Safe Futures gets new executive director
New London — Katherine Verano, described by her colleagues as a leader in the field of domestic violence, has been appointed executive director of Safe Futures as of Jan. 1.
Verano replaces Catherine Zeiner, who left last fall to become the chief operating officer of the YWCA in Hartford. Zeiner had served as executive director for 13 years.
Safe Futures, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, provides services to men and women in 21 southeastern Connecticut towns who are affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. The agency operates two 24-hour hotlines, an emergency shelter and transitional living programs for families working to rebuild their lives. The agency also provides legal assistance, counseling and advocacy, case management, support groups and educational programs for schools and community groups.
"We are thrilled to have Kathie step into this role," Laura Mooney, chair of Safe Futures' board of directors, said in a news release. "She brings not only a rich history with the organization, but also a vast knowledge and expertise on the life-saving work we do. The board of directors is confident she will lead the organization forward to a bright and strong future."
Verano has worked at Safe Futures for 23 years, holding position "all direct service areas" in the organization, according to the release. She helped establish a domestic violence docket in New London and Norwich courts and created partnerships and alliances with human service agencies, police, prosecutors, the legal community, health care providers and educators.
Verano most recently served as public policy legislative liaison for Safe Futures and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence for 10 years. She has testified on numerous legislative bills, talked one-on-one to lawmakers and coached staff on testimony. She served on state task force subcommittees, where she helped write policy for legislation on police response to family violence.
She is a member of the Boston Domestic Violence Evaluation and Research Collaborative, the Housing Coordinated Access Network steering committee and recently was asked to join the National Lethality Assessment Review Board of Maryland National Network Against Domestic Violence.
She lives in Waterford with her daughter, Kaitlyn Berkel.