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Executive Management Team

Executive Management Team

St. Joseph Center’s work is overseen by a dedicated Executive Management Team that consists of President & CEO Dr. Ryan J. Smith; Chief Programs Officer (Interim) Laurie Craft; Chief People Services Officer (Interim) Mikelle Willis VP of Finance & Chief Financial Officer Daniel Braun; and VP of Administration Keith Anyon.

President & CEO
Dr. Ryan J. Smith

Dr. Ryan J. Smith serves as the President and CEO of the St. Joseph Center in Los Angeles, CA. For almost fifty years, St. Joseph Center has been at the forefront of supporting working poor families, as well as unhoused men, women and youth across Los Angeles County.  One of LA County’s largest service providers, St. Joseph Center’s mission is to provide working class families, as well as homeless men, women, and children of all ages with the inner resources and tools to become productive, stable and self-supporting members of the community. 

Prior to joining St. Joseph Center, he served as the Chief Strategy Officer for Community Coalition—an organization founded by Mayor Karen Bass with the mission of transforming the social and economic conditions of residents in South Los Angeles and beyond. In this capacity, Dr. Smith spearheaded the organization’s strategy and power-building efforts. Notably, he managed the successful Make LA Whole anti-poverty campaign, securing over $200 million in city funds for high-need communities. Additionally, he acted as the executive lead for Community Coalition’s South Central Youth Empowered Through Action (SCYEA) program.

Before his tenure at Community Coalition, Dr. Smith served as Interim CEO and Chief External Officer for LA Unified’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, an organization supporting 15,000 students and their families in Watts, Boyle Heights, and South LA. In this role, Dr. Smith provided instrumental support in the development, communications, policy and advocacy, and family and community engagement programs. Notably, he founded the award-winning Parent College program, benefiting over 10,000 youth and families in marginalized communities by empowering them with knowledge of their rights, roles, and responsibilities. Before to these roles, Dr. Smith served as the Executive Director of The Education Trust-West and Vice President of Strategic Advocacy for the Education Trust, a national education civil rights organization committed to closing opportunity gaps. During his tenure, he pioneered a community program providing financial and other resources to support community-driven advocacy efforts. 

Dr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Doctorate of Education from UCLA. He is a recipient of the National Annie E. Casey Children and Family Fellowship and the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs. A native Angeleno, Dr. Smith is the founder of the Love Letter LA Project, dedicated to uplifting and embracing the assets of marginalized communities across Los Angeles. His commitment to civic engagement is underscored by his recent receipt of UCLA’s first-ever Excellence in Civic Engagement Award.

Chief Programs Officer (Interim)
Laurie Craft, MPA

Laurie Craft is a passionate human services leader who has spent the past 15 years dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in Los Angeles. Laurie previously served as the Chief Program Officer at Hope the Mission, where she grew the agency’s program department from a handful of volunteers to over 450 employees and managed an operational budget of $52 million. She was responsible for 30 programs, including access centers, interim housing for individuals, families, and transitional-age youth, multidisciplinary outreach teams, housing services, and mental health and drug and alcohol recovery programs. She also played a vital role in establishing a learning and development department that supported staff through ongoing training and coaching. Laurie is a former co-chair of the SPA 2 Homeless Coalition. She has received multiple honors, including Woman of the Year for the 18th Senatorial District for her commitment to professional and civic leadership and dedication to communities impacted by homelessness and income inequality.

Laurie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University and a Master of Public Administration from Grand Canyon University. She is thrilled to be a part of the incredible team at St. Joseph Center and is eager to contribute to the agency’s efforts to meet the needs of our most vulnerable and underserved neighbors.

Chief People Services Officer (Interim)
Mikelle Willis, MBA

Mikelle has over 20 years in nonprofit leadership, covering a variety of roles. Most recently, she was the Chief People Officer with Leading Educators, where she was responsible for driving the organization’s vision and strategy for the talent function as the organization grew to over 70 staff members. She also served as Chief Strategy and Operating Officer at the Partnership for LA Schools, where she was responsible for driving the organization’s long-term growth strategy while also overseeing the delivery of and capacity building around school and home office operations. In this role, she oversaw five functional areas: talent, finance, operations, technology, and legal strategy.

Mikelle earned her BS in Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach in Long Beach, CA; her MA in Education from National Louis University in Chicago, IL; and her MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. She holds her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Chapman University in Manhattan Beach, CA.

VP of Finance & Chief Financial Officer
Daniel Braun

Daniel Braun brings over 30 years of non-profit experience to the St. Joseph Center. He has spent most of his career working in the field of children’s services, developing a deep understanding of mental health services, supportive housing, and government contracts. Before moving into the non-profit sector Dan worked as a forensic economist developing economic-financial models for personal injuries and testifying in court. As St. Joseph Center’s VP of Finance & Chief Financial Officer Dan oversees the agency’s finance, budgeting, and mental health revenue teams.

Dan was born and raised in Missoula, Montana. He arrived in Southern California as a college student and made it his home. He earned an undergraduate degree from Azusa Pacific University and has an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.

VP of Admin
Keith Anyon

Keith Anyon has served in leadership and Executive roles in the nonprofit sector for over 17 years. Prior to joining St. Joseph Center, he served as Director of Administration at Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health for several years.

Since joining St. Joseph Center in 2016, he has led efforts to diversify the agency’s workforce significantly, opening opportunities by removing degree qualifications from certain positions; partnering with community-based organizations to seek candidates with lived experience with homelessness, mental health, substance use and/or justice involvement; participating in workforce development programs to widen pools of qualified candidates to enter the homeless services sector; and expanding the agency’s portfolio of internship programs, with multiple disciplines and with an emphasis on engaging colleges and universities with a significant population of first-generation college students.