The Empowerment Center Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors plays an integral part of the success of the Empowerment Center.  In addition to assisting the Executive Director with the overall operation of the Empowerment Center, they are also extensively involved in the fundraising, marketing and event management of our organization.  Without these individuals, the Empowerment Center would not be where it is today.

If you would like to become involved with the board of directors, advisory board and a committee, please contact us at

Board of Directors

  • Janel Walsh, President
  • Judi Sandall, Secretary
  • Al Cartlidge, Treasurer
  • Sandy Gordon
  • Lee Hernandez
  • Bill Looper
  • Sasha Sushenko
  • Alexandra Wise

Advisory Board

  • Jon Benedetti
  • Frank DeCarlo, Board Emeritus

Board of Directors Bios.

Judi Sandall

In my heart, I’ve been a writer for most of my life. I was fortunate enough to parlay my love of words into a writing career that spanned more than 20 years. While living in the Washington DC metro area, I wrote training materials and video scripts for the Department of Education. I worked at Lockheed Martin and wrote detailed technical documentation for a federal government contract. I wrote training materials and trained Duke University personnel on a new computer system. When I moved to Reno, I worked for an advertising company researching and writing advertising articles on subjects as diverse as financial aid for college and garage doors.

Al Cartlidge

Al was born & raised in Reno, Nevada. After graduating from Reno High School he was recruited to Colorado on an athletic scholarship to play football. He returned to University of Nevada, Reno to complete his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business.

After spending most of the 80’s in construction he began working with CPA firms to transition his career. In 1994 he purchased a tax practice to launch his own firm named, Albert E. Cartlidge III, Inc. In 1998 his father asked him to merge the Cartlidge accounting practices, which launched the Cartlidge, Cartlidge & Co., LLC that still thrives today. Al serves as Managing Director of the Firm.

Al attained his General Securities License in 2000. He chose HD Vest in Dallas, Texas as his broker dealer. They specialize in CPA firm relationships. HD Vest was started by Herb Vest in Texas in 1986. It continues today as the largest CPA/Broker Dealer in the nation. This license enabled Al to better serve his clients by providing financial and investment services in addition to the accounting and tax services.

Bill Looper

Bill grew up near Sacramento California.  After college his engineering career was in electronic instrument and systems design for aerospace, medical, and power generation industries. He and his wife Linda raised 3 children in El Dorado Hills California before they retired to Northern Nevada. Along the way he owned and rehabilitated small residential properties. Though retired, Bill still loves to train and compete in triathlons. Having experienced the challenges of substance abuse within his own family, Bill has been active in Celebrate Recovery and joined the Empowerment Center Board of Directors in 2019.

Alexandra Wise

Alexandra Wise, wife 10 years to David Wise, mother to Nayeli (9) and Malachi (6), and recent homeschool teacher and tiny farmer, is honored to spend time with the Empowerment Center clients as often as possible. As a family they enjoy spending holidays, as well as weeknight crafts and games at the center. Alexandra has plans to teach the women seasonal sports and hobbies outside of the center, such as her continued work with Reno Riding- an equestrian non-profit  that teaches our ladies how to boost their confidence and self awareness through riding horses. Alexandra fully believes in the power of having fun to remind the ladies they are free to choose a new life for themselves when they leave the Empowerment Center.