Executive Team

Audrey Thomas
Chief Executive Officer

Audrey came to Deborah’s Place as a volunteer in 1985 and joined the staff in 1986. She has held several positions in the organization including COO before becoming CEO in 2004. Audrey has over 35 years of experience in the field of human services. She has worked extensively both in direct service and in the development, management, and evaluation of human service programs. Audrey earned a Master of Arts degree from DePaul University’s School for New Learning in 2005. In 2008, she completed the Executive Scholar Program through Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Nonprofit Management. Audrey is also a founding member of the Logan Square Cooperative, a limited equity-housing cooperative dedicated to keeping housing affordable in Chicago.

Kathy Booton Wilson
Chief Strategy Officer

Kathy joined the Deborah’s Place staff in 1987. In 1991, she received her Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University. Formerly serving in several staff positions, including as Chief Operations Officer, Director of Supportive Housing and Clinical Director, Kathy is integral to developing innovative approaches to homeless services, such as the eviction prevention program, and creating new policies and procedures to enhance services. Kathy is also an Adjunct Faculty at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, where she teaches social work.

Susan Gries
Chief Financial Officer

Sue is responsible for agency fiscal planning and the oversight of business operations, including human resources and information technology. She first joined Deborah’s Place as a volunteer organizer when the Marah’s Supportive Housing Program moved into the Lakeview neighborhood. In 2002, she left her career in the private sector to join the Deborah’s Place finance staff. Sue serves on the Leadership Council at O.N.E. Northside, which organizes around local and statewide issues including affordable housing and economic justice. She is co-chair of Fair Economy Illinois. Sue earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Detroit.

Senior Leadership Team

Asa Bass
Property Management Director

Asa joined Deborah’s Place in 2012. She has held different positions within the Property Management department. In 2015, Asa became the Director of Property Management. Her primary responsibilities are securing contracts with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), maintaining leases and obtaining rent, leading the eviction prevention program and leading compliance with vendors. Asa has over 15 years’ experience working in social service settings.  Asa earned a Master’s in Human Services Counseling from National-Louis University.

Nicole Crowder
Human Resources Director

Nicole Crowder joined the HR department in 2014. She is responsible for staffing and recruitment, payroll, compensation, employee relations, performance management, and interpretation and implementation of agency policies and procedures. She has more than ten years of experience working in the nonprofit sector in finance and administration. Before assuming her current role, Nicole was a part of the Finance department for Deborah’s Place.  Nicole received a Master’s in Human Resource Management from Keller Graduate School of Management and is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).

Kim Davidson
Clinical Services Director

Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who joined Deborah’s Place in 2008 and has been practicing social work for over 15 years. As Director, Kim is responsible for implementing all clinical programming throughout Deborah’s Place, including providing oversight to case management, health services and the internship program. Before assuming her current role, Kim was the Program Administrator for Deborah’s Place’s Safe Haven Program and Patty Crowley Apartments for six years. Kim is also a Social Work Instructor at Northeastern Illinois University.

Michelle Patterson
Development Director

Michelle joined Deborah’s Place in September 2015. She has more than ten years of nonprofit development and communications experience in a wide array of social service and healthcare nonprofits, as well as many years of corporate and legal experience. She leads the Development Department in all aspects of fundraising and communications to raise more than $1 million in private revenue annually. Michelle received her Bachelor’s in Communications from Cardinal Stritch University and her Master’s in Public Administration from Roosevelt University.

Betty Washington
Residential Services Director

Betty held direct service and management positions at Deborah’s Place before becoming Director of Residential Services in 2014. Betty has over 15 years’ experience working with disenfranchised populations and in social service settings. She holds a Certificate in Addiction Studies from Harold Washington College and is an expert in the implementation of Harm Reduction principles in residential settings. She received her Bachelor’s in Applied Behavioral Science and her Master’s in Psychology from National Louis University.