Staff and Board

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.

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.

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.

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.

Midas Hampton

Research and Program Analyst

Midas Hampton is Urban Alliance’s Research and Program Analyst 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.

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 effective social policy. Prior to UA, she worked as a Project Associate for the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

Dee has extensive experience interacting with young people from diverse backgrounds. She previously taught at a private charter school in Washington, DC and worked as a freelance reporter with AOL/TimeWarner/ Dee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and a Master’s Degree in public policy, both from George Mason 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.

Chiara Montecchi

Senior Development Manager

Chiara joined the Urban Alliance team in October 2016 as Development Associate for the Chicago region, became Development Manager in October 2018, and moved to the role of Senior Development Manager in January 2020. 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.

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

Senior Director of Evaluation and Learning

Lauren is Urban Alliance’s Senior Director of Evaluation and Learning. She joined the organization in June 2016 as a Data Quality Coordinator, and also held the roles of Monitoring and Evaluation Manager and 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.

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.