Our attorneys are five among only seven attorneys in Ohio and one in Tennessee who specialize in working exclusively with trafficked and exploited persons.
AO staff has been recognized as a 2018 Honorary Awardees for the Tadini Bacigalupi Award given by the National Organization for Victim Assistance
AO staff are individually certified in Trauma Responsive Care Coordination (TRCC) through the Tristate Trauma Network
MEGAN K. MATTIMOE, jd, TRCC
Executive Director and senior staff attorney
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 700
Megan K. Mattimoe, founded Advocating Opportunity, a program in Toledo, Ohio which is dedicated to advising and protecting trafficked and exploited persons. Founded in 2011, AO was the first organization in Ohio to provide holistic, comprehensive, trauma-responsive legal services to all trafficked and exploited persons. As Executive Director and Staff Attorney at AO, Ms. Mattimoe provides direct legal services and advocacy for both minors and adults, females and males, and domestic and international trafficking victims; provides technical consultation on trafficking cases; and advocates for policy and legislative initiatives regarding trafficking at the local, state, and federal levels. Ms. Mattimoe serves on the Legal and Legislative Subcommittee of the Ohio Human Trafficking Commission and the Policy Committee of the Freedom Network. She has worked closely in conjunction with law enforcement and government officials to identify the best practices for prosecuting human traffickers and protecting individuals, including her efforts to assist in writing, and passing, Ohio’s Safe Harbor Law, one of the most sweeping revisions of such laws in the United States, and Ohio’s End Demand Act.
Ms. Mattimoe has assisted with, and participated in, dozens of interviews and cases involving trafficked and exploited minors and adults conducted by Special Agents and Victim Specialists with the FBI and local law enforcement and has worked with the Innocence Lost Task Force in Northwest Ohio for over ten years. Ms. Mattimoe also trains attorneys, guardians ad litem, courts, service providers, and law enforcement throughout Ohio to work with trafficked and exploited persons. Currently, Ms. Mattimoe is one of only three guardians ad litem appointed through the Juvenile Court to work with the FBI representing trafficked and exploited minors, the others are Catherine Hoolahan and RaShya Ghee, both Staff Attorneys at AO.
She is a recipient of a 2015 Jefferson Award for her work with AO, was recognized as a 2018 Honorary Awardee for the Marlene Young Leadership Award given by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, and is a 2015 Fellow with the Ohio State Bar Foundation. In 2014 the Ohio State Bar Foundation awarded AO with the honor of being its Outstanding Organization of the Year for 2014. Ms. Mattimoe has over ten years experience as an attorney in litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, and over ten years experience working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Innocence Lost Task Force in Northwest Ohio. She also has over twenty-five years experience in public service work including four years as an outreach worker with the YWCA Rape Crisis Center. Ms. Mattimoe is a member of the Emerging Leaders Council with Legal Aid of Western Ohio and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. She also served as member of the board for the Toledo Womens Bar Association from 2010-2012. Ms. Mattimoe graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo, College of Law in 2007 with Juris Doctor in International Law.
Catherine Hoolahan, jd, TRCC
STAFF ATTORNEY, Of counsel
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 701
Ms. Hoolahan provides direct legal services and advocacy for trafficked and exploited persons, including working as a guardian ad litem for minors and legal counsel for adults. Ms. Hoolahan has over twenty-seven years experience as an attorney in litigation practice including general civil law practice, intentional tort law, personal injury law, labor law, civil rights, and criminal defense. She has worked extensively with victims of abuse, specifically representing survivors of clergy abuse in Ohio. Ms. Hoolahan is a 1986 graduate of the University of Toledo, College of Law and holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum Design for Early Education from Columbia University in New York.
EMILY DUNLAP, jd, TRCC
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 705
Ms. Dunlap provides direct legal services and advocacy to trafficked and exploited persons. She represents clients in a variety of legal matters including immigration, criminal defense, domestic relations, and civil proceedings. She also provides technical consultation on anti-trafficking best-practices, policy, court programming, and legislation.
Emily received her J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2014. She graduated from Ohio University in 2010, receiving her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Women & Gender Studies. Prior to joining Advocating Opportunity, Emily was The OSU Mortiz College of Law’s Greif Fellow in Juvenile Human Trafficking, representing exploited and trafficked children in a wide variety of legal proceedings.
leah reibel, jd, TRCC
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 704
Leah Reibel appears in Court for victims of labor and human trafficking, and attempts to resolve their legal problems. She represents clients seeking visitation, shared parenting, and custody of their children; as well as assisting with obtaining dissolutions and divorces. She also represents clients charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. In Juvenile Court, Ms. Reibel serves as a Guardian ad Litem for juvenile victims of human trafficking.
Ms. Reibel has been engaged in the private practice of law since 1997, practicing primarily in the areas of domestic relations and criminal defense. Ms. Reibel graduated from the District of Columbia School of Law, cum laude. Her community involvement has included working at the Choices Shelter for Battered Women in Columbus, Ohio, and volunteering at the Worthington Food Pantry.
Shyanne Coe-Riddle, jd, TRCC
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 709
Shyanne Coe-Riddle, a native of Nashville, Tennessee received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Middle Tennessee State University, where she double minored in Art and Journalism. She completed her Juris Doctor at the Nashville School of Law and was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in 2016.
Driven by a strong sense of community responsibility and the desire to enact positive social change, Ms. Coe-Riddle has dedicated her time to various charities, benefits and non-profit organizations. She founded and operated an Arts Therapy Summer Program for The Next Door at Freedom Recovery Community, has been active with the Boys and Girls Club of America, and continues her community service with Habitat for Humanity preparing Last Will and Testaments through a Pro Bono Wills clinic.
Aside from her work for AO, her community work, and social activism, Ms. Coe-Riddle also maintains a private practice in Nashville, Tennessee specializing in criminal defense and family law.
RaShya Ghee, JD
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 714
RaShya Ghee is a Toledo, Ohio native. Ms. Ghee attended the University of Minnesota Law School where she was president of the Black Law Student Association and, in that capacity, coordinated a host of events dedicated to exploring how race and the law interact. She was nominated for best oralist by her moot court and published several local articles on American racism. She received the Book Award for Constitutional Law and the Dr. Matthew Stark Award for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties honoring a student who demonstrates leadership in the area of civil rights. Atty Ghee has been recognized for her efforts by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Fredrickson & Byron, LLP, and a variety of other community organizations. Prior to attending the University of Minnesota, Ms. Ghee graduated with honors from the University of Toledo, where she majored in Political Science, completing her honors thesis on intersectionality which explored how conceptualizing marginalized identities using a one- dimensional model produced civil rights legislation unequipped to deal with layered and nuanced discriminatory experiences. The following year, she obtained an MBA in finance from the University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation and was the recipient of numerous academic, university, and community awards and honors.
After law school, Ms. Ghee returned to Toledo and worked as a Graduate Fellow at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) on school-to-prison pipeline issues. In 2014, She testified in front of the Ohio Senate about the insidious impact of “zero tolerance” policies in public schools. She was a presenter at the Toledo Bar Association’s 2015 Kiroff Bench-Bar Conference “Across The Racial Divide” and speaks on numerous panels and conferences about the far reaching impact of America’s racial trajectory and how that paradigm informs gender quality. She has tried felony and misdemeanor cases to both juries and the bench. She has successfully briefed and argued appellate cases. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Toledo Law School and is on the Board of Directors at TASC, an organization dedicated to re-entry efforts, and the Board of Trustees at Promedica’s Toledo Children’s Hospital. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority incorporated, is married, and she and her husband have a four-year-old daughter. Ms. Ghee currently also maintains a private practice in Toledo specializing in criminal defense and family law.
KIZZY WILLIAMS, MPH, LSW, TRCC
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 706
Kizzy Williams has been working in the field addressing issues related to human trafficking for over ten years. In 2018 Ms. Williams was recognized as a 2018 Honorary Awardee for the Margery Fry Award given by the National Organization for Victim Assistance. She has earned with honors a Bachelors Degree in Social Work and a Masters Degree in Public Health with a focus on Health Promotion and Education. With her background she has developed a variety of skills in areas such as case management, intake, assessments, group and individual interventions, human trafficking prevention, crisis management, program management and development, community collaborations, and public speaking.
grace tellez, TRCC
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 710
Grace Tellez provides trauma informed advocacy and support services to clients, with a focus on foreign national survivors and labor trafficking cases. For the past seven years, Ms. Tellez has worked primarily with foreign born survivors, using her extensive experience to walk with them through complex legal processes related to immigration, family reunification, and cultural orientation to life in the United States. Ms. Tellez has a special interest in developing culturally appropriate outreach and screening tools, and in bringing attention to populations who are often overlooked as victims of trafficking. Ms. Tellez received her Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio State, and complemented her studies with a yearlong project creating a service matrix for Spanish speaking asylum seekers and victims of trafficking. She continues to seek creative solutions to the unique problems faced by foreign born survivors, and enjoys helping clients learn to advocate for themselves. Ms. Tellez uses her integration into her city’s immigrant community to gain access to hard-to-reach populations, and is currently working to expand Advocating Opportunity’s partnerships in Central Ohio.
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 702
Julie Lindberg graduated from Belmont University receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology, with a Major in Crime, and Minor in Spanish. Prior to working with Advocating Opportunity, she studied the Juvenile Justice Court in Davidson county Tennessee. She focused her studies on the correlation between the foster care system and recidivism rate of young adults. Her passion to serve others and her community has lead her to be involved with multiple charities and continue to give back to those in need.
chalsea demecs, stna, TRCC
intake and outreach coordinator
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 711
Chalsea brings a focus on healthcare to Advocating Opportunity’s services. She responds to clients in crisis and is the first to respond to referrals. Chalsea advocates within the healthcare field to bring the issue of human trafficking to the forefront as a public health concern. She meets with students in the community during their clinical training experiences to talk about the needs of those affected by trafficking and emphasizes the importance of treating the whole person. Chalsea seeks to open the lines of communication in a multidisciplinary way to better assist, support, and treat the needs of those who have been involved in human trafficking.
“It is my goal to give clients a judgment free experience where clients can say that with AO they felt safe." Chalsea completed her Bachelors of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2019 and plans to pursue her Masters in Nursing - Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL) at the University of Toledo in the Fall of 2019.
donna hoffman, TRCC
intake and outreach coordinator
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 703
Donna Hoffman began working with Advocating Opportunity as an intern in January 2018, and quickly transitioned to work as AO's Intake and Outreach Coordinator in Columbus. In this position, she works to ensure that the clients who work with AO have a positive and productive first encounter with the organization and help connect clients to further services. She is also working to cultivate partnerships and cross-trainings with local organizations and businesses and serve as an ambassador for AO’s mission. She is passionate about gender issues and empowering vulnerable adult populations. In addition to her position, she volunteers development hours to the organization. Ms. Hoffman completed her Bachelors Degree in Public Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Management in 2019.
brianne ede, TRCC
Program coordinator and conflict transformation specialist
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 713
Brianne Ede received her Bachelor's Degree in Peacebuilding & Development from Eastern Mennonite University. She has her Master's of Arts in Conflict Transformation and centered her studies on US narratives of domestic minor sex trafficking. Ms. Ede focused on trauma healing and organizational development as invaluable pieces of conflict transformation and completed the Strategies of Awareness and Resilience (STAR) training as well as obtaining a graduate certificate in non profit leadership. She is passionate about empowering underserved youth and equipping organizations that work with these youth to be sustainable and responsible. She spent two years providing direct services to teenage girls who had been commercially sexually exploited and has worked for various youth focused non profits, including The Boys & Girls Club of America.
scott herr, phd
Grants and development coordinator
Phone (toll-free): (855) 855-1945, Ext. 715