Staff and Board of Directors

Purple staff pic


Below you will find a list of Womanshelter/Compañeras Staff:

RIP – Karen Boyle Cavanaugh, Executive Director

SOUTH HADLEY: Karen (Boyle) Cavanaugh, age 65, of South Hadley, passed away on Friday, June 1, 2018 surrounded by friends and family. 
She was born in Lincoln, NH, daughter of the late John J. and Margaret M. (Donahue) Boyle. Karen graduated from Holyoke Catholic High School in 1971, received her LPN degree in Nursing and graduated Cum Laude from UMass, Amherst with a Bachelor’s in Journalism in 1998. Karen worked as a nurse for many years.
She was also a member of the Holyoke Board of Alderman from 1988 to 1989, and served on the Committee to Save the Merry Go Round for Holyoke.
Karen worked tirelessly for women and in service to ending domestic violence for 20 years as the Executive Director of Womanshelter/Compañeras, a non-profit organization. She served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, and was an active member of Jane Doe, Inc. 
She is survived by three children, Jamie Cavanaugh of South Hadley, Patrick Cavanaugh of Chicago, IL and Meghan Paiva and her husband Blake of Milton, MA; two beloved grandchildren, James Patrick and Emma Maureen; three brothers and one sister including her brothers Brian Boyle and his wife Susan of Springfield, and Kevin Boyle and his wife Betsy of Easthampton, who provided much needed support during her brief illness; and ten nieces and nephews.
Besides her parents, Karen was predeceased by a son, Matthew J. Cavanaugh, in 1978. 
Calling hours will be held at Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home, 2049 Northampton Street, Holyoke on Thursday, June 7, 2018 from 4 – 6:30 p.m., followed by a Remembrance Service at 6:30 p.m. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in memory of Karen Cavanaugh to Womanshelter/Compañeras, P.O. Box 1099, Holyoke, MA 01041-1099.


Samuel Kaira, Business Business Manager

Carmen Nieves, Community Educator

Karen M. Blanchard, Development Director   
413-538-9717 x170

Margie A. Quinones-Ortiz, Executive Assistant

Luz Vega, Direct Services/Shelter Manager

Sue Tyler, Maintenance Coordinator

Janelle, Children’s Advocate/Office Assistant

Jocelyn, Advocate

Lydia, Advocate

Tonya, Housing Stabilization Advocate

Maria, Shelter Advocate

Meybellyn, Specialized Needs Advocate

Krysta, High-Risk Advocate

Lauren, Youth Advocate

Kathy, SAFEPLAN Advocate

Jasmin, SAFEPLAN Advocate

Yelena, SAFEPLAN Advocate

Brenda, SAFEPLAN Advocate



Below you will find a list of of the Womanshelter/Compañeras Board of Directors:

Brenda M. Bak, President

Rebecca Ramah, Treasurer

Mary A. Socha, Esq., Clerk

Marie Nathan, Member

Lauren Casola, Member

Michelle Segura, Member

Randa Hatoum, Member

Marisol Vazquez, J.D., Member

Jamal A. Lacy, Member

Danielle Beckford, Member

Helena Allen, Member



Womanshelter/Companeras is grateful for the generous support of the Department of Public Health (DPH), Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, MA Executive Office of Public Safety, U.S. Department of Justice, Holyoke and Chicopee Community Development offices, and the United Way of Pioneer Valley. We also extend thanks to the many foundations, corporations, and individuals who support us in our work on behalf of victims.