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 A. 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 effectively transitioned Catalyst from a financial literacy provider to a financial capability thought leader, as evidenced by our many national partnerships and demonstration products. Other accomplishments include conceiving and piloting the Florida Thrives executive leadership program for community development practitioners, and hosting the annual Poverty Solutions Summit, which draws hundreds of civic leaders.… [read more]
Under Gretchen’s leadership, Catalyst Miami leads a consortium of partners to design and implement Florida’s first universal children’s savings program, Future Bound Miami. Future Bound Miami launched in November 2019 with a subset of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and will expand until every kindergartener entering the district each year has access to a college savings account. Catalyst Miami is launching its first worker cooperative in February 2020, the latest addition to its platform of transformative, wealth-building initiatives. Gretchen serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the South Florida Community Development Coalition. She participates on 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 (Independent Sector) and a 2019 Ambassador for Health Equity Fellow (PolicyLink and FSG). In 2019, Gretchen was recognized by the Commonwealth Institute as a top woman leader. She is an alumna of the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Leaders Forum. Gretchen is a licensed clinical social worker.
Chief Financial Officer
Brian serves as the CFO for Catalyst Miami. He is a lawyer, CPA and received his MFA in Visual Arts in 2018. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica and worked for 20 years for CARE, an international humanitarian and development organization, living mostly in Africa. In his spare time, Brian runs marathons and makes art.
Chief Operating Officer
Kristine joined Catalyst Miami in 2013, directing several of the organization's capacity-building programs. Since that time, Kristine served as Catalyst's CPO prior to becoming COO. … [read more]
Kristine joined Catalyst Miami in 2013, directing several of the organization's capacity-building programs. Since that time, Kristine also overseen the organization's programs and services and currently serves as Catalyst's COO. 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).
Vice President of Programs
Nina joined Catalyst Miami in 2014 and has served in many different capacities including directing the service delivery for the health component of the Prosperity Campaign. Nina currently oversees the programs department. In Nina's previous experience, she provided support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for several nonprofit organizations. She graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor's degree in Social Work and minor in Criminal Justice, in addition to a master's degree in Social Work from Barry University. Nina is a Miami native, passionate about youth and community development.
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.
Chief Strategy Officer
Santra Denis joined Catalyst Miami in 2010. In her current role, Santra 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.
Vice President of Policy & Advocacy
Zelalem Adefris is the Vice President of Policy & Advocacy at Catalyst Miami, where she oversees Catalyst’s Policy & Engagement Department. Zelalem joined Catalyst Miami in 2016, directing the organization’s climate resilience programs and advocacy work. Her previous work experiences include environmental justice organizing at the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island and conducting emergency preparedness research at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She holds an MPH in Global Environmental Health from Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in Community Health from Brown University. Zelalem serves as a steering committee member of the Miami Climate Alliance, a philanthropic trustee of the Solutions Project, as well as a board member of the Miami-Dade College Earth Ethics Institute and Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency.
Community Prosperity Coordinator
Abraham moved to Florida in 2018 and joined Catalyst Miami in 2019 as Community Prosperity Coordinator. While getting his Bachelor’s in Public Health at Brigham Young University - Idaho, he was a Hispanic advocate who helped domestic violence victims and later coordinated care for patients in need of services they couldn't afford. His desire to help others comes from different angles; for example, he would like to help the community by making sure public funds are not poorly administered. For this reason, he is currently working toward a Master’s in Public Administration.
Worker-Owned Enterprises Program Director
Ahmed joined Catalyst Miami in 2019. His role includes building out the educational, technical assistance and partnerships necessary to help create worker owned- and managed-enterprises that generate and maintain wealth in communities. Prior to joining the team, Ahmed represented worker cooperatives, tenants facing eviction, and affordable housing and community development nonprofits in Miami, South Texas, and New York City. He has a JD from Columbia Law School, an MA in Political Economy from Columbia University, and a BA in Philosophy from Florida International University. Ahmed serves on the board of Struggle for Miami's Affordable and Sustainable Housing (SMASH).
Community Prosperity Coordinator
Alyssa officially joined Catalyst Miami in April 2019 as Community Prosperity Coordinator after working with the Public Allies Miami program as a graduate-level intern. She comes from a mental health background, having received her B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University, where she also worked for their Counseling Center. She has an extensive background in advocacy, having worked and volunteered for numerous organizations including the Guardian ad Litem Program and currently sits on the South FL Human Trafficking Task Force. She completes her Master of Social Work degree (from FIU) in May 2020.
Community Engagement Coordinator
Anaruth joined Catalyst Miami full-time in 2019 after being a climate resilience assistant for the organization. Prior to that, she was a community organizer during the 2016 presidential election. Her organizing skills come in handy in her current role, which involves mobilizing residents of South Dade to be more engaged in their community. She is passionate about immigrants’ issues and advocating for equity across marginalized communities. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. When she gets time to relax at home, she enjoys snuggling up with her furry best friend, Gigi.
Carolina serves as the Communications Manager for Catalyst Miami. Prior to joining the organization, she was a creative writer for Hallmark, then a copywriter and creative strategist for a Miami marketing agency. She has always had a passion for volunteering and serving her community. She volunteered as a medical interpreter at a free clinic for five years, a teacher/caretaker at a children’s foundation in Colombia, and helped launch a mentorship and literacy program for inner-city students in Kansas City. She received a Bachelor’s in Communication from Florida Atlantic University.
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.
Children's Savings Director
Chris serves as Children’s Savings Director for Catalyst Miami where he helped create Future Bound Miami, Florida’s first Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program. He is dedicated to enhancing economic stability for all through financial coaching, education, and asset building. Previously, Chris was Director of Social Impact at WorkSquare. He has held several roles within organizations such as Miami Dade College, Branches, and the United Way Center for Financial Stability. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts and the University of South Florida with a Master of Education.
Clinical Linkage Coordinator
Driven by her experiences as a Miami native, Daphenie is aware of the health discrepancies among urban communities. She is passionate about using holistic approaches to strengthen families’ mental and physical wellness. Daphenie received her Bachelors in Community Health Education from the University of West Florida. She is currently furthering her education as she works toward a Masters in Psychology, with a focus on Mental Health Counseling. Her role with Catalyst Miami is to bridge the gap between Miami Gardens residents and the resources available to them, in order to improve the overall health of the community.
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.
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.
Community Prosperity Coordinator
Jessica comes to Catalyst Miami from the Department of Children and Families, Southern Region, General Counsel. Prior to her current role, Jessica volunteered with Catalyst Miami in 2013 and again in 2018 as a VITA volunteer preparing taxes. She graduated from FIU with two Bachelor’s degrees, in Sociology and English Literature, as well as a certificate in Exile Studies. At Catalyst, Jessica helps low income families take their next financial step through financial coaching to reach their financial goals. In her spare time she enjoys having a good laugh and living the simple life.
Policy & Engagement Program Coordinator
Born and raised in Miami, Kenneth understands the struggles and triumphs our city has to offer. He served as the Overtown Community Outreach Specialist at Catalyst Miami during his 2018-2019 Public Allies Miami apprenticeship, working to strengthen community cohesiveness through workshops and focus groups that both informed low-wealth residents of community assets and took note of their most pressing challenges. Kenneth now serves as the first Policy & Engagement Coordinator, where he will continue to nourish the strengths of community-based leaders by assisting with leadership training programs and alumni engagement.
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.
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 manage 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 help build resilience throughout Miami-Dade.
Molly comes to Catalyst Miami from the private sector after discovering her passion for strong communities 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.
Grants Accounting 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.
Community Engagement Coordinator for Overtown
A graduate of SUNY Albany with a B.A. in Africana Studies, Nicole is currently the Overtown Community Engagement Coordinator, a community where she lives and serves. With a strong commitment to eliminating wealth, education and health disparities in marginalized communities of color, Nicole’s passion has been that of bridging the gaps affecting Black women's overall well-being. This, she attributes to her belief that educating and helping to empower a woman liberates an entire community. The legacy that Nicole endeavors to leave is one of love, faith, peace, joy and hope.
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.
Public Allies Miami Manager
Roxy joined Catalyst Miami in 2014. She has served in multiple roles focused on helping young people and adults harness their individual and collective power. She is a creative leader with talents in photography, program management, storytelling, relationship building, and compassionate coaching. In her current role as Public Allies Miami Manager, Roxy trains and coaches a cohort of young adults whose goals include building capacity for local nonprofits and building a just and equitable society.
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.
Oral Health Coordinator
Sonni joined Catalyst Miami in July 2019. Her role includes helping patients navigate the complexities of the health-care system; identify gaps in oral health for low-and-moderate-wealth communities; and conducts community- media-based and education outreach. Sonni's professional commitment is to improve community health for underserved populations, through engaging with community members, collaborating with key stakeholders, and conducting research to develop policy recommendations. She received her Masters degree in Environmental Science and Policy under the Advanced Academic Program at Johns Hopkins University.
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.
Capacity Building Program Manager
Yanelis is a Miami native dedicated to community building and creating equitable spaces. At Catalyst Miami, she helps strengthen community based organizations, their leaders, and the local nonprofit infrastructure through programs focused on capacity building. Prior to joining the team, Yanelis worked on several national public health communication campaigns in Washington, DC. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Communications from Florida State University.