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at Catalyst, We believe in both
external and internal collaboration.

Take a look at our organizational chart to see how we work together.

senior leadership team

Gretchen Beesing, LCSW

Chief Executive Officer

Gretchen joined Catalyst Miami in 2007, directing civic leadership and advocacy programs for more than five years. She became CEO in 2013. Gretchen’s integration of Catalyst’s services into a solid program suite based on an effective and empowering financial coaching platform, offers asset-building strategies at each stage in our clients’ journey to prosperity. She … [read more]

Gretchen joined Catalyst Miami in 2007, directing civic leadership and advocacy programs for more than five years. She became CEO in 2013. Gretchen’s integration of Catalyst’s services into a solid program suite based on an effective and empowering financial coaching platform, offers asset-building strategies at each stage in our clients’ journey to prosperity. She effectively transitioned Catalyst from a financial literacy provider to a financial capability thought leader, as evidenced by our many national partnerships and demonstration products, including MAF’s Lending Circles. Other accomplishments include conceiving and piloting our Miami Thrives executive leadership program for community development practitioners, the first in South Florida. Under Gretchen’s leadership, Catalyst hosted Miami’s first Poverty Solutions Summit, attended by more than 300 service providers, activists and Miami-Dade County officials.
Gretchen serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the South Florida Community Development Coalition. She participates on the JPMorgan Chase’s Community Advisory Board (Florida), the Florida Policy Institute’s Community Advisory Board, Resilient 305 Steering Committee, among other advisory boards. Gretchen was a 2015 American Express NGEN Fellow and is an alumnus of the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Leaders Forum. She is a licensed clinical social worker with degrees from NYU and Kalamazoo College.

Aidil Oscariz

Vice President of Policy and Advocacy

Aidil joined Catalyst in 2016 after working with various nonprofit organizations. She has represented and advocated on behalf of immigrants, including unaccompanied immigrant children, protected civil rights, advocated for equitable policies, and worked to increase minority and underrepresented groups' civic and economic participation. Aidil also teaches sociology at Miami-Dade College and is involved with a variety of local and national community groups and organizations to advance social justice, serving on several boards.

Brian Larson

Chief Financial Officer

Brian serves as the CFO for Catalyst Miami. He is a lawyer and CPA and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica. He worked for 20 years for CARE, an international humanitarian and development organization, living mostly in Africa. In his spare time, Brian runs marathons and is pursuing a MFA degree.

Kristine Singer

Chief Operating Officer

Kristine joined Catalyst Miami in 2013, directing several of the organization's capacity-building programs. Since that time, Kristine served in a senior-leadership role, overseeing the organizations programs and services. Kristine currently serves as Catalyst's COO and is a member of the organization's Executive Team. … [read more]

Kristine joined Catalyst Miami in 2013, directing several of the organization's capacity-building programs. Since that time, Kristine served in a senior-leadership role, overseeing the organizations programs and services. Kristine currently serves as Catalyst's COO and is a member of the organization's Executive Team. Prior to joining Catalyst, she worked for several nationwide nonprofit organizations in operations and development. Kristine graduated with a bachelor's degree in Government from Smith College and a master's degree in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University. Kristine serves on the board of the Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida (CRASF).

Nina Thompkins

Vice President of Programs

Nina joined Catalyst Miami in 2014. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work and a minor in Criminal Justice in 2013, and from Barry University with a Master's of Social Work degree in 2016. Nina currently serves as the Community Health Director, helping residents of Miami-Dade County access preventative healthcare options and basic needs services.

Santiago Bunce

Vice President of Evaluation and Learning

Santiago joined Catalyst Miami in January 2015. His role includes connecting and forming collaborative networks that are committed to achieving tangible results within their communities. Santiago's professional commitment is to improve quality of life for the marginalized. He has a Masters in International Development, Nonprofit Management, and International Economics as well as training in Financial Management. Santiago serves on the board of the Awesome Foundation.

Santra Denis

Chief Program Officer

Santra Denis joined Catalyst Miami in 2010. She is the Chief Program Officer at Catalyst Miami. In her current role, Ms. Denis oversees all of Catalyst Miami's programs, services, and initiatives. Santra was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s in health science, and from Florida International University with a Master’s of Public Health in Policy and Management. In her free time she works to build economic and political power with Millennials in the Haitian Community.

Staff

Charles Azulai

Leadership Assistant

Charles has worked at Catalyst Miami since 2009. He is a disabled Vietnam veteran and has been pleased to be working under the Community Leadership Development team. In particular, Charles works with the SoundOut and Parent Leadership Training Institute teams as a leadership assistant. He occasionally serves as the office coordinator, where he gets to greet and assist all of our incoming clients.

Dhorka Gonell

Office Manager

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Dhorka has lived in Miami since 2004. Before joining Catalyst Miami, she served as the Community Health Worker for ConnectFamilias. She is a graduate of Catalyst Miami's Parent Leadership Training Institute and is excited to join the team as the Office Coordinator.

France Francois

Policy & Engagement Director

Throughout her career, France has been a leading voice shaping how policymakers and the public address aid accountability, social inclusion, justice, immigration, and human rights issues. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she left Egypt, where she had been working with refugees, to return to her country of birth. France worked on social issues in international development projects in post-earthquake Haiti, acting as a conduit for getting the voice of the community to DC decision-makers and helping the resources of decision makers flow to communities to make a direct impact. France's expertise is a draw for media outlets, including MSNBC, CNN, Huffington Post, Ebony, Latino USA, The Miami Herald, and in the Washington Post. She has a masters in International Development and Conflict Resolution from American University.

Fransisca Meralus

Oral Health Coordinator

Fransisca is a Miami native who is passionate about serving her community. She joined Catalyst Miami in September 2018 after graduating from Howard University with a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences. As the Oral Health Coordinator, she is utilizing her knowledge of nutrition to alter the public perception of oral health in Miami-Dade County. In her free, time she enjoys watching music videos and listening to podcasts, as well as eating avocados.

Ian Cabrera

Communications Coordinator

Ian was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. The grandson of Cuban immigrants, Ian eventually relocated to Miami in 2016 for work and to be closer to family. Prior to joining Catalyst, Ian edited video for an independent film project, worked in the video department of a Miami Beach advertising firm, and worked at a Century City legal practice. He has volunteered with various political groups with a social justice orientation. He is hoping to unite his passions for media and social justice through his role at Catalyst. Ian graduated with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from UC Berkeley. In his free time, he enjoys deep conversation, taking advantage of Miami weather, and checking out vegan restaurants.

Izegbe Onyango

Neighborhood Engagement Manager

Izegbe, a Baltimore native, has worked as a community advocate for the past 22 years. She has journeyed from a graduate of the 12th PLTI cohort in 2014, to a facilitator for PLTI, Step Up Miami, and People Empowering People, all parenting leadership courses sponsored by Catalyst Miami, to her current position. Her experience as a mother, educator, and community program founder will positively impact the training and cultivation of civic leaders.

Juanita Giraldo

Community Prosperity Coordinator

Juanita began her career in empowering at risk communities by way of the AmeriCorps State & National program. Prior to joining Catalyst, Juanita worked at the International Rescue Committee where she provided direct services to refugees, victims of human trafficking, and other vulnerable populations. Juanita graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations as well as a certificate in International Communication. Juanita currently serves as the Community Prosperity Coordinator and hopes to continue her goal of creating fishermen: 'Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he will eat a lifetime'.

Maryanne Rodriguez

Community Prosperity Coordinator

Maryanne joined Catalyst Miami in 2017 in response to the disaster relief needed in South Dade after hurricane Irma. As a child of immigrants, Maryanne has always been passionate about social justice, equity, and the importance of intersectionality when empowering communities. While at Williams College she focused on border, exile, and diaspora communities, seeking to build bridges and foster solidarity between marginalized peoples. She currently serves as a Community Prosperity Coordinator in Homestead in order to ensure that the folks in her community can access healthcare and reach financial stability.

Mayra Cruz

Climate Resilience Program Manager

Mayra joined Catalyst in January 2018 after graduating from Columbia University with a Masters in Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences with a Certificate in Climate and Health. She is utilizing her knowledge of climate change and its impacts to coordinate the CLEAR program and build upon existing climate resilience work. She holds a Bachelors degree in Public Health from George Washington University and is excited to be a new Miamian.

Molly Delahunty

Development Director

Molly comes to Catalyst Miami from the private sector after discovering her passion for community and civic engagement. She has experience in public affairs, business development, and commercial real estate. Molly graduated with a BS in Psychology from the University of Florida and MS in Real Estate from University of Central Florida.

Monica Monterroso

Grants Management and Compliance Director

Monica moved to Miami in 2003 from Guatemala, where she volunteered for five years in a literacy program helping children and adults. While attending college at FIU, she was a part of the FIU Finance and Management Association where she created and promoted free of charge programs that helped develop and enhance the basic financial practices for its members and non-members. She is happy to continue to serve the community.

Rachelle Desamours

Community Health Coordinator

Rachelle joined the Catalyst team in July of 2010. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from St. Thomas University. She brings strong work ethic and many years of experience to the organization. Her prior experience was primarily in the nonprofit sector. The desire to help people is what drew her into social services, and what motivates her to provide excellent services to the community.

Roxy Azuaje

Public Allies Miami Manager

Roxy has been involved in creative community initiatives since 2009. She specializes in facilitative leadership and workshop and training development. Roxy utilizes her specialties to help young adults, community residents, and place-based coalitions achieve their social change goals. She is also a freelance photographer and a member of the Soka Gakkai International. Roxy earned her bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Florida International University with a concentration in Photography.

Shannon Charles

Community Prosperity Director

Shannon is a graduate of Florida International University, where he obtained his master’s degree in the field of public health with a specialization in health policy and management. He has several years of experience working in public health at the University of Miami Tissue Bank and the Community Blood Centers of Florida. Currently, Shannon is a healthcare navigator for the Affordable Care Act, focusing on the underserved communities of South Florida.

Vaughan Johnson

Community Prosperity Manager

Vaughan is a Chicago native and a graduate of Florida Memorial University. He began his career at Catalyst Miami by way of the AmeriCorps Public Ally program, where he helped low-income individuals in Miami-Dade County with their personal finances. After graduating from the Public Ally program in 2013, he joined Catalyst Miami's staff.

Zelalem Adefris

Resilience Director

At Catalyst Miami, Zelalem works to educate Miami-Dade County residents on the local impacts of climate change, connect climate change to other social justice initiatives, implement programs that strengthen the resilience of communities, and advocate for policies that call for climate action. Zelalem has a Masters in Public Health in Global Environmental Health from Emory University and a Bachelors degree in Community Health from Brown University.