• Jean-Michel Giraud,

    President/CEO Administration 202.503.2961

    Jean-Michel Giraud has advanced the entire homeless services system in the Washington, DC Metro Area by drawing on over two decades of clinical experience in human services, expertise in psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery, and commitment to person-centered programming. He is a pioneer of innovative program models and, since joining Friendship Place in 2006, has overseen the launching of 10 new programs based on the state-of-the-art Housing First service model, transforming the organization from a small neighborhood provider serving 300 people a year into a major regional provider serving more than 3,000 people annually.

    Jean-Michel’s focus on cost-effective, permanent and rapid solutions to homelessness has been lauded by the DC government, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and countless homeless service advocates. He is a recipient of the Meyer Foundation Exponent Award for visionary nonprofit leadership (2010), served on the DC Interagency Council on Homelessness from 2009 to 2017, and is a member of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.

    Jean-Michel speaks at national conferences and presents field workshops on empowerment, organizational transformation, systemic change, veterans services, Housing First, Employment First, Rapid Rehousing, LGBTQ, racial equity, and senior homelessness.

    Jean-Michel Giraud holds a Master’s Degree and Doctoral Qualification (DEA) in American Studies from Montpellier University in France, undergraduate degrees in Translation from La Sorbonne Nouvelle and Paris X University, and a Master Certificate in Business Administration from Tulane University in Louisiana. He is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner and has earned a Co-Occurring Disorders Competency Designation from DC COSIG and The Danya Institute.

  • Chandra Dawson, LISW, LCSW,

    Vice President - Housing Services Administration 202.248.6409


    Chandra Dawson, LISW, LCSW is an Independently Licensed Social Worker dually licensed in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Her professional career includes over 20 years of social work practice serving various marginalized populations primarily comprised of communities of color. A substantial portion of her career involves designing, managing, and implementing programs designed to meet the multifaceted needs of the underserved. She has years of organizational experience including case management, crisis intervention, training, project management and senior leadership within organizations serving domestic and sexual violence survivors, homeless families, and other vulnerable populations within the District of Columbia. Chandra’s background includes federal contract coordination and management as well as the design and implementation of training and technical assistance to support the complex needs of local and state systems such as TANF, behavioral health and homeless services. Her ability to establish and maintain vital relationships with organizations across systems has contributed to developing formal partnerships vital to trauma survivor safety, healing, and equitable service accessibility. Chandra is deeply committed to the development of trauma prevention and intervention efforts designed to address the intersecting issues of racial, gender and economic oppression.

    Chandra is also the founder of The MACRO Project Inc., a social work consulting practice providing ethical trauma-informed services to groups, organizations and agencies representing various systems. As founder, she provides consultation and training to organizations and licensed professionals addressing topics such as intersectional trauma-informed service provision, domestic & sexual violence programing, multicultural intervention, worker bias and more. Chandra is a former 2020 Leadership Education and Advancement for Professionals (LEAP) fellow, a program funded by the Office of Violence Against Women.

    Chandra holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore with a practice interest in Social Action and Community Development.


  • Cornelia M. Kent,

    VP of Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer Administration 202.503.2965

    Cornelia M. Kent is the Vice President of Administration/Chief Financial Officer at Friendship Place responsible for Finance, Budget, and Administration. In addition to overseeing the development and management of the agency’s annual budget and financial statement audit, Ms. Kent is responsible for ensuring financial compliance and reporting to various Federal, and local government stakeholders.

    Prior to joining Friendship Place, she was the Chief Financial Officer for the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC) responsible for the Budget, Procurement and Finance offices from 2018 to 2021, and the Assistant Chief Financial Officer and Controller at HOC from 2003 to 2012. Prior to rejoining the HOC in 2018, she served as the Director of Finance for several non-profit organizations where she was responsible for all aspects of budgeting, investing, finance and accounting. Ms. Kent has more than 20 years of experience as a finance professional in the affordable housing and non-profit sectors.

    Ms. Kent holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government & Politics and a Master of Business Administration in Public Accounting from St. John’s University, a Master of Science in Information Systems from American University, a Master of Public Policy from George Mason University, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

  • Sean Read,

    Vice President - Regional Programs Administration 202.364.1419

    Sean Read specializes in trauma-informed services, housing first, participant-centered services, community outreach and engagement, and program development/assessment. Prior to his career with Friendship Place, he worked with children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

    Sean came to Friendship Place in 2011 as a Case Manager with the Neighbors First program and has since been promoted four times. He received his first promotion to Project Coordinator of the Veterans First Division. Shortly after, he began overseeing the program as the Assistant Director and led the expansion of its services into Northern Virginia. In 2015, Sean became the Director of the Welcome Center Division, running its drop-in center and medical facilities as well as overseeing two programs for youth and young adults. In the role, he also coordinated case management services for a number of low-brier shelters partnering with Friendship Place.

    Today, Sean Read oversees Friendship Place’s Welcome Center, AimHire Employment Placement, The Brooks, and Veterans Services programs.

  • Chris Rutledge,

    Vice President, External Affairs Administration 202.957.7834

    Chris Rutledge has more than 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector, serving in both development and programmatic roles. His fundraising experience includes success with individuals, foundations, the Federal Government, corporations, international bodies, and labor unions.
    Prior to his role at Friendship Place, Chris provided programmatic and fundraising leadership to such organizations as AARP Foundation, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, New York University, Columbia University, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, and the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference.

    A husband and proud father of two daughters, Chris has served 5 years as a PTA President and is a member of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs Board of Directors. He lives in Silver Spring.

  • Jean-Louis Ikambana,

    Chief Evaluation & Compliance Officer Administration 202.725.7306


    Jean-Louis is a dedicated professional with extensive experience in nonprofit program design and management, human rights education, community organizing, education, democracy, youth civic engagement, and social justice advocacy. At the core of his social justice engagement are his Ignatian vision to be “ a person at the service of others” and his unwavering commitment to human dignity.

    Prior to his Friendship appointment, Mr. Ikambana has served in several capacities the cause of the advancement of human dignity in different international, national and local organizations in Africa, Europe, South America, and North America as teacher, social worker, program manager, program director, board member, and advocate.

    Mr. Ikambana holds a BA in Philosophy and Human Sciences from l’Institut Saint Pierre Cainisius, Kimwenza-Kinshasa (DRC),  MA in Political Science from La Javeriana University, Bogota ( Colombia), MS in Criminal Justice from Saint Joseph University, Philadelphia (USA),  Master’s Degree in International Services at American University (USA), and a Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University, Philadelphia (USA).

    He is the recipient of the 2010 Community Human Rights Award presented by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area; 2014 President’s Volunteer Service Award and the 2016 Edward O’Brien Award of Human Rights Educators USA, and 2017 Community Human Rights Award from the US Human Rights Network.

    Mr. Ikambana is the author of “Mobutu’s Totalitarian Political System. An Afrocentric Analysis”, published by Routledge, and a contributor in “ Africa In the 21st Century”, published by Routledge.

  • Rachel Yakobashvili,

    Quality Control & Training Manager Administration 202.931.9355
  • Hladini Mensah,

    Facilities & Office Manager Administration 202.684.3291
  • Youlanda Fletcher,

    Accounts Receivable & Billing Specialist Administration

Your Donation Helps End Homelessness!

Your support for Friendship Place has a lasting impact. In 2022, our programs ended or prevented homelessness for 4,497 people, including 600 children in families and 750 veterans. We empowered 136 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to get jobs through innovative, state-of-the-art job placement services. Friendship Place's programs collectively served a total of 3,432 people in 2020. Make a donation today in support of our work to end homelessness. Questions? Please feel free to call our fundraising office, 202.503.2970.

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