Ann BennerAnn BennerREACH Program Director  –

Ann has worked as a social worker in several settings, including the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center and the Charlottesville Department of Social Services. She became inspired to help develop peer voices and to advocate for systems change following her own mid-life healing from depression and anorexia.  She then directed ABIDE, Charlottesville’s eating disorders prevention program and worked as an art therapist.

Ann was VOCAL’s founding Network Program Director, from 2004 to 2012. In 2014, she re-joined VOCAL staff as REACH Program Director. Ann lives in Charlottesville; she enjoys visiting her adult sons in San Francisco and Ann Arbor.


deidre johnsonDeidre JohnsonExecutive Director –

The VOCAL Board of Directors is pleased to announce the hiring of  Deidre Johnson to the position of Executive Director. Deidre previously held the position of Interim Executive Director and prior to that, Operations Manager. She has the unique firsthand experience of organizing the business of a statewide non-profit as well as a firm knowledge of recovery and peer empowerment. Deidre has been employed with VOCAL since 2012.

Deidre lives in Culpeper with her two children; a 17 year old daughter and a 12 year old son. She can often be found outdoors walking, fishing with her children, or reading. She is also the founder of a nonprofit, The Ayden Christopher Foundation, which raises funds to help families in Virginia with children in the hospital with critical congenital heart defects (CHD) and to promote awareness of CHDs.

Deidre just completed Peer Support Specialist training and is finishing work on a Certificate of Non-Profit Leadership.

VOCAL Network Program Director Malaina PooreMalaina PooreNetwork Program

Malaina Poore has been with VOCAL for 7 years, first as the Executive Assistant then as Firewalkers Coordinator. She led workshops and readings in graduate psychology classrooms at James Madison University, Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco and many places in between. Her work with Firewalkers won the 2011 Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling from the National Storytelling Network. She is a trained Trauma Informed Care facilitator through SAMHSA with a degree in Sociology and a Masters Degree in Creative Non-Fiction.


yolande longYolande LongNetwork Program

Yolande Long holds a B.A from Mary Washington College where she double majored in Sociology and English, and a Master of Social Work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She is the former Executive Director of ABIL (Agoraphobics Building Independent Lives).

A native of New York and a current resident of Bon Air, Yolande joined the VOCAL family in 2005.


Erin Crettier – Operations

After 5 years in retail management, Erin began as a volunteer for VOCAL in November, 2016. A passion for mental health advocacy and social justice led her to VOCAL’s offices. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007 with a BFA in Theatre: Costume Design.

Erin currently resides in Richmond, and is very excited to join the VOCAL team.