Our COACHES: OUR Leaders
Meet your DC Project Connect , The Fairview, and The Empowering Lives Mentor Program leadership team. Collectively, these leaders are the governance and working group who are in place to ensure your success. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with their bios and photos.
If you see these leaders on-site, you can be sure they are there attend to any concerns and/or resources that you may need. Got an idea? Ask one of our DCPC leaders about opportunities to share your talents and ideas with the working group. If you need tips and mentor resources hop-on over to "Training-in-a-Hot-Minute" for a few tips on strength-based and person-centered mentoring.
Avon Hart-Johnson, PhD, HS-BCP
Founder & President, DC Project Connect, 501c(3) nonprofit
Dr. Avon Hart-Johnson's background is in Human Services Counseling and Forensic Psychology. In her not so distant past, she was an information technology manager for years in Corporate America. Dr. Hart-Johnson currently travels internationally conducting research, facilitating workshops and keynote addresses specific to the adverse impacts of mass incarceration on family. She is co-founder of DC Project Connect along with her husband and researcher, Geoffrey Johnson. Dr. Hart-Johnson is a university professor and academic scholar specializing in the domain of collateral impacts of incarceration on family and children. Dr. Hart-Johnson serves on the Fairview Community Relations Board of Directors. Dr. Hart-Johnson says "I love this work. My favorite day of the wee is Tuesday at The Fairview where I facilitate 'Coffee Talk and Tea Time' with The Fairview residents. This is where women come together to have a conversation about life."
Avon Hart-Johnson, Ph.D., HS-BCP, Grief Recovery Specialist (GRS)
Program Manager, Researcher, & Mentor Coach
Vernelle Brown, PhD
DC Project Connect Mentor Coordinator, Life Coach
Dr. Vernelle Brown is a life coach and serves on DCPC's Board of Directors. She is also DCPC's Empowering Lives Mentor Coordinator. Dr. Brown's background is in substance abuse specialization, communications radio broadcasting, and she currently teaches life skills at The Fairview. Dr. Brown serves on the Fairview Community Relations Board of Directors.
The DCPC mentor program provided me with an opportunity to engage with someone who expressed interest in me. I just came back home after being incarcerated for 12 years. I did have a substance abuse problem, but I have been clean for a long while, and I feel like that part of my life is over. Looking forward, I envision standing before crowds as a motivational speaker. I believe that I can use my own life experiences to help others… This mentor program has really benefitted me.
Geoffrey Johnson, MPA, GRS
Grief Recovery Specialist
DC Project Connect Executive Director, Empowering Lives Program Manager
Mr. Johnson was the Assistant Inspector General for Investigations of the Peace Corps. He brings a wealth of knowledge to DCPC as researcher, evaluator, and our independent resource to ensure that metrics for the mentor program are captured and operationalized as best practices. Mr. Johnson has a former federal law enforcement background and has a heart of gold. He is a Court Appointed Special Advocate, author of a prisoner family handbook, and serves as executive director of DC Project Connect. Contact Mr. Johnson at
Dr. Brown,Ph.D. Life Coach
Mr. Geoffrey Johnson, MPA, GRS
DCPC Program Manager, Researcher & Evaluator
Casandra I. Allen, MBA,
DC Project Connect, Empowering Lives Working Group Advisor
Casandra I. Allen is a Principal HR Business at Exelon Corporation. She was previously the Testing Executive and a Lead Talent Strategy Consultant for Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI), an Exelon company. Exelon is a FORTUNE 100 company that works in every stage of the energy business: power generation, competitive energy sales, transmission and delivery. As the nation's leading competitive energy provider, Exelon does business in 48 states, D.C., and Canada and employs approximately 34,000 people nationwide. Casandra has been employed by Exelon/PHI since 1988 and has held various leadership positions in Employee Benefits, HR Administration, Organization Development, Talent Acquisition, Diversity and Strategic Planning.
Casandra has been responsible for leading HR special projects/initiatives. She is a member of SHRM, a member and former board member of the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) affiliate chapter in Prince Georges County Maryland, HRSPGC. Casandra is a former member of Edison Electrical Institute’s (EEI) Personnel Research Task Force and the Electric Utilities HR Metrics Group, a consortium of companies formed to develop and track Human Resource metrics and to share best practices for the electric utility industry.
Casandra attended Delaware State University. She received her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Maryland University College. She has earned certifications in I/O Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Lean Six Sigma from Villanova University. She also holds the designations of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute and the Senior Certified Professional (SHMR-SCP) certification from SHRM.
Ms. Casandra Allen, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
DCPC Empowering Lives Working Group Advisor