The California CASA Association relies on individuals with a shared sense of purpose.
Our staff possess many decades of combined child welfare and nonprofit experience and each has a strong personal connection to the mission of California CASA. Past and present members have aged out of foster care, served as sworn CASA volunteers, served as judge in juvenile court, and held senior positions in nonprofit organizations. Each one proudly dedicates their experience and expertise to California’s local CASA programs to ensure each has the knowledge and resources needed to effectively serve children.
For general inquiries please contact us at (510) 663-8440 or send us an email below:
Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq., Chief Executive Officer, joined California CASA in 2017 after a very successful 20-year tenure as CEO of Voices for Children, the CASA program for San Diego and Riverside counties. Under her leadership, the organization experienced extraordinary growth (from $400,000 in 1997 to nearly $7,000,000 in 2017) and national recognition. Sharon has brought to the state’s CASA network and the California CASA association her deeply-felt passion for helping foster children and improving the foster care system, as well as her strong leadership skills, legal and legislative expertise, and fundraising and managerial knowledge. The recipient of many honors over the years, she serves on numerous statewide and regional committees addressing the needs of foster youth, and promotes CASA to individuals, foundations, corporations, elected officials, and government agencies throughout California and beyond. She received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, Austin, where she was managing editor of the Texas International Law Journal, among other honors; and her B.A. from the University of Denver, Colorado, with a triple major in Speech Communications, Psychology, and Political Science. Prior to joining Voices for Children in 1997, she was an attorney and litigator at Lewis, D’Amato, Brisbois & Bisgaard, a large law firm in San Diego; she specialized in medical malpractice.
Anne Farrell, Chief Philanthropy Officer since 2018, is a highly regarded, experienced fundraiser who has spent 44 years in the nonprofit sector and raised over $170,000,000 in that time. She spent 34 years in the arts and culture sector, raising money for museums and higher education. She served as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego’s nonprofit management graduate program for seven years, and has trained and mentored many fundraising professionals. Deeply concerned with the plight of foster children, from 2010 to 2017, she served as Chief Philanthropy Officer at Voices for Children and in that period more than doubled the organization’s budget, tripled the service to children, while she built a skilled development team. AFarrell@californiacasa.org
The Hon. Carol Isackson (ret.), Senior Policy Advisor, was on the bench in San Diego Superior Court for 14 years. Appointed by Governor Gray Davis of California and subsequently reelected. Prior to her judicial appointment, she was an attorney in private practice in San Diego, and was a social worker before receiving her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law/Illinois Institute of Technology. She is deeply informed about foster care and its legal and procedural aspects as well as delinquency and juvenile justice. She joined California CASA in 2017 to provide counsel and advice on major legislative and policy matters, including a pilot juvenile justice program.
Joan Reilly, MBA, Chief Financial Officer, joined California CASA in 2018 after four years in the not-for-profit sector. Prior to that, she spent 25 years working in the corporate arena. She holds her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and held management and HR positions at Oracle Corporation and Sophoi, Inc., among others. Joan’s passion for the needs of foster children and her wide range of managerial, human resources, and fiscal expertise are enormous assets for California CASA and the local CASA programs statewide.
Teresa Romney, Chief Program Director, brings extensive nonprofit and corporate experience to her position, as well as a deep passion for helping abused, neglected children in foster care. She most recently was the Executive Director of CASA of Ventura County, where she transformed the agency from a small grassroots operation to a professional and successful CASA program serving 350 foster youth each year. She was part of the pilot program to serve Juvenile Justice Youth (a program launched by California CASA and one that she will now oversee). Prior to becoming CEO of CASA of Ventura County, Teresa was principal in TMR Consulting LLC, Camarillo. In that role, she helped the Los Angeles Community College District as a member of the consulting team working with the Chief Information Officer and was responsible for process management for a $130 million IT infrastructure project across 9 colleges and a district office. Before that, she spent 18 years working in the corporate world, including 14 years at Amgen Inc., as a Lead Business Analyst and Senior Manager in the Sales and Marketing Operation. She received her BA (magna cum laude) in Business Administration from California Lutheran University. Tromney@californiacasa.org
Jessica Ballenger, Marketing and Communications Director, has volunteered and consulted for the nonprofit world for over 20 years, accelerating outreach and engagement to serve children in her community. She became a member of the California CASA Association team in 2019. She studied Germanic Languages at the University of Antwerp, Belgium and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Art from the University of California, San Diego. Alongside her work at not-for-profit organizations, she led international marketing teams and projects for companies like ShowTex, Carefusion, and Lanxess. She is experienced in creating compelling communication tools to activate diverse audiences and uses that knowledge to support CASA program marketing throughout the state to raise awareness and recruit volunteers.
Holley Moore, Grants and Philanthropy Director, joined the California CASA Association in 2018. She holds a Master’s degree in Communication Leadership from the University of West Florida, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of West Florida. She served from 2015 to 2018 as the Grants Officer for Voices for Children in San Diego where she managed a $2 million annual funding portfolio representing up to one-third of the organization’s operating budget. She is an experienced specialist in researching, writing, and administering private and public institutional funding, and is passionate about the cause of foster care and abused children.
Deborah Jarmon-Johnson joined the California CASA staff in 2019 as Administrative Assistant. With a passion for helping children in need, she brings significant experience in administration, executive support, and office management positions. She has held positions at the County of San Diego, the Department of the Navy in San Diego, Generation Next Franchise Brands/San Diego, Smart Solar Construction in Poway, the City of Hope International Church in San Diego, and Kyocera Wireless Corporation, among others. She received her B.A. in Business Administration from the University of San Diego (1999), and her Paralegal Certificate from the ABA-Approved graduate program at the University of San Diego (2009).