Board of Directors and Advisory Council

Board of Directors

Sarah B. Young, President
Sarah has extensive experience in the public sector directing policy and administering programs. During her tenure at the Department of Housing and Community Development she fulfilled a variety of positions including Deputy Director, Director of Policy, and Director of the Bureau of Housing Development and Construction. She was responsible for a number of “smart growth” initiatives designed to balance housing growth with open space, resource protection, economic development, and transportation improvements. She is currently the Director of Facilities Programming and Planning at the Massachusetts School Building Authority where she performs analysis in areas such as enrollment, facility capacity and operational practices to evaluate potential portfolio investments. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, financial and project management, and knowledge in housing, economic development and community based programs. Sarah served for seven years on the Andover Housing Partnership Committee and for eight years (3 years as Chair) on the Local Committee of the Stevens Coolidge Place, a Trustees of Reservations property. Sarah has a BA in Historic Building Conservation from Boston University and an MA in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Eli Levine, Vice President
Eli is Vice President of Acquisitions for the Brownfields Recovery Group, a private firm located in downtown Boston. In this capacity, he has extensive experience in brokering land transactions and the purchase and sale of contaminated parcels. Eli’s professional expertise has helped GWL inform its acquisition and redevelopment of vacant and contaminated parcels for open space, park, and community garden end-uses.

Linda Zimmerman, Treasurer
Linda has over 30 years of experience in organizational management and operations. She is currently the Executive Director of Neighbors in Need (NIN), a network of 8 food pantries that has fed the poor and hungry of Greater Lawrence for over 25 years. Prior to joining NIN in 2004, Linda was Vice President of Operations at the International Institute of Boston, an organization that provides services to refugees and immigrants including ESOL, job training and placement, mental health services, domestic violence counseling, a legal clinic, a food pantry and programs in economic literacy and development. Beyond work, Linda is very involved with local performance arts groups. She received her MBA from Simmons Graduate School of Management and her AB from Wheaton College.

Rosa Lopez, Clerk
Originally from Lawrence, Rosa is Senior Human Resources Representative for the New Balance Company, which operates a factory and retail store in Lawrence. In this capacity, Rosa has helped facilitate the hands-on involvement of hundreds of New Balance employees in GWL's annual community service events, including the Spicket River Greenway Cleanup. Currently a member of the Merrimack Valley YMCA Executive Board, Rosa maintains strong connections to a number of non-profit organizations in the region, particularly those that serve local youth, and works to support the strong role they play in providing essential services to the Lawrence community. Rosa has volunteered for the Boston Public Library system as an English Communication Skills teacher and was nominated for the Tribute to Women award given by the YWCA of Greater Lawrence in 2006. Rosa is fluent in English and Spanish.

Silvia Banos
Silvia is the Director of Community Relations at Northern Essex Community College. She is bilingual, in Spanish and English, has worked in a variety of Human Service roles for the past 21 years. She brings more than a decade of supervisory experience as well as experience in program planning and management, database development, management, and analysis, fundraising and grant writing. Prior to joining NECC, she worked as a Program Specialist for Justice Resources Inc. with the MA Department of Public Health. In that role, she was tasked with strengthening the state’s public health infrastructure by promoting shared services and staffing among municipalities. Prior to that, she served as the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator at Boston University's School of Medicine, Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Silvia holds a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Behavioral and Social Sciences from BU’s School of Public Health, and a BA in Community Planning and Service Management from UMass Boston.

John F. Begley
John recently retired after nineteen years with Fidelity Investments where he was Executive Vice President. He led the organization responsible for Fidelity’s workplace retirement savings offerings for healthcare, higher education, and other tax-exempt organizations. His background includes extensive experience in customer service, client relationship management, business development, and financial management. John also serves on the Leadership Committee of Bottom Line, a Boston-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged high school students get into college, graduate, and go far in life. He has a BA in Economics from Boston College and an MBA from Babson College.

Paul Erhard
Paul is the Senior Director, US Aviation Account Management, L-3 Communications Security and Detection Services. A Registered Professional Engineer and a senior member of the management team, Paul brings strong expertise in sales, strategic planning, operations, and managing Federal government programs. Paul is a lead coach for his local youth lacrosse program and was a past volunteer with Open Door food pantry and Best Friends Animal Society. He received his M.S. in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University and his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Pati Fernandez
Pati is the Development Director for the Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and is also a Public Relations & Social Media freelance consultant. As a Lawrence native, a bilingual/bicultural person, and a young professional, Pati is very committed to the Merrimack Valley communities and sees the value in donating time, expertise, and effort to the community and youth. In addition to Groundwork Lawrence, Pati has been involved with organizations such as: Greater Lawrence Young Professional Network, Jericho Road Lawrence, Showa International Institute, G.I.R.L.S TV, Graduate Ross Center Volunteer, Cambridge Cares About Aids, Student Government Executive Board, Latin American Organization Executive Board, Alternative Spring Break/ Habitat for Humanity, YMCA International Adult Learning Center (Boston).

Danissa Lembert
Danissa was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Lawrence after her family moved in 1992. She attended Lawrence High School where she was a member of the track team and still remains highly involved, racing for great causes on her spare time. Danissa has over 10 years of banking experience . She is currently the Branch Relationship Manager for Enterprise Bank in Lawrence, where her vital role is to build strong financial relationships with both business and retail customers. She's very devoted to the Lawrence community and encourages others to be involved and aware of areas where our city can improve. Her current affiliations are with the Greater Lawrence Young Professionals Network, The Kiwanis Club of Greater Lawrence and she is an advisory board member for Family Services of the Merrimack Valley. Danissa and her high school sweetheart are parents of four beautiful children, on their spare time they enjoy outdoor family activities.

Loreen Lopez
Loreen, a life-long Lawrence resident, is the Assistant Director of Early Childhood Services at the YWCA of Greater Lawrence. Loreen received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education and a B.A. in Psychology from Salem State University and her A.S. in Early Childhood Education from Northern Essex Community College. She was a member of the 2012 Merrimack Valley Sandbox Leadership Institute and joined GWL's board through the Jericho Road and YWCA of Greater Lawrence pilot Cultural Inclusion Board Training and Mentoring Program. Loreen is currently a GLCPC Council member and was a Lawrence Babe Ruth League T-ball coach for the last 2 seasons.

Marianne Paley Nadel
Marianne is the owner of the Everett and Stone Mills in Lawrence. An urban planner specializing in community based development. Marianne’s interest in planning grew out of her work at Historic Mill Properties, a family real estate firm in Lawrence and Dorchester Lower Mills. Marianne worked at the New York City Economic Development Corporation focusing on arts, culture and economic development, including the initial plans for the 42nd Street Redevelopment and South Street Seaport projects. After receiving a Masters in City Planning from MIT in 1993, Marianne became a Senior Planner at Icon Architecture concentrating on historic districts and heritage projects. Marianne was the founding Executive Director of Groundwork Lawrence and is excited to working with the organization again.

Russell D. H. Stott
Russell, a North Andover resident, works for Phillips Academy as the Manager of Grounds. He is responsible for the grounds of the 500-acre residential high school campus noted for the quality of its Olmsted design landscape. He establishes standards and priorities for maintenance programs; works with architects, consultants, faculty committees, and Academy trustees on short- and long-range campus planning and implementation; and oversees and manages a team of ten groundskeepers and a fleet of 30+ vehicles. In addition, he oversees a capital program for landscape maintenance and improvements including turf, athletic fields, and historic trees such as the campus elms. He handles the trash and recycling initiatives on campus; works in close collaboration with Academy representatives on numerous sustainability efforts; and directs daily operations and services to maintain the historic campus. Russell holds a Bachelors of Science in Landscape Architecture from UMass Amherst.

Lester Sydney
Lester, a Haverhill resident, works for the Merrimack Valley Sandbox as the Operations & Event Manager. He is responsible for developing internal process/procedure, managing all accounts receivable/payable, planning/organizing events and supporting both the Catalyst Program and the Sandbox Leadership Institute. He received a B.S. in Business Marketing from UMass Dartmouth and attended Central Catholic High School. Beyond the Sandbox, Lester is a co-founder of the Elevated Thought Foundation (ETF), which amongst many youth leadership programs includes two revenue generating programs, Pay It Forward Mural & Giveback Service Programs, created by Lester. Prior to joining the Sandbox and co-founding ETF, Lester first worked as Strategic Account Manager for the #1 software provider of fleet automation software, where he managed the Nissan North America account and sold over $1.5 million dollars. From there he took a position as a Channel Sales Director, where he sold recruitment video solutions and brought on board a number of new prominent accounts like Jones Lang LaSalle, Toys R Us, Marsh & McLennan and Citrix Online.

Karen C. Wood
Karen is the Director of Communications at the Conservation Law Foundation. A volunteer with GWL for two years, Karen brings tremendous communications and marketing expertise to the organization. She has helped GWL promote and grow its community food programs designed to address food insecurity and associated public health implications. Prior to her working with CLF, Karen served as Vice President of Corporate Relations for CNET Networks, Inc., a role in which she oversaw internal communications and community relations. A passionate gardener and cook who enjoys growing and eating fresh food, Karen aims to assist GWL in tapping the power of social networks to create and disseminate information about programs that make high-quality, fresh, locally-grown food accessible to everyone.

Advisory Council

Joshua Abreu, Northern Essex Community College
Kara Anderson, Architectural Heritage Foundation
Pedro Arce, Eastern Bank
Stephanie Artz Buchholz, Lowell Community Health Center
Juan Bonilla, Lawrence CommunityWorks
Larry Curtis, WinnDevelopment
Jen Faigel, Community Economic Development & Commercial Real Estate Consultant
Kay Berthold Frishman, Family Services (Retired)
Thomas C. Guerra, MIT
Rose Gonzalez, Merrimack Valley YMCA
E. Michelle Macaux, Fraunhofer USA - Center for Sustainable Energy Systems
Kenneth MacKenzie, Dalton & Finegold, LLP
Victor Martinez, Lawrence CommunityWorks
John Raser, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
Yashira Robles, YWCA of Greater Lawrence
Glennys Sanchez, Northern Essex Community College
Rebecca Veilleux, Humanities and Leadership Development High School, Lawrence
Luis Yepez, Mainstream Global