Founder, Creative Collective
John Andrews is the founder and Executive Director of Creative Collective Mass. The Collective is one part business program and one-part economic development strategy initiative focusing on the intersection of the creative workforce and economic development and how that intersection impacts and can benefit communities throughout Essex County.
John was awarded Person of the Year (Daily Item) and Small Business of the Year (Salem Chamber of Commerce) in 2021 for the support he gave the small business community and local creators through the first year of COVID. He also sits on many boards and committees including the Salem Public Art Commission and the ECCF Creative County Intiaitive and NextGen Philanthropy Initiative and strategically aligns that work with consultancy projects completed in Beverly, Salem, Peabody, Lynn, and Lawrence.
Through the pandemic, John and the team at the Collective were able to engage with municipalities, MassDevelopment, multiple Main Streets organizations, Groundwork Lawrence, and hundreds of independents contractors to create equitable and inclusive place-keeping initiatives as well as grow the business program to close to 300 members ranging from individual artist to large institutions.
John grew up and lives on the North Shore with his partner Tia and spends the little spare time he has exploring the Berkshires, creating beautiful imagery, and building complicated Lego sets. With almost 20 years of experience managing restaurants and being an Executive Chef, John now enjoys cooking for his friends and family.
Vice President, Housing & Homelessness, United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley
Sarah Bartley leads United Way’s focus on ending and preventing homelessness as a key supporting goal in the organization’s mission to advance an economically just region, where access to financial opportunity is universal and prosperity is shared across race and ethnicity. She provides strategic and program leadership for a variety of priorities and partnerships, including: fostering two-generational, holistic approaches to supporting children and families experiencing homelessness; expanding equitable distribution of rental assistance and preventing evictions; and expanding access to supportive housing for vulnerable neighbors.
Sarah serves on the Board of Mass211 and enjoys learning and strategizing alongside fellow United Way staff and nonprofit partners. Prior to United Way, she led external relations for Catholic Charities’ sites on the North Shore and a public awareness campaign in support of affordable housing with the North Shore Housing Trust.
Sarah previously served as a Deacon and a Family Promise Congregational Coordinator, two roles rooted in her faith community from which she finds all kinds of inspiration for the love of beauty and peacemaking.
A lover of Beverly, where she lives with her husband and two boys, Sarah is a member of the Planning Board where she has participated on Master Plan and Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance committees.
President – ECCO, Director – The LEAH Project
Andre has 20+ years of experience is community building and development, and a passion for disenfranchised youth and families. He currently serves as the Pastor of Youth and Young Adults at Zion Baptist Church in Lynn, a role he created to meet the growing need of the youth and young adults within the community who are either members of Zion Baptist Church, or part of the church community through generational connections. As a pastor of Youth and Young Adults, Andre founded Zion Youth and Young Adults Development and Enrichment Association (ZYYDEA), an organization within the church that provides social emotional support, leadership development, and mentoring to youth and young adults within the church and the Greater Lynn area.
Andre is also an active and passionate advocate for marginalized communities in his personal and professional life. As a licensed and Board-Certified Psychoanalyst, Andre works primarily with immigrants and BIPOC families within the Merrimack Valley, Northshore, and Metropolitan Boston, as they navigate services needed for community integration as well as to access critical care for children with exceptionalities. He is currently the President and Chair of the Board of Directors at the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO), where he helps lead the strategic direction for the multifaith network of 59 congregations and the North Shore Labor Council that builds relationships across race and class and exercises solidarity and power to put human dignity at the center of public life. Newly appointed as Director of the Leaders through Education, Action, and Hope (LEAH) Project at Health Resources in Action (HRiA), Andre leads a project whose mission is to diversify the STEM field by providing and placing students paid STEM internships, that are historically excluded from the STEM fields – Black, Latinx, low income and first-generation college, BIPOC students, from historically under-resourced communities within Boston and its environs.
Originally from Jamaica, Andre immigrated to the United States in 2009 with his family. Although a resident of Peabody, much of his civic and professional life has been in Lynn, where is also serves or has served on a few community and local boards including, Lynn Economic Opportunities (LEO), My Brother’s Table and North Shore Community College, to name a few. Andre has 5 children, 3 of whom live on the west coast and 1 grandson.
Andre holds degrees in Community and Social Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis from UMass Lowell & Endicott College as well as degrees in Pastoral Counseling and Leadership, and Theology and Divinity from Atlantic Coast Theological and Newburgh Theological Seminaries.
Executive Director, The Resolution Center (North Shore Community Mediation Center)
Hannah Bowen is the Executive Director of The Resolution Center (North Shore Community Mediation Center), a non-profit organization that transforms conflicts into opportunities for mutual understanding, social change, communication, and personal growth. She leads a dedicated team of staff and skilled volunteers in providing no- and low-cost mediation services to people in conflict across Essex County; training community leaders, workplaces, and organizations in conflict management and communication skills; and building youth leadership through peer mediation and restorative justice programs. Hannah’s 15+ year career in public service and non-profit management includes serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer and leading advocacy, communications, and policy work. Her experience covers a range of issues, working on public health, sustainable investing, and governance with the Intentional Endowments Network, RESULTS Educational Fund, and Malaria No More. Hannah is a member of her neighborhood’s Ward 2 Civic Association, and was appointed to Beverly’s Charter Review Committee. After learning more through that experience about the responsibilities of local elected officials, she decided to run for a City Council seat in 2021, and was elected to serve as a City Councilor at Large.
Hannah earned a BA in Political Science from Yale University and a Master in Public Administration in International Development degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Hannah is a renter in downtown Beverly. Born in Swampscott, she lived in California wine country, Ghana’s Volta Region, New York, Nairobi, and DC before settling back on the North Shore. She still enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, jogging, being near the ocean, and eating well.
Director of Programs & Racial Equity, Essex County Community Foundation
Hehershe Busuego serves as Director of Programs and Racial Equity at Essex County Community Foundation. In this role, she partners with colleagues and volunteers in managing the Foundation’s grantmaking programs and, along with the CEO, co-leads the Foundation’s efforts to advance racial equity and racial justice. Prior to joining ECCF, she spent six years at the Boston Foundation where she developed and oversaw a number of special grantmaking initiatives for vulnerable populations and managed the Foundation’s nonprofit capacity building efforts. Most recently, she was responsible for co-designing and administering Open Door Grants, a $2 million grantmaking program responsive to the expressed ideas and needs of the Greater Boston community.
Other experience includes work with the Young Leaders Fund at the Chicago Community Trust; the Headwaters Group, an international philanthropic consulting firm; and the Chicago Global Donors Network. She joined the social sector after nine years in executive recruiting, where she specialized in board governance and diversity and inclusion.
Hehershe is a graduate of Smith College and holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business (now the Institute for Nonprofit Practice). She serves as Co-Chair of the Boston Chapter of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and in her spare time, you’ll find her seeking out good eats, spending time in nature, and chasing after her two young children.
State Representative, 10th Essex District, Lynn
DANIEL F. CAHILL (D-Lynn) has served as State Representative of the City of Lynn, Massachusetts in the 10th Essex District since 2016. He is the Chairman on the House Committee on Human Resources and Employee Engagement. Previously, Dan served as the Vice-Chairman on the Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources . As a member of the Legislature, Dan focuses on constituent service legislative priorities, such as veteran services, criminal justice reforms, public education funding, access to housing, elder care, and energy policy. Dan focuses on poverty issues and is driven to provide equal opportunity for all Massachusetts residents as well as protecting its most vulnerable residents.
Before joining the Massachusetts Legislature, Dan served five terms as a Councilor At-Large in the City of Lynn, Massachusetts, including three years as City Council President. He is credited with spearheading a major overhaul of Lynn’s zoning, which lead to increased business and residential development.
Dan is a graduate of Northeastern University (BS), Suffolk University (MS), and Suffolk Law School (JD).
Dan lives in Lynn with his wife Angela and two children, Charlotte and Will. Dan belongs to several community organizations in Lynn including the Lynn Museum, Friends of Lynn/Nahant Beach, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Friendly Knights of St. Patrick, Flax Pond Association, and Greater Lynn Bar Association.
Director of Public Health, City of Peabody
Sharon Cameron has been the Director of Public Health for the City of Peabody since 2005, where she oversees the City’s food safety, environmental compliance, communicable disease prevention, public health emergency preparedness, and school nursing programs. Prior to joining the City of Peabody, Sharon spent 14 years with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Environmental Health. Her professional focus has been on increasing access to medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare for all.
Sharon holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Harvard College and a Master in Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
A lifelong resident of the North Shore, Sharon is happiest when she’s near the ocean with her husband Bob and children Hayley and Theo. She loves to play pickleball and bluegrass banjo, both with a great degree of mediocrity.
Executive Director, The Latino Support Network Inc.
Hugo Carvajal is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Latino Support Network Inc, a certified Community Development Corporation (CDC) serving the Latino community and other immigrant communities in Lynn and Boston. LSN promotes socio-economic, cultural and civic integration and participation of all members by providing training, mentoring, coaching and by identifying and fostering the human capital of participants. Hugo oversees fundraising, financial and strategic planning and forecasting. Currently LSN focuses on financial literacy, home buyer education, and economic empowerment as well as providing technical support and advice to small businesses and worker-owned cooperatives. As a CDC, LSN develops asset building opportunities for families and is working closely with local partners to establish the first community investment fund for the Northshore as well as a community land trust. Prior to his current role, Hugo was the Director of Family and Community Engagement for KIPP Massachusetts.
In addition to his role at LSN, Hugo serves on the Board of La Vida Scholars Inc, a nonprofit organization providing scholarships and college preparation programs for high school students in Lynn.
Hugo lives in Woburn with his wife and two children and enjoys gardening and going to the beach as much as possible in the summer..
School Committee Member/Latinos for Education, City of Salem/Advocacy Director
Manny Cruz is a public servant, entrepreneur, and community leader in the city of Salem and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Upon graduating from the Salem Public Schools, he attended Salem State University where he studied political science and later transferred to Northeastern University where completed his studies and graduated cum laude. Manny previously served as the legislative aide for former State Representative Juana Matias (D, Lawrence) where he specialized in education and immigration policy. Throughout his service in Representative Matias office, he also worked on constituent service related to housing, mass health, legal services, and provided emergency response to Merrimack Valley Columbia gas leaks.
In 2017 Manny became an elected member of the Salem School Committee where he now serves the students and families of the Salem Public School District. Manny is the first Afro-Latino of Dominican descent to serve on the Salem School Committee. He has been appointed to the Personnel, Policy, and Building and Grounds subcommittees, and serves as the school committee’s liaison on student voice. His previous government and non-profit experience include serving as the Chair of the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council, a National Park Service Park Ranger at Salem Maritime National Historic Park, and co-ops at the Attorney General’s Office and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
In his personal time, Manny is a mentor for youth and is highly involved with youth-serving organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem and LEAP for Education. In 2019 Manny joined the Office of State Representative Paul F. Tucker (Vice-Chair, Salem), where he continued to build his policy expertise in the areas of Education and Immigration, and advanced key strategic initiatives in the city of Salem. In addition, to his public service Manny is also the president of business development at Brothers Taverna. Manny now serves as the Advocacy Director for Latinos for Education and leads organizations efforts to close the digital divide and is the senior policy advisory to the Educator Diversity Act Coalition.
Chief Executive Officer, LEO Inc.
BIRGITTA S. DAMON was hired as CEO at LEO, Lynn, Massachusetts’ nonprofit community action agency, in 2014. For the past 8 years, she has been engaged in all aspects of agency operations, and the critical social services that improve the lives of 10,000+ individuals in 5,000 households annually. Birgitta’s primary focus is chairing the fundraising and project management committees for LEO’s $15M capital campaign to transform the agency’s preschool facilities by merging three separate sites into a single 15-classroom preschool.
Birgitta served as the Deputy Commissioner for the MA Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), overseeing operations for federal- and state-funded programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as domestic violence, employment, and job skills training programs. Earlier in her career, Birgitta served as the Director of Rental Assistance at the Metropolitan Housing Partnership, responsible for the oversight of state- and federally funded housing subsidies.
Birgitta serves as the Past President of MASSCAP (Massachusetts Association for Community Action), and as the President of the Lynn Continuum of Care (CoC). She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Early Education & Care (MADCA), is a member of the Department of Transitional Assistance North Shore Advisory Board, and serves as an advisory member of the Lynn Education District. Birgitta holds a BA in Political Science from Boston University.
Birgitta is a long-time resident of the North Shore. For the past fourteen years, she has resided in Marblehead with her husband and two children.
Senior Director of External Relations and Strategic Initiatives, Salem State University
Adria Duijvesteijn is the Senior Director of External Relations and Strategic Initiatives at Salem State University (SSU). She joined the campus community in July of 2003 in the university’s marketing and communications office. Adria transitioned to the President’s Office in 2007 and has been overseeing the university’s external relations there since 2012. Adria’s portfolio includes the oversight and management of the university's external partnerships related to federal, state, and regional government relations; economic and community development; and neighborhood relations; paying particular attention to growing and enhancing positive relationships that serve SSU students, the greater university community, City of Salem, North Shore region and the Commonwealth. Prior to her arrival at SSU, Adria worked in advertising and marketing for two years.
Adria holds a MEd in elementary education from Salem State University and a BA in psychology from Bates College. She serves on the board of directors for the Boston North Cancer Association and Citizens Inn and is a member of the Salem Rotary Club, serving as president from 2020-2021.
Originally from Lynn, Massachusetts, Adria lives in Salem with her husband, Olle. In her downtime, she enjoys baking, painting, and spending time with family and friends.
Outreach Director, City of Lynn
Jean Fana is the Outreach Director for the City of Lynn. He returned to Lynn after serving as an Army JAG Corps Paralegal in April of 2021. He served as a Trial Defense Paralegal at Camp Humphreys, South Korea and later was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In Kansas, he met his wife Annalise, who together celebrate their second anniversary this August. Jean was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Sergeant.
Jean served as Campaign Manager for the Committee to Elect Jared Nicholson for Mayor of Lynn, and now works in that administration as the Mayor’s Outreach Director. His work revolves around establishing deeper connections between City Government and the Residents of Lynn.
Jean graduated from Lynn Classical High School and was born to Miguel and Yovanny Fana, long-time Lynn residents. Yovanny was a Social Worker for Union Hospital, known for working on the truck that provided mobile health services to Lynn. Miguel was also a US Army Soldier and is now a retired veteran.
Executive Director, Destination Salem
Kate Fox is the Executive Director of Destination Salem, the Office of Tourism & Cultural Affairs in Salem, Massachusetts, where she oversees the destination marketing efforts for the city of Salem. Known for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and its month long celebration of Salem Haunted Happenings each October, Salem is a unique destination with an important story as well as a dynamic contemporary cultural scene.
A key component of Salem’s economy, the tourism industry supports small independent businesses, provides jobs, and generates more than $140 million in local expenditures annually. Kate is a member of the City of Salem’s Economic Development Recovery & Revitalization (EDRR) Task Force, which was established in March 2020 to focus on business and community support during the pandemic. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Salem Chamber of Commerce, the Salem Main Streets Steering Committee, is a Commissioner for the Essex National Heritage Commission, and is a past president of the North of Boston Convention & Visitors board of directors.
Kate lives in Beverly with her husband, Matt Fox. They have two sons, who are both students at UMass Amherst. Kate enjoys photography, baking, and kayaking on local waterways.
Managing Partner, Bob Goldman Law LLP
Bob has practiced law for 36 years in tax and estate planning, concentrating on sophisticated wealth transfer strategies often involving income, gift and estate tax issues. Bob often serves as a Trustee for his client’s family trusts and in that capacity he works closely with investment advisors, tax accountants and life insurance professionals. Bob’s law practice also includes advising donors to charities and charitable organizations on tax and strategic planning, and Bob has substantial experience as a principal of a philanthropic advisory company affiliated with his former law firm where he helped families clarify their values and goals as expressed through philanthropy, conceive and implement creative strategies, and measure impact. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and active on its Charitable Planning Committee. After a long career at large law firms, Bob opened his own law office in 2012 which now comprises four lawyers and three amazing staff people. Bob serves as pro bono legal counsel to numerous grass roots organizations in Lynn, and still basking in the successful representation of two Lynn English High School seniors in their quest to paint a Black Lives Matter street mural in downtown Lynn one year ago.
Bob graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in English Literature and from New York University School of Law. Bob currently serves as a Trustee of the Essex County Community Foundation and a board member of The Jewish Journal, the largest Jewish newspaper in New England. He is a recent past board member of North Shore Alliance for GLBTQ Youth, and a recent past president of the board of Epstein Hillel Academy, a K-8 Jewish day school in Marblehead.
Bob and his husband José live in Lynn where they enjoy spending time with their children and grandson. Older than 60, Bob continues to sign up for 10K road races, Tough Mudder runs and challenging mountain hikes, then sets his strategy on how to get into just enough shape to do these ridiculous things before pathetically relapsing into his addiction to doughnuts.
Chief of Police, City of Peabody
Thomas Griffin is the Chief of Police for the City of Peabody Massachusetts. Tom has been Chief for the past eight years. Prior to taking over as Chief, he worked for the Salem Police department for 27 years rising to the rank of Captain. As Chief he oversees 120 officers and civilian employees. Under his leadership the Peabody Police Department is committed to a philosophy of community engagement and has a number of community policing programs in place. During his tenure as Chief the Peabody Police Department has been reaccredited three times by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, assuring the department is using the most up to date policies and standards in policing.
Chief Griffin was recently awarded the Essex County Law & Education Day Community Service Award by the Anti-Defamation League. He is a past President of the Rotary Club of Peabody. Currently he is the First Vice President for the F.B.I National Academy Associates, Secretary for the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council and Treasurer for the Essex County Chiefs of Police Association.
Tom holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Salem State University and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is a 2005 graduate from the F.B.I. National Academy, Executive Leadership School in Quantico VA. Chief Griffin recently ran the Boston marathon to raise money for Cops for Kids with Cancer. He also volunteers with No Child Goes Hungry in Peabody.
Gordy is the owner The Hall Company, inc., a real estate management company headquartered in Lynn, MA, with over 600 apartments 300,000 square feet of commercial space under management throughout the region. Gordy’s civic life is extensive, having sat on over a dozen Lynn based organizations over the last 20 years and being a ongoing supporter of education-based non-profits in the area.
Gordy is a native of Nahant and has been working in Lynn for over 40 years. His wife, Linda, has been longtime employee at Girls Inc. and has two daughters, both of the west coast. Gordy is an avid biker, skier, and hiker.
Gordy has a degree in history from the University of New Hampshire.
Founder, Deanne Healey & Co
DEANNE HEALEY (Dee) is the founder of Deanne Healey & Co. She is an advocate for the National Main Street model which provides a clear format for a community to help small business owners while working to revitalize their downtown districts. She led the way to establish the Peabody Main Street program in Peabody, MA and provides guidance to other communities looking to do the same. The Main Street program led her to connect with Jon Schallert and become a facilitator of the Destination Creation. This unique course gives businesses tools to grow their sales and customer traffic. Deanne is one of a handful of certified facilitators and the only one in Massachusetts. Dee has spent the past 20+ years working with and advocating for small business owners. Her journey has taken her from the Fortune 500 world of the international hotel industry to the local business community. As Divisional Director of Reservations & Marketing Analysis for Sheraton Hotels & Resort, Deanne trained hoteliers across the globe on how to increase revenue from the airline's global distribution systems. Having spent 16 years as the Executive Director for the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce, she worked to create opportunities for business owners. She even spent time in the banking industry, gathering knowledge on business lending programs.
Deanne grew up on the Northshore and from the age 6 was raised by an incredibly resilient woman in a single parent family after the sudden death of her father. She currently resides in Lynnfield with her husband of 34 years, John. They are the proud parents of Tyler and Paige who have both taught them that everyone marches to the beat of a different drummer. There is also a slight obsession with McDuff the Westie, our family pet of 16 years.
Deanne attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and is a graduate of the four-year Institute for Organization Management program having received the IOM recognition, signifying 96 hours of course instruction in nonprofit management. She has been recognized as Salem News Person of the Year 2019; YWCA Tribute to Women 2019; Salem 5 Bank Community Partner of the Year 2018; Northeast Arc Community Partner of the Year 2014 as well as YMCA of MetroNorth Community Champion.
Managing Partner, Sarah J Consulting
Corey Jackson is the Managing Partner of Sarah J Consulting, a nonprofit management and fundraising consultant firm in Boxford, MA. Previously Corey served as Executive Director of Citizens Inn, Inc. and has been involved with community related causes since childhood. As Executive Director, Corey grew Citizens Inn from a $1.8M nonprofit serving 25 families to an $8M nonprofit, now merged with Haven from Hunger, serving over 5,000 individuals. Previous roles included managing director of Lynn's Arts After Hours regional theatre, and a 13-year career in Enterprise Software managing teams in Cambridge, India and Japan.
Corey is a past President and DE&I Chair of the Rotary Club of Peabody and serves Rotary at a District Level as Assistant Governor and member of the District Membership Committee. Corey is immediate Past-Chair of the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce where he volunteers on the membership and finance committees. Corey also serves on the advisory board for Salem State University's Center for Civic Engagement.
Corey grew up in Peabody and visited his grandparents often in the Highlands and Essex Street neighborhoods of Lynn. Corey and his wife Sarah made Downtown Lynn home from 2006-2016. Corey now lives in Boxford, MA with Sarah and his two children. He enjoys the performing arts, traveling and cheering on the New England Patriots. Corey graduated from Syracuse University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Technology.
Education & Advocacy, Harborlight Community Partners
Marven Hyppolite is the Education and Advocacy coordinator with Harborlight community partners. In this role Marven works to expand HCP’s positive reputation as an affordable housing developer and advocate, and works with community members, political and municipal leaders, civic and faith-based groups, public and private schools, and others to influence advocacy efforts for affordable housing. Prior to joining Harborlight, Marven spent 5 years working as a congressional liaison with Congress Seth Moulton’s office, there, he assisted residents of the 6th district with navigating the federal government particularly around Housing, immigration, and social security issues.
Marven Holds a BA in political science from the University of Massachusetts and belongs to several community organizations in Lynn including Neighbor to Neighbor, ECCO and the New Lynn Coalition.
In his free time Marven works with community leaders to create civic engagement projects focused on increasing voter turnout among the youth and communities of color in Lynn.
District Director and Senior Advisor, U.S. Representative Seth Moulton
Rick Jakious is District Director and Senior Advisor to U.S. Representative Seth Moulton. Rick is focused on making sure that government works for the constituents of the Sixth District of Massachusetts and finding ways to combine the strengths of government, nonprofit and business to improve people’s lives. Under Rick’s leadership, the office has received two Congressional Management Foundation Democracy Awards, one for transparency and one for constituent services.
Previously, Rick was the CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, representing the interests of thousands of small- to medium-sized nonprofit organizations in the Commonwealth. Rick led efforts to pass first-in-the-nation legislation to create a high quality, affordable 401(k) for nonprofit workers in Massachusetts by leveraging existing state resources at no additional cost to taxpayers. He established an annual award for the unsung frontline workers at nonprofits, in honor of a Boston youth worker slain by a senseless act of gun violence. Rick was tapped by Governor Deval Patrick to join the board of the Massachusetts Health Connector in order to help execute a turnaround of the failed health exchange and protect health insurance for tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents.
Earlier in his career, Rick helped veterans and active military personnel get the services they deserved as a staff member for U.S. Representative Brian Baird. He also worked in many leadership roles, including Deputy Director of its flagship site in Boston and National Corporate Sponsorship Director, at City Year, a national nonprofit program working to end our nation’s high school dropout crisis.
Rick is the board chair of Beyond Walls, a public arts organization activating spaces to foster more livable, economically viable, and equitable communities, and he has been a longtime volunteer with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Boy Scouts of America. He is a proud AmeriCorps alumnus.
LICSW and Candidate Essex County Sheriff
Virginia Leigh is a bilingual clinical social worker with over 12 years of experience working in community health centers, detention centers, and schools. In 2008, fresh out of college, Virginia founded, funded and directed an educational initiative inside Mexican juvenile detention centers called The Albergue Bolivia Project and from 2008-2010 established herself as a champion and voice for unaccompanied children along the US Mexican Border. After completing her work in Mexico, she provided translation support and legal information at the Texas Civil Rights Project aiding undocumented victims of domestic violence.
Virginia obtained her MSW in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College and has worked with complex trauma, community violence, and immigration. She co-founded a medical legal partnership while working in Brockton. While working at the Lynn Community Health center, Virginia co-founded and led a coalition of 30+ community organizations supporting immigrant families in Lynn.
For the past six years, Virginia has worked tirelessly for the Lynn community earning her recognition from community partners and other agencies for her excellence and rigorous accountability for the highest of ethical standards in clinical practice and community advocacy.
LITTLE, DR. TARIANA V.
CEO and Co-Founder, EmVision Productions
Dr. Tariana V. Little is CEO and co-founder of EmVision Productions, a media boutique that helps visionary organizations convey how they are changing the world. Working at the intersections of public health, media, and business, Tariana teaches about entrepreneurship and innovation at Harvard University, where she holds a Doctor of Public Health; serves on nonprofit boards; and is an emerging philanthropist in her native Boston, MA.
Personally, she is a queer, mixed race, first-generation college graduate from a Dominican-German working class immigrant family. Driven by science, storytelling, and social justice, Tariana’s work embodies what she calls “intentional creativity for social change.
Executive Vice President & COO, Essex County Community Foundation
As Executive Vice President & COO at the Essex County Community Foundation, Stratton manages the Foundation’s strategy, finance, investment and business operations and serve as the lead for systems philanthropy initiatives, focused on tackling some of the most complex social issues facing Essex County today. He joined the ECCF staff in July 2018 after serving as a strategic advisor on Impact Essex County, the Foundation’s lasting commitment to effecting positive collaborative, systems change in the region.
Prior to joining ECCF, Stratton served as Executive Vice President of Strategy, Product Management and Customer Operations at EBSCO Information Services, a private Fortune 200 company based in Ipswich, where he worked for 14 years. Prior to EBSCO, he was a Senior Product Line Manager at Siebel Systems where he co-led Siebel’s launch of CRM OnDemand, it’s cloud based CRM Solution. Stratton is also the founder and managing director of First Look, Inc., now known as YouthServe, a nonprofit global youth service-education organization that empowers young people through volunteerism and leadership.
Stratton holds a BA from Yale University and MBA from Harvard University.
Outside of work, you can often find him biking the roads and trails of Essex County, reading or skiing. He enjoys spending time with his family of three girls (Schuyler, Waters, and Shreve), wife (Trent) and sweet dog, Sunny. He loves to travel, especially to Latin America, and practicing his Spanish whenever he gets the chance.
Salem City Councilor, Ward 4 and Associate Director of Security, Peabody Essex Museum
Leveille (Lev) McClain is the Ward 4 Councilor of the Salem City Council and serves on the Government Services, Community & Economic Development, and Administration & Finance Committees. He is also a security professional of 17 years and the Associate Director of Security at the Peabody Essex Museum, where he steers electronic security and security personnel development, and formerly served as chair of the museum’s Equity Task Force.
Leveille proudly volunteers as a mentor with Diocesan Youth Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. He strives to support equity, self-determination and compassion in all his work.
Councilor McClain holds a B.A. in English from Salem State University.
Leveille was born and raised in Lynn and still lives nearby in the Witchcraft Heights neighborhood of Salem with his lovely and brilliant wife Carly, three amazing kids, and one very needy cat. In his rare spare time you can catch him dancing to live music, enjoying a cocktail with friends, or finishing a jigsaw puzzle after the rest of his house has gone to sleep.
LCSW, Executive Director, North Shore Community Action Program
Laura Meisenhelter, LCSW, is the Executive Director at North Shore Community Action Programs. She started at NSCAP in 2005 as the Deputy Director and has been the Executive Director since 2012. She has 30 years of experience in the not-for-profit world (Habitat for Humanity International and NSCAP), primarily in administration, and community and organizational development. She is committed to working for social and economic justice for the most vulnerable people in our society.
North Shore Community Action Programs is the designated anti-poverty agency for Peabody, Beverly, Danvers, and Salem, Massachusetts. NSCAP’s programs focus on empowering people to achieve social and economic stability through services and education in partnership with the community. NSCAP’s programs include: English for Speakers of Other Languages, Fuel Assistance, Energy Conservation, Emergency Family Shelter, Housing First, Homelessness Prevention, and Elder Home Health Care.
Laura has a B.A.f from Rutgers University (German and 9-12 Teacher Certification), an Master’s of Social Work from Salem State College and is a Licensed Certified Social Worker in the state of Massachusetts.
Laura lives in Beverly. She loves to cook and has become “that crazy cat lady.” She adopts elderly cats and gives them a loving home for their remaining years. She currently takes care of Blue (10 years), a Siamese/tabby mix, and Mr. Pants (14 years), a long-haired Himalayan.
Cofounder and CEO, Ahora Inc.
Samanda Morales is the co-founder and CEO of Ahora Inc., a 501c3 social enterprise that offers financial coaching, education, and wealth building services to moderate and low-income earners to empower them toward economic prosperity using an online proprietary tool she designed. Prior to her role as CEO of Ahora, Samanda worked in finance for nearly 25 years. She led teams at Bank of New York Mellon’s Global Institutional Accounting and Risk Solutions department. She also led a team at State Street Corporation in the Mutual Fund Custody department.
A Certified Personal Finance Consultant, Finance Instructor and member of the CFP board, Samanda also cares greatly about serving the community. She is a Trustee of Salem State University, a member of the North Shore Chamber’s THRIVE Advisory Council, a board member of Bethany Congregational Church in Lynn, MA and co- leads a Latina women’s group that empowers women through counseling and mentorship.
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Samanda Morales is a living testament to the adage that hard work and perseverance always pay dividends. When Samanda is not managing money, she loves spending time at home with her husband and two sons.
Director of Operations, Lynn Community Health Center
Samantha is the Director of Operations at Lynn Community Health Center a large non-profit community health center on the North Shore. She began her career 12 years ago as a receptionist at Lynn Community Health Center and has since held 5 different positions – her dedication to the mission and passion for learning led Samantha to simultaneously pursue her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at UMASS Lowell as well as a Certificate in Health Center Management from the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and Suffolk University.
As a Lynn native, she has been dedicated to serving the community that she grew up in. During her adolescent years, she was involved in community service and was part of The Food Project’s first cohort on the North Shore. Working directly with the community made a strong impact on her in her youth.
Throughout her career, Samantha has supported several quality improvement collaboratives with DentaQuest and National Network for Oral Health Alliance where she also served as a collaborative mentor. Her system design and process improvement experience is rooted in Lean improvement methodology. She has led multiple continuous improvement initiatives aimed at improving operational processes aligned with the organizational strategies and key priorities. In her current role, she is responsible for leading operations of the health center’s integrated care teams and designing operational systems and processes that are efficient, effective, and enhance customer and staff satisfaction as well as achieve a true integration of medical and behavioral health administrative functions.
Samantha lives in Lynn with her daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys trying new restaurants and recipes.
Contracts and Supplier Diversity Specialist
ADRIANA PAZ is the founder of multiple organizations, including Mutual Aid Lynn and North Shore’s Women of Color Association. Adriana is also president of Prevent The Cycle and Vice President of North Shore Juneteenth Association. She also serves on the board of North Shore CDC and on the board of Latina Center Las Marias.
A native of Cali, Colombia, mother, and Afro-Latina, Adriana lives in Lynn with her son Jorge Adrian. She enjoys exploring the world, reading, spending time with her family and, like a good Calena, dancing to salsa music as often as possible.
Adriana graduated from Salem State University with a Bachelor’s in History and Pre-Law, and a Paralegal Certification from North Shore Community College. She completed a Gender Analytics: Gender Equity through Inclusive Design Specialization. She also completed the Commonwealth Seminar, a program that teaches community members to navigate the legislative and state budget process.
Chief Program Officer, North Shore CDC
Felicia Pierce is the Chief Program Officer for North Shore CDC where she oversees all of NSCDC’s community programming which includes, but is not limited to, programs under youth development, community engagement, economic development, and youth housing. In 2019, Felicia was instrumental in developing the innovative service model for Harbor Crossing, which provides affordable housing to young adults that have experienced homelessness or who have aged out of foster care, and designed and launched NSCDC’s Community Ambassador Program in 2020.
Felicia is inspired by community building, youth development, and empowering community members of all ages with the tools to become self-sufficient leaders to affect change in their communities. She currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition and Secretary for the YouthBuild USA National Director’s Council. 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. Felicia is also the co-founder of the North Women of Color Association. Most recently she was featured in the April 2022 issue of North Shore Magazine where she was featured in the article “Wonder Women”.
Felicia 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 as well as a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from Tufts University. Originally from NYC, Felicia currently lives in Lynn, MA. She and her husband, Milton, are Foster Parents to an inquisitive, resilient 2-year-old girl. Felicia has found a balance in life through strength training, mentoring other women, supporting community-based street markets, serving on her church's Prayer Team, and collecting vinyl records.
Chief of Public Relations, Salem Public Schools
Liz Polay-Wettengel is the Chief Public Relations Officer for Salem Public Schools. She began this role in 2019 to build new communications systems, provide timely and accurate messaging, and increase community partnership and engagement. In this short time, and during a pandemic, she has created a new user-friendly website, established a unilateral tool for communication, and created new branding. She continues to lead the district by creating impactful messaging, uplifting parental and student voices, and developing strategies for the future.
Previously, she worked in the nonprofit sector at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and as the Vice President of Digital Strategy and Content at InterfaithFamily. She is also the immediate past chairperson for the Salem Cultural Council and a member of CHIEF, a women’s leadership think tank.
Liz lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her husband David and their two sons and has an associate's degree in music and media.
Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager, Reading Cooperative Bank
Kerry Ranieri is the Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of Reading Cooperative Bank’s Nahant Office, which has $43.1MM in deposits. Kerry manages a staff of 3 people and has more than 23 years’ experience in the financial service industry with skills in managing the efficient operation of a branch office, expanding customer relationships, identifying financial needs, efficiency and accuracy in processing transactions and training and development of staff. Prior to serving as Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager Kerry was the Branch Manager of the Nahant Office under Coastal Heritage Bank, Weymouth Cooperative Bank and Equitable Cooperative Bank. She started her banking career as a Teller at Eastern Bank working her way up to Customer Service Representative.
Kerry is active in the community and is an avid Boxer. She also enjoys fundraising and participating in the annual Run to Home Base in support of Veterans and Military Families.
Kerry studied Business Administration and Marketing at Salem State University. She is excited that she has been selected as an inaugural Fellow in the LEADS North Shore cohort. Kerry lives with her husband, Christopher, and her two sons in Lynn and is happiest when spending time with her family.
RICCIO, HEIDI T.
Superintendent - Director, Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School
Heidi Riccio is the Superintendent – Director of Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School since July 2017, serving as one of the directors for career agricultural and technical education programs prior to her current position of Superintendent-Director. Dr. Riccio began her career in the hospitality industry as a sales manager for the Marriott Corporation. In 1997, she started her career in vocational-technical education teaching hospitality at Greater Lawrence Technical School (GLTS). Heidi advanced her career at GLTS earning a variety of leadership roles including department chairperson, academy supervisor, and CTE Director. In 2013, she became the Principal/Director of Medford Vocational Technical High School. While there, she opened 9 new Chapter 74 programs, wrote over $1M in competitive grant funding and worked collaboratively with the comprehensive high school to bring rigorous academic courses to vocational school students.
Heidi is an adjunct professor for Fitchburg State University and an educational consultant with Seaside Educational Consultants. In addition, she is a member of ASCD, MAVA, MASS, and ACTE. Heidi is on the Board of Directors at several organizations including MassHire, Commonwealth Corporation, SkillsUSA, Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Partnership for Youth, Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators, and School Safety Advocacy Council.
Heidi attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence earning a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Sales. After earning her teaching certificate in 1997, she went on to earn a Master of Education from Fitchburg State University and later attended Salem State University where she graduated in 2010 with a CAGS in Educational Leadership. In 2012, Heidi participated in the National Institute for School Leadership with the MA Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. Wanting to develop and learn further, she earned a Doctorate of Education from Nova Southeastern University in 2015.
Heidi proudly grew up in Lawrence and resides in Salisbury, often referred to as “Lawrence by the Sea.” She is married to Chris, also from Lawrence, and has three daughters: Ceili, Maggie, and Meaghan. Heidi likes to read and run. She is currently training for her fourth marathon to support veteran suicide.
Executive Director, Aspire Developmental Services
Lori Russell is Executive Director of Aspire Developmental Services, a community-based non-profit organization that provides Early Intervention, education and support services to more than 4,000 families across the North Shore each year. The largest program of its kind in Massachusetts, Aspire offers an array of programs and services for families with young children with developmental delays, as well as training for parents, teachers and caregivers.
As a passionate advocate for children experiencing developmental differences, Lori has spent most of her professional career at Aspire, where she has held a succession of clinical and leadership roles over the past 18 years. As Executive Director since 2016, Lori oversees the organization’s daily operations, strategic direction, long-term planning, community partnerships, fundraising and the implementation of all new policies, programs and initiatives. Under her leadership, the organization has grown over 70% and developed critical programming to best meet the needs of families on the North Shore.
Lori graduated from Wheelock College with a BS in child development and Bay Path University with an MS in mental health counselling. She currently sits on the Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School Strategic Planning Committee and is a member of the Lynn Education District Partnership.
A busy mother of five children, Lori and her husband, Ben, reside in Peabody. Interests outside work include traveling to warm weather destinations and attending her children’s many activities.
Personnel Director, City of Lynn
Drew Russo is the Personnel Director for the City of Lynn where he has served since 2019. , During his tenure, the City has made significant strides toward building a workforce reflective of Lynn’s diversity, streamlined Human Resources practices, and increased communication with the public about employment opportunities and the city’s hiring process. Prior to his appointment, Drew served four years as Executive Director of the Lynn Museum/LynnArts organization where he enhanced the institution's reputation as a cross-cultural hub for community activity and built a robust fundraising program. Other highlights of Drew's professional career include having directed in-district operations for former U.S. Representative John F. Tierney and serving as Assistant Director of Advancement and Director of Alumni Relations at St. Mary's High School.
Drew is a member of several non-profit boards including the Lynn Community Health Center, Camp Fire North Shore, Lynn Main Streets, and Lynn Shore Rest Home, and serves his Lynn community as a member of the Board of Park Commissioners. In 2020, he was elected to the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee for the Third Essex District, and served as a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
A graduate of Saint Michael's College in Vermont (B.A. in English Literature and Political Science), Drew completed a year of post-graduate service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Detroit, Michigan. He is currently a candidate in the Masters of Public Administration-Senior Leadership Program at Clark University with an anticipated graduation date of May 2023.
Drew and his wife Patricia Ridge live in Lynn’s Pine Hill neighborhood. He enjoys running and walking Lynn’s trails from the beach to Lynn Woods and the newly extended Northern Strand Community Path, and experiences the joys and frustrations of being a lifelong Red Sox fan.
Multicultural Program Specialist, Element Care
Kirirath S. Saing is a Multicultural Program Specialist at Element Care, a program of all inclusive care for the elderly, including, but not limited to the Southeast Asian residents of all communities in the agency’s current and proposed service areas.
Currently, Kirirath serves as board secretary for the Lynn Community Health Center. He also sits on their Finance and Strategic Committees. He also serves on City Board, Lynn EDIC (Economic Development & Industrial). He recently resigned from Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA of Lowell), where he served, first as Vice President, then as President of the board from 2016 to 2021.Kirirath volunteered to serve as Southeast Asian Liaison to Lynn Mayor, Judith F. Kennedy from 2010 to 2018.
Kirirath earned his MBA from Salem State University, Bertolon School of Business Management in 2020, at the humble age of 54.
Originally from Cambodia, Kirirath now lives in Lynn, Massachusetts with his wife, Annieratha (Sara), and his two sons, Steven and Kevin. Kirirath enjoy spending times with his family. He also loves to read as many books as he can on the subject of leadership, beginning with that great book, the Bible.
SARANTOPOULOS, DR. NICHOLAS
President/CEO, Community Credit Union
Dr. Nick Sarantopoulos is the President/CEO of the Community Credit Union, a mission-driven financial cooperative serving a multi-national membership, with locations in Lynn, Peabody, and Somerville. His professional experience includes: Registered Principal and VP of Private Banking and Operations with an Investment Bank in New York City; Brooklyn District Manager and Chicago VP of Retail Services with a New York-based Bank; Industrial, Marine, and Aviation Credit Manager with Mobil Oil, and Coordinator of European Business Process Development with Mobil Europe in London, England.
Over the years Nick has served on several local boards such as the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce, Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce (former Chairman), Project COPE, Bridgewell, North Shore Community Development Coalition, Open Door Immigration Services, The Salem Partnership, etc. His present and past professional associations include the New England Council, the Credit Union Executives Society, Foreign Policy Association, American Society for Quality, SHRM, Alpha Omega, and certain ministry-related organizations.
Nick holds a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration with emphasis on Leadership, Strategy and Ethics. He also holds a Master’s degree in Marketing Communication, an MBA in Finance, and a Master’s Degree in Apostolic Leadership and Applied Christian Ministry. He also holds Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma certificates from Villanova University, an Executive Coaching Certificate from Rutgers University, and is Certified as Executive Coach (ACC) and Team Coach for Organizational Performance (CTPC).
Nick lives in Winchester MA with his family and he is very passionate about his faith.
Executive Director, Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC)
Sara Stanley, Esq. is the Executive Director of Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC), a non-profit serving survivors of domestic abuse in 23 cities and towns on the North Shore. Sara joined HAWC in 2015 as Attorney Director of Legal Programs, was promoted to Deputy Director in 2017 and took the helm as Executive Director in 2018. While in law school and private practice, Sara took on pro bono cases with the Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Project and other legal aid agencies leveraging the law to empower the most disenfranchised members of our community. She began her career as a member of the Attorney General’s Honor Program of the Department of Justice and served as a judicial law clerk for the Executive Office of Immigration Review.
Sara currently serves on the Board of Directors for Jane Doe Inc., was appointed to the Essex County Commission on the Status of Women in 2021 and serves on the education committee of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce’s THRIVE initiative for women. In 2021 she received the Diamond Award, recognizing women leaders in business making a positive impact on the North Shore community.
Sara obtained her juris doctorate from Suffolk University School of Law in 2007 and received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Haverford College in 2002.
Sara lives in Rowley with her husband, Joe, and their two children, Jack (12) and Avery (8). Sara enjoys running and coaching youth soccer and basketball. She is happiest when exploring national parks and enjoying live music with her family and friends.
President, Montserrat College of Arts
Dr. Kurt T. Steinberg began his tenure in 2018 as the 8th President of Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA, on Boston’s North Shore. This followed 12 years as Executive Vice President and Acting President at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Dr. Steinberg’s focus has been to promote the ideas of a creative life; a mutual commitment made between the college, its students and its alumni to a lifelong relationship of helping artists, designers and artist educators achieve their creative goals. He strongly believes in fostering the diversity of creating traditions as a way to challenge both students and faculty to expand their social and global awareness. In support of these ideas, he has focused on the expansion of Montserrat’s presence internationally and nationally through affiliations in China, Bahamas, Japan, India, the New World in Miami, FL and NOCCA in New Orleans, LA.
An authority in collegiate operations, Dr. Steinberg has delivered guest lectures on higher education finance, urban planning and social justice. He has lectured on the power of innovation and design through art education in China, Japan, India as well as throughout the United States. He has participated in site visits for the New England Council on Higher Education (NECHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). He serves on the board of the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, the St. Botolph Club Foundation and is a Nominator for the Boston Foundation/Brother Thomas Fellowship. He was elected to serve as Treasurer and Executive Committee Member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design in 2019. Most recently, Kurt became a Commissioner of the Essex National Heritage Commission.
Originally from Buffalo, NY, Dr. Steinberg now resides in the Metro West with his wife Sarah and two sons, William and Andrew. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. He earned his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University.
Dr. Steinberg is an Honorary Trustee of the Danforth Art Alliance after serving as Trustee and Treasurer of the Danforth Museum and School. He was recently invited to be a reviewer by the Iceland Ministry of Education.
Executive Director, Enterprise Center at Salem State University
Laura Swanson is the Executive Director of the Enterprise Center at Salem State University. The Enterprise Center is an entrepreneurial support organization that serves as a hub for regional business growth. It is an accessible community for entrepreneurs and business owners seeking professional growth and business development on the North Shore. As Executive Director, Ms. Swanson is responsible for over 70+ business programs offered by the Enterprise Center, as well as the management of the Center’s 53,000 sq. ft. building that houses approximately 40 tenants. She has been with the Enterprise Center since 2008 and previously served as its Chief Operating Officer. Before coming to the Enterprise Center Laura worked with orthopedic practices for 20+ years and had her own business, where she provided consulting and project management services for physician owned practices.
Laura also heads up the work of the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, a regional economic development organization that supports 30 communities north of Boston. She works closely with Salem State University in its entrepreneurship programs for students and serves on the President’s Leadership Cabinet and the Bertolon School of Business Advisory Board. She is a member of the Workforce Skills Cabinet Northeast Regional Planning Team and the City of Salem’s Economic Development Recovery & Revitalization Task Force. She also hosted a weekend radio show North Shore Conversations on 104.9FM.
Laura has played a very active role in the City of Salem and North Shore community for many years. She was a member of the Salem City Council, serving as a Councilor-at-Large, as well as a Commissioner for the Salem Parks and Recreation Commission. She currently volunteers her time to numerous organizations that include the North Shore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Essex Heritage Board of Trustees and Bishop Fenwick Parents Council.
Laura graduated magna cum laude from Salem State University in 1996 with a degree in History. She lives in Salem with her husband and their two daughters.
Executive Director, Citizens Inn, Inc.
Carolina is the newly appointed Executive Director of Citizens Inn, Inc. a comprehensive social service organization dedicated to breaking the patterns of instability that lead to homelessness and hunger. This role is the culmination of more than two decades of experience working in the human services, non-profit sector, including leadership roles at Essex Media Group, the Latin American Health Institute and Blue Cross/Blue Shield Massachusetts. Carolina received the 2019 Latinx Excellence on the Hill Award by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and was recently recognized by Amplify Latinx as a 2021 Outstanding Latina Leader in Massachusetts.
Carolina Trujillo is a native of Cali, Colombia, and has been a Boston resident for the past 24 years. She is a self-motivated, passionate and well-organized leader who enjoys watching sports, dancing salsa and spending time with her only son Sebastian.
Carolina’s other civic work is extensive, including working as a group facilitator for multiple Intimate Partner Abuse Education Programs as well as sitting on the Board of Directors for the Northeast Hospital Corporation - Beth Israel Lahey Health, YMCA of Metro North, Northeast Arc, and the North Shore Maritime Center. She is a committee member of the Lynn Education District, Lynn Latino Leadership Coalition, Impact Lynn, Mass Development TDI, Lynn Business Partnership,, Lynn Rapid Response Team, Stop the Violence Lynn, The Daily Item Advisory Board and Amplify Latinx.
Carolina holds a Bachelors’ degree in Journalism-Mass Communications from Universidad Autónoma de Occidente and dual Master’s degrees from Suffolk University in Public Administration and Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. She is also a graduate of the 2019 cohort of Hispanas Unidas for Political Equality (H.O.P.E.) Public Service Fellowship Binational program, where a total of 16 Latinas living in the US and Mexico were selected to participate.
Executive Director, Amplify Latinx
Rosario Ubiera-Minaya is the Executive Director of Amplify Latinx, a non-partisan, collaborative movement whose mission is to build Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latinx civic engagement and representation in leadership positions across sectors. Rosario leads a Latinx power coalition of over 6,000 active members and over 250 business and community partners. She has over 25 years of experience working and advocating for systemic change, social justice, and equity, on behalf of the Latinx community, in the arts, education, housing, voter engagement, and health. She has successfully developed and implemented initiatives that have made impactful contributions to promoting the social and economic wellbeing of the Latinx community. Rosario is also the founder and principal of Cojuelos' Productions, a social enterprise that proudly celebrates black and brown creatives' artistic expressions by promoting innovative, diverse, and culturally oriented programming and curated experiences through a social justice lens. Rosario's vision led to what is today the PUNTO Urban Arts Museum in Salem, an outdoor collection of public art that serves as a vehicle to start breaking down the socioeconomic and invisible divides that exist in low-income communities of color. Her prior experience includes Chief Program Officer for North Shore CDC and Director of Outreach and Enrollment for North Shore Community Health Inc., Executive Director for the Salem Education Foundation, Program Director at the Peabody Essex Museum, and Marketing and Promotions Manager for Telemundo-Boston.
She has received numerous awards and recognitions; most recently, 2021 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee to Salem State University's Center for Civic Engagement, 2019 Hispanic Heritage Leader by the New England Patriots Foundation and the Kraft Family Foundation; "Inspirational Woman of 2019" from Latina Center MARIA, and "Unsung Heroine" by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Other recognitions included the Rising Star Award for Outstanding Leadership in Community Development from the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Coalitions and a Community Service Award from the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. She was also recognized as Community Hero and as Boston's Hispanic Hero by the Negro Election Day Association and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Rosario holds a Master's degree in Leadership in Education with a concentration in Museum Education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor in Communications with a concentration in Marketing and Public Relations from Salem State University. Most recently, Rosario completed the 2020-2021 Institute of Nonprofit Practice Core Program at Tufts University and is an inaugural member of the newly formed cohort of Nonprofit Executive Directors of Color by TSNE-MissionWorks.
Rosario currently serves as an advisor to Essex County Community Foundation's Creative County Initiative and their Racial Equity Strategy Group, a Trustee for Essex Heritage, an Advisory Board member for the Center for Women Politics and Public Policy of UMass, an Advisory Board member for the Women's Network under the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and an advisor to the Latino Economic Advancement Advisory Council by Metro Credit Union. She is also a founding member of the BIL Solidarity Coalition (Black, Indigenous, and Latinx) and the Small Business Equity Coalition. Rosario is a member of the North Shore Latino Business Association, Juneteenth Association of the North Shore, and the Massachusetts Creative Collective.
Medical Director Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Health
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.
Corporate Controller, GraVoc Associates, Inc.
DAN VASSALLO is the corporate controller at GraVoc Associates, a technology consulting firm in Peabody, MA that offers services in information security, IT services, software solutions, and creative technology. He joined GraVoc in 2008 and provided services to customers in the areas of information security and enterprise resource planning support before transitioning to primarily internal accounting functions. He was named controller in 2016. During Dan’s time at GraVoc the company has grown from fourteen employees to nearly sixty. It now provides services to over 500 active customers throughout the country. Dan carries on the company’s tradition of being active in the Peabody community, as he is treasurer of the firm’s charitable foundation, as well as treasurer of the Peabody Education Foundation and the Rotary Club of Peabody. During much of his time at GraVoc, Dan was a semi-professional marathon runner, qualifying for the 2016 and 2020 United States Olympic Team Trials and finishing tenth in the 2018 Boston Marathon.
Dan grew up in Wilmington, MA and lived in Brunswick, ME and Reading, MA before moving to his wife Katrina’s hometown of Peabody, where they live with their dog Koda. He remains competitive in road racing, and enjoys watching Boston sports and being outside.
A 2003 graduate of Wilmington High School, Dan graduated from Colby College in Waterville, ME with a degree in English/Creative Writing and a minor in economics in 2007. He earned his MBA at Suffolk University in Boston, MA in 2014.
President/CEO, YMCA Metro North
Kathleen Walsh is the President and CEO of the YMCA Metro North, an association of YMCAs operating eight health and wellness centers and child care facilities in Lynn, Melrose, Peabody, Saugus, and Stoneham. Kathleen provides executive leadership to the $25 million association which serves 60,000 people annually and employs 700 staff members. Through Kathleen’s leadership, the YMCA of Metro North advances its charitable mission by expanding access to its healthy living and youth-serving programs by providing more than $1.2 million in financial assistance to its community members each year.
Kathleen serves on the American Red Cross Northeast Board of Directors as Vice Chairperson; Board Member of the Massachusetts Alliance of YMCA’s; Thrive Committee Member at the North Shore Chamber of Commerce; Former Chairperson of the Lynn Education District Partnership; Board Member of Department of Children and Family Services, Malden; and is a member of national Y Shared Services Board.
Kathleen earned a Master’s of Science from Northeastern University and a B.A. from Providence College. An avid runner, Walsh has completed 61 marathons and was recently awarded a distinguished Hall of Fame alumni award for Cross Country from her alma mater, Bishop Fenwick High School.
Kathleen is the proud mother to three young adults –Johanna, UNE Class of 2020, Cynthia, BSU Class of 2021 and Francis, UConn Class of 2023.
Assistant Director of Planning and Development, Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development
Jeff Weeden is the Assistant Director of Planning and Development for the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development where he has served since 2010. In this capacity, Jeff has been awarded and oversees various federal and state grant programs that represent over $20 million of resources to the residents of Lynn. Most recently he facilitated the drafting and passage of the City’s first housing production plan. Jeff also serves as an administrator for Neighborhood Development Associates or NDA, a non-profit development corporation dedicated to creating affordable housing and placemaking opportunities in the city of Lynn.
Jeff is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he earned his BA in Political Science. He is the past president of the Camp Fire North Shore Board of Directors, serves as treasurer for the Friendly Knights of St. Patrick Scholarship committee, a member of the Lynn Rotary Club, and serves as a member of the board of trustees for the Lynn Classical Alumni Association.
Jeff was born and raised in Lynn and currently resides in Marblehead with his family.
Director of Planning & Community Development, City of Beverly, MA
DARLENE WYNNE is the Director of Planning & Community Development for the city of Beverly, MA. She oversees a staff of six people who are responsible for land use, housing, conservation, transportation, economic development, and community development activities in Beverly, a City of 42,000 residents. In addition to reviewing all development in the City, Darlene manages the creation and implementation of long-range plans including: PlanBeverly Master Plan, Community Housing Plan, Open Space and Recreation Plan, and Historic Preservation Plan. She also supports the Administration’s sustainability goals through the Resilient Together: Climate Action Plan. As staff, Darlene sits on the Beverly Affordable Housing Trust, the Parking & Traffic Commission, and the Economic & Community Development Council. She serves as the Mayor’s designee to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board of Directors who conduct the federally required transportation planning process for the Boston metropolitan area. She is a Certified Planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Darlene was the Professional Development Officer for the American Planning Association (APA) Massachusetts Chapter from 2015-2019, Secretary of the Southeast Section Council of the APA Pennsylvania Chapter from 2011 to 2013, and co-founder and past President of the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) from 2003 to 2009. Outside of work, Darlene volunteered as the Race Director (2019-2021) and a committee member (2017-2021) of the Beverly Fall Frolic 5k & Fun Run, a community event raising funds for Beverly elementary schools.
Darlene lives in Beverly with her two children. Though she spent some time in Cambridge and Philadelphia, she was born and raised in Wenham. She enjoys the beaches and open spaces of the North Shore and supporting the many great restaurants, cultural venues, and local businesses here.
Darlene has a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Urban Studies and Planning (2004), where she focused in Environmental Policy and Planning and a Bachelor of Arts, Architectural Studies major, from Connecticut College (2000).