Gratitude, compassion, and a sense of community drive Jenifer Gursky’s personal and professional life. Inspired by the work and dedication of YWCA Helena, Jenifer became its Executive Director in March of 2019.
A daughter of two middle school teachers, Jen always knew she’d be working with people – no matter where her career path took her. She’s been a nanny, missionary, outdoor program director, policy advocate, policy maker, and a professional fundraiser among others. She graduated from The University of Montana with a B.A. degree in Political Science and a minor in International Development.
Jen deeply believes YWCA Helena’s advocacy-based and results-driven mission and seeks to lead, learn and focus energy on serving the community of Helena with a keen eye to restoring hope, building self-sufficiency, and encouraging happy, healthy lives. She and her husband enjoy political banter, road trips on backroads of Montana, and being parents to a lively toddler.
ERIN McMAHON, LAC
Erin originally began working with YWCA Helena as a volunteer in 2010. She was inspired by the positive opportunities and encouragement YWCA Helena was offering to women and children in the community and joined the staff as a case manager in January of 2011. She helped to pioneer the WINGS transitional housing program and provided support for the residents during the YWCA Helena building renovation.
In March 2016, she left YWCA Helena to pursue her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and now serves as the Clinical Director. She is thrilled to be a part of this amazing program once again!
MOLLY SEVERTSON, CFRE
Development & Communications Director
Molly Severtson has been a professional fundraiser for more than a decade for some of Montana’s most critical and successful nonprofits and she earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive credential in 2019. She is thrilled to have the chance to put her skills to work for the amazing work and mission of YWCA Helena.
She and her husband have three amazing daughters and two sassy cats.As a family, they enjoy spending time together, whether exploring our beautiful state, camping in state and national parks, lounging on their back patio, watching movies at home, taking ridiculously long road trips, or eating food from every type of cuisine they can find. Molly does her best to live in gratitude for all she has been blessed with, one day at a time.
Caterpillars Parenting Center Director
Jessie joined the YWCA team after an almost 10 year stretch in the field of Early Intervention, supporting the families of children with developmental disabilities and delays. She graduated from Montana State University-Northern with Bachelor's degrees in Communication and Community Service. She then received her Early Childhood Education certification through the University of Cincinnati.
Parents are their child's first and best teacher. Jessie's ambition has always been to support parents as they achieve their full potential in the role of teacher and caregiver. The Caterpillars Parenting Program, which she directs, provides a safe fun place for parents and their children to spend time together, exchange per parenting agreements, and learn new parenting strategies through the Circle of Security Parenting Curriculum. Caterpillars services are available to the women served through the YWCA Helena and are also available at no cost to the general public.
Jessie was born and raised in Havre, MT but is happy to call Helena her new home. She and her husband, Dick, have 2 beautiful children that keep them extremely busy. She loves watching baseball, playing with her dogs, swimming, reading, and sitting next to a good campfire with family and friends.
SALINA ERNST, ACLC
Residential Director/Case Manager
Salina is a Native Montanan. She has two beautiful teenage daughters and a husband. She graduated with honors from UM Helena with an Associates of Arts in Psychology in 2014 and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Carroll College in 2018.
Salina has worked many years in the human services field with her most recent case management work at Florence Crittenton and Lewis and Clark County Jail. Salina joined the YWCA as the Caterpillars Administrator in 2018 then transitioned to the WINGS Case Manager/HOME Unit Manager. She has a passion for helping individuals reach their highest potential and loves to spend time with her family, especially in the sunshine!
RACHEL DEVERAUX, ACLC
Rachel Deveraux was born in Western Montana and spent her childhood in Montana and Alaska. She holds a Social Work degree from the University of Montana with a focus on Addiction Studies. She plans to earn her MSW from UM and is working on becoming an LCSW.
Working with mothers in recovery is Rachel’s passion and she believes that a sense of belonging to and support from one’s community are integral in the lives of people in recovery. She loves working at YWCA Helena, where others share her passions and bring their own vision to the work.
Rachel has a daughter in middle school who is her whole entire world and happens to be hilarious as well. She and her daughter have seven chickens, three dogs, one cat, one rabbit, and a rotating cast of crows, squirrels, etc., in their back yard.
CATHRYN ENGLISH-STRAUB, LCSW, LAC
Cathryn English-Straub is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Addiction Counselor. Cathryn began her career in 1991 by attending a year long chemical dependency counselor training program with Serenity Lane in Eugene, OR. In 1996 Cathryn graduated from Smith College with a MSW and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has had a private practice in Helena, MT for the last 16 years. Cathryn has specific training in Circle of Security, Attachment/Bonding, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, dealing with chronic illness and addictions.
She is excited to be a part of YWCA Helena, having a passion for working with women and children, specifically supporting women and children to find strength, resiliency and hope in their lives.
Cathryn enjoys spending time with family and friends. Beside helping others, Cathryn loves traveling, being in the outdoors, hiking, laughing, and her awesome three-legged dog Copper.
Sharon has extensive financial experience in most aspects of the Non-Profit/Human Services Field.
Her background includes working for a large service oriented organization for 15 years, Casey Family for a short period, Director of Finance for Florence Crittenton for four years; returning to Intermountain for nine years. She has a degree in Business Education from Mankato State University. At one point in time she worked for a for-profit which brought her to the realization that the Human Services world is where she belongs.
Not only is it a pleasure to work among the people who serve our clients, but building relationships with both clients and providers has opened her eyes to so many needs. Sharon will most likely be the person who answers the phone when you call us, and the first person you see when knocking at our door.
Katie joined the YWCA Helena staff as a Parenting Advocate after six months as an intern. She graduated from Carroll College with Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and Sociology in May 2019.
Katie is passionate about helping others achieve stability and happiness and has always been particularly interested in programs that work to help women gain equality and success. The mission of YWCA Helena is something that Katie strongly identifies with, and she is stoked to be part of a program that is helping so many women from all over Montana.
Katie was born and raised in Corvallis, Montana, and loves to spend time in the outdoors. Her favorite activity is backpacking, and she loves strong coffee, making pottery, and her new dog Sam!
STEPHANIE BALLENGER BROOKS
Stephanie Ballenger Brooks joined the team at YWCA Helena in 2020. She received her State license through the Montana Peer network while in Hardin, works closely with the Criminal Justice Coordination council, and is a member of the Citizens advisory committee to help make a difference. As someone who has struggled in similar ways to the women we serve, Stephanie is able to provide valuable insight and resources in her role as a Peer Support.
Stephanie is a mother of three beautiful children. Her passions include helping others, being involved in reform, and being a voice for those who may not be able to use theirs.
Child and Family Therapist
Ellen has worked in children’s mental health, specializing in behavior, since 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Montana State University and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling from MSU-Billings. Her education is rooted in human behavior, mental health, and rehabilitation, and her lifetime goal has been to work with children and their families and to support them in building and maintaining healthy relationships. Ellen will be providing individual, family, and group therapy, as well as PCIT (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy) to the children and women at YWCA Helena.
Ellen is passionate about helping children advocate for themselves, building healthy relationships for families, equality, and inclusion. Her hobbies include anything outdoors including camping, flyfishing, hiking, gardening, and paddle-boarding. She has lived in Montana for 20 years and has one amazing son!
Bio coming soon!
Social Work Intern
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Julia has joined YWCA Helena as the Programs Research VISTA. She is transitioning to social services from a career in chemical engineering and will use her experience in data analysis and project management to support capacity building and improve outcomes.
Julia was raised in Virginia and has spent the past few years in Chicago, where she found her passion working with women while volunteering at a transitional housing shelter. She is new to Montana and exploring Helena through her favorite things, which include hot yoga, pottery, and dogs.