Sonja Allen – New Executive Director

Sonja Allen – New Executive Director

Friends of Guest House, a leading nonprofit that helps women successfully reenter the community after incarceration, announced today that the current Director of Operations, Sonja Allen, will assume the role of Executive Director upon Kari Galloway’s retirement on June 30th. 

“The Board of Directors cannot thank Kari enough for her devotion to Guest House and the women we serve,” said Deborah Minor, chair of the Friends of Guest House Board of Directors. “Kari will be greatly missed and we wish her the best as she settles into a much deserved retirement.”

Kari Galloway, the longest-serving Executive Director of Friends of Guest House, is retiring at the end of June after a 17-year tenure, having had an extraordinary impact on the lives of hundreds of formerly incarcerated women in Northern Virginia.

Beginning July 1, 2022, Sonja Allen will take the helm of the Friends of Guest House, after serving as the organization’s Director of Operations for the past four years. In that role, she led the organization’s daily operations, including back office management, staff relations, strategic planning, and financial administration. Previously, she spent more than 24 years in other operations and upper-level management positions, not to mention that she is also a licensed attorney. Sonja’s former legal practice largely catered to indigent and under-represented populations while working closely with such charitable organizations as the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services, the Maryland Homeless Representation Project, and the Maryland Disability Law Center to serve the most vulnerable communities.

“Sonja is the perfect person for this role,” said Ms. Galloway. “Her operation experience will ensure that Guest House continues to maintain its programmatic excellence while building engagement with stakeholders and looking to the future.”

“We are thrilled that Sonja will lead Friends of Guest House as we continue the tremendous progress we’ve made in our mission to help women successfully reenter the community from incarceration,” said Ms. Minor. “Her leadership, values, and background as a nonprofit leader have been vital to our operations over the past four years. As we head into this next chapter for the organization, we are grateful to have Sonja’s unique skillset, energy, and commitment to our mission.”

“Working with Kari has been one of the great joys of my professional career. I am deeply honored that the Board of Directors has entrusted me with the responsibility of leading this organization upon her retirement,” said Ms. Allen.

“As I take on this new role, my focus and Friends of Guest House’s focus will continue to be on increasing the number of formerly incarcerated women who successfully reenter their communities. Our efforts will continue to address the key areas that influence their path to successful reentry (housing, employment, education, healthcare, and family/community reconnection) with the goal of ultimately reducing the incidence of recidivism amongst women re-entering in Virginia.”