Board of Directors
Made up of 22 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
Vice President/President Elect
(Retired) Legal Department, Contracts Schindler Elavator Corporation
Bookkeeper/Payroll, The Counting House, LLC
Treasurer/Finance Committee Chair
Partner, CPA Hutchinson and Bloodgood LLP
Development Committee Chair
Vice Chairman, Industrial at CBRE
Governance Committee Chair
Attorney, Arbella Azizian Law
Audit Committee Chair
Founder and Managing Partner, The Accountancy
Nominations Committee Chair
Glendale City Fire Department Battalion Chief
Senior V.P. and Risk Management Officer, California Credit Union
Executive Mentor and Partnert, Merryck & Co.
Director of Neurosciences & Community Engagement, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center
Owner/Chief Executive Officer, Revelation Insurance Services
The Rinka Law Firm, PC
CPA, Lucas Horsfall
Government Affairs Coordinator, State Farm Insurance Companies
Director of Operations and Ministries, Holy Family Catholic Church
Housing Acquisitions Manager, Brilliant Corners
Owner, The KleanUp Woman LLC
Chief Programs Officer, Solutions Journalism Network
Sr. VP & Director of SBA/Business Banking Group, Cathay Bank
(Retired) Employee Relations & Benefits Manager, Black Angus Steakhouse, Current SHRM-SCP
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 Programs
Director of Programs Marcell Mitchell, M.S. Ed joined Ascencia in 2014 as the CES/Case Management Supervisor and oversaw Ascencia’s Coordinated Entry System (CES) function and the case management, street outreach, and employment navigation teams dedicated to job placement and benefits advocacy until becoming the Director of Programs May 1, 2021. He also served as the HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) Administrator for the agency and served as Ascencia’s lead for the employment collaborative in Glendale. Mr. Mitchell’s experience in human services dates back to 1999. He served first as a Shelter Plus Care Coordinator, then as a Clinical Therapist/Community Support Team Supervisor both in Chicago, IL., and finally as a Gang Interventionist and Assistant Program Director that included working with homeless U.S. military veterans, in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Mitchell holds a B.A. degree in History and a M.S. degree in Higher Education both from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL. He trained in trauma-informed-care and co-authored a training curriculum on the subject in 2019 through a capacity-building grant from the United Way.
Mr. Mitchell has been instrumental in developing Ascencia’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) plan. In August 2023, he completed the fourth cohort of Local Initiative Support Corporation LA (LISC) Alternatives to Incarceration Incubation Academy. The LISC Incubation Academy provides training, capacity building, and technical assistance to community-based organizations, especially those that serve underrepresented and justice-involved people. In 2022, he completed Phase I of California’s Racial Equity Action Lab which is designed to eliminate racial disparities in community homelessness systems throughout the state of California. Mr. Mitchell is also a board member of the National Human Services Data Consortium (NHSDC).
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, making her an incredible asset to Ascencia. Her skills, experiences, and insights lend toward successful fundraising outcomes and further expansion of Ascencia’s reach and outcomes.
Director of Grants and Finance
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 responsibilities as Director of Grants and Finance include overseeing grant applications and post-award management, managing annual audits and budgets, and ensuring compliance with regulations and policies. Meredith’s extensive experience in grants management and administrative tasks makes her an asset to Ascencia.
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. As the current Director of Grants and Contracts, she plays an integral role in securing funding for Ascencia’s programs and ensuring that the organization is in compliance with the grant requirements. Meredith’s dedication and expertise have contributed significantly to Ascencia’s success and growth.