Rebecca Austin will take over as Executive Director of Safe Voices in June, when Elise Johansen will step down.

AREA — Safe Voices is happy to announce that Executive Director Elise Johansen will be succeeded by the agency’s current Director of Programs, Rebecca Austin, when Johansen steps down in June.

Austin has been with the agency for 15 years, beginning first as an advocate based in Franklin County and most recently leading the programmatic teams that run the agency’s advocacy, intervention, prevention, and sheltering programs.

“The board of directors had no easy task in choosing how to fill the executive director role,” says board president Amy Gagne. “We are so fortunate to have found that the skill, expertise, and passion for this work necessary to lead the agency was already present on our team. We are thrilled to see the agency benefit from Rebecca’s leadership in an even more impactful way than it already has.”

“I have no doubt that Rebecca is ready for this task,” says Johansen. “And that she will continue to lead Safe Voices with strong ethics, expertise, and the agency values that we have all thrived under for years.”

As a longtime staff member with experience at every level of advocacy, Austin is uniquely positioned to bring Safe Voices forward through several key in-progress projects, along with the agency’s goals for the future. Austin has served as an expert at the state level for many years in her work as a member of the state’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and as chair of the Maine Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Legislative Commission.

“It’s a big next step,” says Austin. “I’m excited, scared, and very aware of the responsibility of leading an organization that does this critical work. Within the first few
weeks of starting my role as a court advocate fifteen years ago, I knew this work was what I was meant to do. Knowing that this movement is survivor-led, I feel so lucky to step into the executive director role where I will continue advocating for survivors and also be able to focus on our staff and how to help them succeed.”

Johansen will step down from the agency the week of June 3, and Austin will be positioned to immediately assume the role, allowing a few weeks of overlap to bring
Austin up to speed on all current executive-level projects and goals.

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