THE CONNECT TEAM
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Stefanie has over ten years of experience in program design, program implementation, policy analysis, research, and advocacy for public and nonprofit organizations, primarily in the areas of housing, transportation, sustainable economic development, and disaster recovery. She worked for a DC-area consulting firm for close to eight years before joining a Chicago think tank in 2010. Prior to assuming leadership of the CONNECT Program in Summer 2015, Stefanie served as its Program Evaluation Manager. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School and a B.S. in Economics., and recently became the mother of twin boys.
BLAKE ROBERTS CRALL
Director of Financial Capabilities
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I joined TND in 2013 after completing a dual master’s program at Tufts University in urban planning and food policy, with a focus on food security and social welfare programming. My background is in the non-profit and public sectors, designing and implementing programs that address economic disparities in low-income communities. I grew up as an expat overseas, living in Indonesia and Ecuador before attending Swarthmore College. As the Financial Programs Coordinator at TND and CONNECT, I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that prioritizes social justice, and that supports the holistic needs of the community through financial stability and asset development efforts
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Chelsea has been my hometown since I arrived from Honduras in 1979. My passion for community involvement and civic participation began in 1988, when I helped form Centro Latino for the Hispanic community here in Chelsea, and where I served as a Board member for three years. I was also an active volunteer at The Chelsea Collaborative for three years, before being hired there as a Community Organizer. Simultaneously, I helped create ROCA’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program for at-risk adolescents. My 25 years of work experience have been focused primarily on community organizing efforts and civic community engagement. I was a Program Manager at HarborCOV Emergency Shelter for almost 10 years. In 2005, I was elected to the Chelsea School Committee and am leaving this year after my 10-year tenure. I joined TND/CONNECT in December 2014 after completing the six-month Leadership Fellows program with TND’s Community Engagement Team. One recent personal success this past June was my graduating from Cambridge College with a Bachelor’s in Human Services. I am very proud of my many accomplishments and contributions to my community and hometown, Chelsea, which in turn have helped me grow both personally and professionally.
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Originally from the Azores, I came to Boston to study Computer Science and earned a Masters degree in Computer Science from Boston University and Bachelor’s from Northeastern University. After working as a Systems Analyst and Programmer at MIT, I transitioned to the Learning and Performance field. I worked at the YWCA Malden to develop the financial empowerment initiative and provide micro enterprise technical support, and joined CONNECT as a Financial Coach in 2012. I’m passionate about interdisciplinary work to prevent homelessness and advance the economic capacity of immigrant families who are caught in difficult economic conditions. I’m a strong believer in the power of emerging technologies and social innovation to produce solutions to systemic economic problems.
Lead Financial Coach
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I consider myself a “citizen of the world” having lived in France, Germany, London, Kenya and the US, so I immediately felt at home working at CONNECT where there are so many staff and clients from different cultures and nationalities. I strive to live by my missionary grandparents’ motto: “to make a positive difference in the world and have fun doing it”. My formal education includes a B.A. from Barnard College (majoring in Education and German) as well as an M.S. in School Psychology from City College Graduate School of Education, and finally a Psy.D. (Doctorate in Psychology) from Rutgers University. I am passionate about social and political justice, working in whatever way I can to level the playing field for all, particularly those who face barriers due to lack of money or education, language barriers or immigration status. I believe that we are all travelers on life’s journey, and are called to help each other along the way. I am thrilled to be part of an organization that is doing all it can to bring economic stability to all who come through its doors.
Alina is excited to be working at TND because she's passionate about the connection between economic systems and people's quality of life. Previously, she's assisted student campaigns for responsible endowments at a non-profit, contributed to shareholder proposal filings at a socially responsible investment firm, and improved methodologies for calculating a holistic measure of societal wealth at a government agency. Alina studied economics at Smith College.