We’re a group of passionate individuals working
to help build tomorrow’s workforce.
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.
Program Associate - High School Internship Program
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.
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 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.
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 M. Gaines, Jr. is DC Program Director for Urban Alliance, in which capacity he oversees internships for over 200 high school youth in the greater DC region. Laurentiis joined Urban Alliance in 2018 where he has served youth in various roles on the DC team. Previously, Laurentiis interned for US Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. in his Albany District Office, first as a 2016 Fellow with the Georgia Democrats and the Clinton for America campaign and later in Rep. Bishop’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 and minor in Spanish. While at Albany State, he was a Spring 2014 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Delta Delta Chapter and a 2015 initiate of the Chi Delta Cast of Alpha Psi Omega, National Theater Honor Society. He also had the honor of serving as the President of the Student Government Association for the 2015-2016 academic year where his platform was “Ignite the Flame, Embrace the Change #PassTheTorch”. Laurentiis is now living in Washington, D.C. and currently works for Urban Alliance, a youth and professional development non-profit, as the Program Director for the DC Region. He provides these services, trainings and year-long internships to the region’s rising high school seniors.
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.
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.
Alumni Services Director
Laura Montgomery serves as the Alumni Services Director for Urban Alliance, assuming this role in September 2020. In this capacity, she is directly responsible for the continued engagement of Urban Alliance DC alumni, providing support to ensure they have resources to continue their path to self-sufficiency. Laura was promoted t from her previous role as Program Manager of the High School Internship Program (HSIP), Urban Alliance’s flagship program. This transition has provided a unique opportunity for Laura to support many of the senior classes she had previously supported during her time overseeing the High School Internship Program. As Program Manager over the High School Internship Program, Laura provided oversight and guidance to direct service staff and interns in HSIP. During her time in this role, Laura focused on improved intern recruitment and retention within HSIP.
Laura first joined Urban Alliance in the summer of 2014 as a Communication and Curriculum Outreach Intern. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech, she joined the High School Internship Program team as a Program Coordinator.
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.
Alberto Otero joined Urban Alliance as a Program Coordinator for the DC region in March 2020. Before coming to Urban Alliance Alberto worked in several community-based organizations and schools, building more than 20 years of experience in classroom management, training and curriculum development, youth workforce development and direct service delivery.
A proud alumnus of Teach for America and a former 6th-grade classroom teacher, Alberto received his bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland College Park.