

Director of Campus Services
Human Trafficking Specialist/Legislative Liaison

Cara joined The Center in 2016 as a Prevention Educator. She now serves as the Director of Campus Services and Legislative Liaison for the Center.

Previously, Cara worked as a Peer Advocate at the Violence Prevention & Advocacy Services at the University of Rhode Island, and Prevention and Communications Intern at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence before moving to Florida where she worked as the Coordinator of Volunteer Programs for Community Youth Development. Cara also worked at Selah Freedom with survivors of sex trafficking in a residential facility and as a facilitator for the My Life My Choice prevention education program for at risk youth.

As Director of Campus Services, Cara oversees all campus services including counseling, crisis intervention, advocacy, education programs, staff and faculty trainings, and outreach initiatives at our satellite office at Western Connecticut State University and the Danbury campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College. As the Legislative Liaison, Cara communicates with our local legislators to advocate for the legislative priorities from both the CT Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence that work to further support survivors of interpersonal violence. Cara is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island where she earned her B.A. in both Sociology and Gender Studies. She is certified as a domestic violence and sexual assault counselor.

Contact Information: 203.837.3939/cara.m@wcogd.org