Ashlee Lewis - Executive Director

Ashlee has over 20 years of extensive experience in community service, including mentoring, counseling, teaching, coordinating, group support meetings and creating programs. She has fourteen years of professional experience in presenting and training large communities within the hospitality, customer service, and sales industries. She also brings to The Initiative over ten years of administrative and managerial experience.

In the five years that Ashlee has been with The Initiative, she has been responsible for direct service, data collection, grant management, volunteer coordination, presentations, and trainings. She focused her studies on Sociology and Psychology with special emphasis in Multi-Cultural studies. As the Executive Director, she provides strategic leadership and vision to The Initiative and ensures achievement of its goals for program development, financial stability, and community engagement. Ashlee manages the human and financial resources for The Initiative and is responsible and accountable for all aspects of its operation.

Iva Dabaghyan - Chief Program Officer

Iva Dabaghyan oversees the direct service program and ensures that The Initiative is providing high quality services to victims of domestic violence with disabilities. She has been a long-term community volunteer at places such as The Gathering Place, and Denver Public Schools - partnering with school counselors in working with children from transitional housing communities.

Iva is originally from the Czech Republic and holds a Master's Degree in Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. Iva has taught Literature, History and Russian Language and she is also trilingual. She has received extensive training on the Victim's Rights Act, Address Confidentiality Program, Victim Advocacy, Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid, and Trauma Crisis Intervention.

Jessica Higgins - Development Coordinator

Jessica Higgins coordinates outreach and development projects for The Initiative. After graduating from Colorado College with a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature, Jessica worked as the communications coordinator with Colorado Youth Matter, a comprehensive sex ed organization, for eleven months. Along with gaining invaluable experience in communications, Jessica developed her skills in training, fundraising, and event planning. As a sexual assault survivor turned activist, Jessica comes to The Initiative with the determination to create change and to provide clients with high quality services based in compassion.

Casey earned her degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, which has given her the tools to challenge oppressive structures of power and privilege using a feminist lens. Prior to moving to Denver, Casey worked as an advocate at a domestic violence and human trafficking shelter in New York, where she gained invaluable advocacy experience while also learning how to engage her knowledge of theory to her work. She has extensive experience with group facilitation, presentation and curriculum design. Casey is committed to an intersectional approach to advocacy based on trust and respect and is extremely passionate about The Initiative’s mission.