BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Julia Schmidt, MBA, President, joined RVA in 2008 as a volunteer medical advocate, responding to crisis calls and supporting survivors in the emergency room, and previously served as our board treasurer. She currently serves as Vice President, Risk Analytics and Reporting for BMO Harris Bank, where she manages US risk reporting. Prior to joining BMO Harris, Julia consulted at a number of banks and financial institutions in credit risk and began her career in risk at Merrill Lynch Capital. Julia earned a BSB from University of Minnesota and a MBA from Northwestern University.
Alisa Roadcup, MA, Vice President, presently serves as director of US advocacy and development at Heshima Kenya, an NGO providing holistic case management services, specialized shelter, community outreach, education, and economic empowerment programming for refugee girls in Nairobi, Kenya. She also advises on campaign strategy and membership mobilization in support of the promotion and protection of women's human rights as a member of Amnesty International USA’s Women Human Rights Coordination Group.
Michael Happ, MS, Secretary, has served on the Board of Directors since 2009. He is the Administrative Director of Citizen Action/Illinois, the state's largest consumer advocacy and clean government organization, and earned his Masters degree from DePaul University's School of Public Service. In addition to RVA, Michael has served on the Board of the Ravenswood Community Council and the Board of Trustees of Holy Covenant United Methodist Church.
Naina Jain, Treasurer, joined the Board of Directors in 2011. Currently, she is a senior internal auditor at Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group). Prior to joining CME group, Naina was a senior financial analyst at Bank of America within the capital markets. She has also consulted with various non-for-profit financial services and manufacturing clients on operational and financial processes. Naina has a BS in Accounting and Finance from Indiana University; she also holds an active CPA license in the state of Illinois.
Tracie Anderson, Solutions Consultant, TransUnion
“I joined the RVA Board because it provides me a unique opportunity to contribute in a targeted area for a cause that I have supported for years, the advancement of women and girls. RVA’s work is so important that I immediately sought an opportunity to partner with the staff and board members to move RVA forward.”
Gray Mateo Harris, JD, is a labor and employment litigation associate with Proskauer Rose LLP. She counsels and represents employers in traditional labor matters as well as employment litigation. Gray serves on the Associate Board of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, is Co-Director of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois’ Law School Committee and is an active member of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Gray earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2008 and her B.S., cum laude, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005. Gray is a native Spanish speaker from the Dominican Republic.
Courtney Revis, Partner, Revis & Ward LLC
“I wanted to join the Board to give back to RVA in some way, as I was grateful recipient of their services nearly 10 years ago. I know what a difference RVA can make in a survivor’s life.”
Alicia Samp is a licensed CPA and has worked in the US and Europe servicing global financial services clients. She joined the Board in January 2013. Alicia has a long-standing passion for working with programs that empower women, youth, and developing communities. Over the past decade, she has worked hands-on with several inner-city youth programs in Chicago and Detroit, and currently serves as a mentor for GirlForward, a local non-profit that empowers adolescent refugee girls. In addition, she has spent several months living in Cambodia, Honduras, and Guatemala working alongside non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on education and women's empowerment. Alicia received a BBA from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Julie Smolyansky, CEO, Lifeway Foods, Inc.
"I served as a volunteer and advocate with RVA back when I was in college between 1994-1996; now, I am so honored and humbled to return as a board member. Much of what I know about crisis management, I learned from RVA, and I am grateful for the opportunity to return the favor by sharing some of my own leadership and management skills at the board level.”
Sharmili Majmudar, LCSW, Executive Director
RVA is an Illinois not-for-profit organization made up of many individuals with two primary goals: to assure that survivors of sexual assault are treated with dignity and compassion; and to affect changes in the way the legal system, medical institutions and society as a whole respond to survivors.
RVA focuses on both social service and social change. Through our presence in Chicago area emergency rooms, we provide nonjudgmental emotional support to victims of sexual violence, enabling them to become survivors. By providing basic legal and medical information, and referrals to other service organizations, we help the survivor make informed decisions. We also offer survivors continued support through telephone follow-up and our staff of counselors and legal advocates. Through these services, we enable survivors to regain control over their lives as quickly as possible. Through our work with the Chicago Police Department, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and other area institutions, we strive to improve the treatment of survivors as a group in our society. RVA offers three distinct program areas: Counseling (individual and group), Advocacy (legal and medical) and Education & Training.
HERE'S HOW TO GET INVOLVED WITH RVA:
Medical Advocates take two twelve hour shifts per month for a time commitment of 12 months. RVA volunteers provide short-term crisis counseling and nonjudgmental support. Every volunteer must complete a minimum of 56-hours in RVA’s training course in order to be certified as a medical advocate. This course covers basic psychological, medical, and legal aspects of sexual assault.
Education and Training
Educators speak at schools, rallies, help train new medical advocates and others working directly with survivors. This is a wonderful opportunity to help educate other people about sexual assault. Each speaker must have completed the 56 hour medical advocacy training and additional educational training to speak on behalf of our organization.
Volunteers and members of the community are welcome to serve on one of many different committees which help meet current needs and determine the future of our organization. There is also an application process to become a member of our board.
The History of RVA
Rape Victim Advocates was formed in 1974 by obstetrician/gynecologist Natalie Stephens, M.D., and a group of Northwestern University medical and nursing students concerned about survivors of sexual assault. They recognized that standard hospital resources were not sufficient for the special needs of the survivor. These founding advocates educated themselves about Rape Trauma Syndrome a cluster of physical and emotional responses experienced by nearly all those who experience sexual assault, identified by Burgess and Holmstrom in the course of their work as counselors of survivors of sexual assault at Boston City Hospital, Boston Mass.
In July of 1975, RVA began working with the emergency room staff of a single hospital. The advocates volunteered to be on call in 12 to 24 hour shifts, assuring that, at any given time, a volunteer would be available to serve the survivors of sexual assault. In 2012, RVA is now serving fourteen hospitals in the Chicago area.
Our advocates are available to provide service to survivors of sexual assault 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We also offer sexual assault crisis intervention training to hospitals with in-house volunteer programs. RVA encourages anyone concerned with the well-being of survivors of sexual assault to join us in serving them, their families, and Chicago's Austin Community.