Carol J. Matthews-Shifflett, Founder and CEO

Ms. Shifflett is founder and CEO of The Sojourner Group.  Earning a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a Masters in Community Leadership led her to pursue a career focusing on the well-being of women and children.  Personal conversations with marginalized Black/African American and multi-racial women, who shared experiences with mainstream social service providers, revealed their lack of ability to comprehend or fully relate to the experiences of these women, leaving survivors suffering in silence, and a silenced victim/survivor stands unprepared, yet likely, to experience a lifetime of poor mental health.  

Carol is committed to ensure that Black /African American and multi-racial survivors find healthy spaces to convey their stories.

An active community leader, Carol believes leadership involves collective groups of people and personalities with the common goal of working toward best practices for women of color. Her principles are respect, integrity, communication, and commitment, which will be beneficial in improving the quality of life for marginalized groups seeking common ground of understanding on the journey of healing. Her life experience as an advocate and working with women of color  and her education has created her passion for doing this work.


Dr. Luciane F. Fangalua (Ph.D.)

Dr. Luciane F. Fangalua (Ph.D.) received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Utah, a MLitt in International Security Studies from the University of St. Andrews (UK), and a Ph.D. in Middle East & Islamic Studies from Durham University (UK). Dr. Fangalua is currently a Senior Analyst at Independent Trust Company of America. She has studied and worked in Europe and throughout the Middle East. Her work has included providing research, analysis and consultancy in areas of Corruption, Conflict, Political & Social Development, Democratic Processes, and Human Rights Issues to Local and International Non-Governmental Organizations, Governments, and academic institutions. Her work in the Middle East included conducting research and providing lectures on findings associated with Human Trafficking, particularly of foreign workers who had been exploited, to various international and local Non-Governmental Organizations.  She has also worked on international projects pertaining to women’s rights in the Middle East. Dr. Fangalua continues to be involved in the community working on issues pertaining to those who are victims to exploitation and violence.

Sherry Long

Sherry Long is a Certified Social Worker. Earning a BS in Psychology, she has dedicated her career to clients with various mental health issues. Sherry serves as the primary facilitator for Utah’s Sistah Circle of The Sojourner Group. Sherry currently serves as a Social Worker for Journey of Hope. For over 25 years she devoted her passion to clients at Valley Mental Health (Valley Behavioral Health). Sherry has worked with patients struggling with Serious Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI), had a large clientele of patients while managing the Drug and Alcohol unit; while specifically concentrating on women and children’s issues. In addition, Sherry contributed as both leader and co-leader in this unit. 

Throughout her career, Sherry played a key role in developing innovated programs, assisted with establishing policies and procedures, and advocated for clients. Sherry has worked with community partners and agencies, setting up team meetings to help clients coordinate services and resources. She laid out treatment plans, safety plans, and trained peer leaders while supervising them to ensure that patients were receiving proper care. Sherry has run aftercare groups, helped with vocational rehab, case management (intensive) assisted with housing assignments, and was both motivational and inspirational in helping clients see their best potential. She has prepared clients for speaking engagements to tell their stories at high schools, the Boys and Girls Clubs, on college campuses, etc. Her life’s work is committed to providing the best care possible to those working towards a healthier way of living.

Zala Long

Zala Long is currently attending college with the goal to receive a degree in political science and a minor in ethnic studies. Zala is a passionate advocate in her community when it comes to social justice specifically as it pertains to being black and all the different identities that intersects with Blackness. Zala is excited to have recently joined The Sojourner Group Board of Directors offering a perspective from Millennial’s. She is excited for a future with the organization.

Irene Maya Ota

Irene Maya Ota, retired from the University of Utah, is owner/CEO of Irene M. Ota Consulting and Training: Diversity, Social Justice, Inclusion.  She has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, MPA, Master in Public Administration, with Ph.D. work in Education, Culture, and Society.  She has taught diversity/social justice classes for 20 years and continues to do presentations, trainings, mediation, and consulting on the issues surrounding diversity and social justice understanding, moving to action and change.  Her life experiences and education push her passion and dedication for this work.