Our Professional Staff
Brateil Aghasi

Brateil Aghasi

Executive Director

Geo Sanchez

Geo Sanchez

Office Manager

As office manager at WISEPlace since 2011, Geo directs the organization to operate smoothly. She assists staff and oversees the WISE Beginnings, Student internship & Volunteer Program at WISEPlace. She is also the facilities rental coordinator who assists clients with event needs.

Geo is involved in the planning and execution of key fundraising events at WISEPlace: For the Love of WISEPlace and A Home for the Holidays. She is responsible for designing and creating promotional material, and assists in answering questions about partnerships, sponsorships and donations.

Geo graduated from California State University, Long Beach earning a B.A. in Sociology. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work at USC. Geo’s life is blessed with many strong women – some family, some friends, and many from WISEPlace. She strives to be a strong role model for her younger sister.

Demona Barlow

Demona Barlow

Program Manager

Demona Barlow is a seasoned program management professional with over 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She has been an integral part of WISEPlace since 2009. As Program Manager, she ensures that the organization’s activities reflect WISEPlace’s mission to serve the community by providing programs that inspire, support and empower women to become positive contributors to the community. Before joining WISEPlace, Demona assisted ACCORD Community First in improving the employment outcomes for at-risk and adjudicated youths in Los Angeles as the Workforce Case Manager.

Demona is a lifelong Southern Californian who is an active community member. She believes that a healthy community depends on healthy members to thrive and works hard to help people reach their potential. She is passionate about empowering her community and supports many causes related to abuse such as domestic, child, and substance. Her family has spent many holidays under WISEPlace’s roof rather than in their own. This active choice demonstrates their support of Demona and shared commitment to ensure that the women in the program feel at home during the transition toward independence.

Demona received her education from Golden West College with emphasis in Criminal Justice and has also completed professional enrichment in Human Services at Cypress College.

Ana Hernandez Bower

Ana Hernandez Bower

Financial Empowerment Manager

Ana joined the WISEPlace staff in late 2006. Ana is a CalState University Fullerton graduate with a B.A in Sociology. Her objective is to service the woman and adolescent population. Her emphasis is on helping those who are physically or mentally different in the community by making a positive impact by working with them and helping them overcome challenges. As Financial Empowerment Manager, Ana provides the primary support for the homeless women in obtaining employment, providing financially focused counseling, and coordinates next-stage housing.

Amy Larson

Amy Larson

Grant writer

Since 2002, Amy has served the nonprofit community of Southern California. She was Director of Development for Laguna Playhouse and The Wooden Floor and founded Poppyfield Consulting Services in 2012, to help bring profit to nonprofits. In addition to WISEPlace, her clients include Laguna College of Art & Design, FRIENDS of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Guilds of Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Idyllwild Community Center.

Larson has served on the Board of Leadership Tomorrow, on the Executive Board as Special Event Co-Chair for the Guilds of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, as Membership Co-Chair for American Association of University Women, Laguna Beach Chapter, was a Board President for Women in Management, Orange County Chapter and is a Partner with Impact Giving.

Amy was born and raised in Ohio. After graduation, she taught high school speech and English and served as drama coach. After a trip to the West Coast, she moved to San Francisco and subsequently, to Oahu and Seattle. She received an AA from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena and has been a Southern California girl for more than 30 years. Amy is married to Jake Smith (a stage romance that worked out!) and enjoys travel, music, theatre and dance.

Susie Silva

Susie Silva

Facility Organizer

Grace Womack

Grace Womack

Kitchen Organizer

eLiz Hendershot

eLiz Hendershot

Development Executive

eLiz leads the Development efforts with an extensive background in sales (everything from cable TV, toys, office equipment & supplies, commercial scale systems to safety solutions and commercial printing) and a BIG passion for helping in the community and a genuine love for people.

Nourish Your Soul – homeless feeding program, Leader & Organizer, weekly Sunday mornings since Sept. 2006

Showers of Blessings OC – shower trailer for the homeless in Santa Ana, Volunteer procuring donations for toiletries and clothing, 08/2012 – 04/2016

Temple of Light – Spiritual Community, Humanitarian Outreach Ambassador, 08/2014 – 07/2017
NAWBO-OC – member, Corporate Partners committee, 01/2016 – Present

Dolphins Love Kids – boat trips that take children and teens out to see dolphins in the wild, Volunteer & Vice President on the Board, 06/2016 – Present

Meal Packaging Events – recruited a very large church group to raise $25K to package 100,000 meals with 800 volunteers in one day!  The next year, raised $50K to package 200K meals.