Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 28, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Announces Administration Appointments

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced additional appointments to his Administration today.

Office of the Governor

Missy Neff, Legislative Director
Missy Neff has been appointed Legislative Director. Missy most recently served as a Senior Vice President at McGuireWoods Consulting. She has extensive legislative experience and has served as Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy and as Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources for Governor Tim Kaine. Missy is a graduate of Meredith College and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. She is from South Boston.

Secretariat of Public Safety and Homeland Security

Desiré Branch-Ellis, Confidential Policy Assistant, Virginia Department of Emergency Management
Desiré Branch-Ellis has been appointed Confidential Policy Assistant for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Desiré is a Richmond native and recently graduated from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University with a Master of Public Health and a certificate in the Socio-contextual Determinants of Health. Most recently, she managed the Health Equity Pilot Program as part of the Health Equity Leadership Task Force. She previously served in the Northam Administration as Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and Restoration of Rights Specialist. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Secretariat of the Commonwealth
Board Appointments

Advisory Board on Art Therapy

  • Brenda Bonuccelli of Richmond, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Gretchen Graves of Henrico, Art Therapist, Richmond Hospital Education Program
  • Anne Mills of Alexandria, Art Therapist, Art Therapy Services
  • Leila Saadeh of Richmond, Art Therapist
  • Holly Zajur of Richmond, Founder and President, Connect Wellness

Advisory Board on Occupational Therapy

  • Karen L. Lebo* of Richmond, Senior Manager, Business Intake and Conflicts Department, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • Dr. Kathryn Skibek* of Woodbridge, Occupational Therapist

Board of Directors of the Assistive Technology Loan Fund Authority

  • Douglas Bierly* of Henrico, Commercial Banker, Truist (formerly SunTrust Bank)
  • LaMont Henry of Virginia Beach, Financial Planner, Henry Wealth Management
  • Marques Jones* of Henrico, President, ComForCare Home Care of Northwest Richmond
  • Kristoffer A. Peterson of Mechanicsville, Branch Officer, Essex Bank

Central Virginia Transportation Authority

  • Carlos M. Brown of Henrico, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer, Dominion Energy and Member, Commonwealth Transportation Board

Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Advisory Board

  • David X. Cifu, MD* of Richmond, Physician, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Raighne C. Delaney* of Alexandria, Attorney, Bean, Kinney & Korman, P.C.

Virginia African American Advisory Board 

  • Robert N. Barnette, Jr.* of Mechanicsville, President, Virginia State Conference NAACP and Hanover County Chapter of the NAACP
  • Hope F. Cupit* of Bedford, President and CEO, Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc.
  • Toria Edmonds-Howell of Richmond, Community Engagement Manager, Capital One
  • Dr. Ingrid Granberry Grant* of Chesterfield County, Chief of School Leadership, Henrico County Public Schools
  • Teri Helenese* of Loudoun, Director, State-Federal Relations and Washington Representative, Office of the Governor of the United States Virgin Islands
  • Eduardo L. Lopez, Esq. of North Chesterfield, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Henrico County
  • Precious Rasheeda Muhammad* of Suffolk, Independent Scholar

Virginia Asian Advisory Board

  • Tae Aderman of Herndon, Associate Manager, Duff & Phelps, LLC
  • Laura Beldin of Staunton, Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor, Bank of America Private Bank
  • Y. Paul Chhabra of Norfolk, President, Rajput Group of Companies
  • Nina Ha of Christiansburg, Asian Cultural Engagement Center Director, Virginia Tech
  • Razi Hashmi* of Fairfax, Foreign Policy Professional
  • Da Lin of Richmond, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law
  • Bobby Ly* of Springfield, President, Vietnamese American Community of the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Area
  • Ssunny Shah* of Roanoke, Hotel Owner
  • Pient Y. Tran of Richmond, Vice President, Capital One

Virginia Council on Women

  • Heather E. Caputo of Midlothian, Senior Associate General Counsel, Capital One
  • Lashawn Farmer of Danville, Founder and CEO, Farmers Consulting & Connecting LLC
  • Courtney Hill of Arlington, Political Consultant & Strategist, Polaris Strategies. 
  • Alencia Johnson of Orange, Founder and Chief Impact Officer, 1063 West Broad LLC
  • Ashley Reynolds Marshall* of Lynchburg, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA of Central Virginia
  • Aesha Mehta of Richmond, Loan Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Marisol Morales-Diaz of Newport News, Spanish Teacher and Professor
  • Kara Moran of Virginia Beach, President, Suffolk Chemical Company
  • Kelley W. Powell of Goochland County, CEO, MacLaurin Group
  • Tara Rountree of Richmond, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Congressman Donald McEachin
  • Brigitta S. Toruño of Ashburn, Founder and CEO, UNO Translations and Communications, LLC

Virginia Economic Development Partnership Committee on International Trade

  • James Xu* of Goochland, CEO, Avail Vapor, LLC

Virginia Housing Commission 

  • Helen Hardiman of Richmond, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia
  • J. Forest Hayes* of Waterford, President, Miller Beach Development LLC
  • Laura D. Lafayette* of Richmond, Chief Executive Officer, Richmond Association of REALTORS®

Virginia Latino Advisory Board

  • Dr. Joshua DeSilva, PsyD of Norfolk, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, College of William & Mary and Private Practice
  • Juan P. Espinoza* of Blacksburg, Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, Virginia Tech
  • Melody Gonzales* of Arlington, Senior Advisor for Latino Community Advocacy and Partnership Engagement, National Education Association
  • C. Alexander Guzmán* of Richmond, Director of Fair Housing, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc.
  • Diana Patterson of Winchester, Owner, DSP Services, LLC
  • Lyons Sanchezconcha of Richmond, Educator, Richmond Public Schools
  • Eduardo Zelaya of Arlington, Lead Organizer, CASA Virginia

*denotes reappointment

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