Board of Directors
Made up of 21 community leaders and professionals from Glendale, Burbank, West Hollywood, and Los Angeles, our board has a passion helping our community members who are experiencing homelessness. Their ability to work collaboratively, and offer race, gender, geographic, age, and/or professional diversity helps us to better serve our clients.
Officers and Committee Chairs
Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley
Paulette Ramsay Wood
(Retired) Legal Department, Contracts Schindler Elavator Corporation
Communications Director, Glendale Unified School District
Treasurer/Finance Committee Chair
Hutchinson and Bloodgood LLP
Governance Committee Chair
Partner at Safarian, Choi & Bolstad LLP
Development Committee Chair
Site Sourcing Manager, Meta
Audit Committee Chair
Founder and Managing Partner, The Accountancy
Nominations Committee Chair
Attorney of Counsel at Baker, Olsen, LeCroy, & Danielian
President/Owner, Express Employment Professionals
Vice Chairman, Industrial at CBRE
Housing Acquisitions Manager, Brilliant Corners
Senior V.P. and Risk Management Officer, California Credit Union
Construction Coordinator at Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Executive Director of Clinical Institutes and Community Engagement, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center
Executive Mentor and Partnert, Merryck & Co.
Owner/Chief Executive Officer, Revelation Insurance Services
Glendale City Fire Department Battalion Chief
President at Canocogroup-Financial Services
The Rinka Law Firm, PC
Senior Minister, Glendale First United Methodist Church
Bookkeeper, The Counting House, LLC
Vice President, Pacific BMW
Our Leadership Staff
Supported by our Case Management, Outreach, and Administration teams, our Directorial staff leads the charge in accomplishing our mission to lift people out of homelessness, one person, one family at a time.
Laura E. Duncan, Ph.D.
Executive Director Dr. Laura Duncan has worked in the non-profit and education sectors in a leadership capacity since 1989. She has been with Ascencia since 2014 and became the Executive Director in 2018 where she has grown the agency by more than 25% via services enhancements and programs expansion. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Alliant University and obtained her B.A. in Psychology and M.S. in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton while working FT in senior or children’s services. In addition to her role at Ascencia, she is a state of California certified curriculum writer/Instructor with expertise in Title 22 Laws and Regulations and the CEO and a co-owner of a real estate and rentals business in Orange County where she resides. Being of service to others is something that was modeled by her parents and was further fueled by growing up with a special needs child in her neighborhood.
Laura is a member of Glendale Rotary and Glendale Kiwanis Service Clubs and understands the importance of investing in children, having helped to raise six special needs foster children. Laura is passionate about education, diversity, equity, & inclusion, music & the arts, baseball, environmental protection, children’s causes and animal welfare. She credits her foster children for teaching her the most about human behavior.
In 2022, Dr. Laura Duncan was named Woman of the Year at the Glendale Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards and State of the City Luncheon.
Director of Operations
Rick White comes to us with more than 20 years of nonprofit experience. Most recently he worked as the Director of Operations at The Salvation Army in Glendale. He has experience leading and training staff; program improvement and financial management and administration. He is an integral member of Ascencia’s staff, as he runs the HR duties, keeps the facility running smoothly, and is always cracking jokes.
Rick and his wife Cindy live in La Verne and have 2 adult daughters. When he’s not working, Rick enjoys mountain biking, reading and spending time with his family.
Director of Development
With over 30 years of experience and service, with major non-profits including The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries of Southern California, Camille is a passionate professional who brings a dedication to mission along with a rich and successful history of building meaningful and enduring relationships with individual and corporate donors, vendors, volunteers, and colleagues.
Over the years, Camille has been able to translate her passion into initiating, implementing, and managing numerous fundraising projects and events ranging from an annual golf tournament that achieved yearly growth doubling in net proceeds over a 10 year period, a vehicle donation program that tripled in net proceeds over a 5 year period, a retail register giving program that increased from $200K to over $600K in 3 years, and even a historical museum exhibit for Goodwill Southern California which was on display at the Museum of Social Justice in Olvera Street, and is now obtained a permanent venue with Goodwill.
Camille wholeheartedly embraces Ascencia’s mission and is excited to apply her skills, experiences, and insights toward successful fundraising outcomes.
Director of Programs
Marcell Mitchell joined Ascencia in 2014 as the Coordinated Entry System (CES) Supervisor overseeing a case management and employment navigation team dedicated to permanent housing, job placement and benefits advocacy. He is also the HMIS Administrator (Homeless Management Information System) for Ascencia and served as Ascencia’s lead for the employment collaborative in Glendale. In July 2021, Marcell Mitchell was promoted to Director of Programs.
Marcell’s experience in human services dates back to 1999, serving first as a Shelter PlusCare Coordinator, Clinical Therapist and Community Support Team Supervisor in Chicago, then as a Gang Interventionist and Assistant Program Director, which included working with homeless U.S. military veterans, in Los Angeles. Mr. Mitchell holds a B.A. in History and a M.S. in Higher Education both from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is trained in trauma-informed care and motivational interviewing practices. He has also served as a consultant on multiple projects for the United Way and the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority.
Director of Grants and Contracts
Meredith Fleisher joined Ascencia in November of 2020 as the Grants Manager and promoted to her current position in January 2022. Prior to joining Ascencia, Meredith worked as the VP of Business Administration at Auritec Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company located in Pasadena, CA. Throughout her 9-year tenure at Auritec, she oversaw the operations, human resources and accounting teams. Her primary responsibility was handling all administrative tasks associated with grant applications and post-award management, which included managing annual audits and budgets.
Meredith graduated with a B.A. degree in History from Kenyon College in 2001, and a M.A degree in History from the University of New Hampshire in 2004.