Each of us is a unique strand in the unique web of life
and here to make a contribution. - Deepak Chopra

Peninsula Voices for Change Leadership Team


Director / Founding Member:  Cassie DeSena-Jacobs

Cassie has been involved with activism, social justice, and non-profit organizations for over 15 years. She identifies herself a life long progressive who advocates for women's rights, incarcerated youth, immigration reform, and affordable health care. Cassie holds masters degrees in social work and clinical psychology and is currently Chair of the Southeastern Alliance Human Rights Committee and a licensed therapist in private practice. Read an article by Cassie about the unstoppable force of women in Virginia politics from RVA magazine here and an article in discussing her thoughts on why Virginia should never abandon a woman's right to choose here. Cassie was recently accepted into the Sorensen Institute program for Emerging Political Leaders for 2018.

Contact Cassie or follow her on twitter at @CassiePVC.

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Secretary:  Emily Wilson

Growing up in Seaford, Emily attended local public schools before leaving the area for James Madison University in 2007 where she earned a Bachelors degree in Sociology and Religion.  Emily began working with the disability community in 2012 and in 2016 completed a masters degree and professional certification requirements. Emily now provides in-home therapy to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. In December 2017 Emily and her husband are expecting their first child.  Emily has limited experience with political activism, and this is her first time working with a non-profit in an official capacity. She is very proud of the work PVC has done thus far and is excited to be a part of continuing progressive efforts!

Contact Emily.


Board Member:  Nicole Smith

Nicole is a pre-kindergarten teacher in Williamsburg. She strongly believes in the power of early intervention for all children, particularly those with special needs. Nicole lives in Williamsburg with her husband, Geoff, and two children, Aaron and Cora.

Contact Nicole.

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 PVC Historian:  Susan Thames

Susan Thames is originally from North Carolina.  She and her family moved to Virginia several years ago.  She has a BA from Meredith College in Visual Arts and is enjoying her 24th year of teaching.  She and her husband have always voted and followed current events, but she is new to political activism.  She attended the Women's March and the March for Science in Washington, DC.  She is passionate about protecting our younger generation by working for public education, safe environmental standards, women's rights, civil rights, gun safety, and access to affordable healthcare.  Susan is determined to listen, learn, and act to make sure the future is bright for all.

Contact Susan.


Treasurer: LaToya Breckenridge

Virginia native, Latoya Breckenridge, affectionately known as Toya, is a fierce supporter of people and organizations using what they have, to do what they can to make the community better.  She's a fiscal management professional and holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting. Latoya has recently become actively involved in local politics and will continue to expound on her civic duties on the local, state, and federal levels. She's most passionate about women, children, education, and social justice. She and her two beautiful children, Diamond and Solomon reside in Newport News.

Contact Toya.

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Communications: Katy Eller

A Shenandoah Valley native, Katy fell in love with Virginia’s Tidewater upon earning her BA in English from William & Mary. After receiving her MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech, she taught secondary English in Roanoke Valley public schools while donating time to student tutoring and writing initiatives. Katy began volunteering with progressive organizations when a job change prompted her return to the Peninsula. When not being an activist, she likes to read, write, and ramble outside with her husband and two children. Her side project is a budding blog and complementary Instagram feed.




Past Leadership Team Members: Mic Harris, Lauren Furey