At Catalyst Miami, we believe in both internal and external collaboration. Each member of our team plays a key role in helping us achieve our mission of building a more just and equitable Miami in which all communities thrive.
Gretchen joined Catalyst Miami in 2007, directing civic leadership and advocacy programs for more than five years. She became CEO in 2013. Gretchen’s integration of Catalyst’s services into a solid program suite based on an effective and empowering financial coaching platform, offers asset-building strategies at each stage in our clients’ journey to prosperity. She effectively transitioned Catalyst from a financial literacy provider to a financial capability thought leader, as evidenced by our many national partnerships and demonstration products. Other accomplishments include conceiving and piloting the Florida Thrives executive leadership program for community development practitioners, and hosting the annual Poverty Solutions Summit, which draws hundreds of civic leaders. Under Gretchen’s leadership, Catalyst Miami leads a consortium of partners to design and implement Florida’s first universal children’s savings program, Future Bound Miami. Future Bound Miami launched in November 2019 with a subset of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and will expand until every kindergartener entering the district each year has access to a college savings account. Catalyst Miami is launching its first worker cooperative in 2020, the latest addition to its platform of transformative, wealth-building initiatives.
Gretchen serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the South Florida Community Development Coalition. She participates on JPMorgan Chase’s Community Advisory Board (Florida), the Florida Policy Institute’s Community Advisory Board, Resilient 305 Steering Committee, among other advisory boards. Gretchen was a 2015 American Express NGEN Fellow (Independent Sector) and a 2019 Ambassador for Health Equity (PolicyLink and FSG), and she is an alumna of the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Leaders Forum. In 2019, Gretchen was recognized by the Commonwealth Institute as a top woman leader. Gretchen is a 2020 Fulcrum Fellow with the Center for Community Investment. Gretchen is a licensed clinical social worker.
Brian serves as the CFO for Catalyst Miami. He is a lawyer, CPA and received his MFA in Visual Arts in 2018. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica and worked for 20 years for CARE, an international humanitarian and development organization, living mostly in Africa. In his spare time, Brian runs marathons and makes art.
Kristine joined Catalyst Miami in 2013, directing several of the organization's capacity-building programs. Since that time, Kristine has also overseen the organization's programs and services and currently serves as Catalyst's COO. Prior to joining Catalyst, she worked for several nationwide nonprofit organizations in operations and development. Kristine graduated with a bachelor's degree in Government from Smith College and a master's degree in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University. Kristine serves on the board of the Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida (CRASF).
Nina joined Catalyst Miami in 2014 and has served in many different capacities including directing the service delivery for the health component of the Prosperity Campaign. Nina currently oversees the programs department. In Nina's previous experience, she provided support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for several nonprofit organizations. She graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor's degree in Social Work and minor in Criminal Justice, in addition to a master's degree in Social Work from Barry University. Nina is a Miami native, passionate about youth and community development.
Santiago joined Catalyst Miami in January 2015. His role includes connecting and forming collaborative networks that are committed to achieving tangible results within their communities. Santiago's professional commitment is to improve quality of life for the marginalized. He has a Masters in International Development, Nonprofit Management, and International Economics as well as training in Financial Management. Santiago serves on the board of the Awesome Foundation.
Zelalem Adefris is the Vice President of Policy & Advocacy at Catalyst Miami, where she oversees Catalyst’s Policy & Engagement Department. Zelalem joined Catalyst Miami in 2016, directing the organization’s climate resilience programs and advocacy work. Her previous work experiences include environmental justice organizing at the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island and conducting emergency preparedness research at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She holds an MPH in Global Environmental Health from Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in Community Health from Brown University. Zelalem serves as a steering committee member of the Miami Climate Alliance, a philanthropic trustee of the Solutions Project, as well as a board member of the Miami-Dade College Earth Ethics Institute and Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency.
Abraham moved to Florida in 2018 and joined Catalyst Miami in 2019 as Community Prosperity Coordinator. While getting his Bachelor’s in Public Health at Brigham Young University - Idaho, he was a Hispanic advocate who helped domestic violence victims and later coordinated care for patients in need of services they couldn't afford. His desire to help others comes from different angles; for example, he would like to help the community by making sure public funds are not poorly administered. For this reason, he is currently working toward a Master’s in Public Administration.
Ahmed joined Catalyst Miami in 2019. His role includes building out the educational, technical assistance and partnerships necessary to help create worker owned- and managed-enterprises that generate and maintain wealth in communities. Prior to joining the team, Ahmed represented worker cooperatives, tenants facing eviction, and affordable housing and community development nonprofits in Miami, South Texas, and New York City. He has a JD from Columbia Law School, an MA in Political Economy from Columbia University, and a BA in Philosophy from Florida International University. Ahmed serves on the board of Struggle for Miami's Affordable and Sustainable Housing (SMASH).
A first-generation US citizen with roots in South America and West Africa, Alpha was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He obtained his BA from Cornell University and his MA from UCLA. Alpha has devoted his life to building and expanding community-based programs focused on financial wellness, aging in place, food security, and integrative home care. Alpha was one of four National Service Award recipients recognized for his capacity-building work under AmeriCorps*VISTA. He also co-led the National Disability Institute’s Real Economic Impact Tour in Austin, Texas which assembled leaders in workforce development, transportation, supportive housing and advocacy. He recently led a statewide disaster recovery effort that bridged people with disabilities, their families, and loved ones with supported employment services post-Hurricane Irma.
Alyssa officially joined Catalyst Miami in May 2019 as a Community Prosperity Coordinator after working with the Public Allies Miami program as a graduate-level intern. She comes from a mental health background, having received a B.A. in Psychology and a master’s degree in Social Work from Florida International University. In addition to being a clinical therapist, specializing in depression and pediatric nutrition, she is a strong advocate for policy reform and participates in various board meetings and community events, especially those related to poverty and food insecurity, education and human rights. She will be going to law school in the near future to specialize in criminal law, where she hopes to become a judge.
Anaruth joined Catalyst Miami full-time in 2019 after being a climate resilience assistant for the organization. Prior to that, she was a community organizer during the 2016 presidential election. Her organizing skills come in handy in her current role, which involves mobilizing residents of South Dade to be more engaged in their community. She is passionate about immigrants’ issues and advocating for equity across marginalized communities. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. When she gets time to relax at home, she enjoys snuggling up with her furry best friend, Gigi.
Carolina serves as the Communications Manager for Catalyst Miami, directing the organization's internal and external communications. Prior to joining Catalyst, she was Hallmark's first bilingual creative writer and lived in Kansas City, Missouri during those five years. Upon moving back to Miami, she worked as the lead copywriter and creative strategist for a Miami marketing agency.
Carolina has always had a passion for serving her community. She volunteered as a medical interpreter at a free clinic for five years, a teacher/caretaker at a foundation for children with cancer in Colombia, and helped launch a literacy program for inner-city students in Kansas City.
Charles has worked at Catalyst Miami since 2009. He is a disabled Vietnam veteran and has been pleased to be working under the Community Leadership Development team. In particular, Charles works with the SoundOut and Parent Leadership Training Institute teams as a leadership assistant. He occasionally serves as the office coordinator, where he gets to greet and assist all of our incoming clients.
Chris serves as Children’s Savings Director for Catalyst Miami where he helped create Future Bound Miami, Florida’s first Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program. He is dedicated to enhancing economic stability for all through financial coaching, education, and asset building. Previously, Chris was Director of Social Impact at WorkSquare. He has held several roles within organizations such as Miami Dade College, Branches, and the United Way Center for Financial Stability. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts and the University of South Florida with a Master of Education.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Dhorka has lived in Miami since 2004. Before joining Catalyst Miami, she served as the Community Health Worker for ConnectFamilias. She is a graduate of Catalyst Miami's Parent Leadership Training Institute and is excited to join the team as the Office Coordinator.
Izegbe, a Baltimore native, has worked as a community advocate for the past 22 years. She has journeyed from a graduate of the 12th PLTI cohort in 2014, to a facilitator for PLTI, Step Up Miami, and People Empowering People, all parenting leadership courses sponsored by Catalyst Miami, to her current position. Her experience as a mother, educator, and community program founder will positively impact the training and cultivation of civic leaders. Izegbe currently serves on the board of Legal Services of Greater Miami.
Jessica comes to Catalyst Miami from the Department of Children and Families, Southern Region, General Counsel. Prior to her current role, Jessica volunteered with Catalyst Miami in 2013 and again in 2018 as a VITA volunteer preparing taxes. She graduated from FIU with two Bachelor’s degrees, in Sociology and English Literature, as well as a certificate in Exile Studies. At Catalyst, Jessica helps low income families take their next financial step through financial coaching to reach their financial goals. In her spare time she enjoys having a good laugh and living the simple life.
Maryanne joined Catalyst Miami in 2017 in response to the disaster relief needed in South Dade after hurricane Irma. As a child of immigrants, Maryanne has always been passionate about social justice, equity, and the importance of intersectionality when empowering communities. While at Williams College she focused on border, exile, and diaspora communities, seeking to build bridges and foster solidarity between marginalized peoples. She currently serves as a Community Prosperity Coordinator in Homestead in order to ensure that the folks in her community can access healthcare and reach financial stability.
Mayra joined Catalyst Miami in January 2018 after graduating from Columbia University with a Masters in Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences with a Certificate in Climate and Health. She is utilizing her knowledge of climate change and its impacts to manage the CLEAR program and build upon existing climate resilience work. She holds a Bachelors degree in Public Health from George Washington University and is excited to help build resilience throughout Miami-Dade.
Molly comes to Catalyst Miami from the private sector after discovering her passion for strong communities and civic engagement. She has experience in public affairs, business development, and commercial real estate. Molly graduated with a BS in Psychology from the University of Florida and MS in Real Estate from University of Central Florida.
Monica moved to Miami in 2003 from Guatemala, where she volunteered for five years in a literacy program helping children and adults. While attending college at FIU, she was a part of the FIU Finance and Management Association where she created and promoted free of charge programs that helped develop and enhance the basic financial practices for its members and non-members. She is happy to continue to serve the community.
A graduate of SUNY Albany with a B.A. in Africana Studies, Nicole is currently the Overtown Community Engagement Coordinator, a community where she lives and serves. With a strong commitment to eliminating wealth, education and health disparities in marginalized communities of color, Nicole’s passion has been that of bridging the gaps affecting Black women's overall well-being. This, she attributes to her belief that educating and helping to empower a woman liberates an entire community. The legacy that Nicole endeavors to leave is one of love, faith, peace, joy and hope.
Rachelle joined the Catalyst Miami team in July of 2010. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from St. Thomas University. She brings strong work ethic and many years of experience to the organization. Her prior experience was primarily in the nonprofit sector. The desire to help people is what drew her into social services, and what motivates her to provide excellent services to the community.
Roxy joined Catalyst Miami in 2014. She has served in multiple roles focused on helping young people and adults harness their individual and collective power. She is a creative leader with talents in photography, program management, storytelling, relationship building, and compassionate coaching. In her current role as Public Allies Miami Manager, Roxy trains and coaches a cohort of young adults whose goals include building capacity for local nonprofits and building a just and equitable society.
Shannon is a graduate of Florida International University, where he obtained his master’s degree in the field of public health with a specialization in health policy and management. He has several years of experience working in public health at the University of Miami Tissue Bank and the Community Blood Centers of Florida. Currently, Shannon is a healthcare navigator for the Affordable Care Act, focusing on the underserved communities of South Florida.
Sonni joined Catalyst Miami in July 2019. Her role includes helping patients navigate the complexities of the health-care system; identify gaps in oral health for low-and-moderate-wealth communities; and conducts community- media-based and education outreach. Sonni's professional commitment is to improve community health for underserved populations, through engaging with community members, collaborating with key stakeholders, and conducting research to develop policy recommendations. She received her Masters degree in Environmental Science and Policy under the Advanced Academic Program at Johns Hopkins University.
Vaughan is a Chicago native and a graduate of Florida Memorial University. He began his career at Catalyst Miami by way of the AmeriCorps Public Ally program, where he helped low-income individuals in Miami-Dade County with their personal finances. After graduating from the Public Ally program in 2013, he joined Catalyst Miami's staff.
Yanelis is a Miami native dedicated to community building and creating equitable spaces. At Catalyst Miami, she helps strengthen community based organizations, their leaders, and the local nonprofit infrastructure through programs focused on capacity building. Prior to joining the team, Yanelis worked on several national public health communication campaigns in Washington, DC. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Communications from Florida State University.
Aileen Alon is currently the Program Manager for Venture Café Miami, where she curates programming and partnerships to strengthen connections, creativity, and collaborations between diverse innovators, entrepreneurs, and others seeking to create positive change in their communities. Aileen has also done consulting around cultural arts, creative placemaking, and organizational growth, having previously spent seven years leading the integration of the arts and culture into neighborhood revitalization strategies for the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation. A first-generation Asian-American, Aileen aims to help open doors for more people of color and women to establish leadership roles in creative fields. She is active on several boards and committees geared towards civic engagement, culture, innovation and leadership development.
Boris Espinoza develops and manages private banking relationships with ultra high net worth families in South Florida, advising clients across a broad spectrum of areas including investment management, capital markets, global banking, wealth and estate planning as well as diverse financing activities. Boris received his Bachelor of Science in Business from Stony Brook University and his MBA from University of Miami. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and French and has lived in Miami since 2009.
Charles Auslander is a 30+ year experienced attorney who has engaged in appellate practice and trial support litigation during most of his legal career. He has also served as District Administrator of the Miami-Dade/Monroe District of the Department of Children & Families. More recently, he served as COO and CEO of The Children’s Trust. He has prevailed in a number of pro bono matters supporting children’s rights, including declaring the state’s gay adoption ban unconstitutional. Charles earned his law degree from George Washington University.
PRINCIPAL AND CEO, COMMERCIAL REALTY ADVISORS & INVESTMENT GROUP
Born and raised in Richmond Heights in Miami, FL, Craig Emmanuel has been a prominent real estate professional since 1997. His commitment to civic engagement began in his youth as a Metro Miami Action Plan / Moss Plan Young Entrepreneur recipient and participant in Leadership South Dade. Craig serves as a MDEAT Board Trustee where he chairs the Affordable Housing Committee. His education includes the Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s Affordable Housing Catalyst Program, University of Miami’s Community Scholars in Affordable Housing, University of South Florida’s Community Real Estate Development Certificate Program, as well as being a graduate and facilitator of Step Up Miami. He is also a graduate of the PLTI facilitator training program.
RELATIONSHIP MANAGER & VP, COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE, AMERANT BANK
A 20-year banking veteran, Cristina currently serves as Vice President and Relationship Manager for Amerant Bank where she has worked for 13 years. At Amerant, she focuses on financing commercial real estate investments and development projects. Currently, she serves as Co-Chair of the CREW Miami Programs Committee and is a member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Urban Land Institute. Cristina is also active with the Live Like Bella Foundation. She is a Florida native with an economics degree from William Smith College in upstate New York.
An AV® Preeminent rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, Daley actively litigates in both the state and federal courts, representing clients in all areas of civil litigation including: products liability, professional liability, general liability, premises liability, and business and commercial litigation. Prior to founding DLF Attorneys, Damian was a partner in the Miami office of a prestigious statewide civil defense firm. Outside of the office, Damian devotes his time to various philanthropic pursuits including serving as a facilitator in Catalyst Miami’s Step Up Miami Program.
Daniel is a Partner in the Miami office of the law firm Shutts & Bowen LLP, where is he a member of the Business Litigation and Financial Services Practice Groups. Daniel regularly represents clients across various industry sectors in complex civil litigation, regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, and class action lawsuits. He received his B.A. from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.
Gina Ciraldo Stabile is CEO of Dr. Loretta Skincare and CosMedical Technologies, skin care companies based in Davie, Florida. Prior to joining Dr. Loretta, Gina was an associate at international law firms in New York City and Miami. Gina is a past Chair of the board of directors and serves on the Development, Finance and Executive Committees. Gina received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. She lives in Miami Beach with her husband and two children.
A Miami-native, Giuseppe F. Mantica, is a VP in the Private Banking Group of IBERIABANK. Giuseppe has dedicated most of his 10 year Banking career to helping small and medium businesses achieve their financial goals. Over the past 5 years, he has concentrated in Commercial Lending mainly financing Commercial Real Estate to either house the operations of local businesses or for investment purposes. Giuseppe holds a BS in Finance from the University of Florida, a MBA from the Florida International University, and a Diploma from the Florida Bankers Association for his completion of the Florida School of Banking.
Jason Kaye is a Senior Vice President in the Community Development Banking Group at Bank of America. In this role, Jason provides financing for multifamily affordable housing throughout Florida. He began his career with the NYC Economic Development Corporation and worked on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “South Bronx Initiative” to redevelop and revitalize the South Bronx. Jason graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University. He also holds an M.R.P. from Cornell University with a focus on Economic Development and an M.S. in Real Estate Finance from NYU.
Jennifer Newton received her undergraduate degree from Florida State University and her law degree from Loyola University. While a law student, Ms. Newton clerked for Legal Services of Greater Miami, the Honorable Jerald P. Bagley (11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Circuit Court), Southern Legal Counsel, and the EEOC. After graduation from law school, Ms. Newton clerked for the Honorable George J. Larke, Jr. of the 32nd Judicial District Court of Louisiana, was an Associate at Shutts & Bowen LLP , and a Director at Kaufman Rossin. She now works at Greenberg Traurig.
Marcus Braswell is a Florida native and lifelong resident. Born in Tampa and raised in Gainesville, Marcus has worked at Sugarman & Susskind in Miami since 1998. Marcus's practice is focused on litigation relating to multiemployer and municipal employee benefit plans and labor law. Marcus has served as a Catalyst Miami board member for more than six years. Marcus received his B.A. Degree from Duke University. He received his law degree, cum laude, from the Florida State University College of Law in the spring of 1998.
As a community activist, Marjorie York serves on more than 24 boards. She promotes public awareness, plans community events and is a strong advocate for individuals and families who are low-income, disabled, elderly or otherwise in need of assistance. She is a truly concerned person who accomplishes a lot on behalf of the community. In 2012, the School Board of Miami-Dade County commended Marjorie York for her exemplary advocacy for anyone in need of assistance and for her community service.
Mary Casey is a Managing Director of the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Miami. A senior banker with over 20 years of experience at J.P. Morgan, Mary leads a team of professionals to provide capital market, investment and wealth advisory services to families in South Florida. She began her career at the World Bank where she spent four years developing projects in Ecuador and Brazil. Mary holds a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and a Master of Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She lives with her husband and two sons in Miami and presently serves on the board of the Thrive for Life Prison Project in New York City.
Joaquin Dulitzky is a passionate advocate for financial literacy, mental health awareness; an avid supporter of at-risk youth and low wealth communities. Joaquin and his family spent 2 of the last 10 years doing volunteer work, starting socio-economic and environmental projects in 15 emerging countries across 4 continents. He has 25 years’ experience in planning and asset management. Joaquin is part of the senior team at Bernstein in Miami, where he counsels dynamic families and impactful business owners on solutions to the complex issues that come along with significant wealth – with an emphasis on making their money meaningful. His belief is that capital is the penultimate tool to change the world for good. Joaquin graduated with honors from the University of Buenos Aires, where he also was an assistant professor of advanced math and economics. He is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor and Certified Financial Manager. He was also an entrepreneur twice. Joaquin is the ex Chairman of the Board of the Community College of Denver, where he lived for 7 years. He is a pro-bono mentor for 500StartUps. Joaquin speaks five languages. He is a competitive sailor and swimmer and lives in Miami with his wife Carolina and their two young boys : Dante and Leon.