About Our Staff

robertavila.jpgEXECUTIVE DIRECTOR  

Roberta Avila has served as the Executive Director of the Steps Coalition since August 2009, and has worked in the social justice sectors for the past 25 years with a special interest in community organizing and advocacy for underserved populations. Prior to becoming ED of Steps, Roberta served as the ED for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force, spearheading three annual Mental Health Summits and two Katrina Recovery Summits.

Roberta worked intensely on the People Before Ports Campaign that fought the diversion of $600 million in federal recovery funds intended for affordable housing but instead were diverted to the expansion of the state Port of Gulfport. Since the April 2010 BP oil spill disaster, Roberta has advocated for public voice in deciding how the Gulf Coast will be restored. 

Roberta serves on the Boards of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, the MS Center for Justice and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

Email Roberta: ravila@stepscoalition.org

aidamartinezcropsz.jpgEXECUTIVE ASSISTANT AND GRANTS MANAGER 

Aida Martinez-Bone started working at the Steps Coalition in February 2015 as the Grant Manager and Executive Assistant. Aida earned a B.A. in Sociology from Mount St. Mary’s University and a MBA from Saint Leo University. She has been dedicated to social justice issues and has worked with organizations such as the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance to advocate for Latino Rights.

Aida spent four years working as a labor organizer at the Service Employees International Union and worked with healthcare workers in Central and Southern California as they lead their fight to gain union representation, elect democratic leaders, participate in patient-care committees and organize fundraisers for political campaigns.

Email Aida: amartinez@stepscoalition.org 

BOOKKEEPER    bookkeeperhartlin.jpg

Rhanda Hertling joined the Steps Coalition staff in December 2013 with over 40 years financial experience. After retiring June 2013 from a non-profit utility district as Finance Manager, she offered her services to Steps on a part-time basis. Having worked for a CPA firm, Service Companies, and Office Supply Dealers, she has extensive knowledge of many computer applications and programs including QuickBooks which is Steps current accounting program. Rhanda handles the routine bookkeeping functions including writing checks and posting all entries to the general ledger for the preparation of the monthly financial statements

Email Rhanda: rhertling@stepscoalition.org



 

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COMMUNITY ORGANIZER  

Howard Page is a community organizer for the Steps Coalition. He works on the Port Campaign. This campaign works to ensure that the jobs promised by the diversion of funds to the port are created. The campaign addresses many environmental justice issues including wetland fills which cause flooding; air pollution from a large increase in truck and train traffic at the port; and the use of brownfields. The brownfield issues e also works on other environmental justice and economic issues. He is a former state chair of the Mississippi chapter of the Sierra Club, a founding board member of the North Gulfport Community Land Trust and a member of the NAACP. He has also lobbied the legislatures in Washington and Jackson on clean water, clean air and fishing regulations.

Email Howard: stepsorg1@gmail.com

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COMMUNITY ORGANIZER  

Jennifer Crosslin is a community organizer for Steps Coalition working on economic and environmental justice issues along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Jennifer graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and Philosophy and has a Master’s degree in political science from the University of Southern Mississippi.

She has over nine years experience working with several different university and community organizations with a focus in advocacy and social justice. As a graduate student, she was president of the Student Government Association and worked as a research assistant for the Center for Policy and Resiliency at the University of Southern Mississippi on the Gulf Coast on an Economic Impact Study of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster and served on the planning and development committee for Women's Executive Leadership program.

Email Jennifer: jcrosslin@stepscoalition.org

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Steps Coalition
610 Water Street, Biloxi, MS 39530
(228) 435-3113

Economic Justice | Environmental Justice | Affordable Housing | Preservation of Historical Communities | Human Rights