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Announcing our 7th Annual IMPACT Award Honorees

Since 2015, the IMPACT (Individuals and Institutions Making Progress Against Abuse in Communities Together) Award has been honoring individuals and organizations whose partnerships and commitment strengthens the work of Safe Havens and contributes to justice and hope for victims and survivors of domestic violence and elder abuse.

This year, Safe Havens is proud to bestow the 7th Annual IMPACT Award to: Deborah Collins-Gousby, Isa Woldeguiorguis, and Dr. Oliver Williams. We are thrilled to highlight the vision and commitment of these community leaders and the critical work that they are doing to end all forms of violence. Safe Havens is honored to recognize the important advocacy, leadership, and anti-racism work that all three have dedicated their lives to. This year’s honorees have legacies of work in community support and anti-violence in the Greater Boston area and nationally that deserves a spotlight.

The 2022 Safe Havens IMPACT Award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 7:00 pm via Zoom. Tickets for the event are $30 and additional donations are welcomed. Sponsorships are also available. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, or for more information about tickets, please contact Alyson Morse Katzman at Tickets may be purchased online at or through the Safe Havens website at For more information about Deborah Collins-Gousby, Isa Woldeguiorguis, Oliver Williams, or past honorees, please visit

2022 Honorees


Deborah Collins-Gousby

Deborah Collins-Gousby is a Boston native who graduated from Boston Public Schools and Emerson College. Before joining Brookview House, Collins-Gousby worked nearly thirteen years at Casa Myrna, a comprehensive provider of domestic violence services, starting as Director of Emergency Programs and eventually assuming responsibility for all of the agency’s direct service programs. Prior to joining Casa Myrna, Collins worked fourteen years at the Elizabeth Stone House, another Boston provider of shelter and community-based services to survivors and their children affected by domestic violence. She has extensive experience in direct services, program development, staffing, budgeting, volunteer management, education and outreach and outcome measurement and reporting. Collins-Gousby is President of the Jane Doe, Inc board and co-chair and member of the Leadership Committee of the Massachusetts Women of Color Network (MAWOCN).

Isa Woldeguiorguis

Isa Woldeguiorguis has been the Executive Director of The Center for Hope and Healing, Inc. (CHH) since 2012. CHH has served victims of rape and sexual assault, provided education and awareness raising to eradicate sexual violence in the greater Lowell Massachusetts area for 45 years. Prior to this, Ms. Woldeguiorguis worked in the antiviolence field more twenty-five years, holding several statewide and national roles in the movement to end sexual and domestic violence.

Prior to CHH Ms. Woldeguiorguis worked at the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (Jane Doe Inc.) as the Policy Director and then Membership Director. Prior to this, Ms Woldeguiorguis worked at the Department of Social Services (DSS) now the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Massachusetts for thirteen years. She began as an advocate and ultimately became the Director of the Massachusetts DSS Domestic Violence Unit- the first such unit in the country and a national model for integrating domestic violence advocates in the public child welfare system. Her final tenure was serving as the Assistant Commissioner for Practice and Policy from 2004-2007.

Ms Woldeguiorguis is a well-respected leader and national trainer in the field of child abuse, domestic and sexual violence, system change, race and equity. Ms Woldeguiorguis is well known for her dynamic training and teaching skills and for her activism in ending racial disparities. Ms. Woldeguiorguis has served as faculty on several national initiatives and instructed courses on leadership and the antiviolence movement at Simmons College School of Social Work. She has authored several articles on topics such as family-centered practice in child welfare, racial and ethnic disproportionality and immigration.

Isa is the co-chair and one of the founders of the Massachusetts Women of Color Network (MAWOCN). MAWOCN is a statewide network of advocates working in the domestic and sexual violence field who share a vision of a movement in which women of color are supported to be in leadership roles. The MAWOCN provides training, technical assistance and leadership development.

Ms. Woldeguiorguis is also Board member of Women of Color Inc, the national grassroots organization with a similar purpose. The mission of the Women of Color Network (WOCN Inc.) is to eliminate violence against ALL women and their communities by centralizing the voices and promoting the leadership of women of color across the Sovereign Nations, the United States and U.S. Territories.

Ms. Woldeguiorguis is also and alumnus of the Move to End Violence Fellowship and a member of Cohort IV.

Ms Woldeguiorguis is currently faculty as a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Non Profit Practice.

Oliver J. Williams, Ph.D.

Oliver J. Williams, Ph.D. is a Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, in St. Paul.MN. He directed the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community from 1994-2016, as well as the African American Domestic Peace Project (AADPP) that worked with community leaders in 12 cities across the United States. He is also the Director of the Safe Return Initiative that addresses the issues of prisoner re-entry and domestic violence and is a member of the consultant team for Ujima: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community.

Dr. Williams has extensive experience: as a clinical practitioner he has worked in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, child welfare, sexual assault, and domestic violence. He has worked in battered women’s shelters, developed curricula for batterers’ intervention programs and facilitated counseling groups in these programs. He has provided training across the United States and abroad on research and service-delivery surrounding partner abuse.

Dr. Williams’ extensive research and publications in scholarly journals and books have centered on creating service delivery strategies to reduce violent behavior. Dr. Williams has received many awards among them include an award from the American Psychological Association, a International “Telly Award” for his documentary work; the National “Shelia Wellstone Institute Award” related to his National work on Domestic Violence; the National Family Violence Center, Alliance for Hope Award and a Distinguish Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work. Dr. Williams received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Michigan State University; a Masters in Social Work from Western Michigan University; a Masters in Public Health and a PH.D in Social Work both from the University of Pittsburgh.

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