Staff and Board

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

Elizabeth Lindsey

Chief Executive Officer

Elizabeth Lindsey became CEO of Urban Alliance in April 2021. Previously, as CEO of Byte Back, she was one of The Root 100 most influential African Americans of 2019. Under Elizabeth’s nationally recognized leadership, Byte Back thrived as a dynamic nonprofit with a pathway of inclusive tech training that leads to living-wage careers, and Elizabeth led Byte Back’s successful expansion into Baltimore.

Prior to joining the DC-based organization in 2015, Elizabeth was Chief Operating Officer of Groundswell, where she oversaw its evolution from a community nonprofit into a nationally recognized social enterprise. She earned her bachelor’s from Swarthmore College and her master’s in public affairs and urban and regional planning from Princeton University. Elizabeth led development efforts for minority- and women-owned businesses for the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, and she developed workforce training programs for the DC Department of Employment Services.

Elizabeth serves on the Federal Communications Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment and is a member of the Washington, DC Mayor’s Innovation & Technology Inclusion Council and the Verizon Consumer Advisory Board. She is on the Board of Directors of the Goodwill Excel Center, The Engine Room, OATS, and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance.

In addition to the The Root 100, the Washington Business Journal named her to its most competitive list – 40 Under 40. She was a three-time Washingtonian Tech Titan and was named a Champion of Digital Equality by the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council. Elizabeth won a DC Inno 50 on Fire award and two DCA Live New Power Woman of DC Tech awards, and she was named a 2019 Enterprising Woman by Tagg Magazine and a 40 under 40 Queer Woman by the Washington Blade. She led a panel at SXSW in 2018, delivered a TEDx talk, and was named a top 100 leadership speaker in Inc.

Elizabeth is dedicated to helping thousands of people thrive in a digital society, to creating a pathway to living-wage careers, and to influencing a shift toward a diverse and inclusive tech sector.

Nikki Brooks

Director of Banking and Partnerships and Pathways

Nikki joined Urban Alliance Baltimore in August 2016. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Religious Studies from Lincoln University in 2013 where she competed on the volleyball and softball team. Upon graduating, she returned to her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to provide one year of service to AmeriCorps in their City Year Cleveland program. Nikki came to Urban Alliance after serving as a Family Advocate in Baltimore for two years in hopes of furthering her passion for inner-city youth and working to close the academic and achievement gap. Nikki became Program Director in August 2018 and was promoted to Site Director in August 2020.

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.

Miguel Dayan

Assistant Program Analyst

Miguel Dayan joined Urban Alliance in September 2021 as an Assistant Program Analyst on the Data and Evaluation team. He grew up in the Philippines and moved to Arlington, VA during his high school years. Miguel holds a B.A. in Economics and History from the College of William & Mary. Right after graduating college, he worked for the Arlington Economic Development to help support businesses in the county. While working part-time for Urban Alliance, Miguel also works as a strategy and data analyst for the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

Nicola Diamond

Chief Operating Officer

Nicola Diamond is the Chief Operating Officer at Urban Alliance. In her role, she oversees finances, human resources, and internal operations for the organization. Nicola came to Urban Alliance after 30 years with Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, one of the largest school districts in the nation and an Urban Alliance program partner.

In her most recent position as Chief Financial Officer, Nicola oversaw the development of a $2.7 billion budget and provided strategic guidance on financial matters to the Board of Education and the Superintendent. Prior to that, Nicola served as a Chief Strategy Officer where she developed program performance evaluation systems and supervised the development and monitoring of the operating and program budgets.

Nicola is a graduate of Cornell University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Alexis Hardy-Wills

Real Estate Pathway Manager

Alexis Hardy-Wills joined Urban Alliance in August 2018 as a Program Coordinator in Northern Virginia and moved to the DC region in the same capacity in November 2019. She now serves as the National Real Estate Pathway Manager for one of UA’s pilot pathways, Property Management, which she largely contributed to its launch in late 2020. This pathway program serves high school seniors, Urban Alliance alumni, and property management stakeholders in DC, NoVA, and PG County and has now expanded to Montgomery County, MD, Chicago, and Baltimore regions, providing industry-specific career advancement opportunities.

Before joining UA, she served as an AmeriCorps Achievement Fellow with Higher Achievement—a nonprofit organization specializing in middle school academic enrichment. In this role, her focus was high school preparation for underserved eighth-grade students, including assisting students and families with the high school application process in Washington, D.C. Alexis also has previous teaching experience with kindergarten, fifth, and sixth-grade students. Her years of mentoring, teaching, and building connections with young people are evidence of her strong passion for educating the minds and hearts of every youth. She is an alumna of Spelman College with a BA in Sociology and Anthropology and is in pursuit of her MS in Psychology and Life Coaching.

Midas Hampton

Director of Research and Evaluation

Midas Hampton is Urban Alliance’s Director of Research and Evaluation in the Data and Evaluation Department. Midas joined Urban Alliance in July 2019 as a Program Evaluation Coordinator. 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 like source of income discrimination. Midas also has experience as a direct service professional through his work with the College Success Foundation as a Program Coordinator for the Higher Education Readiness Opportunity (HERO) Program in Seattle.

Midas received his B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina-Upstate, a Master’s of Public Administration with an emphasis in Government from Seattle University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship at the University of The District of Columbia.

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.

Maria Ibañez

Communications Director

Maria Ibañez joined Urban Alliance in November 2021 as its National Communications Director. Her career spans more than 20 years leading the strategic communications efforts for national organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She was also an adjunct instructor at the University of Maryland, School of Journalism, and Trinity University’s School of Communications. Maria holds an MA from American University and a BA from the University of the District of Columbia. She also serves on the board of directors for CASA, the largest grassroots immigration advocacy organization in the Mid-Atlantic region, and as an advisory board member for the Washington Literacy Council.

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.

Kara Housby

Development Manager

Kara joined Urban Alliance in November 2021 as the Development Manager. Having spent most of her career in the non-profit sector, Kara has a background in community outreach and program development, event planning, partnership building, and fundraising. She is passionate about non-profit work and helping to find and support new and innovative ways to serve her community. She loves spending time in the great outdoors and exploring all that the greater DC area has to offer. Originally from the west coast, Kara completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration and Policy at American 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.

Jenna Ketchum

National Director of Employer Partnerships

Jenna joined Urban Alliance in 2014 after completing an Education Pioneers fellowship with the Department of College and Career Success at Chicago Public Schools. She earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration in 2014 with a degree focus in Nonprofit Management. During her graduate studies, she completed a two-year internship with the Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation and studied urban poverty abroad at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India.

Previously, Jenna held several roles with Junior Achievement of Chicago from 2006 to 2013, including serving as the Associate Director of Suburban Operations and later as the Director of External Relations. Jenna holds a B.A. in English and Anthropology from Augustana College.

Raiyana Malone

Communications and Advocacy Associate

Raiyana Malone joined Urban Alliance’s national team in May 2021 as a Communications and Advocacy Associate. Before joining Urban Alliance, Raiyana served as a U.S. House Congressional Intern and BuzzFeed News Curation Fellow during the 2020 Presidential election cycle. Raiyana’s internships in news, communications, and public policy have led her to Urban Alliance, where she hopes to continue to fuel her desire to help others create and hold an equitable stake in society. Raiyana received her B.S. in Journalism from Florida A&M University, where she served as President of the Society of Professional Journalists, and Chair of Communications for the Omega Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, Inc. She is also a proud member of SISTUHS, Inc, — a community service-based organization.

Brendan Meehan

Director of Technology Operations

Brendan Meehan joined Urban Alliance in November 2021. He is passionate about serving his community and has made it his life’s mission to help others. In his current role, he is responsible for Urban Alliance’s technology footprint and is constantly looking for ways to optimize and streamline systems to improve the employee experience.

When not at work, Brendan serves on the board of Specialove, a DC-area nonprofit that has supported pediatric cancer patients and their families since 1983. He also is a life member of the NAACP, a volunteer firefighter/EMT, a pilot, and a transportation nerd.

In his most recent position, Brendan was a Principal Solution Engineer with Salesforce, supporting the largest healthcare payers in the United States. Prior to that, he was a Director of Product Management for The Advisory Board Company, building software platforms for hospitals and health systems to improve patient care and outcomes. Brendan earned his BS in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

Dana McCalla

Assistant Program Analyst

Dana McCalla joined Urban Alliance in June 2021 as an Assistant Program Analyst on the Data and Evaluation team. Prior to Urban Alliance, Dana worked as a policy research fellow, a strategic planning consultant, and a public-school teacher at the high school level. She also recently worked as a research assistant at the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center collecting data on the impact of COVID-19 on students and faculty at historically black institutions of learning. Dana is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology at Howard University. She also holds a M.A. in Sociology from Howard University and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Ithaca College. As a social scientist and former educator, Dana is passionate about maximizing the potential of young people and serving underrepresented communities.

Chiara Montecchi

Development Director

Chiara joined the Urban Alliance team in October 2016 as a Development Associate for the Chicago region and is now the Development Director on a national scale. Previously, Chiara served 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.


Tyran Omary

Senior Director of Programs

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 Alumni Services Director, where she worked across all regions to connect all our alumni to pathways of opportunity. She currently serves as the Senior Director of Programs.

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.

ReNeeta Reid

Executive Assistant

ReNeeta Reid joined Urban Alliance as the Executive Assistant to CEO Elizabeth Lindsey in April 2021. ReNeeta comes to Urban Alliance with more than three years of experience in executive support and project management. She previously worked as the executive assistant to Lindsey at ByteBack, where she assisted with scheduling and other administrative needs. In her current role, she will also support the Senior Leadership Team with scheduling and assist with additional operational needs.

A proud DC native, ReNeeta earned her associate degree in business administration from Strayer University.

Seema Sabnani

Chief Program Officer

Seema Sabnani is the Chief Program Officer for Urban Alliance.  She brings two decades of experience building strategic partnerships and programs in the non-profit sector.   Seema started her career as a high school teacher in Harlem.  She has held multiple roles at a variety of nonprofit organizations including Harlem Center for Education, Sadie Nash Leadership Project, South Asian Youth Action, and  Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence.  Just prior to joining UA’s team, she was the Chief Program Officer for Free Arts NYC, a youth mentoring organization, where she created pathways for youth to pursue careers in the creative industry through internships and career readiness programs.

Seema has a B.A. in International Community Development from the University of Illinois and M.A. Degree in Teaching from Fordham University.

Nat Singal

Donor Relations Coordinator

Nat Singal joined Urban Alliance’s national team in November 2020 as the Donor Relations Coordinator. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Nat worked in program operations for Good360, the largest product philanthropy nonprofit, where she provided critical support to a corporate philanthropy program partnership with the United States’ largest retailer. Before joining the nonprofit sector, Nat was in law enforcement for one year where her love for criminal justice evolved into a passion for criminal justice reform. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017.