FreeFrom is a brilliant concept which fills a vacuum in advocacy for victims of abuse.
— Joan Meier, Founder, DV LEAP

Staff

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Sonya Passi
Founder & CEO

Sonya founded FreeFrom after recognizing that while financial instability is the number one obstacle to survivors of abuse being able to build safe lives for themselves and their children, there is a lack of solutions to this problem. For her work with FreeFrom, Sonya has been listed in Forbes' 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 For Law and Policy and was selected as a finalist for the 2016 Echoing Green Global Fellowship.

Sonya received her B.A. and M.Phil from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College). While in college, she started the Cambridge Domestic Violence Action Group to educate college and high school students about the realities and nuances of intimate partner violence.

After college, Sonya received her J.D from UC Berkeley School of Law where she wrote a paper on the importance of implementing a tort of domestic violence in every state to make it possible for survivors to access the justice system and hold their abusers financially accountable.

During her second year of law school, Sonya founded the Family Violence Appellate Project ("FVAP") which, in less than four years, has fundamentally changed the legal landscape in California by providing, for the first time, free appellate legal services to survivors of domestic violence. Since 2012, FVAP has screened over 550 cases for legal assistance, won 80% of affirmative appeals (far above the CA statewide average of 21%), and won 100% of the appeals it has defended. In recognition of this work, Sonya received the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Award for Public Service and the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of Social Justice for Women.

Prior to founding FreeFrom, Sonya worked at Morgan Stanley in NYC in the capital markets division.

Amira Samuel
Compensation program Director

Amira received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2010. Throughout law school Amira devoted herself to serving domestic violence survivors.  She volunteered to meet with survivors serving time in Riker’s Island to help them ascertain the whereabouts of their children, she served as a courtroom advocate for survivors filing petitions for protective orders in Family Court and she gave presentations to teens on healthy relationships.

After graduation, Amira was named the first Judge Gertrud Mainzer Memorial Fellow, an award she was given for her dedication to public interest family law work throughout law school. She took her fellowship to the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), where she worked exclusively on domestic violence cases. In 2011, Amira was hired by NYLAG as an Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorp Legal Fellow and was named the Coordinator of Project Eden, which serves Orthodox Jewish survivors of domestic violence who are escaping abuse. In addition to her work on the Project, Amira litigated matrimonial and family law cases throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

In 2012, Amira was hired by NYLAG both to continue coordinating Project Eden and to work as a Staff Attorney for the Family and Matrimonial Law Unit.  Throughout her term at NYLAG, she litigated countless family and matrimonial law cases on behalf of domestic violence survivors. As a Senior Staff Attorney, Amira led trainings for law students and pro bono counsel on domestic violence, protective orders and uncontested divorces, and supervised law students, junior staff attorneys and pro bono counsel on their cases.

In both 2014 and 2015, Amira provided best practice trainings for attorneys and social workers at the Tahel Conference in Jerusalem, Israel which focused on helping survivors navigate the Rabbinical Court, Criminal Court and Civil Court simultaneously. Amira concluded her tenure at NYLAG as the Supervising Attorney for the Family and Matrimonial Law Unit.

She joined FreeFrom in 2016 to serve as Legal Director. 

Tannia Ventura
Entrepreneurship program manager

As a Los Angeles native, daughter of immigrants, and survivor herself, Tannia has dedicated her studies and career to serving marginalized communities. She was raised in a community of entrepreneurs. Not typical entrepreneurs but entrepreneurs none the less. Entrepreneurs who were born from a need to survive in a world that marginalized them, hurt them, and spoke a different language. These experiences developed her into a social innovator dedicated to helping others find economic and social liberation through entrepreneurship. 

Tannia received her Masters in Social Entrepreneurship from Pepperdine University in 2016. Her capstone work at Pepperdine focused on providing small business counseling to Los Angeles food businesses threatened by gentrification. Her capstone project went on to be a semi-finalist in Pepperdine’s Social Entrepreneurship Fast Pitch Competition.

Tannia has worked in the non-profit world for almost five years. Her most recent work was at Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles where she helped lead new community initiatives focused on reaching and serving girls in South and East Los Angeles. Her work led to a 23% increase in the number of girls served from these areas within the first 6 months of this new initiative.

During her undergraduate years at University of California, Santa Barbara, Tannia co-founded a chapter of a sorority rooted in multiculturalism and womxn empowerment. This sorority went on to win an LGBT Ally award from the university for hosting events that educated students about LGBT+ issues, workshops on how to intervene as allies, and openly recruited/accepted LGBT+ students. Tannia currently volunteers her spare time as Sigma Theta Psi’s National Board Director of Multicultural Education where she leads national multicultural education initiatives. 

She joined FreeFrom in 2017 to serve as the Entrepreneurship Program Manager. 

Board of Directors

Colin Cabral (Board Chair)
Proskauer Rose LLP
Los Angeles, CA

Merritt Johnson
Shearman & Sterling LLP
New York City, NY

Kat Manalac (Board Vice Chair)
Y-Combinator
San Francisco, CA

Sonya Passi
FreeFrom
Los Angeles, CA

Sherrese Clarke-Soares
Morgan Stanley
New York City, NY

Rachel Herrick Kassabian
Quinn Emanuel LLP
San Francisco, CA

Jared Richards
Fight Against Domestic Violence
Salt Lake City, UT

Alice Vilma
Morgan Stanley
New York, NY

Nicole Field
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
New York City, NY

Claire Lee
Silicon Valley Bank
San Francisco, CA

Kate Sheets
Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG)
Los Angeles, CA

Board of Advisors

Father Gregory Boyle
Homeboy Industries
Founder & Executive Director

Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas
The Alipato Project
Founder & Executive Director

Jeff Dion
National Crime Victims Bar Association
Executive Director

Margaret Drew
University of Massachusetts Law School
Associate Professor

Meg Garvin
National Crime Victim Law Institute
Executive Director

Ruth Glenn
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Executive Director

Lisalyn Jacobs
Legal Momentum
Policy Director

Nancy Lemon
Family Violence Appellate Project
Legal Director
UC Berkeley School of Law
Professor of Law

Rachel Lloyd
Girls Are Not For Sale
Founder & CEO

Joan Meier
DV LEAP
Founder & Former Executive Director
George Washington University School of Law
Professor of Law

Angelo Rivera
Sanctuary for Families
Director, Economic Empowerment Program

Diana Saliceti
High Bridge Cold Brew
Founder & CEO

Lyn Schollett
New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Executive Director

Debby Tucker
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
Executive Director

Rob Valente
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Vice President of Policy