Jose Gavarrette, Benjamin Rich and Bill Werle have been elected to the Betty Griffin Center Board of Directors.
Gavarrette is the Vice President of a Global Technology unit at Citibank, where he is responsible for Resource and Capacity as well as Third Party Management to ensure the delivery of key initiatives. His responsibilities include managing resource decisions and locations for the organization, third party relationships risk and vendor consolidation strategy.
Previously, Gavarrette served as a business technology partner with BBVA Compass Bank in Birmingham, Alabama for three years, and also served as the director of workforce operations for FloridaWorks, a state- and federally-funded workforce project, from 2007 to 2011.
He received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Systems from Florida International University.
Rich currently serves as the Assistant State Attorney in the seventh judicial circuit and manages the State Attorney’s office in St. Johns County, which consists of nine assistant state attorneys, four state attorney investigators and 16 support staff members. Rich was appointed to the position in 2010 and his responsibilities include investigating and prosecuting criminal cases (misdemeanor, juvenile, and felony) from inception to final disposition, conducting criminal trials, both jury and nonjury and investigating and prosecuting multiple governor-assigned felony and misdemeanor cases in various Florida jurisdictions.
Rich, who has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2005, received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Florida Coastal School of Law, and received a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida.
Werle is currently the Commander of the Support Services Bureau of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, where he oversees the 911 Communications Center, the Emergency Preparedness Unit, Special Operations and Bailiffs. Werle has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office for over 21 years. He started as a patrol deputy, but also has been a field training officer, SWAT team member, Robbery/Homicide detective and rose through the patrol and detective ranks. He also served as the Special Victim’s Unit sergeant for over three years where he worked closely with the Betty Griffin Center. He said he is excited to continue strengthening the partnership and working relationship between law enforcement and the nonprofit organization.
The Betty Griffin Center was founded in 1990 by concerned citizens and incorporated as the Safety Shelter of St. Johns County to develop plans to provide shelter for local victims of domestic violence and their children. In 1992, the nonprofit agency contracted with a local motel for space and started a 24-hour crisis line and court advocacy program. By 1994, the agency purchased and opened Betty Griffin House as permanent shelter. The shelter expanded in 1998 to meet local demand, and a sexual assault program was added the same year. Today, Betty Griffin Center shelters more than 420 victims of domestic and sexual abuse annually, operates a 24-hour help line, provides professional counseling for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, provides age-appropriate violence prevention training and operates two thrift stores to assist in funding the agency’s ongoing operations.