Leadership

Deirdre Houtmeyers, R.N., MS, CARN, LADC 1
President and CEO

Since September 2013, Ms. Houtmeyers, R.N. has served as president and CEO of St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children overseeing the agency’s residential, education, employment, and prevention programs which serve nearly 700 women and children annually. In 2015, Ms. Houtmeyers led the efforts in creating the agency’s eighth program, Mass. Maternity First Home, a transitional supportive housing program. In October 2017, Ms. Houtmeyers launched the agency’s Center Campaign to prevent homelessness via a Community Resource Center that will provide programs and services to individuals and families before they become homeless and expand the agency’s reach and impact in our community. This effort was supported by a million-dollar match gift challenge from Amazon, which was met and exceeded in June 2018.

Previously, Ms. Houtmeyers, had a long and distinguished career of 34 years at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston, where for nineteen years she served as executive director and patient care director of St. Elizabeth’s Comprehensive Addictions Program (SECAP).  Ms. Houtmeyers is an accomplished senior leader with a proven record of success in developing behavioral health care management systems and creating services and operations responsive to people dealing with substance use disorders, mental and behavioral health challenges, and domestic violence and abuse. She has extensive experience in risk management, program development, quality improvement, and contract and fiscal management. A lifelong advocate for individuals impacted by substance use disorders, particularly the opioid epidemic, she co-founded the Allston/Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force. Ms. Houtmeyers is a member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the International Nurses Society on Addictions, the State Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Board, and several domestic violence, health, and supportive initiatives for vulnerable populations. She received both a masters of science and bachelor of science in nursing at Boston College.


Alexis Steel
Senior Vice President of Operations and Compliance

Ms. Steel began her tenure as senior vice president of operations and compliance at St. Mary’s Center in early 2018. In her role, Ms. Steel oversees all internal operations of the agency, including eight residential, education, employment, and prevention programs.  She also oversees government contracts, human resources, facilities management, and security. Throughout her career, Ms. Steel has worked within communities to better the lives of women and children via global health initiatives and programs. Prior to joining St. Mary’s Center, Ms. Steel served as senior global operations manager at Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) where she managed internal and external operations for domestic and international programs, provided financial oversight, and lead evaluation and strategic planning. Ms. Steel brings extensive experience in program and financial management working with leading academic hospitals internationally and large multinational corporate companies in the tech, healthcare and pharmaceutical spaces. In addition, she has previously served in a grant oversight capacity for federal and private foundations for both Mass General and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Ms. Steel earned her bachelors degree from Trent University, graduating with a double major in global studies and culture studies.

Susan Keliher
Senior Vice President of Development and Communications

Ms. Keliher joined St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children in early 2014 as the director of development and communications. She and the development and communications team raise nearly two million dollars each year to sustain program operations as well as support the President and CEO’s efforts toward raising $7 million for the Center Campaign launched in October 2017. The Center Campaign was kicked off by a million-dollar match gift challenge from Amazon. Ms. Keliher brings more than 25 years of experience in fundraising and a passion for serving individuals, families, and at-risk youth, who have experienced abuse, trauma and homelessness.

Ms. Keliher’s experience includes soliciting and growing annual fund support and planning special events.  Also, she has managed corporate and foundation relations and created and implemented development and communication strategies, including public and media relations. She has raised critical funds for The Second Step, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mass. Bay, Brookline High School’s 21st Century Fund, Casa Myrna and RESPOND. Susan earned a bachelor of arts from Colby College.

Crystal Parker, LADC 1
Assistant Vice President of Programs, Residential Services, Risk and Compliance

Crystal Parker has over 30 years of experience in human services and residential programs. With a rich history of leadership in St. Mary’s Center residential programs dating back to 2006, including serving as program director of Margaret’s House for five years, Crystal was promoted to director of residential services in June 2015, and became assistant vice president in 2017. In her current role she oversees residential programs on campus, and provides oversight of Crossroads, a family shelter located in East Boston, Mass Maternity and St. Kevin’s.  Ms. Parker is responsible for budgeting, priorities, policies and planning, quality assurance, trainings, and supervision of staff. Ms. Parker also oversees program compliance with government contracts, licensors, and grantors.  Crystal is a certified trainer in Non Abusive, Physical and Psychological interventions.

In 2011 Ms. Parker received the Sue Heilman Award of Excellence from Horizon’s for Homeless Children. For many years she worked at Victory Programs, A Boston-based non profit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families who are homeless and have substance use disorders. She worked at Bridge Over Troubled Waters and also for the David Jon Louison Family Shelter. Ms. Parker is a graduate of the Regis College where she received her bachelor of arts in social work. Crystal continued her studies at University of Massachusetts/Boston to further her education on addiction studies. She was also trained in Motivational Interviewing.

Brandy Allen, LICSW
Assistant Vice President of Clinical Services and Programs

In October 2018, Brandy Allen was promoted to assistant vice president of clinical services and programs. A licensed clinical independent social worker and proven leader, Ms. Allen provides clinical oversight and supervision to the agency’s eight programs and services including design, integration, coordination, and implementation. She also works to ensure St. Mary’s Center programming remains trauma-informed. Most recently, she served as program director of St. Mary’s Center’s education and employment programs starting in January of 2018. Previously, Ms. Allen was the director of vocational program at the Compass School of Boston in Dorchester where she worked with students ages 14-22 with intellectual, social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities acquire life skills and fulfill their academic goals. Ms. Allen received her master of social work from Boston University School of Social Work, and she earned her bachelors of science degree from Howard University School of Education.

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