Board & Staff
Board of Directors, Officers and Staff
Susan Barker Clem, Director, Chairperson
Ms. Barker-Clem is an interior designer by professional training and experience who has significant experience as an advocate for issues affecting children. She was a founding board member of First Star, former Vice President of the Alliance for the Rights of Children and founding member and former Vice President of One Voice. Each of these organizations served abused children and youth.
Elissa Garr, Director, President and Secretary
Ms. Garr began her career in the office of Senator Harrison Williams on the staff of the Labor and Public Welfare committee and then spent seven years in the General Counsel’s office of the Federal Election Commission as Docket Coordinator. Ms. Garr took ten years off to raise her two children and then began to teach Kindergarten, First and Second Grade at a Washington area private school. Ms. Garr became the office manager of the law firm of Oldaker, Belair and Wittie, later the Oldaker Law Group in Washington, DC. Ms. Garr joined the board of First Star in 2008 and assumed the position of volunteer part time Executive Director in 2010 and assumed the position of full time volunteer Executive Director in 2012. In 2016 Ms. Garr resigned from her position at First Star and became the President of the First Star Institute.
Sherry A. Quirk, Director
Ms. Quirk is a recently retired senior executive with a 40-year track record in the electric energy sector and a 30 year history in child advocacy. She has extensive experience in developing strategies to navigate the challenges of highly regulated industries, transforming organizations and cultures to better meet business needs, hiring successful candidates at high levels of the organization, and improving governance to meet emerging corporate and stakeholder requirements. She has had extensive involvement in addressing high impact issues related to child abuse and neglect. She is emerging from a six-year hiatus from children’s issues as she immersed herself in TVA’s legal and other issues. Ms. Quirk retired in March 2021 as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Designated Agency Ethics Official (“DAEO”), and Corporate Secretary of the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally owned corporation that has been legislatively established to operate like a private corporation.
Ms. Quirk began providing pro bono services in advocacy for abused and neglected children and adult survivors in 1991, and co-founded several national advocacy groups – the American Coalition for Abuse Awareness, One Voice, and First Star. Her law firms – Verner Liipfert Bernhard, McPherson and Hand from 1991-2001; Sullivan and Worcester from 2001-2007; and Schiff Hardin from 2007-2015 – also furnished significant pro bono support. The organizations she co-founded were involved in a variety of issues, from addressing he legal rights of adult survivors to educating Congress on laws impacting children to filing amicus curiae briefs to analyzing and grading key state laws on protection of children, to name a few. She is deeply interested in identifying and advancing key initiatives with potentially high impacts on child protection, particularly in the area of sexual abuse.
I. Richard Garr, Director
Mr. Garr,JD is the CEO and General Counsel of Curative Biotech, Managing Director Access Hope CRO, and former President & CEO and General Counsel, Neuralstem Inc. (1997-2016). He has responsibility and oversight worldwide for all operations of a leading Regenerative medicine company including: world wide IP portfolio prosecution, defense and management; worldwide regulatory affairs; worldwide licensing and business development; complex project outsourcing management and collaborations; fundraising; social media and public relations programs, conference presentations both scientific and business and patient advocacy group relations. Founder of Access Hope CRO, the first CRO dedicated exclusively to Right to Try treatment programs, at scale, to accelerate drug development.
Mr. Garr was previously an attorney with Beli, Weil & Jacobs, the B&G Companies, and Circle Management Companies. Mr. Garr is a graduate of Drew University (1976) and the Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America (1979). Additionally, he was a founder and board member of the First Star, a national children's charity focused on abused children's issues; a founder of The Starlight Foundation Mid-Atlantic chapter, which focuses on helping seriously ill children; and is a past Honorary Chairman of the Brain Tumor Society.
Damian Miller, Director
Damian Miller is a fifth-generation Washingtonian. Damian is a product of DC schools and received his B.A. in Political Science with departmental honors from Hampton University. He served on the staff of former United States Senator Mary Landrieu. During his tenure there, he coordinated constituent outreach in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After his time on Capitol Hill, Damian served on the staff of former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty where he assisted with city council and congressional relations. In 2010, Damian served on former DC Mayor Vince Gray’s mayoral campaign leading outreach efforts to voters under 35. He has served on the mayoral transition teams of former DC mayors Adrian Fenty and Vince Gray.
Damian has served in senior positions in the nonprofit sector and in government, most recently as the Special Assistant to the Director of DC’s Child and Family Services Agency. Throughout his career, Damian has shown a deep commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable youth and families. He has been recognized by Casey Family Programs for his distinguished work and dedication in the social services arena.
Damian was elected as one of the youngest members of the DC Democratic State Committee. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Streetwize Foundation and the Washington, DC Hall of Fame. Damian is a proud mentor to two DC foster care youth.
Noy S Davis, Vice President of Operations
Noy Davis has an extensive background as an attorney with a solid understanding of issues in child welfare. After graduating from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, she clerked for the Hon. Howard Turrentine, U.S. District Court, Southern California. She has worked in private practice, including representing children pro bono, and counseling non-profit clients. She accepted appointments to represent children in child abuse and neglect proceedings in the District of Columbia for more than five years. Her tenure at the ABA Center on Children and the Law, where she directed various projects and provided technical assistance to courts on the processing of child protection cases, allowed her to study issues in child protection in depth. She also analyzed sexual exploitation laws (focused on minors), led a project on the effective screening of persons working with children, and worked extensively with a major city’s social service agency to refine its approach in managing its child abuse and neglect cases. She has numerous publications on issues pertaining to child welfare and protection.