Alan Smyth

Executive Director

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Alan Smyth currently serves as our executive director with over 30 years of nonprofit management and experience. Alan is responsible for all business operations, direct services, our Foster Family agency and all development efforts including donor acquisition, budget creation and management. Prior to his time with Saving Innocence, he spent 25 years with Young Life, a globally known nonprofit focused on kids around the world. His time with Young Life was primarily focused in Greater Los Angeles. Alan got his Bachelor of Communication Studies from San Jose State University.

*We are unable to share the names and biographies of our Director of Clinical Programs or our Crisis Case Managers to protect their identities.

Board Of Directors

Leah Albright-Byrd (Chair)

Executive Director, Rebecca Bender Initiative

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Leah Jonet Albright-Byrd is a nationally recognized public speaker and human rights educator. She is the Executive Director of The Rebecca Bender Initiative, a survivor led effort to empower and educate survivors of trafficking. Ms. Albright-Byrd has been featured on Oprah Winfrey, BET News, Being Mary Jane, and was the subject of an Emmy-award winning investigative interview in 2013. She also served as a spokeswoman for record-breaking Proposition 35 in the state of California while leading an organization that provided intervention services to human trafficking survivors. Ms. Albright-Byrd has a Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology & Theology and uses her lived experience with sex trafficking to inform the agency on policy and procedure.
Melanie Howard

Partner & Chair, Brand Protection Group, Loeb & Loeb

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Melanie Howard is a Partner and Chair of Brand Protection at the law firm of Loeb & Loeb, LLP. Ms. Howard’s practice focuses the acquisition, protection, licensing, exploitation and sale of intangible assets for major brands and individual talent.  Known for her business-minded approach, she represents clients across a variety of industries, including fashion and luxury retail, esports, automotive, technology, entertainment and media, and financial.  Ms. Howard was an assistant professor at Pepperdine Law School for three years and directed both the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion & Ethics, she was instrumental in obtaining endowments for both programs.  A graduate of Williams College, Ms. Howard obtained her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she was an articles editor for the Harvard Negotiation Law Review and President of the Harvard Mediation Program.
Darin Shea

Managing partner of Group of Eight LLC

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Darin is Managing partner of Group of Eight LLC, an early stage venture capital firm. Formerly a Vice President at Morgan Stanley, he also recently campaigned to become Treasurer for the city of Burbank. Darin leads the Lord’s Kitchen Ministry at his church and is a certified family home provider for adults with disabilities. He recently served as board chair for The USC chapter of Younglife.

Allison Burkett, MSW
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Ms. Burkett brings her strategic planning and administrative strengths to the Saving Innocence Board, combined with her background in ministry and clinical social work and experience building healthy organizational cultures. She is currently the President of the Parent Association at Pacifica Christian High School in Santa Monica and serves on the Advisory Board for IF: Gathering, a women's discipleship ministry. Her most recent work includes serving as the Executive Director of Calvary Church of Pacific Palisades, where she worked both on staff and as a volunteer from 2007-2020. Additional previous work experience includes The Help Group of Los Angeles, Cambridge Family and Children Services, and Cambridge Public Schools. Ms. Burkett earned her Master's Degree in Social Work from The University of Southern California and her BA in Sociology and Psychology from The University of Michigan.

Christa Crane

Chief Client Development & Marketing Officer, Loeb & Loeb

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As Chief Client Development & Marketing Officer for Loeb & Loeb, an international, multi-disciplinary law firm, Christa oversees the organization’s business development initiatives, manages branding and marketing strategies, and leads internal and external communications. Prior to working at Loeb, Christa held similar roles at other large law firms, after starting her career as a management consultant. A Midwest native, Christa relocated to Los Angeles a few years ago with her husband, after spending 15 years in New York City.

David Danwing

Senior Director of Child Welfare and Case Management, Cherokee Federal

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David serves as Cherokee Federal’s Senior Director of Child Welfare and Case Management. In this role, David oversees case management, behavioral and child welfare services for the organization's Humanitarian Services division. During his 20+ year career, David has helped tens of thousands of children in foster care and shelter environments reunify with families, heal from trauma, build trusting relationships with peers and adults and remain hopeful during extraordinary circumstances. In 2021, he led a team of 350 case managers at the Pomona Emergency Influx Care Facility. Over the course of six months, he and his staff helped unify more than 8,000 unaccompanied children with family members or sponsors in the U.S.


Migrating to the U.S. at an early age, David has dedicated his entire professional career to serve minority groups. David cares deeply about the safety and wellbeing of children and has been a leading active advocate of their humane treatment. David has served as a board member and has led various child welfare committees, including the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Family Focused Treatment Association, California Alliance and the Foster Together Network. David also volunteers as a peer reviewer for the Council on Accreditation. David holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology. When he is not at work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two young adult children in Southern California.

Maurice A Hitchcock

Ed.D Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

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Dr. Hitchcock began his career as a teacher and therapist with emotionally disturbed adolescents in residential treatment. He then attended graduate school at Baylor where he received a doctorate in Educational and Counseling Psychology in 1978. He then held faculty positions at Duke Medical Center, University of Hawaii Medical School and Keck School of Medicine of USC where he was Professor and Chair of the Division of Medical Education for seventeen years. He served as principal investigator of federal grants in medical education for thirty-five consecutive years and is a world renowned published researcher in faculty development. In his faculty role he taught leadership, teaching skills, grantsmanship, and evaluation.  He also served as an international consultant for the World Health Organization teaching faculty around the world “Problem Based Learning.”

Ted Swanson

Managing partner and founder of Resolute Trials

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Ted Swanson earned a psychology degree from UCLA then graduated with a law degree from the University of Michigan. After working for a large defense firm, Ted spent the next 16 years working for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, where he spent the majority of his time prosecuting cases involving physical violence against women and children. He helped found the Human Sex Trafficking Section and by the time he finally left the DA's office he was the Deputy in Charge of it. During his time as a prosecutor, Ted handled over 100 jury trials. After leaving the DA's office, he went to work for one of the premiere lemon law firms in the state, where he protected citizens' rights against large automobile companies. There he handled more than a dozen trials. At the end of 2023, he left to form his own firm, Resolute Trials (, where he handles trials for law firms, and has a select few personal injury and lemon law clients. Mr. Swanson also handles sex abuse as well as sex trafficking cases in the civil arena, where he now represents survivors in actions against those who participated or profited from sex trafficking. In his free time, Ted loves snowboarding, drumming, his flag football team, and his two amazing children.