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.  In 2009 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. 


Wayne Clem, Director

Mr. Clem served for many years (1979-1994) with the Fire Department in Washington, DC, and since that time continues to provide services through Fire Equipment Services, Inc.  His lengthy history of volunteer service includes service to the Alliance for the Rights of Children, the National Organization for Women (Virginia), the First Star Greater Washington Academy, and as founder of Tender Loving Care 4 Long-term Care (TLC 4 LTC), a non-profit organization that was concerned with issues of long-term care in nursing homes.


I. Richard Garr, Director

Mr. Garr, JD, was director of Neuralstem, Inc. from 1996 - 2016 and was its Chief Financial Officer until May 2015 and Chief Executive Officer, President and general counsel until February of 2016.  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 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.


Lindsay Ellenbogen, Director

Ms. Ellenbogen is a communications professional with experience serving public figures in government, private companies and non-profit organizations.

Most recently, Ms. Ellenbogen worked as public relations manager for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Washington DC. She served as communications advisor during the launch of Building America’s Future, the bi-partisan infrastructure coalition co-chaired by the Mayor and former Governors Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.). The campaign she designed, “Infrastructure’s Dream Team Makes It Happen,” garnered three PRWeek Award Finalist nominations.

Ms. Ellenbogen’s decade-long tenure on Capitol Hill included senior policy and communication positions. She served geographically and politically diverse Democrats: a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, a progressive Senator from the Pacific Northwest and a moderate female Senator from the Deep South. Specifically, she advised on policy positions, developed and executed communication strategy, and served as day-to-day spokeswoman. Her accomplishments on the Hill include leading a team whose efforts resulted in the passage of the landmark Education Flexibility Partnership Act (Public Law 106-25). Her most recent position on the Hill was communications director to U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) where she led a team of four.

In the private sector, Ms. Ellenbogen worked for Ruder Finn Public Relations. She managed political campaigns including a race for current House Chief Deputy Minority Whip and Democratic National Committee Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

Ms. Ellenbogen is an adjunct professor of media and politics at The George Washington University. An advocate for children, she founded the Sara Start Fund for Foster Youth and serves on the boards of two non-profits dedicated to improving the lives of emerging adults. In 2012, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley appointed Lindsay to serve on the Advisory Council to the Children's Cabinet.

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.