Business Service Representative, MASSHIRE
Eliud Alcala, a native of the Bronx, New York, is a multifaceted professional with a diverse background in the Hospitality and Human Services industries. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality from The Culinary Institute of America, Eliud ventured to Massachusetts to embark on a successful career in the Hospitality Industry, making significant contributions to the North of Boston.
In addition to his accomplishments in Hospitality, Eliud demonstrated a deep commitment to community service. He devoted nearly a decade to the non-profit sector, serving as a Human Resources Generalist and a Live-In Staff member for an organization dedicated to assisting individuals with intellectual challenges in the North Shore.
Passionate about supporting businesses and promoting workforce development, Eliud transitioned to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development in 2015. There, he thrived as a Business Engagement Professional, forging valuable connections with businesses in the North Shore region.
Throughout his professional journey, Eliud never lost sight of his passion for helping individuals and families. To further enhance his ability to make a difference, he pursued and completed advanced degrees in Masters and Doctorate in Family Counseling.
Senior Branch Executive, Metro North YMCA, Demakes Campus Lynn
Andrea Baez, a 17 year YMCA veteran, serves as the Senior Branch Executive Director at the YMCA of Metro North‘s largest location in Lynn, MA., consisting of an already established 120,000 sq.ft. building and the new 70,000sq. ft. Demakes Family YMCA building. The campus as a whole serves over 300,000 people each year. Coupled with a robust meal program, 2 Y Academy suites hosting 300 youth daily, multiple pools, a teen center, a rooftop garden and so much more, Baez supervises 200 staff members, many embarking of their first work experience. Baez is dedicated to the betterment of the communities she serves, partnering with organizations such as Latina Center Maria, to provide needed ESOL classes for mothers, who are working towards better employment, local schools so young people can learn healthy habits, NAGLY, so every young person knows there is a safe and welcoming environment for them and so many more.
Prior to joining the Metro North Team in 2019, Andrea worked at the Y of Greater Boston leading the Dorchester YMCA until she joined the Metro North Team. Andrea sits on the Greater Lynn Chamber of Commerce Board, Lynn’s Stop the Violence Committee, Lynn’s Community Transportation Committee and Chairs Winthrop’s Commission for Diversity, Equity Inclusion and Community Relations. Baez is deeply committed to staff development, youth & teen advancement opportunities, partnering in the community and social justice with a focus on DEI.
Andrea resides in Winthrop Ma, where she was raised with her husband Ricky, daughter Adrianna and son RJ. In her spare time, enjoys the beach, spending time with her family and friends and doting on her precious dog Donovan.
Andrea graduated Salem State with a B.S. in Elementary education, with a concentration in administration.
LMHC, Chief Mission Officer, The Artful Life Counseling Center and Studio LLC
Natalie Blue is the Co-Founder and Chief Mission Officer of The Artful Life Counseling Center and Studio located in Salem MA. The Artful Life is a unique group practice that provides an accessible, affordable, alternative to traditional mental health counseling through expressive arts therapies and other holistic interactive modalities. Natalie has practiced as a therapist on the North Shore for 18 years specializing in Expressive Arts Therapies, trauma-informed care, EMDR and Internal Family Systems. Prior to co-founding The Artful Life in 2016, Natalie worked in various North Shore community agencies such as The Northeast ARC, Family Continuity and Children’s Friend and Family Services.
Natalie has also been an adjunct professor in the Psychology Department at Endicott College and at Lesley University training the next generation of therapists. In addition to managing a small clinical caseload, Natalie oversees the ‘creative vision’ of The Artful Life by building brand awareness, developing partnerships for community programs, and strengthening referral networks for new clients. Natalie also helps develop in-house staff trainings, consultation programs, and supports staff through clinical supervision and building their caseloads. Natalie and her business partner, Madelene Pario, were awarded by the SBA, Best Women Owned Business of 2023 and were a 2018 finalist in the Salem State Enterprise Center Business Plan Competition. Natalie is a newly appointed member of the Board of Directors for the Salem Chamber of Commerce.
Natalie will always be a Jersey Girl, but has lived on the North Shore since 2005. She resides in Wenham with her son Aidan, daughter Josephine and their mini-labradoodle, Fozzie. Natalie is a singer who has performed at The Larcom Theater, enjoys collage and painting, playing pickleball and going to the movies with her kids.
Natalie has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Saint Peter’s University in NJ. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and is currently pursuing certification in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP).
Executive Director, The Salem Pantry
Robyn Burns is the Executive Director of The Salem Pantry (TSP), a non-profit that addresses food insecurity in Salem and the North Shore. Robyn started this position, as TSP’s first full-time E.D., in March 2020. During the pandemic, she guided this organization’s COVID response programming and led a dramatic period of growth – expanding the organization from 1 FTE to 11 FTEs, creating a new brick-and-mortar location, and growing TSP’s annual operating budget from $100,000 to $1.2 million over 3 years. Robyn is an experienced leader focusing on community food systems, food access, and education. She previously held leadership roles with CitySprouts and The Food Project. Robyn was recently honored as a North Shore Chamber Distinguished Leader, a Salem Chamber Champion, and a Paul Harris Fellow from the Salem Rotary.
Robyn lives in Salem with her wife Rachel, a public-school art teacher, and her son Brixton. They share a dog and two cats. When not found at TSP, Robyn enjoys cycling and exploring the North Shore’s many great parks and beaches. On colder or rainy days, she is likely to be listening to a few records inside.
Robyn graduated from The University of Pittsburgh in 2001, with a double major in Communication Rhetoric and Film Studies. In 2006, she graduated from Slippery Rock University with an M.S. in Sustainable Systems, focusing on urban food systems. In 2014, Robyn completed the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) and became an ELP Fellow, and in 2015 she received an Executive Certificate from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (then located at Boston University).
Senior Vice President Business Strategy & Development, Groom Construction
As Senior Vice President of Business Strategy & Development at Groom Construction, Bernadette plays a pivotal role in both Client and Community Relations, overseeing relationship development and managing Groom’s project pipeline. She is committed to many area non-profits and industry organizations that align with Groom’s mission to strengthen the community including Harborlight Homes, Lifebridge North Shore, Salem Boys & Girls Club, Plummer Youth Promise, ROOT, Essex County Heritage Association and ECCF among others. She serves on the Board of Advisors for Harborlight Homes, the Managing Board of Directors for The North Shore Chamber and Steering Committee for their THRIVE Initiative, the Board/Executive Committee of The Salem Chamber, the Development Committee for Lifebridge North Shore, Trustee for the Essex County Heritage Commission and the Board for Salem Partnership. Industry organizations include NAIOP, NAWIC, ICSC and CREW.
Originally from New York State, she lives in Marblehead, MA with her husband, Michael. Her most important role is mother to her three children, Ryan, Christopher and Griffin. When out of the office, she enjoys pickleball, reading, travel and beach time with family and friends.
Bernadette graduated from The College of the Holy Cross in Boston, MA with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing and Community Development, Reading Cooperative Bank
Shanna Cahalane is Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing & Community Development, responsible for overseeing RCB's marketing communications, public relations, and community relations activities. Shanna is President of the Board of Trustees of the Greater Boston Stage Company, an Advisory Board Member of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence and the Past President of the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce.
Shanna holds a Master’s Degree in Communications Management from the Simmons University School of Management, is a graduate of the American Bankers Association’s Stonier Graduate School of Banking, and has completed the Wharton Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
She lives in Belmont, Massachusetts with her husband, Michael, and their twin girls and loves to spend time in her home state of Maine.
Director of Workforce Development, Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School
Bonnie Carr is the Director of Workforce Development at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School. She joined the Essex Tech team in 2018 and developed and branded the NightHawks Adult Education Program. Her career began in the financial sector as an analyst at Coopers & Lybrand and as a staff accountant for Beth Israel Hospital and the Wang/Boch Center. This led her to a path in Career and Technical Education in the Business Technology Program at Greater Lawrence Technical School. At GLTS, Bonnie became a Lead Teacher and Cooperative Education Coordinator. In 2009 she became the Cooperative Education Coordinator at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute.
Over the course of her career Bonnie has established strategic partnerships with MassHire North Shore, North Shore Community College, Chambers of Commerce, Unions: Local 22 Laborers, Local 7 IronWorkers, Local 27 Carpenters, NS Workforce Skills Cabinet, Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, GE Foundation, Essex County Community Foundation, MA Alliance for Vocational Education, North Shore Community Action Program, Pathways, Inc., Action, Inc., and multiple regional businesses. She has secured over $6.5M in grant funding for workforce training programs and equipment.
Bonnie is a proud member of Lynn City Councilor Coco Alinsug’s Ward 3 Team as a Precinct Captain. She serves as a Lynn Community TV Board Member and a City of Lynn Workforce Development Committee Member. Through these, Bonnie works for and believes in the potential of the betterment of the City of Lynn through community events, positive outreach, and creating opportunities for current and future generations.
Bonnie lives in Lynn with her partner John Delyani. She has two awesome adult children, Alison and Callan. Bonnie is an avid member of the Lynn YMCA, loves walking and chatting with people often along Lynn Shore Drive, gardening, reading, and spending time with friends.
Bonnie holds an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Salem State University where she was a Pi Lambda Theta Honors Recipient and B.S. in Business Administration from Saint Michael’s College. She is also a MAVA Leadership Academy Graduate.
Executive Director, The NAN Project
Jake Cavanaugh founded The NAN Project with his mother in 2016 to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention programs in schools using a peer-to-peer model. The impetus for launching this organization was the suicide in 2012 of his little sister Nan who had struggled with mental health challenges for most of her life. Nowadays, Jake is the Executive Director of The NAN Project, heading up much of the community outreach, fundraising, and training, with the help of an amazing, ever-growing team. His daily activities revolve around supporting more than 70 schools across Massachusetts, providing professional development workshops, recruiting Peer Mentors, presenting to students, conducting advocacy on Beacon Hill, and everything in between.
Jake graduated from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School in 2000, where Nan also attended. Upon graduating from the University of Miami, with a double major in Political Science and International Studies in 2004, Jake went to work on a presidential political campaign in Florida. Jake moved to China in 2005, where he soon met his wife and adopted a mangy street dog named Marley. He spent nearly 10 years living in the tiny metropolis of Suzhou just outside of Shanghai, working at a boutique market research firm. Jake returned to Massachusetts in 2015 and now resides in Beverly with his wife and two dogs. When not crisscrossing the state for The NAN Project, Jake is working towards completing his MPA at Suffolk University by the spring of 2024 and in his down time loves skiing, gardening, or spending time at the beach.
Director of Visitor Engagement, Peabody Essex Museum
Jennifer Close has been with Peabody Essex Museum, the United States oldest continuously operating and collecting museum, since 2001 and is the Director of Visitor Engagement. She previously held roles as the Group Tour Manager and the Associate Director of Advertising and Promotions. She is the President of the Salem Rotary Club (23-24), a member of the Salem Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors Jen is an Election Warden for the Town of Groveland and a member of the Destination Salem Marketing Committee. She is a past President of the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Originally from Hamilton, she now lives in Groveland with her husband, Tokala, and son, Morgan. When not at PEM or Rotary, Jen enjoys reading, baking, and decorating cakes. She has an amazing dog-named Bill and 5 chickens.
Jen graduated from Salem State College with a BS in Criminal Justice.
Trustee, Peabody Essex Board Member, ECCF
Ana Colmenero is a former executive with 20+ years of experience in the financial services sector. She started her career as a financial analyst for a Spanish/British brokerage firm. Later she was founding partner of brokerage firm ACF International, Inc., where she served as president and CEO before opening an international investor relations firm in 2005.
In 2009, Ana retired from finance and shifted her attention to volunteer work with a special focus on education, arts & culture, and social justice. She now has more than a decade of leadership experience with local nonprofit organizations. Ana currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the Peabody Essex Museum and Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF). In 2014, she founded Fairwind Learning Center, a nonprofit early education center in Marblehead, where she currently serves as President of the Board. She has also volunteered in various capacities with many other local and regional nonprofit organizations.
Born and raised in Spain, Ana is a graduate of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas ICADE in Madrid, earning both a BA (equivalent to a JD) in Law and a BA in Economics. She is a CFA charter holder. She lives in Marblehead with her husband and their 15-year-old son.
In her spare time, you can find Ana walking, reading, and playing tennis. She loves spending time with family and friends and dreams of traveling all over the world immersing herself in different cultures and meeting new people.
Vice President, Community Business Banking, Salem Five Bank
Jason’s Salem Five career passed the 20-year mark in 2022. After 16 years in the Retail Banking division, Jason has been a Community Business Banking Loan Officer since 2018. In this role, Jason connects business owners to the capital, cash management solutions, and network connections that they need to take their businesses to the next level. Whether your business needs working capital, term financing, or financing for a piece of commercial real estate, he’s the banker you want on your team when it's time to grow.
Jason serves the community as a member of the executive committee for the Salem Chamber of Commerce, as a Trustee of the Essex National Heritage Commission, and as chair of the Finance committee for both the Phoenix School and for the Rotary Club of Salem, MA.
He lives in Beverly with his wife Kerri and their two sons and enjoys playing golf and woodworking.
Vice President, Community Health at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Magnolia Contreras, MSW, MBA is the Vice President of Community Health at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Magnolia is charged with helping to advance Dana-Farber’s mission by reaching beyond its walls to support diverse communities with a continuum of expert, compassionate, and equitable cancer care to improve the cancer care outcomes in historically marginalized populations.
Magnolia started working at the Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) while in college and credits the many years working there as professionally transformative since those years have served as the foundation for what has become her life's work and passion in community health and health care. Her work is grounded on sound social work, public and community health theories that incorporate social justice and human rights principles. By choice, she specializes in the provision of services to communities of color and historically marginalized populations. Today, she has over thirty years of experience in the nonprofit sector working on issues related to public health, public policy, health and community health care.
Magnolia is a graduate of Boston College, Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work and Suffolk University Sawyer Business School in Boston. She has been an Adjunct Faculty member in the Graduate School of Social Work at Salem State University, Simmons College and Boston College. She is also alumni of The Partnership’s Next Generation Executive Program and has a completion badge from the McKinsey Academy’s Black Executive Leadership Program.
Magnolia is a life-long resident of the City of Lynn and considers herself an engaged community member. She has volunteered on local boards of directors and believes deeply in the strength of the City of Lynn. She has a strong record of community services through her philanthropic and volunteer efforts. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Economic Development Industrial Corporation of Lynn (EDIC/Lynn), Health Resources in Action (HRiA), United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and is an Advisor/Ambassador of Eastern Bank Corporation. Most recently, Magnolia completed her term on the Salem State University Board of Trustees. For over a decade, she served on the Board of Directors of the Lynn Community Health Center and chaired the Lynn Community Health Center Capital Campaign Committee that helped raise approximately $6M for a new building. She still serves as a volunteer.
Some of Magnolia’s recognition and awards include the Boston College Father John A. Dineen, SJ, Hispanic Alumni Community Service Award; Simmons College School of Social Work Leadership Award; Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers Employee Award. She has also been featured in Boston Business Journal Emerging Leaders; Suffolk Alumni Magazine; Boston College Alumni Magazine, Damage Control. Ms. Contreras has been selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Individuals in the Massachusetts Hispanic Community in 2008, 2009, and 2011. She lives in Lynn with her husband David.
Chief Information Officer, Vice President Senior Care Options Division Element Care
John Coolong is an executive leader at Element Care. Headquartered in Lynn, Element Care operates two programs providing healthcare and social services to at-risk older adults on the North Shore and Merrimack Valley. Element Care PACE is an all-inclusive provider and payer of healthcare including primary and specialty care, physical and occupational therapy, behavioral health services, social work, nutrition, transportation, and much more. Element Care SCO operates in partnership with Commonwealth Care Alliance Senior Care Options (SCO). SCO is a Health Plan offering full healthcare coverage to at-risk older adults. Element Care SCO provides RN and Nurse Practitioner led clinical case management to help members navigate the complex healthcare delivery system. The mission of both programs is to keep at-risk older adults safe, healthy, and happy in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
John joined Element Care as a management consultant in 2010, was hired as the organization’s first Chief Information Officer (CIO) in 2013 and became Vice President of the SCO division in 2015. As CIO, John leads technology strategy and transformation. As VP of SCO, John is responsible for the overall operation and performance of a 40-member team of registered nurse case managers and nurse practitioners providing managed care services to 2000 members. John is also Element Care’s HIPAA Privacy and Security Officer and is currently serving as interim Director of Marketing. Prior to joining Element Care, John held executive positions as a management consultant focused on healthcare strategy and technology.
John has previously served on several boards including Volunteers of America, Northern New England, and The Park Danforth Senior Living. John chairs the finance committee for First Parish Church in Gorham Maine. John has a BA in economics from the University of Maine.
Senior Advisor to Mayor Nicholson and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, City of Lynn
Faustina J. Cuevas has more than a decade of extensive experience working to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and local government in her hometown of Lynn. Faustina previously worked at the University of Connecticut, University of Minnesota, and Northeastern University where she was the Assistant Director of the Social Justice Resource Center. These experiences prompted Faustina to work with numerous public and private sector organizations through her consultancy, FC DEI Consulting LLC, helping them achieve their DEI goals and strategies. Now, Faustina is tasked to help elevate Lynn’s rich cultural diversity and create more access and inclusion to City government. Alongside her professional endeavors, Faustina is a proud member of the Board of Directors for Leadership Trainer, a global organization that aims to create the next generation of inclusive leaders.
Faustina’s passion for justice stems from her own experience growing up in a single parent immigrant household, where she was no stranger to adversity. Rather than letting those experiences define her, she chose to become a change agent and pursue her passion for justice through formal higher education. She hopes to pass down her advocacy and compassion attributes to her young son J.J.
Faustina received both her Master of Education in Higher Education Administration degree (2012) and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish (2010) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Chief Executive Officer, Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center
Suzanne Dubus is the Chief Executive Officer of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center and has led the organization for over 25 years. Her commitment to centering social justice and equity is a guidepost for the organization’s work across its four program areas: Survivor Services, where a dedicated staff offers advocacy, clinical and legal support to adult and child survivors of domestic violence; Youth Empowerment Services, where programs implemented in area schools work to prevent domestic violence in the next generation; Geiger Institute, which offers training and technical assistance in domestic violence homicide prevention across the country; and Abuse Education, which provides a court-ordered intimate partner abuse education program.
In addition to her work at the Center, Suzanne is deeply engaged with a larger community of organizations fighting to end domestic violence. Currently, she serves on the board for Theater in the Open, and the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce Foundation board. She previously served as President of the Board of Directors at Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. She has held positions on the Governor’s Council on Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Massachusetts Council on Family Service Agencies. Suzanne has participated in several national roundtable discussions with other identified experts in the field of domestic violence.
Suzanne resides in Exeter, NH with her husband John and family. When she isn’t working, she can found cooking, reading, and traveling.
Suzanne graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a BA in Philosophy and Ethics. She is a graduate of the Certified Paralegal Studies Program of Florida International University, Miami.
Deputy Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer at Harvard University Health Services
Kim Eng, previously the Chief Operating Officer at Lynn Community Health Center, a non-profit community health center renowned for pioneering high-impact, low-cost healthcare initiatives. In this role, Kim prioritized operational excellence and patient-centered care, contributing to transformative initiatives such as the establishment of a Mass Vaccination Site during the COVID-19 crisis and the transition to value-based care.
Kim has worked in a number of industries including healthcare, manufacturing and construction design. She participated as an early pioneer of lean in healthcare for a large complex healthcare organization, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a major teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
Over the past two decade, Kim has led an array of continuous improvement initiatives aimed at enhancing patient access, quality, and cost-efficiency. Her commitment to propagating Lean philosophy extends internationally, as she co-facilitated Lean training for senior leaders and offered post-training coaching and technical support across the U.S., Australia, and Egypt.
Currently, Kim holds the position of Deputy Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer at Harvard University Health Services. In this influential role, she remains steadfast in her pursuit of optimizing healthcare services and systems. With her technical foundation, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University, Kim seamlessly bridges operational excellence with innovative leadership. Her commitment to advancing health equity, driving strategic progress, and delivering exemplary healthcare continues to guide her career.
Kim resides in Salem, MA, with her partner Tripp and recently became a mother to a wonderful baby boy. She enjoys exploring new restaurants and spending relaxing days at the beach.
Director of Professional and Government Relations, Mayflower
Derek Fullerton is the Director of Professional and Government Relations of Mayflower Recovery, a private health care company on the Northshore of Massachusetts that treats individuals with Substance Use Disorder. Derek focuses on fostering relationships, partnerships, and building programs that support the mission and vision of the organization. Before onboarding with Mayflower Recovery, Derek spent 25 years in local government as a Public Health Official (Public Health Director) and Environmental/Civil Engineer for the municipalities of Middleton, Lexington, and Gloucester, MA.
Derek continues to serve on the executive board of the Massachusetts Health Officers Association (MHOA) as an ex-officio; he served as a Past President of the association from 2016-2017. He continues to spearhead statewide public health initiatives, including but not limited to, the first public health opioid planning interactive toolkit (https://opioid-toolkit.mhoa.com/home/) and recently a statewide opioid harm reduction and Good Samaritan awareness campaign, called the SAMbox Initiative.
Derek lives on the Northshore in Middleton with his wife and two children. He also serves on the Board of Elders for his local church, Trinity Evangelical Church in North Reading. Additionally, he is the Founder and President of the Hope is Our Goal Foundation, a non profit organization that helps scholarship individuals within their recovery journey. Derek graduated from University of New Hampshire with a BS in Environmental Health/Science and minor in Biology. He is a state certified health officer, registered sanitarian, and registered environmental health specialist.
When he is not wearing his professional hat or serving on boards, Derek loves to fish, hunt, and be in the woods or rivers. He enjoys playing men’s ice hockey, golf, and boating on Lake Winnipesaukee. His biggest passion is his faith and family. He is actively involved with his church and serving the communities around him. He loves being involved with his children’s sports of hockey, golf, softball, and volleyball.
Executive Director, Beverly Bootstraps
Sue’s path to the helm of Beverly Bootstraps includes over 30 years in the non-profit sector. Since 2008, Sue has led Beverly Bootstraps from a grass-roots organization to a mid-sized non-profit.
Sue’s career includes various leadership roles including Director of Development for Beverly School for the Deaf, sole proprietor of Marketing Success and Director of Tourism for Thoroughbred Country in South Carolina. She is involved with many local organizations, including serving as the President of the Beverly Rotary Club, a Trustee of Beverly’s Affordable Housing Trust, a Trustee to Fisher and Fuel Fund and a Corporator of Marblehead Bank. She has been an Advisor to the Greater Boston Food Bank and a member of the Northshore Hunger Network.
Sue resides in Beverly, MA with her family.
Owner & President, Spire Investments
Jay Goldberg is the Owner & President of Spire Investments in Beverly, MA as well as Managing Partner of Arrowpoint Properties in Lawrence, MA. Both are well established real estate companies that invest and develop multifamily properties on the North Shore and Merrimac Valley. Spire Investments also pursues commercial investment opportunities around New England. Of note, Spire Investments recently received an historic preservation award for its milestone project of converting a former Knights of Columbus property on Salem Common in Salem, MA into 18 luxury apartments.
Born in Beverly, and currently living in Lexington, MA, Jay is a savvy real estate entrepreneur who not only cares deeply about communities and their people, but also views building long-term relationships as the number one priority.
Jay received a bachelor’s degree in Real Estate and Urban Economics from the University of Connecticut where he also competed in Division One tennis. He serves on the boards of the Lappin Foundation, a Jewish non-profit organization, and Beverly Children’s Learning Center. Jay enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, playing sports, working out and traveling.
Executive Director, Beverly’s Council on Aging & Community Center
Chris currently serves as the Executive Director of the Beverly Council on Aging or the City of Beverly where his responsibilities include oversight of all programming, services, and activities for the senior center. Prior to his work in Beverly, Chris served as the Director of Elder Services for the City of Lynn, a role in which he worked with countless partners to open a new senior center in the city.
Beyond his work at the Council on Again, Chris also serves on the Steering Committee for Vision Lynn and as a member of Lynn’s Food Security Task Force. He is an avid volunteer at his church, St. Joseph’s in Lynn, as well as coaching among various youth sports teams.
Chris received both his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and his Masters of Business Administration from Salem State University.
In his spare time, Chris enjoys spending time with my family, including his 4 and 6 year old sons, watching movies and traveling.
Manager, Creative Cities Lynn
Sunil Gulab is a seasoned professional who currently serves as the driving force behind the Creative Cities Grant in Lynn. With a passion for fostering collaboration and enriching the cultural landscape, Sunil's primary objective is to establish strong bonds within the creative and cultural spheres of Lynn, thereby benefiting the entire city.
With a background as an Environmental Scientist and an Entrepreneur, Sunil's diverse skill set brings a unique perspective to his endeavors. Moreover, his profound love for art is evident in his work as a fine artist, with his paintings being inspired by the places he has called home: Zimbabwe, Africa, and New England for the past two decades.
Sunil's inquisitive mind is constantly engaged in both micro and macro problem-solving. Drawing from his scientific training, he approaches challenges methodically, while his artistic flair enables him to think outside the box. Additionally, his business acumen ensures a practical and realistic approach to finding innovative solutions, making him a truly multidimensional problem solver dedicated to improving the world around him.
His academic journey includes a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Huntingdon College and an MBA from Boston College, reflecting his commitment to both the sciences and business management. Sunil's dedication to his community is evident through his involvement on the Board of Directors for several esteemed organizations, including the Lynn Community Health Center, Galleries at Lynn Arts, NextGen, and the Essex County Community Foundation. Moreover, he plays an essential role in the Lynn Cultural Council, further exemplifying his unwavering commitment to supporting the city's cultural growth.
Sunil is fortunate to call Lynn, MA home. He takes care of his parents and is Lynn-phylic. His hobbies are painting, cycling, travel and the outdoors.
Senior Director of External Relations and Strategic Communications, Lynn Community Health Center
Meaghen Hamill is the Senior Director of External Relations and Strategic Communication for Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) since March of 2022. She is responsible for supporting the Chief Executive Officer with managing and building external relationships including liaising between LCHC and community and government partners; assisting with streamlining and alignment of internal communications; and elevating LCHC’s mission, vision, values and goals both internally and within the greater Lynn community. Meaghen’s role as a member of the Senior Leadership team also includes LCHC Board of Directors relations; overseeing the Marketing and Communications, Development and Grants Departments; and coordinating a significant and always varying number of large and small interdependent initiatives.
Previously to joining Lynn Community Health Center, Meaghen’s career focused on policy and community relations in the public sector. She held a variety of strategic leadership positions representing the City of Lynn and the 3rd Essex District in the State Legislature and Mayor’s Office, including as a Senior Advisor to Mayor Jared Nicholson and his team during their transition into office at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022. Her comprehensive knowledge of the office’s extensive responsibilities and of the City of Lynn (diverse population of 100,000 people) were honed during her time as the prior administration’s Chief of Staff, serving directly as a trusted advisor of Mayor Emeritus Tom McGee.
As former Mayor McGee’s Chief of Staff, Meaghen worked closely with LCHC during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically as LCHC’s operational partner within the City of Lynn to launch and maintain a Mass Vaccination Site during 2021. That partnership revealed to her LCHC’s foundation as a social justice institution that strives to ensure equitable care in the City of Lynn, and upon completion of her prior role, Meaghen sought an opportunity to join LCHC in furthering this mission.
Meaghen is a lifelong Lynn resident and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, with a minor in Communications from Boston University. She enjoys walking her Siberian Huskey Oakley, skiing in the winter, and spending the summer on Ossipee Lake in New Hampshire.
Executive Director, North Shore Children’s Museum in Peabody
Ali is the Executive Director of North Shore Children’s Museum in Peabody, MA, which she curated and opened in October 2022, with the City of Peabody. NSCM sold over 23,000 tickets to residents of 230 towns in its first 9 months of operations. Ali builds and leverages relationships in the community to strengthen NSCM and prioritizes inclusion as key parts of the museum’s mission. Prior to NSCM, Ali was the Director of Development at Citizens Inn, a Peabody nonprofit focused on breaking down barriers that lead to food insecurity and homelessness, where she was exposed to the inequities brought on by broken systems. Ali began her career at Harvard and Mass General Hospital, where she learned the best practices in fundraising and worked closely on principal and major gift strategy.
Ali grew up in western Massachusetts and currently lives in Hamilton with her husband Charlie and their kids, Charlie, Abbie, and Cameron. When she is not running the museum or running after her three kids, Ali loves to read, run, ski, and play tennis.
Ali graduated from Holy Cross with a BA in Psychology and from Boston University with an MBA in nonprofit management. She spent a year at the University of Melbourne, living at Trinity College.
Executive Director, My Brother’s Table
Dianne Kuzia Hills is the Executive Director of My Brother’s Table, a soup kitchen and social service agency located in downtown Lynn. She has worked at the Table in various capacities for 3 decades, becoming the executive director in 2009. The Table has served over 7 million meals since its founding in 1982 and has done so entirely with private funding, as they do not accept nor seek government funds. The Table, open every day of the year, is a hospitality-based charity, where anyone can receive meals without a deeming or eligibility process. Their mission is to nourish their community every day through hospitality, free meals and unconditional love.
Dianne has worked on the North Shore as both a clinical social worker and as an advocate for over 30 years. Her career has focused on work with very low income individuals and families, and the systems that serve them. She has worked in hospice and pediatric palliative care, has served on many boards including the Lynn Health Task Force, the Department of Mental Health Area Board, the Lynn CoC, the NSMC Community Affairs Committee, the New Lynn Coalition, the Lynn Non-Profit Business Association, the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, and the North Shore AIDS Collaborative.
Dianne received her bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University and her master’s in social work from Boston University. She grew up in rural upstate New York and lives in Danvers, Massachusetts with her husband, Shawn, and her two children. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, watching baseball, and talking late into the night with friends about ways to change the world.
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Endicott College
Brandi has worked at Endicott College since 2008 in a variety of student-facing roles. She currently holds the title of Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer in addition to being an adjunct lecturer. Brandi has a M.Ed. from Lesley University and a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. An AmeriCorps alum, Brandi served two years working with inner city youth in Boston and has held multiple roles at several other educational organizations, including Regis College, Brookline Public Schools, UMass Amherst, Boston Public Schools, and Citizen Schools.
Dedicated to serving her community, she is a member of the Board of Trustees at Harborlight Montessori School, Landmark School, and Pathways for Children. In addition to her board work she is also a Grant follow-up Site Visitor for the Cummings Foundation. Brandi is a regular guest speaker at area high schools, and has delivered keynote addresses at numerous diversity and belonging webinars and seminars. She is originally from Ashland, MA and currently resides in Beverly, MA with her husband, Lance Greene and her 9 year old daughter Nevaeh. Brandi cherishes spending time with her family and exploring new places with them. In her spare time, she collects coins, puzzles, crafts and makes candy. She also loves searching for and listening to vinyl records and most recently enjoys supporting her daughter’s entrepreneurial endeavors as she currently aspires to create her own business.
Lynn Market Leader | LCW CPAs
Konstadinos (Dino) is a Manager at LCW CPAs as well serving as the Practice Leader for the firm’s fledgling Lynn, MA office.
Headquartered in Lawrence, LCW CPAs expansion to the City of Lynn in early 2024 is consistent with the firm’s commitment to focus on the economies and people of Gateway cities. Offering a diverse client base of businesses and individuals a full suite of services far beyond commodity accounting and tax services, LCWA CPAs are fueled by a passion to support their clients achieving their version of the American Dream.
A native of Lynn, Dino is a proud graduate of Lynn Classical High School and is a lifelong member of Saint George Greek Orthodox Church. Following high school, Dino earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Northeastern University, followed by a Master of Science in Accounting from Suffolk University. He is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) and the Massachusetts Society of Certified public Accountants (MSCPA).
Over his more than 25 years in public accounting, Dino has owned several businesses of his own, while remaining committed to his accounting career. Throughout his career, Dino has successfully navigated ever-changing tax and accounting landscape facing closely held business owners and their families. His proficiency in identifying and delivering strategic business and tax-saving counsel to his clients has led to optimal outcomes that have consistently empowered his clients to achieve their objectives.
Dino currently resides in Wakefield MA, with his wife and three children, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing golf, going to professional sporting events and traveling to warm destinations.
Lead Pastor, East Coast International Church
Kurt Lange is the Lead Pastor at East Coast International Church and has been serving the city of Lynn for over 20 years. The Church’s mission is to bring Good News to the poor, Healing for the broken, Freedom for the captive and justice for the oppressed. Kurt is also the Co-Founder and has been serving as the Board President of the Haven Project since 2011. The Haven Project is a non profit that addresses a gap in services for unaccompanied young adults in Lynn and surrounding communities from the social enterprise (Land of a Thousand Hills) to Catalyst Housing.
Kurt resides in Lynn along with his wife Jen Lange and two daughters, Kyla and Haley. As a further representation of Kurt and Jen’s commitment to Lynn, they recently started a Thrift Boutique, The Loft at Stetson, which serves as a job re-entry program for women out of recovery, sex trafficking and prison.
Kurt graduated Gordon College with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
LAVOIE SCHUSTER, CAROL
Vice President for Programs and Nonprofit Services at Essex County Community Foundation
Carol Lavoie Schuster is Essex County Community Foundation’s Vice President for Program and Nonprofit Services. In her role at ECCF, Carol leads the strategy and implementation of foundation grantmaking and nonprofit leadership. Before joining ECCF, Carol was the Program Manager at Philanthropy MA (formerly AGM) in Boston where she led programming, education, and philanthropic initiatives. Prior to Philanthropy MA, Carol was an executive director, director of development and gallery director in numerous arts institutions.
Carol is passionate about community, volunteerism, social and environmental justice, root cause and systems philanthropy. Her personal mission is to connect individuals and organizations with the resources and tools needed to exceed their goals. At ECCF, Carol partnered with community and foundation leaders to design and lead several crisis response efforts including the Columbia Gas Residential Recovery efforts as well as the Essex County COVID-19 Relief Fund. Carol is active in community on many boards including the Martha’s Vineyard Art Association and as Vice President of the Hamilton Wenham Ed Fund.
Born in Lynn and raised in Beverly, Carol considers herself a resident of all of Essex County. She and her family are committed to climate change solutions and ways to engage and support sustainable solutions and equity in the ecosystem. Always a creative, Carol loves painting, creating, being in nature, gardening, entertaining, bike riding, pickleball, traveling and any activity with her family and friends. She graduated from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and lives in Wenham with her husband Paul, daughter Emily, son Jack and dog Grace, the best Bernadoodle on the planet.
Director Of Commercial Services, 4 Insurance LLC
After becoming a licensed insurance agent in 1997, Mabelyn Lopez spent the next 2 decades perfecting her skills and educating her clients on the benefits of protecting themselves and their assets through effective insurance plans. Believing that insurance shouldn’t be confusing or intimidating, she established 4 Insurance in 2021, a certified minority and woman owned independent Insurance Agency.
4 Insurance is an award winning insurance agency with 3 locations. Offering service in multiple languages, they provide personal, business and industry specific insurance services that include home, auto, renters, general and professional liability, directors & officers and workers compensation products. From health care providers to truckers to restaurants to nonprofits, 4 Insurance has the experience and the knowledge needed to get the best deal for their clients.
Mabelyn is the proud recipient of the All Star Agent Award for MAIA’s Big Event 2022 (Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents) and the Business Woman of the year from the North Shore Latino Business Association. She has spoken at Suffolk University as a panelist for Learning to Lead from Latinx Business Owners, Panelist for iPROMOTEu – The Buyer's Perspective: Unleashing Insights for Business Growth, candidate for the North Shore LEADS Fellowship, had an NASE (National Association for the Self Employed) article published in June, 2022 and a panelist in the upcoming SCORE Northeast Massachusetts Womens Business Summit (9/20/2023)
Today, Mabelyn sits on the Boards of the Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Celebrate Literacy Day, Cultura Latina Dance Academy, Inc., the Margarita Muñiz Academy, a mentor for eForAll, a former board member of the North Shore Latino Business Association and she continues to be a trusted industry and community influencer, leader, speaker, mentor, resource and advisor.
General Manager, Wash Cycle Laundry
President-Founder-CEO, North Shore Latino Business Association Center
Frances Martinez, the President Founder CEO of the North Shore Latino Business Association/Center (NSLBA), was born in New York NY from Dominican parents. A “Charismatic Leader” as her Boston University professors identified her she has also been recognized as “the glue that keeps her community together” by other State officials. The NSLBA is a private non-profit organization established 2011 and serves as the voice for the Latin businesses and professionals, advocating for opportunities that set them at a higher level. Providing quality workshops, high top events, innovative programs and services and useful and tangible resources that enhance business growth for its over 700 business/professional members.
Long before her leadership at NSLBA, Frances has been committed assisting the needs of the immigrant community since the early 90’s.
She is a mother, wife, professional Latina with an optimistic spirit that overcomes barriers without limitations.
Councilor at Large for the City of Lynn / Founder and President of North Shore Juneteenth Association
Nicole McClain an educator. She is also the founder and President of North Shore Juneteenth Association Inc. She loved, owned, and operated her home based early education program, Rising Stars Childcare, for 6 years , and has aspirations to open a more expansive early education center in the future.
Nicole founded North Shore Juneteenth Association in 2016 with the mission of spreading awareness about the Juneteenth holiday, sharing positive images of Black American culture with the community and joining the fight to dismantle racism using events and programming as a tool for change. The organization received 501c3 designation in 2018.
Mrs. McClain donates her time to various commissions and boards such as Essex County Commission on the Status of Women, Carin Hill Educational Collaborative, and more
Nicole was proudly sworn in as a Councilor at Large representing the City of Lynn on April 25th, 2023
Mrs. McClain is a veteran having served in the Army National Guard with deployments to Iraq in 2004 and 2009. Currently, Nicole is studying at Boston College to obtain her masters degree in Educational Leadership and Policy. She also works full time as the director of the Salvation Army SmART Center Program.
Founder & Managing Principal, THM Advisors
Taidgh H. McClory is the Founder of THM Advisors, a leading Massachusetts SDO certified minority business enterprise (MBE) and social impact enterprise dedicated to helping commercial real estate developers embed racial equity strategies into their operating models to generate better social and financial outcomes for the companies and communities they build. THM Advisors delivers strategic impact strategies by working with a team of collaborating partners and subject matter experts in the following domains of commercial real estate. Based in MA, their work involves designing, advocating and executing strategies that build career pathways for professionals of color/women, increase contract participation among MBE/WBE firms, and create economic opportunities for investors of color/women in commercial real estate in New England and across the US. McClory’s career in commercial real estate and advertising has spanned over 25 years and includes expertise in strategic planning, real estate brokerage, marketing, brand planning, market research, and economic development.
McClory serves on the Urban Land Institute: Responsible Investment Property Council; an active member of The Real Estate Executive Council; the Executive Council of Diversity & Inclusion for The Partnership, Inc.; as well as a handful of initiatives focused on economic development, social impact, diversity/equity/inclusion, commercial real estate, education, and philanthropy. Most recently McClory was the recipient of the 2020 - National Commercial Real Estate Development Association’s President’s Award by the NAIOP-MA Chapter.
A native of Lynn, MA, McClory graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in History and Studio Art. In his local community on the North Shore, McClory serves as the Vice Chair on the Board of Trustees for St. John’s Preparatory School, Co-Chair/Board of Directors for Beyond Walls, the Cummings Foundation Grant Selection Committee, and a lector at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Lynnfield where he resides with his wife and three children.
Founder, Aspiring Spirit LLC
Dr. Kenann McKenzie-DeFranza is a native of Georgetown Guyana, having immigrated to the United States at the age of 7. She has been in the field of education for over 20 years, most of her professional life, and has also served the nonprofit sector. She has recently joined Gordon College’s School of Education as the Director of Academic Innovation and Strategic Partnerships and will also serve as an Associate Professor of Practice. Her background and expertise include civic engagement research & practice, organizational consulting, PreK-12 schools and higher education professional development on subjects such as educational practices, policy, administration, and leadership. She has authored numerous papers and peer reviewed publications.
Dr. McKenzie-DeFranza also founded the Aspiring Spirit, LLC which includes a podcast and motivational speaking on professional development topics. Prior to joining Gordon, she most served as the inaugural Director of the Generous Listening and Dialogue Center, Tufts University from 2021-2023. Prior to that she was director of the Aspire Institute, housed at BU Wheelock’s School of Education, 2017 until 2021.
At the Federal education level from 2015-2017, she served as Executive Director for the National Board of Education Sciences at the US Department of Education for several years, which oversees funding for education research via the Institute for Education Sciences. Prior experiences add to over 20 years in education policy, advocacy, research and teaching.
In addition to being a spouse and parent- in her civic life, she is serves as a board member for her church Anchor Bay Church in Beverly MA, is a Rotarian, serves on several non-profit boards, is an elected public official on the Beverly Massachusetts School Committee and serves as President of the North Shore Branch of the NAACP ‘23-’25.
In 2022, she was recognized with the Heroine Award by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Commission on the Status of Women.
Her education includes: a B.A., Cornell University Masters of Education (M.Ed.)., University of Virginia, Ph.D., Columbia University, TC and the Harvard Kennedy School, Nonprofit Leadership certificate.
Executive Director, Plummer Youth Promise
Nicole brings a deep knowledge of child welfare and nonprofit management to her leadership of Plummer Youth Promise, a $9million child welfare organization providing direct services to youth experiencing foster care as well as proliferating best practices through nationwide training and consulting. Nicole joined the Plummer board in 2002, becoming board chair in 2006 at a pivotal period during which the organization adopted a transformative strategy to develop effective practices to help teens in residential foster care connect with permanent families before leaving care as young adults.
In 2009, Nicole left the Board to become Plummer’s first Director of Development. In 2013, Nicole became the organization’s first Director of Strategy and Advancement. In this role, Nicole led a rebranding process that shifted the organization from its original identity, an 18th century group residence for boys, to that of a visionary, multi-service child welfare organization setting a standard of practice for others in the field. She became Executive Director in 2020.
From 1992 to 2009, she provided legal and strategic counsel to a wide range of national foundations, charitable and lobbying organizations, associations, and political action committees.
Nicole enjoys volunteering in the community and served on founding board of Root, NS. She currently serves on the City of Salem Race Equity Commission and the Advisory Board of the Association of Residential and Community Services. In prior years, she served on the board of the Mental Health and Addiction Network, and Rosie’s Place.
Director of the Peabody Institute Library, City of Peabody
Cate Merlin is the Director of the Peabody Institute Library, the City of Peabody's public library serving all residents of Peabody. She oversees the operations and mission of the PIL, its staff, and its services across three branches and works with the City and outside partners to provide community access to information, technology, and culture. Cate's work centers around ensuring that all Peabody residents, no matter their background, income, immigration status, or age, are able to access the information and entertainment that they seek without facing economic or cultural barriers.
Before becoming Director of the PIL, Cate supervised multiple departments within the library, and previously worked with teens and children at the Attleboro Public Library and Marlborough Public Library. She is active in the library world and community at large, serving on the North of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE) Executive Board, the Massachusetts Library Association Intellectual Freedom & Social Responsibility Committee, the Peabody Education Fund, the Board of the Odyssey Day School, as well as sitting on multiple national American Library Association book award committees.
Cate grew up outside of Cleveland, OH, and lives in Wakefield with her husband and daughter, spending her time gardening, hiking, attempting to teach her daughter how to ride a bicycle, or traveling to visit family in the Midwest and her husband's native France. She holds both a Master's in Library & Information Science and a Master's in Children's Literature from Simmons University, and a Bachelor’s in History from Lesley University.
President & CEO, Pathways for Children
Eric Mitchell is The President and Chief Executive Officer of Pathways for Children, an agency that provides childcare, Head Start and comprehensive support services for children and families throughout Massachusetts’ north shore. Eric has led Pathways since January 2021. He has worked for over thirty-five years with various nonprofits in the Boston area serving children, youth and families. Most recently he worked at Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. (ABCD) for ten years in various leadership roles. Eric is also an adjunct professor at Suffolk University teaching nonprofit management. He has served on many boards and is currently a member of the Danvers Cultural Council, Danvers Finance Committee, Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care Board of Directors, Providers’ Council Board of Directors, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, Gamma chapter Executive Board, and is Chair of the Board of Roxbury Youth Works, Inc.
Originally from Trenton NJ, Eric is a testament to the transformational influence of a quality education and caring people. Eric received his undergraduate degree from Tufts University and his Masters in Public Administration and Political Science from Suffolk University, but his path to success has its origins in his scholarship to attend The Lawrenceville School in NJ.
Eric lives with his family in Danvers, MA. He is very active in community building but in his down time he reads and spends time with his family.
Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Salem State University
Mike Mitchell currently serves as Associate Director of Alumni Relations at Salem State University, hosting events and creating meaningful engagement opportunities for alumni and friends of the institution. In this role, Mike is responsible for regional alumni chapter development, large-scale alumni event planning, a podcast series highlighting alumni success stories and more.
Prior to his time at Salem State, Mike worked in the sports and entertainment business for several years in the event space for Spectra Venue Management (now OVG) and various franchises in the American Hockey League. The work with Spectra included major event production, with partners like WWE, the Harlem Globetrotters, Reebok/Crossfit, Disney on Ice, and Live Nation, to name a few. In addition to the event production work, Mike coordinated game night operations and entertainment for several seasons for the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League.
Outside of his professional life, Mike has supported numerous causes through either voluntary or philanthropic means. Currently, he sits on the board of North Shore Pride, helping to coordinate events to raise funds that support the LGBTQ+ community. Other previous volunteer work includes Shriners Hospital for Children, Wounded Warrior Project, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
When he’s not working or volunteering, Mike can be found exploring his new community in Beverly, with his wife Estrella, at a local golf course, or playing in his weekly dart league.
Mike earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports, Fitness and Leisure Studies, with a concentration in Sport Management, from Salem State University in 2007.
Senior Executive Officer, North Shore Community College (NSCC)
Dr. Kathryn Nielsen is the Senior Executive Officer at North Shore Community College (NSCC) where she works with the President on the strategic operations of the College including Community Relations. The recently launched strategic plan entitled Transforming the Future with Our Community inspires and guides her work to deliver on North Shore Community College’s foundational vision that an NSCC education leads to consistently excellent and equitable life outcomes for students that in turn improve community outcomes.
She is a leader in higher education with over 20 years as a researcher, college administrator, teacher, and speaker. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies, Adult and Transformative Learning from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in education and social policy. Dr. Nielsen is active with the state serving on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus and in her community where she serves on several non-profit boards including the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center in Newburyport, MA, and the Massachusetts ACE Women’s Network whose mission is to support the advancement of women in all segments of higher education and the New England region and to promote the diversity of women and their contributions in Massachusetts higher education. The network is committed to developing leaders that promote justice, equity, and inclusion at their institutions. Dr. Nielsen is the founder of 100 Women Who Care Boston North, a giving circle committed to strengthening the local community through philanthropic giving.
A feminist, aspiring minimalist, and mother of four, Kathryn enjoys tennis, yoga, golf, gardening, art, travel and work that inspires personal, professional, and philanthropic growth. Dr. Nielsen resides in Salisbury, MA with her partner, family and their overly-indulged dog Gracie and rescue-cat Jim.
CEO and co-founder, Crossway Companies
John Njoroge is the CEO and co-founder of Crossway Companies, a holding company for three healthcare entities: Crossway Homecare, Crossway Transit and Crossway Data. Crossway Home Care is a fast-growing Medicare certified company. Crossway Transit is a medical transportation company while Crossway data develops and provides SAS for various Healthcare services. The Home Care and transportation service continues to build a large network of healthcare providers and community resources in the Merrimack Valley area as well the entire North Shore regions.
Prior to founding Crossway Companies, John worked as a Nurse Manager in homecare and sub-acute facilities for 10 years, successfully leading his team in multiple deficiency free surveys and being an integral catalyst for company growth. For over 15 years, John has also been developing software solutions to improve healthcare efficiencies. He has curated his expertise and passion in these fields into a successful holding company.
John was born in Kenya and today lives in Salem NH, with his wife Shannon, sons Isaac and Samuel and their daughter Serena. He is an active member of his church, Impact Church, where he serves on the leadership team. He enjoys spending time with his family, serving at his church, golfing and sporting events.
Director of Community Engagement, Harborlight Homes
As the Director of Community Engagement, Rosa oversees Resident Services, Advocacy, and Education for Harborlight Homes, a non-profit Community Development Corporation that builds and manages affordable housing. Rosa’s team supports seniors, families, and formerly homeless individuals to live, thrive, and age with dignity. Her primary responsibilities include supporting a high quality of life for residents through the expansion and creation of supportive services and partnerships, creation of data systems to measure efficiency and improve services, and managing RSC’s across Harborlight properties.
Rosa also oversees advocacy and education, engaging with community members and elected officials to support housing related policy. Rosa’s team offers pro-housing programming for local and state level elected officials, community members looking to become housing advocates, and community forums covering a variety of current housing policy and topics to increase knowledge and support for affordable housing throughout the North Shore.
Prior to joining Harborlight in late 2018, Rosa was the Director of Transition & Community Services at Triangle, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting people with disabilities.
Locally, Rosa serves on the boards of the Latino Leadership Coalition, Zoning Board of Appeals, Partnership for Financial Equity, and is a member of CHAPA’s Policy Leadership Council.
A proud resident of the great city of Salem, Rosa and her family enjoy exploring outdoor spaces, frequenting restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries, and cheering on the ever-heartbreaking Los Angeles Dodgers. Rosa holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
PIERCE, FELICIA S.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, North Shore Community Development Coalition, Inc.
Felicia S. Pierce, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for North Shore CDC, is a nationally recognized award-winning non-profit leader with over 15 years of community organizing planning and development experience. Pierce implements strategic vision and leadership led by informed community engagement work to develop strategies, programs, and projects that enhance economic development, housing, and neighborhood growth for marginalized and underserved communities throughout the North Shore. Pierce oversees daily operations of NSCDC prioritizing organizational infrastructure, strategic planning and community programming which includes but is not limited to programs under youth development, community building, economic development, and youth housing. Pierce moved from NYC in 2015 to work as NSCDC’s Director of YouthBuild, in 2018 became the Chief Program 2018 and earlier this year became the organizations first Deputy CEO. She was also instrumental in developing the innovative service model for Harbor Crossing, which provides affordable housing to unhoused youth or aging out of foster care and designed and launched NSCDC’s Community Ambassador Program in 2020. She extends her local community support as the Board Vice-Chair for Root N.S. and serves on the Essex County Community Foundation’s Racial Equity Committee. She previously worked as a Senior Fellow for the Institute for Non-Profit Practice CORE Certificate Program. She was featured in the April 2022 issue of North Shore Magazine where she was featured in the article “Wonder Women”.
Originally from NYC, Pierce currently lives in Lynn, MA. Pierce and her husband Milton are Foster Parents to an inquisitive, resilient 3-year-old girl. Pierce has found a balance in life through strength training, mentoring other women, serving on her church's Prayer Team, traveling and collecting vinyl records.
Pierce holds a Master of Social Work with a major in community organization and planning from the CUNY Hunter School of Social Work. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from SUNY College at Old Westbury in NY as well as a certificate in Nonprofit Management and leadership from Tufts University.
Chief of Police, City of Lynn
Christopher Reddy is the Chief of Police in the City of Lynn Massachusetts. Chris has been a member of the Lynn Police Department for the more than 38 years. During the course of his career he served in a variety of operational and administrative positions as he rose through the ranks until being appointed to the position of Chief in May, 2021. As Chief he oversees an organization consisting of more than 200 police officers and non-sworn employees. Chief Reddy has demonstrated a commitment to providing professional police services that are rooted in the community policing philosophy. As part of that commitment, he has worked to increase opportunities for positive engagement between police officers and members of the community, expand the inclusion of mental health and substance specialists in department operations and increased training for members of the department especially in the areas of crisis intervention and behavioral health.
Chief Reddy is a life-long resident of Lynn. He is the proud father of three children and the happy grandfather to three grandsons. While raising his family he served as a coach and volunteer for multiple organizations and he is an active supporter of the Massachusetts Special Olympics as well as a member of the Lynn Rotary club. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, kayaking and a newly discovered fondness for Pickleball!
Chief Reddy graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in 1986 with a B.S. in Business Administration – Management. He earned a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria college in 1989. He has completed certificate programs in Executive Leadership from the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development program and Police Leadership from Northeastern University.
Chief of Staff & Business Liaison, City of Peabody
Chris Ryder is Chief of Staff & Business Liaison for the City of Peabody in the office of Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt, Jr. Chris is currently focused on expanding broadband access to all Peabody residents and continuing the mayor’s efforts to revitalize the downtown business and cultural district.
A graduate of Northeastern University, Chris previously served eight years as a legislative aide on Beacon Hill and more than a decade in the private sector as a sales and marketing professional. Chris serves on the board of directors of the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce as well as the Torigian Family YMCA Advisory Board and the City of Peabody Master Plan Advisory Committee.
A Peabody native, Chris lives with his wife Patty, daughter Meghan, son Colin and the family’s two beloved cats Milo and Toby. A yoga practitioner, Chris enjoys hiking, golfing, pickleball and video games.
Partner and Co-Founder, Bulfinch Strategies Group
Jefferson Smith is a Partner and Co-Founder at Bulfinch Strategies Group, a multi-state government affairs firm based in Massachusetts. Among many roles Jefferson has served throughout his previous career in government, he is the former Legislative Director at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation under Governor Deval Patrick and Chief of Staff to the Mayor of the City of Cambridge.
Jefferson played a key role in passing the landmark Transportation Reform Act of 2009, and as a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Jobs Creation Commission, he brought an innovative approach to creating and maintaining high-quality jobs in the Commonwealth after the global economic recession in 2008. Throughout his career, he has led local activists throughout the state and helped elect numerous candidates to public office, including Governor Deval Patrick & Senator Elizabeth Warren. He is a founding member of the Massachusetts Housing Coalition, a pro-housing non-profit organization focused on bringing reasonable, common sense solutions the housing crisis in the Massachusetts.
Jefferson has also served as the Research Director for the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, as well as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts.
Jefferson holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as a Master’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration from Suffolk University. He enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, reading, and film — all a distant second to spending time with his family.
He lives in Ipswich with his wife Anna, and two children, Everett and Esme.
ST. PIERRE, JOE
Project Manager, Crowley Wind Services
Joe is an engineer currently serving as Project Manager for Crowley Wind Services, assigned to support the Development and Operation of the Salem Wind Port, a 42-acre site located in Salem, Massachusetts. Once complete, the site will be the Commonwealth's largest offshore wind port capable of supporting projects all along the east coast.
Before joining the offshore wind industry, Joe was the Director of Facilities, Farm, and Grounds at Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School. As a product of Career Technical Education, Joe proudly served as the school's technical operations lead. Joe's true passion is the ocean, where he started his career. After graduating from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, he spent six years traveling the world on different types of ocean-going vessels as a United States Merchant Mariner.
Joe holds a BS and MS from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, is a United States Coast Guard licensed engineer, and is a Journeyman Electrician in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Joe lives in Essex with his wife and three sons. He enjoys exercising, fishing, and things that get him outside with his family.
Executive Director of Lynn Museum/LynnArts
Doneeca’s present role as Executive Director of Lynn Museum/LynnArts primarily focuses on mission fulfillment, strategic planning, financial management, education and programming, marketing/branding, and day to day operations, with emphasis on community-centered initiatives, committed to making our spaces more inclusive, accessible, and visible to all.
Previous to Lynn Museum/LynnArts, Doneeca was a Creative Engagement Producer at the Peabody Essex Museum. She spent five years creating engaging intergenerational programs for a variety of audiences, often inspired by exhibitions and current events, and featuring local artists, creatives, and musicians. She also served as co-chair of the Equity & Inclusion Task Force, focused on internal and external DEIA initiatives.
Beyond her work at Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts, she Doneeca also serves as a board member for the New England Museum Association, Greater Lynn Senior Services, MASSCreative, and the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additionally, she serves on several steering committees, including the Essex County Community Foundation's NextGen, Lynn Education District, Essex National Heritage Area, Salem Arts Festival, Prevent the Cycle, and others.
She holds an M.A. in History with a Concentration in Public History from Northeastern University and a B.A. in History from Bucknell University.
While a proud Lynner, Doneeca currently lives with her partner, Andres, and two rescue dogs in Salem, MA. Outside work you can find her spending time with loved ones, catching up on my reading list, testing out new recipes in the kitchen, and perfecting her skills at candlepin bowling.
Director of Development and Communications, Mabel Center for Immigrant Justice
Erin Truex is the Director of Development and Communications for Mabel Center for Immigrant Justice, a start-up nonprofit organization that provides pro bono legal representation to asylum-seekers in Massachusetts. Under Erin’s management, Mabel Center’s revenue has grown to a projected $800,000 in FY24 through foundation, government, and individual support. Erin handles all administrative duties, and financial reporting, and external relations for Mabel Center, which is in its third full year of operation.
Erin has worked in development since 2010 within non-profits, universities, and foundations. She serves as Vice President of the Board of Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC), a domestic violence prevention organization, and as Vice President of Behind You, an emergency support organization for service industry and restaurant workers based in Salem, MA. In the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erin led an emergency response through Behind You, raising $120,000 and providing over 300 service industry workers with immediate cash assistance. Erin is a former board member of the National Association of Social Workers- Massachusetts Chapter and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. Prior to joining Mabel Center, Erin worked with LEAP for Education, Trinity Boston Connects, The Boston Foundation, and EdVestors. Erin is a four-time national champion in women’s tackle football after a career with the Boston Renegades.
Erin graduated from Boston University with a Masters of Social Work.
Originally from California, Erin has made Salem, MA her home for the past seven years with her partner and their daughter. In her spare time, you can find Erin at the beach, regardless of the season.
Medical Director Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Health, MassGeneral Bringham Salem Hospital/North Shore Physician Group
Christine Valdes is the first Medical Director of DEI and Community Health at MassGeneral Brigham Salem Hospital/North Shore Physicians Group. This position was developed during the initial COVID crisis as a need to respond more fluidly to inequities in care that were most striking during this time. Dr. Valdes has been in practice for over 20 years as a Family Physician. She has been located on the North Shore in Saugus since 2008. Previously she worked in a community health center in the South Bronx, NY. Christine is actively engaged with the Community Care Van which brings access directly to the community for COVID vaccines and is embarking on chronic disease management in the community. She also leads the Lynn Medical Village community farm along with the Lynn Food Project which engages patients to grow and eat healthy food and learn about healthy food resources. She serves as Chair of the hospital DEI council and on the Community Advisory Board.
Christine obtained a Dual Bachelor's Degree in Biology and Psychology from Clarkson University in 1992 and received her MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1996. She completed a residency in Family Medicine at UMass Worcester in 1999.
Originally from Long Island, NY (and yes, still a Yankees fan) she currently resides in Saugus with her extended family. She enjoys a variety of down time activities such as world travel, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and kayaking in the White Mountain Region.
Trusts and Estate and Real Estate Conveyancing Attorney, Cherry Tree Legal, PLLC | Cherry Tree Title, LLC
Brendan Ward is a Nahant resident, attended St. John’s Prep in Danvers and subsequently received his Bachelor of Science from the University of New Hampshire and his JD from New England School of Law. He has also received extensive training and coaching in Estate Planning that sets him apart from his peers through Wealth Counsel and the Family Wealth Planning Institute.
Brendan continues to focus on estate planning for families with young children, same sex couples, together with elder care and intervention, trust and estate administration. His skills provide a depth of knowledge in probate practice and asset protection. Brendan in addition to estate planning and trust & estate administration, works on real estate conveyancing helping both buyers and sellers in the sale of real estate.
Beyond his work at Cherry Tree, Brendan also spends a great deal of time volunteering in his local community. He is the past president of the Copley Society of Art Circle, past chairman of the town of Nahant Advisory & Finance Committee, the Secretary of local non-profit 01908, previously Vice President of the Board of Directors of Family & Children Services of Greater Lynn, previous Trustee of the Lynn Home for the Elderly and a current member of the Board of Directors of the Lynn Boys and Girls Club and the Greater Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce.
Director of Youth Services, Centerboard
Ebony White born and raised in Lynn Ma and is first and foremost a mother of two. She serves as the Director of Youth Services at Centerboard Inc and oversees 11 residential programs for at risk youth between the ages of 13-22 years old.
Ebony has over 15 years of experience working with families and youth in the Lynn Community and joined the Centerboard team in 2008. She serves as an active member of the community and works with organizations to continue ensuring that institutional policies and procedures support people of color and help bring diversity, equity, and inclusion to community members with a focus on organizational change.
Ebony White has a B.A. in Communications from Newbury College and received a certificate from Suffolk University in Non-Profit Business Management. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her two children, travel, and coach boys travel basketball.
ZARAGOZA FREY, REGINA
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), City of Salem
Regina hails from Querétaro, México, and currently serves as the inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for the City of Salem. Her role was established to elevate issues of race and equity within the City's operations, influencing all departments through a variety of initiatives. These initiatives include conducting an equity audit, facilitating ongoing DEI training and dialogues on equity with all City staff, and systematizing language justice. Regina amplifies anti-hate, anti-bias, and anti-discrimination efforts and implements the recommendations of the Race Equity Commission, Race Equity Task Force, and Human Rights Coalition. Her role extends beyond internal operations as she seeks to bridge the City and community, particularly focusing on the needs of historically underrepresented and systematically excluded individuals.
Regina comes to Salem from Colorado, where she was the DEI Manager for Thorne Nature Experience, one of the state’s first and largest environmental education organizations. There, she focused on environmental justice initiatives and inclusive outdoor programming (Nature for ALL!). Her other experience includes working for the “I Have A Dream” Foundation of Boulder County, as well as working as a Legal Advocate/Emergency Response Specialist at a Domestic Violence prevention nonprofit.
Regina is fluent in English and Spanish, as well as proficient in French and holds a Master’s of Law in Ethics and Compliance as well as two Bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs and Art History from the University of Colorado Boulder.