We are proud to be staffed with talented team members at every level of our organization. Meet our leadership team here.
CEO & President
Growing up, Debera Taylor saw first-hand how barriers to employment can impact entire families. She watched as her mother struggled to get and keep a job without reliable transportation. She herself walked or rode a bicycle to and from her first job. She also learned how much a person can accomplish when given an opportunity; as she was provided support from a friend navigating how to enroll in college through grants and funding sources. Debera wants to ensure all of our clients have the opportunity to learn, grow and find sustainable employment, because she believes that when our clients succeed, we all succeed.
Debera brings decades of experience in the corporate world, most recently serving as the Vice President of Fortessa Tableware Solutions in Winchester. Her background in human resources lends itself to building dynamic partnerships and she is excited to lead NW Works into the next stage of the organization’s life.
Outside of NW Works, Deb sits on the Board of Directors of the Workforce Initiative. She is also the incoming President of the Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge. When she’s not at work, Deb can be found volunteering in the community, as well as spending time with her family and her Yorkie, Nicholas.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Brady Smith is NW Works’ Director of Strategic Partnerships, bringing nearly a decade of fundraising and fund development skills to the NW Works team.
Prior to joining NW Works, Brady worked for an international non-profit organization combating hunger and food insecurity around the world. During his time there, he led the community engagement efforts to grow the Pittsburgh program and increase revenue by 15% in 2018. He has built the first Development and Fundraising program for NW Works, focusing on relationships and taking them from transactional to transformational. Brady believes in serving others first and foremost and approaches development in that unique way.
Brady grew up in Berkeley Springs, WV and is familiar with the area. He graduated from West Virginia University in 2015 before moving to Spokane, Wash. where he married his wife Lindsay. When he’s not working, Brady stays busy serving as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Shenandoah Va. Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He is also part of the Community Leadership Program Class of 2020. In addition, Brady was named to the Pittsburgh 30 Under 30 Most Influential list in 2018.
On top of all of that, Brady and his wife are avid hikers and enjoy being outside at all times of the year. Brady is also a big hockey fan, although he won’t be rooting for the home-team Washington Capitals anytime soon.
Charles Harbaugh, IV
Director of Business Services
As Director of Business Services, Charles is responsible for handling all the NW Works business contracts and coordinating directly with business partners. He works especially closely with HP Hood and manages that important relationship. His staff at NW Works includes 15 full-time employees and 60 part-time employees. Outside of NW Works, Charles serves as the Mayor of Middletown, Va, a position he has held since 2012, and he teaches business classes at Lord Fairfax Community College.
Charles enjoys negotiating contracts and developing new business for NW Works. As a measure of his success, the HP Hood contract has quadrupled since the beginning of his involvement. Charles also derives satisfaction from working with clients, and he appreciates their positive outlooks on life. His goal is to help clients gain financial independence through additional opportunities and the chance to increase their hourly wages.
When not fulfilling his duties at NW Works or as Mayor or as a professor, Charles broadcasts college basketball games for Shenandoah University. In addition, Charles serves as the Secretary of the non-profit organization Our Health and is also a board member of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation. He is an avid Washington Football fan, and he also finds time to perform as a Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactor.
Executive Assistant & Project Coordinator
Crystal LeMieux joined NW Works in February of 2020, bringing extensive knowledge of customer service and staffing. In addition to her duties as an executive assistant, Crystal is the program coordinator for the Chimers Music Therapy program and manages all of the volunteers at NW Works.
Crystal graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and a minor in Psychology. A native of Loudoun County, Crystal is happy to be in on this side of the mountain in Winchester. When she’s not working, you can find her hiking, baking, and spending time with her son Trenton and cat Moon.
Ellie Williams Tahmaseb
Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator
Ellie Williams Tahmaseb joined NW Works in October of 2019, coming from a background in broadcast news. An Emmy-nominated journalist, she’s excited to amplify the voices of the NW Works team as the organization moves into a new chapter.
A New Jersey native, she graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, Ma. in 2017. During her time at Northeastern, she traveled to Greece to cover the ongoing Syrian Refugee Crisis and the country’s economic strife. After working in production at a television news station in Boston, Ellie eventually left New England for an on-air reporting position at WDVM 25, a television station in Hagerstown, Md., where she worked as a multimedia journalist in the station’s Winchester bureau, serving as a general assignment reporter for the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
Over the course of covering city council meetings, court cases, and everything in between, she learned of NW Works and quickly fell in love with the organization’s mission, jumping at the chance to tell the story of NW Works.
Outside of work, Ellie volunteers with the Concern Hotline and is part of the Northwestern Prevention Collaborative Strategic Prevention Framework – Partnerships for Success program. She also serves on the board of Arte Libre VA. In her spare time, Ellie enjoys aquaculture, taekwondo, and hiking.
Human Resources Manager
Melissa Galton joined our team in September of 2019, after spending nearly two years with the Shenandoah Growers in Harrisonburg.
Melissa brings nearly two decades of experience in human resources to the team and has worked in a number of fields including manufacturing, higher education, and public health. She believes in a “full circle” approach to human resources and even volunteers with high school students, conducting mock interviews and providing career coaching to prepare them for their futures. Melissa is also a member of the Winchester Area Society of Human Resources
When Melissa isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, going to the beach, and volunteering with the Strasburg Volunteer Rescue Squad. She’s even on her way to becoming an EMT!
Executive Client Programs Advisor
As the Executive Client Programs Advisor, Melody ensures that all clients receive person-centered services and are meeting their vocational and social goals. She oversees a team responsible for case management, vocational and community goal planning, and direct client support. Melody develops partnerships with other non-profit organizations to enhance services and expand the number of clients served. She also manages adherence to grant guidelines, licensing and accreditation, and compliance with all regulatory bodies. Before NW Works, Melody was a Behavioral Specialist and Training Instructor for Grafton Integrated Health Network.
Life-changing moments for clients are what drives Melody’s dedication to NW Works. She believes that NW Works enables clients to realize their capabilities, achieve their dreams, and transform their lives. Some important client accomplishments include greater independence, integration into the community, obtaining and maintaining housing, and developing sustainable career paths.
When not working with clients, Melody enjoys raising her three sons and spending time with them as they participate in sports, work on their academics, play games, and read. In addition, Melody sits on the Winchester City Community Equity Leadership Team (CELT) and is a member of VaAccses. She also takes time for playing music, hiking, and self-directed research.
Vice President of Finance
Stephanie Lett is NW Work’s Vice President of Finance. Prior to joining NW Works in September of 2019, she handled the finances of Synoptos, a global tech startup based in Washington, DC.
Born and raised in Staunton, Va., Stephanie has lived all over the commonwealth, working within finance for a number of organizations, including several construction companies. She also has previously worked for a national tax consulting firm.
After surviving breast cancer, Stephanie spends a great deal of her time working with others battling the disease. As a consumer reviewer, she is also a full voting member of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs’ Breast Cancer panel, a branch of the Department of Defense. She also volunteers with the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery Program, is a member of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, and previously facilitated a cancer support group.
When she’s not crunching numbers and building budgets, Stephanie loves to travel the world and spend time with her family.
Valerie Carney joined NW Works in July of 2019, after spending two years at Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, Md. as a medical practice supervisor.
Prior to joining NW Works, Valerie spent the majority of her career in the healthcare field, beginning by serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy. A proud veteran, Valerie was stationed in a variety of locations both in the country and abroad throughout her service.
After retiring from the Navy, Valerie continued working in healthcare, primarily in hospital settings in the Maryland area.
When she’s not working, you can find Valerie spending time with her family; volunteering with the General Federation of Women’s Club in Martinsburg, where she sits on the board and serves as the Club’s Treasurer; or reading.