Staff and Board

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

Monique Rizer

Executive Director

Monique Rizer is the Executive Director of Urban Alliance D.C. She previously served as executive director of Opportunity Nation, which works to ensure all people in the United States have an equal opportunity to succeed. Under her leadership, the campaign expanded partnerships with national brands like PwC, developed a new Opportunity Index, and provided platforms for two bipartisan bill introductions in the United States Senate. Previously, Monique was deputy director of military spouse programs for the Military Officers Association of America, where she founded “Keeping a Career on the Move®”. The program earned the American Society for Association Executives ‘Power of A’ Silver Award.

Monique is a national spokesperson on economic opportunity and has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise, and NPR, and served as a speaker of choice for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Negro College Fund, among others. Monique is a first-generation college student and attended community college. She was selected as the first class of Gates Millennium Scholars, which allowed her to complete a B.A. from Gonzaga University and M.S. from Syracuse University. Monique is also the mother of two sons; her younger son is in high school and the eldest attends college while also serving as infantryman in the U.S. Army National Guard.

Stella Afolabi

Martha’s Table Juniors Program Coordinator

Stella Afolabi is a 2012 Urban Alliance Alumna who first joined the team as a part-time administrative assistant to the D.C. Alumni Director. In 2017 she became a full-time Operations Associate on the national team, before returning to the DC region as a  Program Associate in 2020 then becoming the Martha’s Table Juniors Program Coordinator.

Through Urban Alliance, Stella held internships at the Boston Consulting Group and Children’s National Medical Center. Stella holds a B.S. in biology from Howard University.

Chris Allen

Program Coordinator

Chris Allen joined Urban Alliance as a Washington DC Program Coordinator in September 2019. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations & Marketing from West Virginia University. Before coming to Urban Alliance Chris worked as a youth outreach coordinator for a summer youth employment program, where he facilitated outdoors training and conservation education. Most recently, Chris served as a youth educator and counselor in the city, where he provided students with after-school support in STEM and English.

Demitria Flores

Program Coordinator - Suitland High School

Demitria Flores joined Urban Alliance in November 2019 as the Suitland High School Program Coordinator. Before coming to Urban Alliance she worked with under-resourced youth and their families as an enrichment facilitator, an academic and life skills coach, and a summer camp career guide.

Demitria received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Leadership from Colorado State University. She recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a master’s degree in Peace and Justice Studies.

Laurentiis Gaines

Program Director

Laurentiis M. Gaines, Jr. is the Program Director for Urban Alliance, in which capacity he oversees internships for over 200 high school youth in the Greater DC Region. He joined Urban Alliance in 2018 where he has served youth in various roles on the Greater DC team. Previously, Laurentiis interned for US Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. in his Albany, GA District Office, and later in the Congressman’s Capitol Hill office through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

A native of Augusta, GA, Laurentiis is a 2016 graduate of The Unsinkable Albany State University with a degree in Political Science. While at Albany State, he had the honor of serving as the President of the Student Government Association for the 2015-2016 academic year. He is a Spring 2014 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and a 2015 initiate of Alpha Psi Omega, National Theater Honor Society. During his time at Albany State, Laurentiis also served as a 2016 Fellow with the Georgia Democrats and a Campus Organizer with the Clinton for America campaign.

Alexis Hardy-Wills

Program Coordinator

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. 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 main 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 education. Alexis attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Anthropology.

Lauren Landis

Program Coordinator - Northern Virginia

Lauren joined Urban Alliance in January 2020 as a Program Coordinator. She brings with her extensive experience in the field of youth development. Lauren previously worked as a volunteer English teacher in Peru and as an assistant teacher in Washington, DC, guiding and mentoring 5th grade students while providing accommodations and specialized support for learners with special needs. In her most recent role, she mentored Northern Virginia teenagers and trained volunteers for a multi-cultural youth ministry.

Lauren received her bachelor’s degree in Applied Sociology from North Carolina State University. She is especially passionate about equity in education and the holistic development of adolescents in her community.

Stefanie Marin

Program Coordinator - Northern Virginia

Stefanie Marin joined Urban Alliance in June 2019 as a Northern Virginia Program Coordinator. Stefanie is from Alexandria, VA and a graduate of T.C. Williams High School, one of the schools UA serves in Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in children and youth from George Mason University. As a first-generation college graduate, she enjoys working with students from similar backgrounds and helping them to succeed.

Evan Metz

External Partnerships Manager

Evan joined Urban Alliance in April 2018 as a Curriculum Outreach Specialist, and became External Partnerships Manager for the Washington, D.C. program in October 2018. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Foreign Affairs. Her passion for working with youth began as a summer camp counselor when she was 16, and grew in her work teaching English abroad and as a study abroad program assistant. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, she served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year in Miami, Florida, providing academic interventions and social-emotional mentoring to high school students.

Jannel Monroe

Montgomery County Program Coordinator

Jannel Monroe joined Urban Alliance in February 2021 as the Montgomery County Program Coordinator. Before coming to Urban Alliance, she served as an Administrative Pastor for three years, then as an Interim Lead Pastor at the New Life Fellowship, located on the campus of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI.

A native of Montgomery County, Jannel completed a Bachelor of Arts in theology from Andrews University. She went on to obtain a Master of Divinity from the Andrews Theological Seminary in May 2020. During the tenure of receiving her education, Jannel served in multiple leadership and advocacy capacities that helped to support, empower and equip youth for success.

Laura Montgomery

Director of College and Career Readiness

Laura Montgomery serves as the Director of College and Career Readiness for Urban Alliance in the Greater DC Region. In this role, Laura oversees all college and career readiness support, underclassmen programming,  and continued engagement of Urban Alliance DC alumni.  Previously, she was responsible for oversight and guidance of direct service staff, interns, and recruitment and retention initiatives in the High School Internship Program. Laura first joined Urban Alliance in the summer of 2014 as a Communication and Curriculum Outreach Intern. 

Laura is a proud Washingtonian who believes deeply in the potential of young people in the District, and the distinct value of their contributions to the professional world they enter through Urban Alliance. Laura graduated from Virginia Tech where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.