Meet Our Class of 2023

Nearly 350 remarkable leaders, from 265 unique organizations, are joining INP’s active community of changemakers who are shaping the social impact sector from coast-to-coast. Education, healthcare, poverty, climate change, and more — these individuals are driving progress on critical issues far and wide. Learn more about INP’s programs for social impact sector leaders here.

Bay Area Wednesday

Luis Arenas Vice President of Children & Family Services, The Unity Council

Luis Arenas is the Vice President of Children & Family Services for The Unity Council. He first joined The Unity Council in 2005 as an AmeriCorps member. He later joined the Children & Family Services division where he worked in various roles, including as an Assistant Parent Involvement Coordinator and Record Keeping & Reporting Coordinator, working with the Director on monitoring contract and funding compliance. In 2010, Luis was selected as a National Head Start Fellow at the Office of Head Start in Washington, DC and worked on policy initiatives relating to dual language learners. Upon returning to The Unity Council, Luis helped lead the agency’s Head Start expansion into Concord, CA. Luis holds a Master of Arts degree in Education from San Francisco State University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Taima Beyah Human Resource Partner, National Center for Youth Law

Taima Beyah is a Bay Area native with deep roots in the fight for social justice and social change. The passion for her career in the nonprofit sector stems from the inevitable intersection of the human heart space and the inevitable oppression in American capitalism. She values and embodies human centered practices built on respectful relationships in the employment space. For over 25 years, Taima has been committed to helping people improve the quality of their lives through her work in the legal, education, health care, mental health, and affordable housing industries. She recently joined the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) as the Chief People and Culture Officer. Prior to joining the EBCLC family, she served as the HR Partner for the National Center for Youth Law and the Director of Operations for Urban Montessori Charter School. Her depth of experience includes an extensive background in human resources, operations, employee training, risk management, family advocacy, and systems policies and procedures in nonprofit organizations. Beyah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University Long Beach. She is certified by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a Senior Certified Professional and holds a specialty credential in California Employment Law. She enjoys gardening, cooking and traveling with her family.

Roosevelt Callahan Regional Director, Year Up

Roosevelt Callahan currently serves as the Regional Director overseeing Year Up’s locations across the Western US. Roosevelt started his career in financial services, helping companies drive business through technology. He used this experience to guide his work in the nonprofit sector where he has served in several roles across Teach For America, including managing and supporting a portfolio of regions, leading operations and logistics for the New York Training Institute, and managing large cross-organization technology projects. Roosevelt currently resides in Oakland, CA and is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in Computer Science.

Annette de la Llana Merilos Associate Director of Academics Multilingual Learners, KIPP Northern California Public Schools

Annette de la Llana Merilos currently serves as the Associate Director of Academics for Multilingual Learners at KIPP Northern California Public Schools. Annette is entering her twentieth year in public education. Prior to serving in this role, she was the Regional Literacy Manager for KIPP Northern California Public Schools, the interim co-Head of Schools and Humanities teacher at North Oakland Community Charter School. She was an Assistant Principal at Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School and English Language Arts instructional coach in east San Jose. Before joining Alpha, she was an instructional coach, curriculum specialist, a Director of Instruction at two charter schools in New York, NY and a K-8 turnaround charter school in Indianapolis, IN. Annette was a founding teacher and taught kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd and 6th grades at Achievement First in Brooklyn, NY. She began her teaching career as a Teach For America corps member in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, an M.S. in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College, and an Ed.M. in Education Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also served as an adjunct instructor at Marian University in Indianapolis, IN and instructed Master’s degree level students in Child Development and Observation. She is a first-generation Filipina immigrant and the first member of her family to graduate from an American university. Annette lives in Morgan Hill, CA, with her husband and her one-year-old goldendoodle named Butter. She enjoys traveling and hiking and was a former amateur mixed martial arts fighter.

Whitney Flores Site Director (Senior Director), Year Up

Whitney Flores serves as the Site Director (Senior Director) for Year Up Bay Area. She is responsible for driving program excellence, overseeing site operations, and building a collaborative team culture at the Diablo Valley College campus, which has approximately 18 staff and serves 160 young adults annually. The site is connected to a larger Bay Area network with three other locations in the market, and 35 total campuses across the United States. As someone with a big heart for mission-driven work, Whitney’s career has focused on helping and empowering people in the communities she calls home. Her nonprofit positions have spanned a wide range, from Crisis Counselor, College and Career Counselor, Program Manager, and even Executive Director. Every position has influenced her growth and motivated Whitney to improve so that she can strengthen her impact. Something that makes her smile is knowing that her work revolves around helping others illuminate the power, talent, and drive they already have within them, and then championing them on their journey as they launch and eventually take flight.

Christopher Gonzales Director of Strategic Growth & School Partnerships, 10,000 Degrees

Christopher Gonzales is a creative and passionate nonprofit executive leader focused on fostering authentic and sustainable school/community partnerships that drive impact, scale, and amplify equitable educational opportunities for students from low-income backgrounds. He joined 10,000 Degrees in 2013, a leading college success nonprofit in California supporting students to and through college, and started his career journey with the organization as a college advisor directly supporting students from low-income backgrounds. After serving in multiple programmatic focused management roles throughout the greater Bay Area for 10,000 Degrees, Christopher now serves on the executive team as the Director of Strategic Growth and School Partnerships. In his role, he is responsible for leading the strategy, implementation and supervision of the organization’s program expansion efforts in new and existing markets as well as building and maintaining strong school and community partnerships to deepen school collaborations to amplify college success opportunities for students from low-income backgrounds. Christopher has 19 years of experience working in the nonprofit field. Prior to his career at 10,000 Degrees, he served as a Program Coordinator for the City of Chino in Southern California. Christopher leads with empathy, collaboration and a strengths-based approach, always. Through his areas of expertise in strategic planning, building and scaling school/community partnerships, program creation/management, staff empowerment, and utilizing his toolkit of culturally competent experiences as a first-generation college graduate, he delivers high impact results. Christopher is a proud first-generation high school graduate, community college transfer from Riverside City College, college graduate from the University of California Davis, brother, son, member of Latinx/LGBTQI+ community, sci-fi enthusiast and educational equity advocate.

Eric Guico Director of Programs, First Graduate

Eric Guico (he/him/his) serves as the Director of Programs at First Graduate, a nonprofit in San Francisco’s Mission District which supports students in becoming the first in their families to graduate from college. Eric has been at First Graduate for two years. Prior to that, he was with a similar organization in Oakland, East Bay College Fund, for eight years. Eric was raised in San Diego, went to UC San Diego for undergrad, and Seattle University for graduate school. When he is not working, he enjoys going on hikes with his wife, playing with their two kittens, and training in martial arts.

Holly Hsu Senior Program Manager, Homeless Prenatal Program – Jelani House

Holly Hsu is the Senior Program Manager for the Transitional Housing and Emergency Shelter programs for pregnant and postpartum women experiencing homelessness at Homeless Prenatal Program. Holly joined HPP in July 2021. Prior to that, Holly was the Director of Programs for Larkin Street Youth Services, where she provided direct oversight to 10 of their housing programs that provided services for homeless at-risk youth between the ages of 18-24. Holly currently holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology from San Francisco State University and hopes to pursue her Masters in the near future.

Ashlee Jemmott Director of Strategic Partnerships, Pivotal Connections

Ashlee Jemmott has worked in the youth development, social justice, and mental health field, providing resources, assistance, and guidance to multi-systems involved youth and young adults for the past 10 years. She is a certified Wellness Recovery Action Plan facilitator, Emotional Emancipation Circle Facilitator, and a Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid Responder. Ashlee earned her Master’s in Business Administration from the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business, Mills College in Oakland California. Ashlee looks forward to using her lived experiences and her education to create new, sustaining, and equitable partnerships to support the mental health community in Alameda County. Ashlee is a proud member of the Peers Organizing Community Change and the Alameda County Mental Health Advisory Board. In her new role as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Pivotal, Ashlee looks forward to using her lived experiences as a former multi-system involved foster youth, and her education, to create new, sustaining, and equitable partnerships to develop an ecosystem serving foster youth. The ecosystem will advocate for policy change in regard to education and workforce institutions, developing ideas with key stakeholders and community members to implement and effect systemic change. Ashlee believes that strengthening the connections between education, government, and corporate partnerships will improve the ecosystem. Ashlee is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.

Yana Kusayeva Director of Evaluation and Impact, JVS

Yana Kusayeva is the Director of Evaluation and Impact at JVS, where she provides leadership and day-to-day management in the organization’s evolution toward a more data-driven culture. Yana is passionate about centering diversity, equity, and inclusion in evaluation and impact work and is helping JVS use an equity lens in making data-informed decisions and upholding high standards for performance and outcomes. Prior to joining JVS, Yana spent more than 8 years at MDRC, a national social policy research organization, where she worked on a variety of program evaluations as a researcher, manager, or technical assistance provider. During her tenure there, she was also a manager in the Office of Outreach, Diversity, and Inclusion. Yana holds an MPA in public and nonprofit policy and management from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School for Public Service, an advanced certificate in Globalization and International Affairs from Bard College, and a BA in International Studies from Adelphi University’s Honors College.

Kevin Ly Associate Director of Program – CA, COOP Careers

Kevin Ly grew up in a low-income community in Detroit, MI and experienced the fall of the auto industry. This led Kevin to move to San Francisco to further his education. Kevin graduated from San Francisco State University with a concentration in Marketing. During his time at SFSU he had the opportunity to study abroad in Rotterdam, The Netherlands through an International Business and Management Studies program. As he returned to the states to finish his last semester of college, he joined a nonprofit organization focusing on overcoming underemployment through digital skills and peer connections called COOP Careers. From there, Kevin had the opportunity to come back as an Alumni Instructor, becoming a Program Manager expanding the data analytics track to the Bay Area, to being the founding Senior Program Manager for the program expansion into Los Angeles. He currently sits on the Executive Leadership Team as an Associate Director of Program, CA where he focuses on providing strategic leadership, coaching, and development to four program managers and 72+ alumni instructors through execution of a comprehensive vision for programmatic excellence. As an Asian-American leader of change, Kevin’s purpose in life is to use his capacity of internalizing greatness in others and bringing out the best in people; combined with his love for community and setting motivational foundations for success to support economic disparity for marginalized communities. He is an avid lover of sports (#ballislife) and charcuterie boards!

Martha Mar Chief of Programs, Larkin Street Youth Services

Martha Mar joined Larkin Street in October 2005 and since then she’s held several direct service and management roles. In 2009, as the Manager of Education and Training she increased post-secondary counseling and enrollment among youth at Larkin Street, and focused on integrating educational programming throughout the continuum of services. In 2013, Martha was promoted from Program Manager to Associate Director, in recognition of her skill level and her intensive participation in Larkin Street’s strategic planning process, as well as her work implementing key education initiatives that arose from that plan. She became the Director of Larkin Street Academy in 2014 and provided senior leadership to all education, workforce development and training services. She was promoted to her current role in 2016. Prior to joining Larkin Street, Martha worked for a nonprofit organization that provided online educational tools to students and educators across Washington State. Martha received a B.S. in engineering from the University of Washington and brings her strong analytical, problem-solving and team skills to her roles.

LaMont Walker Regional Director of Programs, SoCal, First Place for Youth

LaMont Walker serves as the Regional Director of Programs, for Southern California at First Place for Youth. In this role, LaMont oversees the operating of the First Place program in the county, providing leadership and management to ensure quality of service and outcomes. Having been in the nonprofit sector for nearly 15 years, he recognized the impact he could make as a change agent. LaMont has a background in the Performing Arts and still continues to utilize his platform to decolonize system practices that hinder vulnerable populations’ access to the resources they need. LaMont education includes two Master’s Degrees, one in Public Administration and another in Performance Psychology.

Cassandra Yee Chief People Officer & General Counsel, Juma Ventures

Cassandra Yee serves as the Chief People Officer & General Counsel at Juma Ventures in San Francisco. She helps to define and to lead Juma’s people philosophy, fostering a culture of learning, collaboration and having a growth mindset. On top of overseeing all HR functions, she also directs Juma’s talent management strategy, advises on legal, HR and compliance questions, and serves as a champion for Juma’s DEI strategy and initiatives. With a background in employment and labor law prior to joining Juma, and with a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law, Cassandra has provided legal services to low-income clients in disputes involving wage and hour claims, harassment, retaliation, discrimination and wrongful termination and gained additional experience serving several departments in the Office of the City Attorney, San Francisco. Prior to this, she actively assisted nonprofits throughout Northern and Southern California, seeking to resolve gaps in community educational resources, as well as to provide crisis intervention and career support services for battered women. In her free moments, Cassandra enjoys spending time with her husband and their 16-month-old toddler, lately, that means seeking out the best splash pads in the Bay Area for her water-loving son to enjoy.

Bay Area thursday

Jennifer Adams Environmental Justice Program Coordinator, Nuestra Casa

Jennifer is a Bay Area Native passionate about connecting diverse communities to conservation, stewardship, and outdoor recreation. She currently works for Nuestra Casa, a nonprofit organization based out of East Palo Alto. At Nuestra Casa, she amplifies the community’s voices for local long-term sustainability, native land restoration, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Jennifer uses her Environmental Education background and California iNaturalist training to engage the community on critical environmental topics in a hands-on learning approach. She works closely with community partners and members to build strong, lasting, and mutual support to develop healthy and sustainable communities. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She enjoys spending time in nature for her mental and physical health, with friends and her dogs.

Jason Barillas Middle School Achievement Program Manager, SMART

Jason is originally from Los Angeles but has been living in the Bay Area for over 10 years. At Cal, they earned their BA in English and minored in Education. Jason has been in education since college, where they oversaw a mentoring program that matches Cal students with 4th and 5th-grade students. During their free time, Jason can’t resist a good Costco deal and continues his quest to become a Pokémon Master. Jason is currently the Middle School Achievement Program Manager at SMART, a 12-year college access program.

Iyesha Brown Associate Program Director, LifeMoves

Iyesha Brown was born and raised in Philadelphia, the oldest of ten girls, and spent her days skateboarding, playing basketball and exploring museums and libraries throughout the city. Before relocating to California in 2018, Iyesha was a Cook and Volunteer Coordinator at Broad Street Ministry, where her passion for working with the unhoused took hold. Once on the West Coast, Iyesha connected with LifeMoves to continue working with individuals experiencing homelessness and is currently the Associate Program Director of Julian Street Inn shelter in San Jose, California. She is still skating, playing ball and enjoying warmer winters.

Brande Brown Client Services Manager, Homeless Prenatal Program

Brande Brown is the Client Services Program Manager who manages the Triage Drop-In Services, Enhanced Visitation Program, Perinatal Health Navigation Program, and Front End Reception for Homeless Prenatal Program(HPP) in San Francisco. Brande believes that services should be delivered efficiently, professionally, and above all respectfully to everyone who comes to HPP as they serve one of the most vulnerable populations in San Francisco. Often people are not prioritized or treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve, so Brande has ensured that her staff has the tools they need to provide services that help empower those seeking services from HPP. In addition to managing three programs, and the front-end reception team, Brande plays an integral role in HPP’s Community Health Worker Program (CHW) by onboarding, and training the CHW cohort participants in providing case management services. Brande is dedicated to cultivating new service providers, and her team is made up of 60% of CHW graduates who have been trained and mentored by her and her team of case managers. As well as dedicating herself to ensuring that the programs she manages provide opportunities, and tools for self-sufficiency for clients seeking services, Brande is also a dedicated mother to her six-year-old son. Brande strongly believes that children should not have childhoods that they need to recover from, but should have the safety and space to harness their vast potential. Brande applies this idea in both her professional and personal life.

Paris Carthen Executive Assistant, Year Up

Paris Carthen is a Bay Area Native, born and raised in Oakland, CA. With a lack of resources to support her in college, she was introduced to a nonprofit workforce development program called Year Up. Graduating in 2012, she credits her success as a working professional to the program where she currently has been working for the last 9 years. She has worked on several different functional teams from Operations and Development to Program Management. She is now the Executive Assistant to Year Up’s Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Officer and Year Up’s Chief People Officer; supporting two functions that she is very passionate about; which are DEIB work and Human Resources. She is the most outgoing and authentic person you will know, and she is never afraid to be herself and makes sure that she has a seat at the table when making decisions that will benefit her in the long run. Outside of work, Paris enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is someone who loves to support others around her and lift them up to reach their fullest potential. She is a big lover of the Caribbean Festival Carnival, where she participates every year.

Kali Cheung Director, TAY System of Care, SF Department of Public Health

Kali Cheung has 20 years of public health experience in the government and nonprofit sectors across the Bay Area, working to address racial health injustices that marginalized BIPOC communities face. Her background is rooted in racial justice, primary prevention, social determinants of health, youth development, life course, community development, operational leadership, strategic grant-making, program development and evaluation, and systems change. Early on, seeing cyclical critical issues youth experienced through environmental influences and within service delivery systems–particularly the lack of choice, voice, and stabilizing support–has led her towards integrating prevention, policy advocacy and systems change to tackle the root causes of racial health inequities. In the nonprofit sector, she led several evidence-based programming around youth leadership development, community-based participatory research (CBPR), and civic engagement that empowered at-risk youth and key partners in community-mobilization campaigns around violence prevention, ATOD prevention, traffic safety, and healthy food access. In government, she incubated health equity initiatives centered on developing client-centered solutions with practitioners to address the socioeconomic factors that impact the health of pregnant TAY, fathers and families with young children. Kali is currently the Director of the Transitional Age Youth (TAY) System of Care at the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Behavioral Health Services Division. Her role is to oversee and build an integrated coordinated behavioral health system of care for BIPOC TAY at-risk of and/or experiencing homelessness through meaningful diverse collaborations, service redesign, workforce development, systems-level coordination and communications, public health administration, and policy change.

Kenyaun Christie Associate Director, Larkin Street Youth Services

Kenyaun Christie serves as one of the Associate Directors of Housing at Larkin Street Youth Services. Kenyaun has been with his agency for four years and he truly enjoys the work he does seeing Transitional Aged Youth develop healthily and follow their dreams. Kenyaun is originally from Southern California, and now resides in the Bay Area! He has a soft spot for the Golden State and wants to see it continue to be a part of the blossom and be a place for all to live. Kenyaun is passionate, compassionate and here to learn from the Institute’s community.

Steven Cong San Francisco Site Manager, Juma Ventures

Steven Cong serves as the San Francisco Site Director at Juma Ventures. Steven has experience in facilitation, leadership and workforce development, and public speaking through over five years of work at agencies that serve young people between 16-25. Steven became involved in the nonprofit space as a result of having grown up in spaces that were predominantly white, which led him to become hyper aware of his racial identity as someone who was constantly Othered. These childhood and young adult experiences led him to attain both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Asian American Studies as he continued his postsecondary education, which led him to volunteer and work at nonprofits serving the AAPI community. He became proficient in youth development through these experiences. While his current position does not specifically serve the AAPI community, his devotion to racial justice and equity remain firmly rooted in his commitment to social justice. In his spare time, Steven is an avid 4.0 tennis player, lover of photography, and boba enthusiast. Boba has been a cultural avatar of young Asian Americans and their communities and experiences, and he’d travel over 2.5 hours via bus to try new boba places back when he was a carless grad student in LA! While he definitely wouldn’t do that again, he’s happy to grab a cup of boba with folks in the cohort if they’re nearby.

Rhicka-Joyce Crudo Learning & Coaching Specialist transitioning into Operations Manager, City Year San Jose

Rhicka-Joyce Crudo (pronounced like Costa Rica) is a first-generation Filipina-American with a passion for social justice, education, wellness, art, and movement. She began her career in nonprofits interning for the International Rescue Committee where she focused on creating a curriculum to support refugees from Syria, Iraq, & Eritrea in obtaining their driver’s permits in San Diego. Rhicka-Joyce received her Bachelor’s in Communication from San Diego State University where she was first exposed to the social inequities within the country and amongst the community she grew up with. Rhicka was born in Los Angeles and moved to the East Bay Area in the first grade, but currently resides in San José. She has been working with City Year San José/Silicon Valley for the past five years and has recently been promoted to the site’s Operations Manager. Previously, she stood as the organization’s Learning & Coaching Specialist and was a Program Manager for a few years prior. In her career, Rhicka aims to bridge people of color within the organization & the community City Year serves toward opportunities that uplift individuals to chase their dreams. In her personal life, Rhicka hopes to achieve a life of comfort and security for her family & leave a legacy through teaching. In her off time, Rhicka enjoys creativity in all forms, eating potatoes of all forms, reading, roller skating, and hiking.

Emma Dayton Deputy Director of Communications, Center for Court Innovation

Emma Dayton is a nonprofit communication and marketing expert–currently working as the Deputy Director of Communications at the Center for Court Innovation, a New York-based national nonprofit that makes the justice system fairer and more effective and co-builds strong, healthy communities. Emma has over a decade of experience developing data-driven strategies, implementing streamlined systems, and creating cross-platform digital experiences and campaigns to increase awareness and engagement for nonprofits and their partners. She has worked on campaigns with brands such as PBS, Major League Baseball, Scholastic, United Nations and collaborated with influencers and celebrities such as Nas, Susan Sarandon, Diane Kruger, Ken Burns, and Eve Ewing.

Aparna Dhoraje Manager of Support Services, Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence

Aparna Dhoraje is the Manager of Support Services at Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence. In her role, she oversees programs that support survivors to become independent and self-sufficient. These programs include support groups, that include LGBTQ+ groups, groups for men who are victims, teen groups and a quilting group. Her other programs include long-term case management, a kids club, a therapy program, the economic independence program and a couple of pilot programs. She started working in the field of Domestic Violence about 25 years ago. She has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis on Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. She is very passionate about finding ways to end gender-based violence, be it through prevention or intervention. The mission of her organization is to end Domestic Violence in the moment and for all times. This propels her to work hard and find innovative ways to address this issue.

David Gordon Program Manager, First Place for Youth

David (Dave) Gordon is currently a Program Manager with First Place for Youth and has managed the San Francisco Independent Living Skills Program (SF ILSP) for the past two years. Prior to moving into his current position, he was a Youth Advocate Social Worker with First Place for Youth’s My First Place transitional housing program. David completed his Master’s degree in Social Administration (Social Work) at Case Western Reserve University, with a focus on Community and Social Development. While working at First Place for Youth, David has also been working toward the completion of his doctorate degree. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Social Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research interests are empowerment and critical consciousness development for youth of color. Specifically, his dissertation focuses on the development, maintenance, and application of childhood counter-narratives into emerging adulthood. This year, he is collaborating with faculty at UCSC on programming for the Campus + Community Center to promote community-engaged scholarship at UCSC. He is hopeful to complete his studies in 2023 and continue work in the nonprofit field that promotes the empowerment and thriving of children and youth of color.

Shayne Kaleo Deputy Director, Program Services, SHELTER, Inc.

Shayne Kaleo serves as the Deputy Director of SHELTER, Inc. Shayne Kaleo is the recipient of several exemplary employee awards and the recipient of the 2003 Woman of the Year award for Contra Costa County, Ms. Kaleo brings over 20 years of dedicated work in the social services industry. Ms. Kaleo currently provides oversight to three emergency shelters in Contra Costa, Solano and Sacramento Counties. In addition to this full-time load, Ms. Kaleo launched two Project RoomKey programs in Contra Costa and Solano counties during the pandemic. Under her guidance and stewardship, each program launched in under 2 weeks, and she built strong ties with temporary staff members who transitioned happily to permanent status when those Covid-19 programs concluded. While others sheltered in place, Ms. Kaleo and her dedicated team showed up 7 days a week to safely provide comprehensive services and de-escalate the anxiety and frazzled nerves of participants during a time of high tensions. As a native Hawaiian, Ms. Kaleo creates an environment of deep respect, dignity and care for her participants, while holding staff accountable with compassion. Ms. Kaleo’s leadership style is collaborative and authoritative, as she supervises 56 staff at 3 emergency shelters and has 4 direct reports. Due to the long hours and high stress of the job, there are a lot of turnovers with shelter attendants, yet Ms. Kaleo constantly encourages growth, and self-care, and offers a detailed training program that covers topics such as “Working with people experiencing homelessness” and “General Shelter mood: First week vs. last week of the month.”

Belinda Kemetse Senior Operations and Finance Manager, Nonprofit Housing

Belinda (she/her) joined the Nonprofit Housing (NPH) team in May of 2022 as the Senior Operations and Finance Manager where she helps create an equitable and inclusive workplace for NPH staff. She leads the Operations team in identifying areas to create internal systems that support the external work of NPH. Belinda has a double Master’s in International Business and Disruptive Innovation with specialization in Entrepreneurship and Family Business from Hult International Business School. She received her B.F.A in International Business and Fine Arts from Cottey College. Belinda’s education and passion for intercultural exchanges led her to 6 countries/cities including Dubai, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand. She takes her experiences abroad into consideration in every aspect of her personal and professional life. Belinda is a supporter of the arts and is an artist that loves to be in the ceramics studio, creating tableware and decorative pieces for her friends and family. She is an aspiring yogi that loves to travel, indulge in a good book, and explore hiking spots in the Bay.

Nancy Maldonado Assistant Program Manager, Homeless Prenatal Program

Nancy Maldonado serves as an Assistant Program Manager at Homeless Prenatal Program- Wellness Services since July 2021. During Nancy’s career, she has worked with families during pregnancy through their children reaching 5 years of age. She was born and raised in San Francisco. Living in a shelter during her childhood was the moment she knew she wanted to work with families who are working on getting resources for their families. Nancy went on to attend school and graduated from City College and San Francisco State with a Health Education Bachelor’s degree. She has worked as a Case Manager for over 6 years and is now developing her management skills.

Marlon Mendieta Program Director, LifeMoves

Marlon Mendieta has held leadership roles in various programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, focused on serving people experiencing homelessness, including immigrant communities. In three years with LifeMoves, he has supervised one of San Mateo County’s largest homeless shelters and a safe parking program. Currently, he is Program Director of an interim housing program in Mountain View. He has an undergraduate degree in Latina/Latino Studies from San Francisco State University, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Florida. Marlon’s approach to helping others is grounded in personal experiences and the life lessons shared by people he’s had the privilege of working with through his career. Through his participation in INP, Marlon seeks additional skills to better serve others, build better programs, and find innovative solutions to address homelessness.

Thomas Munoz Senior Director of Site Training & Development, College Track

Thomas serves as the Senior Director of Site Training and Development at College Track, a national education organization equipping students confronting systemic barriers to earn Bachelor’s degrees in pursuit of a life of opportunity, choice, and power. Thomas has worked in a variety of roles in the education space for 15 years, has deep experience in program design and delivery, and has led teams through a variety of phases: startup, growth, maintenance, and turnaround. Thomas is a lifelong learner who remains deeply passionate about nourishing potential in service of a more just and equitable future.

Imani Pardue-Bishop Community Development Specialist, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD)

Born and raised in Bayview Hunters Point, a low-income neighborhood in San Francisco, Imani explored extracurricular activities and professional development opportunities that leveled the playing field for BIPOC youth offered by nonprofit organizations. These opportunities partnered with her upbringing allowed her to develop a serving spirit and community mindset. Imani believes that her professional work should be centered around the improvement of conditions in underserved communities. Imani graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Minor in Africana Studies. At Barnard, Imani tutored students of all ages in varying capacities; as a literacy intervention tutor at local elementary schools; program/teaching assistant with Barnard’s Science and Technology Entry Program; and as a Teen Advisor with the West Side YMCA. After receiving a teaching certification in Special Education, Imani moved back to San Francisco to be a social worker and advocate for people with developmental disabilities. Now, Imani serves as a Community Development Specialist with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, supporting the development of the Cultural Districts Program. During her free time, Imani, the oldest of five children, enjoys spending time with her family and her dogs- Porkchop, Mocha, and Mystique. Imani is also an artist. Her passion for the arts was sparked by her grandmother, who continues to be her drive and inspiration to create today. Always having had an interest in both the visual and performing arts, but never any formal training, Imani was able to work under a local Bayview Artist as an apprentice at 15 years old. Connecting with local artists allowed her to not only understand what creating means on a personal level, but also for her surrounding community. Imani continued to draw and paint independently before starting Imani’s Faith Creations in 2020.

Laura Ross-Perry Program Development Manager, TechSoup

Laura Ross-Perry (she/her/hers) serves as the Senior Program Manager at TechSoup, a global nonprofit supporting civil society with digital resilience and technology needs. Laura works with TechSoup’s Global Network of nonprofit partners to develop and launch new programs, and collaborate on the Equity, Inclusion, Diversity, and Culture program. She has a background in International Development and EdTech, and a deep interest in exploring the intersections of civil society, social impact, and digital development through a global equity lens.

Josephine Saechao College Achievement Program Manager, SMART

As a first-generation college graduate and daughter of Southeast Asian refugees, Josephine Saechao (she/hers) is passionate about educational equity and college access. She believes in the power of storytelling as a means to leverage youth voices, build meaningful connections, and to heal as narrative building validates our identities. Josephine joins INP with 8 years of experience working in college access and retention, including UC Berkeley’s Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) and Destination College Advising Corps. She currently serves as the College Achievement Program Manager at SMART, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides resources for historically marginalized students starting in the 4th grade, to and through college. She oversees the organization’s high school to the college curriculum, events and programming, and fosters community partnerships to increase the number of first-generation students successfully graduating from college. To sustain grounding and balance, Josephine enjoys traveling, free writing, staying active, and finding new delicious bites around the Bay Area. Josephine holds a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, where her love for challenging educational inequities emerged from her work as a Peer Advisor to underserved students on campus. Josephine is excited to bring sustainable change to nonprofit organizations, supporting her advising team’s skills and growth.

Christa Salazar Operations Manager, Breakthrough Silicon Valley

Christa is happy to be back working in her hometown of San José as Breakthrough Silicon Valley’s Operations Manager, where she leads the organization’s HR and finance departments. Christa has spent her career working in urban education, previously as an Operations Associate at Chalkbeat and a Program Manager at TNTP. She’s also worked directly with young learners, spending a year as an America Reads tutor in a kindergarten classroom on New York City’s Lower East Side, teaching Computers for Youth’s Family Learning Workshops to middle schoolers in south and east Los Angeles, and tutoring students at 826LA. Christa earned an M.P.A. from the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy and a B.A. in Journalism and Politics from New York University.

Shaun Samuels Business Services Manager, Opportunity Junction

Shaun joined Opportunity Junction in July 2019 as a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Career Counselor and quickly transitioned to Business Services Manager. He has more than eight years of experience in workforce development; he previously worked with Robert Half Office Team as a staffing manager/recruiter and with the Workforce Development Board of Solano County, serving as a placement/career coach. In his current role as Business Services Manager, Shaun is responsible for creating and maintaining employer relationships and connecting them to program participants for job placement. Shaun’s favorite part about his job is helping his participants get out of their comfort zone to realize their potential, regain their confidence, and give them the gift of a job! Outside of work, Shaun is a talented and recognized branding and portrait photographer. He has been doing photography for five years.

Connie Swain Program Director, Compass Family Services

Connie Swain is a Program Director for an eviction prevention services program with Compass Family Service located in San Francisco, CA. Connie has worked in the nonprofit community for over a vicennial, working in vocational services, at-risk and homeless family prevention, domestic violence, human trafficking, and TAY services. Connie began her nonprofit career as a student and navigated the workforce through the years from a frontline staff person to her current position as a Program Director. Connie has always been committed to assisting her community and is passionate about helping to increase community knowledge, support service, self-sufficiency, and self-awareness.

Henry Velasquez Youth Education Senior Manager, Canal Alliance

Henry Velasquez serves as a Youth Education Senior Manager for Canal Alliance’s University Prep (UP!) Program in Marin County. He has worked at Canal Alliance for the past 5 years and in July 2021 became the manager of the youth program. He is very passionate about working with Hispanic Latino youth and their families. Henry grew up in the Bay Area in Marin County and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of the Pacific in Stockton. His parents immigrated from El Salvador and he is the first in his family to graduate from college. He hopes to be able to give the youth that he works with the opportunity to seek higher education and explore themselves deeper, just like he did. In his free time, he enjoys streaming shows on Netflix, playing video games, going on joy rides and hanging out with close friends. Fun fact, Henry went on a road trip with his friends from the Bay all the way up to Vancouver, Canada.

Mynesha Whyte DEI Manager, Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal)

Mynesha is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Bay Area Legal Aid in Oakland, CA. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania with six years of clinical mental health experience working in residential, inpatient, juvenile detention, and community-based settings. Mynesha participated in several anti-racism groups in Philadelphia working to change racist mental health and medical system practices. She graduated from Drexel University in 2015 with a Master’s Degree in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling. Mynesha co-founded Black MAGIC, an affinity group within the American Dance Therapy Association, that supports the lives and work of Black dance/movement therapists through community-building, resource sharing, education support, and creating spaces for reprieve. As co-leader of Black MAGIC, Mynesha planned two in-person retreats for over 20 therapists and students from across the US and several virtual community-building and fundraising events. She has presented at several conferences and co-authored an article in affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania. Mynesha’s work is grounded in spiritual purpose and a commitment to dismantling white supremacy in all aspects of her life, both professional and personal, and in the lives of those more impacted by it.

Boston wednesday

Mercedes Aponte Community Action Manager, Crossroads MA

Mercedes Aponte (she/her/hers) grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts as 1 of 3 kids in the house #MiddleChildrenUnite. She attended Bryn Mawr College as a Posse Scholar and is the first person in her family to go and graduate. She left Bryn Mawr with a BA in Geology in 2018, believing she would go into research and climate justice work. After graduating, she went down a different path and pursued a career in youth development for the C5 New England program at CrossroadsMA, a program she once attended as a young person. Mercedes has been working full-time for 4 years at CrossroadsMA, starting as a fellow and working her way to becoming a program manager. She is passionate about building equity throughout the world through mentorship and authentic coaching. In her free time, Mercedes plays rugby with a women’s league, spends time with her grandparents, or binge-watches shows with her roommate. She has a love for cooking new meals and trying new foods and cuisine.

Erin Barfield Senior Director of Development, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston

Erin Barfield is the Senior Director of Development for Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. Erin joined the Big Sister Boston team in March 2019 and has spent nearly a decade of her professional life working in service to nonprofits with incredible missions. Erin is passionate about the impact that mentoring has on young people — particularly girls. At Big Sister Boston, Erin manages and oversees development operations while also contributing to overall strategy and leadership with external committees & volunteers. Previously, Erin managed peer to peer fundraising for Shatterproof, launching a successful 5K run/walk event, and started her nonprofit career as Events Manager at Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, managing fundraising and community events along with creating the Young Professionals Committee. Erin also has experience in marketing and communications for a gourmet food distribution company, and she started her career working in alternative radio. Erin received a degree in Print Journalism and Audio/Radio Production from Emerson College. When she’s not working, Erin enjoys spending time with her husband and keeps active through a variety of hobbies, including roller derby, working out with friends, and skiing.

Titciana Barros Director of Community & Culture, The Teachers’ Lounge

Titciana Barros is the Director of Community and Culture at the Teachers’ Lounge. Her journey into education started 12 years ago as a TFA math teacher at Roxbury Prep. Over her tenure, Titciana was the first alum high school Principal, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction, Dean of Students, and a STEM teacher. Last year, she worked as a STEM Instructional Coach at Davis Leadership Academy. Titciana is passionate about mentorship, community building, and facilitating educational conversations. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Theology from Boston College and a Master’s of Education in Curriculum & Teaching with a focus in Mathematics from Boston University. 

Lisa Brown Dir. of Volunteer Services, Foster Care Review, Dept. Of Children and Families, Dept of Children and Families/Foster Care Review

Lisa Brown (she/her/hers) is the Director of Volunteers at Foster Care Review at Department of Children and Families. She grew up on the south shore of Massachusetts, studied at Franklin Pierce College in NH, lived briefly in Chicago, and once worked in the corporate world in the travel industry. Lisa currently works and lives in downtown Boston. She is a nonprofit professional with over 13 years of management experience in trauma informed care settings serving disenfranchised populations. She specializes in managing volunteer teams for mid-size organizations providing food insecure communities with access to nutritious food and wellness programs. Lisa currently oversees state-wide programs serving families and children in Massachusetts for the Department of Children and Families. She is interested in continuous learning, and she hopes to gain insight from this cohort.

Shiricka Brown Youth Development Manager, More Than Words

Shiricka Brown (Shi) works as a Youth Development Manager at More Than Words, a job training and youth development program that empowers system involved youth to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business. As a Youth Development Manager, Shi provides case management, coaching, and support to young adults to help them achieve their personal goals in education, employment, and self-efficacy. Prior to this position, Shi gained over a decade of experience in the nonprofit healthcare sector in New Jersey, providing medical case management for patients. Her professional passion is led by empowering clients to stand in their own advocacy, creating a bridge to supportive services and vital resources, and seeing tangible growth in those she works with. From a young age, Shi was taught the importance of volunteering and community service, leading to a lifetime passion for nonprofit work and supporting young people as they navigate challenging systems. Shi has volunteered as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) in Passaic County, New Jersey, a formal role for youth involved in the child welfare and court system that advocates for their best interests in school, court, and the community. Shi is passionate about social equity and justice. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (Boston Alumnae Chapter), she empowers and serves the needs of communities through outreach, engagement, programs, and events. She also serves as a member of the REI (Race, Equity, Inclusion) team at More Than Words, which oversees the advancement of REI goals for the organization. Shi graduated from Rutgers University as a member of the Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society with a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Shi lives in Natick, MA and is a hobby crafter that enjoys event planning and writing poetry.

Jennifer Bufithis-Hurie Associate Program Director, EVkids

Jennifer Bufithis-Hurie is the Associate Program Director at EVkids, a tutoring and mentoring program in Boston. Jenn graduated from Beloit College with a BA in Psychology, and she moved to Boston to serve in Americorps. This started the journey to working directly in communities in different neighborhoods around the city. She has worked for educational and youth empowerment nonprofits for the last 12 years and has been with EVkids for the last 5 years. She has a passion for working with youth and believes in the power of youth voice. She believes in the potential of consistent mentorship and strong relationships between adults and youth. When Jenn is not advocating for youth and families, she likes to be outside hiking, biking, and finding new places to explore. Jenn is looking forward to the Core Certificate Program!

Alithea Casimir Program & Partnership Manager, Youth Guidance

Alithea Casimir, LICSW, has joined Youth Guidance in Boston as a Program & Partnership Manager. She holds a strong passion for youth development and positive provider practice. Casimir brings a lens of trauma-informed care as well as diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion in practice beyond words. Her ability to take on a panoptic view on challenges supports her focus on details to achieve vision work. In her role, Casimir encounters all the adventures of navigating partnerships within public school systems as well as aligns commitments from stakeholders that work together to support successful outcomes. Casimir provides management of the BAM (Becoming a Man) and WOW (Working on Womanhood) programs. Her years of experience in community care, corporate finance, and nonprofit social work lends to the organizational focus of providing year-round social emotional learning support for youth. Casimir supports the Executive Director, Shawn Brown, in long and short-term planning for the Boston expansion site including the creation of strategic plans, operating strategies, and financial management. She also serves as a catalyst for the growth of programs and services by leading management efforts for WOW in the greater Boston area.

Tyler Cavanagh Development Coordinator, St. Stephen’s Youth Programs

Tyler Cavanagh (He/They), Manager of Development and Communications, St. Stephen’s Youth Programs (SSYP), holds a BA in music (vocal performance) from Westfield State University and has more than 15 years of experience in youth work, including licensed camps and childcare, teen leadership programming, mentoring, and arts education. As an experienced performer, Tyler brings a strong focus on story telling, visual communication, and event management to the development team at SSYP. Having spent the majority of his career doing direct service in youth development programs, Tyler focuses on bridging the gap that often separates development teams and program staff, and often finds himself in the classroom or on the playground at SSYP, interacting with the young people we work with. Passionate about inclusive community building, Tyler is known for his unique leadership development activities, often focused on interpersonal communications, soft skill growth, and celebrating diversity. He is also active in the SSYP Mentor program, paired with a wonderful teen staff member, who shares his excitement about astrology and the LGBTQ+ community. Born and raised on the South Shore, Tyler currently lives in Quincy. When not at SSYP Tyler can be found singing while he collects the carts at Trader Joes, teaching youth acting and musical theatre at Spotlight Music and Theatre Academy, or on stage with various community theatre groups on the South Shore.

Prince Charles CSNDC Computer Learning Center Director, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation

Prince Charles currently works at at the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation as the Computer Learning Center Coordinator.
Prince has trained 800+ residents/students who are enrolled in a curriculum called Tech Goes Home. Prince has taught the TGH Community program which is Adults learning the fundamental digital skills. Courses cover topics including but not limited to job searching, financial literacy, communicating with friends and family, and finding educational programs. The program involves 20+ hours of training conducted by a TGH trained staff member from the community organization in which the course is run. Upon completion of TGH, participants have the option of purchasing a new computer for $50 and we help them sign up for low-cost Internet access. Prince also does a TGH Small Business course that assists local micro entrepreneurs gain digital tools to strengthen their businesses and, in turn, the local economy. TGH Small Business supports micro entrepreneurs and nonprofits who serve low income neighborhoods and have minimal or no tech skills or access. Prince offers participants 25+ hours of free, hands-on technology and Internet resource instruction. Participants learn to use technology to: Organize- Use online City resources to manage finances, licensing, and permits; Market- Engage new and existing customers via websites and social media; Sell- Manage mobile and online purchases and accept credit card payments. Prince received an Associate Degree in Science from the New England School of Technology in 2004, and a Bachelor of Science in Digital and Recording Arts Technology in 2006.

Nekia Clark Director of Patient Services & Outreach, Ellie Fund

Nekia Clark the Director of Patient Services and Outreach at The Ellie Fund. Nekia is a single mother of 2 children and a breast cancer survivor. She loves to read and travel. Her goal is to network with other individuals who share the same goal of achieving leadership skills.

Teyana Curran Director of Regional Programs, Silver Lining Mentoring

Teyana (she/her) is the Director of Regional Programs at Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM) in Boston, MA. She brings her passion for social justice and relationship-building to oversee the strategic direction of local programs by collaborating with team members to provide the best quality services possible for mentees and mentors. All of her efforts are in the service of working towards SLM’s mission: to empower youth in foster care to thrive through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. Teyana has a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and she has been serving youth and young adults in the Greater Boston area for over a decade. Prior to SLM, Teyana worked at Summer Search, where she served in a variety of roles including the Director of High School Programs. She spent five years mentoring students aged 15+, and she supported other mentors in providing mentoring services to the participants who were navigating diverse and nuanced pathways. Teyana continues to be driven by her desire to empower young people to be their full selves and to support them in having access to the opportunities and networks that will help them navigate adulthood independently.

Beverly Eugene-Graham CEO and Lead Consultant, B.E. Phoenix Consulting

Beverly is a passionate advocate, facilitator, and consultant with over 10 years of experience using an intersectional framework to train organizations on Cultural Competency, Implicit Bias, Disability, and LBGQT Equity at MaeBright as a collaborator. They are passionate about prioritizing the interests of the most marginalized in all communities, particularly Black and LGBQT folks. Their drive for this work comes from their own experience with systems of power that place non-hegemonic identities at the margin. Within the past five years their work has shifted from academic and community initiatives to supporting corporations and nonprofits to reach their varying Equity and Inclusion goals through organizational assessments, strategic planning, and training for service providers and corporate professionals. They bring openness, vulnerability, and strength to have frank conversation on challenging topics.

Daisy Guzman Associate Director of Development, Trinity Boston Connects

Daisy is a committed professional in her role as Associate Director of Development at Trinity Connects Boston, and she has long maintained a passion for social justice, diversity, inclusion, and equity. She makes an incredible impact at organizations that she is involved in as well as other people. Daisy has excellent judgement and is an incredible team player. She cares deeply about her work, and she pushes herself consistently to do the best she can. She takes initiative and always pursues opportunities to learn and lead.

Nathaniel Hayes College Access Manager, Thrive Scholars

Nathaniel (Nate) Hayes was raised on Chicago’s Southside prior to completing a Bachelor’s in Philosophy at Washington and Lee University and a Master’s of Public Service at the University of Arkansas – Clinton School of Public Service. His academic pursuits empowered him to lean into his value of developing people-centered solutions for individualized growth, particularly regarding college access, inclusion, and equity. Within his career, he has been an advocate in expanding opportunities through his various roles in College Admissions as well as within High School and Nonprofit organizations’ College Access curriculums. He focusses his attention on communities in urban and rural settings who have been historically marginalized from quality education access.

Kaelin Holland Associate Director, Prospect Development & Research, Year Up

Kaelin Holland (she/her) has over ten years of experience in the nonprofit and social impact sector, working for causes spanning from environmental advocacy to workforce development. She is currently an Associate Director of Prospect Development & Research at Year Up. She leads prospect research & pipeline management for a team of institutional solicitors and supports a growing corporate philanthropy program. She previously spent five years in prospect research at Northeastern University, including leading international research focused on alumni and families in the United Kingdom, Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. She began her career at the Environmental League of Massachusetts, with responsibilities in fundraising operations, event planning, data management, and communications. She has also held freelance research and writing positions for academics and a startup venture capital fund. She received her BA in English and Environmental Studies from Santa Clara University in 2011 and her MBA from Northeastern University in 2017. She previously served on the leadership team of Net Impact Boston, a volunteer-run social impact networking organization, and was a volunteer docent at the Institute of Contemporary Art. She enjoys cooking, being outdoors, and remaining optimistic about her gardening skills.

Chanie Infante Louisma Strategic Engagement Manager, Housing Opportunities Unlimited

Chanie is the Strategic Engagement Manager at Housing Opportunities Unlimited with experience in community development, housing, and youth work. Before HOU, Chanie was the Communications Manager at Dorchester Bay Economic Development and developed, managed, and executed media/digital strategies and campaigns for the organization and its small business lending program. In that role, Chanie created the organization’s first online campaign, the first monthly giving campaign appeal, and also developed and published the organization’s very first digital and interactive annual report. The rebranding of the small business lending program, Dorchester Bay Neighborhood Business Loans, was co-led by Chanie, and she also launched the Small Business Month social media campaign that featured a coalition of local small businesses. Chanie’s work with children and their families fueled her interest in studying Human Services at Springfield College. She completed a graduate program in Nonprofit Management at Suffolk University and later gained a Master’s of Business Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Springfield College. Chanie is involved in several community programs and previously served as co-chair of the Boston Scituate METCO Parent Organization, board member of the Dorchester Food Co-op, Community Liaison with the Huntington Theater’s Community Membership Program, and freelance writer for the Dorchester Reporter and The Jewish Advocate.

Sara Jean-Francois Manager of Partnership Engagement, One Goal Massachusetts

Sara Jean-Francois (She/Her/Hers) is a Massachusetts native with a passion for racial justice, educational opportunity, and women’s rights. She holds a B.A in Psychology and a B.S in Health Policy and Management from Providence College (Class of 2019) and a Master’s of Public Policy from Brandeis University (Class of 2021). As a graduate student, her research focused on demystifying the phenomena of “anti-racist campuses” and establishing metrics for evaluating campuses on a criteria of “race-consciousness” rather than anti-racism. Following her graduate degree, Sara worked as the Assistant Director at a small nonprofit organization in Boston. Now, as Manager of Partnership Engagement at One Goal Massachusetts, Sara works with secondary and post-secondary institutions to build relationships that will enable students to transition from high school to college more seamlessly. Sara is a recipient of the 2020 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Equity and Inclusion Fellowship. Sara also serves on the Advocacy Committee for YWCA of Boston and the Minds Matter Boston Associate Board. Ultimately, Sara aspires to leverage her experience working with students and administrators, as well as creating and implementing programs, to develop more inclusive and equitable practice, policies, and pedagogy in the education sector.

Rachel Evelyn Jean-Louis Director of Development and Learning, The Teachers’ Lounge

Rachel Evelyn Jean-Louis is the Director of Learning and Development at the Teachers’ Lounge. Evelyn is the daughter of two Haitian immigrants and was born and raised in Cambridge Massachusetts with her eight brothers and sisters. Evelyn started her work as an educator in 2011 as a mentor and went on to teach in Brooklyn, NY, and Cambridge, MA. Evelyn is an innovative and service-driven educator who is passionately committed to empowering young minds to reach their highest potential. As the Director of Learning and Development, Evelyn will go on to design and launch the Classroom Leaders of Color Teacher Fellowship. 

Andrew Kall Development Director, New England College of Optometry (NECO)

Andy is the Director of Development at New England College of Optometry. Andy is passionate about education and building relationships with community members, alumni, and corporate partners.

Jumaane Kendrick Director of Programs and Partnerships, MissionSAFE

Jumaane Kendrick is the Director of Programs and Partnerships of MissionSAFE — a community diversion program created to divert youth from the school to prison pipeline. He has earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Lasell College in Newton, MA and a Bachelor’s in Business Management at Bays State College of Boston. In addition, Jumaane was a gang interrupter with Ten Point Coalition mediating battles between rival gangs. He was also a Coordinator at The Violence Intervention Advocacy Program which provides support and resources to all gunshot and stab wound victims who enter Boston Medical Center’s Emergency room; they also provide trauma response support and resources to help survivors recover emotionally, mentally, and physically. Jumaane is described as an “exemplar of forgiveness” and is the definition of resiliency, being a high school drop out, ex-offender, ex-gang leader, and a survivor of street violence. Jumaane set out to put an end to losing anymore friends to street violence. Jumaane started Lasell Denim & Co. — a clothing and production company in remembrance of his friend Terrance Lasell Jacobs who was killed in 2009. Jumaane occupied his friends’ time and provided a safe place to prevent further retaliation or incarceration. Through his efforts, several of his friends created their own companies, went off to college, found career paths, or have left the streets in the past. In recognition of his exceptional work around community violence, mentoring, and gang mediation, he was recognized and honored in 2012 by The Philanthropic Initiative and awarded the Boston Neighborhood Fellows Unsung Hero Award for being a change agent.

Alexis Kubana Associate Director of Workforce Initiatives, International Institute of New England

Kubana (preferred name) is the Associate Director of Workforce Initiatives at the International Institute of New England, (IINE). He is an experienced and community-oriented innovator with a passion for close collaboration with refugees and immigrants. He is the founder of Tomorrow Vijana (Youth), and he is skilled in recruitment, program development, capacity building, volunteer management, education, community outreach, and story telling. Kubana is currently involved in workforce development, and he is responsible for strengthening existing initiatives and assessing, developing, implementing, and evaluating new initiatives in IINE’s workforce skills training programming throughout New England.

Lihuan Lai Chief Operation Officer, College of Social Innovation

Lihuan Lai (she/her) has a longstanding passion for supporting students who come to this country seeking educational opportunities, and she brings over 13 years of professional experience, most recently working in international admissions for Bentley University and Fordham University. Her work experience also includes chapters at the Asian University For Women in Chittagong Bangladesh, at the Asian American Civic Association, and as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Commonwealth School. Born in Southern China, Lihuan moved to the United States with her family when she was eight years old. Lihuan has a Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership Development from Fordham University and is proficient in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hakka. In her free time, Lihuan loves to practice yoga asana, social dancing (bachata, salsa, zouk), and pretending to be a plant doctor to her garden and fruit trees.

Kanika Minocha Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging Manager, Doc Wayne Youth Services

Kanika Minocha is the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Manager at Doc Wayne Youth Services. Kanika is responsible for creating a culture of safety, equity, and inclusivity, both within the staff and for youth and partners. She earned a B.A. in Psychology at San Jose State University while also competing on the Division I varsity golf team. Kanika got an Ed.M. and M.A. in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College at Columbia University. Kanika has received training in Trauma Informed Care and Gender Diversity & Inclusion. In previous professional settings, she has worked with athletes and immigrants, and she is very dedicated to her clinical roots along with her passion for justice and equity.

Brendan Monahan Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, St. Francis House

An experienced nonprofit professional and fundraiser, Brendan Monahan serves as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at St. Francis House, the largest day shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty in Greater Boston, and all of Massachusetts. In this capacity, Brendan works with corporations, foundations, local businesses, and community groups to create mutually beneficial partnerships which helps fulfill St. Francis House’s mission and achieve supporters’ goals around philanthropy, volunteerism, employee engagement, and recognition. As a firm believer in leveraging his skills in support of causes he believes in, he has helped raise millions of dollars for a variety of worthy causes, doing similar work on behalf of Father Bill’s & MainSpring, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund, the United Way, and Stonehill College. Brendan holds a BA in History and Criminology from Stonehill College.

Laura Montoya Henao Program Associate, Enroot Education

Laura brings a background in supporting high school youth in South America, coaching business professionals, and serving on the Cambridge International Examination team in Colombia. Currently, Laura provides academic support to immigrant youth in Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and has over 6 years of experience designing and teaching programs, particularly business and language curricula, to diverse populations. She is passionate about the connections between education and innovation and the role the two contribute to helping students.

Shanita Nichols National Director of Development, Bottom Line

Shanita serves as the National Director of Development at Bottom Line. In her role, she helps lead Bottom Line’s national efforts to engage stakeholders to raise the funds and resources needed to grow Bottom Line in terms of students served and communities served. A Bottom Line alumnus and Boston native, Shanita earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and African American Studies from Smith College and a Master of Business Administration with a focus in Corporate Social Responsibility from Simmons University. Shanita has a background in corporate community relations and financial services. Before joining Bottom Line, she worked at State Street Corporation in their Corporate Citizenship department as the Employee Community Engagement Manager. Her primary responsibility was to manage engagement and volunteerism in North America and foster relationships with nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. She also launched and served as the chair of an employee resource group in support of the State Street Foundation strategic community initiative to create meaningful careers for Boston youth and to help diversify the employee pipeline. Prior to this, she worked at BJ’s Wholesale Club (Corporate Office) as the Foundation and Fund Analyst in their Community Affairs Department. She played a significant role in the development and implementation of both new and ongoing partnerships between BJ’s Charitable Foundation (BJCF) and nonprofit organizations. She also managed the BJ’s Aisle Help Fund, a chain-wide employee emergency relief fund that provides financial support to Team Members in need. Shanita’s life mission is to advocate for educational equity and to provide resources to underserved communities to break generational curses. As a first-generation college student, Shanita knows first-hand the positive impact of education and how it can change the trajectory of a person’s life.

Molly Paone Assistant Manager of Program Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Mass

Molly Paone has had a variety of roles working with children and families: from summer camp, to refugee resettlement and from event planning to in-home therapy. Molly went to undergrad for child development at Colby-Sawyer college and got her Master’s in social work at the University of Stavanger in Norway through the Erasmus Mundus Family program. A certified yoga teacher and advocate for trauma informed care, Molly works to equitably promote access to social emotional learning and self-regulation tools. As an Assistant Manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern MA, Molly interviews families who want mentors for their children and volunteers who want to be mentors, and she matches them up based off needs and interests. Working with families from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic positions, Molly is interested in getting more involved in social reform efforts and increasing economic advancement for all. In her spare time, Molly enjoys travelling, going for walks, making art, and showing up for book club even though she didn’t finish the book.

Victoria Patlajan Director of Education, Project Place

Victoria Patlajan (she/her) is the current Director of Education at Project Place, where she has worked for the last 5 years. She is an alumn of Clark University (’14 BA in English) and Johns Hopkins University (’16 MSEd). Victoria started her career as a Special Education teacher with Chicago Public Schools, but when she moved back to Massachusetts, she found a love for the nonprofit world at Project Place and hasn’t left since. Project Place promotes a community of hope and opportunity for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the skills, education, and resources needed to obtain and sustain employment and housing. Victoria is a member of the Senior Leadership Team and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. She leads a team of full-time instructors and coordinators and oversees workforce development programming and credentialing.

Nicole Patnaude Director of the National Quality Mentoring System, MENTOR

Nicki Patnaude (she/her) is the Director of the National Quality Mentoring System and understands the value of having good mentors in one’s life. Guided by caring adults she found along the way, Nicki has invested her career in helping young people identify the supportive relationships they will need once they’ve aged out of systems, like foster care, and providing training and support to programs that nurture these types of relationships. At MENTOR, she spends most of her time talking about what makes mentoring programs great and how they can continue to improve and innovate over time. She leverages her strengths as a developer and communicator to create a culture of continuous quality improvement in partnership with MENTOR’s Affiliates, partners, and mentoring programs. A Minnesota girl at heart, Nicki relocated to the Boston area in 2020 and can often be found outdoors near a body of water or trying to find the best iced coffee beverage in the New England area.

Tu Phan Youth Program Manager, The Food Project

Tu Anh Phan is a Youth Development Manager at The Food Project which is based in Boston and Lincoln. The mission is to create a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system. Tu Anh’s program works with returning youth (14-18 year olds), and it also works with farmers, community organizers, and development team.

Ashley Pinciaro Northeast Regional Manager, Narrative 4

Ashley Pinciaro (Ashley) is the Northeast Regional Manager for Narrative 4, a global nonprofit with the mission of building the next generation of empathic leaders. Ashley manages Narrative 4’s work throughout New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont, developing over 50 new institutional partnerships in just 18 months. Ashley intentionally develops strong relationships with all N4 partner schools and organizations, supporting and encouraging their efforts in using Narrative 4 tools and resources to build empathy and connection in their environments. Ashley’s work in the nonprofit sector spans over 10 years. Over the decade she has developed inclusive and energetic programs for multiple organizations, recruiting and stewarding multifaceted partnerships, hiring, supervising, and managing dedicated staff teams, and maintaining key external relationships. She is a highly relational and communicative leader with experience developing successful recruitment strategies, creating initiatives to communicate the vision and successes of the organization to a wider audience, and developing new program procedures to sustain and build out future growth. Ashley holds an M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College (2009) and a B.A. in English, Honors, Magna Cum Laude, from Millsaps College (2007).

Marynee Pontes Deputy Director, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City

Marynee Pontes currently serves as the Deputy Director for the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program, based out of the nonprofit organization, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. In this role, Marynee oversees the growth and development of the ICCC program, cultivating and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders to support the expansion to different markets and demographics. In addition, she manages all the program logistics and operations, as well as leading the program’s recruitment efforts. In her spare time, Marynee serves as a Board Member and Co-Chair of the DEI Committee for Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG), a nonprofit that empowers young girls in under-resourced communities through positive mentoring relationships. She also serves as the Director of Development for the Kriola’s Professional Association, an international professional association for Cabo Verdean women. Prior to joining ICIC, Marynee was a Project Manager with Studio 189, an ethical fashion social enterprise based in Accra, Ghana that worked to create sustainable livelihoods for female artisans. She was responsible for managing their clothing production factory, where she provided financial literacy and development trainings to artisan workers, and she utilized data and research to increase efficiency and sustain high wages for workers. Marynee holds a B.A. in International Relations, Economics, and Africana Studies from Tufts University.

Dominique Rainey Senior Managing Adviser, Bottom Line

Dominique Rainey is a young, successful, and proud Black woman. She is a first-generation college graduate who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University in 2016. Afterwhich, she started her passion for supporting high school students through the college application process as an AmeriCorps member of College Advising Corps-Boston University. Today, Dominique continues this work as the Interim Access Team Manager at Bottom Line, an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing educational equity and economic mobility. In her role, Dominique assists first-generation students from low-income backgrounds through the college application and financial aid processes, and she currently supervises a team of three access advisors.

Jorge Villarini Major Gifts Officer, Boston Ballet

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jorge Andrés Villarini currently serves as Major Gifts Officer for the Boston Ballet. As a former professional dancer, Jorge toured nationally and internationally with Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Martha Graham Dance, and BalletMet. Throughout this 15-year performance career, his repertoire included works within the classical, neoclassical, modern, and contemporary dance realms. Jorge received his dance education in Puerto Rico at the Escuela de Baile ANDANZA, as well as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theater in New York. He posses a BFA in Dance with a concentration in Ballet Performance from Marymount Manhattan College. In 2020, as the world shut down to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Jorge decided to transition into a career in nonprofit development joining the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s development team were he worked until January of 2022 as a Development Coordinator. The experience with INP allowed Jorge to redefine his work as a racial justice advocate in the ballet industry.

Abigail Welty Development Manager, Bottom Line

Abby Welty is the Development Manager in Bottom Line’s Massachusetts region, where she supports fundraising efforts that allow Bottom Line to partner with more degree-aspiring students in Boston.

Boston Thursday

Kevan Barton Executive Director, YouthConnect – Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston

Kevan Anthony Barton, LICSW is the Executive Director of YouthConnect (a program of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston), with more than 20 years of experience working with children and adolescents in the Boston area. Kevan received his MSW from the Boston University School of Social Work. Having worked with several nonprofits in the Greater Boston area including at Quincy-Geneva Housing Development Corporation, Sociedad Latina, United Way and Lift, Inc., Kevan has extensive leadership and management experience. Kevan’s most recent work prior to YouthConnect was at Middlesex Community College, where he was the Assistant Director and the Lead Social Worker for The B.R.I.D.G.E. Program, an alternative middle school in Lowell, MA. Kevan began his work with YouthConnect in 2002 as a district-based social worker in South Boston, then moving to the Roxbury district, the Gang Unit/School Police Unit, and a Senior Social Worker. In his most recent role after returning to YouthConnect in 2015, Kevan has served as Director of Operations, ensuring that program policies and procedures are up-to-date and reflect the mission of the program. Additionally, Kevan manages the development of the client database platform to help inform best practices and policies in the program logic model. Kevan currently serves on the board of directors of Gender Spectrum and has previously served on the Board of Zumix.

Stacey Beuttell Executive Director, WalkBoston

Stacey Beuttell became Executive Director of WalkBoston in October 2019, after being with the organization since 2013, and having held the titles of Deputy Director (2017-2019) and Program Director (2013-2016). She is committed to WalkBoston’s mission to make walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and more vibrant communities, and has elevated mobility justice as central to the mission. Her approach draws on the expertise and desires of residents, community-based organizations, and municipal staff to make built environment changes that improve the quality of life and public realm in neighborhoods across the Commonwealth. As Executive Director, Ms. Beuttell ensures ongoing programmatic excellence in advocacy initiatives and grant-funded projects; actively engages board members, donors and volunteers in impactful and rewarding work; guides fundraising efforts; and provides consistent high-quality management of financial and administrative matters. She is an appointed member of the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board and a member of the Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) Executive Committee. She also serves as the WalkBoston representative on many Boston and statewide coalitions including the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, Great Neighborhoods Coalition, and the Traffic Safety Coalition. Prior to joining WalkBoston, Ms. Beuttell practiced urban planning and design at Sasaki Associates for 13 years where she gained valuable community engagement, presentation and design skills that serve her well in the nonprofit sector. As a senior urban planner, Stacey developed master plans and established management guidelines that celebrated and protected ecological systems while creating people-centered campuses for institutional and corporate clients.

Alison Carter Marlow Executive Director, Jeremiah Program – Boston

Alison Carter Marlow is the Executive Director at the Jeremiah Program (JP) Boston campus. She is a space maker and thought leader with a deep desire to see black and brown women thrive. Alison actively coaches and mentors women who have brilliant, harbor limiting beliefs. Prior to joining Jeremiah, she worked for more than eighteen years in various capacities at Action for Boston Community Development, Inc.- the largest community action program in New England. She also served as Director of Programs and Operations at YouthBuild Boston, a vocational and service training nonprofit in Roxbury for over six years. Alison earned her Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College and a graduate certificate in Public Administration from Suffolk University. With more than two decades of experience in human services, Alison is excited to be at JP, leading the efforts to support an organization that partners with moms in the pursuit of their gifts and dreams. This role provides tremendous opportunities to grow professionally and to grapple with her career-long questions about what truly builds assets in BIPOC communities.

Heather DiNino Founder/Director, Elements Academy, Inc

Heather DiNino is an educator, entrepreneur, and mom. A long-time teacher and lifelong learner, Heather worked for over a decade as a public school special educator. Realizing she could have more of an impact without burnout and while making her own rules, she opened an independent private school in 2020 (yes, right smack dab in the midst of lockdown…) She is passionate about providing an opportunity each child to find their strengths, explore their passions, and follow their true path in life. She coaches teachers and parents to support this journey by engaging each child’s innate curiosity and creativity. Heather had also previously founded an Inclusive Family Yoga Studio and weaves family wellness support into the school – creating more than just a school – a community. Heather’s most challenging and rewarding role to date is mom to 2 spirited children – they are the inspiration and anchor to the work she does.

Erin Dyson-Enamorado Director of Business Development, More Than Words

Erin Dyson-Enamorado is the Director of Business Development at More Than Words with nearly 10 years dedicated experience in acquisitions, logistics and training in a job-training program aimed to help to empower system involved youth to take charge of their lives. Previously supported a youth program for 5 parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina and coordination/management of a disaster relief facility and work camp servicing 5,000 volunteers annually and support relief efforts across 8 towns. She now lives in Shirley with her husband, 3 children and loved pets where they enjoy access to the local hiking trails 3/4 of the year and ski trails in the winter. Her passion has always been with helping others and having a real hands-on role – something her career at More Than Words has allowed her to do. She is passionate about tackling systems of oppression, particularly those that affect immigrants and their families as it is something very near and dear. On her “off” time she continues to make improvements in the world – namely in the form of her turn of the century home – a true labor of love and something she has dreamed of doing since a child.

Janelle Engerman Chief Impact Officer, He is Me Institute

Janelle Engerman has been Chief Impact Officer of He is Me Institute since August 2021. In her role, she is responsible for the planning, facilitation, and the overall effectiveness of He is Me programs and partnerships. She works closely with He is Me partners to create ecosystems designed to increase the number of effective Black male teachers. Over the past 10 years, Janelle has worked in various K-12 roles to improve educational outcomes for students in her hometown of Boston, MA. During this time she has been a paraprofessional, leader of Special Education instruction, and overseen school culture and climate. She joined He is Me Institute after serving as a high school assistant principal. Janelle studied Sociology at Framingham State University. She enjoys learning and sharing her passion for education with individuals who are motivated to make a difference.

Ellen Gallagher Chief Program Officer, Tech Goes Home

Ellen Gallagher (she/her/hers) aspires to create more equitable and just communities. In May of 2022, she joined Tech Goes Home (TGH) as their Chief Program Officer. TGH brings computers, internet, and training to families and individuals throughout Massachusetts so students can do homework, adults can find jobs and manage finances, seniors can connect with loved ones, and all can lead healthy lives. Ellen currently leads a team of nine and was drawn to the organization because of its focus on racial justice and because it works for equity in a tangible way. Ellen spent over a decade advocating for the rights of immigrants and refugees. She worked in Rhode Island doing community engagement and as a lobbyist for immigrant rights from 2005-2008. Next, she moved to Boston where she was an organizer with MIRA, the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition. After MIRA, she spent five years directing programs at Welcoming America where she was the founding staff person. Welcoming America supports communities in their efforts to be inclusive, welcoming places for immigrants and refugees. After her time with Welcoming America, Ellen earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Beginning in 2017, she spent five years working at HKS. She first managed an experiential learning field lab and next led leadership development programming for students at the Center for Public Leadership. She has her BA in Sociology from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Ellen lives in Cambridge with her wife and two elementary-school-aged children.

Darian Gambrell Executive Director, DEAF, Inc.

Darian grew up alone in the mainstream and didn’t learn American Sign Language until she was 10 years old. Once she learned the language, she also learned more about her deaf identity and the different identities as a black deaf woman. Her life experience has prepared her for her continuous journey. Since 2021, Darian is the new incoming Executive Director for DEAF, Inc. in Allston, MA. A community based nonprofit organization for deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind and late deafened adults. Prior to arriving to Massachusetts, Darian was manager at the Raleigh regional center of the North Carolina Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, which has seven regional centers across the state. Prior to this role, Darian was well-known at Gallaudet University for her student-centered management; she oversaw the Office of Student Success and had a leadership role in the university’s JumpStart and Peer Mentoring programs for incoming students. Darian has worked in several positions in nonprofit, colleges, and state agencies throughout her career. She is a current member on the Board of Trustees at Gallaudet University and a former board member for Arts Access, Inc. Gambrell hosts community conversations and workshops and has since cultivated a reputation as an engaging facilitator on diversity and inclusion dialogues. She received Bachelors and Masters from Gallaudet University.

Stacey Harris VP, National Expansion, Institute for Nonprofit Practice

Stacey L Harris is INP’s Vice President of National Expansion. In this role, Stacey supports the design and implementation of INP’s new market and program expansion strategies. Currently, her portfolio includes INP’s 2022-2023 launches of the Black Leadership Institute and Core programming in the Bay Area and Western New York. Stacey has dedicated the last 10+ years to advancing racial and social equity through education access and workforce development. Her experience includes project management, education/workforce nonprofit strategy, and program launch, implementation, and scale. Stacey spent 6 years at Year Up where she managed national projects aimed at standardizing student training across the network, provided strategic support to a number of regional agencies, and helped launch the organization’s offices in Tampa Bay and Charlotte. In her final 2 years there, she launched, managed and grew a pilot program in New York that has resulted in over 100 young adults obtaining career-track jobs. The program is now considered to be a vetted model for the organization’s expansion efforts. She began her career at Citizen Schools, first as an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow in Revere, Massachusetts, and then as Executive Assistant and finally Chief of Staff to the Massachusetts Executive Director. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and an MPP, focused on education policy and nonprofit management, from the Harvard Kennedy School. 

Brenda Hernandez Chief of Equity and Engagement, Planned Parenthood League of MA

Brenda Hernandez is a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging professional with over a decade of experience in the higher education and nonprofit sectors. Most recently she served as the inaugural Chief of Equity and Engagement at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She received her BA in women’s studies from Mount Holyoke College and her JD, cum laude, from Pace University School of Law. Brenda is a feminist activist and has presented on issues of reproductive justice, abortion support, and street harassment at several universities and conferences. She is a trained yoga teacher and practitioner and brings mindfulness into her equity practice. She enjoys performing and attending live music. A native of Northampton, she currently resides in Roslindale with her husband, daughter, and their cat Amethyst.

Katie Hyten Co-Executive Director, Essential Partners

Katie Hyten is the Co-Executive Director of Essential Partners, a nonprofit organization that gives people the means to strengthen relationships, deepen belonging, and renew hope in their communities. During Katie’s tenure at Essential Partners, she has served as the program lead on collaborations with local grassroots groups, churches, foundations, and colleges, training stakeholders to design, convene, and facilitate dialogues across differences. She has helped communities hold dialogue about topics such as the role of guns in American life, ethnic violence and civil society, racial and ethnic diversity, as well as campus inclusion and belonging. Katie completed her master’s degree in international negotiation and conflict resolution at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, where her research addressed foreign policy in religious conflicts. She has held appointments as a Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at Tufts University where she developed and co-taught a course entitled “Dialogue, Identity, and Civic Action” and as a consultant for Harvard Medical School’s Scientific Citizenship Initiative to co-design a course on science communication for ethical community engagement. Prior to joining Essential Partners, Katie served as a mediator and independent consultant in conflict resolution processes and helped develop and manage the first university-wide inter-religious institute at Pepperdine University. She was awarded Harvard’s Program on Negotiation (PON) Summer Fellowship to support her research and work with Search for Common Ground in Lebanon. Raised in a military family, Katie lived in six states before entering college. She and her partner now live in Massachusetts when they’re not visiting family in Colorado, Alabama, and Australia.

Zaida Ismatul Oliva Executive Director, Chica Project

Bi-cultural, proud immigrant, first in family, English-language learner, dual citizen – so many ways to describe The Chica Project Executive Director, Zaida which all makes her empathetic to the lives of the young women they serve. More importantly, her life experience renders Zaida profoundly committed to cultivating a world of women empowering women, a sisterhood of love and uplifting one another. She came to Chica Project from her leadership role at Bunker Hill Community College where she directed dual enrollment and early college related programming. Her experience conducting outreach, recruiting 60-90 mentors annually, spearheading curriculum and trainings for academic achievement and cultural competency brought her to what she describes as her dream job. (Of course, second place to her role as mom to 3-year-old Luna).

Marcus Kennedy Director of Corporate Relations, United Way Massachusetts Bay

Marcus Kennedy currently works at the United Way as the Director of Corporate Partnerships of life sciences and higher education in the Boston area. He has held various roles within the pharmaceutical, medical device and tech industry. In his new role with the United Way, he is chartered with closing the health, education and economic equity gap for underserved communities. He also is part of United Way’s BoSTEM and Work Equity committee within the United Way. Marcus is a graduate of University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in Finance. Marcus is a Boston native who enjoys travel, cooking and the beach life.

Marta Kuperwasser Operations Director, WE in the World

Marta serves as the Director of Operations for WE in the World. With over 19 years in Operations and Finance Management, Marta has a passion for seeing the puzzle pieces coming together. She understands that no area is complete without the synergy that comes from operating as a team. Originally from Managua, Nicaragua, Marta’s immigrant roots are what drive her to want to provide equitable experiences to communities and people. She recognizes the hard work and wonderful opportunities afforded her by her parents, school and greater community have helped shaped who she is today and works to provide those same opportunities of equity to others.

Emily Levine Chief of Staff, 2Life Communities

Emily (she/her) brings an extensive background in legislative policy and advocacy to her position as chief of staff at 2Life Communities. She drives their broader strategic initiatives, external policy work, and has overseen the development and implementation of their 3-year DEI Strategic Plan. Before joining 2Life, Emily served as the director of policy and advocacy at Horizons for Homeless Children. She developed legislation and advocated to secure increased public funding to support Massachusetts children and families experiencing homelessness and housing instability. She also oversaw a family shelter program serving more than 200 families throughout Greater Boston. As a high schooler in her native Western Massachusetts hometown, Emily served as the student voting member of the Massachusetts Board of Education before working as a Preschool teacher in a community-based classroom in Springfield. She later oversaw the Early Education for All grassroots campaign at Strategies for Children, a statewide advocacy organization based in Boston. Outside of work, Emily serves as chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and on the board of the advocacy organization Homes for Families. She earned a Master’s in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor’s in Politics from Bates College. Her most significant accomplishment to date (and likely until forever) is becoming a mother and raising her spunky, vivacious twin daughters Remy and Poppy.

Christopher Martinez Sr. VP of People, Equity, & Culture, Conservation Law Foundation

Chris Martinez is the Senior Vice President for People Equity & Culture at the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). Chris graduated with his B.S. from Springfield College in Springfield, MA where he studied Nonprofit Business Management. Following college, Chris remained committed to mission-driven, community development work, focusing primarily on Youth Development, Organizational Culture, Human Resources, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. As the first Sr. VP for People, Equity, and Culture at CLF, Chris is excited to translate his experience into practice in the environmental and legal spaces. As an experienced trainer, keynote speaker, and conference organizer, Chris enjoys providing learning experiences for leaders at all stages of their professional journeys. Chris also volunteers at the YMCA, the MSPCA , and serves as an elected commissioner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ LGBTQ+ Youth Commission. In his free time, Chris enjoys spending time with his rescue pets, plants, and partner. He is also resuming running half-marathons after a two-year pandemic hiatus. In his imagination, he is a wildly successful stand-up comic and bestselling author who also happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to Henry Cavill. 

Tomica McDonald Chief Operating Officer, He is Me Institute

On March 14, He is Me Institute welcomed its first Chief Operations Officer, Tomica McDonald. In her new role, Tomica is responsible for Financial Management and Compliance, Data Strategy, Employee Retention and Human Resources, as well as Technology Management. Tomica brings a wealth of experience to her new position more than 20 years of leadership in strategic planning and project management, and three years as executive director of a nonprofit that provided direct humanitarian services in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana. Tomica is known as a systematic problem solver and has a reputation for building relationships and finding solutions. Tomica is the mother of twin boys, Chase and Chance. As a parent to teenage boys, Tomica has a deep personal interest in He is Me’s mission. Her first week on the job, she says, He Is Me Institute feels like home. To be a part of a movement that is changing lives on such a grand scale is humbling and purposeful. She said she is excited that her experience at He is Me will provide additional insight into how to continue to shape and mold brilliant young men who operate with a spirit of excellence as they matriculate through life. Tomica earned an Associate’s degree from Louisiana Tech University in Business Technology, and then a B.S. in Computer Information Systems. She is currently working toward a Master’s in Public Management, which she expects to complete in December. After that, she says she is anxious to begin her lifelong goal of obtaining a doctoral degree from Grambling State University in Developmental Education.

Asjah Monroe Founding Director, SMALL HOUSE INC

Asjah Monroe is the Founding Director of Small House Inc. Established in 2021, Small House aims to create space and opportunities for transformation in the lives of underserved youths and young adults experiencing homelessness. Small House will provide transitional housing along with coaching support so that youth can adequately prepare for independence on their own terms.

Caitlin Moore Executive Director, United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB)

Caitlin Moore is the Executive Director of the United Nations Association of Greater Boston. A former (and forever) teacher, Caitlin has worked in schools as a middle school social studies teacher in Fitchburg and East Boston and was a school administrator in Lawrence (all MA). She has also been a lecturer in the Education Department at Brandeis University. She is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Sage Morgan-Hubbard Director of Lab Faculty, College Unbound

Sage Morgan-Hubbard, MA+, with Ph.D. coursework, is the Director of Lab Faculty at College Unbound, an innovative College of returning adult learners with a personalized, interest/project-based curriculum model. She was previously the Assistant Director of the Brown University Center for Students of Color. She is an educator, public speaker, consultant, and dream midwife who co-curates inclusive diverse public spaces for living and learning for all people. An award-winning poet, social justice artist, and activist, she has worked at four Smithsonian museums and taught students from pre-K through senior citizens, online, incarcerated, and everything in between. Sage puts her creative lens into customized consultant work making sure that everyone has the multimedia tools of poetry, performance, storytelling, collage, and curriculum, they need to bring their dreams to life. She loves aqua aerobics, her Shiba Jindo puppy Broccoli, and her middle name Xaxua, is an onomatopoeia which means the rustling of the leaves in the wind.

Devin Morris Executive Director, The Teachers’ Lounge, Inc.

Devin Morris is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Teachers’ Lounge. Devin co-founded The Teachers’ Lounge in 2018 with then business partner Jabari Peddie. They began this work because throughout their own K-12 and college experiences, as well as in their professional careers, they witnessed the under-representation of Educators of Color in lead teaching positions and felt the effects of not having a teacher with whom they could identify and see themselves reflected. Together, they sought to change this reality for future generations of students by creating and curating spaces intended to increase the recruitment, revitalization, and retention of Educators of Color across the Greater Boston Area. Devin received his Marketing degree from Boston College in 2005. After gaining over 5 years of experience in footwear design & product development, Devin went on to receive a Master’s in Business Administration from Babson College, with a focus on Social Entrepreneurship and a rediscovery of his passion for education. Now in his 13th year in education, Devin has held roles in teaching, coaching, mentoring, school leadership, student/staff recruitment and retention, marketing, and development in district, charter, and private schools in NYC and The Greater Boston Area. Outside of co-founding The Teachers’ Lounge, Devin sits on several local and National coalitions supporting the diversification of the teacher workforce in support of all students. Devin has a passion for equity, community engagement & collaboration, program development, execution, and collective accountability. 

Diana Navarrete Executive Director, Foundry Consortium

Diana Navarrete-Rackauckas (she/they) is the Executive Director at the Foundry Consortium. An educator, equity and diversity advocate, and a nonprofit leader, Diana is passionate about creating accessible and engaging experiences for local audiences. Raised in an immigrant family and community, she is dedicated to holding inclusive spaces that empower participants to more confidently navigate their worlds. Before entering her current role, she worked in museums across the country, had written and been featured in various articles about equity in arts and culture fields, and had presented her research at multiple conferences including ones hosted by the Museum Educators of Southern California and Yale University. She holds an M.A in Art History from the University of California, Riverside and a B.A. in Art History and Religion from Oberlin College.

Daniel Navisky Boston Executive Director, Thrive Scholars

Daniel “Dan” Navisky (he/him), Thrive’s Boston Executive Director, is a Boston-based nonprofit leader and attorney with extensive experience serving high-profile organizations as an executive, manager, general counsel, and board member. He joined Thrive Scholars in October of 2018 as the first regional executive director after Thrive expanded to a national organization. In his role, Dan helps to marshal resources in the Greater Boston area to support local Scholars, working with Thrive’s Boston Board of Directors and Boston-based supporters and corporate partners. At Thrive, Dan manages a local budget of $2M. With Dan’s support, Thrive Boston has doubled its budget and revenue, including several high-profile six-figure and multi-year gifts. Under Dan’s leadership, Thrive has also doubled the number of local Scholars served as part of our strategic plan to expand from serving under 100 to 300 or more annually from greater Boston. Dan previously served as the General Counsel of the May Institute, a national education, and human services nonprofit serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. He previously held policy and civil rights roles in Boston and Washington, DC, in advocacy organizations and government institutions, including for U.S. House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt and the Anti-Defamation League. A trained attorney, Dan also practiced law at a number of firms in Greater Boston for many years. Dan serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations in the education, arts, and Jewish communities in Greater Boston. He holds a J.D. from Boston College Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rochester.

Kimberly Nidah Vice President of Development, Massachusetts, uAspire

Kimberly Nidah (she/her/hers) was born in France to Cameroonian parents. She earned her BA in Economics from Bucknell University as a Posse Scholar and MA in International Development from American University. She works at uAspire as vice president of development, Massachusetts, ensuring that uAspire Massachusetts is aligned to the organization’s national vision and strategic direction and well positioned within the region’s higher education/college access and success community. Kim is responsible for sustaining and creating new influential funding relationships to secure the necessary financial resources and strategic positioning to effectively achieve uAspire’s programmatic and policy impact within the region. In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with her parents and traveling as much she can.

Darren Noisette Arenas Director of Corporate Engagement, Year Up

Darren Noisette is the Director of Corporate Engagement with Year Up, a workforce development organization that focuses on placing young adults from diverse backgrounds into internships and meaningful careers. Prior to joining Year Up, Darren served as Senior Vice President of Customer Experience with Connected Living, a software company renowned for its innovation and technological solutions which continue to help change the landscape of the senior living industry. Since joining Year Up, Darren has earned acknowledgement from his peers as a team member who is a big thinker and keenly aware of the details. During his tenure at Connected Living, Darren led and coached teams of Customer Success and Operations Managers/Directors, facilitated and oversaw the implementation of all services, and directly contributed throughout the customer journey by effectively establishing relationships with partners, vendors, and consumers alike. From 2015 through 2019, Darren also worked in the mental health and substance abuse fields with organizations such as Habit OPCO, Acadia, Arbor Fuller, and Universal Health Services where he provided counseling and support for children, women, and men in need. Darren comes to INP fueled with passion for deep, person-centered missions which are also committed to creating and providing REAL change and opportunity for diverse populations. Darren is on a mission to level the playing field for under-resourced communities and organizations in emerging US markets. Helping businesses leverage the power of networking, customize and scale processes, and to significantly impact the DEIB initiatives of corporate culture while growing the business are all entrenched in Darren’s mission.

Emmanuel Owusu-Boakye Executive Director, African Bridge Network (ABN)

Emmanuel Owusu is the Founding Executive Director of African Bridge Network, which aims to create a supportive community that enables African and other skilled immigrants in Massachusetts to leverage their qualifications and experiences in order to maximize their potential. The organization accomplishes this through immigrant fellowship, professional mentorship, job search and career advising, and orientation workshops. Additionally, Emmanuel is an adjunct lecturer at Boston University. Emmanuel is a trained land use planner who served as a regional planner for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Emmanuel has two passions, land conservation and its connection to health and environmental justice. Second is the potential of the African Diaspora for Africa’s development.

Cara Presley Director of Youth and Family Services, Town of Westborough

Cara Presley (she/her) is a career social worker and leader in nonprofit and public sector behavioral health and human services. Currently the Director of Youth and Family Services for the Town of Westborough, Cara has developed and managed diverse mission-driven community-based programs in outpatient, home-based, healthcare and government settings. She prioritizes access to high quality services for historically marginalized communities, centering racial and social justice in her work. Cara is a proud Queer woman, an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ people and a white ally to BIPOC, striving to become an anti-racist accomplice. In awe of sunsets and nature, Cara loves her plants almost as much as her pets, and she adores her partner and stepchildren even more.

Marcella Raines Chief Advocacy and Community Engagement Officer, More Than Words

Marcella Raines is the Chief Advocacy and Community Engagement Officer at More Than Words. She has over 25 years of experience in the Child Welfare field. She is a fierce advocate for young adults. She is a spiritual person, married for over 18 years with 6 beautiful children.

Khari Roulhac President,

Khari, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, serves as Dean of Students and as member of the School Leadership Team at Newton North High School. Previously he served at Cristo Rey Boston High School as the Dean of Student Support. Prior to Cristo Rey Boston he spent time with College Bound Dorchester as an English Teacher, with Bunker Hill Community College as the Director of Athletics and Fitness Programs, with MassBay Community College as the Associate Director of Athletics, Recreation and Wellness and with Cathedral High School (Boston) as the Director of Athletics. Under his student-centered leadership, Cristo Rey Boston High School successfully maintained a 98% college acceptance rate. Students identified his office as a safe space to reflect, problem solve and receive academic support. Throughout his career he has enjoyed providing services to students while learning the intricacies of institutional policy. Roulhac has been intentional about establishing environments of teamwork and support for students. Creating a culture of goal setting, effort, and accountability in communities where he worked became his signature. Roulhac is a spirit-filled enthusiast who enjoys supporting at-risk students in their pursuit of higher education. He is the founding, Program Director of Roulhac Enterprises Inc., a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit which serves as a resource bank for parents and youth seeking growth and development in the areas of education, athletics, social justice, mental health and employment, Bank Shot, LLC which produces athletic related programming throughout the commonwealth and President of is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit that remodels interscholastic and youth teams for the 21st century.

Jonathan Sproul Executive Director, Workforce Development & Adult Education, YMCA of Greater Boston

Jonathan Sproul currently serves as the Executive Director of Adult Education & Workforce Development at the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Education & Training Branch. He has over 20 years of leadership experience in public education and nonprofit management, including serving in past roles as President & CEO of Cape Abilities, Inc. and Director of Institutional Advancement and School-Community Partnerships for the Boston Public Schools, and Acting Executive Director of the Boston Educational Development Foundation. He is committed to increasing equitable access to opportunities for traditionally marginalized people and communities, and leads with a strategic mindset, collaborative approach, and big heart. He earned his bachelor’s degree in film studies from Columbia University and his master’s degree in education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. He lives in Charlestown with his wife and three young kids, and enjoys fishing, martial arts, physical activity, and being involved in the community.

Kate Swanson Sr. Director of Strategy and Transformation, North Shore Community Health

Kate Swanson is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for North Shore Community Health Center. Kate plays a major role in the development and execution of the organization’s short and long-term strategy, ensuring strategic alignment across all areas of the organization and coordination of transformation and change management efforts. She has spent her entire career in the health care field, including with Mass General Brigham where she served as an internal consultant providing coaching and support for 18 primary care practices, including North Shore Community Health and Lynn Community Health Centers, in their transformation efforts to achieve and maintain recognition as a NCQA-recognized patient-centered medical home. Kate has a strong desire for her professional efforts to directly serve the North Shore community, where she resides with her family. She has particular interest in health care efforts that emphasize upstream medicine, patient-centered approaches, team sustainably and continuous improvement. She holds an MBA with a concentration in Health Policy and Management from Brandeis University’s Heller School, a BA from Stonehill College, and training in the Lean methodology for improvement.

Giovanny Valencia Director of Community Organizing, JPNDC – Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation

Giovanny is a former architect from Bogota, Colombia, with a background in politics, education, and community development. In his home city of Bogota, he became involved in politics through campaigning and supporting local and national candidates in Colombia. His community work in Bogota included developing projects and strategies focused on relief efforts related to natural disasters, such as landslides, affecting extremely poor communities in the mountains around the city. Since moving to the United States in 2006, Giovanny became a community organizer, and has continued his involvement in community activities as a volunteer and board member for different organizations. He also continues to be involved in politics and has volunteered in campaigns for the Boston City Council, Massachusetts State House, and Boston City Hall. Giovanny is the Director of Community Organizing at the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC). He has spent the last decade promoting the creation and preservation of affordable housing for families in Boston.

Blanca Valentin Program Director & Clinical Trainer, The Home for Little Wanderers

Blanca Valentin, LMHC is a licensed mental health clinician who has worked extensively with children, adults, and families for over 25 years in a variety of roles and settings. Blanca’s work focuses on the treatment of trauma, grief and loss, and generational/intergenerational trauma. Through the application of restorative processes, healing circles, and mindfulness, Blanca is committed to the healing of communities of color. Blanca has provided leadership as Clinical Manager, Program Director, and Clinical Trainer overseeing programmatic needs, creating, and facilitating trainings, as well as building and implementing structures and protocols to support community-based programs and staff providing direct care. Building staff capacity, overseeing clinical application and documentation, as well as developing interventions that include trauma-informed care and anti-oppressive practices. Blanca is engaged in several organizations and causes that are committed to decriminalization, decolonization, and freedom of communities of color: As a member of Latinx Therapist Action Network, a national organization of Latinx therapists committed to honoring and affirming the human dignity of Latinx immigrants in ICE detention. Blanca’s work in the Network has centered around education and support to front line workers/community activists in the migrant’s rights movement and more recently part of LTAN’s leadership. Has co-created webinars to educate and support about impact of mental health to frontline workers and the implications of Intergenerational trauma in BIPOC communities. With other healers of color in Boston, Blanca is a member of the Stinging Nettle Brujxs Healing Collective; a group committed to the liberation and healing justice of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, POC communities, and supporting allies. They also offering workshops, community events/conferences, and retreats to co-create spaces for medicine to transcend into wellness.

Cape Cod & the Islands

Pamela Andersen Director of Business & Credit Programs, Community Development Partnership

Pamela Andersen has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University and worked in the field for twelve years before relocating to Cape Cod to raise her family. She spent 9 years as the owner and manager of the Inn at the Oaks, a bed and breakfast in Eastham. She volunteers as a Girl Scout Troop leader. Pam brings a wealth of technical expertise to her role as Director of Business & Credit Programs at the Community Development Partnership, as well as first-hand experience on the needs of local business owners. She coordinates planning, administration, and implementation of CDP business initiatives and lending programs. By working directly with individual businesses through the loan and leasing application process, Pam ensures that businesses successfully enter CDP programming. In the Spring of 2020, Pam completed a Certificate in Business Development from Cambridge College/MGCC.

Meg Browers Development Director, Community Foundation for Nantucket

Meg Browers has lived on Nantucket for over 20 years. She is currently the Development Director for the Community Foundation for Nantucket. Meg is the mother of two kids, and enjoys spending time with them swimming and taking walks.

Merrick Carreiro Director of Food Equity Programs, Island Grown Initiative

Merrick Carreiro is the newly appointed Director of Food Equity Programs at Island Grown Initiative (IGI) on Martha’s Vineyard. She is passionate about people, building community, and fostering equitable change. While having grown up in a family dedicated to social justice, inclusion, access, and equity, particularly in the nonprofit sector, Merrick is new to this professional field. She spent the last ten years embedded in her community as the chef owner of a small family restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard. She started with IGI as a volunteer and then as a consultant tasked with envisioning a new Island Food Center to bring together a number of the food equity programs under one roof. She soon moved into the role as Director. As the Director, Merrick oversees all Food Equity Initiatives: Island Food Pantry, Mobile Market, IGI to Go Prepared Meals, and Summer Lunch Program and Gleaning. Merrick is also a member of the Food Equity team of the Martha’s Vineyard Climate Action Planning Group, a community-based project identifying actions to build the Islands’ social, environmental, and economic resilience to the impacts of climate change. Merrick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies with a minor in Sociology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a degree in Culinary Arts from the Stratford Chefs School in Stratford, Ontario. Merrick is driven by her respect for the community that supported her in raising her children and in making her business so successful. When she isn’t working toward building a stronger future for her community, she can be found walking any number of the trails on Martha’s Vineyard or cooking with the bounty from the Farm she is so fortunate to be connected to.

Barbara-jean Chauvin Managing Director, MV B & G Club

Barbara-jean Chauvin, Ed.D., is a results-oriented educator, youth development leader, and administrator with instinctive problem-solving abilities. With an earned Doctor of Education from Plymouth State University, she has expertise in instruction focused on equity and access, program evaluation, curriculum development, and grant writing. As Managing Director at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, Dr. Chauvin plays a significant role in program development, grant-writing, and community partnerships. Through her commitment to this role, she has helped the Boys & Girls Club improve program delivery for members to support academic achievement and increase funding sources for programming and health-related services for club members. Outside the office, Barbara-jean is a member of the Cape and Islands Workforce Development Board of Directors and Martha’s Vineyard All-Island Community Chorus. She enjoys visiting the White Mountains with her husband.

Amanda Converse CEO, Love Live Local

Amanda Converse is the co-founder and CEO of Love Live Local, an organization founded in 2013 that is dedicated to community advocacy and educating consumers on the importance of supporting small business with the goal of strengthening the economic vitality of the region and the overall sustainability of Cape Cod. The organization furthers this mission through collaborating with small businesses and community organizations, producing tri-annual Love Local Fests, publishing two magazines: the Love Local Field Guide and the Love Local Gift Guide that are focused on the Cape’s locally made, grown, and crafted goods, and running a retail store in downtown Hyannis stocked with locally made products and local brands. Until 2019 Amanda was also the editor and publisher of The Current Quarterly, the Cape’s only dedicated local fashion and shopping magazine and Ebb & Flow, a publication that highlighted the health, wellness and sustainability community on the Cape, as well as the owner of Shift Eco Boutique, an eco-boutique in downtown Hyannis which she opened in 2009. Amanda was born and raised in Falmouth and moved back to the Cape after receiving her Master’s in Public Policy from George Washington University in 2005, when she became the Development Director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District. Amanda is currently the President of the Board of Trustees of the Hyannis Public Library and is a founding Board member of Amplify POC Cape Cod. She has served on the Boards of the Cape Cod Young Professionals, the Cape Cod Chamber, and Coastal Community Capital, as well as the Town of Barnstable’s Economic Development Commission and Renewable Energy Commission.

Katia Regina Dacunha Tre-lingual domestic and sexual violence counselor/advocate, Independence House

Katia Regina, Tri-lingual domestic and Sexual violence counselor/advocate at Independence House, CEO & founder at Latinx In Action, Cape Cod Island Commissioner Status of Women. At home she is an avid gardener, with a gaggle of chickens living in her yard-habitat alongside many plants, flowers and vegetables. She is Brazilian. Proud mother of two wonderful kids Klark and Tirza.

Sunny Daily Program Director, Community Foundation for Nantucket

Sunny Daily is a Program Director at the Community Foundation for Nantucket. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the site director for Health Imperative’s Island clinic, a local nonprofit that offers sexual and reproductive health services to all genders, WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) nutritional support, and young parents support services. She worked not only to increase the number of families accessing the clinic’s services but built the organization’s capacity to receive competitive grant awards while increasing community outreach. She is also an island midwife and doula. She joined the Foundation in 2022 and brings her incredible energy and desire to make a difference. She hopes to help bring about growth within the organization and new program opportunities for the Island’s nonprofit organizations. Sunny enjoys walking the countless conservation trails with her NISHA dog Stella and her husband Greg and watching her grown children thrive.

Samantha Denette Executive Director, Nantucket Shellfish Association

Samantha is the Executive Director of the Nantucket Shellfish Association, a small nonprofit with the mission of preserving and protecting Nantucket’s harbors and shellfish resources. She grew up in Massachusetts and attended UMass Amherst, graduating in 2011 with Bachelor’s degrees in journalism and sociology. Samantha started her career in Boston, originally working in finance, but she quickly made the transition to business and community development for socially-responsible lifestyle brands. During that time in her career, she moved to an island thirty miles out to sea. In 2016, Samantha moved to Nantucket, immediately connecting with the island and the people. It was there that she knew she needed to make a career change to better give back to her home. In the winter of 2021, her love of the ocean and of community came together when she took the helm at the Nantucket Shellfish Association. Samantha is delighted to be in a role where her passions can be her sole focus and time in the office is equal to time on a commercial fishing boat!

Christine Flynn Economic Development & Affordable Housing Planner, Martha’s Vineyard Commission

The MVC is one of 13 Regional Planning Agencies in Massachusetts. The MVC’s role is to provide towns with planning and technical assistance to help balance growth and development with the preservation of natural resources, community character, while promoting sound local economies. Christine’s strengths are working collaboratively to do creative problem solving and consensus building to help improve public policy. Her interests include running, swimming, cooking, listening to music, and some gardening.

Christine Homer Communication & Outreach Coordinator, Youth Program Coordinator, MV Mediation Program

Christine “Kiki” Homer is the Communication and Outreach Coordinator for Martha’s Vineyard Mediation Program. She is responsible for outreach relating to the organization’s youth program, educational training, and other programs and services as well as publicity and social media activities. Kiki is a certified mediator with experience in Housing Mediation, Family & Divorce Mediation, Small Claims and Civil Court Mediation, 1:1 Conflict Coaching, and Workplace Conflict Facilitation. Kiki was previously a corporate attorney with substantial in-house legal and management experience. She is a graduate of New York University School of Law. Kiki’s passion for food and cooking sparked her desire to be involved in food equity programs on the Vineyard. She volunteers at the Island Food Pantry and for Island Grown Initiative where she enjoys “gleaning” or helping to harvest ripe produce that is used in various island programs.

Alex Hopper Administrative and Fiscal Manager, Community Development Partnership

Alex was born and raised on Cape Cod, MA, and he spent his younger years working for various small businesses within his community’s seasonal economy. In 2016, Alex graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in political science. After finishing his undergraduate studies, Alex earned his Master’s of Public Policy with a focus on nonprofit management at the University of Erfurt in the German state of Thuringia. Returning to the U.S. in 2018, Alex began his employment with the Community Development Partnership and currently serves as the organization’s Administrative and Fiscal Manager. Alex’s core interests within the field of community development work include small business micro-lending and homebuyer education. When Alex isn’t supporting the program work of his colleagues, he can be found doing any number of various outdoor activities. These include hiking, biking, and riding his moped along the backroads of the Cape. His favorite hobby and pastime is collecting and restoring antique vacuum tube radios from the 1930’s-1960’s. Alex resides in Brewster, where he serves on the Town’s Finance Committee.

Jeremy Houser Communications Coordinator and Ecologist, Vineyard Conservation Society

Jeremy has lived in Chilmark (on the island of Martha’s Vineyard) since moving there with his wife Sara Hoffmann in 2007. Originally from the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, Jeremy attended the College of William & Mary (in Williamsburg, VA), where he majored in Environmental Science and Biological Psychology, before heading off to graduate school at UMass Amherst. Working in a lab that studied the behavioral ecology of spiders while a member of the Neuroscience and Behavior program, Jeremy was able to fully dive into the two seemingly distant interests of ecology and neuroscience. He first worked on projects that investigated learning in jumping spiders, followed by a study of circadian rhythms and visual physiology, before undertaking his PhD research into the behavioral ecology of an invasive spider species in Maine. That work allowed him to spend three field seasons at Acadia National Park, chasing spiders around the beautiful wooded shoreline of the Schoodic Point section of Acadia. That experience led to a greater appreciation of the broader value of conservation land and environmental protection. While human enjoyment of the land through recreation, or just appreciating scenic beauty plays a central role in why one conserves land, there is another value being protected as well: the ability for nature to thrive and flourish. Today, Jeremy works in local environmental advocacy with the Vineyard Conservation Society, a nonprofit membership organization. Jeremy greatly values all the environmental nonprofits on the Vineyard and their diverse missions, but he is especially drawn to VCS because of their ethos of protecting “nature for nature’s sake,” all while fighting for clean air and water and a more sustainable future for our human population.

Jennifer Karberg Director Research and Partnerships, Nantucket Conservation Foundation

Jen Karberg is a wetland and coastal research ecologist. As Director of Research and Partnerships at the nonprofit land trust, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, on Nantucket Island MA, Jen oversees a multi-faceted research program exploring the ecology of Nantucket. Fascinated by wetlands and wetland plants since college at the University of Michigan, Jen began studying wetlands and carnivorous plants and applied ecological restoration. Moving to the island of Nantucket after graduate school, her work began to focus on coastal wetlands and how to protect them and use them to adapt to climate change. In addition to research, Jen represents NCF on the Town of Nantucket’s Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee. When not working, Jen can be found out exploring trails, adventuring on a beach, gardening or reading a good book – usually in between chasing after her two young kids.

Lesley Marchessault Chief Development Officer, Provincetown Art Association and Museum

Lesley Marchessault is the Chief Development Officer at Provincetown Art Association and Museum. A native of Burlington, Vermont, Lesley grew up in the south and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Art History from Florida State University. She worked as a curator and arts educator before moving to Provincetown in 2011. In her role at PAAM, she has collaborated with numerous other nonprofits on the Outer Cape and considers these partnerships among some of her most important achievements. She has participated in statewide Arts Advocacy days, sits on the Steering Committee for Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s Creative Exchange, the Advisory Committee for Cape Cod Museum Trail, and she is the Chair of the Provincetown Cultural Council.

Shimmy Mehta Chief Financial Officer, Island Health, Inc

Shimul “Shimmy” Mehta is the Chief Financial Officer for Island Health Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center supporting Dukes County. Shimmy has over 9 years of Management Consulting experience working for PwC and has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, having created a Philanthropy as a Service (PaaS) platform focused on making children’s global health issues relevant and addressable for global corporations and their employees.

Kimberly Nahas Director of Clinical Services, Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands

Kim Nahas is the Director of Clinical Services at Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands. Kim received her MSW from Boston College in 2001 and first started doing outreach counseling to children. In 2002, Kim startied working at Chelsea-Revere-Winthrop Elder Services as a part time Elder At-Risk worker and soon found the geriatric population was where her heart was. In 2005, Kim moved from the Boston area to Cape Cod. Kim started working at Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands as a Protective Services worker and within a year was promoted to a Supervisor in the Protective Department. After a couple of years, another opportunity presented itself and Kim became the Program Manager of the Home Care Department. In 2020, Kim was promoted to her current position as Director of Clinical Services at Elder Services. In the Clinical Department, Kim oversees not only the Home Care and Protective Services programs but also six other programs which includes approximately eighty staff members.

Alex Nelson Development & Communications Manager, Outer Cape Community Solutions

Alex Nelson (she/her) is the Network Coordinator for Outer Cape Community Solutions, a rural health network focused on health equity and improving the health and wellbeing of all Outer Cape residents. While this role incorporates Alex’s skills with community organizing and her knowledge of public health, Alex led a very different life before this position. After graduating with honors from Northwestern University as a bassoonist, she became a music educator in the Chicago Public Schools. During the pandemic and upon seeing the depths of trauma that so many families experienced due to health and social inequities, she moved back to Cape Cod to follow her passion for nonprofit work. Alex first took a volunteer position as an Americorps VISTA with Helping Our Women — a nonprofit in Provincetown that supports women living with chronic health conditions on the Outer Cape. Her enthusiasm and abilities helped create a new position for the organization: a part-time Development & Communications Manager. Besides her most recent nonprofit experiences, Alex has been on the Board of Directors for Sharing Kindness, a suicide prevention and grief awareness group, since its founding in 2017. With Alex’s event coordination, comfort with technology, and organizational skills as Secretary, this group has grown exponentially in just a few years. Originally from Orleans, she currently calls Wellfleet home and enjoys exploring neighborhoods all over the Cape — especially the numerous nature trails and hidden beaches. Alex is very happy to be taking her diverse skills from teaching and arts administration and applying them towards creating a healthier and safer Cape & Islands community.

Kate Ridenour Associate Director of Audience Engagement, Martha’s Vineyard Museum

Kate Ridenour is currently an Associate Director at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum where she oversees all audience engagement efforts including admissions, membership, community partnerships, and marketing. Prior to joining the Museum, Kate worked at McKinsey & Company in Washington DC where she served as Public & Social Sector Practice Manager for North America. This division encompassed all of McKinsey’s federal, state, and local government clients in North America, as well as all their nonprofit, global donor, and education clients. In that role, she directly supported senior leadership in defining strategic priorities, shaping client development efforts, managing data systems, and communicating with internal and external stakeholders. Before joining McKinsey & Company, Kate spent several years conducting election law research, with a particular focus on US campaign finance laws. Kate graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in Government and Economics. She currently resides full time on Martha’s Vineyard where she spends her free time swimming in the ocean, biking across island, or catching a movie at the MV Film Center. 

Julie Scott Executive Director/ Farm Manager, Slough Farm

Julie Scott is the Executive Director and farm manager at Slough Farm Foundation. She is also the Vice President of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society. She is a graduate of Sterling College where she studied sustainable agriculture and horse powered farming. She is a Cape Cod native who moved to the Vineyard from California. She co-lead the initiative to return 4H to the island and works to connect farmers. She is a self proclaimed “collaboration queen” and loves helping people and organizations work together.

Brianne Smith Program Manager, Outer Cape Health Services

Brianne Smith, Program Manager for the Community Resource Navigators at Outer Cape Health Services. Bri has been working at OCHS for the past 5 years as a community based social worker, helping residents address social determinants of health and building collaborations on the Outer Cape.

Ed Stanford Guide Leader (Head of School), Sage Montessori

After more than two decades in early childhood education working in two states and three foreign countries, Ed found that his wish-list for an ideal school had grown so specific that the only way to work at such a school was to found it himself. Sage Montessori, a 501c3 nonprofit, was established on Cape Cod, and it began serving families in 2021. In addition to founding Sage Montessori, Ed is a board member, the administrator, and the lead educator for the school. Ed is seeking a partner to share the administrative and educational roles to better realize the school’s mission to make Montessori education a realistic option for all families. Sage Montessori is affiliated with the Wildflower Network of Schools.

Tara Vargas Wallace Founder and CEO, Amplify POC

Tara Vargas Wallace is the Founder and CEO of Amplify POC Cape Cod and a TEDx Speaker. Tara is originally from the Bronx, NY but made Cape Cod her home and has raised her family here. Tara’s professional background has been in working with marginalized populations with severe socioeconomic challenges, family trauma, addiction and recovery, domestic and sexual violence, barriers to employment, and extreme housing and food insecurity. It is through this work that she has developed exceptional advocacy skills and strong community partnerships which have been instrumental in strengthening community awareness for hard to reach populations. After working over 20 years in human services for agencies such as Housing Assistance Corp., Independence House, Homeless Prevention Council and Dept. Of Transitional Assistance, Tara founded a nonprofit organization called Amplify POC (People of Color) Cape Cod. Amplify POC is a nonprofit racial justice organization with the mission to eliminate the racial wealth gap and foster ownership for communities of color on Cape Cod and beyond. Most recently Tara gave a TEDx Talk on the Racial Wealth Gap and the work her organization is doing to eradicate it. She is the Eastern Region Politics and Civic Leadership Platform Coordinator of the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition. Tara is also actively engaged in her local NAACP and MLK Jr. Action Team. She proudly serves on the boards of Housing Assistance Corporation and CCYP. She is a 2007 graduate of Cape Cod Community College, a 2020 graduate of Leadership Cape Cod, and she was awarded the 2020 “Unsung Hero Award” by the Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission. Tara was also a “40 under 40” winner in 2020 by Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine and the 2021 “Emerging Community Leader Award” from Cape Cod Young Professionals.

Melissa Vincent Executive Director, TRI-The Resource Inc

Melissa Norton Vincent is a 13th generation Martha’s Vineyard Resident. Melissa is one of many advocates for safe affordable housing for peoples of all incomes who would like to call the Vineyard home. Melissa has worked for the last fourteen years for TRI-The Resource Inc for Community and Economic Development as a Program Manger as well as becoming its Executive Director in 2019. Melissa desires to see equity in all of its forms being practiced on the island but especially when it comes to safe housing. As Executive Director, Melissa is looking for opportunities to provide greater access and opportunities for island residents to safe housing.

Katherine Wibby CEO, Lower Cape Outreach Council

Driven by a passion to serve her community, Katie Wibby joined the Lower Cape Outreach Council in January of 2022. She initially took the role of Chief Operating Officer, but shortly thereafter was promoted to the position of the Chief Executive Officer. Katie has dedicated her professional career to serving underrepresented communities. Prior to taking on her role at LCOC, Katie practiced public interest law for 10 years. Her legal career started in the Public Defenders Office in Barnstable County until she moved onto South Coastal Counties Legal Services Hyannis Office. Katie spent 6 years with Legal Services where she worked primarily with low-income individuals and families, and she provided representation in the areas of housing and governmental benefits. During her time at SCCLS, Katie was the member of several boards and committee which gives her significant experience with other social service providers in the area. Katie left SCCLS as the Senior Attorney managing the Elder Law Project. As the new CEO of LCOC, Katie is looking forward to continuing the success of the organization and looking for new opportunities to collaborate with other local nonprofits to better serve the needs of our community.

Merrimack Valley / Essex County

Shantel Alix Community Engagement manager, North Shore CDC

Shantel Alix is the Director of Community Building at North Shore CDC, where she plans, directs, and counsels on projects related to economic development. Shantel is an experienced professional who has demonstrated her vast wealth of knowledge of working in nonprofit management, including event planning, leadership, community outreach, public speaking, and strong community and social service professional skills. In her spare time, she takes an interest in the sociological impacts of immigrant families, the Caribbean family in the diaspora, and women’s rights inclusionary of trans women. She speaks at diverse forums highlighting the hardships faced by these communities.

Brian Beote Director of Energy Efficiency Operations, Action Inc.

Brian Beote is the Director of Energy Efficiency Operations at Action Inc., a local Community Action Agency based on the North Shore of MA. Brian’s preferred handle is simply Brian. Action Inc. is the lead vendor for National Grid in the income eligible programs under the Mass Save umbrella and as such Brian oversees program implementation of efforts that reduce energy burdens, save money, reduce usage of kilowatt hours and therms, lower green house gas emissions, increase building resiliency and durability, and increase the health, safety, and comfort for thousands of MA residents every year. Brian has been at Action Inc. for twelve years, arriving there from 14 years in the building trades, chiefly as a general contractor building and remodeling residential homes. Brian is a lifelong North Shore resident and a graduate of Salem State College. When not greening up the Commonwealth, he enjoys backpacking, ice climbing, canoeing, shooting, and boxing. Other hobbies include reading, mixology, music, and crosswords. Brian Has been married to his lovely wife Michelle for three years and they have a rescue dog named Bear. George is his favorite Beatle.

Barbara Bruker Supervisor of Provider Services, Child Care Circuit

Barbara Bruker is currently employed at the Child Care Circuit as the Supervisor of Provider Services and Database Manager. She has worked there for a little less than 1 year, but previously worked at CCC for 6 years before leaving to have her now 15 year old twins. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, reading, and being anywhere on the water.

Elvis Cabral Movement City Director, Lawrence CommunityWorks

Elvis Cabral was born in New York, but was raised in the Dominican Republic. He moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts when he was 15 where he finished high school and later received an associates degree from Middlesex community college. After graduation, he began working with the youth of Lawrence at the YMCA where he quickly became coordinator of the school age program. After 5 years he moved to Lawrence CommunityWorks to become the Movement City director where he has been for the last 5 years. He’s commitment to the city of Lawrence, and the youth that populates it has kept him in the youth nonprofit network for a decade.

Maria Canton Vice President, Human Resources, North Shore Community Health

With over 16 years of progressive leadership experience in the field of Human Resources and Diversity Management, María Fernanda Cantón has a wealth of experience in employment management practices in the public, private and not-for profit sectors. She currently serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer at a multi-site, community health center in the North Shore area where she leads in strategic human resources management, seeking to maximize the organization’s talent to fulfill its mission of providing exceptional care to all. Overall María Fernanda’s established human resources career has been focused on supporting organizations, large and small to capitalize on the talents for the pursuit of the Greater Good. This was definitely the case during the over 10 years she served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in a variety of Human Resources and Equal Employment Opportunity roles, all focused on creating fair and equitable practices and systems where all employees were set up for success, while working in inclusive and respectful environments which allowed them to bring their authentic selves. María Fernanda attended Suffolk University where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Subsequently her love for the field of Human Resources led her to obtaining a degree in Strategic Human Resources Leadership from Cornell University. Throughout her career, María Fernanda has always been passionate about serving the public and is continuously engaged in several community service activities. As part of her volunteer work, Maria Fernanda is currently serving as the President of a nonprofit organization focused on improving the lives of Colombian children need. María Fernanda enjoys reading, exercising, having meaningful conversations but most of all she enjoys dancing! As a Licensed Zumba Instructor, María Fernanda enjoys sharing the richness of her culture with her students, beyond the fitness aspect.

Shanice Douglas BUILD Program Director, Roxbury Youthworks, Inc.

Shanice (she/her/ella) is the BUILD Program Director at Roxbury Youthworks, Inc, serving cisgender male, transgender and nonbinary youth and young adults that have experienced commercial sexual exploitation or at high risk of experiencing commercial sexual exploitation or at high risk of experiencing. Prior to this promotion, Shanice was a Life Skills Specialist, at GIFT, working directly with the cisgender female youth and young adult CSEC population. As the Life Skills Specialist, she developed an internship program to introduce and encourage goal orientation, professional development, entrepreneurship and financial empowerment for our young women. In addition, she established and built community partnerships with black and brown women owned businesses, in the Boston area, to provide internship opportunities to our GIFT U graduates.

Ingrid Garcia Assistant Director, Child Care Circuit

Ingrid Garcia goes by she/her. She is the assistant director at Child Care Circuit for more then 10 years.

Molly Gentilucci Development Manager, Advocates

Molly Gentilucci (she, her, hers) is the Development Manager for Advocates, a nonprofit human services agency in Massachusetts providing a broad range of services for people facing life challenges such as addiction, aging, autism, brain injuries, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and mental health challenges. As a member of the Development Team, Molly manages various areas of fundraising, including donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship; planning large and small scale events; analyzing and maintaining integrity of donor and prospect data; implementing fundraising-related technology and tools; and leading special projects/initiatives. She holds a BA and MS in Communication from Regis College and a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University’s Metropolitan College. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) as designated by CFRE International, the only accredited, globally recognized certification for fundraising professionals. Molly is an active volunteer with her alma mater, Regis College, where she serves as a Mentor to graduate students in the MA in Strategic Communication program and as an Advisory Board Member for the School of Business and Communication. Molly currently resides in Worcester, MA with her rescue dog and cat. In her personal time she enjoys tackling DIY projects around her house, rewatching episodes of Parks & Rec, visiting Cape Cod, and solving the NYT Crossword.

Amy Gingle Director, Prospect Development, Year Up

Amy Gingle Director, Prospect Development and Research Year Up Amy Gingle is Director of Prospect Development at Research at Year Up, a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the opportunity divide for young adults in this country. Prior to joining Year Up in August 2016, Amy was Associate Director of Prospect Research and Analytics at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to that, she was a Senior Research Analyst at MIT and a Research Associate at Isaacson, Miller. Amy lives on the North Shore of Boston with her family, golden retriever and several chickens and ducks.

Kellynette Gomez Associate Consultant, Innivee Strategies, Inc.

Kellynette Gomez, LCSW, is the newest team member at Innivee Strategies, Inc., a deaf-owned and deaf-led organizational and leadership development company. She has a diverse range of experience in organizational training and development, talent searches, and leadership development. Kellynette is committed to increasing accessible and inclusive resources and employment opportunities for the Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard-of-hearing communities. In 2016, she founded the Deaf Job Seeker Network Facebook group, which now has over 7,000 members. Kellynette has served and participated in various local and national organizations as a community liaison, peer advocate, volunteer, and consultant. Kellynette received her master’s and bachelor’s in social work from Springfield College and Gallaudet University, respectively. She identifies as a Deaf Latina woman.

Maria Cecilia Gutierrez Yapur Director of Programs, Coalition for a Better Acre

Cecilia was born in Tucuman, in Northwest Argentina. She received her Electronics Engineering degree as one of the very few women in the career in her college. Her first big job was in a copper mine in the middle of the Andes Mountains. After moving to Buenos Aires, she worked in Production and Supply Chain for a major global consumer goods company and spent six months in Brazil, where she learnt to speak Portuguese. In 2004, Cecilia migrated to the US with her family and took a few years off to raise her family. After living in Florida for a few years and spending almost a decade near Cleveland, Ohio, her family moved to Massachusetts in 2017. In 2020, Cecilia reinitiated her career by following her passion for helping the community at the Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA) as the Latin Empower and Advocacy Program Coordinator. In this position, Cecilia was focused on doing outreach and enrichment work for the Latin American community of Lowell. After a few months she was promoted to Director of Programs, and now oversees the team that manages all the programs with the objective to increase the availability of opportunities and develop the skills of the Lowell community. In the past year, Cecilia has led the opening of the CBA’s new Walk-in Center with the first Food Pantry in the Acre neighborhood, started the new Sewing Skills Workforce training, and set up the English lessons program for immigrants. She has also revamped the Workforce and Youth Development Programs for the community. Cecilia is married with two teenage daughters and a cute Havanese puppy.

Christopher Harvell Manager of Operational Initiatives, Cradles to Crayons

Growing up, Chris was active in giving back to his community through various service activities and nonprofit organizations. Post college, he learned about an opening at Cradles to Crayons where he had volunteered at previously. Having enjoyed his experience with the organization and believing in their mission and model, he was thrilled to be giving an offer letter to join the operations team. Over the years his responsibilities and skill set has increased. He is know responcible for managing the organizations signature events, including two million dollar fundraisers. He is also in charge of the children’s product purchasing budget, the champion and enrichment volunteer programs, and much more. He enjoys being able to help provide a meaningful experience to the ten of thousands of volunteers that volunteer with the organization. As well as impacting the life’s of children and caregivers that are struggling to obtain the essential items they need. Outside of work, he enjoys watching and playing soccer. Spending time out in nature hiking, kayaking, and other activities.

Courtney Houston Manager of Accounting, Community Teamwork, Inc.

Courtney Houston has worked in the nonprofit human services industry for 15 years. She currently serves as the Manager of Accounting for Community Teamwork, Inc. in Lowell, MA. She is responsible for the integrity of the company’s financials and smooth functioning of fiscal procedures. In her role she has focused on implementing innovative technology within the department as well as developing staff for future success. In 2017, she completed her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. She then went on to complete her Masters of Science in Business Administration with a concentration on Accounting in 2020. Although she’s completed her higher education, she views herself as a “forever student”, always looking for opportunity for growth and learning. When she isn’t focused on the numbers, Courtney enjoys spending time with her family, two dogs, puzzles and treasure hunts!

Jessica Huizenga Incoming Interim Executive Director, Latinos for Education

Dr. Jessica Huizenga is the Interim-Executive Director for Latinos for Education. Prior to this, she spent 23 years of her career in public education, serving in various roles as a classroom teacher, Department Chair, Assistant Principal, Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and as a Superintendent of school districts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Throughout her career, she focused on ensuring high quality and equitable instruction for students, and the school districts she led saw improvements in student performance and success. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Gordon College, Dr. Huizenga taught courses covering school law, curriculum, instruction and assessment, and prepared future educators and leaders for service in public education. Dr. Huizenga also holds a Master of Arts in Education, and her Doctorate in Leadership in Schooling from the University of Massachusetts: Lowell, and an advanced certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Cornell University.

Mar Imsong Executive Director, Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries

The Reverend Dr. Mar Imsong serves as the Executive Director of Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries. He was born in Nagaland, a state in northeast India. Rev. Imsong, holds various academic degrees from India as well as Princeton NJ, and received a doctoral degree (Th.D.) in Social Ethics from Boston University School of Theology. Prior to coming to the United States, Rev. Imsong worked in the Student Christian Movement of India, sensitizing people to and advocating for, justice and human rights for the poor and marginalized in India and work in Seminary in India as professor. He worked in the American Baptist Churches, since 1999 and in May 2010, Mar invited few church leaders (lay and ordained), who were passionate about multicultural ministries in the region and started a 501 (c) 3 called the Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries. The vision of MBMM is “Weaving God’s Love across Cultures”. Rev. Imsong is a renown international speaker, preacher, workshop leaders and presenter on cross cultural topics. His scholarly interest includes contemporary issues such as immigration, international relations and intersections of culture and theology. Rev. Imsong defines himself as a listener, a preacher and a bridge-builder who enjoys gardening and fishing.

Lima James Senior Director of Development, Enroot

Lima James serves as the Senior Director of Development at Enroot. Lima is an experienced grant writer, educator, and public speaker with a demonstrated history of working in nonprofits, government agencies, and academia. Skilled in leadership, development, and collaborative work, Lima joined the Enroot Team as its Development Manager. In this role, Lima led Enroot’s grant activities, funder stewardship, fundraising database management, and development communications. As Senior Director of Development, Lima leads all development initiatives at Enroot, in addition to serving as one of three of Enroot’s senior leaders. Born in India’s southern state of Kerala, Lima moved to the United States with her family when she was eight years old. Prior to joining Enroot, Lima was Director of Education and Community Engagement at LifeWay Network where she educated over 8,000+ individuals about human trafficking. Lima believes that exposure, collaboration, connectedness, and self-care are key to an enhanced quality of life. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and spending time outdoors. Lima holds a B.A. in Spanish with minors in International Studies and Latino Studies from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s in Macro Social Welfare from the State University of New York at Albany.

Niles Lashway Educator, UTEC

Niles Lashway is an Educator and Bridge Builder at UTEC (United Teen Equality Center). From his very birth as a biracial child presenting as black, to being adopted into an upper middle class white family, his very existence was a bridge. That gave him the privilege of traveling the world as part of an American diplomatic family to places like Germany and Cambodia. That experience also showed him how random and fortuitous life can be, with the only difference between his privileged life in diplomatic mansions and that of genocide and oppression, was the luck of where, and to whom, he was born. In his current role working as youth educator with United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell, MA, Niles not only seeks to empower youth but also examine some of the core power structures of nonprofits. He wants to explore the role systemic systems of oppression had in the creation of the historic and contemporary nonprofit industry. His goal is to reimagine the nonprofit field through a truly equitable and antiracist lens. In his spare time Niles is an avid all weather hiker. Most weekends, he can be found summiting some of the highest peaks in New England with his dog Alfie. Niles currently lives in Lowell with his wife, Kate, and their two dogs Alfie and Frankie.

Kristin Moccia EHE Program Manager, New England AIDS Education and Training Center

Kristin Moccia (she/her) is the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Program Manager for the New England AIDS Education and Training Center where she coordinates initiatives supporting workforce development, training and technical assistance for EHE funded community health centers. Kristin manages the HRSA Bureau of Primary Care Primary Care HIV Prevention grant to support capacity building efforts in Suffolk County to expand HIV Prevention for at risk populations. She also facilitates an HIV Community Health Worker Advisory Group and a prevention community of practice. Kristin holds a Bachelors degree in Public Health from Simmons University and has spent the past seven years working in community based organizations providing case management and developing social service programming for people experiencing homelessness, substance use and behavioral health disorders. She is passionate about understanding the social determinants of health and intersectional stigma to improve access to equitable health care and housing for all people.

Amanda Murray Program Director, Communitas (Previously EMARC)

Amanda received her bachelors degree in social and a minor in psychology. For the past 7 years she has worked in Adult Day Services. She started as direct care and worked her way up to her current role as Program Director with Communitas. She looks forward to connecting and building relationships through this program. 

Peter Newman Education Director, RISE, Hopewell

Peter Newman is the Education Director of an innovative program called RISE (Readiness, Inquiry, Scholarship Education). RISE provides intensive, long-term, one-on-one tutoring and educational support for foster youth, as well as addressing social, emotional, and cognitive needs. RISE is located under HopeWell, the largest nonprofit provider of foster care in Massachusetts. Peter has devoted his career to working at the intersection of child welfare, education and social justice. Peter began his career teaching English and reading to 5th graders as a Teach for America corps member, and he still keeps in touch with many of his students! Peter continued to support youth, spending 15 years working in the juvenile court system in Chicago. There he created programs and initiatives that reduced barriers to academic achievement for system-involved youth and strengthened the court’s collaboration with community organizations and schools. This included restorative justice programming to prevent violence and crime, and to offer schools an alternative to typical disciplinary practices. He also launched an innovative program to disrupt practices needlessly leaving youth with criminal records and managed a community mentoring program for youth in congregate care and detention centers. More recently, as the Founding Regional Director for Leadership for Educational Equity in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Peter focused on inspiring and supporting a network of civic leaders to end educational inequities. Peter holds a BA in History from Muhlenberg College, a Juris Doctor from Massachusetts School of Law, and a LL.M. in Child Law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Olabisi Obafemi Hotline/Medical Volunteer Coordinator, The Center for Hope and Healing

Olabisi (Bisi) Obafemi has a calling for challenging social norms that oppress people and is passionate about advocating for those who have been marginalized. Olabisi obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and went on to worked at a hospital, a chemical company and ABI homes. Olabisi now works at a Rape Crisis Organization supporting survivors of sexual assault as a Hotline and Medical Volunteer Coordinator. She enjoys taking long walks, listening to classical music.

Rosalina Pinto Assistant Executive Director, Clarendon Early Education Services, Inc.

Rosalina (Rosie) Pinto is the Assistant Executive Director at Clarendon Early Education Services, Inc, who is motivated, enthusiastic, ethical, thoughtfulness, respectful and continually driving to improve practice and keep learning new experiences. She is a professional who approaches work with both good judgment and compassion. Rosie always tries to solve problems through communication and critical thinking. She strongly supports the high quality, passionate and commitment to families, educators, and staff at Clarendon Early Education Services, Inc by providing a solid foundation, adapting the programing to fit the changing needs of the population served. Through her work, she grew in the ethical understanding of family structures, race, ethnicity, and values by understanding the importance of community identities, differing abilities, and age. Over the years, her career has been in the Early Childhood field with her first job experience in the early childhood was working in a center-based and worked there for four years. Afterward, Rosie was hired in Clarendon as a Home Monitor and then, pursued the promotion of leadership skills as a System Director. Within the years, Rosie ascended to her current role as an Executive Director. With this role, she is responsible for the daily oversight of operations and coordinating services for children among educators and families. She also manages and supervises staff, connecting the families to the right resources, and working beyond for the well-being of our future leaders. Rosie has an Hispanic background and is from the beautiful country of Honduras. She lives in Lowell, MA, married, and blessed with three children.

Adriana Raines Associate Director, Boston CASA

Visionary, influential and experienced Child and Family Welfare expert and educator. In the past 27 years Adriana Raines has served in various nonprofits focused on addressing the most pressing issues in communities historically marginalized and under served. Born to an immigrant single mother who led by example in providing a safe space and advocacy for families faced with the daunting challenges of navigating complex systems to have their needs met, Adriana continues to be inspired and focused on designing programs and interventions to create spaces for all voices to be heard and included in the decision-making processes of initiatives, policies and practices which directly impact their ability to thrive. In the past year, Adriana has successfully managed a self-designed DEI strategy which has changed the face of Boston CASA, increased representation of diverse cultures and continuously design learning experiences for staff to gain knowledge on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. She also serves as a Super Connector with an innate talent for building relationships with stakeholders and garnering buy-in to improve the effectiveness and accessibility of resources. An expert at building collaborative models designed to remove barriers and improve services to the communities she serves. Adriana is most proud of her accomplishments during her current tenure as a Director of Community Engagement and Strategic Partnerships. While leading the creation and implementation of a strategy to raise awareness of the organization, Adriana creates and shares the brand through a social media strategy and engage community members in conversations informed by the needs expressed by those most impacted by systemic barriers. She holds a Master’s in Education with a focus on culturally responsive curriculum Design and Instruction. Adriana is an active advisory member for Boston Healthy Families, Family Aware, Vital Village Social Justice Mediators, and a board member for an organization serving victims of domestic violence.

Bethany Riley Director of Human Resources, Beverly Bootstraps INC

Bethany Riley who goes by “Riley”, joined Beverly Bootstraps in June 2021 as the Director of Human Resources. She comes from a nonprofit management background with the majority of her time being spent in the Boys & Girls Club Movement. Some of what Riley oversees includes matters related to employee relations, organizational culture, and payroll/benefits. Riley is excited to work with the employees at Beverly Bootstraps to best support them so they can in turn support our community and clients.

Magda Rodriguez Director of Strategic Growth and Programming, Families First

Magda Rodriguez moved to the United States after receiving a law degree in Colombia. After establishing their own family and experiencing the process of raising two children in a foreign country, Magda became passionate about parenting issues and started to work as a family engagement leader for a nonprofit organization offering services in the Boston Public Schools. In 2012, Magda joined the Families First team as a Parenting Educator and facilitated parenting and professional workshops in the Boston area. Currently, Magda is the Senior Director of Programming at Families First, Co-chair of the Boston Opportunity Agenda Family Engagement Committee and member of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Parent and Community Education and Involvement Advisor Council and the Boston Universal Pre-K Advisory Committee.

Meredith Shaw Executive Director, Tri-Town Council

Meredith Shaw has been part of the Tri-Town Council (TTC) team for over a decade, first as a parent representative on TTC’s Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition and then as a Coalition Coordinator, Youth Programs Coordinator and, for the past 4 years, as Executive Director. Capitalizing on her business degree, Meredith spent the first few years of her career as an auditor for a large public accounting firm, but the call to serve youth, families and community was strong and she returned to school earning a Masters in Education. After a few years as an elementary teacher in the Newton Public Schools, Meredith left the classroom to pursue her interests in social and emotional learning. For several years she worked for the Open Circle Social Competency Program – a program of Wellesley College’s Stone Center – becoming a trainer and coach who supported teachers in implementing and facilitating SEL skill development in their classrooms and schools. Positive youth development, social-emotional health and wellness, youth substance use and risk behavior prevention, and supporting the cultivation of caring, inclusive communities for ALL are causes near and dear to Meredith’s heart. Tri-Town Council, a community based nonprofit serving the towns of Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield, is focused on supporting social emotional health and well being, preventing youth risk behaviors, and empowering healthy decision making. Using the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets and Developmental Relationships frameworks, along with The Montana Institute’s Science of the Positive, as underlying principles guiding its work, TTC strives to support positive youth development, healthy foundations and healthy communities through: youth and adult programming, data collection, school and community partnerships, and community resources. She is honored to support and serve Tri-Town Council, the Tri-Town community and beyond in these efforts.

Sophea Sou-Krauss Career Pathways Manager, UTEC

Sophea Sou-Krauss, Career Pathways Manager from UTEC, is a woman who is passionate about learning in order to improve her approach to leadership. She desires to lead through a holistic style of peace and harmony.

Lornablair Syesta Quality Assurance Manager, Community Teamwork Inc

Lornablair Syesta (she/her/hers) or “Lorna”, is a Quality Assurance manager for Community Teamwork Inc in Lowell, MA. Community Teamwork is a nonprofit action agency. 

Bethany Thomas Executive Operations Manager, BUILD

Bethany is an Executive Operations Manager at BUILD Boston, a Nonprofit focused on teaching under-resourced High school students entrepreneurship skills. She is excited to grow a diverse network though the Core Program and for all that she will learn.

Miguel Torres Program and Partnership Manager, Youth Guidance

Miguel Torres serves at Youth Guidance Boston in his role as Program and Partnership Manager. He comes with a deep and long experience of mentoring, leading, and developing services for black and brown boys, that serve to enhance and grow community and take into account the social context in which they live, work, and grow. He brings skills of harnessing the energy and building collective action while understanding the science and heart to engage directly boys and young men to feed and nourish them and develop their skills and knowledge to lead to lifelong change. Miguel has close to two decades of experience as a street outreach worker, program developer and facilitator and holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Boston University. He is trained in Restorative Justice Practices and has a personal interest in minimizing the negative impacts of the criminal justice system on the lives of young people and within their communities.

Jay Vilar Program Director, Haley House

Jay Vilar is the Program Director for Haley House, an organization that uses food with purpose and the power of community to break down barriers between people, empower individuals, and strengthen neighborhoods. In his role he oversees and manages the Urban Agriculture program, Nutritional Cooking Program (Take Back the Kitchen – TBK ) and the Reentry Program (Life Foundations Training – LiFT). He lives in Roxbury, MA with his partner, enjoys hosting dinner parties, and is always up for game night. 

Neil Whittredge Food Aid Organizer, New Lynn Coalition

Neil Whittredge Jr. is the Director of Food Aid at the New Lynn Coalition in Lynn, Massachusetts and facilitates its Grocery Delivery Program. Neil spends his free time as an activist in Lynn and recently founded an organization called Diverse People United which focuses on racial justice and social advocacy. The New Lynn Coalition is made up of community, faith, and labor organizations dedicated to fair housing, racial equity, public safety, and food justice. As Food Aid Director, Neil’s daily operations include grant research and writing, data management, volunteer recruitment, building organizational relationships, and delivery route logistics. He hopes to expand the New Lynn Coalition’s Grocery Delivery Program into the one and only evening food pantry in the City of Lynn and deliver more food to a greater number of residents more often. Neil is excited to attend INP’s Core Certificate Program because he wants to serve his community more effectively and create a more equitable food system for those his program serves.


Maria Buckmire Training Manager, Nontraditional Employment for Women

Maria V. Buckmire, MSW leads a program team that annually enrolls 350 women in pre-apprentice training, preparing them for a trades career, building upon the Nontraditional Employment for Women’s (NEW) community of 3,000+ union tradeswomen. Maria began her career in construction management, and accumulated over 10 years of experience in the field before transitioning to social work. In her 10+ years of experience in human services, she has worked to design and implement programming in housing, as well as youth services and workforce development; six of these years have been spent contributing to the design and ongoing development of NEW’s core training programs. Recently, Maria spearheaded the creation and curriculum for NEW’s most recent program, Green Collar Prep (GCP). GCP builds upon the foundational skills students also acquire through NEW’s core pre-apprenticeship programming: Blue Collar Prep and NEW at Night. She does this by integrating content directly linked to sustainability and efficiency practices, applying a green lens to NEW’s core curriculum, and providing students with a comprehensive training in environmental construction techniques and environmental literacy. Maria received her Bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and her Master’s of Social Work at Fordham University.

Ashley Camacho Senior Development Manager, Minds Matter NYC

Ashley Camacho is the Senior Development Manager at Minds Matter NYC, with nearly a decade of experience in youth development, programming, and operations. As a native New Yorker and first-generation college student, Ashley is passionate about equity in education and social change. Prior to joining Minds Matter, Ashley worked as a Program Manager in the EdTech sector, where she managed the delivery to hundreds of students and multiple partnerships. Additionally, Ashley has experience as a Community Relations Manager at one of the largest charter systems in NY, where she cultivated relationships between the school, students, and families. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Long Island University in Psychology, with a minor in Gender Studies.

Alixandra Carter Recruiting Manager, COOP

Alixandra (Alix) Carter is a Senior Recruiting Manager with COOP Careers, a nonprofit based in NYC. Her experience ranges from developing talent in the underemployed population of a BIPOC community of college graduates, to creating instructional, collateral-shaping DEI strategies for the workforce. “I love to inspire change with my work” is a mantra for Alix.

Haydil Henriquez NYC Scholastic Awards Manager, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

Haydil Henriquez (she/her) is a programs manager, cultural advocate, and Bronx-bred poet. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education with a minor in Latin American Studies from Swarthmore College in 2014. She worked at the DreamYard Art Center in the Bronx from 2014 through 2019 as a Program Associate, Programs and College Access Manager, Co-Director, and Consultant. Since October of 2019, Haydil has worked with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers as the NYC Scholastic Awards Manager. At the Alliance, Haydil is responsible for coordinating the NYC region strategic partnerships with local organizations, planning logistics, communication and programming, producing annual events in recognition of award recipients, and supervising the art and writing regions with over 10,000 entries and 300+ participating schools every year. Haydil is often executing explicit strategies to engage teens from under-resourced schools and under-represented communities, and is an active member of the Racial Equity Taskforce at the Alliance. Haydil completed the Foundation and Framework of College Access and Success Counseling certificate course at the Goddard Riverside Options Institute in 2015-2016; she received the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute’s Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship in 2017, and the Emerging Poets Fellowship at Poet House in 2018. Haydil still finds time to pursue her artistry in spite of her busy role as a program manager: her work has been published in Cutbank Literary Magazine (University of Montana, 2020), Rigorous Magazine (2021), Coffin Bell Journal (2022), Pa’lante Journal (Cerritos College, 2022), and TroubleMaker FireStarter Chapbook (2022). Haydil Henriquez was honored to receive the inaugural Bronx Poet Laureate title in June of 2021 from The Bronx is Reading, and in her free time, works with her community to promote a love for literacy.

L’Toya Jones Director of Programs, Minds Matter NYC

L’Toya Jones joined Minds Matter NYC in 2021 as the Director of Programs. Before joining Minds Matter NYC, she served as Director of Middle School Programming with the Harlem Educational Activities Fund for five years. L’Toya was born in Pennsylvania and raised in upstate New York. L’Toya currently lives in Brooklyn, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from New York University.

Drew Marley Associate Director of Admissions & College Enrollment, Year Up

Drew Marley is a mid-career professional that, for the last five years, has worked to achieve his personal mission of empowering underserved communities through promoting educational access and professional opportunity within the higher education and workforce development sectors. He has recently stepped into his new role, and currently serves as the Associate Director of Admissions & College Enrollment for the organization Year Up, where he oversees the Year Up NYNJ market’s enrollment team. Drew manages the admissions function of this team directly, by specifically collaborating with all of Year Up’s cross-functional teams, cultivating college partnerships, and managing relationships with various community-based organizations. Drew’s efforts are geared toward ensuring that the site meets its student enrollment goals each year and achieving Year Up’s mission of closing the opportunity divide by connecting top corporations in need of entry-level talent with college-trained, high-potential young adults. Some of Drew’s professional achievements include his service in the launch of Year Up’s first inaugural cohort in New Jersey in 2019, along with his tenure as the first Program Manager for Year Up’s Career Immersion Team, where he led the Consumer Banking and Financial Operations cohorts to an average of 86% retention over four cycles. When he is not working, Drew enjoys going to the gym to stay fit, traveling to the Hawaiian islands to recharge (when tickets are cheap!), and watching Sci-Fi movies.

Veronica Medrano Office Manager, Crime Victims’ Treatment Center

Veronica Medrano is the Office Manager at the Crime Victims’ Treatment Center, a nonprofit organization that provides services free of charge to survivors of crimes. Veronica is looking forward to the journey she is about to embark on with the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. She is excited to learn, to meet new people, and would like to expand her network to better serve survivors.

Belita Nguluwe Vice President, WE Lead Sports, Inc.

Belita Nguluwe (she/they) operates as Vice President of WE (Wise Eagles) Lead Sports, Inc., a nonprofit youth development organization that uses tennis, leadership, and college/career readiness programs to build character and empower youth to rise above adversity and soar high in all areas of life. She has close to a decade of combined experience as a domestic and global social impact leader, research scientist, and strategist, specializing in a culturally-informed, mission-aligned, collaborative, data-driven framework. They obtained their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Environmental Science, with a concentration in Marine Science and Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science with a focus on Fishery Science, respectively, from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She received scholarship sponsorship through the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC), whose mission is to prepare a diverse student body for careers in marine and fisheries sciences through exemplary academic and research collaborations. LMRCSC is supported by the NOAA Education Partnership Program with Minority-Serving Institutions, which additionally funded her Master’s thesis research in ecosystem-based fishery genetics. She is an expert in synergistic, human-centered program development, management, and partnership liaising. Belita has co-executed initiatives, such as an SDGs 2030 informed community-serving initiative, and directed CSR engagements with Goldman Sachs, while functioning as a member of several committees, such as the American Fisheries Society Hutton Junior Fisheries Program and the EvalYouth North America P2P. They have also served as Ecology Co-Chair with the Bronx River Alliance.

Silmady Peralta NY Regional Advising Manager, uAspire

Silmady Peralta is the Regional Advising Manager for the NY team at uAspire. She leads a team of four incredible college affordability advisors, and makes sure they are set for success. Silmady has many years of experience in managing people and teams, and college access and success. She knows the NY financial aid and higher education systems well. She graduated from Queens Community College with an Associate’s degree, and CUNY Queens College with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Education in School Counseling. Silmady values the missions of the nonprofit spaces she worked at, due to resonating with many of the same identities and encountering many of the same barriers as the students and families she has worked with. She brings great energy, optimism, an equity mindset, and a desire to work and learn with others.

Florentz-Gabrielle Pierre OIC of America, Program Data and Evaluation Specialist Group, Inc

Florentz-Gabrielle Pierre is a health equity and impact researcher. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College, and her Master of Public Health from New York University. She has eight years of experience in healthcare, six years of research experience (qualitative, quantitative, and evaluation research), and three years of health education experience. She is currently a Program Data and Evaluation Specialist at OIC of America.

Nicole Ransone Executive Director, Horizons at Saint David’s

Nicole Ransone is a youth development professional with almost 20 years of experience. As a first-generation student who greatly benefited from nonprofit programs like The I Have a Dream Foundation and the YMCA, she knew she wanted to provide similar services and support to students who are in need. A native of Mount Vernon, New York, Nicole earned both her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (Current Themes in Education) from Stony Brook University. 

Samson Woo Special Projects Manager, KIPP NYC Public Charter Schools

Samson Woo serves as Special Projects Manager at KIPP NYC Public Charter Schools. As a jack-of-all-trades, Samson specializes in operations and logistics as an area of expertise while leaning on his past lives as a recruiter, career coach, graphic designer, and event planner. An aspiring Chief of Staff, Samson provides systems innovation and process-building capacity to education organizations to provide thoughtfully and equitably designed solutions to the challenges that public educations are facing.

New York City THURSDAY

Olufunmilayo Adeniyi Winfrey Executive Director, Women for Women Initiative Foundation

Olufunmilayo Adeniyi Winfrey, the Board Treasurer of Women for Women Initiative Foundation in New York, is a lawyer with over 10 years of experience in international human rights law. She is a gender-based violence expert, and a rights activist for people living with disability. She received her LLB and LLM from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2007. She started her human rights career at an NGO named Ajegunle Community Project and was promoted to Senior Program Officer for the legal team. She got a scholarship to attend the African Women Fellowship Program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 2016, for a period of one year, and specialized in international human rights law for women. In a similar vein, she is a climate change activist, a grassroots mobilizer, and a consultant. She served as the Executive Director at a nonprofit organization in Nigeria named Feminine Action for Grassroots Development Initiative. She is a researcher on gender-based violence issues. She has coordinated various projects, which have tremendously improved the life of women in Nigeria. She has written numerous papers on climate change and the succession of women in the eastern part of Nigeria. She is presently based in New York.

Amanda Alvarado-Frantz Executive Director, KEEN New York

Amanda (Mandi) Alvarado-Frantz is a disability advocate, influencer, and nonprofit leader. She is the Executive Director of Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) New York, a nonprofit that provides free programs of fitness, fun, and friendship to children and young adults with disabilities, accepting every child regardless of the severity of their disability. Mandi is a leader in inclusion advocacy for people with disabilities. In 2019, she was selected to attend the exclusive MIT Sloan School of Management’s program, LEAD20@MIT Leadership in the Digital Age, in partnership with the Ruderman Foundation. She also sat on a panel to discuss beauty, self-advocacy, and disability at the 2020 Reelabilities Film Festival.

Alessandra Angarita Senior Manager, United Way of NYC

Alessandra earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from The City College of New York. She began her career in child welfare as a child protective specialist with the Administration for Children Services. Immediately, she discovered her passion for working with families and understanding their individual needs. In 2008, she transitioned into foster care, where she focused on the reunification of families. In her capacity as a case planner, she worked with parents and foster parents in order to effectively create plans that ensured the safety and wellbeing of the children. She has also facilitated family team conferences, which are vital in planning for families to reach their goals. As the Parent Specialist of Family Engagement and Community Services at East Side House Settlement, she used her experience to empower parents to become active figures in their children’s education. Her workshops have given the parents of the Mott Haven Community the tools and confidence they need to support their children’s educational goals. Her career has allowed her to evolve from effectively advocating for one child/family at a time to her current role as Senior Manager of Strengthen NYC at the United Way of New York City. Her work at Strengthen NYC focuses on capacity-building strategy, which supports all community impact initiatives. Alessandra and the capacity-building team provide internal and external resources and expertise so that funded programs deliver high quality results, achieve meaningful outcomes, and are well positioned to sustain their efforts. Alessandra is very passionate about her work as she strives to make NYC a better place for all. Her previous experience has allowed her to connect with the community and understands its needs. Her love for NYC and all its residents is what motivates her to continue the effort in creating equity in underserved communities.

Tiffany Avery Senior Director, HR & Learning, National Urban League

Tiffany Avery (she/her) is an experienced learning and development professional with more than 15 years of experience with a global reach. She is an expert in blended learning solutions, managing professional and talent development programs, and facilitating instructor-led and online training. Tiffany works for the National Urban League as the Senior Director of HR & Learning. Her main focus is on the delivery of the Whitney M. Young Emerging Leaders Conference program, new CEO orientation, and supporting the professional development of National Urban League staff. Prior to joining the National Urban League, Tiffany worked for MetroPlus Health Plan, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Microsoft, where she drove learning strategy and helped design training to suit the diverse needs of those employees. She has worked on projects for employee engagement activities and team-based learning, created an offshore Payment Card Industry (PCI) onboarding training, and more. Much of her professional work experience was gathered in China until her return to the USA in November 2012. Tiffany graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Elon College. She majored in Communications, with an emphasis on media research. In her free time, she likes to dabble in creative projects, such as baking and writing. She is on a mission to help others learn and develop as she herself continues to do the same.

Ariana Baldomero Senior Director of People, COOP Careers

Ariana Baldomero describes herself as a lifelong learner and continuously curious. Ariana’s journey includes working as the Human Resources Officer at The British Consulate-General, where she discovered her passion for learning and development. This discovery led her to become the Senior Director of Talent at COOP Careers, where she leads talent work, including hiring, performance management, organizational culture, and professional development. As a Latina committed to anti-racism work, Ariana believes in owning her identity, brilliance, and expertise, and empowering other women of color to do the same. Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, she graduated from The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies.

Valrie Barrett Senior Director of Operations, Youth Communication New York

Valrie Barrett, PhD, is the Senior Director of Operations at Youth Communication New York. Valrie has 20 years of experience in working with nonprofit organizations. She served as Chief Operation Officer for both Refoundry, Inc. and Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. She was also the Chief of Staff for JustLeadershipUSA, an advocacy-driven nonprofit dedicated to cutting the prison population by 2030. Valrie has worked in the field of criminal justice reform and substance use for over two decades, with a demonstrated history in nonprofit operations, management, clinical supervision, and project coordination. She is also the founder of Vested Beyond, a company dedicated to providing operational and management expertise to support organizational and program development. Valrie earned her PhD in Social Welfare from The City University of New York Graduate Center, and her Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at both Touro College School of Social Work and The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She is an advisory board member to A Second U Foundation. Valrie maintains peace and balance through boxing and hot yoga practice.

Sophonna Cottle Vice President of Shelters, ICL

Sophonna Cottle is the 48-year old mother of four adult children. She currently works for ICL, a behavioral health organization. She is Vice President over shelters throughout the five boroughs in New York City. She is also an author of three published books and an entrepreneur “She-EO” of a women’s empowerment networking LLC. In her spare time, she loves reading, writing, and crocheting.

Jason Garcia Assistant Vice President of Youth & Workforce Programs, South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBro)

Jason Garcia first came through the doors of SoBro when he was 15 years old as a Summer Youth Intern and returned in 2006 as a Program Assistant for the Out of School Time evening program. He is an experienced youth practitioner and human services provider who has dedicated more than 18 years to serving the South Bronx. As someone who was raised in the South Bronx and was once homeless, Garcia’s passion for developing youth and adult opportunities to enhance their quality of life, not only in the South Bronx, but city-wide, became a life mission. In addition to managing more than 13 programs with total funding of almost $5 million, he also sits on the Board of Trustees for the New York City Montessori Charter School.

Karrée-Lyn Gordon Executive Director, The Urban Wizdum Network, Inc.

Karrée-Lyn Gordon was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, and attended public school K-16 in New York City. She is a first-generation American: her parents are from Jamaica, West Indies. She is a daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, lifelong student, and educator. Karrée has spent nearly three decades working with and in urban schools and community-based organizations that serve students and their families. She is strong believer that education must address the whole child and include social, emotional, physical, and cultural lessons. Dr. Gordon has worked for school districts supporting academic instruction in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. She has also led teams and managed after-school and summer programs, sports groups, and social-emotional enrichment in New York City; Newark, NJ; Flint, MI; Springfield, MA; and Broward County, Florida through nonprofit organizations. Dr. Gordon has also had the privilege of working as an adjunct professor teaching first-year students at The Community College of Baltimore County. She received a Doctorate in Education from NOVA Southeastern University, a Master of Human Services from Lincoln University, and an undergraduate education in Urban Legal Studies from the City University of New York, City College. In 2020, Dr. Gordon applied and received a 501(c)(3) status for her organization, The Urban Wizdum Network, Inc. (TUWN). The mission of TUWN, Inc is to increase the knowledge, promote healthy behaviors, and inspire empowering beliefs of people living in under-resourced, urban working communities. TUWN, Inc. has worked tirelessly, with minimal funding, in conjunction with other community and faith-based organizations during the pandemic era to educate and promote to Northeast Bronx residents pandemic resources, including academic support and tutoring for youth, food pantries, emergency rent programs, immigration assistance, for-profit business support, as well as testing, vaccines, and other COVID-related supports.

Dionne Grayman Co-Founder, We Run Brownsville

Dionne Grayman facilitates paradigm shifts. As Co-Founder of We Run Brownsville, a grassroots effort to support Black and Brown women in reimagining their lives as generators of wellness and joy through the sport of running, she promotes “active activism” as an authentic way to engage people in exploring and expanding new ways of being and doing. Dionne believes that the key to transforming power and relational structures is through heart-centered conversation, storytelling, and community building. Her purpose is to ensure that all stakeholders have access to a shared language and understanding around challenging inequities, and catalyze courageous action. In her work as an educator and staff developer, she provides training and coaching in the implementation of restorative practices, social-emotional learning, and racial equity within public and private schools nationwide. A proud been-Brooklyn girl, she credits her family with instilling in her the importance of resistance and revolution. A lover of the golden era of hip-hop and all things Toni Morrison, Dionne holds a dual Bachelor of Arts in English and Journalism, as well as a Master’s degree in Special Education. A recipient of a few awards and fellowships, she is most humbled to be the mother of her three amazing children.

Andrew Hamilton President, National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Metro New York Chapter

Andrew Hamilton has served the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Metro New York Chapter in several capacities: Volunteer Management, Director of Employment, Vice President, and now, an elected President. The Metro NY NBMBAA has received several awards under his leadership: the National LifeStyle Channel Award (2018); the “Go Get It” Women’s Conference Service & Recognition Award (2019); the National Leadership Channel Award (2020 and 2021); the National Membership Growth Award (2021); and the Chapter President of the Year Award (2021). Andrew’s strength lies in his ability to inspire, drive change, negotiate new client business and partnerships, and create positive outcomes and winning cultures within an organization. Andrew regularly consults with nonprofits and volunteers from a variety of fields on marketing and public relations.

Alexis Iwanisziw Senior Vice President of Policy and Communications, Inclusiv

Alexis Iwanisziw recently joined Inclusiv as Senior Vice President of Policy and Communications. Alexis works with Inclusiv’s member credit unions to advocate for policies that promote meaningful financial inclusion in low-income communities, as well as the safety and soundness of community development credit unions. Previously, Alexis served as Chief of Staff to the President at Low Income Investment Fund, a national community development financial institution, and before that, as Deputy Director of New Economy Projects in New York City. Outside of work, she volunteers with the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union as a member of both the board and supervisory committee, and as a board member of the credit union’s nonprofit affiliate, People’s Center for Economic Independence. Alexis holds a Master of Social Work in Community Organization and Planning from Hunter College School of Social Work, and a Bachelor of Arts in Math and Economics from Bryn Mawr College.

Kurell Osei Allister Julien Director of Accessibility, City of New York — Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

With over 17 years as a supply chain professional and over a decade as a diversity coach, community organizer, and social justice advocate, Kurell Osei Allister Julien (he/they) is passionate about leveraging the unique convergence of his personal and professional experience to foster and drive cultural and structural change. Resulting from his intersecting identities as a gay, Trinidad-born, and culturally-raised Black Man, Kurell is precious about ensuring that all people are able to experience and observe themselves fully in the spaces that they occupy. He has served in various roles in his community, and held positions of leadership in his work, most recently supporting the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in NYC as the Equity Officer for its Citywide Health Emergency Field Operations COVID-19 Vaccine Operations. At present, he is serving in the role of Director of the Office of Access & Disability Justice, purposed with addressing structural and cultural inequities for people with disabilities from an intersectional lens. Professionally, Kurell takes pride in his ability to envision systems and see work that needs to be operationalized to affect change: it is what drives him forward toward his goal of consulting in the field of social justice organizational culture and structure change.

Patricia Borrell Kutnyak Post Secondary Program Director, Summer Search

Patricia (Trish) Borrell Kutnyak (she/her) was just promoted to be the Post Secondary Program Director at Summer Search’s New York office. Trish’s passion for learning and growth started with her first job at Chuck E. Cheese, pushed her to study abroad in college, pulled her into college access and success work, and guides most of her life choices to this day. As a first-generation college student, Trish had to overcome many challenges in her pursuit of higher education, which has fueled her purpose of supporting others in finding their purpose. Originally from a small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Trish has lived in Brooklyn since 2014. She holds her Bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College and her Master’s degree in Education Studies and Organizational Leadership from Boston University, Wheelock College. She is grateful to those who have helped her come to this point, and excited to continue on this path of learning, growing, and living life!

Decota Letman Director of Strategic Partnerships,

Decota Letman is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at She hails from New York City, with Jamaican roots and an overall love for the diaspora. With a background in communications and public relations, Decota specializes and prides herself in doing community-building work through culturally-enriching experiences. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the City College of New York, and her Master of Political Science at Howard University. Her two degrees have given her the opportunity to work in fields that both serve her people and feed her passion. Decota thrives on balancing the social injustice scales through the arts and empowering young people. She ultimately would like to create safe spaces for Black and Brown kids in under-resourced communities across the globe to fully exercise their potential and be given the same opportunities as their counterparts. In her spare time, Decota can be found traveling or listening to lots of cultural music.

Anita Lovaincy Director of Recruitment, The Literacy Lab

Anita began her career in the tech industry, providing system administration and project management support in the government and for-profit sector, with corporations such as Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research and The Massachusetts Information Technology Center. Since making a career transition over 15 years ago, Anita has dedicated her career to working with and alongside community members, youth, and early career talent to advance racial justice and social equity for marginalized people. Anita currently serves as the Director of Recruitment for The Literacy Lab, a national service and education-focused nonprofit, where she leads recruitment strategy, learning, and design for a remote team across the country. Anita holds a Bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Juvenile Justice and Community Development from Cambridge College, as well as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace certificate from the University of South Florida, MUMA School of Business. She is an alumna of The Hood Incubator’s inaugural Cannabis Justice Accelerator, and CORO Leadership New York. In her free time, you can find Anita enjoying live music or reading outdoors, singing off-key at a karaoke joint, or at home, taking comfort in a nice familiar binge-watch over a home-cooked meal.

Susan Mandrew-Jones Director of Human Resources & Operations, Crime Victims Treatment Center

Susan Mandrew-Jones is the Director of Human Resources & Operations at the Crime Victims Treatment Center (CVTC). CVTC helps survivors of interpersonal violence in their healing journey. Support comes in the form of crisis intervention, psychotherapy, legal advocacy, and complementary therapy. Susan is also a a certified facilitator of Unconscious Bias in the Health Professions, and a professional coach, with specialties in leadership, BIPOC professional development, and trauma recovery. Prior to joining CVTC, Susan served for eight years as the Associate Director of Human Resources at Mount Sinai’s Institute for Advanced Medicine & The Center for Transgender Medicine & Surgery.

Jessica Minhas Founder & CEO, I’ll Go First

Jessica Minhas is a human rights and mental health advocate, and Founder and CEO of I’ll Go First, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to leveraging storytelling and low-cost digital tools to provide remote psychosocial care to marginalized trauma populations throughout the developing world. For the past twenty years, she has worked in digital media, carefully producing inspiring content focused on complex social issues; in the survivor advocacy space, she has crafted economic empowerment programs, and supported investigations on behalf of sex-trafficking and domestic violence survivors. She challenges audiences to think globally, empowers them to find their purpose, and encourages them to cultivate their unique voices for the common good. Jessica graduated from the University of Central Florida and has completed graduate studies work in journalism at New York University and global mental health trauma and refugee recovery with Harvard Medical School, and is currently a pre-medical post-baccalaureate candidate with Columbia University. This pursuit is borne from passion: everything Jessica does is colored by a commitment to shed light on issues normally silenced in shame, and offer hope to those without it. Learn more about her work at and

Anna Mulè Executive Director, Slow Food USA

Anna Mulè (she/her) is a network weaver who has dedicated her career to creative storytelling, collaborative team-building, and joyful experimentation. She joined Slow Food USA in 2016 as Director of Communications and Campaigns, and was promoted to Executive Director in 2019. In these roles, Anna has focused on centering equity and justice in the network, making space for diverse leadership, introducing national campaigns that promote biodiversity and regenerative agriculture, and developing partnerships with chefs, leaders, companies, and communities around the world. Prior to Slow Food, Anna worked and taught at Wagner College, in digital storytelling and multimedia production, as well as StoryCorps and Media Folk. Anna holds a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology and Journalism from Indiana University.

Darlene Perry-O’Neill Senior Director of New York Program, Per Scholas

Darlene Perry-O’Neill is a program, operations, and strategy professional who has worked in the nonprofit industry for almost 15 years. She currently works for Per Scholas, which provides no-cost technology skills training, as the Senior Director of New York Program. Darlene resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and daughter.

Julien Pope Director of Training and Development, Harlem Children’s Zone

Julien Pope is a human capital professional with more than 15 years of experience working across different human resources disciplines in the private and public sector. Julien currently serves as the Director of Learning and Development at Harlem Children’s Zone, a Harlem, NY community-based organization focused on ending intergenerational poverty through educational and career programs. Julien is responsible for developing and executing Harlem Children’s Zone training and development strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization. This includes overseeing areas of organizational and performance management, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and designing Harlem Children’s Zone’s training and development infrastructure. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor’s degree in Government, Georgetown University with a Master’s degree in Strategic Human Resources Management, and received a certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from the University of South Florida.

Donna Raphael Community School Director, FHI36

Donna Raphael (she/her) works for FHI36, and is the Community School Director at David Paterson Elementary School located in Hempstead, NY. Ms. Raphael earned a Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Adelphi University. She is an advocate for criminal justice reform and equitable solutions for youth. Donna is involved with several local initiatives focused on these areas. She is also a member of several projects related to community development and juvenile detention and re-entry strategies. She is the Education Equity Action Team Co-chair in the State of Black Long Island under the Urban League of Long Island. Donna is a staunch advocate for racial equity and healing bridges between people and organizations. Ms. Raphael has a Diversity and Inclusion Certification from Cornell University, and was a Reducing Racial and Equity Disparities Fellow at Georgetown University. Donna is the Freeport NE Civic Association Vice President and NAAC Roosevelt/Freeport Environmental Climate Justice Chair. Ms. Raphael is involved with several local initiatives focused on social responsibility and community impact.

Nalini Saxena Executive Director, PORTAL

Nalini Saxena’s mission is to explode outward the boundaries of what is perceived as achievable for organizations, entrepreneurs, and leaders in such a way that enlivens purpose, drives performance, inspires engagement, and connects to global citizenship. To this end, Nalini works with governments, NGOs, private sector businesses, entrepreneurs, change-making teams, and individual leaders. What she loves to do is complex problem-solving, strategic direction and design, operational execution, leadership development, and high-stakes crisis resolution. When a city needs to regain control over a public health crisis, when a private sector company needs to reinvent itself against headwinds of innovation and competition, when an entrepreneurial organization needs to determine its business/financial/talent strategy or succession-planning strategy, or when a high-value leader aspires to make a greater impact while finding greater fulfillment and building a legacy, Nalini likes receiving the call to serve. Her commitment to principles, starting with ethics and integrity, inform all of her life’s work. She holds herself to a high standard, and strives to create results and deliver service with excellence. Nalini is a strategist, advisor, critical thinker, consultant, public speaker, trainer, facilitator, coach, and partner.

Kristen Houlton Shaw Director of Development, New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault

Kristen Houlton Shaw (she/her) works as Director of Development at the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. Prior to joining the Alliance, Kristen managed fundraising in support of the international NGO VisionSpring’s poverty alleviation work across eight countries. Previously, Kristen led the Sexual Violence Center, a three-county community-based rape crisis center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kristen lived and worked for several years in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, she served as a training coordinator for the British charity, Computer Aid International. In this role, she started a program in technology skill-building for women, teachers, and youth in Liberia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya. Kristen worked in Malawi as the National HIV Programmes Coordinator for the prison service. She spearheaded HIV prevention, treatment, and impact-mitigation programs and services in 35 prison stations and administrative offices across Malawi; these programs focused on inmates, prison staff, and their dependent family members. Kristen originally moved to Malawi to work as Management Advisor in a rural youth-run and youth-focused community-based organization as a Peace Corps volunteer. Her earlier professional experiences in the U.S. include several years working at the University of Minnesota in research and teaching, a period at the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO (the statewide umbrella organization representing unionized workers across the state), and, while a full-time college student, she directed constituent services for a member of the New York City Council. Kristen holds a Master’s degree in Feminist Philosophy, a joint degree pursued through the Departments of Philosophy and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, from the University of Minnesota. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in politics from New York University.

Delia Kim Sorto Program Director, Partnership for After School Education (PASE)

Delia Kim Sorto (she/her) seeks to uplift the most under-resourced asset in communities: the young people. In 2011, Delia founded Young Governors, a youth organizing program that empowers youth to find and be the solutions in their communities. She is passionate about creating brave spaces for youth to find their voices and stories, to make a meaningful impact. Delia provides professional development opportunities for youth-serving organizations in her role as Program Director at the Partnership for After School Education (PASE). She brings over 20 years of experience in youth development, as a social worker, manager, and youth leadership developer. Most of her work has been in community-based organizations in her home borough of Queens. She holds an MSW from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, with a concentration in Community Organizing, and an MPA from Baruch College focused in Nonprofit Management. She is a connector, educator, social worker, advocate for justice, and foodie.

Ana Stern Senior Manager, Education, The Moth

Ana is the Senior Manager of Education with The Moth. Although she has traveled all over the world, she is a die-hard New Yorker with a Bachelor’s degree and MPA from New York University. For over 10 years, she has worked with programs that amplify and promote young people’s voices, stories, and dreams, both within New York and internationally. The current chapter of Ana’s story features bike rides through Brooklyn, her two cats Andre 3000 and Big Boi, getting her hands dirty with her pottery craft, speaking different languages, reading books in the park, playing capoeira, and getting her hands on as many stories as possible in whatever form they come in.

Markus Ward Managing Director of Development, COOP Careers

Markus oversees the fundraising, marketing/communications, and growth/expansion activities for COOP Careers, a national nonprofit focused on overcoming underemployment for first-generation and low-income college students. Immediately prior to this role, he was a Director at CCS Fundraising, the largest strategic fundraising consulting firm in the nation, where he advised large clients on how to optimize and launch transformational fundraising campaigns. He was previously the Director of Operations and Development at Workforce Professionals Training Institute, NYC’s premier capacity-building organization for the workforce development field, from 2016-2018, and served as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director at Year Up New York from 2014-2016.

Sarah Wessel Senior Director of Partnerships, COOP Careers

Sarah Wessel has spent her career building and overseeing corporate employer partnerships and directing teams within the workforce development sector. In her current role as Senior Director of Partnerships for COOP Careers, Sarah oversees a national team responsible for building relationships with employer partners to create onramps to upwardly-mobile careers for first-generation college graduates. Since starting with COOP in January of 2020, Sarah has driven COOP’s corporate engagement strategy and helped employers across the country build robust, diverse pipelines of talent. Outside of work, Sarah is a mother to an energetic toddler, a certified yoga instructor, and enjoys spending time outdoors in the Mid-Hudson Valley where her family resides.

Brendez Wineglass Resource Development Manager, IMPACCT Brooklyn

“I build people, business, and community!” A native New Yorker and Howard University graduate, Wineglass is a dedicated and proven leader with a wealth of business, nonprofit, and artistic experience. Holding a degree in Sports Medicine and Chemistry, she elected to expand her horizons, combining her passions for community advocacy, social engagement, and event production, and launching a career and business to merge them. As the Founder of Power Social Events & Umoja Solutions, she is fully invested in helping marginalized communities reach their entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial goals. Through thoughtful connections, engaging events, and creative strategy, she has empowered leaders to scale, thrive, and fundraise toward their social impact and nonprofit goals. Since 2017, Wineglass has led communities to strength and stability through several impressive initiatives. She secured several hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and donations from some of the nation’s top companies, and has leveraged those funds into large-scale, small business improvement projects and neighborhood revitalization programs in Barbados; Dubai, UAE; Jamaica, Queens; the JFK Airport; and the East 125th Street Corridor. Brendez presently serves as the Resource Development Manager for IMPACCT Brooklyn, a community-development organization helping small businesses and developing affordable housing options in Brooklyn since 1964. Wineglass presently serves on a number of boards, is an Art Commissioning Producer, an Innovative Cultural Advocacy (ICA) Fellow, and a member of influential organizations, such as For(bes) The Culture, Google Partners, and BWOI (Black Women of Influence). She has been a thought leader and advocate in the areas of civic engagement, art and culture, and economic prosperity. Wineglass continues to build her legacy of giving back to younger generations, and contributes to improving the world around her. When she’s not handling business, you can find her breaking a sweat dancing circles on the dance floor, at the latest tech convening, or globetrotting the world in search of sun and sand! To learn more and connect:

Daniel Zauderer CEO & Co-Founder, Grassroots Grocery

Dan Zauderer is a former startup sales and business development guy, who became a middle school teacher by way of existential crisis. He left the startup world to teach in a Costa Rican village, fell in love with teaching, got his Master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University, and went on to teach for four years in a bilingual South Bronx classroom. After witnessing food insecurity firsthand among his own students and families, Dan co-founded the Mott Haven Fridge Network. He left his job a year ago to transform the Mott Haven Fridge Network from a passion project into a sustainable, hunger-fighting force for good. He is passionate about using a hyper-local, community-based, volunteer-powered framework to transform the food assistance paradigm.

Rhode Island

Clauder Aspilaire Senior Program Manager, Chica Project

Clauder is a first-generation Haitian, born in the US and raised in Haiti for 15 years, who is passionate about elevating and advocating for Black and Brown women. She currently serves as the Director of Programs at the Chica Project and is new to the nonprofit field. Her professional background is in higher education, educational travel, international student services, and relationship and program management. A year ago, she earned her Master’s in Gender & Cultural Studies and her thesis focused on the African roots of salsa dance, what it represents to her as a Black woman, and what it can represent for young Black girls in their identity formation. Clauder is a professional Afro Diasporic Dancer. She can dance Salsa, Mambo, Bachata, Timba, Rumba, Guaguanco, Dances of the Orishas, Haitian Folklore, Konpa, Kizomba, and AfroBeats, among others.

Kate Aubin Head of Youth Services, Providence Public Library

Kate Aubin (she/her) is the Head of Youth Services at Providence Public Library where she oversees the Children’s and Teen departments, along with the public workshop space. She has a Master’s degree in Social Innovation and Sustainability from Goddard College and undergraduate degrees in Education and Journalism from Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. Kate has more than a decade of experience working with youth, including as a classroom teacher. She serves on the boards of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club, YWCA Rhode Island, and the Pawtuxet Village Farmers’ Market. Kate is a URI Master Gardener and enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking, and participating in citizen science projects.

Jennifer Benitez Program Coordinator/Nutritionist, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation

Jennifer (Jenn) Benitez is currently employed with West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, where she oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Jenn is the Program Coordinator, Nutritionist, and Certified Lactation Counselor to the Sankofa WIC clinic. She earned her B.S. in Health Promotion and Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island and her M.S. in Health Administration from the University of St. Francis. Jenn has dedicated her professional career to serving low-income populations and those found to be at nutritional risk. She believes that language should not be a barrier to receiving quality health services. Jenn is bilingual. Speaking English and Spanish has allowed her to expand her horizons by serving larger amounts of clients who speak either of those languages. Jenn also has a passion for giving back to her community. She sits on the Juvenile Hearing Board for the city of Central Falls and volunteers at the city’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

Jamie Berberena Community Engagement Director, Groundwork Southcoast (GWSC)

Jamie Berberena is the Community Engagement Director with Groundwork Southcoast (GWSC), and in this role she integrates her community health background and native history and healing practices while co-creating with youth and local community. She is a passionate public health advocate and a leader focused on advancing racial equity throughout Massachusetts. She has over a decade of experience promoting the health and well-being of diverse communities across the southeast by providing direct support and guidance through community-based programs, multi-disciplinary clinical programs, and health policy initiatives. She is rooted in her indigenous Borinquen heritage as a descendant of the Taíno people of the Caribbean. She takes great pride in honoring her ancestors’ nature-based healing practices and passes this legacy down to her daughters, Eliyana and Coralee, to sustain a healthy future generation. She believes that fostering collaboration among people of diverse ethnicities is vital to improving population health and relationships with Nature and with each other. Her hope is to be an example of healing and unity and to lead with the power of love and continue to serve as a change agent building a larger ecosystem that works collectively to sustain a just and resilient society.

Charles Chhor Operations Manager, Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN)

Charles Chhor (he/they) serves as the Operations Manager for Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN). Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, they identify as a first-generation, queer, Cambodian American. Charles has been supporting SEAFN’s family reunions and leadership retreats since 2018! As SEAFN looks to build and grow as an organization, Charles strives to develop and maintain infrastructure as the organization moves towards anchoring our Southeast Asian Relief and Responsibility (SEARR) campaign. Some of Charles interests are fashion, game theory, reality tv shows, and scuba diving.

Ron Contreras CFO, Children’s Friend

Ron Contreras is the Chief of Finance at Children’s Friend, Rhode Island’s first child-serving nonprofit agency founded in 1834. Ron has more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit accounting. As the Chief of Finance, Ron is responsible for planning, implementing, and operationalizing all business functions, including information, facility, and transactional HR functions. Ron is an alum of Salve Regina University.

Silas Copeland Clinical Training Specialist, Department of Youth and Families

Silas Copeland is a Clinical Training Specialist, Diversity Advisor Committee Chair, and coach. Silas is currently pursing a PhD in Social Work. Silas is passionate about social justice and helping others achieve greatness. Silas is dedicated to helping people become the best versions they can be, whether it be a on a team or individually. It’s important that their clients and colleagues know that Silas values the relationships they build with them. Communication, transparency, and problem solving are Silas’s strongest traits. Silas also possesses strong assessing abilities, critical thinking skills, and works well under pressure. Silas prides themself on being a true team player and working well and in conjunction with others!

Elizabeth Cunha Founding Executive Director, Center for Dynamic Learning, Inc.

Beth Cunha, MFA is the Founding Executive Director of The Center for Dynamic Learning, Inc. located in Providence, RI. For the past 18 years, she has led the organization from its infancy to its current standing as a leader in urban out-of-school time STEAMM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math and manufacturing) education. Beth holds a BA in Theatre and MFA in Theatre Performance and Social Change from Rhode Island College. Utilizing the skills she has developed through her work in the nonprofit sector and education field, Beth has taught for Rhode Island College’s Nonprofit Studies program, Rhode Island College’s Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, Dean College’s Counseling Department and the Community College of RI as well as many professional development workshops. She recently committed to a research and development project regarding meeting the needs of professional development for after-school professionals, youth development organizations, and early childhood centers and educators with colleague and mentor Shevaun Keogh-Walker. Beth has also been married to her husband Kevin for over 21 years and is the mother to five exceptional children, Jeffrey, Nathan, Autumn, Seth, and Sam, and is enjoying her first grandchild.

Lauren Faria Assistant Director, Institutional Giving and Evaluation, RISD Museum

Lauren Faria (she/her) has worked in the arts and culture sector for nearly 20 years, as both a fundraiser and a grant program officer. She is currently Assistant Director of Institutional Giving and Evaluation at the RISD Museum. At RISD, Lauren has successfully raised significant grants to support exhibitions, capital projects, fellowships, programs, and collections care. She has also developed the museum’s first comprehensive visitor survey since 2012, led the museum through the AAMD and IMLS-funded Museum Assessment Program, and launched the museum’s Year In Review (a digital annual report that provides transparency into the museum’s fiscal year activities and finances). Prior to joining the RISD Museum, Lauren was Director of Grants to Organizations at the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), where she managed two grant programs and supported arts organizations throughout the state with networking opportunities and technical assistance. She previously held positions with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Creative Capital Foundation, and MacDowell. She currently sits on the Development Committee of AS220, a Providence-based nonprofit that provides a local forum and home for the arts through the maintenance of residential and work studios, galleries, and performance and educational spaces. Lauren holds a BA in English from Wellesley College and a MA in Arts Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Elizabeth Faroul Associate Director of Access Programs, Lets Get Ready

Elizabeth Faroul is an Associate Director of Access Programs at Let’s Get Ready. Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Elizabeth has years of experience in managing education programs, coaching/training staff, and curating courses for adult and child learners. Prior to joining the Let’s Get Ready team, Elizabeth served as the College Access and Persistence Manager at The LEAH Project. Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Bridgewater State University, a Master’s of Science in Management from Lasell University, and is currently working on a Doctorate of Education in Christian Leadership at Liberty University. She’s a published author, writer, and proud mother to her amazing daughter. Elizabeth is thrilled to be a part of this year’s INP cohort.

Jesus Holguin Program Manager, Racial Environmental Justice Committee (REJC)

Jesus is a creative that is dedicated to collaborating with other Black creatives on creating intentional spaces for community to explore ideas around self-expression, self-dedication, and community care. As an artist, Jesus is a hermit who shares their art so only an intimate group of people can experience it. More folxs are always welcomed! As an organizer, Jesus is a founding member of the Racial Environmental Justice Committee, a collaboration on developing bridges between community and city municipalities. As a Project Manager at REJC, they have had the ability to continue their fight for social justice through an environmental justice lens. They serve on the City’s Sustainability Commission. Jesus is also one of the initial members of the national group called Beyond the November Movement, also known as Black Youth Project 100, which is a group dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people though transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy, and political education using a Black queer feminist lens. Since their teens, Jesus’ aim has been to create holistically safe spaces for young, queer, gender non-confirming, Black & Indigenous folx in RI to learn, eat, and play. A holistic safe space signifies that the spaces we occupy are nourishing, affordable, and green, and the people around us are not being policed for the way they look, love, or express themselves. Jesus Holguin is a Providence resident, educator, organizer, and artist, They have since then been recognized nationally for their work by both USA Today in 2018 and The Advocate in 2019.

Shantelle Knoll Director of Quality Management for Developmental and Brain Injury Services, Advocates

Shantelle Knoll is the Director of Quality Management for Developmental and Brain Injury Services at Advocates in Framingham, MA. Shantelle oversees all quality management functions for multiple service lines. Her primary responsibilities include developing and monitoring quality assurance systems across services, focusing on quality improvement by continuously evaluating the quality of care of those services, as well as leading each service line through external reviews and accreditations. Shantelle and her team work in collaboration with multiple departments across the agency including Data Analytics, Compliance, Training, and Human Resources, to ensure that all regulatory needs are met and that all policies and procedures reflect both regulatory and best practice standards. Shantelle enjoys assisting service lines with the development and management of various systems to further build efficiencies across the agency. Shantelle has obtained her Six Sigma Green Belt Certification as well as completed her Project Management Essentials Certification, and is a Certified Kaizen Facilitator.

Alec Labine headshot

Alec Labine IT Director/Outreach Coordinator, Revive the Roots

Alec is the Lead Systems Administrator at the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP) as well as the Director of IT/Outreach Coordinator for Revive the Roots of Smithfield, RI, whose mission is to create ecologically regenerative and dynamic social spaces through the education and practice of permaculture. Alec has valuable work experience and developed skills in information technology and customer service industry as a Year Up alum, and with his time at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University, Carbon Black, and INP. Alec is highly dedicated to getting the most out of his learning experiences, being in the field of information technology, and growing as a professional and leader in the social sector. At his previous places of employment as well as his school organizations, Alec has been acknowledged for his strong leadership capabilities, charismatic attitude, and his ability to learn quickly. Alec is a focused individual who is ready to take on new tasks. Alec enjoys developing his skills in his free time, including studying film, creative writing, and reading.

Hannah Purcell Martin Community Builder, Revive the Roots

Hannah Purcell Martin (she/her) moved to Rhode Island in 2011 after receiving a Bachelors of Fine Art from the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY. A lifelong artist, Hannah has worked for the Rhode Island School of Design, AS220 and served as curator for the Homegrown Gallery. Five years ago, she began her journey into nonprofit work at Revive the Roots, a 501(c)3 nonprofit working to foster diverse landscapes and programs to gather, create, learn, and grow food in the community. Hannah is the Community Builder at Revive the Roots and teaches art class at Artists’ Exchange, a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts collaborative whose mission is to create an atmosphere in which creativity, learning, and discovery converge and individuality is celebrated. In May of 2022, Hannah graduated from the Social Enterprise Greenhouse Impact Accelerator program based in Providence, RI. When looking to recharge, she makes art and cooks for her wonderful housemates and friends.

Michelle Murphy Director of Business Development, uAspire

Michelle Murphy is the Director of Business development at uAspire. She retains and recruits partners from across the country to engage in uAspire’s fee-for-service offerings: professional development, student support services, and consulting.

Kaleigh Perkins Director of Program Impact, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island

Kaleigh Perkins is the Director of Program Impact at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island (BBBSRI). Kaleigh received her Masters of Social Work in 2017 from Rhode Island College. In 2019, Kaleigh received her License in Clinical Social Work. Kaleigh has worked in nonprofit, youth serving organizations for the past 10 years. In her current role, she works to enhance the level of support provided to matches, and to serve families holistically, to ensure long-lasting relationships for BBBSRI’s mentor-mentee pairs. She is responsible for ensuring that safety standards and service quality are at the highest level for program participants. Kaleigh lives in Pawtucket with her two young sons, Sylas and Wyatt, two dogs, Addie and Mini, and her partner, Eric.

Ivonne Ramirez-DeBlois Director of College Success, Thrive Scholars

Ivonne attended American University for her undergraduate studies where she began advocating for the rights of first-generation and low-income peers and survivors of sexual assault. This led her to pursue a MA in Public Policy and Gender Studies at George Washington University where she also worked in their student conduct office. After a semester of working and taking courses, she switched Master’s programs to Human Development and Education to fully pursue a career making changes for college students. For the past 13 years, Ivonne has dedicated her career to supporting and advocating for students throughout their higher education experience. She uses a research-based approach to creating and managing programs, developing strategies, and implementing successful solutions. Ivonne’s experience expands from guiding teams of professionals and setting program goals to developing long-term program and training strategies for leadership development opportunities for professionals. Ivonne has developed successful co-curricular and advising strategies that improve the experiences of students, and she has experience with garnering philanthropic donations, creating donation campaigns, and working with corporate partners to secure funding for initiatives. Her goal is to make a positive difference in the education system by leveraging her education, natural abilities to lead, and extensive experience in the higher education field to support like-minded professionals through mentorship, and by offering proven strategies for success.

Monah Rhodes HUD Certified Housing Counselor, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation (WEHDC)

Monah Rhodes is currently the HUD Housing Counselor with West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation (WEHDC) and the acting Lead for the HomeOwnership Center, which encompasses a host of leadership functions and duties. As the Housing Counselor, Monah truly enjoys assisting participants in establishing and improving their credit score, learning how to embrace the process of budgeting/spending plans, and gaining financial wholeness through homeownership and investing. Monah is studying to achieve their Mortgage Originator License, which will assist in becoming the HomeOwnership Center Director for the housing and lending department of WEHDC. Monah’s goal within the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s Core Certificate Program is to obtain knowledge, wisdom, and establish a viable relationship with peers, staff, and mentors, which will assist in their professional growth.

Esther Robbins Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Child and Family Support Coordinator, Adoption Rhode Island (ARI)

Esther Robbins, LCSW has been with Adoption Rhode Island (ARI) for four years and began as a clinician supporting families, children, and teens through individual, group, and family therapy. She currently manages the Child Support Program at ARI. She comes with years of experience supporting and working with families in a variety of roles including School Clinician. She has been trained in evidence-based modalities such as TF-CBT, EMDR, level one Theraplay, to provide trauma treatment based on the needs of children, teens, and families. She works with community partners and provides trainings to best support best practices and trauma-informed treatment.

Jessica Tellez Program Director, Coaching4Change

Jessica serves as Program Director for Coaching4Change, a nonprofit committed to serving MA and RI students in historically underserved schools by placing diverse, talented college students in the classroom to provide an extra layer of academic and social-emotional supports. In her role, she leads the execution and evaluation of the program team and facilitates collaboration across C4C’s regional hubs. Jessica brings 8+ years of education, youth, and workforce development experience including a prior position with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology and YouthBuild USA. She firmly believes that with equitable access and support, young people can become agents of their own learning, career, and lives. Jessica is a proud first-generation college graduate, with a Master’s in Urban Education Policy from Brown University, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is an alum of various fellowships hosted by Latinos for Education, the Institute for Educational Leadership, and Education Pioneers. In her free time, Jessica enjoys weekend trips to nowhere, all things fandom/geek culture, and is a voracious podcast consumer.

Western New York

Pam Bos Kefi Executive Director, Deaf Access Services

Pam Bos Kefi is currently the Executive Director of Deaf Access Services, which is an affiliate of People Inc, where she is also an Associate Vice President. She currently oversees the interpreting, advocacy and community services of Deaf Access Services. She spearheaded the Deaf refugee program and works collaboratively with local and state agencies to improve services for Deaf refugees and others with disabilities. She acts as the liaison to Headway, traumatic brain injury services, another affiliate of People Inc. She serves as program director of the Ethos AmeriCorps program and the language access coordinator for the overall agency. She has over 30 years of experience in human services with a strong emphasis on services to refugees and immigrants in Buffalo New York where she developed the battered immigrant women’s program and human trafficking victim services at the International Institute where she was previously the Executive Director. She developed the Center for Survivors of Torture, the Refugee Parenting program, and Access VR and Health Home services for New Americans at Jewish Family Service. She led the crime victim program in Orange County, California where she worked closely with local, state and federal law enforcement. She is a trained domestic violence advocate, sexual assault advocate and large scale crime scene responder. She worked 9/11 and Bali terrorist attack victim cases and helped to found the crime scene response team. In August 2013, Pam returned from Haiti where she was working at the US Embassy for US Agency for International Development, addressing education reform with the Haitian Ministry of Education. She conducted an assessment of services for children with disabilities in Haiti. Pam served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia and has conversational skills in French, Tunisian Arabic and American Sign Language.

Anneliese Bruegel Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County

Anneliese Bruegel is the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County in Dunkirk, NY and has served as the organization leader for the past 4 years. She has participated in youth development services and licensed afterschool programs for over 10 years, including Academic Mentoring Programs and teaching summer Kids College classes to youth in Archaeology and Geology. When not working at the Club, Anneliese also serves as the Market Manager for the Fredonia Farmers Market and assists at her family’s certified organic farm in Western NY.

Aaron Carlson Executive Director, Hearts and Hands: Faith in Action, Inc.

Aaron Carlson is the Executive Director of Hearts and Hands: Faith in Action. Having a passion for older adults and healthcare, Aaron started his career in 2009 working for Rehabcare Group in St. Louis, MO as an accountant. Aaron moved to Western New York in 2014 and worked for a senior center in Lockport, NY, The Dale Association as their finance director and later Vice-President of Operations. Wanting to be more directly involved with direct care and support, Aaron ceased an opportunity to transition to Hearts and Hands. Currently, Aaron supports a volunteer network across Erie and Niagara counties make connections with older adults to provide transportation, in-home supports, and caregiver respite so they can live independent lives. Aaron is a graduate from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, accounting, and a master’s degree in public administration. Aaron has participated in the Health Fellows Leadership program hosted by the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and was a participant in Leadership Niagara. Aaron enjoys giving back to the community through a variety of service opportunities in his Rotary Club and has served as treasurer for Neglia Ballet and the Historic Palace Theater. Currently, Aaron is the co-chair for the administrative council at his church, Emmanuel United Methodist. Aaron resides in Medina with his partner and two akitas. He enjoys hiking, puzzling and reading historical non-fiction.

Linnea Carlson Market Director, Jamestown Public Market

Linnea Carlson is the Market Director of the Jamestown Public Market, an organization devoted to building Jamestown NY’s local food system. She is the only full time farmer’s market manager in Chautauqua County. Linnea grew up in Frewsburg, NY and has always had a passion for local farming and community. She has worked within the food system her entire career. Following her graduation from Fordham University with a Masters in Social Work, she helped establish the Salvation Army’s food pantry in Dunkirk, NY. It was through this work she began volunteering at the Fredonia Farmers Market. Prior to joining the Jamestown Public Market, Linnea also assisted six area school districts, various community nonprofits, and six municipalities in implementing community gardens, healthy food retail initiatives, and walkable communities. Linnea is currently the Chair of the Chautauqua County Food Policy Council. She also volunteers as a member of the Audubon Community Nature Center Board of Directors,the Busti Historical Society, and the Jamestown Lions Club. She lives in the city of Jamestown with her partner Ben and their five cats. She loves to cook, write and spend time in her vegetable garden.

LaShawn Chinn Director, Hopebound Ministries,SM Josette Food Pantry

LaShawn M. Chinn, MPA is the Director of the Sister Mary Josette Food Pantry and Adjunct Instructor at Villa Maria College. She received her Associates Degree there in Business and served on the Alumni Board for 9 years. After Villa, she obtained her Bachelors in Business Management from SUNY Empire State and then a Master’s in Public Administration at Hilbert. Prior to this career, LaShawn worked at Erie County Department of Social Services for 11 years ( Child/Teen Health Wellness, Medicaid, Child Support and Family Court Liaison) and 3 years at New York State (Health Department and Department of State Division of Community Services). She believes that the more we help others to improve themselves by providing resources or services, the better we become as a community. LaShawn is a proud mom, and active member of Prince Hall Eastern Star and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.

Jeanmarie Cieslica Interim Executive Director, City Year Buffalo

Senior Community Philanthropy Professional with twenty-five plus years of experience leading high-performance teams, building relationships, strengthening community partnerships, and meeting aggressive campaign goals in the Western NY nonprofit community.

Ashley Conti Director of Programs, Healthy Community Alliance

Ashley Conti is the Director of Programs at Healthy Community Alliance, a nonprofit that focuses on improving the quality of life in rural communities through broad-based, inclusive partnerships that support wellness and prevention. Ashley has been with the agency for over 6 years creating and implementing programs for children to older adults. She has a Master’s in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from Buffalo State and a Bachelor’s in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa. Outside of work, Ashley spends time with her husband and two young children.

Leah Angel Daniel Founder and Executive Director, Fostering Greatness Inc.

Leah Angel Daniel is a business strategist, speaker, author and advocate. Leah lives her life with the philosophy, that she should always lead by example while also giving back to the community that gave her a chance to turn a negative situation into a positive outcome. Leah is the founder and CEO of Fostering Greatness Inc which is 501c3 grassroots organization located in Western New York that assists transitioning foster care youth, young adults and alumni with basic needs and supports. 

Elisa Galulppo Director of QA/QI, Compliance and Auditing, The Resource Center

Elisa Galuppo is the Director of QA/QI, Compliance and Auditing for The Resource Center in Jamestown, NY. She oversees the agency’s corporate compliance program, internal auditing and monitoring plan and quality assurance and quality improvement program. All of her work is in support of the agency’s mission to support individuals with disabilities and other challenges in achieving maximum independence, contributing to their community, experiencing lifelong growth, and enjoying quality of life. Previously, Elisa worked at SUNY Fredonia as the Assistant Director of Student Accounts and as a Staff Accountant for Ellwood National Forge, a manufacturing company located in Irvine, PA. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Amanda Gesing Executive Director, YWCA of Jamestown

Amanda Gesing (she/her) is the Executive Director of the YWCA Jamestown and has over 20 years of experience in the human services field, including grant writing, program implementation, budget management, and outcome evaluation. Mrs. Gesing has her BSW from Northern Kentucky University and has worked in Kentucky, Ohio, and New York.  

Sarah Gilbert Director of Fundraising & Community Outreach, The Waterfront Foundation at The Chautauqua Center

Sarah Gilbert is the director of fundraising and community relations at The Waterfront Foundation in Jamestown, NY. The foundation was created in 2019 to support the mission of The Chautauqua Center, a community health center in Chautauqua County that has increased access to healthcare for over 13,000 people in the region. Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA. Her studies centered on social justice, environmental justice, human rights and grassroots organizing. Since graduating in 2002, Sarah has worked in the nonprofit sector for 20+ years as a community mobilizer and an advocate for disadvantaged populations. She helped to create the Jamestown Pride initiative that celebrates the LGBTQ+ population in the region. She has also helped to address food insecurity as an advisory board member of the Jamestown Public Market where she spearheaded the Mobile Market and Veggie Rx program that provides free locally grown produce for people in the Jamestown area.

Whitney Gleason Deputy Director, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy

Whitney Gleason is the Deputy Director for the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, transitioning to the Executive Director position in February of 2023. After practicing environmental law in Georgia and then working with both state and federal park districts in Ohio, Whitney brings a diverse background of experiences to her role at the Conservancy in Western New York. She enjoys building diverse teams to find creative strategies for land conservation and education. When she’s not in the office Whitney spends her time chasing her three year old son around outside, running, hiking, and trying to convince her husband that she needs more legos.

Noah Goodling Project Director, The Capacity Lab

Noah Goodling is the Project Director at The Capacity Lab, a newly-created organization that seeks to support and promote the Chautauqua County nonprofit sector. He started work in the nonprofit sector 12 years ago, with a career focused on public history, museums, and archives. After working for various organizations in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Virginia, Noah decided to come to western New York, near where he was born and where he had worked early on in his career. He worked as the Executive Director of the Fenton History Center in Jamestown for around four and a half years, during which his focus was on stabilizing the operations and increasing the relevance of the organization to a larger part of the community by diversifying the history that was collected and exhibited, as well as making the space more welcoming. Noah left the Fenton at the end of 2021, in order to take on his current position. This marked a shift in his career, away from public history. Noah had found that the parts of his job that gave him the most professional satisfaction at the Fenton revolved around community partnerships and outreach. He was constantly impressed by the ingenuity and passion of his fellow leaders, and took the job at The Capacity Lab so that he could work more closely with them and support their visions for a better community. He is passionate about talking about the issues in the sector, and how they can be addressed collaboratively and equitably. 

Karen Hall Senior Manager, Regional Health Improvement, HEALTHeLINK

For the past seven years, Karen has worked as the Program Director at the Population Health Collaborative (PHC) of Western New York. Before PHC, for two years, she worked at Moog Inc. as the Employee Health Manager for U.S. Operations. For 14 years, she was the Regional Cancer Control Director at the American Cancer Society, Eastern Division. Karen also has the pleasure of teaching as an Adjunct Professor at D’Youville College and Daemen College. Karen holds a Doctorate in Health Administration & Policy, a Masters Degree in Health Administration, and two Bachelor Degrees in Public Health and Biology. Her passion and expertise are with policy, systems, and environment change for positive public health practices. Karen serves on several Boards including Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Community Health Equity Research Institute, and the WNY Integrated Care Collaborative. She is a graduate of the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York’s Health Leadership Program and a member of the 500 Women Scientists Buffalo Pod and the New York State Public Health Association. Karen’s personal interests include anything outdoors in all seasons, running, cycling, reading, and spending time with Jackson, her beloved deaf rescue dog. 

Raziya Hill Founder and Executive Director, Every Bottom Covered, Inc.

Raziya Hill (known as Raz) is the Founder and Executive Director of Every Bottom Covered, Inc., the first and only Diaper Bank in Western New York. The organization provides 50 diapers or 25 pull-ups and wipes for all children in underserved households between birth and their third birthday. Under Raz’s leadership, Every Bottom Covered has provided over one million diapers and pull-ups to over 3000 families since 2016. It has expanded outside of Buffalo and Erie County into Chautauqua and Allegany counties with hopes to cover bottoms across all eight counties of Western New York.

Maya Hu-Morabito Project Facilitator, University of New Hampshire/Institute on Disability/National Center for START Services

Maya Hu-Morabito is a Project Facilitator with the National Center for START Services (NCSS), an initiative of the University of New Hampshire within their Institute on Disability and University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disability. As a Project Facilitator, Maya works with teams across the United States to implement the START model in support of people with Developmental Disabilities and co-existing Mental Health needs; the START model emphasizes holistic health assessment and wellness, trauma informed care, positive psychology and cultural competence. Her favorite part of this position are the relationships that can be made in meeting other people who are curious and passionate about making an impact. In addition to her work with the NCSS team, Maya sits on the Erie County Community Services Board, an advisory group to the Erie County Department of Mental Health, and is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Recovery Options Made Easy, a peer driven Mental Health nonprofit organization. Maya received her Master’s Degree from the University at Buffalo in the Humanities under the concentration of Disability Studies. Her greatest accomplishments are her two children, who also are a huge inspiration in every moment.

Kimberly Kadziolka Executive Director, Parent Network of WNY

Kimberly Kadziolka is the Executive Director at Parent Network of WNY, which provides education and resources for families of individuals with special needs and for professionals.

Jack Kavanaugh Executive Director, GLYS WNY, Inc.

Jack is the Executive Director of GLYS WNY, an LGBTQ+ youth services and advocacy organization. As a social worker with over 15 years experience in youth programming, he is excited to be leading such an impactful and meaningful community organization. Prior to joining GLYS in January of 2022, Jack was the Director of Training & Program Development for MENTOR New York, the New York affiliate of MENTOR: the National Mentoring Partnership, providing training and capacity building to youth mentoring programs across New York State. In his free time, Jack spends time with his wife Carly who is a school social worker in the Buffalo Public Schools, and his two dogs, Emma and Winnie, and his cat, Dr. Spaceman. 

Heather King Assistant Director, Campus and Community Children’s Center

Heather King is her name. You can call her Heather. She is the Assistant Director of Campus and Community Children’s Center, Inc. (CCCC). Heather works very hard to achieve CCCC’s mission to provide high quality child care to students of SUNY Fredonia and the surrounding community. CCCC operates out of three different sites. Heather is in charge of the site in Dunkirk, NY. Her site is a community based organization, partnered with the Dunkirk City School District, that provides free preschool programming for three and four year old Dunkirk residents. In addition to preschool, Heather is currently waiting on construction to commence in order to open up an Infant classroom and a Toddler classroom in her building.

Talisa King Chief Program Officer, YWCA WNY

Talisa King is currently the Chief Program Officer at YWCA WNY. She has devoted the last 23 years to servicing the community. She has extensive experience in working with underserved and at-risk populations, youth programming within not-for-profit organizations, facilitation of support group meetings, and hosting events for the Arthritis Foundation. She is driven by her love for helping others and servicing her community and abroad, and she takes pride in providing the best resources and education possible. As a Chief Program Officer, her goals include helping to create a community without divide, eliminating racism, and empowering women. In addition to her primary job functions, Talisa King has been recognized by New York State Assemblywoman Monica Wallace as a Woman of Distinction in Civic Engagement, Mary Talbert Civic Engagement Award (Community Changemaker) Award, and has her own day on May 12th in the City of Buffalo named Arthritis Support Network Day on behalf of Mayor Byron Brown, and Black Achievers in Industry Award to name a few.

Yan Liu President, Bridges from Borders, Inc.

Yan Liu is the founder and president of Bridges from Borders. Yan was born in China, educated in China and US, worked in Asia, Europe, Africa and America with over 20 years experience in diverse consulting fields. Yan positions herself as an entrepreneur with a mindset of a global citizen. She dedicates herself to advocate for social justice, to promote culture diversity, and to develop youth leadership. Yan holds a M.S in Mental Health Counseling from the University at Buffalo in 2020; a MBA degree from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014 and a bachelor degree in International Economic Law in China. She has been a certificated Lawyer in China since 1998. Pronouns: She/Her Fluent in: English & Mandarin.

Kexin Ma Executive Director, Homeless Alliance of WNY

Kexin Ma is the Executive Director at the Homeless Alliance of WNY. She started her career there as the Program Assistant in 2011 and worked her way through almost all positions at the organization. She has extensive experience in data analysis as well as homeless funding and programs. Her ability to learn and adapt, build long term relationships with partners, produce consistent work performance, and lead from experience earned her the Executive Director position in 2021. The Homeless Alliance oversees a database that records homeless services and client information named HMIS as well as a $16 million grant that funds housing programs that prioritize people experiencing homelessness. In 2015, she was awarded Business First’s 30 under 30 for her outstanding contributions to her profession and the community. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from China Agriculture University and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo.

CharBrenna Marks Director of Temporary Assistance and Emergency Services, Erie County Department of Social Services

CharBrenna Marks is the Director of Temporary & Emergency Services for the Erie County Department of Social Services (ECDSS). CharBrenna is committed to using a solution-focused trauma informed approach when engaging both staff and the community they serve, collaborating with community partners to provide a broad range of efficient and effective assistance and services to ensure that the staff and the community they serve are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. CharBrenna’s ECDSS career spans 27+ years, leaving her with not only an extensive knowledge of the various eligibility programs offered by Social Services but also compassion for individuals and families in need. She lives by the philosophy “there but for the grace of God go I.” 

Megan McNally Executive Director, The Foundry

Megan McNally is co-founder of The Foundry and has served as Executive Director since 2013. She graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Environmental Policy, has worked on green building construction sites across the country, and gained experience in woodworking at Yestermorrow Design/Build School. She moved back to Buffalo in 2011 to run a woodworking business and is passionate about supporting women and people of color in pursuing “non-traditional” career pathways. She is active in Big Brothers Big Sisters and encourages everyone to consider mentorship. She has been the recipient of Women Who Move The City Award, BizJournal’s 30 under 30 Award, Protege of The Year from University at Buffalo’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Big of the Year and one of the finalists in the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo Centennial Awards. She lives with her husband, daughter and dog on the east side of Buffalo and enjoys hiking, camping and gardening. 

Stephanie Peete Business Partnerships Manager, Say Yes Buffalo

Stephanie Peete is the Business Partnerships Manager at Say Yes Buffalo and a lifelong Buffalo resident. In this role, she works with WNY employers to build equitable career pathways for Buffalo Say Yes Scholars. She’s also a racial equity coach and is active in several local initiatives to address systemic racism and poverty. 

Jeffrey Pirrone Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness Buffalo & Erie County

Jeffrey Pirrone (Jeff) grew up in Lockport and moved to Buffalo in the late 90s after graduating from Canisius College. He was named the Executive Director of NAMI Buffalo & Erie County in May 2022. Before that he created and implemented the Niagara Falls Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. He also created and led the Mobile Safety-Net Team for The John R. Oishei Foundation.

Nadia Pizarro Director of Housing, BestSelf Behavioral Health

Nadia S. Pizarro, She/They, is Director of Housing at BestSelf Behavioral Health, Chair of the Western New York Coalition for the Homeless, Youth Task Force, member of its Code Blue Collaborative, and Board Member of the Homeless Alliance of WNY.

Tylica (Tye) Pope Vice President, Specialty Substance Use Disorder Services & Housing, BestSelf Behavioral Health

Tylica (Tye) Pope is currently employed at BestSelf Behavioral Health, serving as the Vice President of Specialty Substance Use Disorder Services and Housing. Tye has worked in the field of human services for approximately 19 years, beginning as a peer. Tye feels most accomplished when being of service, whether that is to family, friends, or service recipients. Selfless service is Tye’s primary goal and daily position in life.

Deborah Porter Director & School Administrator of Adult Workforce, Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology

Deborah A. Porter, Director of Adult Workforce Programs at BCAT with a Bachelor in Business Management/Marketing. She serves as a school administration and compliance officer with experience in the financial and nonprofit sectors. Her work with the community, adults, and youth is rewarding, as she mentors and motivates others. What keeps her focused is that she is a product of her community and relatable to adults returning to school later in life. She is incredibly community focused on embracing and influencing others. She believes in helping the whole person to define success on their terms.

Lisa Rafalson Dean, School of Health Professions and Director of Accessibility Resources, D’Youville University

Lisa Rafalson, Associate Professor, is the Dean of the School of Health Professions at D’Youville University. Prior to this role she was the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Health Administration department. Her professional foci are on promoting Universal Design in Higher Education, Accessibility, and Health Literacy. She has authored healthcare simulation scenarios that address specific populations. She is dedicated to creating an environment that is accessible to as many people as possible and removing barriers to access. Rafalson participated in several leadership programs, nationally as an American Council on Education Fellow (2018-19), and regionally as a Health Foundation for Western and Central New York Fellow (2013-15), and as a Western New York Consortium of Women in Higher Education Fellow (2016). She earned a B.A. from Loyola University Chicago in Spanish literature. Subsequently, she worked as a bilingual claims representative at the Social Security Administration and then in a legal firm as the Vice President of Corporate Accounts, representing disabled individuals at administrative law judge hearings. Observing patterns of disease distribution in the many disability cases she represented was what inspired her to study epidemiology. Rafalson earned a master’s and PhD in Epidemiology and Community Health from the State University of New York, University at Buffalo . In 2008 she was selected as a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellow in the department of Family Medicine at the University at Buffalo. Her research focused on identifying risk factors and biomarkers of type 2 diabetes. A non-traditional career path, combined with leadership training, gives her a unique perspective on higher education. Lisa uses she/her pronouns.

Nicole Stolzman Coordinator of Employment Services, Cantalician Center

Nicole Stolzman is the coordinator of Supported Employment at Beyond Support Network (formally Cantalician Center for Learning and the Learning Disability Association). Nicole leads a program that helps with people with disabilities in obtaining and maintaining competitive employment within 3 separate counties of Western New York. Nicole has worked in the human service field for over 18 years, with about 9 years experience in leadership roles. Previous to Nicole current role she worked in career fields such as; residential, service coordination and senior services. Nicole graduated in 2005 with a Bachelors’ degree in Sociology from Buffalo State College and since then has devoted her professional career to helping those in need and serving the community.

Gianna Totaro Associate Director, Grace Guest House

Gianna Angela Totaro, MPA is the Associate Director of Grace Guest House Inc., a healthcare hospitality house. She received her Bachelor’s in Political Science and Master’s in Public Administration from Hilbert College. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her puppy Petrie and reading.

Michael Weidrich Executive Director, South Buffalo Community Association

Michael Weidrich has been an activist and advocate for over 30 years, fighting for the marginalized and disenfranchised. Michael has spent his career helping people in the community through grassroots work with nonprofit organizations across Upstate New York, from artists to small businesses, to LGBTQ+ people to communities of color, from youth to senior citizens. Michael has served as Executive Director of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, the Lark Street Business Improvement District, Young Audiences of Western New York, and currently at the South Buffalo Community Association, with tenures in Resource Development at the Albany Institute of History & Art, Cohoes Senior Center, In Our Own Voices, and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. An alumni of the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, Michael earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University, and a Masters of Business Administration in Nonprofit Management from Albany’s College of Saint Rose. Michael has graduated from numerous leadership programs including the Health Foundation of Western & Central New York’s Health Leadership Fellows, Open Buffalo’s Emerging Leaders Program and Justice Leadership Institute, Leadership Buffalo, the FBI Citizens Academy, Leadership Capital Region Albany, and the Capital Region Chamber’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp. Michael has also been recognized for his work in the community with the FBI Directors Community Leadership Award, The Stakeholders Founders Award, the Albany Business Review’s 40 Under 40 Award, the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Hospitality Excellence Award, the Pride Center of the Capital Region’s Volunteer of the Year, the the Lark Street Business Improvement District’s Honoree of the Year.

Deirdre Wright Director of Environmental Stewardship, Heart of the City Neighborhoods

As Director of Environmental Stewardship, Deirdre Wright continues her work of innovative program and partner development with Heart of the City Neighborhoods (HOCN), Inc. She created and designed a curriculum for Buffalo’s first Green Stormwater Infrastructure Maintenance (GSIM) workforce development program. This equity-based program impacts the employment pipeline for young people with a pathway to ‘green’ sustainable jobs into municipalities and private sectors. The role broadens her focus on the asset and strength based community resilience of individuals who have been denied opportunities and resources. Deirdre’s servant leadership has grown to concentrate on Social Determinants of Health in our marginalized communities during a 21-year career with several faith-based and nonprofit agencies in the Western New York region. Her 18-month strategic agenda of building and leveraging relationships as Director of Community Engagement expanded quality holistic care and services to East Buffalo communities through a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). This led to an influential opportunity as a Collaborative Projects Consultant facilitating unlikely, but critical relationships within diverse religious, socio-economic and racially sensitive spaces. With a Creative Problem Solving approach, Deirdre’s contextual perspective equips her to inspire and advise others as they also build sustainable processes that will transform communities.

New England

Shanika Bournen Senior Administrative Coordinator, Boston Medical Center

Shanika Bourne is a Senior Administrative Coordinator at Boston Medical Center working under the Boston Opportunity System (BOS) grant. The BOS collaborative has two tracks: 1) economic mobility, which is focused on jobs and skill building, and 2) neighborhood revitalization, which is focused on managing commercial space and affordable housing opportunities. The purpose of the BOS collaborative is to help target neighborhoods that have been significantly disadvantaged. Shanika’s main focus is on the data evaluation and tracking aspect of the grant.

Bianca Navarro Bowman Climate Justice Organizer, GreenRoots, Inc.

Bianca Navarro Bowman is currently the Climate Justice Organizer at GreenRoots, an environmental justice and community health nonprofit organization based in Chelsea, Massachusetts. She has experience in a wide range of environmental and conservation work, but her current work at GreenRoots focuses on community-based climate change mitigation, advocacy, and organizing for the environmental justice communities of Chelsea and East Boston. Her projects include urban heat island mitigation, flood and coastal resilience, energy democracy, and exploring anti-displacement focused green roofs and green spaces for Chelsea and East Boston residents. Bianca is originally from the Washington, DC area and attended William & Mary in Virginia for her undergraduate studies. She loves food, traveling to new places, meeting new people, and any kind of outdoor activities.

Gary Chin Director of Community Engagement, Bikes Not Bombs

Gary Chin is an out-of-school time program professional who is passionate about increasing educational and economic opportunities for youth and families across Boston. He started working with Bikes Not Bombs in April 2020 and serves as the Director of Community Engagement. Gary believes that bicycle education programs provide a powerful framework for people to learn critical workplace and professional skills that can close the opportunity gap. He leads Bikes Not Bombs, community engagement efforts, volunteer programs, partnership development, and supports the design, implementation, and evaluation of all Bike School programs. Gary holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film, Photography, and Visual Arts from Ithaca College and a Master of Arts degree in Teaching from Marian University Indianapolis.

Milan Chuttani Data Analyst, Vital Village Networks

Milan Chuttani is a public health professional focused on spatial analytics, data visualization, and web development. As a Data Analyst at Vital Village Networks (Boston Medical Center), Milan works with resident leaders in Boston and nationally to build community data capacity and promote children’s well-being. Milan enjoys creating interactive maps that highlight community initiatives and advance health equity. Milan graduated from Dartmouth College in 2018 with a B.A. in Government and a minor in Computer Science. Prior to joining Vital Village Networks, Milan completed a fellowship at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, developing web applications and GIS tools to support the COVID-19 pandemic response and public health initiatives for globally mobile populations.

Kelly Cody Volunteer Manager, Boston Debate League

Kelly Cody has been a leader in the debate community for over 12 years as a mentor, debater, and coach, and is currently the Volunteer Manager at the Boston Debate League. She is passionate about addressing disparities in educational opportunities between students in wealthy, predominantly-white areas and students who are economically disadvantaged and often of color. Kelly earned her BS in Biology and MS in Biotechnology from the University of Texas — Dallas. In a nod to her STEM background, she founded and previously led the organization Periodically Girly, which offers mentoring opportunities to address the gap in education available to young girls pursuing careers in science. She has a special interest in period poverty and hopes to pursue more social impact work tailored to menstrual product access for cis and transgender period-havers. A rugby player, unicycler, and drummer, she has many interests and loves to use her spunky perspective to collaborate in teams.

Jamar Cokley Futures Coordinator, MissionSAFE

Jamar’s first name is John, but Jamar isn’t used to being called “John” because his mother dislikes the name. Traveling is something Jamar wishes he could do more of. Parenting is a blessing in Jamar’s eyes. Jamar has two sons ages 7 and 19.

Carleen Colin Career Development and Employment Specialist, West End House Boys and Girls Club

Carleen Collin is the Career Development and Employment Specialist at the West End House Boys and Girls Club. Growing up in Brockton, MA, she didn’t think that she’d end up at UMass Dartmouth post-high school, and she definitely never thought that she’d end up working with kids in the nonprofit world. Alas, thanks to these important chapters of her life, she is where she is now. Carleen was introduced to the West End House in 2015 through the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship and has been there ever since, growing with the organization. Through the years, she has been able to not only impact the youth that she works with but her peers as well. She has enjoyed bringing her passions to work and fusing them with her passion for youth work. She is always looking for new ways to create change, always ready to learn and lend a helping hand. With Carleen comes a big personality and an even bigger heart. She is looking forward to this new adventure and is hoping to bring forth positive change and support to all the communities she belongs to.

Zachary Crawford-Theurkauf Senior Health Policy Officer, Partners In Health

Zach (he/him) is currently the Senior Health Policy Officer at Partners In Health (PIH). As part of the global policy and partnerships team, he supports the work of healthcare delivery teams in six countries to inform, develop and implement equitable health policies and plans. Zach’s work has covered the domains of mental health service integration, community health services, strengthening oxygen ecosystems, and maternal and newborn health. He has a passion for partnering with counterparts in the public sector to create a more enabling environment for health system strengthening and achieving Universal Health Coverage. Prior to joining PIH in 2020, Zach held several positions with the Office of the Provost at Boston University (BU), Peace Corps Benin, and the International Institute of Buffalo. He holds a B.A. in international relations and middle eastern studies, and an M.A. in global health policy, both from BU.

Zendilli Depina Director of Alumni Programming, Apprentice Learning

Zendilli Depina was born in Boston on 8/5/96 (she is a proud Leo!) and grew up in Roxbury, where she was surrounded by her extensive Cape Verdean family. Her immediate family includes her mother (Maria), father (Antonio), and younger sister (Zerinee). When she was eight, she went to a sleep-away camp in Vermont, and she loved It so much that she went back for thirteen years. Her camp experience fostered her love of nature and adventure, and inspired her to spend the rest of her life working with kids. Zendilli absolutely adores kids and loves working with them in any capacity. She loves to play and have fun, but her favorite thing about working with kids is seeing them gain confidence in themselves and their skills. After graduating from UMass Amherst in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Public Health, Zendilli decided to go back to school and get her Masters at the Boston University School of Public Health. Her last semester of graduate school was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but she pulled through and graduated in May 2020, although she wasn’t able to cross the stage until May 2022. In December 2020, Zendilli obtained her first full-time job as the Program Manager at Apprentice Learning. She has greatly enjoyed the work she has done there and the relationships she has built with her students. She was recently received a new job at Apprentice Learning as the Director of Alumni Programming. Zendilli loves working with her students and helping them find employment around the city. She is always so proud of them when they tell her they were hired and loves seeing the joy in their faces. Zendilli looks forward to what the next year has in store for her and is excited to join INP as a Community Fellow.

Jose Jesús Garcia Mota PowerUp Business Outreach Coordinador, Amplify Latinx

Jose Jesús Garcia Mota, joined the Amplify Latinx team as the inaugural PowerUp Business Outreach Coordinator in April 2022. He moved to the United States in 2009 to work as Deputy Officer in the Department of Citizen Protection at the Consulate General of Mexico in Boston. In September 2017, he joined the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services to serve as liaison for the East Boston neighborhood, and in 2019 he took the role as Citywide Latino Liaison for the administrations of Mayor’s Marty Walsh, Kim Janey, and Michelle Wu. During this time, he provided community services, organized community meetings, and helped to resolve constituent issues by partnering with neighborhood leadership in the City of Boston.

Neo Gcabo Director of Marketing and Community Development, Dunamis, Inc.

Neo Gcabo (she, her, hers) is a singer, actress, and arts manager from Pretoria, South Africa, and the Director of Marketing and Community Development at Dunamis, Inc. Neo graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Music Business/Management degree. Through performance, Neo includes community singing — a tool to bring awareness and unity to spaces — creating heartfelt joy and warmth throughout singing. Her ability to stretch continental borders to engage audiences culturally, pays homage to the rich musical offerings of South Africa. Neo has toured internationally with the University of Pretoria Youth Choir and has performed with Grammy award-winning artists Esperanza Spalding and John Oates. Neo has been a featured vocalist with the Silver Arrow Band since 2017 and toured with the Brown Box Theater as a performer in 2019. She has performed at the Regatta Bar as part of the Berklee Summer in the City Concert Series, the Boston Book Festival, Boston Earth Day, Fenway Health 50, JP Porchfest, and has been featured as a songwriter for “Songs for World Peace,” a global initiative led by musicians from all over the world to promote peace through the power of music. Neo has performed alongside artists such as Lisa Oduor-Noah, Wambura Mitaru, Marcus Prince, and has performed with Skybridge, a band for social justice led by Utako Toyama. As a manager, Neo has worked at La Roque MGMT, a boutique artist management company and subsequently managed Tim Reynolds: a young violinist, singer, composer, arranger from Rome, Georgia. Through Dunamis, her work focuses on engaging a community of emerging artists and arts managers of color through curating experiences such as YAMS: House Sessions, a storytelling experience, The Allison Wade Masterclass Series, and producing as well as hosting podcasts, namely Dexters LAB and The Heart Behind the Hustle.

Jesenia Gervacio Director of Programs, La Vida Scholars

Jesenia Gervacio (she/her) is the Director of Programs at La Vida Scholars, a college access nonprofit serving low-income students from Lynn and Chelsea. She is a daughter of Dominican immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and was raised in Lynn, MA. She went to Bryn Mawr College as a Posse Scholar and double majored in Psychology and Spanish and minored in Education. Additionally, she also holds an M.Ed. in Higher Education Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont. Throughout her professional career, Jesenia has been able to use her passion to increase access to and success through education for first-generation, low-income, students of color. She is very passionate about helping students from communities like Lynn find success.

Travon Godette Senior Coordinator, Youth Programs, GrubStreet

After being named NCAA DIII Scholar Athlete of the Year and a CoSIDA Academic All-American, Travon coached track and field at the DI and DIII levels while simultaneously teaching English Composition 101 and 102. He has read for The McNeese Review and Persona Literary Journal, and was a panelist for the South Central Modern Language Association Conference in 2018. His writing has appeared in Persona and Five2One magazine, while also earning him a finalist spot for Redivider’s Blurred Genre Contest in 2017. He has facilitated several symposiums regarding cross-cultural conversations and celebrations of race in the English classroom, and was a member of the NESCAC Coaches of Color Association while working for Amherst College. Travon currently serves GrubStreet’s community as the Senior Coordinator of Youth Programs. In this role, the former DIII national champion has combined his passions for writing, teamwork, and mentorship to make way for young writers by using their feedback to foster community partnerships, plan guest author events, and design programs that better reflect their interests. Travon earned an M.F.A. in Poetry and an M.A. in Literature from McNeese State University, while also holding a B.A. in English with extensive studies done in Secondary Education and Ethnic and Gender Studies from Westfield State University. Travon also holds certificates for BEST Youth Worker Training and Youth Mental Health First Aid.

Dewayne Green College and Career Adviser, College Advising Corps — Boston University

Dewayne Green (he/him/his) is a College and Career Adviser with College Advising Corps — Boston University, in his second and final year with the program. He joined the Community Fellows Program in order to gain insight on working in the nonprofit education sector — the college and youth access space, in particular. He is happy to connect and network with everyone!

Taylor Hicks Senior Associate, New Profit

Taylor Hicks (she/her/her) is a Senior Associate at New Profit on the Early Childhood Support Organization team. She was born in Long Island, NY and raised in Winchester, VA. Graduating from the University of Virginia in 2019, she worked as an Instructor Aide at Montessori School for a year following her graduation. She eventually moved to Boston to begin her current position at New Profit. Taylor has aspirations of attending law school and pursuing a career in civil rights law.

Christina Joseph Program Manager, Alray Scholars Program

Christina Joseph is a Boston native whose interest in nonprofit programming first bloomed in high school. Participating in an amateur youth modeling group taught her lessons on self-esteem, self-image, networking, and leadership. Christina graduated from high school to study English, Psychology, and Studio Art at Framingham State University. She graduated with hard work and the support of the Alray Scholars Program, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Boston students earn their first college degree through scholarships, mentoring, and career counseling. After working in Boston’s nonprofit sector around youth development, education, and mentoring, Christina returned to Alray Scholars in August 2021 to serve as their first Program Manager. She is passionate about volunteering, event planning, and forming connections. Outside of work, she enjoys baking, art, volleyball, and long walks around her neighborhood.

Jonathan Long Fellowship Program Director, He is Me Institute

Jonathan Long serves as the Fellowship Program Director at He is Me Institute. Jonathan joined He is Me Institute in January 2022, after nine years of working in the Boston Public School system in elementary, middle, and high schools as a Special Education Teacher, Paraprofessional, and a Mentor/Facilitator in the Teacher Cadet Program and Paraprofessional Training Developmental Program. Jonathan is a graduate of Northeastern University, as well as Cambridge College. He is responsible for the planning, facilitation, and dissemination of all fellowship programs, and the overall effectiveness of He is Me’s programs and partnerships in Greater Boston, and in other cities as the organization expands its reach and impact nationally.

Kateshia McAfee Impact Manager, City Year

Kateshia McAfee (KT) currently serves as an Impact Manager at City Year. In this work, they manage a school partnership and develop a team of AmeriCorps members completing a year of service. She is a Georgia native that relocated to the Northeast in the past year. Kateshia is a creative and strategic leader with a background in various types of youth and family programming and event planning. She is passionate about equitable and inclusive work environments, developing herself and others, and community building. In her spare time, you can find Kateshia trying a new ice cream place/anything sugar related, listening to the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast from Glennon Doyle, and planning an outing for their coworkers or friends. Kateshia is open to connect if you’d like to talk about DBIE work, know any places in the Northeast that are a must-try, or have any good book recommendations.

Sierra Mink Manager of Partnerships & Development, Ecclesia Ministries, Inc. — common cathedral

Sierra Mink is originally from Northern California and, after graduating with a Philosophy degree from Santa Clara University, moved to Boston in 2019 for a year of service through the Presbyterian Church (USA). During that year, she discerned a love for the city, its people, and the experiences it had to offer. Sierra was hired at common cathedral and received a Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University. Sierra is currently the Manager of Partnerships & Development at common cathedral.

Am Ngeth Khmer Advocate and Prevention Specialist, The Center for Hope and Healing

Am Ngeth is the Khmer Advocate and Prevention Specialist at The Center for Hope and Healing. Am has worked on and off in nonprofit organizations since 2005 and been part of the Lowell community since the age of six. She loves serving and making a difference in her community. During her free time, Am enjoys spending time with her children, partner, and their blended family.

Melvin Nguyen Program Specialist, Future Chefs

Dedicated to closing the gap in achieving higher education, Melvin Nguyen (he/him) has served as a College Access Mentor for Breakthrough New York, Let’s Get Ready, and Strive for College to support first-generation, low-income BIPOC high school seniors navigate the complex college application process. In addition to college access, Melvin has been passionate about the power of hands-on learning in kitchen environments, working in the back and the front of restaurants since his high school years. His experience includes working at Haley House, and fellowships with the Edwin Gould Foundation Accelerator and Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars Organization. Melvin graduated from New York University with a major in Hospitality and Tourism, concentrating in Organizations and Operations, and a minor in Food Studies. He is a Program Specialist at Future Chefs, and currently pursuing his Master’s in Gastronomy at Boston University.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Ose Associate Director of Network Solution Integrations, Partnership for Education Advancement

Jacqueline (Jackie) Ose serves as Associate Director of Network Solution Integrations at Partnership for Education Advancement, which works to implement technology tools at mission-focused institutions that primarily serve low-income, first-generation, and under-resourced students and families. In her free time, Jackie serves as the chair of the Sponsorships Committee for the IMPACT National Conference and reads scholarship applications for the Gates and Point Foundations. Her background in biology education, and curriculum and instruction, from University of Connecticut led her to the higher education and nonprofit realms, allowing her to work to provide equitable educational access to all communities. She enjoys wheel throwing pottery, kayaking, and fostering dogs through her local animal shelter. Recently, Jackie and her husband were thrilled to rescue and welcome home a Black Lab mix puppy named Olive.

Janette Perez Consultant/Community Leader, Inspiring Minds

From childhood, Janette Perez noticed how difficult it was for her mom and their family. As a person of color, she recognized that while she sought resources within the community, the information and service being provided were oftentimes given to her family by someone who did not look like them. Becoming a parent helped her realize she had a voice, that she could be a part of the change she sought from services within her community and those providing them. This passion motivated Janette to attend graduate school and finish her Master’s in Social Work from Rhode Island College (RIC) and help the youth in her community. Janette, a community advocate, innovator, and clinician, has collaborated with the community and other stakeholders in several spaces, serving as a community design team member through RIDE, an alum from the Parent Leadership Training Initiative (PLTI 2020), a Trauma-informed Leadership and Development Consultant at Inspiring Minds providing workshops to volunteers who are placed in Providence schools, a Parents Leading for Educational Equity Member (PLEE), and is currently in the Schools and Communities Organizing for Racial Equity Fellowship (SCORE), which is an action-oriented research project that brings together an intergenerational community research team consisting of youth and parent leaders. Soon they will develop a tool or SCORE card that assesses a school district on indicators of equity that the community identifies as important. She is also a District-wide Advisory Council member (DWAC) for Providence Public Schools. In addition, she has provided support to countless policy campaigns by the Economic Progress Institute, including: increasing the Rhode Island EITC campaign, promoting the importance of Medicaid and quality access for low-income families in Rhode Island, and advocating for college students to access child care assistance. Janette is also a trauma-informed schools working group member spearheaded by Sandra Cano and Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, on the Medicaid Medical Care Advisory Committee (CAC), and many more!

Nancia Pierre Mentor, The Loop Lab

Nancia is all about making the world a better place, one day at a time. Her passion to help and inspire others has become her mission to change lives for the better. Her work includes working with MGH by giving help to raise funds for nonprofit organizations, serving as Vice President of the Low-income Housing Tenant Council, and now as Mentor at The Loop Lab which helps young adults gain access to education and opportunity in the entertainment industry. As a consultant to help young women and men navigate through pivotal life points, she has positively changed young lives to succeed.

Shubhi Tandon Associate Project Manager, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Shubhi was born in Helena, Montana to first-generation Indian immigrant parents and then moved to Edison, New Jersey, where she completed middle and high school. Shubhi attended Northeastern University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Environmental Studies. She is now an Associate Project Manager at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a healthcare nonprofit which uses Improvement science methodology to advance and sustain better outcomes in health education and healthcare worldwide. She is passionate about educating and organizing her community around health equity, specifically the overlap with systematic racism, education, and environmental justice, in both her personal and professional life. Through this program, Shubhi intends to continue to grow her professional expertise in advocacy and change management. Shubhi currently lives in Somerville with her partner and her dog, Hazel. She identifies as a foodie, loyal friend, book enthusiast, baker, and dog lover, and finds joy in connecting with others over a plate of tasty food!

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Wiley Community Engagement Coordinator, Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center (STEC)

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Wiley was born and raised in Dorchester, MA and attended Wellesley Public Schools via METCO, a bussing program that addresses social/educational inequities within Boston. After her time in the wealthy suburb of Wellesley as a student activist pushing for what would later be known to her as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, she attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. She has been involved in mission-driven work since her teens, and she understands the perspective these positions gave while she was a youth. Jackie has been an after-school student, a tutor, a camp counselor, an assistant coach, an administrative professional, and a development assistant before starting in her current role. She now resides in Boston again and serves as Community Engagement Coordinator, her sixth (paid) role at Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center (STEC). STEC is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing health/wellness, academic excellence, and tennis to the Blue Hill Corridor. She’s passionate, she’s animated, she’s a bit goofy. Jackie loves art, dancing, cats, sour candies, nature walks, and comedy.

New York City

Kristelle Aisaka Senior Evaluation Analyst, The Jed Foundation

Kristelle (she/they) is currently located in the New York City area, and works as a Senior Evaluation Analyst on the Design and Impact team at The Jed Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at promoting emotional health and preventing suicide and high-risk substance use for teens and young adults. She also volunteers as an Impact Evaluation Specialist at RISE Travel Institute, working to inspire responsible, impactful, sustainable, and ethical travel through education that helps travelers better understand how unsustainable tourism practices place undue strain on local communities, economies, and ecosystems around the world.

Josh Smalley Baldasare Marketing Copywriter, Catalyst Inc.

Josh Smalley Baldasare (he/him) is a writer, editor, and nonprofit professional. Josh is currently a marketing copywriter at Catalyst Inc. He also supports fundraising and communications initiatives for nonprofits through his freelance business JS Baldasare Copywriting. Josh has cultivated over $2 million in grant funding for his clients and has written fundraising and marketing copy for a variety of organizations nationwide, including Theatre Communications Group (TCG), Catalyst, American Repertory Ballet, Phoenix Center for the Arts, Gompers, APLA Health, and Matthew House. He began his nonprofit journey in philanthropy as a program staffer for TCG, where he supported the professional development of theatres and artists through grant and scholarship programs. Josh hails from Northeast Ohio and has a BA in English and Theatre from Baldwin Wallace University. He currently lives in Jersey City with his husband and two cats, Calcifer and Ponyo.

Nannette Blaize Program Manager, Community Catalyst

Nannette Blaize is the Program Manager of the Equity and Engagement team at Community Catalyst. In this role, she works to operationalize the work to center race equity; supports communication between programs, staff, and external stakeholders, and shares materials, guidance, and outcomes of equity assessments and action plans as needed. Nannette has extensive experience in organizing and connecting staff and teams at all levels around racial justice and health equity. She is skilled in facilitating conversations around racism, intersectionality, language justice, and gender inclusion. During the pandemic, she also worked closely with communities, organizing and leading listening sessions, and advising on communication strategies that were culturally-appropriate and LGBTQ+ affirming. Her work has been essential in helping build community trust and vaccine uptake in communities most affected by COVID-19 through securing critical resources, including obtaining language access resources, PPE, food, and mental health services. Nannette is a lifelong New Yorker, proud mother of two sons, fashion lover, and bibliophile, and can be found practicing hope on the daily.

James Chalco Managing Paralegal, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC)

James is currently the Managing Paralegal at the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC). He studied Urban Planning at New York University, where he learned about the economic and social functions of cities and their inhabitants. The studies not only highlighted the achievements of great cities, but also the disparities that can arise within their communities. It blended with James’ personal experience from growing up in the Bronx, and fueled a sense of compassion to help those that could be left behind. The nonprofit sector allowed James to bring his experience and channel the drive to assist others into practice. He started at NMIC, during the height of the COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020, as a Resource Navigator. When the program ended a year later, he stayed on as a Housing Paralegal to help community members navigate the legal sphere of their housing situations, including evictions and repairs. Presently, James is the Managing Paralegal at NMIC, his first time holding a leadership position. Although he has grown and developed ways to guide his team, he is hoping his time at the Institute for Nonprofit Practice will further refine his leadership ability, while creating connections along the way. Other interests of James’ include: photography, baseball, and technology.

Talor Crawford Community Development Officer, LISC NYC

Talor Crawford is currently a Community Development Officer at LISC NYC. She is responsible for carrying out LISC NYC programs in the areas of economic development, affordable housing, health equity, financial opportunity, and capacity-building, with a specific focus on managing LISC NYC’s health equity and financial opportunity efforts. Through this role, she also provides technical assistance and grants to community-based partners, and facilitates training and peer gatherings on community development. Throughout her career, Talor has always been committed to doing racial and economic equity work that positively impacts low and moderate-income communities and communities of color. Prior to joining LISC NYC in June 2021, Talor was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs at the Coro Center for Civic Leadership in Pittsburgh, where she was immersed in high-impact consulting projects across sectors and able to further explore her interests in cross-sector collaboration. Her previous experience also includes working at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis as a Community Reinvestment Initiatives Intern and at the Metropolitan Equal Housing and Opportunity Council in St. Louis as an intern working on fair housing and community reinvestment issues. Talor holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Business from Xavier University, and a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community and Organization from Saint Louis University.

Esperanza Cruz Program Manager, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC)

Esperanza has twenty years of experience in workforce development. She has extensive experience working with diverse populations, including welfare to work, youth groups, displaced workers, and the underemployed. Esperanza is skilled at developing and facilitating job readiness and job search workshops, in both English and Spanish. She is an employability planning specialist who has established a job bank and professional network across New York City through outreach, screening, job matching and placement, and organizing job fairs.

Felix Dalgo Alumni Manager, COOP Careers

Felix Dalgo is an Alumni Manager for COOP in the east coast region of the United States. He was born in Quito, Ecuador, a small country in South America, right in the middle of the planet. Felix is the third of four children: he has two older brothers and a younger sister. At a very early age, Felix moved to Argentina to play soccer for a few years before returning to Ecuador. In the year 2000, Felix’s dad got a job delivering newspapers in New York, and he moved the family to the United States. Felix and his family moved directly to New Jersey, where he grew up in a small town called North Arlington (NA). During that time, NA was not very diverse: Felix and his family were the only Latinx people in the town. While things were quite difficult at the the start, with language and racial issues, things changed through the years in the town, and Felix and his family really enjoyed living in North Arlington. After high school, he moved to Harlem and went to school at City College. There, he learned a lot about the importance of diversity, and the lack of job opportunities that prepared and educated BIPOC in different industries. After graduating college, Felix suffered from that same lack of opportunities. He joined COOP as a student, where he found a community of like-minded individuals looking for prosperous careers; he also met his wife, India, at COOP. After COOP, Felix was able to land several jobs at advertising agencies in NYC. However, the lack of diversity was still an issue that he noticed. This is why he returned to work for COOP and focus more on helping BIPOC individuals get their careers started, instead of helping a large company become even more wealthy.

Jazmine Dinkins Executive Assistant and Project Manager, Harlem Children’s Zone

Jazmine L. Dinkins is a proud Spelman College (BA) and the University of Florida (MFA) graduate. During her Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) tenure, Jazmine has served as a Dance Specialist and Program Coordinator. As a Dance Specialist, Jazmine created a scholarship program awarding students funding to study at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Joffrey Ballet School. While serving the Harlem community as a Program Coordinator, she helped replicate the after-school model for the virtual space. She currently serves HCZ’s mission to end the cycle of intergenerational poverty as the Executive Assistant and Project Manager to HCZ’s Chief Operating Officer. Jazmine is the Founder and Creative Director of Be Inspired Again, a company dedicated to producing tools that inspire women to flourish mentally, physically, and spiritually. As host of “The Perfect Amount of Whimsy” podcast, she curates conversations inciting joy and shining a light on the brilliance of the Black experience in America. Since its inception, Jazmine has danced and collaborated with the Blue Morph Collective. The Blue Morph Collective’s mission is to bring storytelling, based on personal experiences, to the forefront of performance art. Jazmine is also the choreographer for the Paradigm Ensemble, and on faculty at the Joffrey Ballet School.

Emely Dominguez Case Manager, Cayuga Centers

Emely is currently a Case Manager at Cayuga Centers, a nonprofit that serves unaccompanied migrant children and their families in New York City. Emely’s career interests include serving those from her community, community building and engagement, and environmental justice. Emely is a Harlem native of Dominican descent and a recent City College of New York graduate. While at CCNY, she majored in Biology with a minor in Women and Gender studies. Her interests outside of work span from listening to any NPR podcast, exploring NYC restaurants, and interior design/decorating. She’s looking forward to meeting and connecting with everyone!

Kristi Eaton Program Coordinator, KEEN New York

Growing up with an autistic nephew close to her own age, Kristi experienced firsthand the added difficulties that families with disabilities endure. She previously spent over a decade in the entertainment industry, where she planned and coordinated many types of events, and after producing one particular event for Stephen Hawking, her path would forever change: during his speech, Hawking said, “We must transcend our limits,” and at that moment, she knew she had much more to accomplish. She currently studies Computer Science part-time at Columbia University, and became the Program Coordinator for KEEN New York after being a volunteer, a basketball and yoga coach, and the Associate Board Vice President of Events. One of Kristi’s many goals is to use her many skills to create a more inclusive digital landscape. Being able to support other families is what inspires and motivates her. Kristi’s aim at KEEN is to use her diverse background to cultivate a warm and welcoming community, while being an organized, consistent support system.

Abby El-Shafei Research and Operations Associate, Strength in Numbers Consulting Group

Abby El-Shafei (she/her/hers) is a Research and Operations Associate at Strength in Numbers Consulting Group, a social justice consulting firm. She works with nonprofits, foundations, government organizations, and service providers in New York City, the United States, and internationally to provide high quality research and evaluation. Previously, Abby served as a Research Officer at Forcier Consulting’s Middle East and North Africa unit, based in Cairo, Egypt. There she conducted program evaluations and labor market assessments for international organizations in Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon. She received her Master of Arts in International Human Rights Law at the American University in Cairo, and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Stony Brook University. Her commitment to pursuing a career in the social impact sector was augmented during the pursuit of her Master’s degree in her home country, Egypt. During the two-year program, she enriched her educational experience with the opportunity to immerse herself amongst fellow Egyptians struggling to attain full realization of their human rights. In the classroom, she became familiar with the international human rights corpus and its applications. Outside the classroom, she participated in insightful dialogues with citizens about their personal experiences and plight within the state. Since obtaining her graduate degree, her career trajectory has been guided by her keen commitment to creating a positive social impact through social justice research. She is passionate about social justice and ensuring that policy is informed by evidence through quality research. This has meant ensuring that her research endeavors are driven by and for the people on the ground. She has dedicated her professional career to ensuring that the impacts of a program or an intervention center the voices of those impacted by them the most.

Gianina Enríquez Community Organizer, Queens Museum

Gianina Enríquez is the Community Organizer for the Queens Museum. She manages the coordination of the cultural food pantry for La Jornada and the Queens Museum, and works on other community programs, including Hecho Local. She is the Museum’s contact person for initiatives involving Spanish-speaking communities. Over the past eight years, Gia has built a community of about 300 families in Corona called “Families Unidas” and co-created the “Escuelita en Casa” initiative that provides art and education to families and children in Queens and seven countries around the world. Gianina has been Vice President of the Friends of Corona Library for the Queens Public Library since 2015. In 2019, District 39 Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz recognized Gia for her work in the community; that same year, Elmhurst Community Partnership awarded her the title of Influential Woman in the Community. She had the distinction of receiving INP’s Changemaker Award in 2021.

Semiranis (Sami) Esquivel Coordinator of Institutional Giving and Grant Development, uAspire

Semiranis (Sami) Esquivel has worked with NGOs, to amplify diverse voices in order to build a healthier community, through her participation in projects involving community outreach, as well as arts and cultural partnerships. Her current role as Coordinator of Institutional Giving and Grant Development at uAspire encompasses extending the functions and programs of the development department to drive partner relationships and impact. Nearly a decade of her work has been comprised of leading teams and volunteers as a Marketing Manager and a Farm Workday Leader in the San Francisco Bay Area. Outside of work, she strives to amplify diverse voices in humanitarian advocacy work focused on outreach and policy. Sami graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a major in Anthropology focused in Biology, with an aim to make research and technology accessible to the public.

Raevan Henderson School and Community Partnership Coordinator, Uncommon Charter High School (UCHS)

Raevan Henderson is from New York City and attended Northeastern University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Human Services. She currently works as a School and Community Partnership Coordinator at Uncommon Charter High School (UCHS) in Brooklyn. There, she oversees the High School 2.0 Program, where 10th-12th grade students engage in co-curricular classes, which provide students with an opportunity to explore an area of passion, learn about areas of study that could become a passion, and participate in a rigorous project that requires sustained energy over the course of a year. Prior to working at UCHS, Raevan taught English in Cao Lãnh, Vietnam through the Fulbright Program. She is passionate about encouraging students to find their passion and explore new outlets. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, attending concerts, and baking new confections.

Sara Louie Outreach Coordinator, Virtual Senior Center, Self-help Community Services

Sara Louie (she/her/hers) is a nonprofit professional focused on creating impactful, effective programming that strengthens and empowers communities, locally and globally. She has a keen interest in developing opportunities for young people, especially creating spaces where they feel empowered to make an impact. Sara is a huge advocate for creating nonprofits that not only welcome diverse voices, but support and include them in decision-making and staffing. Born and raised in NYC, Sara developed her passions for serving others and supporting nonprofits by volunteering for a range of NYC-based organizations. She was an active leader in Circle K International and Key Club while in school (hey to any K-fam!). In 2018, the NYC Hemophilia Chapter recognized her for 10 years of service. On the side, Sara is an avid photographer with a deep love of travel. Two years after graduating college, Sara got her driver’s license for a job that took her on two 10-week tours across the United States to teach students about advocating and fundraising for the global water crisis. In her spare time, you can often find Sara attending concerts and free events. She loves trying new foods and devising how she can recreate dishes back at home. One of her side projects is collecting and documenting recipes from her family and others that she meets. Sara has a deep love for yoga and meditation. She is looking to complete a yoga teacher training within the next year. She is a proud alumna of the CUNY Macaulay Honors College where she completed double majors in Sustainable Development and Digital Photography and Media. She was also a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow. Sara is excited to be part of INP and meet everyone in the cohort.

Benice Mach Project Coordinator, Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. (CPC)

Benice Mach (she/her) is a Project Coordinator at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) based in Flushing, Queens. She works on an anti-poverty initiative with five co-leading organizations, six partner advisory groups, and a team of fourteen community members to define what sustainably lifting individuals out of poverty looks like for the local community. Benice received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Binghamton University. She enjoys community building and has worked with the Tainan Science Park, Binghamton’s Center for Civic Engagement, the Board of Elections, the US Census Bureau, and a few startup nonprofits. She is taking the first few years of her career to explore different avenues of public service to determine which is the best approach for her. Benice’s professional interests include economic development, advocacy, and environmental efforts. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting Winnie the Pooh items, curating a pastel yellow wardrobe, and composting. Benice is excited to participate in the Community Fellows Program, connect with like-minded peers, and learn from the lived experiences of others.

Maquesha Mckenzie Emergence Project Manager, Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York

Maquesha Mckenzie is the Emergence Project Manager at Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York, where she is responsible for implementing the Emergence Project, which is a leadership developmental program that teaches foster youth how to identify career goals, skills, areas to improve, and ways to challenge themselves. Her lived experience as a foster child pushes her passion to use her knowledge and skills to serve and advocate for changes to the child welfare system. She uses her experience as a way to connect with foster youth preparing to age out of care, and uses where she is now as an example of the infinite possibilities for their lives. Maquesha believes it is her duty to give back to the community she comes from. Maquesha received her Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University. Maquesha currently lives in Queens, New York with her fiancé and son. She takes much pride in caring for her family.

Alyssa Molina Head of People/Recruitment Manager, Elevate Education, Inc.

Alyssa is an East Harlem native, a first-generation college graduate, and a proud descendent of Puerto Rican heritage, and she is thrilled to be a new member of the INP Community Fellows Program. She is currently the Head of People/Recruitment Manager at Elevate Education, Inc. Alyssa began her post-undergraduate career in the classroom, pursuing various middle school math teacher roles in local inner city charter schools. Upon her transition out of the classroom, Alyssa served as a Program Assistant for Sanctuary for Families’ Economic Empowerment Program, where she proudly provided over 120 survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, and their families alike, with various career counseling and college advising services. She then began her transition into human services and talent development in late 2021, after rejoining the workforce. She took time off to care for her late father, who is still very dear to her heart and remains a driving inspiration in her life. Today, Alyssa plans to use her wide range of professional and life experience to pursue a long-term career in HR and talent development, and she has dreams of one day publishing her own novels and producing content that inspires others to pursue their own unique paths. Alyssa is a lover of all things 90s R&B, cooking, traveling, staying beachside, and family. She is excited to learn more about INP and everything it has to offer.

Sandy Mui Associate Product Manager, Everytown for Gun Safety

Sandy Mui is an experienced web producer in the nonprofit field. Before returning to Everytown, Sandy served as the Digital Communications Coordinator at PEN America and Communications Associate at WITNESS. She is also a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and is a mentor alumna of the Girls Write Now community. Sandy holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Media Studies from the Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, where she received the Vanguard Prize in Journalism. She also holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) and certificate in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her MALS capstone project, The Local Accountability Journalism Tracker — on local news stories that have sparked major change — received the 2020-2021 MALS Capstone Project Prize.

Anjelic Owens Programs Assistant, National Academy of Design

Anjelic Owens is an artist and art cultural worker operating at the intersections of public art, community engagement, and creative practice. She currently works as a Program Assistant at the National Academy of Design.

Niceli Portugal Director, Escuelita en Casa

Niceli Portugal is a multidisciplinary Peruvian artist, educator, and community organizer based in Brooklyn. She creates multicultural and multilingual spaces for families to make art. Currently she is the Education Coordinator at Materials for the Arts. She has worked with Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling and Queens Museum; where she was Lead Artist and Coordinator for Family Programs. Niceli is the Director of Escuelita en Casa, an initiative in response to the pandemic that provided free tutoring and art classes to families in the United States and Latin America. She is also the Co-founder of Sew Sisters, creating income for undocumented women and providing masks for women in shelters and essential workers during the pandemic.

Megan Kanoelani Solomon Associate, The Center for Popular Democracy

Megan Kanoelani Solomon is joining INP’s Community Fellows Program from the Center for Popular Democracy, where she is building her skills in internal systems and administration work. Prior to that, she spent almost three years at NYC Service, a division of the New York City Office of the Mayor focused on civic engagement through service and volunteerism. There she managed a range of capacity building programs, most recently one that funded community-based organizations doing COVID response and food distribution work in the five boroughs. She also co-chaired NYC Service’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives. She is passionate about community care, accessibility, and conflict resolution. In her free time, Megan can be found cooking and playing with her cat.

Jessica Sun Program Manager, Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), PEN America

Jessica Sun is the Program Manager for the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) at PEN America. Previously, she was the Interim Executive Assistant and Board Liaison at PEN America, a Research Assistant for Dr. Ellen Chesler at the Roosevelt Institute, an intern at the American Ballet Theatre, and an intern for an Assembly member’s office, among other experiences. She is also a Girls Write Now mentor, providing college and career mentorship to a high school student. She was a 2018 Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) JSI Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and a Fulbright semi-finalist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a certificate in Public Policy, with concentrations in International Development, International Relations, and Human Rights, from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College.

Wanufi Teshome Community Engagement Manager, Minds Matter NYC

Wanufi Teshome is the Community Engagement Manager at Minds Matter NYC, a college access and success organization serving low-income public school students in New York City. Wanufi is passionate about empowering young people and supporting their growth. She has experience working on education policy, civic engagement programs, and COVID-19 response work. Wanufi holds a B.A. in Sociology from Kenyon College.

Arlene Thompson Project Manager, RiseBoro Community Partnership

Arlene Thompson is a Project Manager at RiseBoro Community Partnership, a community-based nonprofit organization empowering low-income Brooklyn neighborhoods. With ten years of experience in nonprofit organizations, she focuses her career on bringing better access to technology to historically disadvantaged communities to close the digital divide. Arlene is also a firm believer that mentorship is an essential means of empowerment among Black and Brown youth, and has been involved with several mentoring organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. Arlene holds a Master of Public Administration at Baruch College with a concentration in Urban Development, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Management at Pace University.

Nicole Walls Griffiths Assistant Director of Compliance, Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ)

Nicole Walls Griffiths is a talented and motivated young woman, committed to faith, family, sisterhood, and service. Nicole grew up in Brooklyn, NY, as the eldest of three children. She obtained a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics at the illustrious Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America — Metro Atlanta Chapter as a Pre-K Teacher. Nicole’s dedication to education and passion for business led her to return to NY to pursue a Masters in Management from Simon Business School, and eventually work for the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). Nicole serves in many capacities, but most rewardingly, as a board member of the Greater Hood Community Development Corporation, the Secretary of Westchester NAASC, and an advisory board member of Radical Readers Mentoring. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Sorority, Inc. Nicole is currently the Assistant Director of Compliance at HCZ.

Erin Barry Fellows Program Coordinator — Texas, Progressive Turnout Project

Erin is a community organizer whose work focuses on youth civic and political engagement. She currently works as the Fellows Program Coordinator in Texas for Progressive Turnout Project, where she hopes to help Progressives win state legislative elections. Additionally, Erin volunteers as a mentor at Rhizome, a nonprofit she co-founded which provides nonpartisan resources, training, and community spaces for youth leaders to engage in civic education through peer-mentorship. Previously, Erin worked with Rep. Jamie Raskin’s Democracy Summer Program and at When We All Vote’s “My School Votes” Program. Erin graduated Magna Cum Laude from George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Communication. She is passionate about cooking with local and sustainable ingredients, improving her Spanish, and her cat, Cheerio. She spent the first half of 2022 living in Mallorca, Spain teaching English.

Malia Brooks Outreach & Recruitment Associate, Discovering Justice

Malia Brooks is an Outreach and Recruitment Associate with civic education nonprofit, Discovering Justice. After graduating with a degree in Politics from Whitman College in 2020, she moved to Boston and has enjoyed getting to know the communities across Massachusetts. She carries a long background in the social impact sector, from working in classrooms in Walla Walla to volunteering with various nonprofits in Hawaii.

Genesis Calderon Monitor Specialist, Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. (CPC)

Genesis is a Monitor Specialist at Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) in New York City. Working with home-based daycare providers, she assists them in properly integrating all health and safety guidelines and regulations. Genesis ensures providers have the tools and coaching they need to maintain safe and happy environments for their young children and staff. Early on into her employment at CPC, Genesis became one of the first members of its newly launched cross-functional committee tasked with connecting DEI work to CPC’s organizational mission, vision, and values in addition to assessing, strengthening, and promoting DEI. Genesis also became a member of her organization’s new Advocacy Advisory Council, where she assists with organization-wide advocacy events while deepening advocacy skills and experience at the front lines.

Alejandra Carbajal Career Success Coordinator, America Needs You

Alejandra has been working in the nonprofit space for four years serving low-income clients to gain college and career readiness skills to improve their economic mobility. As a first-generation college graduate, she is happy to be able to share her knowledge and resources with other first-gen college students through her current role as a Career Success Coordinator at America Needs You. Alejandra is excited to learn how she can continue to serve in social good roles within diverse career industries. She is interested in learning about client support services and DIE roles within the corporate and higher education sectors. Alejandra believes that career exploration is important to gain a broader understanding of stakeholders goals with one another, along with defining her own career path.

Dontarious Cowans Research Assistant III, Community Science

Dontarious Cowans is from Charlotte, North Carolina. Dontae graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2016 and later graduated from University of Memphis with a Master’s degree in Sociology in 2019. He now lives a few miles from DC and works as a Research Assistant at Community Science. At Community Science, he assists with evaluation studies related to leadership, race equity, and community and organizational system change.

Melissa Flores Jaimes Program Coordinator, Genesys Works

Melissa Flores is a Program Coordinator at Genesys Works. Melissa is an alumnus of Genesys Works class of 2017 and earned a year-long internship at Thrivent Financial as a high school student. She graduated from Augsburg University with a full tuition scholarship from TRIO Summer Bridge’s class of 2021. Melissa is a Phillip Scholar with the Minnesota Private Colleges. She majored in Studio Art and Minored in Leadership Studies. Melissa is passionate about their Mexican American heritage, an advocate of immigration reform, and their South Minneapolis community.

Imran Ganda Science Network Program Associate, Union of Concerned Scientists

Imran is a first-generation Burmese-Indian American, born and bred in Inglewood, south Los Angeles. After graduating from Middlebury College (class of 2019.75) with a degree in Political Science, he knew that his sense of fulfillment would only come from materializing his desire to contribute to enduring social change. Imran aims to combine his lived experiences in low-income south L.A. and academic experiences in college to help engineers endure change. Imran’s experiences at the nonprofit HOPE in the town of Middlebury and canvassing work in L.A. with Method Campaigns, allowed him to communicate with populations directly, developing his outreach skills. Additionally, these experiences inserted him into communities in an intimate manner that expanded his understanding and nuances of cultural competency, along with its importance in the realm of change-making. Currently, Imran is the Program Associate for the Science Network at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has learned a great deal about science advocacy and policy, and has continued to hone his outreach skills, with the additional layer of mobilizing. One aspect of this position that he truly enjoys is finding ways to optimize mobilization efforts through social media, especially Twitter. His biggest takeaway from his previous experiences and current job is if you have an issue you want to learn more about or start tackling, align yourselves with individuals/groups because work is being done on the ground – every single day.

Cyrus Golestan Consultant, Programs Administration, New York Transgender Advocacy Group

Cyrus Golestan is an Iranian Texan, transgender advocate, photographer, and DEI consultant. He serves as the Director of Education at GET Phluid. He is the founder of Other Is A Myth, an apparel company on a mission to destigmatize difference. Cyrus has spoken at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, BBC Persian, New York Times OUT, and other platforms. He was named one of 40 Under 40 LGBTQ Leaders by Business Equality Network Magazine and a 2020 Notable LGBTQ Leader by Crain’s New York Business. Cyrus co-founded and directed a grassroots nonprofit, Trans in the Wild, to support trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) community. Trans in the Wild organized free programming including legal name change workshops, gender-affirming fitness workshops, fundraisers, nightlife, and networking events to empower and uplift TGNC individuals.

Kendrick Gray 

Growing up in the low-income area of St. Petersburg, Florida, Kendrick Gray noticed many young African American men like himself had limited opportunities to exceed their oppression due to systemic policies and practices. Unlike most of his friends, Kendrick never dreamed of playing in the NFL, or NBA, or one day having a rap video on MTV. His goals have always contained a few main ingredients: hard work, education, and dedication to living a life that is grounded in being of service to others. Kendrick’s “how” came from a friend’s tragic loss to gun violence. The depth of pain expressed in the telephone call he received the evening of his friend’s death was beyond his vocabulary’s ability to deliver with any measure of justice. However, upon learning of the murder of his sixteen-year-old friend, he reasoned that his success must be the shared success of both of them. The untimely demise of someone so dear to him has nurtured and grown his desire to power his progression with the pain of his loss. Since the loss of his friend, Kendrick has graduated from Saint Leo University, and is now obtaining his Master’s degree at the prestigious Bethune Cookman University, majoring in Criminal Justice Administration.

Hannah Guevara Policy Research Associate, First Five Years Fund

Hannah Guevara serves as a Policy Research Associate at the First Five Years Fund (FFYF), where she develops policy research, strategy and content aimed at achieving a greater federal investment in quality early childhood education. Hannah is passionate about creating equitable opportunities for the youngest learners. She has had the privilege to work in education, philanthropy, and racial equity through internships with Children Now, the San Francisco Foundation, KIPP LA, and the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy. Hannah has received both a Bachelor’s in Public Policy and Education Studies, as well as a Master’s in Public Affairs from Brown University.

Rohun Iyer Senior Data Scientist, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Rohun Iyer (He/Him) is a Senior Data Scientist at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, where he is helping lead the drive of the agency’s cultural shift towards more evidence-based operational and policy decisions. As part of this cultural shift, Rohun has spent the past four years standing up the first data warehouse and analytics team at the agency, training staff to use dashboards and reports to modernize their day-to-day tasks, and building predictive models to proactively identify issues in airport operations. Rohun is also the Program Lead to set up a Data Literacy program at the agency to further democratize data analytics and provide additional professional development for the agency’s 8,000 employees. Rohun has an M.Sc. in Applied Urban Science and Informatics from NYU, a degree focusing on the intersection between data science and urban policy. Through this program, Rohun gained an interest in improving the data literacy of employees in the public sector and nonprofit spaces to ensure the ethical and safe use of data to improve our governing systems. He hopes to pursue a PhD analyzing the ethical and unethical uses of data and how we can utilize data for good. In his free time, Rohun explores the city by biking, eating, and bird-watching. He also volunteers for various justice organizations, helping them utilize available open data for their campaigns. Rohun has joined RISE to ensure that he is inclusive and thoughtful in his leadership roles and to learn from other inspiring leaders in the public sector and nonprofit space.

Bailey Katsumata-Smith Partnerships Manager, Life Science Cares Boston

Bailey serves as the Partnerships Manager for Life Science Cares Boston. In this role, she works with life sciences companies as well as Boston-based nonprofits to build connection and community. Prior to this role, she was working in marketing and customer experience with Associated Environmental Systems, a manufacturing company. She is originally from Michigan and graduated from Boston University with a degree in Political Science. In college, she interned with ActBlue, Dreams2Live4 and The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, as well as worked in office roles at BU.

Eliss Mañon Program Coordinator, Reading Partners Baltimore

Eliss Mañon’s career in Education began a few years ago, when she accepted a 27 month contract with the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Specialist. Facilitating classes, workshops, and leadership groups in a local rural high school in northern Peru solidified the foundation of her passion for education as a tool for equity, inclusion, and community empowerment. Eliss proceeded to continue working with students and taught English Language Arts and World History for 5th-9th graders before transitioning to a Program Coordinator role with Reading Partners Baltimore, where she was able to empower students through one-on-one coaching to improve their reading skills and to ensure they achieved grade level literacy. She recently joined the Urban Teachers community as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Recruitment Manager and looks forward to continued learning and growth in the nonprofit sector.

Gianni Martin College Coordinator, Coaching4Change

As a sophomore in high-school, Gianni Martin began his Mentorship journey. Starting out as a mentee in a tier mentorship program, eventually becoming a high-school mentor and then a college mentor. Gianni fell in love with the work. As a college student, Gianni joined the Board of Directors for a nonprofit called Coaching4Change, which aims to bridge the gap for students in underserved communities. Gianni Martin is currently an Elementary Education and Sociology student at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. Amongst other things, his main acting role in his current position with Coaching4Change is being one of the College Coordinators for the program. Recruiting, hiring, training and managing our network of college students is the basis of his role.

Zenaida Rodrigues Program Coordinator (Part Time), Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice (SCIJ)

Zenaida Rodrigues is the Program Coordinator of the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice (SCIJ) where she oversees student programming and engagement. She graduated from Simmons University in 2021 with a Bachelors of Arts in English, where she also studied Cinema and Media. Zenaida previously worked at the Center Support Immigrant Organizing (CSIO) both as a Youth Organizer and intern for their Grassroots Leadership Institute. Most recently, she was the social media intern for the Somerville Partnership for Young Children (SPYC).

Diana Rubi Program Manager, Entrepreneurship for All

Diana Rubi is a first-generation professional from Mexico City. She was raised in Central Illinois and is currently in Northwest Arkansas. Diana is a Program Manager at Entrepreneurship for All, a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate social and economic impact in communities through inclusive entrepreneurship. Her background is in immigrant and refugee rights policy and advocacy work in the state of Illinois.

Jadeen Samuels Associate, Solutions, Results for America

Jadeen Samuels (she/her) is an Associate, Solutions at Results for America. She works to develop learning opportunities which identify and highlight successful implementation efforts of evidence-based solutions in cities and counties across the country. Jadeen is a proud advocate that data-driven research and evidence provides new strategies for evaluating, measuring, and implementing effective policies today. She graduated with honors from Boston College where she studied Sociology and African & African Diaspora Studies and has had a range of public and social sector internship experiences. She is a proud Brooklyn native, who has a passion for community and civic leadership in her city. Jadeen is also an advocate for equitable access to mental healthcare for Black youth and young adults. In her free time, she enjoys taking walks in new areas, traveling, and learning to bake.

Ryan Telingator FAO Schwarz Fellow, Jumpstart

Ryan Telingator (he/him) is an FAO Schwarz Fellow at Jumpstart in Boston. Jumpstart is a national nonprofit that advances equitable learning outcomes for young children in underserved communities by recruiting and supporting caring adults to deliver high-quality programming to children and drive systems change through teaching, advocacy, and leadership. As part of his two-year fellowship, he splits time between direct service responsibilities (including assessment support and family engagement) and policy and government relations work.

Jia-Ming Tuan Programs Assistant, Minds Matter NYC

Jia-Ming Tuan (she/her/hers) is a Programs Associate at Minds Matter NYC, which is a nonprofit organization that provides college access and readiness programs for low-income and marginalized students in NYC. She manages their sophomore program, junior program, student recruitment, and external summer programs for juniors. Jia-Ming graduated from Haverford College in 2021 with a BA in Political Science with two concentrations in Latin American and Iberian Studies and in Peace, Justice and Human Rights. She lives in New York City where she likes to try out new ramen restaurants and walk around exploring the city while listening to her favorite podcast, Binchtopia.

Elizabeth Vana Development Coordinator, Dog Tag Inc.

Elizabeth grew up in the small town of Towanda, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of George Mason University, where she obtained a B.A. in English with minors in Spanish and Computer Game Design. She currently works for Dog Tag Inc. as the Development and Marketing Coordinator, primarily assisting with DTI’s fundraising strategy and grant writing. Most recently, she obtained her Certified Fund Raising Executive certificate, a global gold standard volunteer certificate in a professional fundraiser’s knowledge, ethics, and commitment to making a difference for good. Elizabeth resides in Alexandria, VA with her two adorable cats.

Alyssa Ward Program Manager, The New York Urban League

Alyssa Ward, born and raised in Harlem, attended Colby College in Maine, where she studied Education with a concentration in Human Development. After Alyssa graduated, she decided to do a year of AmeriCorps, where she served to manage a literacy program in Camden, New Jersey. She then stayed with the organization after a year of service and continued to work with the community in different capacities. Eventually she worked her way up to a Program Manager for an AmeriCorps program called PowerCorps Camden. In this role, Alyssa worked with young adults between the age of 18-26 who served the community building green infrastructure and her role was to assist and guide them toward education or employment after their service. Alyssa currently serves as a Program Manager of Employment at the New York Urban League, where she connects New Yorkers to employment opportunities while also providing professional development services. Her favorite food is Pizza (but she really only enjoys a NY slice) and some of her hobbies include, going for runs in Central Park, reading a good book, traveling and binge-watching a Netflix show.

Brittany Wong Assistant to the investments team, Echoing Green

Brittany serves as an Engagement Assistant on the Investments Team at Echoing Green. As an Assistant, she provides administrative support for the Investments team, particularly focused on stakeholder engagement, content creation, and event logistics. On behalf of the Investments Team, she is responsible for drafting internal and external communications, monitoring email inboxes as well as creating responses, and maintaining correspondence with interested applicants, volunteers, partners, and others. Brittany also aids in supporting applicants throughout the application process, assisting in screening and decision-making of Fellowship applications, liaising with key staff across subteams and departments to ensure completion of the application review process, and supporting in gathering materials and research related to these fields. Additionally, she aids in the preparation and execution of Echoing Green events related to on ramps and Fellowship, maintains the organization of files, processes payment requests as needed, provides data support, and takes detailed meeting notes. Brittany is a graduate of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) where she majored in Environmental Studies focused on Communications and Society and minored in Urban Environmental Science. While at school, she found a passion for social justice and environmentalism. Brittany was a heavily active member on campus and was a part of organizations such as The Baobab Society and ESF Outreach. She is continuing her passion for environmentalism through her ongoing research on COVID-19 and sea-level rise risk perception with her research team.

FEbruary – June Cohort

Fardowsa Abdulle Development Coordinator, New England Facing History and Ourselves

Fardowsa Abdulle is a Development Coordinator for the New England region of Facing History and Ourselves, a global non-profit organization that uses lessons of history to empower students and teachers to stand up against bigotry, prejudice, and hate. She started at Facing History and Ourselves at the start of 2021 in an entry-level role, and was promoted to her current position in July of this year. Her professional accomplishments include spearheading a communication project for New England donors, leading a group of development admin colleagues in monthly collaboration meetings, and participating in the creation of activities and events for advisory board members. Fardowsa was inspired to work at non-profit organizations during her undergraduate years at Boston University, where she interned at the BIDMC Office of Development. Her educational background in economics and African American studies informed her passion for anti-racism, and programs that promote diversity and inclusion, social justice, and advocacy work. 

Tuka Almamori College and Career Advisor, First Graduate

Tuka Almamori is a College and Career Advisor at First Graduate, a nonprofit organization that supports first-generation students on their journey to become the first in their families to graduate from college. She grew up in the Bay Area and is the daughter of two Iraqi refugees. Tuka received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Jose State University with a focus on Child and Adolescent Development. She is a first-generation college graduate dedicated to educational equity and the advancement of underrepresented students. At First Graduate, Tuka helps promote students’ success by providing support in all aspects of their college and career development. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and watching basketball.  

Rebecca Balekji Director of Operations Girl Scouts of Greater New York

Rebecca Balekji hails from New Jersey as the Director of Operations for the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. In this role, Rebecca partners with program directors and executive officers to ensure scouts, as well as the professionals behind the scenes, are equipped with the needed resources to properly experience and execute GSGNY programs. A former Girl Scout herself, Rebecca knows first-hand what kind of impact an educational organization can have on a young individual who may feel like an outsider in their environment. The belief in that power drives her desire to work for services that can transform people and their communities. Rebecca previously held operations roles at Change for Kids, Inc. and Tishman Speyer Properties. Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Communications from Ramapo College of New Jersey. A first-generation child of Lebanese and Armenian immigrants, Rebecca finds joy in her love for family, Middle Eastern food, outdoors, live music, Jeopardy and her home in Washington Heights, NYC. 

Emily Belko Student Life Director, College Track

Emily Belko (she/her) is the Senior Student Life Director at College Track’s Sacramento Site – a college completion non-profit dedicated to empowering low-income and first-generation students to achieve their bachelors degrees in pursuit of a life of opportunity, power, and choice. She has served in her role since 2019 and has had the pleasure of supporting her team as the Interim Site Director, Interim Wellness Director, and engaging the wider organization in multiple site, regional, and national-level programmatic projects and committees. Emily obtained her master’s degree in Higher Education Policy and Leadership Studies, from CSU Sacramento in May 2019. She completed her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Sociology in 2015 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Prior to her undergraduate career, Emily attended West Valley Community College, where she began to uncover her passion for educational access. Her subsequent educational, extracurricular, and professional trajectory has continued to entrench and develop this passion. As a Student Life Director, Emily specializes in supporting students within and beyond the classroom to explore and develop their interests and passions through an array of programmatic and experiential opportunities. Prior to joining College Track, Emily worked in the Expanded Learning landscape in Sacramento, supporting students from Tier 1 public schools to fulfill their credit requirements for high school graduation by offering an array of before-,during-, and after-school clubs, programs, and accredited courses based around 21st century skill building, and student and teacher interest. She has additional experience in student life at the higher education level – from student organizing to residential life to to in-classroom teaching. 

Gabriella Bomben Associate Director, Access to Capital Women’s Business Development Center

Gabriella Bomben is the Associate Director of the Access to Capital department at the Women’s Business Development Center. WBDC guides small business owners to optimal funding options during one-on-one advising sessions. By analyzing financial needs, they can help owners access the right type of capital, from the right source, at the right time. Prior to the WBDC, she worked with a variety of non-profit organizations in marketing, project management, and business administration. 

Ericka Booker Senior Program Manager, iMentor

Ericka Booker is the Post Secondary Success Partnerships Supervisor at iMentor NYC. Before coming to iMentor, Ericka was a College Success Fellow at KIPP Through College and Career where she supported 100 young people as they transitioned from high school to college. At KTCC, Ericka established and built relationships with college officials to better understand and address advisee challenges. In her current position at iMentor, she celebrates many wins and is credited for many improvements on the PSP team. Ericka has collaborated with The Fund For Public Housing, New York City Housing Authority and key stakeholders at iMentor to develop a bifurcated PSP Pilot for 12 NYCHA pairs. As the Partnerships Supervisor, she supports approximately 270 pairs who are enrolled at iMentor’s partner colleges. Ericka also oversees the development of several higher education partnerships within the CUNY system. 

Gabriel Cenizal Associate Project Manager, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Gabriel “Gabe” Cenizal (he/him) graduated in 2019 from the University of California, Davis and received his bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Organizational Studies with a minor in Technology Management. He currently works as an Associate Project Manager at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), an organization in Boston that employs improvement science to advance and sustain better outcomes in health and healthcare across the world. Prior to IHI, Gabe worked at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) on their CDC COVID-19 portfolio supporting Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders nationally to mitigate the impact of COVID in their communities. Beyond his professional work, he is involved in various community organizations such as the UC Davis Aggie Alumni Association New England Chapter; International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA) New York Chapter; and Philippine-American Mainstream Advocacy for Non-Partisan Associations (PAMANA) Inc. 

Jonathan Coelho College Completion Program Associate, Oakland Promise

Jonathan (Jon) Coelho is a proud first-generation Filipino-Hawaiin from the SF Bay Area. He is a College Advisor at the Oakland-based nonprofit Oakland Promise, advising a caseload of first-generation students of color to persist and thrive in their higher education and professional journeys. He believes education and advocacy are two pivotal tools in advancing equity. He hopes to implement those values in his current roles and future work as an aspiring public interest attorney. In his spare time, he loves cooking and fermenting, hosting homemade pizza parties, going backpacking and camping, and admiring his fluffy cat, Tuesday. 

Idalia Colon Lead Family Service Worker, Community Teamwork Inc.

Idalia is a Lead Family Service Worker for a non-profit in Lowell, Community Teamwork Inc. Idalia works with a team of Family Service Workers who serve children and families in the Head Start program. Idalia has her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Service and has been in the non-profit sector for 5 years. She is passionate about helping children and families in poverty and is excited to learn more about the non-profit sector and how to promote change in her organization. She is a mom, wife, and loves to be in nature. 

Elorpheton Deneus Development Manager, Mystic River Watershed Association

Elorpheton Deneus (Elo) works as a Development Manager for the Mystic River Watershed Association. His background is in Business, operating his own business in the States and the Carribean. He enjoys sports, reading and cooking in his free time. 

Nicholas DiGiammo Program Manager, Community Teamwork Inc.

Nicholas DiGiammo (He/His) works as a Program Manager for Community Teamwork, INC. His program provides services to Youth and Young Adults who are in need of housing, basic needs, case management, and other services to promote long-term stabilization. In 2014, Nick graduated the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth after studying Criminal Justice and Psychology. As an Americorps NCCC Alum, Nick spent the majority of 2016-2017 on service projects in Oklahoma and Missouri working on housing affected by natural disaster and working with elementary school students in math and writing. Nick was born in Massachusetts and has now lived and worked in Lowell, MA for almost 4 years. He enjoys being involved in the community, working on personal side projects, traveling, and spending time with loved ones. His goal is to continue to use his abilities to serve his community and those who are most in need. In his free time you will most likely find him on his motorcycle or on the golf course.

Scarlet Dominguez Education Program Manager, New York Urban League

Scarlet Dominguez graduated from Guttman Community College in 2017 with an associate’s in Human Services. She then transferred to John Jay College of Criminal Justice and received her bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and a minor in law in 2019. Scarlet is committed to serving children, youth, and young adults and has experience in a variety of educational settings. Currently she works for the New York Urban League as an Education Program Manager at Bronx Legacy High School.

Connor Edrington Lead Teacher, Our Savior’s Community Services

Connor Edrington (he/him) is currently the Lead Teacher at the English Learning Center in Minneapolis, where he directs curriculum development, teacher training, and teaches English, Math, Financial Literacy, and Citizenship/Civics. He is interested in education and policy and loves working in non-profit settings that focus on the community and don’t rely on a traditional classroom model. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running and camping as often as he can.

Mark Anthony Fajilagutan Senior Program Manager COOP Careers

Mark Anthony Fajilagutan is currently a Senior Program Manager for COOP Careers, where he carries the mission of overcoming underemployment for first generation college students.

Sophie Freedman Program Assistant, Conflict Resolution Center

Sophie Freedman is originally from Chicago, Illinois where she grew up as the youngest in a family of four. She moved to Minnesota to study at Macalester College in St. Paul where she received a B.A. in Religious Studies with minors in American Studies and Studio Art. Sophie has worked for multiple non-profits in Chicago and Minneapolis, such as Northwest Side Housing Center and Jewish Community Action, on housing justice-related projects. These projects included development of community land trusts and education about renters rights to students and community members. Housing justice work and peaceful conflict resolution that does not involve state punishment are key equity issues that are very important to Sophie. When she is not working Sophie likes to paint, draw, listen to music, and take dance lessons as well as walk around the Minneapolis lakes and cook and eat delicious food.

Lauren Galván Annual Giving & Stewardship Manager, National Scleroderma Foundation

Lauren Galván is a native of McAllen, Texas and graduated from Brown University in 2016 with a bachelor of arts in Mental Health and Healing. After graduating, Lauren worked in admissions at Brown before transferring to the Division of Advancement in 2019. Soon after, Lauren was asked to lead the advancement efforts at St. Pius V School in Providence, Rhode Island as Director of Advancement. After a successful school year, Lauren took some time to more carefully discern her path before joining the National Scleroderma Foundation as Annual Giving & Stewardship Manager in 2021. Now, Lauren works to enhance the donor experience, increase engagement, and grow giving at the Foundation, which helps people diagnosed with a rare, autoimmune disease called scleroderma, their families, and support networks. 

Ezra Hill KIPP: Forward – Post-Secondary Success Advisors, KIPP Public Schools Northern California

Ezra Hill (they/them) was born and raised in the amazing culture and unique ’90s atmosphere of the Bay Area. Ezra is most passionate about working with transitional-aged youth and adults, helping each person to learn more about themselves and the process of navigating life during their post-secondary education/career years. As a Postsecondary Success Advisor for KIPP: Forward NorCal, Ezra assists recent KIPP King Collegiate High School graduates in setting and achieving their own measure of “success”. By working to create equity within access to information about post-secondary education/career options and various life processes, Ezra is able to help fill in the ever-present gaps of such knowledge in students of color as well as those who are first-generation and low-income. Having earned a BA in Psychology from Mills College, Ezra feels that Trauma-Informed Practice, SEL, and DEI models should be vital components of every interaction with their assigned students. Ezra holds the core belief that true leadership requires respecting what was, questioning what is, and envisioning/developing what could be. Ezra is currently working towards a post-bachelor degree certificate in College Admissions and Career Planning Counseling from the UC Berkeley Extension Program. After which, they hope to obtain a MA in Human Services with a concentration in Human Services Management. Ezra has a long-term career goal to become a Director of Program Development at a continuing post-secondary education/life skills (career & employment) counseling department at a local Bay Area nonprofit organization.

Valerie Horn Advocacy Team Manager, Deaf Inc

Valerie Horn recently moved to Boston from Upstate NY. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a master’s in Public Policy. In the last few years, Valerie has worked primarily in the Nonprofit sector for disability advocacy/rights. Currently, she is working as an Advocacy Team Manager for Deaf, Inc. In her free time, she enjoys going for walks, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her pup. Valerie identifies as a Deaf, Korean adoptee individual with a passion for social justice. 

Chuche Lee Service Coordinator, Partners in Community Supports (PICS)

Chuche Lee is a Service Coordinator with Partners in Community Supports (PICS), a subsidiary of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS). He has worked with PICS for almost two years. 


Delbar Mamedzade Parent Content and Prevention Specialist, Children’s Trust

Delbar Mamedzade is a Parent Content and Prevention Specialist at the Children’s Trust in Boston, MA. The mission of the Children’s Trust is to prevent child abuse in Massachusetts. Delbar dedicated her undergraduate studies at UMass Amherst and graduate studies at Columbia University to studying child sexual abuse prevention, toxic stress in children, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) through a public health lens. Delbar is a first generation American and speaks fluent Azerbaijani-Turkish. In her free time she plays the flute and reads Agatha Christie novels. 

Jameson Marsh Project Manager, Chicago State Foundation

Jameson has worked with communities across the United States through various roles and organizations. He found his passion for community building while serving in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Southwest Region in 2013. Jameson also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the South Carolina Campus Compact at the College of Charleston. While at the College, he began transitioning the Center for Civic Engagement away from one-time volunteer opportunities to long-term partnerships with community-based organizations focused on diverse issues affecting the community, including homelessness, food insecurity, and climate change. Jameson earned his master’s of Public Affairs from the top-ranked O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington in 2019. While earning his degree he worked with Bloomington area nonprofits, arts organizations, and government agencies to increase collaboration, efficiency, and professional development. Upon graduation, Jameson served as an Impact Manager with City Year Detroit. As an Impact Manager, Jameson oversaw a school partnership of an elementary-middle school on Detroit’s Westside and managed a team of Student Success Coaches, who supported students in English Language Arts and Math. In 2021, Jameson began a position as Project Coordinator with the Chicago State Foundation. The Foundation works to advance the mission and welfare of Chicago State University, Illinois’ only 4-year Predominantly Black Institution. As the Project Coordinator, Jameson oversees the financial and administrative operations of the Foundation, while working with University partners to engage organizations on the south side of Chicago. In his free time, Jameson enjoys watching rugby, seeing movies, and exploring the city with his partner, Chloe, and dog, Scout. 

Marissa Martin Operations & Outreach Manager, RIA, Inc.

Marissa Martin is the Operations & Outreach Manager for RIA, Inc., a Massachusetts-based, women-led nonprofit dedicated to standing with and supporting survivors of commercial sex and its associated exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution. Marissa holds a bachelor of science degree in Health Science from Northeastern University and has accrued several years of experience in nonprofit leadership and program support. She previously held the position of Regional Program Specialist at the American Red Cross in Okinawa, Japan, where she worked to develop and maintain community programs focused on resiliency, disaster preparedness, and volunteer services. During her time with the Service to the Armed Forces division of the Red Cross, Marissa developed an extensive skillset of emergency training. She is a certified instructor for several Red Cross courses including First Aid/CPR, Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, Babysitter?s Training, and Wilderness/Remote Location First Aid. Marissa also holds a certification from the US Army as a trainer for the organization’s Ask, Care, Escort-Suicide Intervention (ACE-SI) curriculum. She loves using her unique skillsets and life experiences to teach and empower others in emergency situations. Marissa is happy to be back living and working in in the Greater Boston area after her time abroad. She enjoys spending her free time volunteering for a good cause and has worked with animal rescue, humanitarian aid and health organizations across the globe to give back to her community. Marissa is an avid hiker, backpacker and world traveler, as well as a passionate supporter of social justice, sustainability, and animal rights activism. 

Skyler May-Belleville Program Coordinator, One World Surgery

Skyler May-Belleville is the Program Coordinator at One World Surgery, a global nonprofit that provides surgical and primary care in Honduras and Dominican Republic. She earned her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Nebraska Wesleyan University and received dual master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Skyler is a native of Nebraska and currently resides in the Chicago suburbs. 

Narra Moreen Associate, Executive Support and Operations, Teach for America – Twin Cities

Narra (she/her) currently serves as the Associate, Executive Support and Operations at Teach for America Twin Cities. In this role, she works closely with the Executive Director to support her communication, organization, and Board of Directors management. She also works closely with the Operations & Culture team to plan and execute regional events, supports general team operations, and interviews TFA applicants who seek to join the corps. Narra has been involved with TFA since 2019 when she did the corps herself in the Twin Cities region, teaching 6th grade math at a south Minneapolis charter school for three years prior to her current role. She developed close relationships with students, families, and school staff during her time teaching and still visits her old school on occasion. Narra is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development and St. Mary’s University graduate teaching program. Relationship building is at the center of Narra’s work, and she is driven to help build equitable, community-oriented systems to support people of all backgrounds, especially those who have been historically oppressed and/or underrepresented. Narra is particularly passionate about child and youth development, social-emotional learning, mental health, and identity. She dreams of working with and/or starting an organization that combines all of these areas of work. In her free time, you can find Narra pursuing various creative endeavors (crochet, sewing, digital art, and more!), bouldering, or checking out local shops and restaurants in the Twin Cities. 

Kelly Mu President, Rural Debate Initiative

Kelly became interested and started participating in debate in college, and it became an experience that was extremely meaningful and impactful on her identity formation and gave her invaluable skill sets. However, because she went to school in the Midwest and the majority of debate tournaments happened on the east coast, travel was really difficult. Therefore when COVID came and tournaments started moving online, she saw this as the perfect opportunity to expand access to debate to populations that the activity has not been able to reach before. Because of systemic under-funding in rural education and the lack of institutional network supporting the growth of debate in rural areas, that’s where she decided to start. She wanted to combine her passion for debate and experiences in building and working in nonprofits to create something of greater influence and to provide for a previously overlooked and under-resourced population. In her spare time, Kelly likes to explore new restaurants in San Francisco with her partner, lift weights with bad form, watch indie art films that sometimes make her fall asleep, and take dance classes from a variety of genres ranging from afro to K-pop. She was born and raised in China, went to middle school and high school in Australia, and has been in America since College. This is always her long-winded answer to the simple question Where are you from? 

Kristen Mulvena Senior College Persistence Advisor, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity

Kristen Mulvena (Kristen, she/her/hers) is a Senior College Persistence Advisor at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO). Kristen is a proud Queens resident and graduate of SUNY. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Binghamton University, and her master of Social Work with a specialization in higher education from Stony Brook University. Kristen is incredibly passionate about college persistence, educational equity, empowering adolescents and young adults, and community organizing. When not at work, Kristen can often be found seeing a broadway show, volunteering in local elections, doing mutual aid and outreach in her community, trying to visit all 50 states, or working out. 

Diane Nguyen Program Manager, COOP Careers

Diane Nguyen is a Program Manager for COOP Careers (, a non-profit organization with the mission to support undergraduates to overcome underemployment by teaching them the Head, Heart, and Hustle skills needed to pivot their careers in Digital Marketing, Business Development in Sales, and Data Analytics. 

Maria Ortega Cruz Impact Coordinator, Girls on the Run- Chicago

Maty is an early career non profit professional. They currently work for Girls on the Run- Chicago as an Impact coordinator working directly with schools across 8 counties in Northern Illinois. Maty has received a BA in Biology from Knox College and is currently working towards an MPPA from Northwestern University.

Abril Peña Associate of Corporate & Foundation Giving, Echoing Green

Abril Peña is an Associate of Corporate & Foundation Giving at Echoing Green, an early-stage funder of emerging social entrepreneurs from around the world. Prior to this role, Abril worked at JPMorgan Chase as an Analyst for Community Engagement. Over the course of six years, Abril served as an intern, a program associate, and later the first National Engagement Coordinator at Virtual Enterprises International (VE), a national business education program of which she is an alum. During her time at VE, Abril engaged corporate and college partners, volunteers, and alumni in activities and events tailored to prepare high school and middle school students for career success. While obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications with a minor in Sociology at Baruch College, Abril spent a semester working in Germany as an Event & Marketing Specialist for PEN Worldwide, a network of educational organizations delivering training in business and entrepreneurship skills. Abril is an advocate for youth, access to education, racial and gender equity, and financial literacy. She continues to volunteer as an alum, speaker, and mentor at VE and Minds Matter NYC.

Mackenzie Perry Case Manager/Community Support Liaison, Homeless Prevention Council

Mackenzie Perry, also comfortable with Mack, is a case manager at the Homeless Prevention Council on Cape Cod. Her title is the Community Support Liaison and she is a resource for residents of Provincetown in need of assistance with housing, food access, budgeting/bill management and self-sufficiency. She is from the Outer Cape, and graduated from Endicott College’s psychology program in 2020. Most of her free time is spent with her puppy, Otis (who turned 1 year old in December!), or by enjoying an evening out at local restaurants/shops. Some of her favorite things are beach sunsets, sailing, and exploring new places or activities. 

Samantha Raghu System and University Relations Coordinator, Students United

Samantha is the System and University Relations Coordinator for Students United, a nonprofit organization in Minnesota that is directly operated and represented by Minnesota State students. Samantha graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2021 where she earned a Bachelor’s in Sociology/Anthropology.

Alissa Talbert Affiliate Network Associate, MENTOR

Alissa Talbert (she/her) is the Affiliate Network Associate at MENTOR National. In her current role, Alissa supports Affiliates with evaluation of impact, online community and communications, and network-wide learning opportunities. She is passionate about sharing data with multiple audiences and centering the user in learning opportunities. She is excited to learn more about nonprofit management and looks forward to connecting with others in similar roles. Alissa is originally from Salisbury, MD and has a passion for coaching and playing lacrosse. She currently lives in the North End of Boston and loves exploring New England and meeting new people. 

Kelly Truong YouthSpeak Specialist, DOVE Inc.

Kelly Truong is DOVE’s YouthSpeak Specialist working to educate students on the complexities of intimate partner violence while empowering them to become agents of social change in their communities. Her passion for youth empowerment and spreading awareness stems from her experience volunteering for a domestic violence organization and rape crisis center while in high school. Outside of work, Kelly enjoys trying new cuisines, listening to podcasts, and hanging out with her cat. 

Marissa Zampino Community Organizer, Mystic River Watershed Association

Marissa Zampino is the Community Organizer at the Mystic River Watershed Association. In this role, they build relationships and partner with community members and organizations to help surface and implement resident-generated heat and other climate resilience solutions, as climate change makes summer heat waves longer and storms more intense. Prior to MyRWA, she worked as an organizer for MASSPIRG Students where she recruited, trained, and organized hundreds of college students on voter registration, fighting hunger and homelessness, and transitioning UMass Amherst to 100% renewable energy. They graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Spanish, and found their love of community engagement during their AmeriCorps VISTA service year. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drinking coffee, or finding new places to roller skate. 

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