CJAC's Leadership Team:
Charlie Gourde, Executive Director Kristen Mendez, Child Forensic Interviewer
CJAC's Executive Director, Charlie Gourde, leads our team of dedicated staff and volunteers. In addition to his role within CJAC, Charlie is the Facilitator of the Cowlitz County Multidisciplinary Team. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Children's Advocacy Centers of Washington, the Supervisory Committee for Fibre Federal Credit Union, and is a member of the Longview Pioneer Lions Club.
Charlie received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Portland State University in 2005, where he graduated with Latin honors summa cum laude. Charlie has a long professional history of advocating for children and other vulnerable populations. He also has extensive experience in legislative and legal advocacy. He recently served on the state Legislative Workgroup for the implementation of State House Bill 1539, also known as "Erin's Law." He also previously served on the Washington Mental Health Advisory Board.
Charlie enjoys volunteering during his free time. His infectious energy, ambitious vision, and engaging communication skills have helped transform CJAC into a stable organization that is positioned to serve our community for years to come.
CJAC's Child Forensic Interviewer, Kristen Mendez, has interviewed over 1,100 children during her tenure as an interviewer and brings a great deal of expertise to our organization. Kristen previously served in this same role for the Cowlitz County Prosecutor's Office from 2010-2014. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Western Washington University in 1994, her Master of Social Work degree from Eastern Washington University in 2006, and has been a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker since 2013.
Kristen is considered to be one of the most capable and quality Forensic Interviewers in Washington state. She has a remarkable ability to put children and families at ease during times of crisis and excels at communicating in a therapeutic and developmentally appropriate manner. Kristen is passionate about the work that we perform at CJAC and exemplifies the integrity and values of the organization. Her background in children’s mental health, medical social work, child protection, and family advocacy make her a tremendous asset to our community.
We are lucky to have Kristen here at CJAC!