Meet Our Class of 2024

This fall, more than 380 remarkable leaders from over 300 unique organizations across the country are joining INP’s active movement of changemakers who are shaping the social impact sector! Education, healthcare, poverty, climate change, and more — these individuals are driving progress on pivotal issues far and wide. Learn more about INP’s programs for social impact sector leaders.


Bay Area Wednesday

Steven Addison Conservation Program Manager, Civicorps

Steven Addison began his journey of service to people and land in 1994 after a transformational intercultural experience during his senior year of high school, and he hasn’t looked back since. Steven has worked in various capacities in the conservation field for over 25 years. Steven currently serves as Civicorps’ Conservation Program Manager and facilitates transformational job training and outdoor experiences for young adults. He has worked for the California Conservation Corps (CCC) in many capacities, including leading Backcountry Trails Crews in wilderness areas all over California. Additionally, he has worked for the National Park Service in Yosemite and Big Bend Parks, in various forests for the United States Forest Service (USFS), and for California State Parks (SP) from Prairie Creek SP to Mount San Jacinto SP. During his many seasons of service, he gained his love for working, living, and giving back to the natural world. Steven has strived to facilitate meaningful experiences in these wilderness areas for young adults so they could affect change in their own lives, environments, and communities. He returned to the Bay Area and Civicorps in 2018 to continue serving the youth and land of the East Bay.

Giselle Andrade Associate Director of Talent, KIPP Public Schools Northern California

Giselle Andrade is currently an Associate Director of Talent at KIPP Public Schools Northern California. As a first-generation college graduate, Giselle began her career in education at a dual immersion (Spanish/English) Title 1 charter school in San Jose, CA. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Idaho. She also holds an MS.Ed in Administration from National University. Giselle is driven by a passion for educational equity and deconstructing hiring practices. She is continuously committed to leading effective recruitment and cultivation efforts in KIPP Northern California’s hiring systems and procedures in order to ensure equity in hiring. She does this work because she cares about students having high-quality educators that will continue to provide excellence at KIPP Northern California schools.

Miiraf Arefeaine Program Manager, Reading Partners

Miiraf Arefeaine (she/her/hers) serves as Program Manager at Reading Partners, a national literacy nonprofit with a mission of helping children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results. Originally from San Jose, CA, Miiraf briefly moved to the East Coast to attend Phillips Exeter Academy before coming back home to study English Literature at the University of San Francisco. Throughout her upbringing, she spent time volunteering in literacy education in Ethiopia, where her family is from. Her passion for service and equity in literacy education led her to Reading Partners in 2018, where she served as an AmeriCorps Site Coordinator at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Francisco. She then moved to Madrid, Spain where she taught English and American Culture to high school students for two years. While in Madrid, she also led the Global Classrooms (Model UN) program at her site, adapting the program to surmount the challenges that arose through COVID-19. In 2021, Miiraf returned to Reading Partners in the role of Program Manager in Oakland and has been growing in the role and enjoying serving her community ever since! 

Yvette Arroyo-Agredano Director of Corpsmember Programs, Civicorps

Yvette Arroyo-Agredano is a motivated leader with fifteen years of experience in youth development, providing career counseling, support, and mentoring to young adults. Yvette’s passion is developing programs, collaborating and supporting, and creating a safe space for young adults to thrive. Yvette serves as Director of Corpsmember Programs. She has been at Civicorps since 2004. She began her professional career as a Job Training Supervisor, promoted to Field Coordinator, Field Manager, Career Counselor, Interim Head of School, and Career Pathways Manager. Prior to Civicorps, she was an AmeriCorps school aide and pre-school teacher. She started her education at CCSF, and transferred to SF State where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development. Yvette is passionate about youth development, workforce development, community, and collaboration.

Jordan Bell Director of Training & Development, Improve Your Tomorrow

Jordan Bell is the Director of Training & Development for Improve Your Tomorrow (IYT). Although from San Diego, CA, Jordan has established himself as a nonprofit and education professional in the Northern California and Bay Area regions. Starting as a Program Manager in 2021, Jordan launched two new school sites in the Sacramento, CA region. Fast forward to 2023, he has managed over eight school sites from Sacramento, Richmond, to Brentwood in addition to overseeing the newly expanded Bay Area region as a Program Director. By living out his purpose of being a diverse and relatable point of contact in education; Jordan seeks to instill confidence, purpose, and the ambition to dream in young men of color. Jordan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a Minor in Marketing.

Aisha Blackwell Director of Human Resources, Young Community Developers

Aisha Blackwell, a native of Oakland, holds a significant position as a transformational leader in people operations on the Executive Leadership Team at Young Community Developers in San Francisco. Aisha was deeply inspired by her late father’s commitment to community work and advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities in San Francisco. His legacy and passion for helping others left a lasting impression on her and she strives to emulate his dedication and work ethic in all aspects of her own life. A people-centered approach is her top priority, allowing Aisha to lead captivating Human Resources practices that are grounded in her love for all things humanity. To develop strong relationships, she believes in recognizing and respecting a person’s unique journey and experiences, rather than just their job title. This is a fundamental principle of her HR philosophy. Aisha’s commitment to motivating others and developing socially responsible leaders is evident in her work. She prides herself on true ambassadorship and keeps the organizational mission and values in mind in her interactions with all stakeholders. As a coach and advisor, Aisha balances her love for both the systems and personalities that come with leading people and optimizing the efficiencies that contribute to their success. Aisha’s leadership style is characterized by empathetic communication and thoughtful strategy, ultimately driving transformational and impactful change. She is credentialed in Emotional Intelligence, Executive Leadership Presence & Influence, HR Management & Data Analytics, and is certified as a New World of Work Trainer. Aisha holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of California, San Diego, and is a recent 2023 Graduate of the Wharton Executive Education Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Certification Program. She is fully dedicated to her nonprofit work and is a true champion for the people.

Courtney Brown Program Director of Larkin Street Academy, Larkin Street Youth Services

Courtney Brown is the current Program Director of Larkin Street Academy for San Francisco’s Larkin Street Youth Services, which provides employment, education, and art services to over 500 aged 18–24 clients impacted by homelessness annually. Prior to her work at Larkin Street Youth Services, Courtney worked at Tenderloin Housing Clinic supervising case management services at 10 different supportive housing sites as Associate Director of Supportive Services, and supervised hotline and outreach services at San Francisco Suicide Prevention as the agency’s Hotline Director. In addition to her professional work in social services, Courtney has volunteered leading grief groups for bereaved youth, performing counseling and meditative support for terminally ill patients at Zen Hospice Project, and distributed harm reduction supplies through the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Harm Reduction Center. Beyond her interest in social services, Courtney is a yoga teacher, visual artist, and avid cyclist.

Tina Burgelman Vice President of Philanthropy – Head of the Principal Gifts Team, LifeMoves

Tina Burgelman leads the principal gifts team at LifeMoves as Vice President of Philanthropy. She earned a Master of Science in Organizational Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. Tina is a Certified Fundraising Executive. She started her career over 20 years ago at Big Brothers Big Sisters in Northwest Washington. As Fund Development Manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters, she led the development team and was instrumental in significantly increasing funding to eliminate their debt. Prior to her appointment as Fund Development Manager, she was an intern, volunteer mentor, and board member at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Tina served as the Interim Chief Development Officer at SMASH. As Senior Director at the University of San Francisco, she established multiple new scholarships for first-generation students and teachers of color. As the San Francisco Executive Director at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), she led a team that served over 2,500 Bay Area clients. She managed the development team and volunteer services team at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, creating their mid-level donor program and redesigning their volunteer strategy. Tina served a mayoral appointment on the Oversight and Advisory Committee member for the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families. She is on the Philanthropy Committee at Voice of Witness and was the second Vice President of the parent-teacher board at St. Thomas the Apostle School. Tina was previously named Big Sister of the Year, received a Helping Hands award from Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Seattle Jaycees Community Service award. Tina is a biracial Filipino American, married to a first-generation Belgian American. She credits the work ethic and joy that she brings to her profession to her Filipino family’s way of life. Tina lives in San Rafael with her husband (Oliver), two sons (Jasper and Remy), dog (Pogi), and cat (Ganda).

Brisdy Carrillo Vega External Affairs Manager, Braven

Brisdy Carrillo Vega is the External Affairs Manager in the Bay Area at Braven. She works closely with their employer partners to represent the Braven Bay Area in a positive light while assisting the Executive Director to build meaningful relationships that contribute to an equitable future for underrepresented students. She also helps manage internal and external communications, heavily supports fundraising and employer partnership efforts, as well as raises brand awareness. She keeps certain values like equality, resilience, and family very close to her heart which is reflected in her body of work. In fall 2020, she became the first in her family to graduate from college and she joined Braven’s forces as an Administrative Coordinator Intern before joining full-time. Her tie to Braven dates back to the spring of 2019 when she took Braven. Brisdy’s work with employer partners has also led her to cross paths with impactful entrepreneurs and she hopes to lead a similar effort in her later years. She hopes for a future where everyone can reach an equitable education and economic mobility. In her free time, Brisdy enjoys spending time with her family and friends exploring the great outdoors. In addition, whether it’s reading a book or taking a Krav Maga lesson you can find Brisdy there.

Danielle Coquia-Guzman Assistant Director of Health & Youth Development, 3rd Street Youth Center & Clinic

Danielle “Dani” Coquia-Guzman currently serves as the Assistant Director of Health & Youth Development at 3rd Street Youth Center & Clinic. She provides infrastructure and support to 3rd Street’s free health promotion services and paid youth programming. She also oversees smooth Youth Clinic operations in partnership with the SF Department of Public Health to provide a warm, judgment-free healthcare experience to Bayview youth. Dani holds a Master’s in Public Health from San Francisco State University. She is passionate about health equity and culturally responsive community health care. A proud Filipina American, Dani invests her free time in Filipinx health through grassroots community organizing work on local and national levels. Dani’s work is grounded in forging strong connections and lifting up those around her.

Isabelle Darling Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, Learning & Development, Upwardly Global

Isabelle Darling, based in Oakland, CA, serves as Upwardly Global’s Director of DEIB, Learning & Development. She is an experienced leader with over 15 years of work in the nonprofit and government sectors. She is recognized for her trauma-informed support for refugees, survivors of torture, and the agencies that assist them. Isabelle has a strong track record of designing tools, facilitating training, and developing courses on community leadership, mental health programming, and cultural awareness within the field of refugee resettlement. Her work has reached national and global audiences, including collaborations with organizations such as the Office of Refugee Resettlement, International Rescue Committee, HIAS, International Social Development, and the Harvard Program on Refugee Trauma. Isabelle’s approach to her work embodies engagement, application, collaboration, and practice. Her educational background from Hampshire College & Simmons College combined with her yoga teacher training allows Isabelle to offer a multidisciplinary and healing approach to address complex systems and community challenges built on principles of trauma-informed care and interaction-based leadership. Drawing from her Jamaican and American heritage, Isabelle seeks innovative approaches to address common challenges while honoring culture, social justice, and intergenerational wisdom. Guided by the principles of peace, curiosity, intercultural dialogue, storytelling, and leadership training, Isabelle is dedicated to serving as a guide and advocate for human rights initiatives. She is also an aspiring children’s book author.

Jade Davis Youth Empowerment Coordinator, California Coalition for Youth

Jade Davis is the Youth Empowerment Coordinator for California Coalition for Youth, supporting the work of the organization’s youth advisory board. She is also an active member of the CCT’s youth advisory board. As an undergrad, she attended Saint Mary’s College of California to study Business Administration. She grew up in the Bay Area and loves it here. Growing up in a single-parent home taught her the importance of community because that’s where most of her time was spent. Because of this, she advocates for all youth from all walks of life.

Maureen de Nieva-Marsh Director, Whole Family & Community Services, Community Action Marin

Maureen “Mo” de Nieva-Marsh is the Director of Whole Family & Community Services for Community Action Marin. She is an award-winning fervent proponent of civic engagement among underrepresented groups and communities with a personal goal of diversifying the leadership landscape. She helps connect families to resources to help move them from crisis to thriving in Marin County. Mo has over 20 years of experience working with government agencies and nonprofits fulfilling the following missions: public health policy, community messaging, inclusive group facilitation, crisis communications, digital media strategy, grant and project management, advocacy, public speaking, and youth development through an equity lens. Mo previously served as a Deputy Public Information Officer for the County of Marin during emergency response and was the strategist and advisor for the launch of the Marin County Office of Equity, award-winning RxSafe Marin (now OD Free Marin), and youth-empowered Marin 9 to 25 initiative. At the County of Marin, her primary duties included contract management, community engagement, and health equity work in both Public and Behavioral Health – Substance Use Services at Marin Health and Human Services while serving as the Co-President of the employee-driven Marin Asian Public Local Employees (MAPLE) affinity and resource group. She is a passionate nonprofit board member of Asian American Alliance of Marin and YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley, and an active community volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco – Young Professionals. Mo is the past President and Charter Member of the Rotary Club of San Rafael Evening and a proud alumnus of Dominican University of California with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Masters of Business Administration. For fun, she and her husband Donald play softball and sing karaoke duets.

Whitney Evans California Director, ParentChild+

Whitney Evans (she/her/hers) serves as the California Director for ParentChild+, an intensive home visiting support for toddlers and their grown-ups. She is proud to help bring learning and play to families and home-based childcare providers furthest from opportunity. Prior to ParentChild+, she held several director roles at Girl Scouts of Northern California in the Community-Based Programs department, serving girls in detention centers, shelters, Title 1 schools, and farmworker communities; places that typically do not have access to Girl Scouting. During her time at Girl Scouts, she was proud to present at the United Nations 57th Annual Commission on the Status of Women and was featured in the opening keynote of Salesforce’s Dreamforce in 2017. She also offers parenting workshops on a variety of subjects to schools, community groups, etc. Whitney holds a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Sociology from the University of Puget Sound and a Master’s in Child and Adolescent Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University. A Bay Area native, she lives with her spouse, two kindergarteners, an obese terrier, and a smorgasbord of cats in San Jose, California. She is proud of the wild, weird, and wonderful life she’s been given and is writing a memoir of her personal story. In her spare time, Whitney loves to write, read, cook, watch movies, and is always up for an outdoor adventure.

Vanessa Funes Program Manager, Homeless Prenatal Program

Vanessa Funes is a San Francisco native passionate about helping families find healing and stability. She is currently the Program Manager for an intensive case management program at Homeless Prenatal Program serving high-risk pregnant or postpartum mothers and their families. Prior to being a manager, Vanessa has provided case management to veterans, TAY, and single adults with various backgrounds and experiences, and has found her calling in supporting mothers and babies, creating a case management experience geared towards their recovery and healing.

Amy Gomme Executive Director, Deaf Counseling Advocacy & Referral Agency (DCARA)

Amy Gomme is a native Latinx Deaf New Mexican who was born and raised in the rural region of Northern New Mexico. She also is a first-generation Mexican-American on her mother’s side, coming from a family that immigrated from Mexico. She descends from a family of numerous Deaf members who have resided in the New Mexico and Arizona area for generations. Amy is a graduate of New Mexico School for the Deaf before continuing on and graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science. Prior to working for the Deaf Counseling Advocacy & Referral Agency (DCARA), Amy worked for the Community Outreach Program for the Deaf in New Mexico, starting out as a Job Developer and working her way up to Program Director. Amy currently works as the Executive Director at the Deaf Counseling Advocacy & Referral Agency (DCARA) where she was previously the Deputy Director. Amy also served on the board of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), first elected in 2018 as the Region IV Board Member and then as Vice President in 2020. During her term, Amy was involved with the Internal Transformative Committee and the Dismantling Racism Committee. Amy is incredibly passionate about giving back to the community, especially the one she grew up in. With this passion for her community, she took on multiple roles through the years in her local community as she grew into a leader. These included three local community organizations: the New Mexico Association of the Deaf as President, Raíces del Rio Grande (a Latinx Deaf organization) as Vice President, and the New Mexico School for the Deaf Alumni Association, starting with being a Secretary and then President. Amy is an avid sports fan, with a goal of touching every sports stadium in the U.S. She has already been to 12 ballparks in the U.S.! Amy is also a passionate geek with a love for Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and more! She even has a cute doggie named BB-8!

Nate Harding Senior Manager, Systems Change Initiatives, Social Impact Exchange

Nate Harding is the Founder & CEO of The Global Flourishing Coalition (GFC), a field catalyst organization that supports human and planetary flourishing researchers, practitioners, and funders globally to identify, spread, and continually improve good practices for flourishing and conditions to support them. Nate believes every human, regardless of their circumstances, possesses unique knowledge, skills, and ideas that, if conscientiously engaged and directed, can unleash flourishing for themselves while respecting balance with all life. Nate’s experience includes designing and facilitating international youth exchange programs, co-authoring articles and reports on field-building for population-level change, advising executive teams to clarify their intended impacts and to grow and guide organizations to achieve them, and co-creating and managing multi-sector co-funding collaborative to equitably transform societal systems to achieve shared goals. Nate currently resides in San Francisco, CA and is a graduate of Davidson College with a degree in Education and Community Studies.

Dr. Carey Hawkins Ash, J.D., Ph.D. Vice President for Partnerships, Making Waves Education Foundation

Dr. Carey Hawkins Ash, J.D., Ph.D., is an equity-minded, visionary strategist with legal, legislative, business, research, and partnership development skills. He is the driving force behind solid operating systems, successful project management, and complex program implementation. Dr. Carey is a decisive and collaborative leader, with expertise in public advocacy, political campaigns, external communications, and policy reform. As Vice President for Partnerships for Making Waves Education Foundation, Dr. Carey designed and executed engagement plans supporting a $2 million expansion of college and career access programming for high-need students and cultivated partnerships to launch an artificial-intelligence-powered tool to provide students with 24/7 access to college-going information. Dr. Carey also leads Foresight Strategy Solutions, a high-powered strategic consultancy that helps organizations catalyze transformational change. In this capacity, he advises the largest system of public higher education in the United States, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, on its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in service to the state agency’s staff and its 1.8 million students. Dr. Carey previously served as a Legislative Aide in the Louisiana State Senate and helped rebuild New Orleans’s economy and public schools post-Hurricane Katrina. He also served as Chief of Staff for Business and Operations in Oakland Unified School District, where he oversaw an $800 million unit consisting of seven departments and 24 subdivisions in support of 40,000 students enrolled across 118 schools. Dr. Carey earned his J.D. in Constitutional, Education, and Civil/Human Rights Law and his Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Educational Policy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His Bachelor’s degree was awarded summa cum laude in Political Science and History by the Honors College at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Jose Jimenez Director of College Access, San Francisco & Silicon Valley, 10,000 Degrees

Jose Jimenez is currently the College Access Director, San Francisco & Silicon Valley at 10,000 Degrees, a leading, equity-focused scholarship provider and college success nonprofit. Jose is one of the youngest Program Directors 10,000 Degrees has had. In his current role, he supports college access programming at 11 partner schools within San Francisco and San Jose. Jose is a first-gen Latino college graduate, Eagle Scout recipient, Bay Area native, and 10,000 Degrees alum. Jose attended Santa Rosa Junior College and then transferred to the University of California, Davis, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Prior to being Director, Jose was hired as a College Access Fellow in San Francisco for 10,000 Degrees back in 2018 and, shortly after that, was promoted to Program Manager in San Francisco. Jose is passionate about supporting and advocating for his community.

Melissa Lawton Chief Program Officer, Seneca Family of Agencies

Melissa Lawton has been with Seneca Family of Agencies for twelve years where she has positively impacted services for youth and families and focused on creating an inclusive, sustainable workplace. Prior to becoming a therapist, Melissa served as an officer in the US Army and as a manager in transportation and logistics in New York City and the Bay Area. She also trained as a firefighter and EMT, and worked in Alameda and Mendocino Counties. Melissa joined Seneca as a clinician in the Bay Area in 2012 where she worked in several crisis and community-based programs as a clinician and program leader. In 2021, she moved to oversee the full continuum of Santa Clara County programs. She is currently Seneca’s Chief Program Officer with programs in Santa Clara, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Orange, and Riverside Counties. She also supports placement and permanency programs and Kaiser partnerships throughout California. Melissa has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the US Military Academy and a Master’s degree in counseling from San Francisco State University. She resides in Oakland, CA and enjoys riding motorcycles, bicycles, roller skating, and listening to true crime podcasts in her free time.

Izanie LoveNed Racial Equity & Inclusion Program Manager, NPH

Izanie LoveNed (she/her) serves as the Racial Equity & Inclusion Program Manager at NPH. Izanie joined NPH in April 2022 as the Racial Equity & Inclusion Program Manager. Her work mainly focuses on supporting the Bay Area Housing Internship Program (BAHIP) which is a one-year, paid internship program that trains low-income college students of color to jumpstart careers in affordable housing development and project management. Before joining NPH, Izanie interned with the San Francisco Planning Department under the Community Equity Division. Izanie holds an Associate’s degree in Math and Science from City College of San Francisco, a Bachelor’s degree in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis, and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from San Jose State University. Izanie lives in Antioch, CA and in her free time she enjoys dancing, watching reality tv, and traveling with her partner.

Paida Ndemera Senior Vice President, Covenant House California

Paida Ndemera serves as the Senior Vice President at Covenant House California. Having started off her career as a Psychiatry Nurse Practitioner 20 years ago, Paida’s career trajectory shifted into healthcare administration where she has an impressive record of setting up and establishing healthcare facilities in London, Melbourne, and the Bay Area. Over the last few years, her focus has been working with marginalized communities and being an active advocate for the communities she serves. Paida is passionate about the concept of whole person care, which is premised on the recognition that the best way to care for individuals with multifaceted needs is to consider their full spectrum of needs and Paida believes housing tops this list of needs. Paida is a biological mother of two and also supports 18 children at an orphanage founded by her and husband.

Molly Orsburn Program Mentor, Razing The Bar

Molly has a passion for helping foster youth and other vulnerable populations, stemming from her own experiences aging out of the child welfare system. Her extensive work experience began as a youth through nonprofit volunteer work and eventually an internship with California Youth Connection, and her passion continued to blossom from there. She has experience supporting diverse vulnerable populations from mental health, child welfare, and nonprofit sectors and focuses on reinforcing self-confidence and helping others find a voice. Molly has experience with navigating a variety of community and foster youth-specific resources which supported her in completing her Associate’s degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Gavilan College and moving forward to obtain her Bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development with a Family and Community Focus from San Jose State University, all while graduating debt free. Molly looks forward to assisting youth from her community in discovering, exploring, and pursuing their dreams and aspirations.

Yolanda “Yoli” Oviedo Senior Housing Manager, Canal Alliance

Yolanda “Yoli” Oviedo is a project manager with more than three years of experience in the development of new programs at Canal Alliance. She’s motivated by the mission to help people in the community in which she grew up. Her current role as a Senior Housing Manager focuses on the development of the housing program at Canal Alliance. Yolanda currently serves as a Park & Open Space Commissioner for Marin County Parks.

Emily Ramos Senior Program Manager, Latino Education Advancement Foundation

Emily Ramos serves as the Senior Program Manager at the Latino Education Advancement Foundation (LEAF), a nonprofit organization serving first-generation, Latinx students and families from East San José. In her role, she oversees the programming and staff members of the LEAF Center for College Success, serving over 500 scholars and families annually. Before joining LEAF, Emily served as a College and Career Coordinator working to successfully implement culturally responsive college and career readiness programs for high school girls and non-binary youth in her own community in Orange County, California. Additionally, Emily supported the development and delivery of a research-based curriculum focused on self and community advocacy, healthy sexuality, body image, and college confidence. Emily’s six years of experience working with students and families from marginalized backgrounds in higher education, community-based organizations, and public schools, inform her servant leadership style. Equity in college access and persistence drive her passion to support and uplift first-generation students of color to actualize their college and career goals through student-centered programming, coupled with intentional mentorship. Emily holds a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Urban Education from Mills College, and an Ed.M. with an emphasis in Culture, Race, and Ethnic Studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Asha Robertson Associate Director of Housing Programs, Larkin Street Youth Services

Asha Robertson, the Associate Director of Housing Programs for Larkin Street Youth Services, is a strong leader who wholeheartedly embraces the mission of Larkin Street and its commitment to serving the youth of San Francisco. She joined Larkin Street in 2015 and has held multiple positions, which provided a way to understand all facets of the organization. Starting as a relief Residential Counselor, she progressed to become a full-time Residential Counselor, Case Manager, Employment & Education Specialist, and Program Manager for Permanent Supportive Housing Programs. Additionally, Asha has served as an Administrator for Diamond Youth Shelter. She now oversees managers who provide crucial support to the Transitional Living Program.

Dr. Angela Smith Equity & Culture Manager, First Place for Youth

Dr. Angela Smith (she/her) is the Equity & Culture Manager at First Place for Youth. This organization helps transitioned-aged foster youth with housing, education, and employment. Her position is important to the organization by the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) training, and infusing all things DEIB, that she coordinates in the workplace. Dr. Angela is also a Collaborative Resolution Facilitator (mediator) for her organization. Prior to working at First Place for Youth, she was the Assistant Executive Director for Peer Advocates Training & Consulting, training the Bay Area municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and private organizations in DEIB work and restorative justice practices. She also has helped government agencies raise millions of dollars for charities for the past eight years. Dr. Angela is an advocate for bullying in schools and in the workplace as her research reflects this work from her dissertation: Bullying Resilience for Communities and Schools Using Restorative Justice Practice.

Art Taylor Chief Strategy Officer, JobTrain

Art has over 35 years of experience in program design and development, strategy, and planning across multiple for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Throughout Art’s career, he has held leadership positions working in the social services and education field, including training parole officers and parolees in trauma-informed counseling and vocational education strategies in Watts, California; designing large-scale mentoring programs and services for hundreds of youth from under-resourced communities in Los Angeles County; and managing the selection and distribution of $22 million yearly in college scholarships and grants with a College Scholarship Fund. As JobTrain’s Chief Strategy Officer, Art oversees the organization’s strategic plan, partnership development, geographic and program expansion, and new strategic initiatives. Art led a team in opening JobTrain Career Centers in East Palo Alto, San Jose, South San Francisco, and North Fair Oaks (Redwood City). Prior to joining JobTrain, Art served as Chief of Staff for a Bay Area communication and strategy service firm working with the City and County of San Francisco, where he designed and authored Community Benefits Catalyst Policies and Programs for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Prior to that, Art used his Urban Planning and Architecture degree as Director of Strategic Partnerships and Development with San Francisco-based architecture firm MKThink. Art led the consulting arm of the firm collaborating with school districts and colleges developing long-range facility master plans and change management strategies – connecting the built environment to influence the efficiency, health, and well-being of workers. Art holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin; a Bachelor’s in Urban Planning and Architecture, and a Master’s in Public Administration and Public Policy, both credentials awarded from San Francisco State University.

Karina Vazquez Vice President of Finance, First Place for Youth

Karina Vazquez serves as the Vice President of Finance for First Place for Youth. She has worked for First Place for Youth for 15 years and is continually looking for more. First Place for Youth helps foster youth in emancipating from the foster system, guiding them on their path to independence by fostering skills for self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood. Throughout her 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and with First Place for Youth, she has held several positions in the finance department, from Staff Accountant, Senior Accountant, Accounting Manager, Director of Finance, and currently VP of Finance. Each position has contributed to her professional growth and has motivated Karina to keep working in the nonprofit sector to have a meaningful outcome and positively impact others, especially in her community. In her current capacity, Karina is responsible for overseeing the organization’s operational and budgetary activities, ensuring compliance with GAAP and other regulatory frameworks. She takes charge of fiscal audits, including tax reporting, among other tasks. Prior to her involvement in the nonprofit industry, Karina worked in the for-profit sector, providing management and HR support. Karina holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Phoenix, making her the first member of her family to graduate from an American university. Something that makes her smile is knowing that her work is the spinal cord of the organization, and her work revolves around helping others; she also likes to spend time with her three kids.

Isabella Karabed Chief Program Officer, Ruby’s Place

Isabella is a dedicated professional with over 15 years of experience in homeless services, currently serving as Chief Program Officer at Ruby’s Place. She holds a strong educational background with degrees from UC Berkeley and Columbia University, and she’s pursuing a Doctor of Social Work degree at USC. Isabella’s career includes impactful roles at Downtown Streets Team, LifeMoves, and Catholic Charities, where she’s played a key role in developing innovative programs. Isabella is also a family person, sharing her life with her husband, Raffie, and their three children. Together, they are committed to making a positive impact. Her interests include a deep love for old-school reggaeton, reflecting her appreciation for cultural richness and diversity.

Claire Hatamiya Director of Culture & Learning, Larkin Street

Claire is a highly committed and skilled DEIB professional with an extensive background in designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating public health, education, and youth development programs and research projects. She is a dynamic and creative facilitator with over 15 years of experience in curricula development and training. As Director of Culture & Learning, Claire oversees and implements Larkin Street’s employee development and training vision, strategic plan, and learning architecture. Claire facilitates Larkin Street’s New Hire Orientation, supports Larkin Street’s first-ever Learning Management System (LMS), and created and educates on the “This is How We Roll” culture, philosophy, and strategies that are adopted across the agency, which consists of Restorative Practices; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging; Trauma-Informed Care; Harm Reduction; Motivational Interviewing; and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Theatre from NYU, a M.H.S. in Health Education from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and B.A.s in Ethnic Studies and Dramatic Arts, Dance from the University of California at Berkeley.

Boston wednesday

Amil Amin Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer, Reach Out and Read

Amil Amin (she/her) serves as the Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer at Reach Out and Read, Northeast, a nonprofit that works directly with pediatric care providers to provide families with the knowledge and tools they need to make reading a part of their daily routine. She is a former AmeriCorps member, who served at Reading Partners Silicon Valley, contributing to the organization’s community engagement efforts. Amil completed her Master’s in English at San Francisco State University and started a PhD program in English at Princeton University before deciding to leave and return to the nonprofit space to use her writing and research expertise to help build and sustain nonprofits doing important work. Amil is a San Francisco Bay Area native and currently based in Greater Boston. She is a child of Afghan refugees and the first in her family to graduate from University. Her roots and family deeply inform her work and perspective on the importance of building community however far from home you may be.

Emily Burnor Crump Senior Managing Director, Talent, Teach For America

Emily Burnor Crump (she/her), M. Ed, Harvard University: Emily Burnor Crump is the Senior Managing Director of Talent at Teach For America Massachusetts (TFAM). As a leader, her objective is to promote anti-racist, people-centered recruitment and retention practices in education. She works with over 50 schools across five communities to recruit and retain teachers and leaders that share identities with their students, making TFAM one of the most diverse teacher preparation programs in Massachusetts. Emily also supports hundreds of veteran educators each year to find roles that maximize their impact. Prior to joining TFAM staff, Emily worked in schools for 10 years. She started her career as a Teach For America corps member in the Bronx, New York while completing her Master’s degree in bilingual education. After moving back to Boston, she was a founding teacher and later a Director of Operations at Brooke East Boston Charter School. Emily speaks Spanish and Portuguese and has lived abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. In her free time, she serves as co-president of the Alumnae-i Network of Harvard Women Boston, trains capoeira, and enjoys hiking and camping with her husband, son, and dog. 

Aditi Dholakia Funder Education Program Manager, Social Innovation Forum

Aditi is the Funder Education Program Manager at the Social Innovation Forum (SIF). She joined SIF in July 2021, as SIF’s Social Justice Philanthropy Fellow through Northeastern University’s Graduate Cooperative Education Program. In her current role, she plans, organizes, and executes programming about equitable practices in philanthropy and grant making, engaging a wide variety of stakeholders and strengthening networks across the organization and sector. Originally from North Carolina, Aditi moved to Boston in August of 2020. Aditi currently serves as a founding board member Hugs Foundation, a nonprofit in NC whose mission is to provide access through financial assistance to quality, holistic mental health services and resources for the local community. She also serves on the Board of Trustees at Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, MA, where she chairs the Development Committee. Aditi is passionate about advocacy, distribution of power, and grassroots level, community centered healing and empowerment. When not at work, she enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, experimenting in the kitchen, cultivating her garden, and exploring around Boston.

Michael Hanscom Clinical Supervisor, HopeWell

Michael Hanscom currently serves as a Clinical Supervisor at HopeWell’s Springfield office. He has been working with children and families in Western Massachusetts for over 20 years, including past roles at the Springfield Juvenile Court, Children’s Study Home, the Greater Springfield YMCA and clinical and social worker roles within HopeWell. Michael also is a board member with Rise Above, a nonprofit dedicated to providing enrichment opportunities and experiences for Massachusetts youth in care. He earned his undergraduate degree and his master’s degree in social work from Westfield State University. Much like his parents and grandparents, Michael has been in service to his community and has shown a commitment towards working to enhance the lives of youth, young adults and families, and he has used his years of experience to guide his work. An agent of change, Michael is focused on helping and empowering those to whom he is in service. Big on a collaborative approach, Michael loves connecting people and organizations to work together to go farther. Michael lives in Springfield, MA with his partner and his rescued French Bulldog, Lalo. Together they spend time doing volunteer and advocacy work for national and local dog rescues and shelters. As a semi-retired radio and club DJ, music is a major passion in Michael’s life whether it be listening to his extensive record collection, or attending concerts around New England.

Leah Harrigan Program Manager, Silver Lining Mentoring

Leah (she/her) is a Program Manager at Silver Lining Mentoring in Boston, MA. With a background in teaching and social service leadership, Leah works to elevate meaningful learning opportunities through education and people development. Her passion for whole child development led her to work in school settings including AmeriCorps-affiliated charter schools and the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School, as well as pursue clinical and management roles at Youth Villages. Leah holds a BA in Psychology from Providence College and a Masters in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University. She enjoys baking, word puzzles, and finding the best pun for the occasion.

LaTasha Harris Special Projects Coordinator, Scratch Foundation

LaTasha (Tasha) was born in Georgia, attended high school in Missouri, and graduated from Anderson University in 2003 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. After moving to Boston in 2004, she worked in the financial, nonprofit, and higher education sectors for several years before turning her sights toward K-12 education. Tasha’s time working in MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs (now known as MITES) was reminiscent of her experiences in Upward Bound. It sparked her interest in working with students of similar backgrounds to ensure they were ready for success. Tasha’s overarching goal is to work towards equity so that everyone (especially people from underserved communities like hers) has the skills and resources needed to pursue the opportunities she hoped for as a kid. In 2021, she graduated from UMass-Boston, earning a Masters in Learning, Teaching, and Educational Transformation. After her time as a teaching resident, Tasha shifted her focus from serving in the classroom to working at the systemic level. She is now Special Projects Coordinator at Scratch Foundation, supporting the People & Culture team and other organization initiatives. Tasha is a loving daughter/sister/aunt/friend who enjoys spending time with loved ones, attending visual and performing arts events, and traveling to learn about/explore different cultures. She is also an admitted serial hobbyist (who will learn how to sew and play guitar someday) and bookworm. Her passion for reading and writing started as a child, when she’d get in trouble for staying up past bedtime to continue reading via flashlight, and continues to this day.

Zoe Holder Director of Career Advancement, Advocates

Zoe Holder, LICSW, is the Director of Career Advancement with Advocates, supporting staff to advance their careers and access educational attainment. Zoe believes in the unique constellation of strengths and resources of all members of the human family and is committed to helping all people participate to their fullest potential. Zoe graduated from Boston University with her MSW in 2013 and has been in human services for over 16 years. Zoe first served as an Americorps volunteer in Mattapan and Roxbury, then having the great good fortune to work in nontraditional social work settings such as a chef/mentor at Haley House in Roxbury. Zoe joined Advocates in 2013, first as an outreach worker supporting individuals living with major mental health challenges in the community, then moving into the human resources and training space fueled by a desire to ensure all staff have access to the skills and knowledge they need to provide services. Zoe has trained in Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Open Dialogue, and in Mindfulness for Mental Health Practitioners. Zoe loves to cook, garden, and spend time with her family and golden retriever, Zuzu.

Meg Mengyao Li Program Manager, Beth Israel Lahey Health

Meg Mengyao Li is a passionate individual who has worked with several nonprofit organizations in Boston and Beijing over the past decade. She’s taken on a range of roles, including teaching, planning art and academic events, specializing in affordable housing, and journalism. Currently, Li is a Program Manager at Beth Israel Lahey Health. As a first-generation immigrant, Li understands firsthand the difficulties migrants face in their communities. She’s committed to creating a positive impact for grassroots and underserved communities, and she’s particularly passionate about designing programs that help people achieve economic stability. Li holds a Bachelor’s of Communication and a Master’s of Cinema Studies from Beijing Normal University.

Colin Loftus Senior Manager of Enrollment, College for Social Innovation

Hailing from Massachusetts’ bicep, Colin Loftus now enjoys the relaxing sounds of the red line and smells of Malibu Beach in the Savin Hill neighborhood. He attended Bridgewater State University, where he studied international affairs. In his last semester of undergrad, he had the chance to intern with a housing justice organization in Boston through the College for Social Innovation, which totally refocused his career goals towards working in the nonprofit sector. Today, he is Senior Manager of Enrollment at the College for Social Innovation, working with college partners to bring meaningful internship experiences to students across America. Colin enjoys supporting students on their explorations of career growth and the city. When he’s not working, Colin enjoys working with local community organizations, enjoying Boston’s green spaces, watching sports with his partner, and spending time with his fish (Thomas Fitzgerald). Colin is thrilled to join this program as an opportunity to grow as a leader and professional, and learn more about optimizing the nonprofit sphere in the Greater Boston area.

Melissa Maharaj Program Director, Strong Women Strong Girls

Melissa Maharaj (she/her) is a lifelong resident of Boston. Growing up in the Dorchester neighborhood, she has always been inspired to work with and for communities like her own. A Northeastern University alumna with a BA in Cultural Anthropology, Melissa has worked at various nonprofits including The Center for Teen Empowerment, America’s Promise, UTEC, and The DREAM Program. She now holds the position of Program Director for Strong Women, Strong Girls where she oversees the strategic vision of programs, maintains alignment across cities and leads the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning strategy and implementation for the organization. Through her work, she seeks to create positive change, better outcomes, and a sense of empowerment for young people. She continues to strengthen and amplify all the people and communities she encounters with her unwavering passion and commitment to change. Melissa also loves cooking, crafting and learning about different cultures.

Brenden McHenry School Programs Manager, Boch Center

Brenden McHenry is a passionate artist and educator who has spent the past several years as a youth worker at the Boch Center, or Wang Center for the Performing Arts. In his current role as the School Programs Manager at the Boch Center, he manages artist residencies in various Boston Public Schools and facilitates various workshops for teens about social justice and the arts. Prior to working at the Boch Center, Brenden served as the Director of Arts Enrichment for Live Arts Education, worked as a teaching artist for various after-school and summer camps, and held the role as a Language Arts and Drama Teacher at Greeley Central High School in Greeley, Colorado. Brenden holds a BA in Secondary Education and Drama from the University of Northern Colorado.

Marika Michelangelo Regional Program Manager, Reach Out and Read

Marika is an innovative nonprofit manager with over 15 years of experience developing, managing, and evaluating health and wellness programs. Marika is currently a Regional Program Manager with Reach Out and Read Northeast, an evidence based nonprofit that partners with pediatric health care providers to incorporate literacy and early relational health during well child visits. Marika graduated from the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship from UMASS Medical School in 2011 and received a Masters in Public Administration in Health Policy from Suffolk University in 2012. Her professional experience has been in Community Health Management, creating and evaluating trauma-informed wellness initiatives, mindfulness programs, and family support services. Throughout her work, Marika focuses on building key coalitions within communities to strengthen and sustain her efforts. Marika was integral in creating and implementing TIMBo, a trauma-informed mindfulness-based intervention; it cultivates a connection between the body and mind through gentle yoga, breathwork, compassion, and self awareness focused discussions. The TIMBo program was implemented across the United States through a “train the trainer” model, as well as researched and evaluated with women post earthquake in Haiti and women in the Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI)- Framingham. Marika was also the driving force behind the award-winning Fields Corner Children Thrive (FCCT) initiative (aka Boston Children Thrive (BCT)), an on-the-ground effort that engaged parents as their children’s first teachers and as neighborhood change-agents for school readiness. The FCCT initiative actively engaged close to 1,000 families through an innovative community Membership Card system which brought many different organizations together with families. Marika has over 1000 hours of Yoga Teacher training and believes in the transformative power of yoga and mindfulness.

Liya Mindaye Seamless Integration Case Manager, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation

Liya Mindaye is a dedicated professional with a strong passion for the nonprofit sector. Currently serving as a Seamless Integration Case Manager at Codman Square Neighborhood Development Coalition (CSNDC), Liya is committed to making a positive impact on individuals and communities. In her role, Liya utilizes her expertise in case management and community development to provide comprehensive support to individuals facing various challenges. She is known for her seamless integration approach and ensuring that clients have access to vital resources and services to improve their lives. Liya’s commitment to empowering individuals and fostering community growth is a driving force in her work. She is dedicated to finding innovative and solution-based approaches to address community needs. With her deep understanding of the nonprofit sector, Liya actively contributes to the development of impactful programs that make a lasting difference. With a focus on collaboration and building strong relationships, Liya is adept at connecting individuals with the right resources and creating a supportive network. Her empathetic and compassionate approach allows her to guide clients through difficult circumstances, providing them with the tools and support they need to thrive. Liya’s experience in the nonprofit sector has equipped her with valuable skills in case management, community engagement, and program development. She remains committed to continuous growth, seeking opportunities to enhance her professional knowledge and skills.

Ashleandra Opoku Associate Director of Recruitment Admissions, Year Up

Ashleandra is currently the Associate Director of Recruitment for Year Up, New England Region. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing recruitment efforts for the cities of Boston and Providence through facilitating strong relationships with community organizations and schools within these regions. She has more than five years of experience working in the nonprofit education sector and is dedicated to improving the livelihood of low-income Black and Brown folks. She believes deeply in the power of community and is excited to expand her community by participating in the Core Certificate Program.

Jessica Ortiz Program Manager, Boston Medical Center

Jessica Ortiz is a Public Health/Infectious Disease Community Collaboration Manager at Boston Medical Center, born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico and raised in Dorchester, MA. She joined BMC in 2014 as a clinical assistant on a Med/Surg floor. She worked her way down to the Emergency Room. She has been in the healthcare industry for over 18 years. She speaks three languages, is first Gen, youngest of four, and out of 47 cousins to make it this far in life. She graduated from RCC in 2014 with her associate in Biology, graduated in 2016 from UMB with her Bachelor’s in sport science, graduated in 2019 from MGH-IHP with her second Bachelor’s, and is currently pursuing her MBA. She enjoys traveling around the world – Thailand being her last trip in December ’22. She has two small five pound Teacup Maltese – Nino and Bella – at home that keep her busy. Jessica has been exposed to poverty and minimal education while growing up. Her parents dropped out of school and Jessica grew up in the projects. She wanted to break the cycle and decided to do more in life. Her biggest motivator is her partner, Alexis, who has been beside her for 16 years. Jessica has worked in  underserved populations in New England for close to 10 years but has also worked at Boston Children’s, Beth Israel, and MGH. She continues to work at BMC and hopes to be a director someday to change the perspective of managing.

Anyonelis “Angie” Peguero Director of Resident and Community Engagement, Dorchester Bay Economic Development

Anyonelis “Angie” Peguero is the Director of Resident and Community Engagement at Dorchester Bay Economic Development. She is an outgoing passionate person who strongly believes that everyone deserves a place to call home! She has worked in several departments throughout her time in affordable housing such as inspections, compliance, and, of course, resident services. Throughout her experience, she has learned that being out in the community and serving residents is exactly where she is supposed to be. As a member of the community and having over 13 years of housing experience, she enjoys advocating for residents as well as being a support system to the management team.

Brett Poirier Operations Manager, Beat the Streets New England

After wrestling in High School, Brett began working as an announcer for dual meets for his local Access TV Station, North TV. Brett fell in love with video production and began volunteering for them. Brett graduated college with a history degree and intended on teaching. While in college he started a landscaping company with his brother and took over his local youth wrestling team, the Kryptonite Wrestling Klub. After graduating, Brett worked at the Access Station while keeping the landscaping company going. Eventually, Brett became an Executive Director of Medfield TV. Later, Brett became Operations Manager of a small high end salon in Boston, MA that was trying to grow. He oversaw its return from Covid-19 and helped it get back to running on a full schedule. This job became the experience he needed to land the job of his dreams. Brett is now the Director of Operations of Beat the Streets New England: a regional nonprofit that uses wrestling to engage middle to high school youth in the inner cities and focuses on the enrichment of athletes lives off the mat, teaching kids about leadership and social emotional growth that will help them develop into successful people years after their involvement with our program.

Emily Provenzano Program Manager, SEIU Education & Support Fund

Emily Provenzano is the Program Manager for the Massachusetts Human Service Workers and Educators Training Fund, a labor-management training fund established for SEIU Local 509 Public Sector state workers and administered by SEIU Education & Support Fund (SEIU ESF). In this role, she has developed and implemented a robust training program of over 25 courses and online self-paced learning platforms to support state workers in their vital work. Emily has a worker-centered vision of professional development and incorporates ongoing feedback from workers in the design of the training programs, using real-world scenarios and honoring the humans doing human service work. In addition to this work, she manages the data collection and analysis for all programs offered by the Training Fund, leading data team meetings as part of the Fund’s continuous improvement initiative. Emily brings a passion for education and the potential that it unlocks for people in every stage of their life to her work at SEIU ESF. She believes that every person deserves the opportunity to explore new learning that enhances both their professional and personal lives. Emily was previously a high school Latin teacher at a magnet school in Hartford, CT committed to the reduction of racial and socioeconomic isolation of young people living in Hartford. She holds a BA from Vassar College in Latin and an MA in Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Saint Joseph. She enjoys puzzles, gardening, and taking way too many pictures of her cats.

Amber Redmond Director of Institutional Giving, Urban Food Initiative d/b/a Daily Table

Amber Redmond (she/her) is the Director of Institutional Giving at Daily Table, a nonprofit community grocer dedicated to providing fresh, tasty, convenient, and nutritious food to communities most in need at prices everyone can afford. Amber joined Daily Table in July 2022 after nearly two decades of working in the nonprofit sector, raising critical funds for causes ranging from education, environmental conservation, child abuse prevention, and healthy food access. Her work experience includes chapters at the Ipswich River Watershed Association, the Children’s Trust, the YMCA of the North Shore, Building Excellent Schools, Tufts University, Boston University, and her alma mater, Carleton College. Amber’s passion for bridging socioeconomic gaps and expanding equitable access to resources and opportunities through fundraising and relationship-building stems from her experiences navigating social services, professional spaces, and the nonprofit sector as a biracial Black woman. Amber graduated from Carleton College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. When she’s not drafting narrative sections with crazy word and character limits, Amber enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga, landscape photography, and being outdoors with her husband and eight-year-old son. She serves on her community’s Conservation Commission and the Open Space & Recreation Committee.

Alexis Richards Senior Communications Specialist, Point32Health Foundation

Alexis (Allie) Richards (She/Her/Hers) is the Senior Communications Specialist at Point32Health Foundation. She brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit grant writing and communications and a passion for creating lasting, positive, change to managing strategic communications for both grant-making and corporate citizenship initiatives and aims to serve as a helpful resource to nonprofit grantees. She is driven by the core tenets of community development and seeks to provide equitable resources and representation to those most marginalized in all aspects of her work.

Wanda Rodriguez Assistant Manager of Our Big Futures, Big Sister Boston

Wanda Rodriguez (she/her) is the Manager of Our Big Futures (OBF) at Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, supporting 14 to 24-year-olds with achieving sustainable financial independence via career development and/or college success. Wanda joined the Big Sister Boston team in January 2018 as a Spanish-Speaking Match Support Specialist, where she supported Big and Little Sisters throughout their match relationship. She later transitioned to the OBF team, where she directly collaborated with and supported the Director of OBF in creating, implementing, and launching programming. Wanda is passionate and committed to supporting and empowering teens and young women to step into leadership roles and spaces. Wanda has worked directly with high school aged youth via the Junior Advisory Board (JAB), where members hone executive function skills by planning and leading meetings, events, and fundraisers. Now, Wanda directly manages a team of four Teen Match Support Specialists, who specialize in providing support to the mentoring relationships and to Little Sisters post-secondary planning. Wanda graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from College of the Holy Cross. In her spare time, Wanda enjoys puzzles, journaling, reading, and trying new foods.

Margie Rosario Director, Voices of the Community

Margie is the Director for the Voices of the Community Initiative (VTC) and Co-Founder of Discovering Hidden Gems Inc. (DHG). Changemaker, community organizer, and eternal optimist. Margie is passionate about their community and the potential of at-promise youth. Margie has a passion for service, community, and thrives in helping others. Margie worked as a certified Applied Behavior Analysis for special populations for 15 years and then transitioned to the world of philanthropy in 2013 through a position of public relations and marketing for nonprofits. Margie has acquired an array of certifications, knowledge, and skills varying from nonprofit development, community engagement, and youth development. She is a solution seeker with an abundance of positivity. In December of 2021, Margie completed the Nonprofit Management Certificate for Practitioners by Framingham State University and MetroWest Nonprofit Network and gained a great understanding of her leadership style. Margie believes in working as a team, elevating resident voices, and being community centered. Margie was recognized, along with my DHG Co-Founder, by the 2019 Latinx Excellence on the Hill Award by The MA Black & Latino Legislative Caucus for the work of DHG. Above all, Margie has been gifted the opportunity to build great relationships with youth, residents, community partners, and to serve her community.

Juan Rosendoza Managing Director, Leadership Development, Teach For America

Juan Rosendoza is a Managing Director of Leadership Development at Teach For America Massachusetts, where he is dedicated to building new leaders and promoting educational equity. He is a passionate individual who brings positivity and joy to his everyday life and seeks to inspire others to do the same. With a wealth of experience in leadership development, Juan is committed to helping others reach their full potential and make a positive impact in their communities. His dedication to creating positive change is truly inspiring, and he serves as a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work, determination, and a commitment to making a difference. Juan has been on staff with Teach For America Massachusetts since 2019, and before then was a special education teacher in Boston and California. He is a proud graduate of Loyola Marymount University and the University of California at Berkeley (Go Bears!). In his spare time, Juan enjoys live music, theater, outdoor dining, and a good laugh with friends and family.

Tahara Samuel Community Planning Manager, Madison Park Development Corp.

Tahara Samuel is the Community Planning Manager at Madison Park Development. Tahara works to address Policy, Systems, and Environmental challenges while leading with race around health disparities, access to physical activity, and equitable opportunities. Tahara has an array of populations she has served in the past 25 years around advocacy and activism to ensure that all voices are heard and change is driven by those that represent the community. Tahara has a background in trauma, clinical support, policy, housing, mental health and active transportation. Tahara has had a focus with elevating the youth voice in all spaces and educating the community on root cause analysis to provide an opportunity to understand their foundation and systems that are relatable for future growth and generational change. Tahara has attained over 20 certifications and two degrees to continue the knowledge and instill opportunities to change the narrative around healing.

Karen Cookie Sheers Resident Services Coordinator, Dorchester Bay EDC

Karen Cookie Sheers is a Resident and Community Engagement Coordinator at Dorchester Bay EDC in Uphams Corner, Dorchester. She was born and raised in the City of Dorchester and the love she has for her city and its residents/community is unconditional. Her background is in Early Childhood Education, working with area after-school programs such as the Dorchester YMCA and Bird Street Community Center, before leaving that field and becoming an AmeriCorps Vista to get started on her next career path. As a result, she came to Dorchester Bay as an AmeriCorps Vista in 2002 and completed two years of service as their tech assistant for their Tech Goes Home Program. After she completed her two years of service, she was hired by DBEDC in July 2004 as their Administrative Assistant. And so, began her life as a proud Dorchester Bay staff member. In 2015 she was promoted to the Resident Services department where she continues to work today. Dorchester Bay just recently honored Cookie for her 20 years of service during their Annul Gala Event.

Emily Tabor Director of HR & Operations, St. Stephen’s Youth Programs

Emily Tabor (she/her) is the Director of Operations & HR at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs (SSYP), a youth and family development organization in the South End and Lower Roxbury. Raised in New York City, Emily moved to Boston after graduating from Wheaton College (MA) with a BA in Sociology, and she has spent the past decade building capacity for various nonprofits throughout Massachusetts. Prior to SSYP, Emily fundraised for a public interest law firm that advocated for low-income health care consumers and an adult literacy organization. Through her roles in nonprofit development and operational oversight, Emily has developed a critical understanding of what it means to have equitable practices in education, health care, and nonprofit employment. Aside from work, Emily served on Jamaica Plain’s Neighborhood Council, loves to cook, scour yard sales for treasures, and enjoys climbing up mountains but not down them.

Lina Tang Human Resources Manager, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC)

Lina Tang is the Human Resources Manager at Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC). Lina joined in February 2022 as BCNC’s Human Resources Manager. Lina moved to Boston, attended the Boston Public Schools, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She enjoyed the growing diverse community that Boston has – the different cultures come together for a common goal. Lina began her Human Resources career when she was still a senior college student and discovered many opportunities she could explore and learn. Because of her passion for working with people, she continued to pursue a career in Human Resources. With her diverse experience in the private, nonprofit, and startup sectors, Lina brings a new perspective to BCNC. On a personal level, Lina looks forward to serving the community and utilizing her multi-language skills to help bilingual employees. Her goals are to put people first and create and support an inclusive culture that enables DEIB. She seeks to be a good listener and to understand the employees’ needs and the organization’s objectives in order to find the dotted line and connect the purposes together. Lina aims to establish trust with BCNC’s dedicated employees, volunteers, and interns, cultivate a strong partnership with the management team, optimize the organization’s Human Resources operations, and be a strategist for finding solutions to any challenges they face.

Danyson Tavares Executive Director, YouthBuild Boston

Danyson Tavares is a designer, educator, and Executive Director at YouthBuild Boston. With extensive experience leading architectural projects and engaging communities through design, he is deeply committed to advocating for access to design for all. Danyson’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology. Currently, he teaches a range of courses at Wentworth, spanning foundation studios, undergraduate seminars, and graduate-level courses. Passionate about the role of design in community reconstruction, Danyson explores the intersections between identity and placemaking in marginalized communities. He actively participates in organizations such as BosNOMA, AIA, and the Boston Society for Architecture, working to address diversity gaps in the AEC industry. As Executive Director of YouthBuild Boston, Danyson leverages his expertise to empower young individuals through architectural initiatives. His leadership exemplifies a dedication to fostering positive change and creating more equitable and inclusive environments.

Trevor Ward Animation Director, Artists For Humanity

Trevor Ward is a multimedia digital artist born and raised in Boston. With a focus in animation, Ward has worked as a professional artist for over 10 years. Through his effort, Ward had achieved the role of Animation Director at Artists For Humanity, a nonprofit organization focused on training Boston-area teens to be self sufficient artists and entrepreneurs. It is Ward’s responsibility to help teens from a wide variety of backgrounds learn how to produce animated content for client-driven projects.

Shalaya West Program & Research Director, Mass Commission on the Status of Women

Shalaya West is a Dorchester, MA, native, advocate, and leader. She knows first-hand the value of empowerment programming through her 15 years of experience in youth development, supporting students in higher education, youth-serving organizations and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Shalaya serves as the Program and Research Director with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. The MCSW is a state-established body charged with reviewing the status of women in Massachusetts and offering recommendations regarding policy that would improve access to opportunities and equity for women and girls. She develops and supports a wide range of advocacy efforts that connect to MCSW’s legislative priorities, programming and conducts data analytic research. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s in English focusing on Writing, Rhetoric, and Communications, and she completed her graduate degree in Public Policy from Simmons University. Shalaya has since held various roles in youth development, higher education, and the Boston Community with GRLZradio, the Boston Public Health Commission, MIT’s Violence Prevention Program, Simmons University and served as the Program Director for Girls’ LEAP Self-Defense. She is passionate about education, violence prevention, youth empowerment, research and evaluation, and entrepreneurship. Shalaya started a natural beauty and skincare business, Shay Butter Organics LLC in 2016.

Lenworth Williamson Program Director, BUILD Boston

Len joins the INP community with a decade of experience in education and youth development work. He currently serves in the role of Program Director at BUILD Boston, an entrepreneurship education organization. Prior to BUILD, he worked at the Pingree School as the Dean of Students for six years. His other youth development experience includes teaching history, coaching basketball, and working at a summer camp. Len’s joy in working with young people was sparked after college, while playing professional basketball overseas and coaching local youth teams. Len does part-time work as a conference facilitator and workshop presenter on the topics of social justice and social-emotional learning. Be it school, sports, or life, Len is a proponent of experiential learning and believes in the power of a growth mindset. He earned a B.A. in Sociology from Amherst College and an M.Ed. in K-12 Learning & Instruction from Northeastern University.

Jennie Woo Director of Philanthropy, BUILD Boston

Jennie Woo is a fundraising professional with over ten years of experience in the sector, and she is passionate about increasing access to opportunities for the next generation. In her current role as the Director of Philanthropy at BUILD, she connects the visions of young entrepreneurs with supporters in Greater Boston to build career success, entrepreneurial mindsets, and opportunity. In previous roles, Jennie has been responsible for developing individual giving programs, collaborating with corporate partners, the planning and implementation of cross-regional communications and giving campaigns, and the execution of signature annual events. In addition to her day-to-day work, she also currently serves as a Town Meeting Member for the town of Norwood, MA, and she is involved with a local community group, Progress Norwood, that works to inform, organize, and support local events and initiatives that promote progressive and inclusive values. Jennie holds a BA in Art History from Rutgers University.

Jesella Zambrano Program Director, Springboard Collaborative

Jesella Zambrano serves as a Program Director with Springboard Collaborative, a national education nonprofit that aims to close the literacy gap by closing the gap between home and school. She is passionate about utilizing culturally-responsible education practices to empower communities, and she believes that by building capacity and increasing engagement in local initiatives, we can achieve larger-scale social impact. Jesella received her BA from Cornell University in 2013, and her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2018. In between these two academic experiences, she spent time developing a language program at the Federal University of São Carlos as the recipient of a Fulbright grant. Her multi-sector career path has included work in city government, the private sector, and nonprofit sector, as well as across the United States and in Brazil.

Charissa Zapata-Walker Engagement Manager, Boston Waterfront Initiative, The Trustees

Driven by discovery, Charissa equips businesses, organizations, projects, and people with the strategies to make them thrive. Her aim is to cultivate creativity, beauty, & resiliency. Charissa’s work in retail, non-profit, design, regenerative agricultural management, and community engagement, has given her a rich perspective and ability to weave together the threads for building viable systems that are strategic and efficient. Her passion is to help people answer the questions that matter the most to them, navigate the paths of uncertainty, and generate a greater vision that will leave a lasting impact. Additionally, Charissa holds a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from Syracuse University. Lastly, and most importantly, she loves her relationship with God, loves to eat and grow delicious food, and loves being a mother!

Jennifer Smith Chief of Efficacy, New Commonwealth Fund Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund

Jenn is currently working in a new role at the New Commonwealth Fund Racial Equity and Social Justice fund as Chief of Efficacy. She comes to this role with over two decades of diverse professional experiences ranging from Education to Construction, and now… a leadership role in an amazing Boston based non-profit whose mission is based on being a disrupter in philanthropy in pillars such as youth development, economic empowerment, culture and identity narratives, as well as criminal justice reform. Jenn is looking to learn how to be the best leader for her team and her personal and professional growth.

Kaitlyn Bean Deputy Director, SkillWorks

Kaitlyn Bean has nearly 10 years of experience in workforce development, spending the majority of that time as part of a team of two managing the SkillWorks workforce development funder collaborative and strategy at The Boston Foundation. Kaitlyn is currently the Deputy Director of SkillWorks, managing the SkillWorks annual grant portfolio and relationships with key partners and stakeholders. Kaitlyn also represents SkillWorks on various external partnerships and coalitions, including the Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium, Tech Hire Boston, Workforce Solutions Group and the National Skills Coalition’s SkillSPAN initiative. Kaitlyn began her career in workforce development at Root Cause, as a social innovation researcher focused on best practices in youth and adult workforce development. She graduated from Northeastern University with a Dual Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs.

Boston Thursday

Nicole Kathleen Young, Director, Operation P.E.A.C.E.

Nicole Kathleen Young (she) is a (South) Boston native and proud mother. Her passion for social justice was fostered by familial generations of women who were committed to compassion and community. Nicole currently serves as the Director of Operation P.E.A.C.E. (Partnerships in Education and Community Enrichment), which works to empower youth, families, and seniors by offering a mix of social, education, and technology resources in Boston’s Fenway and Codman Square neighborhoods. She also works in development with the Union of Minority Neighborhoods (UMN) and stewards programming for those impacted by the in-justice system. Nicole comes to these roles after having spent eight years serving as a Director of Programs with the Phillips Brooks House Association, a student-led nonprofit at Harvard University, and prior, in community-based nonprofits in South Boston. She has worked supporting a youth homeless shelter, prison education, youth-based programming, and substance use prevention programming. Nicole also spent time working in partnership with El Fortin de Conde Mirasol Museum located in Vieques, Puerto Rico, where she researched the United States Naval base’s environmental and social impact and authored a thesis titled, “Space, Race and Networks: A Look at Neocolonial Discourse and Impacts in Vieques, Puerto Rico”. Nicole is guided by a core principle that all humans want to be in good relationship with one another and believes in the unwavering possibility for individual and community restoration and transformation. She is an unapologetic dreamer and has an endless list of interests, which includes genealogy, historical preservation, and art advocacy. Nicole holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Labor Studies, a M.S. in Transnational Cultural and Community Studies, a M.Ed. in Learning Design, Innovation and Technology, and she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology.

Kim Yeasir, Chief Empowerment Officer (CEO), THRIVE Communities of Massachusetts

Kim Yeasir (she/her) is a proud mother of two—a three-year-old boy who fills Kim’s life with joy, and seven-year-old THRIVE Communities, that has filled her life with purpose. Kim is a Midwestern transplant with roots in Indianapolis, Indiana. She studied social work at Michigan State University and Boston College where she earned her MSW. Kim has over 15 years’ experience in nonprofit development, social entrepreneurship, and social justice advocacy. Before founding THRIVE, Kim trained as a mediator with the Community Dispute Settlement Center, served as a restorative justice facilitator with Communities for Restorative Justice, and became a facilitator with the Alternatives to Violence Project where the spark for THRIVE began. Kim expresses that prior to visiting MCI Concord in 2014 she had been wholly insulated from the impacts of incarceration. The opportunity to meet and listen deeply to the experiences of men within the prison changed her life trajectory. After a great deal of discernment and many discussions about Restorative Justice with co-founder George Halfkenny, Kim launched THRIVE Communities in 2015. Kim continues to learn something new from THRIVE members every day. As a white woman working in a field that predominantly impacts people of color, Kim is keenly aware of the complexities of her role, responsibilities, and power—an understanding only deepened through her participation in Trinity Boston Connects, Organizational Equity Practice in 2022. Kim is honored to work alongside the members of THRIVE Communities and is grateful to her higher power, husband, family, friends, colleagues, and board of directors for all the ways they support and empower her to lead when she needs to lead, follow when she needs to follow, and most importantly, listen always.

Debbie Nguyen, Executive Director, Alray Scholars Program

Debbie Nguyen is the Executive Director of the Alray Scholars Program. Immediately prior to Alray Scholars Programs, Debbie was the Chief of Staff at Foster America, a national organization focused on improving the foster care system. She also has provided strategy consulting to nonprofits and foundations, designed and implemented college access and success programming for first-generation college students, and coached youth aging out of foster care on securing and maintaining employment. Outside of her full-time work, Debbie volunteers as a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a free income tax preparer through the Boston Tax Help Coalition. She also serves on the Board of Directors at Root Cause. She is a proud alumna of Brockton Public Schools (MA), Swarthmore College, and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Colleen Fonseca, Executive Director, Builders of Color Coalition

Colleen Fonseca currently serves as the Executive Director of the Builders of Color Coalition. The Builders of Color Coalition (BCC) is a nonprofit organization that increases access and diversity in Boston’s commercial real estate sector. BCC convenes a network of 650+ real estate professionals of color comprised of developers, investors, architects, attorneys, bankers, contractors, and brokers across various firms. Before her role with BCC, she served as a Senior Advisor to Mayor Jorge Elorza on COVID Recovery and as the Director of Workforce Development and Economic Opportunity for the City of Providence. She graduated from UMASS Boston’s Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy Program and St. John’s University Government and Policy Program. She currently sits on the City of Boston’s Article 80 Reform Steering Committee, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board Real Estate Finance Association Board of Directors, and the City of Providence Equal Pay Task Force.

Jason Talbot, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Programs, Artists For Humanity

Jason Talbot is a co-founder and alumnus of Artists For Humanity (AFH), a Boston area nonprofit organization that combines art and entrepreneurship to address today’s most challenging social, economic, and racial issues. The largest employer of Boston teens, AFH provides some of the city’s most under-resourced youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts. Currently serving as Deputy Director and member of AFH’s Board of Directors, Jason has dedicated the last 29 years of his life to ensuring that Boston’s young people are guided towards a successful life by encouraging their self-expression through art. Jason’s reach in the Boston area extends beyond the walls of AFH. In 2012, Jason was chosen as one of Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders, and the following year he received the Mentor of the Year Award from Youth Design. Jason is a member of WGBH’s Board of Advisors, and in 2014 he was awarded a spot on the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40”. Jason is also still producing his own brand of visionary street art.

Roza Eynula, President, Azerbaijani Society of New England

Roza Eynula is the Founder and President of Azerbaijani Society of New England (ASNE), the first Azerbaijani-American nonprofit in Massachusetts. As the Azerbaijani community began rapidly expanding, Roza saw a need for more official community representation. That is how ASNE was founded in December 2020 – to raise awareness of Azerbaijani interests, heritage, and traditions. To further promote Azerbaijani-American perspectives, Roza became the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Creative Director of the magazine Caspian Vibes, a quarterly digital and print cultural and educational magazine that highlights the topics that impact her community. Concurrently, Roza is a dual-licensed K-12 ESL teacher with over eight years of experience teaching English to speakers of other languages both in Massachusetts and South Korea. In May 2023, Roza graduated from Boston University with a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Her dissertation focused on the effect of the First Karabakh War in 1988-94 on the education and human capital accumulation of internally displaced Azerbaijani children. Roza is also an internationally titled women’s FIDE WFM chess master. She represented the Azerbaijani National Girl’s Chess Team in 1998 (Austria), 1999 (Greece), and 2000 (Spain); and South Korean National Women’s Chess Team in 2018 (Georgia) and 2020 (held online during the Covid pandemic). She also became the first US National Girl’s Chess Champion U21 at the age of 16. Roza speaks fluent Azerbaijani and Russian, and conversational Korean. Her interest areas include foreign and public policy, education, and human capital accumulation.

Netia McCray, Executive Director, Mbadika

Netia McCray is the Founder and Executive Director of Mbadika (bah-GEE-kah), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, that aims to make STEM (Science Tech Engineering Math) education accessible to learners of all ages.

Marissa Trevisan, Engagement Director, Out in Tech

Marissa Trevisan (she/her) has over a decade of nonprofit and community impact experience. She is the Engagement Director at Out in Tech, a nonprofit supporting the largest LGBTQ+ techie community in the world, where she leads the execution of Qorporate (aka corporate) engagement strategy and global events. Previously, Marissa served as the Director of Development at Facing Forward to End Homelessness, a Chicago-based nonprofit; Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Chapter One (FKA Innovations for Learning), a national literacy nonprofit; and the Director of Partner Engagement at Building Impact, a Boston-based CSR and community engagement nonprofit. Beginning her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Youth Development Program in El Salvador, she joined The Home for Little Wanderers as a Therapeutic Caseworker upon returning to the U.S. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Marissa is a staunch advocate for social justice, the power of inclusion, and prioritizing people over profit. You can find her on soccer pitches, hiking trails, and dance floors around Boston, where she resides with her wife.

Naoko Takayanagi, Director, Japan Society of Boston

Naoko serves as the Director at the Japan Society of Boston, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote cultural and economic ties and active interchange between Japanese and Americans for mutual understanding, business exchange, social connection, and friendship. She works to provide programs for individuals, institutions, and businesses linked together by a strong interest in Japan and a shared recognition of the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship. She has a B.A. in Modern Languages from McGill University and an M.A. in International Public Administration from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She has work experience in finance, international development, and teaching. Through her participation in INP, she seeks to gain additional skills to better manage challenges specific to nonprofit organizations and also gain connections with other nonprofit professionals.

Pamela “Pam” Leins, Executive Director, Boston Education Fund (BEDF)

Pamela “Pam” Leins, a first-generation Chilena-Americana Latina, is a proud product of Boston Public Schools and recently joined Northeastern University as a Leadership and Nonprofit Management major, taking pride in her “scenic route” educational journey that took 18 years for her bachelor’s degree and another three years for her master’s degree. Pam’s extensive leadership and administrative experience spans over 20 years in the public and nonprofit sectors, with a proven track record in program and partnership development, strategic planning, organizing, advocacy, and resource development. Pam wears many hats as a mother to two young boys, Joao (11) and Maxwell (6), a small business owner of a local barbershop, In the Cut Boston, and co-leader of the TAG Association, Inc, a nonprofit organization serving the Latino community of Greater Boston. As the Executive Director of the Boston Education Fund, Pam is dedicated to advancing educational equity in Boston Public Schools. Prior to BEDF, she served as the Director of Planning and Development for BCYF, managing the Foundation for BCYF and concurrently serving as Interim Deputy Commissioner. Pam’s leadership has been instrumental in cultivating a culture of collaboration, appreciation, dialogue, innovation, transparency, and accountability throughout her career, resulting in service and programming expansions and improvements, increased fundraising efforts, better data collection and reporting, and creating more efficient and effective equitable operational processes across the city. She is committed to elevating Boston’s youth to their full potential and plans to continue to do so for many years to come.

George Huynh, Executive Director, Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (VietAID)

George Huynh is the Executive Director of VietAID. He earned his BA in Political Science from Yale College. He brings experience in community organizing, mentoring, and nonprofit work, from time spent at the Dorchester Youth Collaborative, Boston Public Schools, the Volunteer Lawyers Project, and the City of Boston. George previously served as the Mayor’s liaison to the Fields Corner and Vietnamese communities and later to Dorchester. Having grown up in one of VietAID’s affordable housing developments, he is humbled to supply future generations with housing and other crucial services. In his spare time, George enjoys volunteering, nerding out on current events, playing basketball and video games, and being with loved ones.

Suzanne Jones Walmsley, Director of Community Engagement, Boston Athletic Association

Suzanne Jones Walmsley has spent her career in the nonprofit and higher education space. She currently serves as the founding Director of Community Engagement for the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) where she has led the formation of The Boston Running Collaborative (BRC). The BRC is comprised of a diverse group of leaders in Boston’s running and walking space who are passionate about leveraging running to build community and advance social justice. Jones Walmsley previously served as an assistant coach of the B.A.A. Running Club, supporting the Director of Athletic Programs. Prior to joining the B.A.A, she spent twelve years in collegiate athletic administration, including nine years as the Associate Director of Athletics at Wellesley College. She has worked in the athletic departments at Harvard University, Cornell University, and UMass Amherst, supporting the educational experiences of the student-athletes. As a nonprofit leader, Jones Walmsley is excited about the recent shift in philanthropy, one that is centered around examining the status quo and applying an entrepreneurial spirit to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive world, She is passionate about developing partnerships across diverse constituencies, deepening relationships, advancing new initiatives, and leveraging opportunities to effect positive change. A former D1 distance runner, Jones Walmsley earned her A.B. In English and American Literature and Language from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges and holds a master’s degree in Sport Studies from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. She still gets out for a run most days and takes great joy in being active in community with others.

Tali Friedman, Chief Operating Officer, International Institute of New England

Tali Friedman serves as the Chief Operating Officer at the International Institute of New England (IINE), a refugee resettlement agency that provides services to refugees and other immigrants. Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, Tali moved to the Boston area with her family in 2017. After a career in architecture in Israel, Tali decided to volunteer with IINE’s ESIL program and was deeply impressed with the impact IINE had on its clients, and joined the team in February 2022. Tali lives in Brookline with her husband, three daughters, and dog.

Raeann Whalen, Director of Development, Waypoint Adventure

Raeann focuses on advancing nonprofit organization’s key strategic initiatives through fundraising and development priorities. In previous roles, she has served as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Development at Housing Families in Malden, MA and has held senior fundraising positions in Massachusetts and California. Most recently, she was part of the executive team at Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) in Boston. Raeann has over 20 years of nonprofit experience in fundraising, organizational development and cross-functional team management. Raeann graduated from Providence College and has a B.S. in Business Administration.

Angela Williams-Mitchell, President, Boston Jobs Coalition, Inc.

Angela Williams-Mitchell, a retiree of the Boston Police Department, is a trailblazing advocate and agent of change. She made history as the first and only Afro-Latina woman to be elected President of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (M.A.M.L.E.O). Angela’s lifelong work and advocacy reflect her commitment to motivating others to find their voice. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Human Services from Springfield College and her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Urban Affairs from Boston University. As a Boston Police Officer for 27 years, Angela fought fiercely for the rights of Black, Hispanic, and women officers. Angela’s leadership as President of M.A.M.L.E.O was instrumental in the initial suit against the City of Boston and the State of Massachusetts in 2009, alleging the exam discriminatory against Black and Hispanic candidates for the sergeant promotion exam. Her advocacy efforts led many officers to join the suit, and after several refilings in multiple courts, the case was finally settled in 2023 in favor of the plaintiffs after 14 years. Angela’s communication and critical thinking skills, along with her past performance of positive change, make her proficient in developing strategies for systemic change. Her advocacy, volunteerism, and community service have earned her numerous awards, including recognition from Encuentro Diaspora, honoring her for her leadership role as an Afro-Latina, and Citations for Public Service from various government bodies. Angela is committed to keeping her family close in these challenging times through shared fun activities such as card and board games, outdoor excursions, road trips, and other adventures. She believes these shared experiences, moments, and memories are essential for building relationships and fostering strong family bonds.

Elise Ford, Regional Director of Program, Year Up

Elise Ford is the Regional Director of Program overseeing Year Up’s Boston, Rhode Island, and Pittsburgh locations. In this role, Elise leads operations, program, and team culture to ensure the teams achieve high quality program results, operationally execute with quality, and ensure strong staff experience and culture. Previously, Elise was the Founding Site Director for Year Up Charlotte and lead the efficiency and growth of the site in partnership with market-based and national leadership. She ensured the site achieved student learning and development targets and high quality program outcomes by translating market needs into curricular plans and programmatic initiatives. Elise also served as Year Up’s Director of Governance: working closely with the Board of Directors and Management Committee, she drove strategy, communication, and alignment for these leadership teams. Elise received her BA in Communication from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her Master’s in Public Policy from Brandeis, with a focus on Children, Youth, and Families.

Althea Wong-Achorn, Co-Executive Director, WalkMassachusetts

Althea Wong-Achorn (she/her) is Co-Executive Director for WalkMassachusetts. She joined WalkMassachusetts (then WalkBoston) in 2020 after over a decade in the museum field, including working at the USS Constitution Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and the Colby College Museum of Art. She began her career as an events and fundraising specialist, during which time she led a record-breaking gala fundraiser for the USS Constitution Museum and won a Boston Magazine Best of Boston Award for Boston Children’s Museum. Over time, she expanded her scope and responsibilities into advocacy, management, and operations. At WalkMassachusetts she oversees development, operations, HR, and administration for the organization. Last year she co-led the creation of a new equity-centered strategic plan. The new plan makes explicit a more inclusive definition of walkability which accounts for the lived experiences of all people no matter their race, identity, age, or ability; focuses the organization’s work on areas of greatest need; and culminated in the renaming and rebranding of the organization to WalkMassachusetts. Althea was named Co-Executive Director of WalkMassachusetts in July 2023. She is a graduate of Colby College, and resides in Winthrop, MA with her husband and three year old puppy with whom she enjoys frequent walks and hikes.

Jonathan Kroll, Executive Director, Leadership Trainer

Jonathan is the founder, Executive Director, and Master Trainer with Leadership Trainer. He identifies as a leadership educator and entrepreneur. Jonathan began his career as a university administrator by focusing on leadership development, community engagement, and reflection initiatives. He has co-founded two leadership training businesses in addition to Leadership Trainer. Over the last decade, Jonathan has facilitated hundreds of leadership workshops, retreats, trainings, conference presentations, and classes to thousands of participants across five continents. Jonathan has earned a PhD from Fielding Graduate University in Leadership with a focus in Group Mentoring. His first book, Preparing Leadership Educators: A Comprehensive Guide to Theories, Practices, and Facilitation Skills, was recently published by Stylus. Jonathan coaches, consults, writes, teaches, and trains about leadership, mentoring, and training/facilitation.

Michele Carroll, Chief Operating Officer, Duet

As the Chief Operating Officer at Duet, it is Michele’s primary responsibility to ensure the people strategy, systems and culture are in place to support staff members being A+ at their jobs, which in turn drives student success. She possess a broad range of experience in solution-based sales, having worked in Business Development for both Procter & Gamble and The Partnership, Inc. Previously, as Director of Employment at Duet, Michele built a robust job preparation and placement function for recent college graduates. She is a dynamic professional with proven operational, communication, and training skills and has developed expertise in the areas of program management, leadership development, and client relationship management. At The Partnership, Inc., in addition to managing program development and execution, she served as a coach and mentor to both new and established professionals. As a servant leader, she aims to be seen as a trusted and respected partner by her clients and colleagues. In addition to her work with Duet, Michele serves as a featured speaker at various Boston areas organizations on the topics of career preparedness, job attainment, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She holds a M.A. in Communications Management from Simmons College and a B.A. in Communications from Howard University and is also 2007 alumnae of The Partnership’s Leadership Development Programs. In addition to her professional accomplishments, she serves on the Board of Alray Scholars.

Elizabeth Pimentel, Chief External Relations Officer, Duet

Elizabeth (Eli) Pimentel is the Chief External Relations Officer at Duet in Boston, MA, which leverages the power of 1:1 coaching with working adults to help them attain a college degree and achieve economic mobility. She came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic and centers her experience as an immigrant throughout her work. Eli has spent her career alongside marginalized communities in legal aid, advocacy organizations, and most recently municipal government, and. hasbeen primarily focused on creating access to resources and advocating for systems-level change. Prior to her current role she served as Boston City Councilor Andrea J. Campbell’s Chief of Staff, focusing on policy reform in public safety, education, and advancing racial equity. She is a proud graduate of Boston Public Schools, including Boston Latin School. Her studies include a BA in Government and African Studies from St. Lawrence University and Master’s degrees in Human Rights Education from the University of San Francisco and Global Studies and International Affairs from Northeastern University. She enjoys yoga, biking, dancing, and exploring cultures around the world.

Albert Scerbo, Director of Development, Youth Guidance

Albert leads Youth Guidance Boston’s External Affairs team and is responsible for all fundraising, communications, government relations, and district partnerships. Prior to Youth Guidance, he spent six years at GreenLight Fund, a national venture philanthropy organization focused on scaling evidence-driven programs. While there, he worked with GreenLight’s board chair and cofounder to scale the organization from four to fourteen cities; managed major corporate partnerships with organizations like Bank of America, Deloitte and Bain Capital; and built systems and processes to support the organization’s growth. Albert is a proud resident of East Boston, where he has served as Interim Board Chair of the East Boston Main Streets and a volunteer for youth-serving organizations like Zumix and the East Boston Social Centers. Outside of work, he enjoys karaoke, kickboxing, and Dungeons and Dragons. Albert is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in Government and minored in Business and Arabic; he also holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tufts University through the Institute for Nonprofit Practice.

Ji Kim, Chief Operating Officer, Freedom House, Inc.

Ji Kim (she/her/hers) has the privilege of serving as the Chief Operating Officer at Freedom House in Dorchester, MA. Before transitioning to the nonprofit space, she was a creative professional in the jewelry and footwear industries. Working across various companies, from family-owned to multimillion-dollar corporations to private ventures, she has provided insights into the dynamics of different size teams and organizing people and processes. After a brief foray into the tech industry, she sought a career that best aligned with her values leading to Freedom House during a global pandemic. She is committed to serving communities of color and equipping youth with the tools to navigate their educational and career pathways. As a firm believer in cross-racial solidarity, she views collective bargaining as a step towards equity. Ji credits her experience as an immigrant adapting to the conventions of the U.S. and applying skills from each industry for her successful career pivots. She graduated from Seattle University with a B.A. in English Literature and Visual Arts.

Christina Maryland, Deputy Director of Diversity, MA Court System

All means Y’all. Christina Maryland serves as the Deputy Director for the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Experience for the Massachusetts Trial Court. In this role, Christina supports the state judiciary in honing its equity and access lens in support of creating the most fair delivery of justice. This work consists of relationship-building, collaboration, and partnership in order to design and implement eff­ective strategies to sustainably integrate DEI principles into organizational practices. These strategies work to ensure that DEI remains centered in the mission and goals of the organization. With experience as an equity leader, subject-matter expert, and strategic planner, Christina has successfully designed and implemented results-oriented DEI-focused processes, plans, programs, workshops, trainings, dialogues, and discussions for senior leaders, people managers, and staff. Christina’s background as a strategic communications practitione ensures that all processes encourage deep learning, reflection, awareness, and understanding with community-building across di­fferences, which ultimately encourage organizational growth and progress as well as equitable and just outcomes for diverse staff and communities. In addition to her work in government, Christina also runs a small boutique consultancy, Christina Created, where she provides culturally relevant and equity-focused strategic marketing and communications support to nonprofit and government organizations.

Kristan Singleton, Director of Technology Operations and Innovation, HopeWell

Kristan Singleton is the Director of Technology Operations and Innovation at HopeWell, a social services agency that supports youth, caregivers, and families who experience and provide foster care. Kristan started at HopeWell in January 2023 and is the organization’s first technology director. Kristan’s role is to ensure that the company’s technology processes and use of resources are aligned with its strategic plan. Kristan has 30 years of experience working in nonprofit organizations using enterprise technology platforms and tools to implement knowledge management, data management, and customer relationship management systems. Kristan has a Master’s degree in Education Policy from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and currently resides in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Shauntelle McKain, Director of Homeownership Operations, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance

Shauntelle is the Director of Homeownership Operations at the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA). While equal parts organizing and education-oriented, Shauntelle leads the Education program of the grassroots organization, advancing its efforts to educate people about homeownership, and what they can do to help mobilize and increase affordable homeownership opportunities. Before MAHA, Shauntelle’s work supported and educated youth. As the Senior Program Services Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, Shauntelle supported hundreds of mentoring matches as they built their relationships. Shauntelle’s education experience began as a middle school teacher, where she taught English Language Arts for seven years. Having immigrated from the island of Jamaica, Shauntelle is a first-generation Bostonian. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English, and earned her MA in Education at UMass Boston.

Mukaji Ambila, Founder/President/Executive Director, RBG Farm & Retreat/ Black Land Ownership Council

A Congolese Immigrant, Mukaji graduated from Temple University in 2008 with a BA in Black Studies, and received her Certification In Farming Management from the Urban Farming Institute of Boston in 2016. Mukaji is a movement organizer, and uses an intersectional perspective to create her methodology. Her focus has always been confronting anti-blackness, and dismantling systems of white supremacy, and she has assisted black-led organizations in creating campaigns that build power and recognition. She founded Revolutionary Solutions in 2011 after identifying the work of black women in filling the gaps in administration and technical assistance for community building work. RBG Farm and Retreat LLC is a project derived from her assessment of the food deserts in the neighborhoods she lived in. She attended the Urban Farming Institute of Boston and now teaches others how to grow for their families from seed to harvest. RBG FARM has currently installed 200+ garden beds and has held more than a community wide workshop as of Winter 2023. In 2020, Mukaji founded the Black Land Ownership Council Inc, a nonprofit which empowers Black Farmers as business entities, as well as land owners. As of 2023, Mukaji, with BLOC, won a Fellowship with the Elevate Initiative part of the Bill Gates Foundation, is a finalist for the Echoing Green Global Fellowship 2023, and is on the City Of Boston’s Urban Farming Committee for the Neighborhood of Dorchester.

Alia Verner, Director of Strategic School Support, EdVestors

Alia Verner has over 10 years of experience working in the K-12 education sector and is passionate about empowering and working alongside communities to foster sustainable systems, cultures, policies, and practices that create more equitable education opportunities for all students. Alia currently is the Director of Equitable Improvement at a Boston-based nonprofit, EdVestors where she launched and oversees their Racial Equity Seed Fund initiative. Alia began her career in education as a STEM special education teacher for Teach for America at TechBoston Academy, where she spent three years teaching science and six years teaching mathematics. Prior to EdVestors, Alia worked as a Math Director, Instructional Coach, Curriculum Consultant, Special Education Liaison, Edvestors ZioM Fellow, and track coach alongside many other leadership roles in the district of Boston. She also co-founded and served as a Regional Strategy Team Leader for the Boston Education Action Network, an organization committed to providing equal educational opportunities for all students in Boston through community organizing and collective action. Alia graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Political Science and received a Masters in Teaching from Boston University and a Masters at Harvard in Education Policy and Management.

Kailla Rowell, LICSW, Clinical Director, Camp Harbor View

Kailla Rowell, LICSW, is a dynamic, licensed, independent clinical social worker who works as the Clinical Director at Camp Harbor View. Kailla has the drive to dismantle systemic barriers that prevent people and communities of color from accessing equitable resources. She has spent ten years of her career advocating for children and families and providing brave spaces for communities of color. Kailla has extensive leadership skills in leading teams with a passion for serving families and youth of color. In addition, Kailla also has experience creating curricula and facilitating workshops focused on youth empowerment, restorative justice, community and individual trauma, and food justice. She is passionate about making therapy fun and brave spaces for youth to become their best selves constitutes the core of her practice.

Brendan McDonaldVice President of Programming, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester

Brendan is the VP of Programming at Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester (BGCD). Growing up in Dorchester, Brendan started attending as a member when he was five years old. Continuing to participate in programs through high school, he began working as a youth worker in the after school and summer programs at the club after serving as a volunteer. After graduating from Bridgewater State, a full-time position opened at BGCD and he stepped into the new role of Program Coordinator. Continuing to gain experience and develop meaningful connections within the community, Brendan became the Vice President of Programming in September of 2020. Brendan enjoys being able to work with the children and families within the community that had such a positive impact on his upbringing. Brendan enjoys spending time with his family and friends, traveling with his wife, and seeing live music and sporting events.

Sherri Snow, Executive Director, North End Music & Performing Arts Center

Sherri Snow (she/her/hers) is the Executive Director of the North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC), one of Boston’s leading 501(c)(3) community music schools and performing arts centers with a mission to enrich lives through accessible, exceptional Music Education and Performing Arts Programs that embrace our vibrant, inclusive, and diverse communities. Where the intersection of music education and professional performing arts programs meet, Sherri steers the organization towards having an even more significant impact on the lives of our community members through quality artistic experiences. Sherri earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston University School of Music, and a master’s degree from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. Sherri, both a Connecticut and Rhode Island native, enjoys her time being active outdoors, cooking, going to concerts, and spending time with family and friends.

Jahfree Duncan, Chief of Degree Attainment, Duet

Jahfree Duncan (Jay) is the Chief of Degree Attainment at Duet, a higher education nonprofit based in Boston that aims to help students earn college degrees and find good paying career-track employment. Prior to joining the team at Duet, Jay served as the Director of Technology for the Match Charter Public School for six years and as a member of their tutor corps before that. Jay lives in Lowell, a town in northern Massachusetts, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Tufts.

Catalina López-Ospina, VP of Engagement, Project Bread

Catalina López-Ospina’s journey began in Medellín, Colombia, where she spent her formative years before embarking on a new chapter in Boston in 2007. Her move was motivated by a desire to reunite with her mother after nearly 17 years of separation and to pursue higher education opportunities. Since then, Catalina has embraced various roles, including nanny, florist, baker, metal fabrication assistant, summer youth work program coordinator, waitress, prep cook, dog walker, and Spanish teacher in an after-school program. Each experience deepened her empathy for immigrant and marginalized communities, inspiring her to volunteer at the New England Aquarium, community gardens, food pantries, and refugee camps. During her tenure of over 11 years with the City of Boston, Catalina demonstrated exceptional leadership, starting as a Work Training Program Manager at Serving Our Self farm at the Homeless Services Borough and culminating as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Justice (formerly Food Access), an office she created to prioritize food insecurity under the Walsh administration. In this capacity, Catalina spearheaded the implementation of initiatives such as the Health Incentives Program (HIP) in Boston, the Boston Food Access Council, the Boston Double Up Food Program, and in collaboration with Project Bread, she launched the Boston Summer Eats Program. Catalina’s leadership was instrumental in Boston’s response to the food emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic, coordinating efforts across 120 organizations to ensure equitable support for all communities. She provided strategic guidance for the Walsh Administration in the distribution of over $18 million of the Boston Resilience Funds and the initial allocation of ARPA funds, facilitating the city’s recovery from the pandemic’s impact on food insecurity. Transitioning to Project Bread as the inaugural Vice President of Engagement in 2022, Catalina continues to champion community-driven solutions through community partnerships and investments, centering individuals with lived experiences at the forefront of the organization’s work. She launched the Council of Experts in 2023, empowering community residents with food insecurity experiences to collaborate with Project Bread teams on program development, policy agendas, and communication strategies. The council also provides opportunities for council members to harness their power to self-advocate for effective solutions for their communities and sharpen their community and civil leadership. Catalina’s focus in 2024 includes ensuring that the Plan to End Hunger in Massachusetts, a bold collective impact initiative led by Project Bread in conjunction with the Massachusetts End Hunger Coalition, is informed and guided by people with lived experiences from inception to implementation. Outside of her professional endeavors, Catalina enjoys running with the local club in Hyde Park, where she resides happily with her husband, cat, and dog.

Michelle Cline, Board Member – Treasurer, National Association of the Deaf

Michelle Cline practices “BE MAD”, Be Empowered to Make A Difference, in which she is involved in different local, state, and national organizations focusing on promoting, preserving, and protecting the civil, human, and linguistic rights of all Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing individuals. Michelle is employed as the Executive Director of Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and is delighted to be making a difference on the state level. Currently, Michelle is the first Deaf female who is the treasurer of the National Association of the Deaf. Michelle has also chaired the legislative committee of Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf, in which two legislative bills are being introduced in MA legislature focusing on improving the lives of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing children.

Hilary Kopp, Senior Director of Middle School Programs, LEAP for Education

Hilary Kopp currently serves as the Senior Director of Middle School Programs at LEAP for Education, a nonprofit based in Salem, MA that provides out-of-school-time learning opportunities to empower underserved students to achieve social and economic mobility. Hilary manages after school and summer programs in Lynn and Salem, coordinating with the partner school districts and local nonprofit partners to provide a wide range of educational experiences to help young teens discover their interests and passions and connect these interests to possible careers. Throughout her career, Hilary has focused on increasing educational opportunities for youth to increase educational and economic equity. Prior to joining LEAP for Education, Hilary worked at Mass Insight Education where she conducted school readiness assessments, facilitated school improvement planning, supported school leaders in implementation of improvement plans, and developed structures and processes for major school turnaround initiatives in two states. Her earlier experience working in the out-of-school-time space was at BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life now called Bellxcel) where she designed and supported the implementation of extended learning programs in partnership with Title I schools and districts. She went to BELL from the classroom, as she was a mid-career changer who sought firsthand experience as a teacher. Prior to teaching, Hilary worked on the development and evaluation of education and youth initiatives with MDRC, Jobs for the Future, and the Commonwealth Corporation. Hilary holds a M.P.A. from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, a M.A. in Education from Salem State University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Colgate University.

Jean Bertschmann, Executive Director, Spina Bifida Association of Greater New England

Jean has over 20 years of leadership experience in nonprofits, as well as in local and regional government. She served for nine years on the Hopkinton School Committee, and for six years as a Commissioner on the Metrowest Commission on the Status of Women. Jean has also served on multiple boards of mission-driven, direct service nonprofits. Jean lives in Hopkinton, MA with her husband and is the proud parent of four adult daughters. She is an avid quilter, reader, and community volunteer.

Cape Cod & the Islands

Lana Atamian Executive Director, Wellstrong Inc.

Lana Atamian is the newest Executive Director of WellStrong Inc., a nonprofit that provides a fitness and wellness community for those in recovery from substance use disorder. Lana is also an accomplished business owner of three well-known women’s recovery homes in the Upper Cape, and she has several years of nonprofit management experience. She most recently served as the Community Impact Manager at the Herren Project, where she focused on community engagement, collaborative partnerships, and program development. She is the chair of Sandwich Cares, a solution-based group of community members formed to address and prevent substance abuse and overdose deaths in the town of Sandwich. Lana also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from UMASS Amherst. Being a woman in long-term recovery, Lana has been deeply immersed in the recovery community on Cape Cod. She is well known for her passion to promote complimentary health and wellness methods to support addiction. Her company Next Chance promotes long-term recovery from substance disorder by providing safe sober housing with the unique twist of teaching sustainable life skills through basic farming, caring for livestock, and providing environmental education. Women in her homes learn simple gardening, homesteading, and sustainability practices in combination with 12-step support and sober fellowship. Every spring, women will have the exciting experience of hatching their own chicks and ducklings in their recovery home. It is said that when Lana is not working, or tending to her two young children, she can be found riding a tractor at her farm house or creating interactive games about composting and recycling.

Mary Beth Burwood Education Program Officer, The Cape Cod Foundation

Mary Beth Burwood currently serves as the Education Program Officer for The Cape Cod Foundation. She joined the team in 2020 to manage the scholarship programs for both the Foundation and partner organization, Cape Cod Association, which represents more than $1.4 million in annual scholarship support to residents of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket pursue their postsecondary goals. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Developmental Disabilities from UMass Lowell and has worked in the nonprofit sector for over a decade. Mary Beth has a passion for education, program development, connecting resources to individuals and organizations, and providing opportunities for volunteers and donors to make a positive impact on their community.

Helen Chatel Executive Director, Cape Cod Community Television

Helen has worked in the community media realm for the past 21 years developing staff and members alike into leadership positions. Some of her younger members have gone on to work in the financial district in Boston, others to ESPN, and some staff have left to produce movies in Hollywood. Helen earned her B.A. in Communications from the College of New Rochelle in 1992 with a specializations in Broadcasting, Journalism and Advertising. She also worked for the Home Depot and was one of their rising stars in their leadership programming until leaving to pursue her passion for community storytelling. These days she enjoys traveling and exploring the countryside, riding her mountain bike when the weather is right, and geocaching on business trips and vacations. A recent wash-ashore, she has spent most of her life living in Eastern CT and Western and Central MA.

Richard Chwastiak Manager, External Affairs, Cape Symphony

Rich is the Manager of External Affairs with Cape Symphony, joining the organization from New York City’s competitive music business industry. Rich holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in percussion performance from the University of Miami (FL) and the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston) along with over a decade of experience with digital media marketing and online outreach strategies. Rich’s unique, well-rounded, and results-driven background has been essential in overseeing each aspect of the solicitation of community involvement, philanthropic support, and brand management for Cape Symphony in an effort to increase the visibility of the organization and its programs, as well as identify and engage a diverse array of community partners, audiences, and donors. As an avid cyclist, working musician, Licensed Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson, and new resident to Cape Cod, make sure to give a wave to Rich on the Cape Cod Rail Trail as well as tune in to his monthly radio show “Weekend Escape Plan” on WOMR 92.1FM Provincetown and WFMR 91.3FM Orleans community radio airing the last Friday of each month. Rich is an active member of the Cape Cod Young Professionals organization and recent graduate of Leadership Cape Cod’s “Community Leadership Institute 2023.” Both help to connect the Cape’s emerging community leaders and to support their efforts to advance personally and professionally while promoting Cape Cod as a vibrant place for young people to live and work year-round.

Seth Engelbourg Naturalist Educator and Program Manager, Linda Loring Nature Foundation

Seth Engelbourg (He Series pronouns) is the Naturalist Educator and Program Manager at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation (LLNF) on Nantucket, MA, having served in that role for over seven years. At the foundation, Seth develops and implements the educational curriculum offerings for people of all ages and backgrounds. He also leads several of the ecological research and conservation stewardship projects at the organization, particularly those related to his academic background in bird biology. Beyond LLNF, Seth is the Chair of the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society Strategic Action Team, and a member of Nantucket’s Conservation Commission. Seth holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Seth lives year-round on the island of Nantucket with his partner and their pet hedgehog, Poke Bowl.

Alicia Graziadei Director, Nantucket Community School

Alicia Graziadei is the Director of Nantucket Community School, a branch of the Nantucket public school system that focuses on engaging, strengthening, and connecting the island community through affordable programming. She began this role in 2022 after more than a decade of working at Nantucket New School, where she started as a classroom teacher and later moved into administration as the Upper School Head and Dean of Studies. Alicia holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University (’08) and a master’s degree in education from Northeastern University (’17). She lives with her husband, Jason, two sons, and Otis, a mischievous French Bulldog puppy.

Ginny Irving Director of Development and Communications, Falmouth Service Center

Ginny is celebrating 23 years of working for nonprofits including: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Cape Cod Academy, HopeHealth, Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod and now Falmouth Service Center. It is part of her being to want to help others and she has been honored to be able to do that through fundraising. Ginny holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from University of New Hampshire. She earned her CFRE in 2016. She lives in Falmouth with her husband “Mr. Irving”, who teaches at North Falmouth Elementary School, and has two teenage daughters. She enjoys spending time in her garden, at the beach, or in the mountains for her mental and physical wellbeing.

Kelly Kaye Operations Director, Circuit Arts

Kelly Kaye currently holds the position of Operations Manager at Circuit Arts, a multidisciplinary arts organization on Martha’s Vineyard that produces the annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, Cinema Circus, a free educational kids’ media literacy program in all of the Island schools, a summer Drive-In theater at the YMCA, the Martha’s Vineyard Children’s Theater Camp, and Circuit Films, a documentary film production company. She holds a dual BS in Philosophy and German Studies from Assumption University, and spent the majority of her professional career in a variety of roles in the service, marketing, and jewelry industry. Kelly moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2013, and in 2020, she launched an independent consulting business supporting Island small-business owners with executing deliverables, event and trade show production, inventory systems and management, marketing, and general administration. Kelly is a tinkerer with many hobbies in her non-work time including knitting, reading, painting, gardening, cooking, and weightlifting. She can’t resist a good potluck with her husband and friends during the quiet season on Martha’s Vineyard, and can often be found paying too much attention to her cat and dog, much to the cat’s chagrin. She is frequently seeking opportunities to expand her professional training, and thoroughly enjoys being the grease that keeps all the wheels moving smoothly.

Carla Koehl Community Outreach Director, Cape Cod Foster Closet

Before becoming Community Outreach Director for the Cape Cod Foster Closet in 2022, Carla Koehl (pronounced “kale”) worked in marketing for an Alzheimer’s residential community in Lexington, Mass., where she earned her CDP (Certified Dementia Practitioner) and became a “Dementia Friend.” Earlier in her career, Carla spent more than ten years in journalism, most of it as an Associate Editor for Newsweek magazine in New York. Following that, she started three small businesses, including one focused on move management for seniors, and another on organizational strategies for parents who have children with special needs. She also has served as co-chair of the Natick Special Education Parents Advisory Council. Carla grew up in New York City, is a Red Sox fan by marriage, and a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

David LaFrance Director of Operations, Provincetown Commons

Dave LaFrance currently serves as the Director of Operations for the Provincetown Commons. The Provincetown Commons supports creative professionals, artists, and community initiatives through collaborative workspace, shared resources, and programming. Dave has developed relationships with the local community and effectively partnered with local arts and cultural organizations to expand the mission of The Commons. As a native New Englander living on Cape Cod for over 12 years, Dave has unique insight into the strengths, opportunities, and challenges of operating and maintaining a viable business practice on the Outer Cape. Dave excels at developing programming that meets the needs of the community by collaborating with other nonprofit organizations and providing members with informative and educational resources. Dave knows firsthand of the impact on productivity and morale that exists when affordable and accessible spaces are brought forward within a diverse community. The creative and dynamic community that co-exists is proof that this model works. Dave’s passion, experience, and skills in the creative arts helps him serve members and nurtures their practice while also fostering their personal and professional growth.

Kate Lefer Operations Manager, Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation

Kate Lefer is the Operations Manager at the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation. For 22 years, Kate was a K-12 educator in public, independent, and charter schools in Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. In addition to teaching, Kate created and led professional development workshops and collaborative groups for teachers, co-chaired advisory councils and curriculum committees, coordinated parent-child math clubs and enrichment activities, served as a student-council advisor, and participated in an AmeriCorps program to facilitate service-learning projects for students. Kate joined the nonprofit world in the summer of 2022, seeking new ways to help others in her community. She served as Program Director of the Community College Consortium, launching a new Early Childhood Education Cohort at the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Education and Training in the Fall of 2022. Kate began her professional career working in television production as an assistant producer for ABC News and a public relations manager at Kaplan Educational Centers. Kate graduated with a B.A. in History and Latin American Studies from Haverford College, received a M.S. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College, and holds a Massachusetts K-8 School Administrative License. In her free time, Kate enjoys Vineyard stay-cations and traveling with her husband, two daughters, and three grown stepsons.

Julie Lytle Program Manager and Camp Director, Amazing Grace of Cape Cod Inc

Julie Lytle is committed to breaking the cycle of family incarceration. As Executive Director of Amazing Grace for the past decade, she leads a team of committed staff and volunteers that provide opportunities for children affected by incarceration to develop supportive relationships with peers and mentors that care while participating in fun, confidence-building, and leadership development activities. A life-lover, curious innovator, natural networker, and change navigator, Julie’s career as an educator and community catalyzer has focused on connecting with people, providing them access to resources they identify they need, and building communities of practice to support and sustain life transforming efforts. She also serves as an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of Distributive and Lifelong Learning Initiatives at an Episcopal seminary.

Mary MacVarish Counselor, Gosnold

Mary MacVarish is a woman in long-term recovery of 21 years soon to be 22 on October 31, 2023. She is a mother of two beautiful children, an accomplished Reiki practitioner, a licensed social worker, a corrective exercise coach, and an energy healer. Mary started her career at Gosnold at Emerson House in 2017 as an intern at Cape Cod Community College while getting a Drug and Alcohol Counselor Certificate. She realized this was not as high a standard in the field and decided to go back to get her degree in Social Work at Bridgewater State University and graduated in May of 2022. Within Gosnold, Mary went from being an intern to RA, smoking cessation, patient engagement, recovery specialist, and is currently a counselor and lead counselor on weekends at the Emerson House. She runs eight groups weekly that range from Addiction Education, Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), and Health Education. Mary has a caseload of seven patients, with whom she conducts a biopsychosocial treatment plan and meets three times per week for individual therapy to process any trauma, and help the individual find MBRP and coping skills along with life skills that will help them find new ways to stay in recovery. Mary believes addiction is a threefold disease, and she is able to help individuals mentally, physically, and spiritually find their potential and future self through recovery. She also volunteers at sober homes in the Falmouth area by facilitating healing modalities and MBRP skills, helping support individuals as they begin living life on their own outside a structured environment. Mary consciously crafts her intentions to manifest positive growth and create a vision to help all people, and work towards ending systemic racism, LGBTQ+ discrimination, sexism, socioeconomic inequality, and other inequities in our communities.

Tricia Murray Manager of Business & Credit Programs, Community Development Partnership

Tricia brings her strong advocacy, communication, and customer relations skills to her role as Manager of Business & Credit Programs with the Community Development Partnership (CDP). In that role, she coordinates the planning, administration, and implementation of CDP business initiatives and lending programs, as well as works to expand the CDP’s outreach to business owners who are members of historically underserved communities. With an undergraduate degree in accounting from Boston College and a law degree from Suffolk University Law School, Tricia worked as a litigator for many years before changing gears and working at the List Visual Arts Center, MIT’s contemporary art gallery. In 2018, she moved to Lower Cape Cod and served as the interim general manager of a 29-room inn before joining the CDP in September 2021. Tricia is a graduate of the Leadership Cape Cod Community Leadership Institute. She is the Chair of the Harwich Voter Information Committee, a member of the MassHire Cape & Islands Workforce Board, a member of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum Board, and a past legal services volunteer with WE CAN. Tricia enjoys taking advantage of Cape Cod’s natural beauty by hiking, biking, and paddle boarding.

Jennifer Ray Community Engagement Director, Martha’s Vineyard Bank

Jennifer Ray is the Community Engagement Director at Martha’s Vineyard Bank. She is primarily responsible for the Martha’s Vineyard Bank Charitable Foundation. Jenn’s prior role was Manager of Operations at the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation. Originally from New York, Jenn relocated to the Island seventeen years ago with her husband and two children. Jenn has a BA in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College.

Lisa Belcastro Director, Harbor Homes Winter Shelter

Lisa Belcastro has been a beacon of hope and strength for Martha’s Vineyard vulnerable populations. As the Director of Harbor Homes Winter Shelter, Lisa has dedicated herself to addressing homelessness on Island, driven by her fervent belief in preserving human dignity. Lisa also supports those grappling with mental illness, having previously served as the regional coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness for five years and continuing to volunteer for NAMI by facilitating monthly support groups and leading mental health courses. Beyond her work with NAMI and Harbor Homes, Lisa volunteers with various Island nonprofits and school groups, including Island-wide youth groups, vacation Bible camp, MVSA, MVCS, and Hospice. Additionally, Lisa’s life-changing experience with the Venezuelan migrants created a new passion for policy changes for immigrants. Lisa is an avid fisherman, competing yearly in the 35-day Martha’s Vineyard Bass and Bluefish Derby. Lisa has run a marathon in all 50 states, loves gardening, kayaking, hiking, and most importantly – time with family and friends.

Merrimack Valley / Essex County

Jennifer Lemmerman, Vice President of Public Policy, Project Bread

Jennifer Lemmerman is the Vice President of Policy at Project Bread. In this role, she oversees state, local and federal public policy and advocacy efforts in support of the organization’s mission to address the root causes of hunger and ensure that no one in Massachusetts goes hungry. Jennifer also serves as an advisor at Boston University’s Graduate School of Social Work. In November of 2013, Jennifer was elected to the Melrose City Council where she represented the residents of ward two for six years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in social work from Boston College. Jennifer now lives in Andover with her husband and two kids.

Carla Caraballo, SDOH Program Manager, Lowell Community Health Center

Carla Caraballo is the SDOH Program Manager at Lowell Community Health Center (CHC). She joined the health center in 2008 as a case manager for the prenatal department. In 2009, Carla took on the role as a CHW/Asthma Home Visitor & Educator. Since, Carla has worked on five HUD funded programs and two DPH Asthma programs, targeting over 500 patients in the Greater Lowell community. In the Fall of 2022, Carla was promoted to Social Determinants of Health Program Manager, working to empower, guide, and support her team to be the best CHWs they could be! The team serves as the bridge from primary care to community resources and supports working to fulfill Lowell CHC’s mission. Carla currently oversees seven staff (CHWs). Carla is a graduate of Greater Lawrence Technical High School and holds many certifications in her field of expertise including being a graduate of the COEC program and is a trained Medical Interpreter.

Samuel Rulon-Miller, Director of Technology, NeedyMeds

Samuel Rulon-Miller (He/Him) is the Director of Technology for NeedyMeds, a national nonprofit organization based in Gloucester, MA. He first joined NeedyMeds in 2010 as a call-center representative but quickly put his experience with technology to work managing databases, servers, networks and all things IT.

Bernadette Wheeler, Chief Program Officer, Women’s Money Matters

Bernadette Wheeler serves as the Chief Program Officer at Women’s Money Matters (WMM). A passionate and motivated leader and relationship builder, she oversees statewide financial wellness and coaching programs supporting women and girls living on low incomes. She guided a small but mighty team through a program format change, rebrand, and implementation of ambitious strategic priorities. Bernadette’s experience as a struggling single mother who received support from a community action provider and the Head Start program ignited her passion for advocacy and the WMM mission. Bernadette has continued to advocate for social programs that improve communities and change lives, building partnerships and connecting those in need to resources.

Ashley Ganem, Senior Communications + Events Manager, North Shore Community Development Coalition (CDC)

Ash began working at North Shore CDC in 2019 with over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector working with low-income individuals and families and those experiencing homelessness in Metro-Boston and the North Shore in marketing, development, direct service, and operations. She is passionate about working in organizations that positively impact vulnerable communities and hopes to contribute to their improvement through storytelling. In this dual role, Ash is responsible for the creation and design of all print and digital marketing pieces, public relations, and works collaboratively with programs and development staff to plan and organize all events. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for The Salem Pantry. In her spare time, Ash, her partner, and their two children hike New England trails with their (old in age, young at heart) pup. She is an avid reader, die-hard Celtics fan, and aspiring yogi.

Betsy Green, Director of Family Programs, Family Services of the Merrimack Valley

Betsy Green is the Director of Family Programs for Family Services of the Merrimack Valley. She is born and raised in New York City and is the daughter of two Dominican immigrants. Betsy attended school in New York during her early years of education and eventually moved to Lawrence, MA, where she became a wife, mother and proud grandmother of six grandchildren. Pursuing her higher education and earning a bachelor’s degree in human services were the initial steps toward the position she presently holds. Betsy has worked at Family Services for the past 16 years and in the human service field for 29 years. In her early years, she worked for a community health center where her love and passion for direct care with clients began. Years later, she moved on to work at a Head Start organization where her passion continued to grow only this time to include the professional development of the staff that directly worked with families. Today, as Director of Family Programs with a continued unwavering dedication and passion her mission remains developing others professionally, and does so with dignity, respect and kindness.

Massiel Tremols, DTA Voucher Supervisor and Waitlist Coordinator, The Community Group

Massiel Tremols was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She graduated from high school at the age of 15. She moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts when she was 17 years old. Massiel has worked in the nonprofit human services industry for seven years. She currently serves as the DTA Voucher Supervisor and Waitlist Coordinator for Child Care Circuit, Inc. in Lawrence, MA. In 2014, she completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. Although she completed her higher education, she views herself as a “forever student”, always looking for opportunity for growth and learning. She is motivated, enthusiastic, ethical, thoughtful, 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. Massiel enjoys spending time with her family, going out to eat, and bike ride.

Pilar DiTomaso, Director of Operations, Women’s Money Matters

Pilar DiTomaso is Director of Operations at Women’s Money Matters. Experienced in the financial services industry, she holds both a Business Administration and Marketing degrees. A long time advocate of volunteerism and social justice, she has put them to use in both the corporate world as well as her community. Pilar is active in her church and her community.

Ruth Rowe, HR Director, NeedyMeds, Inc.

Ruth Rowe (she/her) completed her BS in applied legal studies at Suffolk University and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Framingham State University. She currently serves as the HR Director at NeedyMeds, Inc. a national nonprofit whose mission is to educate and empower those seeking affordable healthcare. Ruth’s commitment to personal growth and professional development goes beyond her academic achievements. She actively seeks opportunities to expand her knowledge and stay abreast of the latest trends and best practices in her field. In addition to her professional pursuits, Ruth is a firm believer in fostering a positive work culture and nurturing the growth and development of individuals. She actively strives to create environments where all employees can thrive and reach their full potential. Outside of the office, Ruth is deeply involved in her community. She serves on the New England Advocacy Council for the Transition House, a nonprofit whose mission is to help prepare residents for a life free of crime, homelessness and substance abuse. She also volunteers as an Election Worker for local and state elections and helps with vaccine clinics as an administrative volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corp of Massachusetts. When not at work or volunteering her time Ruth likes to travel, spend time on and in the water, and spend time with her college bound son. With an unwavering commitment to personal growth, a genuine desire to meet people where they are at, Ruth strives to inspire and uplift those around her.

Jeanmerli Gonzalez, REACH Lowell Program Director, Lowell Community Health Center

Jeanmerli Gonzalez, is the Program Director for REACH Lowell, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded program at Lowell Community Health Center (CHC). In this role, she is responsible for providing leadership, direction, implementation and evaluation of the program with emphasis on measurable outcomes using data and best practices. In the recent past, Jeanmerli served as the Program Manager for REACH Lowell and previously as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Lowell CHC where she coordinated community outreach efforts by collaborating with local community and faith-based organizations targeting the diverse population of Lowell. Through these collaborations, she coordinated community health screenings and health fairs that served as an opportunity to engage with Lowell residents where they are. Jeanmerli also worked as a Contact Tracer and Case Investigator supporting the initial COVID-19 disease prevention measures. Jeanmerli held a three-year license through the state of Massachusetts as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), certified through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. While living on campus, Jeanmerli served as a Healthy Hawk Peer Mentor and Senior Resident Advisor promoting a healthy Lowell Campus. Jeanmerli holds a Master’s in Public Health from Simmons University and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Public Health from University of Massachusetts Lowell. Jeanmerli is a trained Spanish Medical Interpreter and participates in other healthcare and nonprofit organization trainings as needed. Jeanmerli has also completed an 80-hour Comprehensive Outreach Certificate as a Community Health Worker at Lowell CHC’s Community Health Education Center (CHEC).

Kate Thompson, Executive Assistant to the Head of School, Esperanza Academy

Kate Thompson currently serves as the Executive Assistant to the Head of School at Esperanza Academy. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Economics in 2016, Kate spent six years working in highly selective college admissions recruiting students and reviewing applications at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. With many years of experience traveling domestically and internationally visiting all types of secondary schools and community-based programs, Kate became intimately familiar with the systemic challenges facing the United States’ educational model. When she and her spouse relocated to southern NH, Kate jumped at the opportunity to join Esperanza and their work to redefine urban education in Lawrence, MA and beyond. Kate spends her days applying her equity-based lens as well as her love for clear systems and procedures to the work happening at Esperanza. She is a lover of black coffee, a new notebook and a freshly sharpened pencil, puzzles of all kinds: sudoku, crossword, jigsaw, and learning and making art. She spends as much time as possible reading, spending time outside, especially in the snow or on the water, and playing with her dog, Tucker.

William Castro, Chief of Staff, Lawrence City Hall, Mayor’s Office

William is an accomplished public safety professional, with over 25 years of Law Enforcement experience and served 16 years as a DEA Task Force Agent targeting illegal drug trafficking in our communities. Through his Law Enforcement career, he received three lifesaving commendations and many other distinguished awards from the Department of Justice and Commonwealth of Massachusetts House of Representatives, honoring his commitment and outstanding efforts to enrich and educate the Hispanic community through public and community services. William is a Springfield College graduate with a supportive human service background, and participatory leadership style prepared to introduce new concepts and strategies that focus on community engagement. William is presently Lawrence City Mayor Brian A. DePeña’s Chief of Staff. He is responsible for managing the daily operations of the Mayor’s office. He serves as a critical member of his team, playing an essential role as a liaison between the Mayor’s office, and other city officials including department heads, city council members, nonprofit organizations, and community stakeholders. William is further responsible for assisting the Mayor to develop and implement policy initiatives, programs, policies, and regulations, and is accountable for managing and overseeing the Mayor’s budget ensuring operation within its allocated funds. William has tremendous experience working with individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds and is committed to diversity, transparency, and inclusion. His ability to communicate effectively across a multicultural environment makes him a great asset to the 324 nonprofit organizations presently providing unique services to the Lawrence community.

Esmeralda Rojas, Student Advisor, Northern Essex Community College

Esmeralda Rojas is the Student Advisor for ESL students at the Adult Education Center for Northern Essex Community College.

Sreyvan Nget, CBA Ambassador, Collation Better for Acre

Sreyvan Nget (she/her) was born in Cambodia and immigrated to the U.S. 15 years ago. She is working at Coalition Better for Acre as an Ambassador. Sreyvan has two beautiful daughters one in College and another one in high school. She is passionate to serve in community through charity and outreach from one organization to another. She is applying in Community Diversity Board which sponsor by Greater Lowell Community Foundation, Lowell Alliance, and Coalition Better for Acre. In her free time, she loves walking and taking pictures with nature, reading in a coffee shop, and her love of cooking and eating will help her make everything possible.

Cristina Pagan Jimenez, Young Parent Program Supervisor, Family Services of the Merrimack Valley

Cristina Pagan Jimenez (she, her, ella) is her name, and she was born and raised in the city of Lawrence. She is the product of Lawrence Public School and currently works and resides in Lawrence. She is the daughter of Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father. Her current title is Director of Young Parent Programs at Family Services of the Merrimack Valley . As a former young parent herself, she brings a breath of experience and support to young parents. She is a wife, a sister, mother of six, and grandmother. She has worked in the human services field since 1998. She began her early childhood education career by working in the community daycare and after-school care programs . Her experiences include case manager for the Massachusetts Society Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Assistant Director at the YMCA, and Residential Adolescent Program case manager. She is passionate about helping others accomplish their goals including parents, families, and her staff. She firmly believes that teamwork is essential to achieving both programmatic and team goals. She is adaptable, compassionate, and team orientated. If you ever need someone to listen or a word of advice, she is the person to go to. Her goals are always to promote growth and development. If you ever have an issue, go, see her and be ready for a sincere response. She will help you figure out the next steps and create a plan of action. Cristina has now been at Family Services of the Merrimack Valley for five years and was promoted in July 2023 to Director. In order to be entirely ready to contribute to the community she is familiar with and loves, Cristina looks forward to continuing her educational pursuits to learn more in areas she has not yet learned. Providing services in the area known as “Immigrant City” will bring her immense joy and a sense of pride.

Kretcha M Roldán, Division Director of Social Services and Housing, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC)

Kretcha M Roldán has lived in three very different states (New Jersey, MA and Texas) since 1993 when she moved from Puerto Rico, but she always says that she must love MA, because this is the second time around living in this state. She is a licensed social worker and a seasoned administrator with more than 25 years of professional experience with underserved populations. Currently, she is the new Division Director of Social Services and Housing for GLCAC. She is responsible for overseeing the Community Support Center, housing stabilization programs and services and the Michael Christensen Community and Family Support Center. In August 2017, she began her duties as Executive Director at Elizabeth Peabody House (EPH) in Somerville and contributed to the new phase of growth and development at EPH. She was able to increase the agency fundraising and grant capacity by collaborating with community partners and aligning agency’s goals and priorities with philanthropic foundations. Under her leadership the board embarked in a strategic process to implement a 5-year plan for the future. Lastly, through her efforts the Somerville Community Preservation Commission officially designated Elizabeth Peabody House’s main building as a structure of historical value deserving preservation. This determination made it possible for EPH to apply for Community Preservation funds. Kretcha received a recognition on April 2022 during the 125th Gala Anniversary for her work, dedication and leadership during her tenure at EPH. Previously Ms. Roldán has been the Director of Advocacy Services for the Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence, an organization whose focus is to break the cycle of poverty in the Merrimack Valley region. From 2009-2011 Kretcha was the Executive Director of AVANCE, Inc. in Waco, Texas before moving to the New England area. During her tenure at AVANCE she was responsible for securing funding for the day-today operation of the agency.

Merlinda Marseille-Philippe, Director of Youth Services, LifeScene Family and Children Services

Merlinda Merseille-Philippe (she/her) has worked in the nonprofit human services industry for 20 years. Her background includes youth career development, mental health and providing assistance, resources, and guidance to youth and young adults experiencing housing insecurity and/or homelessness. Merlinda is currently the Director of Programs for Root in Salem, Massachusetts An organization that helps young adults create a pathway to independence through food service training and employment.

Elizabeth Grella, Director of High School & Postsecondary Programs, LEAP for Education

Elizabeth (she/her) is the Director of High School & Post-Secondary Programs at LEAP for Education where she oversees teen enrichment and college access programming for high school and college-age youth in Salem, Lynn, and Peabody. Prior to joining LEAP in 2020, Elizabeth worked as a Program Manager in Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC’s Workplace Mentoring Center. In addition to education and youth mentoring, Elizabeth has also worked in healthcare and government settings in her nearly 15 years in the nonprofit sector.

Mary Rebecca Field, Middle School Manager, LEAP for Education

Mary Rebecca Field (she/her) is the Middle School Manager at Leap for Education in Salem, MA where she supports 21st century, grant-funded summer and after school programs in Salem and Lynn. Rebecca began her career as a high school and middle school teacher of Spanish, ESL, AVID, and STEM electives. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Rebecca has gained curriculum development, staff training, and leadership skills that she applies to creating youth programs that have a meaningful and lasting impact in the lives of youth.

Monica Veth, Youth Programs Manager, Lowell Community Health Center

Monica Veth (she/her) is a compassionate Youth Worker from Lowell, MA, who has been involved in her community for over fifteen years. Monica currently serves as the Youth Programs Manager at Lowell Community Health Center Teen BLOCK. Previously, she held the position of Program Coordinator, where she engaged teens in positive youth development activities relating to violence prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, and health and wellness. She has led case management efforts and facilitated Teen Talk, a peer support group addressing prevalent community issues. In addition, Monica served as a health educator, delivering evidence-based, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health curricula at local organizations and health classes in the surrounding schools while ensuring that teens are connected to essential reproductive care services. In 2018, she expanded her passion for youth development by becoming a part-time Mentor with Aaron’s Presents, where she finds joy in guiding pre-teens through their youth-led community service projects, supporting them to unleash their innate talents for the greater good. Alongside her dedication to youth development, Monica has a passion for performing arts. She is one of Flying Orb Productions’ co-founders, a performing arts group showcasing Southeast Asian experiences through experimental film, dance, and theater. She firmly believes in the power of art as a transformative medium for communication, community, and healing. She seeks to integrate these beliefs through her roles as an artist and a youth worker.

Dayanna Moreno, Director of Legal Services, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council

Dayanna (she/ella – pronounced die-an-uh) is an attorney with over 15 years of experience serving diverse communities. She was born in Venezuela and immigrated to the United States as a child. Her lived experience seeded a deep commitment to advocating for the most vulnerable members of our community. This commitment led to a career in legal aid, representing immigrants and refugees. She is a Diversity, Equity and Belonging partner to nonprofit organizations serving diverse communities, and a Senior Program Associate at the Acacia Center for Justice. She lives with her husband and two young kids in central Massachusetts. Dayanna is a perpetual dabbler, casual foodie, weightlifter, and tarot reader.

Jireh Ishaazi, Founder and Director, Outside Mind

Jireh (she/her) serves as the founder of Outside Mind, a recreational justice nonprofit organization providing year round outdoor recreational opportunities to underserved groups, ensuring equitable access and representation of BIPOC in nature spaces for mental health and wellbeing, building community and outdoor exploration. She is passionate and committed to empowering and enhancing the quality of life for black and brown communities and actively engages in local initiatives focused on recreation equity and advocacy, conservation stewardship, philanthropy, and racial justice to support and empower underserved communities.

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Joel Alvarado, Vice President of Strategy & Engagement, Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE)

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Joel Alvarado has spent his career dedicated to social and economic justice, equity, movement work, and transformational leadership. He currently is Vice President of Strategy and Engagement with Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), a social justice organization committed to dismantling structural racism and advancing racial equity in the American South. Alvarado earned a BA in History at Morehouse College and an MPA in Public Policy at Clark Atlanta University. He is a doctoral student at the University of Alabama pursuing an EdD in Higher Education Administration. He is a board member of the Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Urban Development Corporation, and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc. Alvarado is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb, Leadership Atlanta, New Leaders Council, Regional Leadership Institute, The Coca-Cola Diversity Leadership Academy, and other prestigious leadership development programs. And, this year he will be a fellow with Hispanics in Philanthropy. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado and son Nation.

Chloe Aquart, Deputy Director, Restoring Promise Initiative, Vera Institute of Justice

Chloe Aquart is the Deputy Director for Vera’s Restoring Promise initiative, where she guides the development and management of the technical assistance and operations for the initiative. Before joining Vera in 2022, Chloe was the Director of People-Centered Practices at the Center for Court Innovation (CCI), where she led a broad range of local and national initiatives, including projects aimed at reforming prosecution, increasing community-based organizational capacity to mitigate and prevent gun violence, expanding the use of alternatives to incarceration and diversion programs, and steering procedural justice initiatives. Beyond the United States, Chloe managed CCI’s international development portfolio, providing training and technical assistance to global criminal justice stakeholders in more than 16 countries. Chloe holds a BS in Accounting from Hunter College, City University of New York, an MA in Urban Affairs from Queens College, and a JD from New York Law School.

Julie Bosland, Chief Impact Officer, Living Cities

Julie Bosland leads strategy development and impact measurement at Living Cities, a collaborative of philanthropic and financial institutions committed to closing the racial wealth gap. Julie has worked to advance racial equity and improve outcomes for children and families through local government for over two decades at Living Cities, the National League of Cities, and the Mayor’s Office in Philadelphia. In addition, she served in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Domestic Policy Council, and helped launch ThinkShift, an economic mobility initiative of the DeBruce Foundation. Julie has a BA from Swarthmore College, an MPA from Princeton University, and received a Watson Fellowship to study methods of empowerment within the caste system in India.

Hernán Carvente-Martinez, Executive Director, Alianza for Youth Justice

Hernán Carvente-Martinez serves as the Executive Director of Alianza for Youth Justice and is the Founder of Healing Ninjas, Inc. Fluent in Spanish and English, he specializes in juvenile criminal justice policy analysis, community organizing, and youth-adult partnerships, with a focus on uplifting Chicanx, Latinx, Afro-Latinx, Indigenous, and LGBTQ leadership. His initiatives address mass incarceration, empower young leaders, and promote inclusivity nationwide. Over the past decade, he has honed expertise in narrative building, mental health organizing, project planning, strategic visioning, and leadership development. At Healing Ninjas, Inc., Hernán utilized technology to destigmatize mental health and wellness in marginalized communities, emphasizing resource accessibility. Committed to transformative change, he champions sustainable, community-driven solutions and amplifies underrepresented voices. Recognized with awards such as the Reebok Human Rights Award and the Youth Justice Trailblazer Award, Hernán revolutionizes the youth justice landscape through leadership, advocacy, and innovation. A New York native, he holds a BS in Criminal Justice from John Jay College.

Christina (Sims) Cummings, Vice President for Finance & Operations, The Solutions Project (TSP)

Christina (Sims) Cummings is the Vice President for Finance and Operations at The Solutions Project (TSP). She recently joined TSP from another nonprofit, the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), where she led the financial growth of the organization from $3M in annual revenue to over $13M for years consecutively. During her time at PSE, Christina served as the project lead for Justice40 Accelerator. The Justice40 Accelerator is an ecosystem approach to implementing against the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative by helping resource communities on the frontlines of climate and environmental injustice. Christina’s career has been in support of liberating capital for Black and brown communities. She currently serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Olamina Fund to help deploy $50M to frontline climate and environmental justice projects that are postured for catalytic debt capital financing. She serves on numerous nonprofit boards and is often asked to serve as a guest speaker and subject matter expert regarding her work in economic development and federal programs. Christina’s educational background includes a Master of Public Administration from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, a graduate certification in Gerontology, and a BA in Sociology from Georgia State University.

Tyra Edmond, Vice President of Finance, Common Future

Tyra is an experienced financial professional who thrives as an accomplice in social and racial justice to achieve lasting and far-reaching change. As Vice President of Finance at Common Future, Tyra focuses her time managing the finance function, including oversight of all financial processes, financial reporting, and financial compliance across Common Future and Community Credit Lab’s entities. She oversees CF’s budgeting, audit, treasury management, and special projects related to finance. Tyra takes a holistic approach to finance and accounting that connects her experience working in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors, and her Southern relationship-building centered personality. Tyra is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) and holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business Administration. She is passionate about building community and sits on boards and committees that celebrate intersectionality and joyful movement as it relates to social and racial justice.

Phil Ferrante-Roseberry, Vice President of Fund Development, TechSoup

Phil Ferrante-Roseberry (he/him) serves as TechSoup’s Vice President of Fund Development. In that role, he leads a team that helps TechSoup access the financial resources needed to empower civil society organizations globally through technology. A techie at heart, Phil was taking the family TV apart at age 10 (to his parents’ consternation) and went on to earn a BS in Computer Engineering from Southeastern Massachusetts University. Phil found a career in engineering intellectually challenging, but not one that fed his heart nor his desire for social justice. A move to San Francisco and a couple more tech jobs eventually landed him at the doorstep of TechSoup (then named CompuMentor) in 1995, where he entered and remains committed to the field of nonprofit technology. In his time at TechSoup, Phil has held a variety of positions including Director of Programs and co-CEO, as well as serving on numerous boards. Phil currently lives outside Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Lydia, and still takes things apart to see how they work.

Malachi Garza, Strategy & Innovation Director, Solidaire

Malachi (he/they/them) is currently the Strategy and Innovation Director at Solidaire. In this role, Malachi works to implement many aspects of the organization’s 2023-2033 strategic direction, including growing and strengthening Solidaire Action, sharpening its narrative change work, deepening sector-wide collaborations, and furthering Solidaire’s vision for building progressive power. Before coming to Solidaire, Malachi served as the Senior Strategist and National Network Director at the W. Haywood Burns Institute, building community-based alternatives to juvenile justice systems across the United States. Malachi serves on the boards of SONG Power, Auburn Theological Seminary, and GLSEN. Malachi is a founder of the widely acclaimed Brown Boi Project. Malachi’s work in popular education, community organizing, and progressive institution building spans over 20 years.

Jessica González Martínez, Senior Advisor of Insights & Innovations, New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN)

Jessica González Martínez comes to this space with a wealth of support and grounding from those who preceded her, those who recognize land is a relationship and Earth is mother to all things sacred. She proudly uplifts her Taíno-Arawak people who cultivated the island of Boríken and call it home. Jessica embarks virtually from Lenape lands. She is a Senior Advisor for New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN). In her role, Jessica navigates the cultivation of people and places to convene in a national dialogue on what drives inclusive growth, which centers equally and justly distributing wealth in places across the U.S. Throughout her career, Jessica has dedicated her time and talent to elevating and enhancing access to resources that support the mobilization of communities pushed to the periphery and bringing them back to center. Whether navigating the complexities of gentrification and displacement in neighborhoods in her role at Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or leading federal grant programs at the City of Phoenix, Arizona, Jessica utilizes her skills to connect hard-to-access resources and support to communities most in need. She now utilizes her place-based knowledge to build nationally.

Kara Gotsch, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project

Kara Gotsch is a national expert and advocate working to end mass incarceration and racial injustice in the U.S. criminal legal system. Kara has served The Sentencing Project in various roles for over 13 years, managing staff and leading the organization in areas of strategic planning, organizational oversight and development, communications, public education, research, and advocacy. She previously led the organization’s esteemed federal advocacy work and played a critical role in advancing passage of the First Step Act in 2018 and the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010. Her advocacy was honored by Congresswoman Maxine Waters in 2011. Kara also led the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition, a project of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society, to mobilize faith leaders and clergy to advance federal criminal justice reforms. And, she worked for eight years at the ACLU’s National Prison Project overseeing media outreach, public education, and federal legislative activities.

Terri Hall, People & Culture Director, BlackStar Projects

Terri Hall is a native New Yorker who now lives in Philadelphia. She currently works as People and Culture Director at BlackStar Projects. Previously, Terri worked as Co-Executive Director at Good Work Institute (GWI), a worker self-directed nonprofit focused on advancing just transition in New York’s Hudson Valley region and at Omega Institute, first as an independent contractor in their development department, and later as their Women’s Leadership Center’s Community Engagement Specialist. Terri brings to all she does a diverse background, including the professional worlds of acting and dance (Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater), public television and radio (Thirteen/WNET Great Performances Music, Dance in America, Travels; Children’s Television Workshop Ghostwriter; Integrated Media Association), and film post-production (DuArt Film and Video), along with a broad love for community, connection, equity, justice, and liberation.

Mari Hernandez, Chief Strategy Officer, National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures (NALAC)

Mari Hernandez is the Chief Strategy Officer for the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC). She has nearly 23 years of experience in the nonprofit arts and leadership sector. Prior to joining NALAC, she served as the Education Manager for the Contemporary at Blue Star, a contemporary art institution, where she developed and provided strategic oversight for the education department and focused her work on creating accessible programming. As the Program Manager at San Anto Cultural Arts, a grassroots art nonprofit, she directed programs focused on promoting human and community growth through the arts. Hernandez is an artist and a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and the NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant. She was a finalist in the 2023 National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and has shown her work nationally and internationally. As an arts worker, arts advocate, and visual artist with training in servant leadership, Hernandez has in-depth knowledge of the arts and culture ecosystem.

Evan Milligan, Creative Writer & Consultant

Evan Milligan is a creative writer and consultant with pro-democracy civic groups, arts organizations, and Black community centered organizations. For over 20 years, he has been supporting efforts to strengthen democracy and eliminate poverty within Alabama, having worked with the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama, the Equal Justice Initiative, and Alabama Forward, a statewide civic engagement table which he served as founding Executive Director. Evan is also the named plaintiff in Allen v. Milligan, a federal lawsuit filed under Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Evan and his co-plaintiffs, leading to the creation of a second congressional district providing Black Alabamians an opportunity to elect a candidate of choice. Evan and his wife Jennifer have two children, Ruby (6) and Eljah (3).

Charles Rush, Partner & General Counsel, Southern Reconstruction Fund (SRF)

Charles Rush is the Partner and General Counsel of the SRF Impact Fund. Mr. Rush oversees SRF’s legal and regulatory compliance initiatives. Prior to joining SRF, Mr. Rush was an Associate Attorney in Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius’ International Trade and National Security practice where he advised Fortune 50 companies and other clients on risk management, export and import compliance issues with the U.S. government agencies. Additionally, Mr. Rush completed a secondment for a leading global cloud computing service company where he assisted the company’s legal team in resolving import valuation and rectification issues in Brazil, South Korea, Nigeria, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Rush started his professional career working in the Labor Operations Department of the National Football League’s (NFL) Management Council. After the NFL, Mr. Rush attended the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business and graduated with an MBA with a Finance concentration. Then, Mr. Rush completed a dual degree program where he earned a JD from the Villanova University School of Law and a LLM in International Economic Law from the City University of Hong Kong School of Law.

Linda Saleh, Executive Director, Building Equity & Alignment for Environmental Justice (BEA)

Linda Saleh (she/her) is the Executive Director of Building Equity and Alignment for Environmental Justice (BEA). BEA is an intermediary and convener that works to shift power, influence, and resources from institutions to grassroots communities. Over 20 years, Linda has organized and been active across gender, reproductive, and youth justice movements; her goal always is the leadership of frontline communities, the radical reimagining of societies, and of collective liberation of her communities. Linda co-founded and is a Principal at Feminist Solutions towards Global Justice, a feminist consulting practice that supports organizations’ strategy development, policy advocacy, and research efforts. She has significant experience engaging with global policy processes and has published several resources to support grassroots and national-level activism. Before this, Linda served as the Executive Director of a global youth-led human rights organization for four years. She holds degrees from Queens University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, and can often be found happily getting lost on a trail with a dog or two.

jasmine Sankofa, Executive Director, Movement for Family Power (MFP)

jasmine Sankofa (she/her) is the Executive Director of Movement for Family Power (MFP), a national movement organization that works to end the policing and punishment of families. jasmine’s work has focused on sex work decriminalization, decarceration, survivor justice, and exposing the inhumane practice of forced family separations, centering the voices and lived experiences of all Black women and girls. Prior to joining MFP, jasmine managed decarceration campaigns in Oklahoma and wrote an issue brief highlighting the punishment of survivors and mothers living in poverty through Oklahoma’s vague and overly broad child abuse and neglect statute. jasmine also previously worked at Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, where she researched and wrote a 121-page report documenting the experiences of mothers separated from their children and at risk of having their parental rights terminated while detained pretrial. Hailing from Long Beach, California, jasmine graduated from UCLA School of Law with specializations in Critical Race Studies and Public Interest Law and Policy, and UC San Diego with degrees in Sociology and Critical Gender Studies, and a minor in African-American Studies.

Sophia Softky, Development Director, Allied Media Projects (AMP)

As Development Director, Sophia (they/them/theirs) leads a team of rain-makers and “Glucose Guardians” to organize the resources Allied Media Projects (AMP) staff and sponsored projects need to carry out their brilliant work. Since joining AMP in 2016, they have personally stewarded the flow of over $25 million to people and projects making media for liberation, in Detroit and beyond. Sophia has been fundraising since college, when they started throwing house parties to raise money for the housing co-op they lived in while studying Critical Theory at UT Austin. Writing grants was an easy next step after stints in book publication, magazines, and freelance journalism. In 2015, they drove an ancient Volvo from California to Detroit, and never left. By night, Sophia DJs as BEIGE, active on the North American queer techno underground dance music circuit.

New York City WEDNESDAY

Elizabeth Anoff Senior Director of Family and Community Engagement, Coney Island Preparatory Charter Schools

Elizabeth Anoff is a champion of women, children, and families of color with over ten years of experience in the education reform sector. She is the Senior Director of Family and Community Engagement at Coney Island Prep, a college preparatory network of schools in South Brooklyn serving over 1,200 children. Within this role, Elizabeth serves as the family advocate, community servant, and political liaison for Coney Island, Bensonhurst, and Bath Beach (on behalf of Coney Island Prep). She also created Coney Island Prep’s first successful after-school program, which provides after-school care for 200 children free of charge for families, many of whom are Black and Brown and lower-income. Last but not least, Elizabeth is the co-chair of Coney Island Prep’s 2023 initiative of investing in diverse leadership, which supports the development and retention of all leaders, especially women of color. Elizabeth currently resides in Brooklyn and enjoys spending time with her partner, family, and friends.

Bernard Blake Director of Finance and Operations, National Organization on Disability

As the Director of Finance and Operations at the National Organizational on Disability, Bernard leads key functional areas (finance, talent operations, general administration) that positively support the organization’s strategy, operational delivery, team coordination and analytical/business modeling needs, in order to position NOD as the field’s national premier disability employment resource. Prior to joining NOD, Bernard served as the Finance and Business Operations manager at Dechets a l’Or. Based in Guinea, Dechets a l’Or is a holistic solid waste management solution for rapidly growing secondary cities of West Africa that collects and processes waste to produce fertilizer, supply manufacturers with recyclable plastics, and provide households with renewable energy in the form of paper briquettes. Bernard holds a Master of Business Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Science from the University at Buffalo. In his free time, Bernard tutors STEM for the Parris Foundation located in Harlem, NY.

Manuel Blasco Nonprofit Associate Manager (Regional Partner Network), Scholastic Art & Writing Awards – Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

Manuel (Manny) Blasco is a nonprofit programs manager with more than seven years of experience in event and programming management, partnership management, and children’s book publishing. He is committed to promoting educational equity and is a passionate youth education advocate. Manny earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Business Writing from Rutgers University. He started his career at HarperCollins Childrens Books, where he worked in the editorial department. In 2016, Manny was selected as a We Need Diverse Books Internship Grant recipient and ambassador for the mission of making books featuring diverse characters accessible to all children. Since November 2019, he has been working at the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit organization that administers the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. At the Alliance, Manny manages a national network of over 100 regional affiliate partners, collaborating with them on growth practices, program standards, and community outreach. He also works with the partner network to develop and implement strategic and measurable Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion goals to increase student participation in the Scholastic Awards. Outside of work, Manny is an art enthusiast who frequents art museums in different cities, and is a dedicated marathon runner whose goal is to complete the Six Star World Marathon Majors journey.

Mark Cardona Director Of Operations, NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault (NYCAASA)

Mark Cardona joined NYCAASA in March of 2022 after working with Westchester Community Opportunity Program Victims Assistance Services since January of 2017. He started his work as a bilingual victim advocate and found his way to his passion of operations in the nonprofit sector. Mark thrives in budget and fiscal management and overall governance of nonprofit organizations.

 

Kara Daniels Assistant Director of College Advising, SEO Scholars

Kara Daniels is the assistant director of College Advising at SEO Scholars. In her nine years working in college access, she has remained committed to finding opportunities and resources for the students she serves. She is particularly passionate about increasing access to knowledge around financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and debunking myths around those topics. She also loves building relationships with students and learning about their communities and interests. She started her career in two Boston public high schools, working with AmeriCorps and College Advising Corps. She moved to the New York City nonprofit space while working at LEDA Scholars as a school outreach coordinator. In 2018, she joined SEO Scholars where she has served New York City public high school students in a variety of capacities. She currently leads programming for SEO’s College Advising team. Kara graduated from Tufts University with a degree in American Studies, and has a master’s from Boston University in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. In her free time, she likes to read fiction, explore New York City cafes and restaurants, and hang out with her niece and three nephews.

Destiny Davis Director of Programming, YA-YA Network

Destiny Davis (she/they) is a queer, Black, community organizer born and raised in Brooklyn. Passionate about the well-being of young people, they have worked closely with elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Brooklyn for the last six years. Destiny has a longstanding connection to her community, working to support and maintain local mutual aid projects and tenant organizing, and has historically organized to combat discriminatory practices within NYC Schools. They joined YA-YA Network in 2018 and became the Facilitation Associate in 2019. At the end of 2021, they stepped into the role of Director of Programming where they recruit, train, and mobilize NYC high school students across the city to develop and facilitate anti-oppressive workshops, as well as foster the critical thinking skills necessary to strategize around addressing issues within their communities.

Liat Deener-Chodirker Director of Strategic Operations, Avodah

Liat is the Director of Program Operations at Avodah, where she previously served as the Manager of Program Operations, the Executive Assistant and Special Project Manager, and the Executive Assistant to the CEO. Prior to joining Avodah, she worked at the Adams Street Foundation, helping high school students discover and gain access to extracurricular opportunities. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a minor in Israel Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from Boston, Liat now lives in Brooklyn. In her free time, she can be found in the ceramics studio or preparing a yummy meal in her kitchen.

Adrian España Director of Human Resources, People & Culture, UnLocal, Inc.

Adrian España (he/him) is a first-generation Mexican-American, born and raised in Queens, New York. He has five years of experience in the human resources and people operations realm. In those years, he has traversed for-profit, tech, and nonprofit spaces; in each of them, he committed to advocating for employees, building community, and improving both the organizations he worked for and himself. He attended Laguardia Community College and went on to get his four-year degree at Queens College. He is an avid fan of both the Mets and the Knicks, and loves to run, especially with running groups in Queens and Brooklyn.

Hannah Fallon Project Director, NYC, Artists For Humanity

Hannah Fallon is a designer, mentor, and lifelong creator who has been constructing works of art since childhood. For Hannah, the experience of discovering her agency through creativity was transformational as a young person. It is this discovery that fuels her to do the work she does today as the NYC Project Director for Artists For Humanity (AFH). AFH is a youth arts enterprise organization where young people are paid to work alongside mentors on creative projects for real world clients. Through the efficacy and resilience of the youth, AFH contributes to the enrichment of the community by bridging economic, racial, and social divisions. Teens at AFH are mentored by professional artists who guide projects from conception to completion, as well as support youth through the turbulence of young adulthood. Employment at AFH provides young people with authentic work experiences that develop real-world career readiness through collaborative problem solving, social and emotional learning, and by fostering a growth mindset. After a decade working as an artist and mentor in the 3D Design Studio at AFH in Boston, Hannah is leading the launch of AFH’s first pilot project in New York City. Hannah believes that offering young people the opportunity to generate collaborative and creative solutions fosters critical thinking skills that will equip them to rise above any challenges that life presents with confidence and grace.

Evan Goldstein Senior Policy Associate, CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance

Evan supports the planning and implementation of initiatives within the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII), a multi-year, $250 million investment in organizations to promote a fairer and more efficient criminal legal system in New York City. Previously, Evan worked at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), where he promoted drug policy reform in New York State through research and advocacy. As a Policy Coordinator at DPA, he supported and managed several projects, including the passage and implementation of the 911 Good Samaritan Law, and state and local marijuana arrest reform campaigns. Evan holds a Master of Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts from New York University.

Cristy Gonzalez Youth Director, The Boys’ Club of New York

Cristy Gonzalez serves as the Youth Director for the Boys’ Club of New York (BCNY). Cristy coordinates the development and implementation of BCNY’s out-of-school and summer day camp programming for boys ages 7-12. She oversees an annual budget that sustains a program focused on leadership, character, life-skills, and healthy living, and provides opportunities for youth to build knowledge, skills, and values in a meaningful and fun context by developing and implementing evidence-based curriculum and lesson plans. Cristy hails from the Bronx and has been in the youth development field for 15 years, serving underserved communities. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and has worked in nonprofit leadership for over ten years. Having worked her way up, Cristy has served in different roles, raising her expertise level and ability to see situations from the vantage point of multiple stakeholders. She believes in the power of connection as the key to motivation, and coaches with care. Her hobbies include writing, reading, attending Broadway shows, mentoring, and creating.

Ginalysse Ingles Director of Development Operations and Donor Engagement, Harlem Children’s Zone

Ginalysse Ingles is the Director of Development Operations and Donor Engagement at Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). In this role, she implements best practice systems and processes for strategic fundraising and leads key donor engagements. Prior to HCZ, she led Development Operations at the USTA Foundation. Ginalysse started her nonprofit work as an intern for One Stop Senior Services, and since then, has focused on supporting organizations that provide resources for underserved populations. Outside of work, Ginalysse enjoys book clubs, musicals, traveling, puzzles, documentaries, and creative writing. She has always enjoyed volunteering and is proud to be an active volunteer in several youth organizations. Ginalysse holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College.

Paulette Jarrett Manager of Talent Acquisition, Learning Through An Expanded Arts Program (LEAP), Inc.

Paulette has over 13 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector and 12 years in the corporate environment, executing strategies for talent acquisition, retention, training, and development. Her areas of expertise include organizational leadership; developing high performing teams; team building; improving environmental, health, and safety conditions for workers and communities; implementing programs for seniors; and executing employment and internship programs for youth and special needs populations. Paulette is a strong proponent for training and development; an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion; an upholder of talent acquisition strategies that encompass all generations; and a passionate individual concerned with serving children, youth, seniors, homeless, and re-entry populations.

Deion Jones Director of Network Engagement, Slow Food USA

Deion (he/him) serves as the Director of Network Engagement for Slow Food USA. He leads efforts in network growth and troubleshooting, providing tools to network leaders and members. Food has been, and continues to be, a passion for Deion throughout his academic and professional endeavors. His undergraduate (Florida Gulf Coast University) and graduate (University of Oregon) studies both centered on food, focusing on sustainable sourcing and immigrant identity through food, respectively. Beyond academia, Deion dedicates his time to seeing the many corners of the food realm that he studied: from urban and rural farms, to food banks with Feeding America, to public health initiatives, to one of the best farm-to-table fine dining establishments in the world, Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Tameika Kennie Area Director, Young Life

Tameika Kennie was born and raised in White Plains, NY. She received a degree in Physical Therapy from Touro College and a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry from The New York Theological Seminary. She previously served as the Youth Minister at the Fordham Manor Church for several years. Currently, Ms. Kennie is the Area Director for Young Life, Bronx-Kingsbridge, where she serves faithfully. She feels that every kid in the Bronx deserves to have a loving and caring adult walking alongside them as they journey through life. Ms. Kennie has always had a unique connection with young people. Over the years, God has connected her passion for youth and young adults with her purpose. As such, she is trained, skilled, and equipped to ensure that every young person she meets hears about the God of the universe that loves them and has great plans for their lives. Ms. Kennie believes that the next generation of youth will be our future leaders, who will be game changers in their schools, communities, and beyond. She vows to continue doing her part to guide young people into becoming the best version of themselves they can be. Ms. Kennie is the founder and CEO of Kingdom Kids Connection Consulting, where her hope is to help churches create space for young people to find community and support.

Dione Lomando Assistant Director of Student Services and Program Operations, The Opportunity Network

Dione Lomando currently serves as the Assistant Director of Student Services and Program Operations at The Opportunity Network. Prior to joining The Opportunity Network, Dione supported the College Success Program at Bottom Line New York as a Success Team Manager. She served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa, teaching English as a foreign language. Since then, she has worked in a wide variety of education settings, from creating programming and developing career readiness curricula for an organization supporting youth experiencing homelessness, to teaching English classes at a local mosque. She is a first-generation college student and holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Evansville with a minor in Archaeology, and certification in teaching ESL. Dione is an avid reader, an amateur painter, an enthusiastic plant owner, and enjoys exploring NYC with her husband and French bulldog.

Ashley Lugo Director of Development, Events, & Community Engagement, Safe Horizon

Ashley Lugo is a native Brooklynite, born and raised in Bed-Stuy. She is a proactive and results-driven professional with more than seven years of experience in fundraising and strategic planning. Currently, she serves as the Director of Development, Events, and Community Engagement at Safe Horizon in New York. In this role, she is the lead project manager for donor engagement events, manages a community portfolio, plans and executes campaigns, and oversees the peer-to-peer fundraising platform, Team Horizon. Ashley is an active member of Safe Horizon’s RFP Compensation Project Selection Committee, the Supporting Leaders of Color initiative, and the Anti-Racism Steering Committee. She is motivated by her deep passion to break barriers, and advance justice and racial equity. Ashley is an active volunteer with Building Black Bed-Stuy and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She recently completed the Cause Effective Fellows Program: Advancing Leaders of Color in Fundraising, and received her bachelor’s degree in Crime, Law, and Justice from The Pennsylvania State University. Ashley is also fluent in Spanish.

Eric McGriff Sexual Violence Prevention Program Coordinator, Crime Victims Treatment Center

Eric McGriff (he/him) is a violence prevention specialist with over 15 years of experience working on issues related to youth, gender, and violent extremism, and co-creating ecosystems that better prevent and respond to harm. He is the Sexual Violence Prevention Program Coordinator at the Crime Victims Treatment Center and a consultant speaker/trainer for the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. Guided by principles of cultural humility, psychological safety, and inclusive facilitation, Eric’s violence prevention work is about tapping into the strengths and expertise that exist in every organization and community, to overcome the challenges they experience and navigate toward their highest possibilities.

Channell Mellish Director of Marketing & Communications, Common Impact

Channell is a public affairs professional and multicultural marketing strategist committed to advancing positive social change. With over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit, government, and corporate sectors, she leads at the intersection of community, culture, and communication. She is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications at Common Impact, where she is primarily responsible for conceptualizing the brand marketing, storytelling, and content strategy across the organization’s platforms. Channell was an Atlas Corps scholar and a part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative for global changemakers. She was previously the Citywide Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the New York City Public Advocate, Jumaane D. Williams. She also held communications positions within the Office of the Mayor for New York City, Bill de Blasio, and various social sector organizations. Channell profoundly believes in the value of volunteering and empowerment. She previously served as the Chief Young Ambassador and a Dorothy I. Height Global Leadership Academy fellow for the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute. Additionally, she is a member of the American Marketing Association, ColorComm, National Urban League Young Professionals, and the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications.

Em Miller  Director, Visual Thinking Strategies

Em Miller (they/them) served as both a Trainer and the Operations Manager at Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) since 2015. In July 2023, they transitioned to the role of Director. For Em, leading a nonprofit organization that teaches learner-centered facilitation in order to support the development of critical thinking, visual literacy, communication, and collaboration skills, requires a personal commitment to self-reflection, deep listening, and continued engagement with perspectives beyond their own. In the past three years, Em has led the charge to shift VTS’s organizational focus to more deeply support and uplift queer and BIPOC practitioners through the creation of the VTS Trainer Fellowship Program, a paid, on-the-job mentorship pathway aimed at sustaining the practice of VTS. Em earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Recreation Management from Ohio University (2008), and a Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute (2016). As an artist, Em explores human and inanimate connections, communication, and modes of intimacy through facilitation, performance, video, and play grounded in learning environment design and relational aesthetics. They are a daily runner and walker, and find comfort among chosen families in Brooklyn and across the country.

Lauraliz Morales-Silva Manager of Capacity Building, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA)

Lauraliz (she/her/ella) is a bilingual professional development manager and poverty abolitionist with over nine years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Lauraliz works to advance social and economic justice for marginalized and underserved communities. In her current role as Manager of Capacity Building at FPWA, she designs and implements trauma-informed, people-centered, and equity-driven capacity building initiatives for nonprofit and faith-based organizations, with the ultimate goal of creating a more effective and impactful human services sector, best positioned to serve communities and to interrupt the cycles of trauma and poverty. Prior to her current role, Lauraliz worked as a Program Coordinator at FPWA, collaborating on the Ending the Poverty to Prison Pipeline Trauma-Informed NYC Demonstration Project. Lauraliz has also held positions as a Community Engagement Specialist at the Domestic Violence Project (NMIC), a Self-sufficiency Coordinator (NMIC), and a Legal Project Assistant for the Family Law Project (Sanctuary for Families in the Bronx Family Justice Center). In previous roles, Lauraliz focused on broadening resources and programs to empower participants through economic security and success, with a specific focus on education, career development, financial security, leadership development, and micro-enterprise. Lauraliz is passionate about connecting people, ideas, and resources, and is eager to continue working towards innovative and people-centered programs that promote economic justice, upward mobility, long-term stability, and personal wellbeing. Lauraliz earned an Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Linguistics from the University of Puerto Rico. Lauraliz is Mateo’s mom. She freelances as a translator and interpreter, and has a third side hustle as a singer, performing Latin American Folk and World music with her husband Horacio.

Christelle Prophete Senior Project Manager, New Left Accelerator

Christelle is a program operations specialist currently serving as a Senior Project Manager at New Left Accelerator, where she oversees the Empower and Protect program. Christelle’s work is primarily focused on program management, operations, and racial equity competency building. Previously, Christelle worked at Living Cities, where she led projects directed toward building racial equity practices within a cross-country network of 21 cities. Christelle also worked at Demos, where she managed a cohort of 35 grassroots organizations across 17 states through successful national convenings, curated monthly content, and essential financial assistance. Christelle is a native New Yorker who enjoys reading speculative fiction and practicing her swim technique.

Leticia Reyes Project Director of Customized Support, uAspire

Leticia is the Project Director of Customized Support at uAspire. Her responsibilities involve delivering projects on college affordability via a flexible advising model. These projects are geared toward high school seniors and/or postsecondary students, to help them navigate the financial aid process. Before uAspire, Leticia had a background in working with low-income families in healthcare and in education. She transitioned into working as a paralegal, where she assisted attorneys in criminal, family, and immigration law. After this role, she shifted to becoming a college advisor, working with high school juniors and seniors in Brooklyn; this is where her motivation to work in higher education started. When Leticia is not working, she’s enjoying time with her family and looking for fun things to do!

Adriana Santos Program Manager, Newark Public Safety Collaborative

Adriana Santos is a doctoral student at the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice (Newark). As a Program Manager for the Newark Public Safety Collaborative, a Rutgers-Newark anchor initiative, Adriana has focused on using geospatial technologies to analyze and interpret crime data. Moreover, she works with community partners to implement data-informed community engagement strategies to address crime problems in the Newark, NJ. She also currently manages the efforts being implemented under the recently-awarded BJA Reimagining Justice grant, which aims to test new models of community safety.

Alexander Schneider Senior Manager, Operations and Communications, Catalyze Justice

Alexander Schneider is a Senior Manager of operations and communications at Catalyze Justice. Catalyze Justice is focused on ending the punitive youth prison model and accelerating investment in those communities that have been hardest-hit by youth incarceration, through site-based advising and narrative change. Most recently, he worked at the Columbia Justice Lab on their Youth Justice Initiatives. Previously, he managed an environmentally-focused workforce development program at Sustainable South Bronx and The HOPE Program, and also coordinated an adult education program for people with justice involvement at The Fortune Society. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, and volunteered with the People’s Education Initiative, providing educational classes at the women’s jail on Rikers Island. Alexander has a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from The New School, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

Yasmeen Silva Campaign Manager, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Yasmeen Silva (she/her) is an organizer, strategist, and advocate for progressive change. She brings more than ten years of experience in organizing across the progressive movement—for issues such as the environment, climate, labor, reproductive rights, and peace and security—to the Global Security Program at UCS. She is passionate about giving people the tools to make positive change in the world. In addition to her work at UCS, she is a board member at Physicians for Social Responsibility. When not working towards social change, you can find Yasmeen on horseback, or snuggled up with a good dystopian novel.

Devi Singh Instructional Designer and Technology Trainer, CCI

Devi Singh (pronounced Day-vee Sing) has a background in education and nonprofit organizations. She is a graduate of two CUNY institutions: Lehman College and Queens College. Devi is an advocate for parent rights and responsibilities, including AAPI work through CACF and PTA Title I.

Justin Singleton Director of Museum Experience and Operations, Queens Museum

Justin Singleton is a Queens native who was recently promoted to Director of Museum Experience and Operations at the Queens Museum, where he oversees the front of house staff, visitor operations, and facility rentals. He has been working in NYC cultural institutions since 2005 in various capacities. He started his career at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) as a weekend volunteer while in high school. During his eight year tenure at NYSCI, Justin has worked within several departments, earning promotions throughout each of them. From 2013 to 2015, Justin held supervisory positions at several Manhattan intuitions, including the New York Historical Society and The Whitney Museum of American Art. Justin returned to Queens to manage the Visitor Experience department at the Museum of the Moving Image until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down operations. Justin joined the Queens Museum in September of 2020, starting in the role of front of house manager. Justin holds a degree in Architectural Technology from CUNY New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, NY.

Kimberly Valle Program Director, ImmSchools

Kim has been managing programs and partnerships in the state of New Jersey at Immschools for two years. ImmSchools partners with schools and districts to ensure safe, equitable, and inclusive spaces for all students and families across the nation. Kim is a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, and feels fortunate to be the first in her family to obtain higher education as a first-generation college graduate. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a focus on International Development from the University of Texas at El Paso (2016) and a masters’ degree in Public Administration focusing on public policy management from Rutgers University (2021). Throughout her undergraduate career, Kim focused on covering borderland immigration stories of undocumented/immigrant students and communities. From 2016-2018, Kim served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco where she created sustainable socioeconomic programs in rural areas for Moroccan youth and women that supported educational and employment attainment. Her passion for public service was deepened during her Peace Corps service and thus continued to work in the nonprofit industry servicing immigrant communities through education and social services. Kim’s motivation and inspiration to continue the path of public service is her personal experiences growing up in a marginalized undocumented community by witnessing the educational and socioeconomic disparities that exist within immigrant communities.

Leticia Vasquez Director of College Access Programs, The Double Discovery Center at Columbia University

For more than a third of her life, Leticia Vasquez has given back to the community that has given her so much by supporting New York City youth—who share similar backgrounds, identities, and experiences as her—navigate the college admissions process. For Leticia, it is important to make the college admissions process as equitable as possible and eliminate barriers for young people who are systemically marginalized, by educating and mentoring them to leverage their assets and utilize the resources available to them, to place them in the same playing field as their privileged counterparts. It is also a passion of Leticia’s to educate, challenge, and shift the mindset of BIPOC educators to see the potential, promise, and assets of our young people, and steer them away from the indoctrinated deficit mindset. Today, Leticia is director of College Access Programs at Columbia University’s Double Discovery Center. She serves on college access and community-oriented organizations, including the National Association for College Admission Counseling, New York State Association for College Admission Counseling, ACCEPT: Admissions Community Cultivating Equity & Peace Today, and Queens Community Board 2. Leticia received her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Leticia hopes that her professional journey will lead her to continue supporting the elevation and success of underrepresented and systemically-marginalized people, particularly folx of first-gen, low-income, and BIPOC backgrounds.

Bianca Vinoya Director of Development, Breakthrough New York

Bianca Vinoya (she/her) is a nonprofit fundraiser with almost a decade of experience in building strategic partnerships to support youth development and urban justice. She currently serves as Director of Development at Breakthrough New York, a nonprofit that supports 500 students from low-income households to and through college. Bianca started out her career as a social sciences researcher, on the frontlines of community organizing and building cross-sector coalitions among women, youth, and the ‘urban poor,’ and agricultural and Indigenous communities in the Philippines. She then moved into grant writing and fundraising – raising money from international organizations to secure research projects, then moving into nonprofit consulting and strategic fundraising roles. She received her Master of Arts in International Development from Fordham University (Bronx, NY), and her bachelor’s degrees in Management and Sociology from the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines). Her years of experience as a frontline community researcher and fundraiser inform her approach to work: she is equipped with a steadfast commitment to quantitative and qualitative research, thoughtful relationship-building, and meaningful community partnerships to advance equity.

Khourin Wilkins Associate Director of Programs, Support Center

Khourin is a NJ-based professional, who is NYC born and raised. Khourin recently became the Associate Director of Programs at the Support Center; before that, she worked at the National Urban League, supporting 25 affiliate centers with grant and program management. Prior to working at the National Urban League, Khourin worked in nonprofits throughout New York and New Jersey, supporting youth and entrepreneurs through career development, program management, and consulting for over 15 years. Khourin graduated from The New School with a master’s degree in Strategic Design and Management, and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Kean University. When Khourin is not working, she enjoys painting as a form of therapy, dancing, family, and being outside when it is warm.

Juliana (Juju) Wong Bicoastal Educator & Higher Education Consultant, Professor Juuj

Juliana (Juju) Wong (she/her) is a bicoastal educator and higher education consultant based in New York City and San Francisco. With 10+ years in college access and success work, Juju centers the social identities and emotions of BIPOC, first-generation students throughout the college process. From workshops to social media content, she makes college knowledge and resources more accessible to young people in fun and creative ways! Juju is also a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) strategist who integrates her ethnic studies and equity lens to build programs and organizations. From curriculum design to organizational development, her ultimate goal is to create culturally-affirming and equitable educational and career pipelines for diverse communities to feel valued and empowered in their professional pathways.

New York City ThurSDAY

Stefanie Alleyne Director Partnerships and Programs, Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC)

Stefanie Alleyne, LMSW, is a compassionate and empathetic leader. In her current role as Director of Partnerships and Programs at Local Initiative Support Corporation, she manages a team of community development officers, and, with senior staff, designs strategic partnerships to expand program growth across the state. Recently, Stefanie completed Coro Neighborhood Leadership Cohort NL23, as a way to build contacts in city government, bolster community and economic development efforts, and solidify her own brand of leadership. She holds a Master of Social Work, majoring in Community Organizing, Planning, and Development from the Silberman School of Social Work, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Hunter College. Previously, Stefanie was the Director of Small Business and Workforce Development at United Way of New York City (UWNYC), where she co-designed the strategy for the initiative, maintained and grew essential partnerships, and implemented opportunities for Black-owned small businesses in New York City. Between 2019 and 2021, Stefanie served as a Senior Community Liaison for the New York City Council, as well as an Outreach Liaison for the 2019 Charter Revision Commission. Her earlier career involved video production and editing, and media education.

Justin M. Artenant Senior Manager, Newark Thrives, United Way of Greater Newark

Justin M. Artenant is the Senior Manager of Newark Thrives, an initiative of the United Way of Greater Newark. Justin has been on the United Way team since November of 2021. Justin is the Executive Lead for New Jersey’s only out-of-school time intermediary, Newark Thrives. The Newark Thrives Network collaborates, convenes, and advocates for out-of-school time participants and programs in the Greater Newark area. Prior to joining the United Way, Justin was a federally-funded program director of after-school and summer time programs for nine years. Justin recently completed the 12-month White Riley Peterson Fellowship. This national policy fellowship prepares after-school leaders to advocate for funds to disperse to after-school and out-of-school time communities. Justin looks forward to basing the next iteration of the Newark Thrives Network in equity, high-quality out-of-school-time programming, and in genuine student experience. Justin enjoys traveling, playing tennis, and spending time with family in his free time.

Alex Barrett Senior Director of Strategy & Innovation, The Knowledge House

Alex Barrett (she/her) is a facilitator, equitable designer, project manager, and talent developer who believes change is accomplished when we invest in community and people-potential. She currently serves as the Senior Director of Strategy & Innovation for The Knowledge House, a workforce training program focused on transforming the tech industry by nurturing the next generation of Black and Brown technologists. Alex excels at bringing strategy to life, and loves any opportunity to ensure excellent leaders get the resources, training, and support they need to do their excellent, impactful work. She also loves any opportunity to explore a new neighborhood, especially when ice cream is involved.

Rubernette Chavis Senior Director of Program Services, Hour Children

Rubernette Chavis, LCSW, is the Senior Director of Program Services at Hour Children. She leads and supervises a team of social workers, house managers, and childcare program staff who support the Hour Community Food Pantry and Hour Working Women re-entry program. Rubernette came to Hour Children in December 2021 from The Family Center, where she was Director of Treatment Services. Over the last 20 years, she has supervised the daily operations of several programs and coordinated social service practice and programming at organizations, such as Vertex Outpatient, Urban Pathways, Beth Israel Medical Center, and Pathways to Housing, with an emphasis on assisting families and individuals beginning the process of recovery and healing. Her focus has been on providing client-centered, trauma-informed treatment, as well as training and using best practice models.

Kelly Connolly Senior Director of Early Childhood and Compass Elementary Programs, Sunnyside Community Services

Kelly Connolly is the Senior Director of Early Childhood and Elementary Programs at Sunnyside Community Services. Kelly has been with Sunnyside Community Services for eight years, where she started as a Program Director in one of the after-school programs. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Kelly was a teacher with the New York City Department of Education. After her tenure with the Department of Education, Kelly was looking for a more satisfying role working with children. She took a chance as a part-time volleyball instructor in an after-school program with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Within weeks, she was promoted to site coordinator, and that’s where her love of working in the nonprofit world developed. Kelly is entering her 20th year working with children, and her 13th year working in the nonprofit sector. Kelly has a bachelor’s in Business Administration, and a master’s in Early Childhood and Special Education.

Clarissa Espinoza Director of Programs, New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault

Clarissa Espinoza (she/her/ella) is the Director of Programs at the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, and leads the strategic direction of all programs. Previously, she served as the New York Statewide Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Program Manager at Crime Victims Treatment Center in NYC, where she coordinated services for incarcerated survivors of sexual violence across New York State. Over the last 15 years, her work has been centered on providing trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and culturally-competent community coordinated response to survivors of crime, in particular, sexual violence. In the many roles she has held, Clarissa has worked on multiple projects that include Prevention in Nightlife, Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (S.A.F.E) Training, Hospital and Helpline Advocacy, and volunteer recruitment and training of first responders across New York State. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Women & Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey, where she committed her time to working with underserved communities, and explored different approaches to restorative justice practices in the criminal justice system. During her time at The New School, working towards her Master’s of Arts in Nonprofit Management, she spent a semester working alongside youth at the Red Hook Community Justice Center exploring the impact of restorative justice practices in their community. Clarissa has been at the forefront, along with other rape crisis programs, to expand and strengthen services in New York State. Her commitment and passion for this work lies in the belief that enhancing the response from the community allows authentic healing for the survivor and community at large.

Yesenia Garcia Vice President of People and Culture, Matriculate

Yesenia Garcia is currently the Vice President of People & Culture for Matriculate, a national nonprofit supporting high-achieving, low-income students in their college application process through a near-peer virtual advising model. She first joined the organization as a founding staff member in 2015, as a Program Operations and Development Manager. She has served in a number of roles across the organization, helping establish processes, systems, and culture to be able to scale from serving 350 students to 7,700 students in 2023-2024. Yesenia holds a Master of Social Work from Hunter College, and a Bachelor of Arts from Stony Brook University.

Monique Hector Executive Director, Harlem Business Alliance

Monique Hector is a seasoned professional in the field of economic and workforce development. With over 10 years of dedicated experience in nonprofits and government agencies, she has consistently displayed her action-oriented leadership style by successfully developing, fundraising for, and establishing impactful programs that provide solutions for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Monique is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Harlem Business Alliance (HBA). Prior to her role at HBA, she served as the Director of Program Development and Implementation for Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC) at the Department of Small Business Services, and held the position of Manager of Entrepreneurship Programs at Queens Public Library. She holds a master’s degree in Business Management and Leadership, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Business. Monique is dedicated to making a positive impact in her field.

Thierry Kehou Director of Programs & Partnerships, Poets & Writers

Thierry Kehou is the Director of Programs & Partnerships at Poets & Writers, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers. Prior to joining Poets & Writers, he was the Writing Programs Manager at The Center for Fiction, the only literary nonprofit in the U.S. solely dedicated to celebrating fiction. In 2020, Thierry co-founded the Lampblack Literary Foundation, a nonprofit supporting writers of the global Black Diaspora, and currently curates the Lampblack Reading Series at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA). Thierry is the translator of Jean D’Amérique’s A Sun to be Sewn, named an NPR Book of the Day in 2023, and his work has appeared in Departures Magazine, Lampblack, The Huron River Review, and elsewhere. Before pivoting to the literary arts, Thierry worked as an educator in New York City and abroad, and is a founding member of the New York French American Charter School, the first bilingual Franco-American public charter school in the United States. Thierry holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Newark, and a Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Study from the Gallatin School at New York University. He lives with his wife and two children in Brooklyn.

Lauren LeBeaux Craig Interim Executive Director, Newark Arts

Lauren LeBeaux Craig is the Interim Executive Director of Newark Arts, a long-standing community-centered nonprofit that powers the arts and culture ecosystem in Newark to change the lives of its residents. Ms. LeBeaux Craig joined Newark Arts in 2016. A cum laude graduate of Spelman College, Ms. LeBeaux Craig received her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, where she was the Notes Editor for Rutgers Law Review. After practicing law for 10 years, Ms. LeBeaux Craig stepped into the role of creative strategist, and now has a decade of marketing/media relations, copywriting, community relations, artist advocacy, and event curation experience in the arts, tourism, and nonprofit industries. Ms. LeBeaux Craig is a former gallery owner in the Lincoln Park section of Newark, and is the former Executive Director of Art in the Atrium, Inc., a 31-year-old, New Jersey-based, Black fine arts organization. Ms. LeBeaux Craig is a certified yoga instructor and the author of 100 Things Newark, a tourism guide to the City of Newark, which was featured in the New York Times, AP Travel, and The National Magazine.

Michael LeeYow Managing Director of Programs, Bottom Line

Michael LeeYow currently serves as the Managing Director of Programs for Bottom Line NYC. In his role, Michael leads the strategic vision and implementation of their core program models (College Access, College Success, and Career Connections). Michael has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and African American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been an educator for over 20 years in four major cities. Since graduating from Penn, Michael has been a recognized educational leader, working in marginalized communities in Philadelphia, Oakland, Chicago, and eventually back to New York in 2015. A few of Michael’s professional stops have been serving as a researcher for the African American Literacy and Culture Research Project in Oakland, a Founding Director at the Breakthrough Collaborative of Philadelphia, an Assistant Principal at the University of Chicago’s North Kenwood Oakland Elementary School, and as an Education Director for Manhattan Youth in Battery Park. Over the years, Michael has been the recipient of various awards including the NYCDOE D79 Superintendent’s Recognition Award, Former Congressman Chaka Fattah’s Men Making a Difference Award, and has sat on a variety of advisory boards and steering committees. Michael lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.

Sibusisiwe Malaba Chief of Strategy and Impact, Newark Alliance

Sibusisiwe Malaba is a seasoned public servant committed to advancing racial equity through public policy and partnerships. She holds 15+ years of professional experience in public affairs and community development. As Chief of Strategy and Impact at the Newark Alliance, Sibusisiwe is responsible for integrating racial equity best practices and strengthening outcomes across Alliance programs and partnerships. Prior to the Newark Alliance, Sibusisiwe served as National Urban Fellow in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department at Prudential. Previously, Sibusisiwe served as executive director for the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC), where she was responsible for defining, analyzing, and advocating for issues affecting people of color in Massachusetts. Under her leadership, the MBLLC secured several policy victories in the state budget, criminal justice reform, cannabis regulation, equal pay, and racial justice legislation. Sibusisiwe also held roles in the Office of Senator Chang-Diaz (D-MA), several electoral campaigns, and educational nonprofits. Sibusisiwe is a graduate of Tufts University (MPP) and Baruch College (MPA).

Jennifer Masdea Training Director, Health and Racial Equity, Health Resources in Action

With nearly 15 years of experience in public health, Jennifer Masdea is the Health and Racial Equity Training Director at Health Resources in Action (HRiA). In this role, Jennifer leverages her lived experience as a Black, multiracial, second-generation immigrant, and first-generation college student to advance health and racial equity in the public sector through training and technical assistance. Jennifer is also a BIPOC facilitator for HRiA’s Racial Justice Affinity Group (RJAG), and serves on the organization’s Black Affinity Group coordination team. Prior to joining HRiA, Jennifer served as a Program Evaluator for the Race to Justice Initiative at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Race to Justice is the agency’s internal reform effort to help agency staff learn what they can do to better address racial health gaps and improve health outcomes for all New Yorkers. Jennifer credits her unrelenting passion for health and racial equity to her experience as a Research Data Coordinator at Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships, where she witnessed firsthand the cumulating and compounding impacts of intersecting structural oppression on BIPOC students at Boston Public Schools. As an experienced facilitator, strategist, program evaluator, and project lead, Jennifer dedicates her unique skillset toward integrating racial equity and public health practice. Jennifer holds an MPH from the Boston University School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Faisal Masood Founder & President, American Muslim Consumer Consortium, Inc.

A technology leader with over 25 years of experience in various leadership roles and a strong commercial mindset, Faisal currently serves as the Managing Partner of ElementOne Digital. His expertise lies in technology transformation, building and scaling technology teams, and optimizing and improving the bottom line for technology service delivery organizations. Prior to his current role at ElementOne Digital, he spent over 20 years in key infrastructure technology roles at JP Morgan Chase and Ernst and Young. He also cofounded an e-commerce company Pcwonders.com in 1998 which was acquired by Buyitnow.com in 2000. Faisal is also the founder and president of the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, Inc. (AMCC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to develop the American Muslim Consumer market. The key objective of AMCC is to address the needs of American Muslim Consumers and empower companies that are developing products for this market. Faisal is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Chicago with a master’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Fadia Mohama Senior Director of Strategy and Workforce Partnerships, Employment Hub, Commonpoint Queens

Fadia Mohama is the Senior Director of Strategy and Workforce Partnerships of the Employment Hub at Commonpoint Queens. Fadia manages the vocational training department, which prepares learners for IT, health, culinary, OSHA, and security guard careers. She also manages several programs that focus on civic engagement, community outreach, job readiness workshops, work support programs, and building partnerships. She has also managed NYC Health and Hospital Test +Trace, a community partnership program that tackled COVID-19 inequities by providing much-needed resources to the community, as well as access to vaccine information and personal protection. She was also a member of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity (TRIE), supporting the ongoing COVID-19 response, increasing the local civic infrastructure, and supporting community needs. Additionally, Fadia is the chair of ECRC, a local community initiative that consists of 25 local nonprofit organizations to meet the needs of the Elmhurst and Corona communities, which ensures that families have: access to food, resources for jobs, and financial security; pathways for community-anchored health and healing programs; and shared educational and cultural experiences. As the lead of ECRC—and active member of the Queens Borough President’s Civic Engagement Committee, Elmhurst Community Partnerships, Jamaica Community Partnerships, and other community coalitions—Fadia Mohama has hosted and participated in hundreds of community events and workshops that benefit seniors, women, teens, families, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities.

Emmanuel Moses Director of College Access & Success, The Opportunity Network

Emmanuel “Manny” Moses (he/him) is the Director of College Access and Success at The Opportunity Network (OppNet), and is thrilled to continue along in his INP journey: Manny was part of the inaugural NYC Community Fellows Program cohort. While he states that he is “New York (Harlem) born” and currently resides there, Manny was definitely not “New York raised”. Growing up in a household dedicated to public service, and given his father’s work in public housing, Manny has called many places home, including: Los Angeles, Annandale, VA (outside of D.C.), Chicago (Southside), and outside of Cleveland. He made it back to NYC attending NYU for his undergraduate degree What has stayed true, besides family, his love for the beautiful game (C’mon, Citeh!), and all things nerdy (he is a Blerd through and through), has been a dedication to supporting communities without access to many of the privileges that he, himself, grew up with. Manny was not a first-generation college student (his father graduated from CUNY Queens College via the SEEK program), and was certainly not low-income growing up. He does identify as a BIPOC and bi-racial: his father is African-American, hailing from Tarboro, North Carolina, while his mother emigrated from Mendoza, Argentina. All of the above has helped define Manny, but it wasn’t until his graduate work (Sociology of Education at NYU) that he found – or rather was pushed into by his wonderful partner – the world of college access. Young Manny always wanted to be a high school English teacher, but graduate school made concrete and gave language to many of the things he was well-aware impacted the communities he had hoped to teach in, such as systemic inequality and social capital (or a lack thereof), as well as the many racist and oppressive systems perpetuating such. Realizations such as this ultimately shifted his focus to what happened before the hours of 8:00 am, and after 3:00 pm, and caused him to seek ways to make an impact outside of the classroom. After some rather lackluster research – and subsequently a gentle, but firm nudge from his partner to find that path – Manny found his way to becoming a part of NYU’s inaugural cohort of the College Advising Corps. He spent two years as a college advisor at a “failing” high school in The South Bronx (Monroe Academy for Business and Law), and then made his way to The Opportunity Network, where he started off as the manager of College Guidance. He is not only enjoying his current role (which he’s been in for close to a year), but he will also be celebrating ten full years at OppNet come August 2023 .

Maritza Myers Principal, MEMJ Consulting

Maritza Myers has extensive experience in nonprofit management and program planning that resulted in successful programs that facilitated the entry into and transition through allied health and health professional schools for talented students of color. She created programs for national organizations that targeted students who were underrepresented in the allied health and health professions, first for the (now-defunct) National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students (NSSFNS), the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and National Medical Fellowships (NMF). Her work at NSSFNS included managing a federally funded Health Careers Opportunity Grant that involved three program components: a national, computerized program that matched talented high school students to undergraduate schools offering majors in their areas of interest; a health careers counseling program through which students interested in health careers were offered one-on one-assistance with the college admissions process; and a series of health careers workshops held in conjunction with NSSFNS’s national college fairs. The National Council of Negro Women recruited Ms. Myers to manage its Health Careers Opportunity Program for non-traditional high school students and women in the major New York City metropolitan area. The program primarily provided college counseling to teens and women interested in careers in the allied health and health professions. As COO and Executive Vice President of NMF, Maritza was responsible for creating and managing 22 programs, providing need-based and merit scholarships, and research and doctoral fellowships to underrepresented medical and doctoral students. She managed three offices in New York City, Washington, DC and San Francisco, California. Ms. Myers is currently working with a member of the New York State Assembly to provide training workshops for CBOs and nonprofits.

Miosotis Pantoja College Now Director, CUNY K16 Initiatives

Miosotis (Mio) Pantoja is a proud New Yorker and first-generation college graduate. She currently serves as the Vice President of Student Support and Success at Row New York. For more than 15 years, Mio has dedicated her professional career to the field of youth development and after-school programming. Mio’s passion for helping young people succeed led her to greatly expand Row New York’s post-secondary program for Row New York alumni. Additionally, she has been an integral member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council at Row New York. Mio holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Middlebury College, and an Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from The New School University. She resides in New York City with her husband and two children.

Suvasini Patel Senior Director of Communications, NY Immigration Coalition

Suvasini (Su) Patel is the Senior Director of Communications at the New York Immigration Coalition. She works with the Coalition’s staff, members, and allies to advocate for policies that improve the lives of low-income, immigrant New Yorkers. Previously, she was a consultant, developing and launching social impact campaigns for award-winning documentary films, and using storytelling to contribute to narrative and policy change. Prior to working in the nonprofit advocacy space, Su worked in public television and for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer. Outside of work, Su believes in making contributions at the micro-local level, whether that means volunteering at her son’s school or supporting mutual aid efforts in her neighborhood.

Travis Randall Director (US), Ubuntu Pathways

Travis spent his unusual youth carrying medical supplies on his back to remote villages in disputed war zones, caring for orphans, translating in operating rooms, and participating in Middle East peace dialogues. Having worked and traveled in over 30 countries, he has yet to find social, poverty, or justice issues he isn’t passionate about. In 2011, Travis joined the Ubuntu Pathways team, working to provide pathways out of poverty for thousands of vulnerable children in South Africa. He leverages his diverse experiences to build strategic engagement, lead creative ventures, and execute multi-million dollar campaigns. He directs a cross-functional and global team of staff, artists, and stakeholders to support Ubuntu’s ambitious goals. His prior work includes nonprofit consulting, print media, and policy research in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe—working with USAID and UN projects, nonprofit start-ups, and the British Parliament.

Jill Reyes Senior Director, Crime Victim Assistance Program, Safe Horizon

Jill Reyes is the Senior Director of the Crime Victim Assistance Program, overseeing Brooklyn and Staten Island precincts, with Safe Horizon. Throughout her 18+ years with the organization, Jill has held various roles, from client advocate, case manager, manager, director, and senior director. She began her career working with the Bronx Criminal Court, supporting victims of domestic violence and crime with navigating the arrest and criminal justice process. She developed effective partnerships and collaboration with bureau chiefs, judges, criminal justice partners, and various community-based organizations during her 13-year tenure with the Bronx Criminal Court. In 2018, Jill was promoted to her current role as the senior director with the Crime Victim Assistance Program, overseeing a team of over 30 advocates and eight managers throughout Brooklyn and Staten Island precincts. She has worked with the program to create a diverse community of advocates to reflect Black, Brown, and all people of color, to ensure representation within communities of color. Jill has worked with precinct leadership throughout the five boroughs to create and advocate for policy and procedures to ensure that crime victims’ voices are heard and represented in various meetings and settings. Jill continues to work with her alma mater, John Jay of Criminal Justice, to give presentations to current students, including sitting on panels to discuss working at a nonprofit social justice organization, and alternative career options within the criminal justice sector. She continues to support the professional development of college interns to obtain employment at Safe Horizon and other organizations in New York City. Throughout her career, Jill has worked tirelessly to represent the voices of survivors of crime and ensure that their needs are effectively met.

Debra Rigano Senior Director of Justice Initiatives, Hour Children

Deb Rigano serves as the Senior Director of Justice Initiatives for Hour Children. She oversees Hour Children’s programs in Bedford Hills and Taconic Correctional Facilities, as well as the family visitation program in the Rose M. Singer Center, located on Rikers Island. Deb is someone who loves working in direct contact with the women in these facilities, and all of the programs Hour Children offers are geared toward providing the women with the services they need to stay in touch with their children. Hour Children offers door-to-door transportation to children to visit their mothers, advocacy, a wide variety of classes, as well as therapeutic support while detained/incarcerated. Her growth within the organization has spanned over ten years, beginning as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, and progressing to Reentry Assistant, Program Assistant, Program Manager, and now Senior Director. Every position has come with obtaining vast knowledge regarding the population she serves, as well as personal fulfillment. She believes it is fundamental for her to be physically inside the facilities, speaking and listening to the women, and providing them with the resources to not only thrive during their incarceration, but to successfully transition when released.

Teneka Robinson Senior Director, K-12 Partnerships, CareerWise New York

Teneka Robinson serves as the Senior Director of K-12 Partnerships for CareerWise New York, a youth apprenticeship program serving high schools throughout New York City. In her role, she leads the educational initiatives of the program, which include curriculum implementation, instructional training, and school leader support. She has over 20 years of experience working in nonprofit education, holding various instructional and administrative roles within secondary and postsecondary academic programs. Prior to CareerWise New York, Teneka was the Senior Manager of Higher Education Strategies and Partnerships with the National Math and Science Initiative, where she managed the organization’s collegiate partnerships around STEM teacher recruitment. Teneka has also worked with several youth development nonprofits in the metro New York City and New England regions in the areas of workforce development and program management. As a native New Yorker, Teneka is deeply committed to community service and proudly serves as vice chair of the board managers of the Harlem YMCA and on the board of directors for the Make STEM Fair Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from College of the Holy Cross, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. A proud Brooklynite, Teneka thoroughly enjoys exploring the hidden gems of New York City with her husband and their two sons.

Xiomara Romain Executive Director/VP Organizational Impact, LIFT-NY

Xiomara Romain is the Executive Director of LIFT-NY, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. LIFT’s innovative coaching program helps parents—mostly women of color—set career, financial, and educational goals in order to achieve economic mobility. Xiomara has worked in leadership roles in a range of organizations for over 20 years, leading teams and strategy at several nonprofit organizations, including Vera Institute of Justice, Mentor New York, the Center for Community Alternatives, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, TASC, Children of Promise NYC, and the Bedford Stuyvesant YMCA. Xiomara holds a Master of Arts from the CUNY Graduate Center at Brooklyn College, a Bachelor of Arts from Morgan State University in Maryland, and is all but dissertation towards her doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the Chicago School. Her dissertation is entitled “Intersectionality and Job Satisfaction of Women of Color in the Nonprofit Sector.” She started her career teaching social studies in District 16 in Brooklyn. Xiomara has served on the boards of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Bridge Street Development Corporation. She is an active member of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, The National Association for Female Executives, and the International Leadership Association (ILA), where she is also a member of the Women in Leadership Affinity Group (WLAG). Xiomara is passionate about leadership development, gender equality, as well as women’s economic and financial empowerment. As a scholar-practitioner, Xiomara has presented extensively on leadership and women’s issues, most recently during the International Leadership Association of Women in Leadership Conference in Scotts Valley, CA and the Emerging Leaders Symposium and the Global Leadership Conference on Courage in Ottawa. She is a former Adjunct Professor at Stony Brook University.

Jasmine Rosa Deputy Director of Community Engagement Programs, New York Edge

Jasmine Rosa (she/her/ella) is a native of New York City, growing up in the Lower East Side. She serves as the Deputy Director of Community Engagement Programs with New York Edge. In her role, she works to radically reimagine school environments to better serve every student, particularly those that have been systemically oppressed, by working with 23 Community Schools and Beacon Community Centers. Jasmine is an alumna of Americorps, and is a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in the Republic of North Macedonia. She received a Bachelors of Science in Business from the University of Central Florida, and a Masters of Science in Education from the University of Miami’s Community and Social Change Program. As a first-generation Latina and first-generation college student, Jasmine works to ensure Black and Brown communities have access to a network of integrated supports in schools, striving to improve chronic absenteeism among students, and introducing social-emotional learning and restorative practices in schools. She credits the many community-based organizations who supported her own journey for her passions for youth development and education, starting with her first job as a Counselor-in-Training. Jasmine is a partner, sister, aunt, sorority sister, friend, foodie, world traveler, and lover of dance. She is looking forward to getting a dog and attending the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Reginah Sanyu Founder/Operations Manager, EarlyBird256

Reginah Sanyu is an operations manager, humanitarian and full-time mango-enthusiast. As the Founder of EarlyBird256, she advocates for the support and empowerment of youth through art, movement, and wellness education in Uganda. As a Ugandan immigrant and advocate for mental health, Reginah uses affirmations—written with the conditions surrounding the lives of the students in mind—to provide a space for them to dream outside of the classroom. Reginah believes that everyone deserves the freedom to express themselves, and the opportunity to follow their wildest dreams.

Roy Southerland Chief Investment Officer, Invest Newark

Roy Southerland Jr. is the Chief Investment Officer for Invest Newark, the City of Newark, New Jersey’s community development corporation. Invest Newark was created to propel a strong and diverse economy, help build vibrant neighborhoods, and create opportunities for all Newarkers. He is a high-level member of a team of experts that controls the management of Invest Newark’s $20 million of investment funds, assists with operations of the state of New Jersey’s first and only Land Bank, and helps to empower local businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as other economic, redevelopment, and community development projects. He also plays an integral part in designing and operating the systems that support how Invest Newark provides financing to the various real estate, business, and joint venture projects that stimulate Newark’s economy, catalyze development, and create wealth for the citizens of Newark. Mr. Southerland is a true social impact investment leader in the State of New Jersey. Before Invest Newark, he was with the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) as a Senior Program Officer for Lending. He was charged with the responsibilities of project financing, real estate development lending intake, risk analysis, underwriting, and loan monitoring for New Jersey. He generated over $25 million in investments, and assisted with the portfolio management of over $40 million in loans. Prior to LISC, Roy spent almost two decades at the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) as a Senior Loan Officer, where as an key part of the NJRA’s growth and development, he oversaw projects that totaled more than $50 million and financed projects that created 2,500 units of housing and close to 800,000 square feet of commercial, civic, and educational space. Roy has a B.S. in Communications Sciences from Howard University, a B.A. in Economics from Thomas Edison State University, and a M.A. in Public Strategic Leadership from St. Bonaventure University.

Zainab Sulaiman Vice President of Impact & Advocacy, HealthConnect One

Zainab “Zee” Sulaiman is the Vice President of Impact and Advocacy at HealthConnect One. In her role, she oversees the research, communication, and advocacy departments to ensure the quality and integrity of the organization’s services and programs. Her team evaluates the impact and effectiveness of HealthConnect One’s approach to advocacy, refining projects to address the problems the organization aims to solve. Before joining HealthConnect One, Zee served as a research and communications consultant for various multilateral stakeholders, community organizations, and coalitions, where she worked with activists, advocates, and academics to center feminist approaches to gender-based violence interventions. She also worked with state and local government agencies and community leaders in Nigeria to propose and implement policies and practices on gender-based violence response and prevention. Her work is dedicated to reproductive and gender justice, ensuring underserved populations can access adequate reproductive health knowledge, information, and services to create sustainable communities. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Pan-African Studies and an MSc from King’s College London/London School of Tropical Medicine. Zee is a mother to an inquisitive and ocean animal-loving four-year-old, and enjoys reading books and traveling the world with her sidekick.

Lidia Torres NYC Chapter Director, Say Yes Buffalo

Lidia Torres has over 15 years of nonprofit leadership experience in youth development and higher education. She was the Chapter Director of the New York City Chapter of Say Yes to Education (Say Yes), a national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of students by preparing them for college throughout elementary, middle, and high school. There, she had the privilege of mentoring over 200 NYC students. At Say Yes, Lidia led a team of staff providing various support services to students through three successful academic transitions: middle school, high school, and college. Lidia studied literature and writing and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hunter College and New York University.

Margarita Villa Director of Finance and Operations, Sadie Nash Leadership Project

Margarita Villa (she/they) is a queer Xicana whose values align with Sadie Nash Leadership Project’s mission of strengthening, empowering, and equipping young women and gender-expansive youth of color as agents for change in their lives and in the world. As the Finance and Operations Director at Sadie Nash, she has worked for over ten years to support the organization’s vision of preparing young people to lead lives in committed pursuit of joy and liberation for themselves and their communities. She is dedicated to supporting social justice organizations with finance and operations challenges. She is a proud pup parent of Sky (beagle mix) and a four-time marathon runner. Margarita holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies from DePauw University, where her thesis focused on “Girl Studies”: specifically, what research exists about girls of color, and appropriate program interventions.

Kalimah Wilson Director of Early Learning Strategy, Newark Trust for Education

Kalimah Wilson is the Director of Early Learning Strategy with the Newark Trust for Education in Newark, NJ. She joined the Newark Trust for Education as the Senior Program Officer of Early Learning for the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) in March 2018. She was drawn to the vision of the program: that every child enters school ready to succeed. As Director of Early Learning Strategy, Kalimah now oversees the Trust’s early learning strategy, encompassing the Great Start, Great Future series, Families as Decision Makers Initiative, and the Newark CARES Network. The Early Learning team members collaborate with local stakeholders, national experts, community agencies, family child care providers, and families to ensure equitable access to early childhood education. Prior to joining the Trust, Kalimah developed her passion for serving families by working with community-related programs. Over the course of several years, she has gained substantial professional experience with youth, family, education, policy, management, grant writing, and program development. During her career, Kalimah has worked for and with various youth- and family-centered service and nonprofit organizations in the areas of behavioral health, alternative education, and community outreach, deepening her commitment to community service. A native Newarker, Kalimah holds a bachelor’s in Sociology from Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina.

Xin Xin Chief Development Officer, National Employment Law Project

As Chief Development Officer at the National Employment Law Project, Xin Xin works collaboratively across the organization to resource NELP’s mission by amplifying staff expertise and strengthening relationships with philanthropists committed to racial and economic justice. Xin (pronounced “shin”) works in close partnership with NELP’s president and CEO to develop and successfully execute a comprehensive fundraising strategy to sustainably maintain a diversified organizational revenue goal. Xin brings over a decade of nonprofit fundraising and human rights grantmaking experience. She began her philanthropic career at the Open Society Foundations, supporting global health financing initiatives at the Public Health Program, as well as the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, making rapid-response grants to women and LGBTQI+ human rights defenders. Making the transition from grantmaking to fundraising, she supported individual giving at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, oversaw communications and development at the Human Rights Funders Network, and managed the institutional fundraising portfolio at the New York Immigration Coalition. Prior to joining NELP, Xin led fundraising efforts at the National Harm Reduction Coalition. Xin believes movement-led philanthropy and donor-of-color activism support the revolutionary transfer of power necessary for social and racial justice movements. A first-generation immigrant, Xin is an intersectional feminist, who is pro-Black and anti-capitalist. She serves on the steering committee of the Asian Women Giving Circle, where she can be in community through collective giving.

Yaya Yuan Director of Programs, Apex for Youth

Yaya Yuan is the Director of Programs at Apex for Youth, a New York City based nonprofit empowering Asian and immigrant youth from low-income backgrounds to unlock their potential and a world of possibility. Prior to joining Apex, Yaya worked in many youth development contexts, including: criminal justice diversion programs at the Center for Justice Innovation; international education development, and women and girls’ empowerment at LitWorld; and as a classroom teacher at Fudan International School.

Rhode Island

Marcie Baker-Hinds Youth Transition Services Coordinator, Adoption Rhode Island

Currently, Marcie holds the position of Youth Transition Services Coordinator supervising staff in two new programs at Adoption Rhode Island where she has been employed for over eight years. During her time at Adoption Rhode Island, she has notably earned the Most Outstanding Recruiter award as a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, completed the Minority Professional Leadership Development Program sponsored by AdoptUsKids and Spaulding for Children, and served in different positions and capacities including member of the agency’s Racial, Equity, and Inclusion Work Group where she participates as one of the smaller subcommittee group leaders. Most recently, Marcie supported over 20 young adults’ and families’ transition from the child welfare system to an affordable housing development. Marcie also co-facilitates a Kinship Family Support Group monthly, Young Parent Support Group, and previously co-facilitated the Multiethnic Family Support Group. Dedication, compassion, and strong advocacy are second nature to Marcie. She has over 24 years of experience working in child welfare and serving within the Providence community where she was raised in working with underserved and overrepresented populations. She is dedicated to the preservation of families and helping them remain connected, especially siblings. As a kinship adoptive parent of siblings, she understands firsthand the complexities yet the importance of children, youth, and young adults maintaining their connections to family and community. Personal and professional experiences charge her mission to ensure that opportunities and services are equitable for children and families regardless of race, culture, identity, or economic status.

Dariel Blanco Deputy Director, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation

Dariel has a wealth of knowledge in the lending and financial industries. He has been an advocate for community growth and development through education. Dariel’s former positions include Operations Manager and Assistant Vice President/Community Lending Officer from local financial institutions. He currently serves as the Treasurer of the Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Dariel was born in the Dominican Republic and migrated to the state of Rhode Island with his mother and younger brother where he has lived since. A key to a thriving community is having people and organizations such as West Elmwood Housing that invest in improving the quality of life of people. Dariel is honored to be part of such an organization.

Anita Bruno Executive Director, RI Women in the Trades

Anita has spent the past 17 years as a Union Carpenter. Anita started in Brooklyn local 926 after graduating from Non-Traditional Employment for Women. She transferred to RI Carpenters Local 94 (now Local 330), organized the first RI Carpenters Local chapter of Sisters in the Brotherhood (Carpenter Women), and she founded RI Women in the Trades in 2019. Anita is a graduate of Women’s Policy Institute, College Unbound, Social Enterprise Leadership, a women’s entrepreneurial program at Cornel, and DEI certified. Anita is a mom of two, she believes in God, and is a strong community advocate for intentional equity and access to information.

Tamara Burman Chief of Organizational Effectiveness, YWCA Rhode Island

Tamara Burman holds her Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island, and a professional certificate in Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation from the Middlebury Institute. Tamara has spent her professional career channeling her passion for service in community-based organizations and development work where she has cultivated an increasing interest in policy and equity. She spent several years at the Cumberland-Lincoln Boys and Girls Club where she led them through significant programmatic, organizational growth, and community services. She then went on to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Sustainable Community and Economic Development sector in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. Tamara worked as Director of Health Equity Initiatives with the Woonsocket and West Warwick Health Equity Zones where she worked to create resident ambassador programs focusing on collaborative work addressing community-specific health equity. She currently works with the YWCA of Rhode Island as the Chief of Organizational Effectiveness where she focuses on outcome measurement, streamlining processes, and supporting all programs from childcare to housing. The position she holds the most pride in is “TT,” spending much of her free time with her nieces and nephews.

Ariana Carter Education Coordinator, The Children’s Workshop Foundation

Ariana Carter (she/her) was raised in Rhode Island and currently serves as an Education Coordinator at The Children’s Workshop Foundation, with goals of leading effective change within the early childhood industry. Ariana has been working in the childcare industry since June of 2016. During Ariana’s career in early childhood, she has made a great impact on children and families. Ariana has been with her organization for about seven years and has a great passion for leading youth and individuals as well as watching their development and individual growth. Ariana is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership. Ariana’s passion and love of leading individuals is something she truly values!

Stefanie Engelhardt Director of Program Operations, Social Enterprise Greenhouse

Stefanie co-runs the Accelerator program, Independent Advising program, and Capital Access programs at Social Enterprise Greenhouse. She developed and currently manages the SEG microgrant fund for program participants. She also supported the launch of new programming in Newport, Pawtucket, and Central Falls, increasing Social Enterprise Greenhouse’s support of BIPOC entrepreneurs through its traditional programming. During the pandemic, Stefanie project managed the emergency response Restore RI program for small businesses and nonprofits, resulting in over $600,000 in grants to ventures in our ecosystem. She has a background in managing program operations and providing participant support from her experience in the nonprofit and education industries. Stefanie holds her BA in Communications from Fordham University. Before SEG, Stefanie worked as Program Coordinator at Steven’s School of Business supporting MBA students. She has gained experience in introducing ventures to grants, loans, and business experts and excels in providing ventures individualized support based on their venture needs and in designing human-centered and needs-based programming.

Grace Evans Pedanou Chief of Staff, ONE Neighborhood Builders

Grace Evans Pedanou (she/her) is collaborative cross-sector leader with experience leading strategy and special projects across nonprofit, government, and philanthropic organizations. She currently serves as the Chief of Staff at ONE Neighborhood Builders in Providence, RI, a community development organization focused on building safe, vibrant, and healthy communities across the state. Prior to joining ONE Neighborhood Builders, she served as a Senior Program Associate at the Richard King Mellon Foundation in Pittsburgh, PA, one of western Pennsylvania’s largest philanthropic institutions. She also served as a Government Performance Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab and is an alum of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership’s Public Affairs Fellowship. Grace holds a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School at the University of Michigan, as well as a Bachelor of Science from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

Kasha Hanflik Executive Director, Girls on the Run Rhode Island

Kasha Hanflik (she/her) serves as the Executive Director of Girls on the Run Rhode Island, a social-emotional learning and physical activity program for third through eighth graders. She has been with the organization since 2018, first as a volunteer coach and then as staff on the program team. She transitioned to her current role in 2020 and has since transformed the vision and strategy for the organization to expand its reach across Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts. Kasha has over 10 years of experience in sports-based youth development with nonprofits in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As a servant leader, and member of the LRI Tau II class, she is dedicated to empowering her staff and volunteers to better impact the communities they serve. Kasha holds a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts from Skidmore College. Kasha enjoys exploring all that Rhode Island offers with her partner and twins, following local politics, and contributing to the community.

Sarah Kern Development Director, Youth In Action

Sarah currently serves as Development Director at Youth In Action (YIA) in Providence, RI. Sarah loves showing up to Youth In Action every day, helping create funding streams that are reflective of YIA’s mission and values. They find so much joy working alongside young people, learning and sharing knowledge as they discover various pathways to resource their communities. Sarah was born into the LGBTQ community in the late 80s and is the daughter of many mothers. Sarah graduated from RISD’s Illustration program with a concentration on Gender and Sexuality Studies, and as her creative practice evolved, she went on to plan community events and fundraisers with local nonprofits including Southside Community Land Trust, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Youth Pride, PRONK!, Paint it Pink!, among others. Sarah then spent nearly a decade in Los Angeles where they established a career in fundraising at TreePeople, LA’s oldest environmental nonprofit. In Los Angeles, they grew their expertise in corporate giving, major gifts, and the intersection of communications and fundraising. Most recently, she was the Associate Director of Development at The Learning Community in Central Falls. Sarah is a lifelong learner and is committed to growing a practice of anti-racism and challenging racist principles within philanthropy. Outside of work, Sarah has a deep love for the outdoors, sharing homemade meals with friends, and exploring the world through her child’s eyes.

Becca Kurie Director of Development, Alma del Mar Charter Schools

Becca Kurie is the Director of Development at Alma del Mar Charter Schools, a small network of K-8 charter public schools located in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Becca earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Bemidji State University in 2009, at which time she launched her print journalism career. She enjoyed amplifying the stories of community leaders and nonprofits more than hard news reporting, so she made the switch to nonprofits. She began working at Alma in 2015, at which time the school served just 240 children. Two capital campaigns and seven years later, Alma del Mar now educates over 1,000 New Bedford children each year.

Harley LaValley CTE Program Manager, The Center for Dynamic Learning, Inc.

Harley LaValley is currently the CTE Program Manager for The Center for Dynamic Learning, Inc. located in Providence, RI. For the past five years, he has worked with organizations with the goal of building his own skill set while working along with the great youth of the Rhode Island area. When not managing and running science and construction-based programs, Harley enjoys working on smaller woodworking projects like home repair and furniture restoration, DND with his friends, and spending time with his fiancé.

Kimberly Libby Head of Adult Education, Providence Public Library

Kimberly Libby has worked in adult education in Rhode Island for 20 years at several nonprofit organizations. She has taught English acquisition, technology, GED, and Transition to College classes, and led many professional development workshops and programs. From 2020-2022, she served as a CASAS State Trainer for RI’s adult ed assessment system. Kimberly is currently the Head of Adult Education at the Providence Public Library where she oversees three pathways programs: Language Pathways (English and citizenship classes), Technology Pathways (digital equity and learning, technology training programs such as Microsoft Office, data analytics, and coding), and the Professional Learning Pathways for adult education, library, and museum staff across RI and nationally. PPL’s adult education classes are offered at various library, school, and nonprofit sites throughout RI. Kimberly has served on the Library Board of Trustees for the Swansea Free Public Library since 2021. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studio Arts from the Maine College of Art.

Onelissa Martinez Assistant Director of People & Culture, Farm Fresh Rhode Island

Onelissa Martinez currently serves as the Assistant Director of People & Culture at the nonprofit local food hub Farm Fresh Rhode Island. As an Environmental Studies major at Middlebury College with a focus in Religion and Philosophy, Onelissa learned early on the significance of cultivating good habits within communities in order to make sustainable change. Her determination to work toward positive change in the community led Onelissa to an AmeriCorps VISTA term at Farm Fresh RI. She spent a summer AmeriCorps term and two full-year terms increasing capacity for the Farm Fresh RI nutrition education program, and then continued to evolve her expertise by learning other aspects of the local food system work at Farm Fresh working on both Community Access and Food System Enterprise initiatives. After several years, she pinpointed an area of need at Farm Fresh RI and created a new role to address it. Leveraging her extensive knowledge of the organization and its mission, today Onelissa helps mold the culture at Farm Fresh RI, advocate for its team members, and provide critical administrative support to keep the growing nonprofit thriving.

Jennifer McAuslin Director of Donation Center Operations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island

Jennifer (Jen) McAuslin is Director of Donation Center Operations at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island. She has worked with BBBSRI for eight years and worked in the Donation Center for five of those years. She holds a degree in Psychology from Rhode Island College, and in her career she has worked with many nonprofit groups, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick and Connecting for Children and Families in Woonsocket, RI. Jennifer is passionate about community service and customer service, and values leading teams from a place of compassion and respect. She is also passionate about data informed decision making, which she uses frequently to help her organization grow strategically and cost effectively. She lives in Cranston with her husband and two year old son, and in her spare time plays guitar and sings in the local music scene.

River McMican President, Board of Directors, Bisexual Resource Center

River McMican (they/them) is a communications and project management professional serving as the President of the Board of Directors of the Bisexual Resource Center, a national organization that connects the bi+ community and helps its members thrive through resources, support, and celebration. As President of a growing nonprofit, they facilitate strategic planning, project management, communication, resource development, partnerships, programs, and more! Outside of the BRC, they’re an independent designer and consultant with an emphasis on accessible, inclusive communications and user-centered design. In their free time, they enjoy kayaking, tabletop games, and creating art of all kinds.

Chris Mora Director of Philanthropy, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island

Chris Mora serves as the Director of Philanthropy with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island. He has been in the nonprofit space for roughly seven years collectively and recently came back to the sector. Chris was born in Mexico and came to the US when he was two years old, so he refers to himself as a Mexican-American. The US is all he knows, but Chris’s roots are in Mexico. Chris is a DACA recipient and gained legal status in this country when he was 20 years old. Chris aspires to become a profound leader in the nonprofit space with a specialty in mobilizing resources for underserved communities.

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