Staff

We’re a group of passionate individuals working
to help build tomorrow’s workforce.

Eshauna Smith

Chief Executive Officer

Eshauna joined Urban Alliance in March of 2013 as the organization’s first President. In that role, Eshauna was tasked with building partnerships and initiatives at the national level toward growing Urban Alliance’s core work of employing high school youth through paid, year-round internships and supporting them to lead lives of economic self-sufficiency. In June of 2014, Eshauna became Urban Alliance’s national CEO. The fourth CEO in twenty years, Eshauna is focused on building upon the organization’s strong culture of results and use of data-driven approaches, deepening the organization’s core values centered on putting students first, and increasing Urban Alliance’s national visibility and presence. In 2016, Urban Alliance won the coveted Department of Education i3 award for validation and scaling to grow in their current four cities, expand to additional markets and develop a continuous learning and evidence-building agenda.

Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Eshauna was Senior Policy Advisor for Disconnected Youth and Workforce Development in the DC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education where she led the development of Raise DC, the District’s first cradle-to-career partnership focused on improving educational and workforce development outcomes for DC youth from 0-24. Between 2006-2010, Eshauna served as the founding Executive Director of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, a coalition of over 100 youth-serving organizations focused on youth employment, youth homelessness and strengthening out-of-school-time supports. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Texas, Austin.

Stella Afolabi

Operations Associate

Stella Afolabi is a 2012 Urban Alliance alumna and joined the team full-time as an Operations Associate in late 2017. Through Urban Alliance, Stella held internships at the Boston Consulting Group and Children’s National Medical Center. Prior to taking her current role, Stella worked as a part-time administrative assistant intern to Urban Alliance’s D.C. Alumni Director. Stella holds a B.S. in biology from Howard University.

Deirdre Ball

Donor Relations Associate

Deirdre joined Urban Alliance in August 2017. She graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland with a B.A. in Political Science. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Deirdre worked as a giving manager for Goucher College’s Alumni Association. As a Donor Relations Associate, Deirdre will provide essential administrative and technical support to the development team. She is grateful to have the opportunity to work at Urban Alliance and empower youth.

Sokeng Cleary

Chief People Officer

Sokeng returned to Urban Alliance in May 2014 as Director of Special Projects, and now serves as Chief People Officer. She began her Urban Alliance career in 2007 as a Program Coordinator for the World Bank and Fannie Mae summer internship program. Despite leaving the D.C. area, she continued to support Urban Alliance as a consultant, working on curriculum development and assisting with Urban Alliance’s expansion into Chicago. Sokeng joined Teach For America after college and taught in Phoenix, Arizona. She also led an after school and summer youth center in South Central Los Angeles. Sokeng received her undergraduate degree from University of Maryland, College Park and her Masters in Guidance and Counseling from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Nicole Clegg

Human Resources Manager

Nicole joined Urban Alliance in August of 2004 and is a Washington, D.C. native. She graduated from Eastern Senior High School and received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She manages the day-to-day operations of the Urban Alliance office.

Sandra Cole

Finance Director

Sandra Cole serves as Finance Director at Urban Alliance. She has worked with Urban Alliance in various finance and accounting capacities since 2003. Sandra began her career in public accounting and has experience with a variety of corporate and private clients. Sandra is a native of southern New Jersey and received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting Information Systems from Virginia Tech.

Julie Farkas

Chief Strategic Growth Officer

Julie joined Urban Alliance in March 2013. Julie cultivates strategic partnerships with community leaders, institutions and businesses. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Julie worked as the Senior Program Officer at the Consumer Health Foundation, where she created and managed their strategic grants initiatives for twelve years.

Before that, Julie designed and directed the LifeWorks employment program at the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. Julie began her career at the Enterprise Foundation where she helped launch a national network of employment programs in low-income communities. Julie is a graduate of TC Williams High School, one of the schools in UA’s Virginia expansion, and the University of Virginia. She is passionate about helping high school seniors continue their education and move on to rewarding careers and lives of self-sufficiency.

Katie Graul

Director of Workforce Initiatives

Katie joined Urban Alliance – Baltimore in July 2014. She has worked as a Program Coordinator with the Young Adult and High School Internship Programs. In 2016, she assumed the role of Baltimore’s Alumni Services Director. Katie then joined Urban Alliance’s national team in January 2019 as Director of Workforce Initiatives. Prior to Urban Alliance, Katie worked in the public schools as a school counselor and teacher for five years.

Outside of Urban Alliance, Katie continues to be a math educator as a tutor. She holds both a B.A. in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Secondary School Counseling from Lehigh University, as well as a M.S. in Secondary Education from Johns Hopkins University. She is excited to continue her career as an educator with the young people served by the Urban Alliance.

Kiara Holland

Business and Finance Associate

Kiara joined Urban Alliance as the Operations Associate for the DC Office in October 2015. In her current role as Business and Finance Associate, Kiara maintains proper controls surrounding financial transactions and manages many finance related responsibilities as our organization continues to grow. Prior to Urban Alliance, Kiara worked as a Personal Assistant and Nanny where she developed a passion for working with youth. She earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Accounting from Shaw University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Capella University.

Midas Hampton

Program Evaluation Coordinator

Midas Hampton joined Urban Alliance in July 2019 as a Program Evaluation Coordinator. Midas received his B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina-Upstate and a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in Government from Seattle University. Prior to joining UA, Midas worked on affordable housing policy at the Association of Washington Housing Authorities, where he supported and managed their strategic legislative initiatives. Before that, Midas worked as a Program Coordinator for the Higher Education Readiness Opportunity (HERO) Program at the College Success Foundation in Seattle, Washington.

Julia Kent

Chief Development Officer

Julia Kent joined Urban Alliance in April 2019 as Chief Development Officer and leads Urban Alliance’s growing development team. Julia came to Urban Alliance with a background in fundraising for international nonprofits, most recently at CARE, where as Strategic Partnerships Director based in Amman, Jordan, she led resource mobilization efforts for humanitarian response, prevention of gender-based violence, and economic empowerment for women and youth in the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. Before that, Julia served as Director of Donor and Partner Communications for Generations for Peace – also based in Jordan – where she was responsible for raising funds and awareness for global youth peace-building programs. Julia has also worked at the World Wildlife Fund based in Washington D.C., Water for People in Denver, Colorado and Kampala, Uganda, and CARE’s global headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally from Northern Virginia – one of the five regions Urban Alliance serves – Julia is a graduate of TC Williams High School, earned a Bachelor of Science at Emory University, and holds a master’s degree from the University of Denver.

Dee Komo

Development Associate

Dee Komo joined Urban Alliance’s national team in February 2019 as a Development Associate. Dee came to UA with a background in project management and a passion for social policy. Prior to UA, Dee worked in development as a Project Associate for the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. She also has the opportunity to interact with young people from diverse backgrounds in previous positions as a teacher at NationHouse Charter School and a freelance reporter with AOL/TimeWarner/Patch.com. Dee holds a Master’s Degree in public policy and a Bachelor’s Degree from in Journalism, both from George Mason University.

Chiara Montecchi

Development Manager

Chiara joined the Urban Alliance team in October 2016 as Development Associate for the Chicago region and became Development Manager in October 2018. Most recently, she worked as Major Gift Officer for PAWS Chicago, the city’s leading no-kill animal shelter. Before that, she worked for DePaul University, first as a receptionist, then as a Development Officer for four years. Chiara earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University, and holds a Master of Science in International Public Service from DePaul University.

Jeremy Ly

National Director of Program Quality

Jeremy joined the Urban Alliance Chicago team in 2013 where he served as Program Coordinator and then Program Director. In November 2018, Jeremy became National Director of Program Quality. Previously, he spent three years teaching elementary school on Chicago’s South Side through Teach For America. After his time with Teach for America, Jeremy worked for a U.S. Congresswoman who fought to ensure that the American Dream was possible for everyone. Most recently, Jeremy taught work-readiness skills to at-risk GED youth at Joliet Junior College, the nation’s first community college. Jeremy is a lifelong Chicago-area resident and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Illinois State University.

Tyran Omary

National Alumni Director

Tyran joined Urban Alliance in June 2012 as a DC Program Coordinator and moved to the DC Program Director position in 2013. In August 2016, she transitioned to her current role where her focus is to support Alumni Services across all regions and create systems to connect all our alumni to pathways of opportunity.Tyran has over ten years of experience working in the field of youth development. Prior to Urban Alliance, she worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago in their Teen REACH Program, The Children’s Aid Society with their Scholarship and College Guidance Program and Futures and Options with their Internship and Career Development Program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the Chowan University.

Paul Remy

Director of Human Capital and Operations

Paul Remy joined the Urban Alliance staff as a Development Associate in 2014, then served as Business Development Director, and Development Director, before becoming Director of Human Capital and Operations in August 2019. Paul received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Multimedia Design from Duquesne University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Paul participated in a number of public interest internships and volunteered with several non-profit youth organizations. He enjoys supporting underserved youth through meaningful work with Urban Alliance.

Lauren Rice

Director of Evaluation

Lauren joined Urban Alliance in June 2016 as a Data Quality Coordinator, became Monitoring and Evaluation Manager in May 2018, and as of October 2019, is the organization’s Director of Evaluation. She graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in Political Science and received a Masters of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Non-Profit Programs from the George Washington University. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Lauren worked in various non-profit and government organizations including Charter Board Partners, Reach Out and Read Colorado, Denver Rescue Mission and the Colorado Governor’s Office. Lauren found a passion for working with youth during her seven years of coaching swimming at local YMCAs and club teams.

Emily Rogers

Communications Director

Emily Rogers joined Urban Alliance in July 2017 as Communications Manager and became Communications Director in October 2018. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and holds a master’s degree in political communication from American University. After graduate school, Emily worked at the Democratic National Committee during the 2012 presidential campaign. She then spent four years in the communications office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson where she served as his press secretary.

Jason Rotolo

Accounting Manager

Jason joined Urban Alliance in 2013 as the Chicago Program Associate and now serves as Accounting Manager.  In addition to Jason’s existing management of HSIP invoicing and cost reimbursable contracts, he will be responsible for all aspects of the monthly accounting close processes and will ensure Urban Alliance can report upon financial results in a timely manner.  Jason works to ensure Urban Alliance is a good steward of public and private funds and that information is available for timely and accurate reporting.  He is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo and received a Master’s Degree in Education from DePaul University.

Charlie Thompson

National Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Charlie earned a degree in English Language and Literature in 2006 from Bowie State University. After working with the Baltimore City Teaching Residency program, Charlie went on to serve as a High School English Teacher at Dunbar High School. After earning a Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins University, Charlie served as a University Supervisor for the institution. Her work with teacher preparation led her to accept roles as both a Mentor Teacher and an Intake Specialist for the Baltimore City Teaching Residency program. Charlie joined Urban Alliance as a Curriculum Outreach Associate in May 2016. She returned to UA as Curriculum Outreach Director in late 2017. She maintains a steadfast commitment to youth advocacy and providing students with enriching learning opportunities.

Kameshia Tolliver

Operations Associate

Kameshia Tolliver joined Urban Alliance as the Operations Associate in September 2019. A 2015 alum of the High School Internship Program, Kameshia received her bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Delaware State University. Before coming to Urban Alliance she supported the daily operations of a DC real estate construction and management organization. She aspires to give back to under-served youth by providing them with tools to help them develop integrity, self-sufficiency, and financial literacy.

Dan Tsin

Chief Impact Officer

Dan serves as the Chief Impact Officer at Urban Alliance. Dan works to create alignment, strategic direction, and shared measurement across Urban Alliance’s program implementation and support services to maximize impact. He leads the organization’s evaluation work, ensuring that Urban Alliance has high-quality, accurate data to drive program and operations-level decision-making, and frequently presents at national conferences and seminars. Through his work, Urban Alliance is now recognized as a leader in nonprofit performance management and evaluation.

Before joining Urban Alliance in 2012, Dan spent three years in consulting before transitioning to the social sector while working for D.C. Public Schools. Dan graduated from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in finance and government and holds a master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in program evaluation and education policy from George Washington University.

Dan serves on the board of the National Youth Employment Coalition and has been selected as a Leap of Reason Ambassador.

Isabella Ulloa

Managing Director

As Managing Director, Isabella provides strategic direction, operational guidance, and financial oversight to ensure organizational sustainability as a member of the senior leadership team. Isabella creates data-driven business development strategies for increased revenue, incubates and implements systems-level partnerships for increased scale, and collaborates with the CEO and Chair of the Board of Directors on driving investments toward youth talent pipelines.

Isabella joined UA in 2017 as Director of Expansion & Strategic Initiatives to launch the organization’s core youth employment model in a new market. Isabella led UA’s successful expansion to Detroit by spearheading the creation of operational frameworks that enabled local program delivery. She also led regional staff in an interim capacity and collaborated with the CEO on securing revenue-generating partnerships that positioned the site to serve at least 240 economically-disadvantaged youth over four years.

Until January 2017, Isabella served in the Obama administration as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Homeland Security, supporting the implementation of national security priorities in the third largest cabinet department. In this role, she improved decision-making processes by ensuring superior information delivery to the Secretary across diverse areas such as aviation security, immigration reform, and international counterterrorism initiatives. Isabella holds a B.A. in International Relations with a concentration in International Security from Tufts University, and is a member of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows.

Meaghan Woodbury

Chief Operating Officer

Meaghan graduated from Loyola College of Maryland in 2003 with a degree in Political Science. After graduation, Meaghan worked for Catholic Relief Services then the Baltimore City Teaching Residency where she completed a Master’s Degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University while teaching 6th and 8th grade social studies at Harlem Park Middle School. Meaghan began working as a Program Coordinator for the Urban Alliance in July 2007.

Meaghan was the Program Manager and Director for the Urban Alliance Baltimore Internship Program from 2008 to 2010. In 2010, Meaghan became the Director of Corporate Partnerships and in August 2012, Meaghan was promoted to become the Chief of Strategic Partnerships, then Chief Operating Officer in 2014.