Meet Our Board of Directors


Teri croppedPresident — Teri Coughlin

Teri has been an active participant in the My Avenging Angel Workshops program supported by CT-ALIVE and a member of the Board of Directors since 2016. As survivor herself, she has seen first-hand how the work the CT-ALIVE supports introduces survivors to a place untouched by their abuse and invites them into the world of “thriving,” not just surviving abuse. Today, she is dedicated to ensuring the success of CT-ALIVE so that other women survivors can thrive, too.  Teri has been a resident of Windsor, Connecticut for the past 35 years where she raised her two children, now grown.  She has worked in health care and non-profit organization management for many years, including spending most of her career as the Vice President of Finance and Operations of Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) East.  She currently works at MedOptions, Inc. as Senior Manager of Revenue Integrity.


Alexa (2)Vice President — Alexa Keener

Alexa Keener is passionate about breaking down barriers and helping individuals live to their fullest potential. She joined CT-ALIVE Board in 2017 and is dedicated to the organization’s  mission and work supporting survivors on their path to becoming “thrivers.” A resident of Torrington, Connecticut and originally hailing from Farmington, Connecticut, Alexa is currently a Human Resources Consultant at Aetna where she has worked for three years. Alexa graduated from the University of Hartford with her MBA in 2018 and her Bachelor’s degree in 2016.  In addition to CT-ALIVE, she also volunteers with other local organizations.



 19397084_10213075128978675_6567631015066556169_n Treasurer — Diana Barlow

Diana Barlow joined the Board of CT-ALIVE in 2016. She is currently Assistant Vice President of Legal Operations at Voya Financial.  Prior to that, she was Assistant Vice President of Legal Operations for the Hartford Insurance Company. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Marketing from the University of Hartford. She currently lives in Massachusetts and works in Connecticut.



Dan DiMugno (2)Secretary — Dan Dimugno

Dan is thrilled to be part of CT-ALIVE, after meeting Susan Omilian, the CT-ALIVE Project Director and being inspired her by infectious passion for the work she does with women who have experienced abuse. Dan believes that the organization fulfills a critical and unique gap in the abuse recovery process, aiming to not only emotionally indemnify victims, but also empower them to be their best selves.  Dan joined the Board in 2019 to do his part for such a great cause and apply his skills in the best way he could. Dan lives in East Hampton, CT, and is an actuary at Travelers Insurance.  He is a 2011 graduate of Bryant University, and a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society. Dan enjoys frisbee golf, dancing, and travel.


Joanna (2)Board Member —  Joanna Ishmael

After attending Susan Omilian’s My Avenging Angel Workshops supported by CT-ALIVE, Joanna joined the Board in 2013. Dedicated to philanthropic causes, Joanna volunteered in her community for over 15 years. Passionate about encouraging survivors to move forward, Joanna’s own personal goals have been to become physically active and training in self defense and kickboxing.  A resident of Hartford, Connecticut for 32 years, she worked as support staff at SEIU District 1199NE for seven years. She has also done canvassing in various political campaigns since 2008. Joanna graduated from Fordham University with her Bachelor’s in Political Science in 2010.


LISABoard Member — Lisa Caruso 

Dr. Lisa Caruso has seen the positive impact of the program CT-ALIVE supports on women who have been victims of abuse. Joining the Board in 2019, Lisa wanted to use her skills and vast experience to help the organization succeed and empower women emotionally, financially and socially so that they can reclaim their lives after abuse.  A resident of Branford, Connecticut, Lisa is employed with KPMG as the Director, Business Technology Services.  She also spent 30 years in various IT leadership roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb.


Sarah (2)Board Member — Sarah Watson

Sarah was looking for a way to give back and serve the community when she met Susan Omilian, CT-ALIVE Project Director. It was Susan’s passionate work with survivors of domestic violence that led her to learn more about CT-ALIVE and join the Board in 2019.  Sarah is now committed to helping victims and supporting survivors on their journey to rebuilding their lives after the abuse. Sarah is an accounting professional with a specialization in tax.  She currently works for a regional public accounting firm, and she resides in Waterbury, Connecticut with her husband and three fur babies. When not at work, she enjoys walks with her dogs, traveling to Maine to visit family and reading.


     Shanice (2) Board Member — Shanice Grieser

Shanice lives in New Britain, Connecticut with her wife, Tori, and dog, Nyx. She is currently a prospective CPA candidate working as a Staff Accountant for Palmer Latko Ledas Page LLC in Avon. Shanice graduated from the University of Hartford in 2015 with her Bachelors and then again in 2017 with her MBA and MSAT. When not working or studying, she enjoys spending time with her family, doing outdoor activities, and reading. Shanice became aware of the work that CT-ALIVE supports through the Express Match Program coordinated by Leadership of Greater Hartford.  There she met Susan Omilian who spoke so passionately about the work done by her with support of the organization and Shanice feel inspired. Before leaving that room, she knew she wanted to be a part of CT-ALIVE and contribute to the amazing work being done in order to make sure that it would continue. She realized that people don’t usually consider the continued support that victims of domestic violence need so it was awe-inspiring to her that Susan had thought of this and Shanice wanted to be a part of it.


Marisol (2) Board Member — Marisol Cardona

Marisol has served on the CT-ALIVE Board since 2014 and also is active in two other local Hartford community organizations and one virtual networking organization. She has over 18 years of experience in the financial industry with expertise in banking and brokerage operations. She has earned certification as an Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) as well as the Lean Six Sigma certificate to help in the continual improvement process for the organization.  Marisol is actively engaged in community outreach.



Our Advisory Council

  • Donna Russo
  • Gigi Paolantonio
  • Cate Mortimer
  • Priya Palmer


Our Staff — Susan Omilian Project Director, Never Going Back to Abuse Project


SUSAN 1 LOW RESSusan Omilian is an attorney and the award-winning originator and facilitator of My Avenging Angel Workshops based on the idea “living well is the best revenge.” The workshops provide the critical “next step” for women to break permanently out of the cycle of violence and reclaim their lives. Since 2007, she has been the Project Director of CT-ALIVE’s Never Going Back to Abuse Project in which she provides her workshops, monthly follow up sessions and weekend retreats free of charge supported by CT-ALIVE.

Susan has advocated to end violence against women for the past forty years including representing abused women in divorce and founding a sexual assault crisis center. Susan’s idea for the workshops came after her niece Maggie, a nineteen-year old college student, was killed in 1999 by her ex-boyfriend. She also speaks on dating violence at high schools and on college campuses across the country and has presented workshops at state, national and international conferences.

Susan held executive-level positions in Connecticut state government for eleven years including Director of Human Services Planning at the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) and Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Staff at the Department of Children and Families (DCF). She was Staff Attorney at the CT Women’s Educational and Legal Fund (CWEALF), a women’s public interest law firm, in Hartford from 1981 to 1986.

You Can Help Make a Difference

Your donation can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of women, children and families adversely affected by domestic violence.

Please make your tax-deductible donation to CT-ALIVE today!

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