Refuge House is led by a Board of Directors who determines the strategic direction of the agency and provides oversight to the executive director. The executive director is responsible for the operations and programs of the agency, and the functions of the administrative, fiscal and program teams. Program services are led by a team of program directors and managers, who supervise direct service and community education staff members. Three programs operate on a 24-hour basis: our Leon County Emergency Shelter, our Taylor County Emergency Shelter and our Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis team. Our entire staff team of over 50 people are passionate advocates dedicated to the needs of survivors and our community.

Emily Mitchem

Executive Director

Emily Mitchem is the Executive Director of Refuge House, the domestic and sexual violence center serving the eight county Big Bend area.  She has served in this role since January 1, 2021.  Prior to her role as Executive Director, she served as the Assistant Director for twelve years and was responsible for all programmatic activities, contract management, and quality assurance practices throughout all eight counties we serve.  Before her time at Refuge House, she worked for several years with men who were adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse as an addictions counselor, and as a counselor for domestic violence, adult sexual assault and prostitution survivors within the Department of Corrections.

Our Board of Directors

Refuge House is led by our dedicated Board of Directors, representing our community and our mission with pride:

GWENN THOMAS

CPA, President

GEORGIA CAPPLEMAN

Chief Assistant State Attorney, Second Judicial Circuit, Vice President, Resource Development Co-Chair

MARY MCVICAR

McV Tax & Advisory Services, Treasurer

BRITIAN RILEY

Florida State University, Resource Development Co-Chair

ELIZABETH DESLOGE ELLIS

Attorney, Nabors Giblin & Nickerson, P.A.,

Secretary

CAPTAIN BRICE GOOGLE

Leon County Sheriff’s Office

CELESTE HART, M.D.

Endocrinologist, The Thyroid Center

LAURI HUNTER

The Motivating Factor

ROBERT LOTANE

Communications

ANNE ROWE

FSU Faculty and Dean, Retired

BECKY SAUERS

Lady Links Golf

DEPUTY CHIEF TONJA BRYANT SMITH

Tallahassee Police Department

JAMES VARNADO

Chief, Fraud Division of the Florida Office of the Attorney General