NICOLE SALAZAR

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Nicole earned a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, and received her doctoral degree from Pepperdine University’s Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership program. Nicole is also an EAGALA certified mental health professional and equine specialist.

Nicole has worked in therapeutic residential settings since 2008. She began as a residential staff member working, later transitioning into the executive leadership team as Optimum Performance Institute’s first Residential Director, which enabled her to combine her passion for coaching, program development and staff development together. Nicole played an instrumental role in assisting Optimum Performance Institute receive accreditation and maintain JCAHO standards throughout her tenure.

Nicole’s skills and love for program development led her to her current role as Good Shepherd Shelter’s Program Director. Nicole enjoys collaborating with all of GSS staff and brainstorming creative ways to best support our families in leading successful lives.

Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Nicole enjoys traveling, skydiving, scuba diving, working with animals, and pulling the best pranks on her coworkers!  

NESLIE AKKOL

DIRECTOR OF Institutional ADVANCEMENT 

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey Neslie came to the United Sates in 2004 to earn her Master's Degree in Marketing at Cal State San Bernardino. Having built her business development experience in both for-profit and non-profit environments, Neslie has a passion for helping children and families in need. Before joining the Good Shepherd Shelter, she worked at Counseling4Kids where she helped the agency raise funds for addressing the mental health needs of abused and neglected children in foster care. In her spare time, Neslie enjoys traveling, architectural tours in downtown LA, going to movie screenings and improving her foreign language skills. She also volunteers for different nonprofits including world-famous nonprofit theater The American Cinematheque. local animal shelters, and other organizations such as New Challenge Ministries that focus on children and families. 

MARIE THORSTED

DIRECTOR OF FINANCE

Marie is the newest addition to Good Shepherd’s Senior Management team, joining earlier this year. Marie offers Good Shepherd over 15 years’ experience in accounting and management.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from American InterContinental University. Her broad skillset includes working in the profit, nonprofit and local government spheres.  She has deep exposure to audit preparations, procedures and management of large accounting portfolios. In her local government service, she was the accountant responsible for the expenditures of multiple programs and state and federal grants. She is a native of Colorado thoroughly enjoying the new opportunities and culture Los Angeles provides. She volunteers in a no kill animal shelter. Not surprisingly, in addition to humans, her family consists of two rescue dogs.