Staff Leadership

Our Team

The Second Step family includes our dedicated staff, generous supporters, tireless volunteers, and the many brave families who make their way out of violence to build new lives.

Who We Are

We are a team of advocates, educators, and youth workers. We are clinicians, development professionals, and administrators. We are attorneys, paraprofessionals, and academics. But above all else, we are dedicated to providing survivors of DV with the supports and concrete services necessary to achieve lasting safety, stability, and well-being.

Staff Directors

Susan Ross Esq. (She/Her)
Executive Director

With 25 years of experience as a lawyer, counselor, and advocate, Susan Ross, Esq. brings a wealth of leadership experience to our dynamic team. After a clerkship with the US District Court, Sue served in the Middlesex District Attorney’s domestic violence unit, seeing first-hand the limits of the legal system alone to solve the complex problems interfering with victims’ long-term safety and stability. As a staff attorney and Director of Steps to Justice, Sue developed a legal services program integrated with wrap-around supportive services to improve outcomes. In 2021 Sue was appointed Interim Executive Director and then Executive Director in 2022. Contact Sue at sross@thesecondstep.org.

Kaitlyn Matthews (She/Her)
Assistant Executive Director

Over the past 9 years, Kaitlyn has worked with numerous vulnerable populations including homeless women and children; homeless youth; and domestic violence survivors. Beginning her work with The Second Step in 2017, Kaitlyn has always had a passion for working with, and advocating for, survivors. Through the launch of the TSS Housing Program to the development of relationships with community partners and funders alike, Kaitlyn has worked diligently to streamline services and supports for survivors accessing the various programs offered by The Second Step. In 2022, Kaitlyn was promoted to the role of Assistant Executive Director where she focuses on operations, logistics, and systems to more effectively support the programs and their staff as they work tirelessly to advocate and empower survivors. Contact Kaitlyn at kmatthews@thesecondstep.org.

Amy Hamill, Esq. (She/Her)
Director of Steps to Justice

Amy Hamill is Director of Steps to Justice (STJ), the legal services division of The Second Step (www.thesecondstep.org), a non-profit agency dedicated to providing victims & survivors of domestic violence with the supports and concrete services necessary to achieve lasting safety, stability, and well-being. Raised in Massachusetts, she is a graduate of Milton Academy, Columbia College, and the Fordham University School of Law. Throughout the span of her career, she has advocated on behalf of victims of crime and abuse in her positions at several agencies: the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office (Appeals Bureau), Helpers for Domestic Helpers, the Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre, and the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General (Civil Rights Division). In 2016, Amy joined TSS as a Staff Attorney, and in 2021 she was named Director of STJ. She continues to provide direct legal services to victims of domestic violence, advocating for them both inside and outside of the courtroom, while supervising a team of talented attorneys. Contact Amy at ahamill@thesecondstep.org.

Nikia Bodden (She/Her)
Director of Transitional Living Programs

Nikia Bodden has over 12 years of experience serving homeless survivors of domestic and sexual violence. A survivor, life coach, and advocate for change, Nikia finds joy in uplifting others and helping them overcome challenges. As the Director of TLP, Nikia oversees the transitional living program, rapid rehousing, and housing search services. Recognized locally as an expert in the field of housing for survivors, she is sought out as a speaker and a mentor for people new to the field. Nikia is a finalist for the MA Women of Color Network 2023 Outstanding Leader award. She is fluent in Spanish. Contact Nikia at nbodden@thesecondstep.org.

Gabriela Wells, LCSW (She/Her)
Director of Prevention, Intervention and Education

Gabriela has worked in a diverse field of complex trauma for 5 years. With a master’s in social work and a LCSW, she brings a clinical and social justice lens to her work with survivors. Gabriela’s passion is in both direct service and preventative education. She works closely with survivors to obtain safety and stability in their lives, while also leading community trainings, panels, and forums. Gabriela also developed our 9-week interpersonal skills support group, which has run successfully for over 8 installments, centers around healing from trauma and gaining skills such as self-esteem, boundaries, and self-advocacy. She is driven by her hope to reduce stigma, increase access to resources, and create systemic change in survivor-support. She is fluent in Spanish. Contact Gabriela at gwells@thesecondstep.org.

Suzanne Wakefield (She/Her)
Director of Development

Suzanne Wakefield has been an integral part of The Second Step’s Development Team for nearly a decade, taking the lead on special events, growing corporate and foundation support, building new partnerships and forging stronger relationships with funders and partners. Suzanne’s expertise includes individual giving, special events, corporate and foundation relations, and database management. A graduate of University of Chicago’s School of Social Work, Policy and Practice with a concentration in Social Administration, Suzanne has a strong background in the nonprofit sector. Suzanne gained a passion for working in the domestic violence field early in her career as a Housing Advocate working with survivors and furthered her interest in this field during her Social Work Field Placement at the Illinois Attorney General’s Violence Against Women Unit. Suzanne channels her passion for supporting survivors while leading The Second Step’s talented Development Team, advancing the mission of the organization through philanthropy, volunteerism, and community awareness. Contact Suzanne at swakefield@thesecondstep.org.

Speak with an advocate today.

Call us at 617-965-2538