What our members are saying:

“You should introduce this program to everyone by making it a requirement for all college students.”

“Services were very helpful and I will recommend them to my daughter.”

Executive Leadership

Kate Rose Marquez  |  Chief Executive Officer

Kate Rose Marquez comes to Ascend Dallas with a strong and deep background, having most recently served as director of development at St. Vincent de Paul Society of North Texas.  Kate Rose has helped various nonprofit and for-profit organizations fulfill their mission through impactful branding and transformative fundraising. She has worked on all sides of the nonprofit equation and understands how to marshal the resources and infrastructure needed to successfully serve the North Texas community.

As the vice president of marketing at The Dallas Morning News (TDMN), Kate Rose led a team of professionals in creating and executing all TDMN and sub-brand communications. In addition, she was the point person for all TDMN’s sponsorships in the North Texas community – crafting multi-year, multi-million dollar partnerships that leveraged the TDMN brand while supporting hundreds of area community efforts.

Kate Rose has also consulted with several area nonprofits to help them evaluate themselves “from soup to nuts,” examining mission, processes, structure and internal database practices, and guided the development of branding, fundraising, board succession plans and long-term goals that further their mission externally. She has an extensive history of fundraising and especially executing large events such as Cotes du Coeur and Go Red for Women for American Heart Association, Partners’ Card for The Family Place, Change is Good for Community Partners of Dallas, among others.

With a heart for service, Kate Rose has served on many regional nonprofit boards over the past 20 years, utilizing her expertise in fundraising, marketing and board development to support their efforts. She also serves on many advisory boards/councils including Community Partners of Dallas, Heroes for Children and Launchability. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

Susan SmithsonSusan Smithson  |  Chief Strategy Officer

Susan Smithson brings more than 20 years of experience in program development and administration to Ascend. She has worked in public, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors and has held multiple leadership positions for agencies serving the needs of individuals and families.

Susan is committed to decreasing economic and health disparities in the community, and represents Ascend on numerous community initiatives. Her passion had led her to serve on the Advisory Board for the Center for Community Health, RAISE Texas Board of Directors, and the Information and Education Planning Committee for Parkland Health and Hospital System. Susan holds a B.A. in Psychology from Texas Women’s University.

Laura LaRochelle  |  Chief Development Officer

A Dallas native, Laura LaRochelle started her career in the film industry in Los Angeles but moved back to Dallas to run a local production company. After volunteering with different non-profits in Dallas, she decided to change careers and use her fundraising and production skills to work in non-profit.

In her role as CDO, Laura is responsible for providing strategy and implementing Ascend fundraising efforts. Additionally, Laura oversees Ascend communication efforts. With over 10 years of relevant experience, Laura is thrilled to be supporting the Ascend mission and empowering women in her hometown.

Ellen Parr  |  Chief Financial Officer

Ellen Parr brings more than 15 years of experience in grants management, and nonprofit leadership to her role as Chief Financial Officer at Ascend. She has previously worked at Family Place, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and in local government.

Ellen holds a BBA and MS degrees in accounting from Texas Tech University and is a certified public accountant. She enjoys volunteering through Junior League of Dallas and traveling. Ellen is excited to be part of empowering and inspiring women to build a better future for themselves, their families, and our community.

Economic Advancement

Selma Welsch, Sr. Director, Economic Advancement and Coaching Institute  214.984.8998

Daria Offord, Director, Education and Community Engagement  |  214.584.2323

Courtney Taylor, Senior Career Advisor  469.533.4265

Diann Tigner, Career Navigator  469.533.4264

Ryan Jackson, Volunteer Manager  |  214.965.5927

Angie Binovi, Impact Manager  |  469.533.4266

Arely Pineda, Family Resource Coach  |  214.395.0859

Jessica Costilla, Career Coach  |  214.956.5911

Jazmin Rose-Mumphrey, Program Coordinator  214.956.5952

Kelsey Kuberski, Education Services Coordinator  |  214.584.2321

Financial Empowerment Center – Oak Cliff Site

Lulu Torres, Site Manager  |  214.956.5945

David Olarte, Financial Coach  |  214.956.5944

Alondra Rivera, Financial Coach  |  214.956.5917

Karina Salas, Financial Coach  |  214.956.5950

Alinka Martinez, Financial/Career Coach  |  214.584.2398

Financial Empowerment Center – Pleasant Grove Site

Roland Rapalo, Site Manager  214.956.5920

Larneisha Canady, Financial Coach  |  469.533.4267

Jennifer Canjura, Financial Coach  |  214.584.2329

Jaenett Reyes, Financial Coach  |  214.584.2335

Financial Empowerment Center – Redbird Site

Lawanda Strhan, Senior Site Manager  214.584.2313

Jorenda Hardaway, Financial Coach  |  214.584.2337

Xiomara Rios, Financial Coach  |  214.956.5923

Karla Marquez, Financial Coach  |  214.956.5907

Asia Lee, Financial Coach  |  214.956.5948

Amanda Garrett, Financial/Career Coach  |  214.956.5916

Nurse-Family Partnership

Celestina Grannum, MSN-PHN, RN, NFP Director  |  214.325.0110

Nichelle Flores, RN, BSN, CLC, Nurse Manager  |  214.325.1000

Wendy Mosely, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager  |  214.325.3937

Rosa Brown, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  214.325.3945

Albania Castro, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  214.584.2319

Joy Edison, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  972.742.0319

Jessica Farr, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  214.956.5942

Ali Freeman, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  214.325.1032

LaVannah Hunter, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  469.316.6373

Emily Martinez, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  469.628.2274

Mhairi-Clair Serrago, M.Sc., SCPHN, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  214.956.5928

Rachel Soltani, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  214.956.5928

Wendi Vike, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  214.325.3945

Stephanie Wilson, RN, BSN, Nurse Home Visitor  |  214.243.5211

Brenda Wesson, Nurse-Family Partnership Support  |  214.687.2565

Candace Long, Program Support Specialist  |  469.533.4260
April Spencer, Parent Café Coordinator  |  469.533.4262


Sherron Jones, Accountant  |  214.584.2310


Abigail Gonzalez, Development Associate  469.315.4051


Sydney Forbis, Executive Assistant  |  214.584.2312