About Surviving to Thriving

Our Mission:

To empower, encourage and embolden women who have survived domestic violence.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have new signs and symptoms since your last visit.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
  • When should I seek immediate care or call 911?
  • You fear for your life or the lives of your children.
  • Your signs and symptoms are getting worse.
  • You feel like hurting yourself or someone else.
  • You feel that you cannot cope with the abuse, or your recovery from it.
  • You have trouble breathing, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.


Heather Knight


Heather is currently serving as the founder and chair of Surviving to Thriving, an Atlanta based non-profit that provides a long-term sustainability program for victims of domestic violence. The passion for domestic violence awareness and prevention started from a personal situation in her teen years and then grew into a career in law enforcement. She recently left the police department after founding Surviving to Thriving in order to dedicate more time to her podcast (also Surviving to Thriving) and to teach the headlining program of R.A.D. Women’s Self-Defense.

Heather received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at the University of North Georgia Military Academy. She is currently enrolled at American Military University, where she is completing a master’s program in Intelligence Studies with a focus on Homeland Security.

Zack Knight


Zack is currently an Infantry Lieutenant and platoon leader in the United States Army Georgia National Guard. His time spent in the Army has involved extensive training in risk assessment and mitigation techniques that have been proven in the most intense environments.

Prior to joining the Army, Zack spent seven years serving as a police officer in the Smyrna community where he grew up. These years were spent receiving the best crime detection and prevention training law enforcement has to offer. Zack earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Penn Foster University. Zack is currently enrolled at American Military University, where he is completing a master’s program in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in security management. He is also a Physical Security Professional (PSP®), a credential that indicates he is an industry leader in physical security with a specialization in threat analysis.

Tonya Downtain


After completing her education at Kennesaw University, Tonya began her career in Accounting and Finance.  From Accounting Clerk, to Sr. Accountant, Assistant Controller, Controller and finally Director of Finance, Tonya has experience the full spectrum of working in the world of Accounting & Finance.  Although she started her career in the for profit sector, in 2011 Tonya moved her focus to the finance needs of nonprofit organizations.  She was the Director of Finance for nearly eight years with TechBridge, a nonprofit located in Atlanta, GA that provides technology consulting to other nonprofits.  Here Tonya found her true passion of being able to use her years of experience and expertise to help her community not only in Atlanta, but across the US.  In 2018, Tonya joined OneShare Health, a nationwide Healthcare Sharing Ministry, serving individuals with common beliefs.

Clarence O. Taylor IV

Board Member

Clarence O. Taylor IV is a trial lawyer whose fundamental premise is honesty and integrity with both clients and the Court. Clarence is the owner of The Taylor Law Group, and was admitted to practice law in the state of Georgia in 2001. Since that time he has served as a Magistrate Judge, and managed his private law practice in Marietta, Georgia.

Clarence Taylor is an experienced trial attorney with excellent relationships across the state of Georgia with prosecutors, judges and court workers. These relationships enable attorney Taylor to better navigate clients through an otherwise overwhelming and intimidating legal system.

Melissa DeMayo

Board Member

Melissa is the CEO and Founder of Digital House Creative, an Atlanta based marketing agency that takes brands and business to the next level through successful online marketing strategies, hard work ethic, and personal dedication.

Originally from NY, Melissa spent 15 years working in government as a Court Clerk, however found her purpose career wise when she changed direction and started working 1 on 1 with clients, helping them to grow their businesses through strategic Website Design and SEO.

Stacey Knight

Executive Director

Stacey brings over 20 years of operations management and leadership experience to the Surviving to Thriving team. She has built a career in veterinary medicine, following her passion to improve the lives of animals and lead and develop the teams that care for them.

As a Survivor of domestic violence herself, Stacey can truly understand and empathize with our clients. She is here to help our Survivors begin to heal, build themselves up and focus on the future, hopefully laughing a little along the way.

Mom to two grown children and grandma to 6 pups, Stacey and her husband live in Dallas, Georgia. They serve at the pleasure of 2 amazing dogs, 2 entitled cats, 2 aquatic turtles, 7 chickens and approximately 750,000 honeybees.

Bre Garvin

Board Member

Bre earned a BS from Georgia State University where she studied Public Policy and Strategic Human Resource Management. Originally from Arizona, she has called Atlanta home for the last decade. She is dog mom to two rescue Yorkies and has 18 nieces and nephews. When she isn’t helping Nonprofits with fundraising, she enjoys visiting craft breweries and traveling.


Heather Riggs

Board Member

Attorney Heather Riggs has always had an enthusiasm for innovation in the legal industry. She has dedicated her career to helping fellow members of the profession plan, build, and drive their online marketing presence.

Heather was adopted, and she understood from an early age that an attorney made her adoption possible. This revelation inspired her calling to the legal field. After practicing in a small firm, she opened her own solo practice which focused on making families whole by matching loving parents with deserving children. During her years in practice Heather identified a disconnect between the lawyer’s capacity to effectively market and the public’s ability to understand and access legal services. Solving both problems at once, Heather founded Atlanta Legal Marketing.

Contact Us

Contact Heather at Surviving to Thriving