Allie Richards is Community Development Advocate and Non-profit professional, passionate about serving under-resourced communities. Before joining BUILD, Allie served as a Community Manager at a small business incubator and previously worked as a consultant on community development projects. Allie has a B.A in International Development & Social Change and an M.A in Community Development & Planning, both from Clark University.
Allie BUILDs because it allows her to highlight the voices of our young people and put them on a path of upward mobility.
Annie Le graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Education and Mathematics and has worked in Boston Public Schools for ten years as a math teacher and the Engagement and Student Affairs Coordinator. She currently volunteers at the Networking Organization of Vietnamese-Americans to spearhead the Little Saigon Cultural District in Fields Corner. She is passionate about preserving and promoting the Vietnamese culture, helping people navigate the city, and working with youth to help them learn and grow.
Annie loves to work with people and is inspired by what the community has to offer. Moving from California, the community in Boston has created a new home for her where she can learn and grow. When she is not volunteering or attending community events, you can find her dressing up and taking pictures of her dog, Gravy or walking around the city with her husband.
For the students! Working with students outside of the classroom provides flexibility that did not exist in the confines of a classroom. It allows me to work directly with the students to support their future goals and aspirations.
Ayele Shakur brings almost three decades of experience as an innovator in urban education. Prior to coming to BUILD, she served as the President and CEO of the Boston Learning Center for 15 years. Under her leadership, the Center expanded from serving 100 students annually in Boston to 700 students across the state. Ayele joined BUILD in 2011 as Boston’s Founding Regional Executive Director.
A veteran classroom teacher, Ayele taught for eleven years in the Los Angeles area and in the Boston Public Schools, and co-authored the book Boost School Performance – A Parent’s Guide to Better Grades Fast. Ayele is the recipient of the 2012 Boston Celtics Heroes Among Us Award, and the 2007 Nan Bennett Kay Great Friend to Kids Award presented by the Boston Children’s Museum. In 2014, she was appointed as Chair of the Education Committee for the Boston NAACP, and held this post for three years. In 2015, she was appointed by the Boston School Committee to co-chair the Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Task Force for the Boston Public Schools. She was honored with the 2017 Barr Fellowship, which recognizes outstanding nonprofit leaders in Boston, and in 2018 became part of the GK100 Most Influential Black Bostonians. She is a motivational speaker and a blogger for the Huffington Post.
A native of Boston, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Boston University and a Master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Before joining BUILD, Emily worked as a Donor Relations Coordinator at Big Sister Association, where she managed their Young Professional Board and supported the VP of Development and CEO with individual donors. Before development, she was a recruitment specialist at Big Sister, building a pipeline of volunteers through corporate and community events. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Communications and has returned there part time to pursue her Master’s in Nonprofit Management.
“I BUILD because I believe in the transformative power of BUILD’s program. Not only do we build a space for students to learn real-life skills, we build a space where their ideas are heard, valued, celebrated, and where it’s okay to fail. I am an advocate for mentoring, opportunities, and access for all youth, and I have seen the difference our program can have in a student’s confidence and competence.”
Jenise Gonzalez is the College & Career Access Coordinator at BUILD Boston. Jenise is a Boston Public Schools alum and is passionate about serving youth in underserved communities. Jenise served an AmeriCorps year with The Massachusetts Promise Fellowship at BUILD Boston working with juniors and seniors with college & career access work. Jenise has a B.A. in Sociology from Stonehill College in Easton, MA.
Jenise grew up in the Hyde Park/Roslindale area. She enjoys blogging, fashion and traveling!
“I BUILD because I see myself in my youth. I was once that student who needed a caring adult in their life to push them towards their goals/aspirations. My youth are full of life, energy, and are innovators. I enjoy listening to them talk about their college and career goals. It also excites me to see their growth throughout the year and relationships they create with peers, mentors, and BUILD staff”
Jill S. Moran, CSEP, has spent her career creating memorable experiences across the globe bringing people, ideas and organizations together for social, corporate and fundraising initiatives. Throughout her career, she has served in various leadership roles in the International Live Events Association (ILEA), been featured on TV and in the press and lectured at industry events and universities. Her passion for education and innovation prompted her to create the Special Events Institute, an online educational program for event professionals, and ultimately led her to BUILD, where she serves as Director of Events. She leads Boston and National event initiatives and supports all regions with best practices in event management.
She an alumnus of the University of Connecticut and has completed graduate coursework at Babson College, the University of Connecticut and the Arizona State University. She is proud of her numerous industry awards for events she’s created, her online program and for her two books Howto start a Home-based Event Planning Business and How to Start A Home-based Wedding Planning Business(Taylor Trade). She loves a good party, and when she’s not at one, she’s with her family, cooking up something new or in her vegetable garden.
Joelle has spent her career working with youth. She graduated Quinnipiac University in 2013 with a degree in Psychology and spent her senior year interning as a Social Emotional Class Aid to a 5th grade class in Hartford CT. Joelle continued to work with youth as a Unit Supervisor in a residential facility for girls with trauma based behavioral issues, as a nanny and now at BUILD. Joelle began her career at BUILD working with our students and now works to help prepare our mentors with the tools they need to be extraordinary support systems for our students.
“I BUILD because it has become increasingly clear how necessary it is for a program like this to exist. The skills, confidence, guidance and connections our student’s receive makes a huge difference in their drive to finish high school and pursue a career they are passionate about.”
Kali Walker has more than 25 years of experience in operations, project management, administration, customer service and sales. She earned a bachelor of arts in English/Communications and Theatre from Regis College in Weston, MA, where she also worked in the role of the Center for Student Services Manager before coming to BUILD. In addition, Kali has worked for Kaplan Test Prep, Harvard University and Young Audiences of Massachusetts. In her spare time, Kali is an active volunteer with Hagar’s Sisters, a domestic violence nonprofit in Acton, MA, as well, as an actor with local performing arts projects on stage and the web.
Kenny Roberts is the Program Director of BUILD Boston and has served at BUILD for the past 4 years. Kenny is passionate and committed to working with families and local residents of underserved communities. Before working at BUILD, Kenny served as a Teen Advocate for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, as well as a youth minister in Riverdale, Georgia. Kenny holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.
Kenny lives in Winchester, MA with his wife Tachera and son John Roberts, III. He enjoys golf, fishing, and football.
“Why I BUILD”; Kenny enjoys the opportunity to empower young people through the vehicle of entrepreneurship which can in turn empower their families with valuable resources to expand their outlook on educational opportunities, concepts of financial literacy, and professional development.
Nicki Ambrose is the Entrepreneurship Program Associate at BUILD Boston. Before joining BUILD, Nicki worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound as an Enrollment Specialist, interviewing “Bigs” and “Littles” and matching them together. Nicki also served an AmeriCorps Year with City Year Seattle King County. She is a proud graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Isenberg School of Business.
“I BUILD because watching freshman high school students found their own business, pitch for funding, and earn profit from their product in the course of a school year is truly amazing and inspiring.I have the privilege of working intensively with freshman and sophomore BUILD students and teachers helping them prepare for selling events and competitions throughout the school year.”
Sue has over 25 years’ experience as a regional and national nonprofit executive, successfully building and leading cross-functional, inclusive, high performing teams. Sue began her career with audience development work for Shear Madness/Cranberry Productions, one of the nation’s longest-running theatrical productions. She moved into the nonprofit sector with her role as the Director of Registration and Student Services at the Boston Center for Adult Education and eventually as its first Director of Development. She then became Director of Posse Boston at The Posse Foundation, an acclaimed national college access and diversity program. After transforming the Boston site to a revenue self-sustaining and programmatically successful one, Sue rose to Regional Vice President, implementing the strategic plan and ensuring overall health of the organization while overseeing numerous chapters. During her subsequent tenure as a member of the executive team at Health Leads, a social enterprise, she led in several areas including national program and revenue and helped to position the organization to capitalize on market changes through greatly increased programmatic efficiency and productivity. Later, at Peace First, Sue served as a Senior Advisor to the executive team in a variety of functional and strategic areas, and, more recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. Sue also served as Chair of the board of directors for Y2Y Network, an innovative, student-run, overnight shelter which provides a safe and affirming environment for young adults experiencing homelessness.