CRT Team

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking created profoundness. Kindness in giving created love.”

– Lao Tzu

Andrea Blanch – President

Andrea Blanch, Ph.D., the President and Director of CRT, has spent her life involved in social change movements, including second-wave feminism and the disability rights movement. More recently, she has been a leader in bringing trauma-informed approaches to service systems and communities across the country.  She was a 2009 Fellow in the Women, Religion and Globalization program at Yale University, was awarded the 2010 annual Duisberg Peace Award by the Southwest Florida Coalition on Peace and Justice, and in 2012 received the Elisabeth Schilder Memorial Scholarship Award for her interfaith work with CRT. Andy is passionate about the power of grassroots organizing to bring about change and about the growing power of women to help shape a peaceful and sustainable future. She sees CRT as a vehicle to help support global transformation.

Howard Nelson – Vice President

Howard Nelson is the director of development for a primary health care network in New York State. He brings to CRT significant organizational experience, an abiding concern with social welfare, and a passion for getting people from different parts of the world working together. His particular interest within CRT is in creating opportunities for people in the United States to get to know the peacemakers working in Israel and Palestine.

Judith Allen – Board Member

Jelilah Judith Allen is a writer and editor living in Seattle, WA. She has an MA in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley, taught elementary school in the Watts area of Los Angeles as well as in West Oakland, and taught writing and critical thinking at UC Berkeley and at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She was also the director of the high school at a Reform Jewish temple in Bellevue, WA, and has lived in Israel. In recent years, she co-led a community conversation in which local Jews could talk with each other in safety about their feelings regarding Israel/Palestine. Her special focus within CRT has been to support people in Israel and Palestine as they work to shift and heal patterns of trauma that have led to separation and conflict.

Bill Elliot – Board Member

William D. Elliot is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Davis H. Elliot Company, an electrical construction firm.  Formerly he served as the company’s president and CEO.  A former practicing attorney in Virginia, he also holds an MA in Conflict Transformation.  Bill has served on numerous community and business boards, currently including the boards of the Foundation for Roanoke Valley and the Roanoke Cultural Endowment.  Bill plays an advisory role in CRT.

Anna Lewis – Program Director/Board Member

Anna Lewis has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and training in Nonviolent Communication. She has written several award-winning papers exploring new perspectives in education that attend to the realities of a diverse and complex world.  Currently, she is living and working in Peru, exploring new perspectives and becoming fluent in Spanish. Her personal goal for CRT is to assist in creating and supporting opportunities that allow individuals to find more tolerant and peaceful ways to live together.  “CRT is an organization that feeds my heart and soul.  I not only love all the people who work at CRT but feel eternally grateful for the opportunity to serve in a way that supports peace on the planet.”

Annelise Adams – Administrative Director

Annelise is a Florida native and creative professional with a B.A. in Professional and Technical Communication from the University of South Florida. She has over 15 years of visual merchandising experience, which helped pave her path for creative direction and photography. Annelise considers herself an all-around artist! When she is not studying or working in a variety of fields, you can find her soaking up the sunshine, tending her garden, and playing with her dog Maximus. While her roots in Florida are strong, her travels have helped her expand her passion for content creation, as well as lit her activist flame. Annelise has learned she has a voice that others are not so privileged to have and wants to use that voice to raise awareness in social injustices across our nation, and world.

Pastor Jo Thomas – Board Member

Pastor Jo, as she is known to all, is a retired nurse, community activist, and senior pastor at Community Bible Church in Sarasota. She has worked closely with CRT over the past few years through the SRQ Strong program. She is excited about joining the CRT board because she believes they “live what they preach,” and they make her (and her congregation) hopeful for the future. She is also excited about CRT’s international work. A trip to West Africa changed how she felt about her own roots, and she hopes to help CRT build unity among African-American churches and among U.S. and African congregations.