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 13` 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. With Firewalkers she led workshops and readings and public speaking events from  graduate psychology classrooms at James Madison University to 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. Malaina is also a trained Trauma Informed Care facilitator through SAMHSA  She holds a B.A. 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 CrettierOperations

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.


Heather OrrockCo-OPP Director –

Heather Orrock is the new Co-OPP Program Director at VOCAL. In this role, she provides capacity building,  organizational development, and technical assistance to Virginia’s network of peer-run programs.

Heather is no stranger to non-profits, having spent 12 years in fundraising, the last 10 of which for organizations providing mental health services. During her time as Development Director for Virginia Supportive Housing, she was instrumental in bringing the groundbreaking national initiative 100K Homes to Richmond, VA.

Passionate about empowering people and non-profits, Heather will continue the work of strengthening and expanding Virginia’s peer-run service network.

Heather holds a BA in Sociology from The College of William and Mary and is a 2010 graduate of the Emerging Non-Profit Leaders program. She is currently participating in Peer Recovery Specialist training.

Megan Sharkey – REACH Coordinator –

Megan was raised in coastal New Jersey and attended undergraduate university in Pennsylvania. Knowing that she wanted to live in a city and having an uncle who is Richmond-based, Megan made the move to Virginia. Since settling in Richmond, she has worked to complete her Master of Social Work, with a concentration in Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice, from Virginia Commonwealth University. Megan’s interests include participating in social justice efforts to dismantle institutionalized oppression, getting engulfed in other worlds through books, listening to public radio and spending quality time with loved ones.
Megan first learned of VOCAL in 2016 while interning with another local mental health organization. She is excited for the opportunity to join the VOCAL staff and continue this incredible work!