Staff & Leadership

Community Coordinator
Christy Ellis

Christy is experienced in non-profit work and brings communication skills as well as volunteer and event management to the team. She has a sincere desire to help others and believes in making each day amazing. Her Circles focus is outward, coordinating support for the Circles model.

Circles Coach
Debbie Williams

Debbie is a Richmond native with ties in the RVA Community. She brings to Circles experience in coaching, personal development and person-centered skill-building. She finds supporting and assisting Leaders and Allies rewarding.

Administrative Assistant to Circles Coach
Rachel Dunaway

Rachel is a recent college graduate who is passionate about social justice and equality related issues. Her skills include anything related to google drive, administrative duties, and playing the banjo.

Jobs Coach
Rebecca Mann

Rebecca C Mann has 15+ years of workforce development training, business development, and teaching experience, ranging from computer skills to personal workforce development. 

Recent certifications include Certified Virginia Workforce Development Professional and Certified VHDA Housing Counselor.

Children’s Program Coordinator
Xiomara “Z” Vidal

Xiomara “Z” Vidal came to Richmond, Virginia 25 years ago from New York City and has been working for the Virginia Department of Health for 17 years. She is a plant Mom with an indoor garden and her children care for plants as well. She has years of experience with children’s programming and loves teaching and inspiring youth. Xiomara is a Circles Leader graduate.

Contract Facilitators

Leader Training
Patrice Shelton

Patrice Shelton is the founder and Executive Director of Hillside Court Partnership, Certified Community Health Worker Senior for Virginia Department of Health/Richmond City Health Department, Hillside Court Resident/Tenant Council President, and the Vice President for Richmond Tenant Organization (RTO). She has launched more than 14 groups and teams in Hillside. She has help the community members to know their worth and rights one at a time. She graduated from Louisa County High School June 1991. Ms. Shelton worked at Walmart from 1992 to 2008 in Management and Billing. She moved to Hillside Court 2010 where she does her community work today. Ms. Shelton was able to get her community rezoned to the Bellemeade/Oak Grove Elementary School thru City Council meetings. She has partnered with Shalom Farms and Feed More to bring food to the community for free and low cost since 2012. Patrice has supported her youth in the community to start a Community Garden. She is seated on Maggie L. Walker Poverty Board, RVA Thrives, Central VA Legal Aid Society (CVLAS) Board Secretary, and Central VA Legal Aid Society Client Council (CVLASCC) President and a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. She was also a fellow for RMHF 3/2018 to 2/2019.

Ally Training
Courtney Calixte, M.S.W.

Movement and Capacity Building Director at the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.  Her focus is on social justice movement work and capacity building through a trauma informed and healing centered framework.  She likes to help agencies brainstorm creative ways to engage communities (especially under served populations) with the outcome of building stronger relationships that create a resilient community for survivors.  She has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She also has a post graduate certificate in Gender Violence Intervention.

Board of Directors

Circles RVA operates with a minimal staffing level and has no Executive Director.  The Board functions as a working board with several members performing many of the administrative functions to ensure smooth and efficient operations for Circles RVA.

Joel A. Blum (Co-President)

Retired Psychiatrist, having served over 30 years on the staff of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center in Richmond. Volunteering has included many years as the coordinator of the 1st Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond’s Partnership with Richmond Public School’s Cardinal (previously Greene) Elementary School, providing support for incarcerated and recently released persons as part of the OAR Program, serving as a volunteer psychiatrist at the Health Brigade Clinic and, over the past 2 years, assisting with the training of allies and serving as an ally at Circles RVA.

Valena A. Dixon (Co-President)

An award-winning communications and public administration executive who has created and led innovative and unprecedented campaigns and programs for diverse industries and organizations in the areas of education, cable television, affordable housing,  community development and economic and employment opportunities

Malcolm E. (Dick) Ritsch Jr. (Secretary)

Retired. Lawyer

Richard Crom (Treasurer)

Retired, Internal Revenue Service

Stephen Batsche

Executive Director of Program Services, Salvation Army of Central Virginia

Ivy L. Bell

Graduated Circles RVA Leader

Rev. Remmie Chew, Jr.

Servant’s Heart Ministries

DarShee’ Clarke

Graduated Circle Leader
Enrollment/Billing Specialist for Humana & PCA for Disabled Veterans

Walter Crenshaw

Development Director AES Clean Energy

Wayne King Johnson

Owner, Coldwell Banker Avenues

Lisa Specter-Dunaway

Community Volunteeer

Joy Thomas

Graduated Leader, Circles RVA
Wells Fargo

Stephanie Watkins

Consultant, Real Estate Appraiser, and
Imani Christian Ministries