Jessica was an integral part of a team of community organizers that spearheaded LCW’s rebirth in 1999. Since then, LCW has grown from a staff of one and a deficit, to a $2.5 million organization with over 5,000 resident and stakeholder members, and over $50 million invested in affordable housing, family asset building, community organizing and development. Jessica received her Master’s of City Planning degree from MIT, where she was honored for outstanding contributions to the intellectual life of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Previously, she worked in the New York and San Francisco nonprofit sectors after graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College in 1993. Jessica has served on the boards of the Lawrence Teen Coalition, the Hope Street Youth Center, the Essex Art Center, and chaired the statewide asset-building MIDAS Collaborative. She currently serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations and Mill Cities Community Investments, a community development financial institution serving the Merrimack Valley. Jessica is bilingual in English and Spanish and the mother of beautiful Elias.
Juan began his employment at LCW as its first housing counselor in 2004, where he played an integral part in developing LCW’s homeownership education and counseling program. While on the forefront of educating families on how to acquire and maintain homeownership successfully, Juan has advocated against the dangers of predatory lending and mortgage fraud. He was an invited participant in the 2007 Mortgage Summit and served in the Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative’s Selection Committee from 2008-2012. Juan is a National Training Instructor for the National Council of La Raza’s Homeownership Network Learning Alliance. Prior to embarking in his housing counseling career, Juan served as a Financial Services Representative and Compliance Officer with MassMutual Financial Group. Juan continues his advocacy efforts by serving as a Board Member of The Midas Collabortive. He has lived in Lawrence for 30 years, is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the proud father of three beautiful daughters.
Maggie moved to Lawrence from Puerto Rico in 1987. She graduated from Lawrence High School in 1989, and then Northern Essex Community College with her Associate Degree in Accounting. Maggie started her career in the nonprofit sector as a Patient Account Representative at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in 1994. After 11 years in the health care field, Maggie decided to seek new challenges where she could grow professionally. She is now focusing on human resources, and is working towards her certification with the Society of Human Resource Management. Maggie feels that at LCW she is accomplishing more of what she was looking for, while building a community where her children will be proud to call Lawrence home. Maggie and her family are active with the local faith based community.
Bobby joined LCW as a Controller in early 2015. Prior to coming to LCW, Bobby was a Supervisor at a regional public accounting where he became a certified public accountant and specialized in auditing the financial statements and preparing tax returns for nonprofit organizations operating in various industries throughout the Greater Boston and surrounding areas. Bobby graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell where he studied accounting and played soccer. Bobby grew up in the Merrimack Valley and is happy to work with an organization that improves the lives of those in the Lawrence community and beyond.
Kristin, born and raised on the North Shore, graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Marketing. Kristin’s background includes work in consumer market research, historic preservation, anadromous fish restoration, volunteer coordination, program management, and environmental education. Kristin resides in the Merrimack Valley with her husband and their two children.
Armand, admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and California, has maintained his primary law office in the North Common neighborhood of Lawrence since 1976. Armand graduated from University of San Diego School of Law, where he received its American Association of Trial Lawyers award for outstanding writings in Environmental Law. His diverse general practice has included trial work, contract law, and handling hundreds of secured real estate transactions totaling more than three-quarters of a billion dollars. Armand has used this legal experience in several areas of affordable housing developments (over 600 units) including: purchase agreements, financing, due diligence, zoning relief, acquisition, and various development phases through and beyond closings, as well as critical strategic planning for all related aspects. Along with his workload, Armand has remained pro bono G.C. for Lawrence CommunityWorks since he co-founded the CDC in the mid-eighties to fortify a resident-based struggle to overturn an illegal land disposition process, which ultimately secured the acquisition and ultimate development of 140 units of affordable housing on an urban renewal site.
Lissette Paukert graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in 2005, with a bachelor’s degree of Science in Business Administration and a certificate in Human Resource Management from Northern Essex Community College. Lissette joined LCW in 2006 as the operations assistant and transitioned into a homeownership counselor role in 2007, providing foreclosure prevention counseling to the community during the peak of the housing crisis. Her contributions to the organization included the establishment of homeownership preservation programs, such as the Lawrence CommunitiyWorks HomeSafe post-purchase workshop and Landlord Training. In addition, Lissette served as a board member of the Mill Cities Community Investments, a community lending institution that provides financial products to low-to-medium income populations. Throughout the years she worked her way up to her current position as Director of Asset Building. Born in the Dominican Republic, she is bilingual in English and Spanish. Her favorite pastimes are spending time with her family, traveling and eating good food.
Name: Leslie Kent
Position: Assistant Asset Building Director – Workforce Manager
What LCW means to me? Vision
Leslie moved to the Merrimack Valley in 1997. She has her bachelors degree in Human Services and Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership both from Springfield College. She has worked in some form of Social Services for 35 years including direct support, program development and management.
Ana was born in the Dominican Republic, where she studied accounting, and worked for 20 years as an accountant at the State Electric Company. In February 2004 she moved to Lawrence and immediately become involved with LCW and their ESL, IDA and computer classes. Ana began working as a receptionist, and then moved on to the Family Asset Building department as a administrative assistant of the homeownership department.
Reyna, originally from the Dominican Republic, moved to Lawrence in 2000 with most of her family members. Reyna joined LCW in 2002 while attending Northern Essex Community College to improve her English and while working in a grocery store. She was a member of the first Family Asset Building Individual Development Account (I.D.A.) cohort, and shortly after that was hired as a receptionist at LCW. Over the past 6 years Reyna has become an invaluable member of the Asset Building staff with responsibilities ranging from administration of Adult Basic Education to leading peer groups and the Family Asset Building Committee.
Iris and her family moved to Lawrence in 1997 from New York City. She immediately became an active member with the local Christian faith based community, and started working with Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) as Office Manager. With hard work, Iris was promoted to Housing Consultant for first time homebuyers in 1999 with NACA, and held this position until 2004, where she then join LCW as a pre-purchase Homeownership Counselor. She is a proud advocate for affordable housing issues throughout the Merrimack Valley.
Erika has been a part of Lawrence CommunityWorks since moving to Lawrence as a high school freshman. She was involved in many projects including clean ups, neighborhood meetings, and volunteering for Movement City Youth Network. She received a B.A. in Business Management from Bay State College. Erika has 10 years of experience in healthcare and has also worked in administration. She considers herself to be a natural salesperson and can sell anything from candles, to clothing, to a dream for a better life as our Homeownership Counselor. Erika is currently transitioning her business, Chika’s Boutique, from its previously location in Lawrence to an online store. Working at LCW is more than a job for Erika, she is proud to be a part of this community and see this as an opportunity to have a great impact on Lawrence. She welcomes anyone seeking financial advice to come see her, and she may even offer you a cup of tea from her ever growing collection.
Arleen was born in the Dominican Republic where she received her degree in Computer and Systems Engineering. In 2002, Arleen moved to New York to help her son Sebastian get the treatment he needed to battle Leukemia. Arleen then moved to Lawrence and became a part of LCW, starting as a receptionist and then moved into the role of Family Asset Building Administrative Assistant. Today, Arleen is very happy to be living in Lawrence and making a contribution at LCW. She has made great friends and has learned useful skills. “I just love it!” Sebastian is a growing teenager and doing very well – you can often see him joining in the activities here at LCW.
Jessica previously served as MC’s Assistant Director of Youth Programs from July 2004-June 2007 under Movement City’s first Director, Misael Martinez, after graduating from Trinity College in 2003. Since 2007, Jessica has completed a Master of Science in Urban Education at Mercy College (2010) while working in the New York City public school system with English-language learners and special needs students. She is currently working on a Master of Arts in English at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English (2017 anticipated).
Jessica grew up in Lawrence and is well grounded in the culture and challenges of Lawrence youth, while also having broad exposure to other environments and people. Her entire career has centered on service to the community, especially urban communities of color and the youth of those communities, and she is passionate about creating self-development opportunities for our youth.
Jared recently joined the Movement City team in late August of 2012. Having just graduated from Hobart College with a degree in International Relations, Jared brings a fresh, enthusiastic mindset to the organization, as well as 6 years of experience working with youth. From mentoring at-risk elementary students and coaching youth soccer camps, to rebuilding homes in poverty-stricken areas of South Carolina, he has developed a passion for helping communities in a variety of different capacities. Jared is very excited to be on board with Lawrence Community Works/Movement City and looks forward to working with the promising youth of Lawrence to create positive change in the community.
Anna joined the Movement City/LCW family in 2014. Originally from Illinois, Anna graduated from University of Indianapolis in 2012 where she majored in elementary education and studio art. While attending school, she travelled to Belize many times, facilitating different educational & art experiences for youth. Trading the tropics for the tundra, she moved to Kasigluk, Alaska, a small village near the coast of the Bering Sea, to teach 1st and 2nd grade. Seeking to deepen her experience with creative and community-centric models of education, she moved to Massachusetts to complete the Community Engagement Masters program at Merrimack College. Now, she is currently the Academic Enrichment and College Prep Coordinator at Movement City where she is jazzed to work with LOTS of inspiring artists every day! Additionally, Anna is a board member for Mary Open Doors, a domestic abuse shelter for women and children in San Ignacio, Belize.
Spencer received a Bachelors of Science in Social Work from Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan. While attending school Spencer served as a supportive housing specialist in a homeless shelter, played an active role in the community by working to create a student chapter of a local neighborhood association and helped to coordinate an after-school program for neighborhood youth. Having graduated, Spencer moved to Pittsburgh where he worked as a Supportive Housing Case Manager for persons with chronic mental illness. In 2006 Spencer found himself back home in Massachusetts where he worked as the Program Coordinator for a Lawrence food pantry, before being hired as the Lead Community Organizer for Lawrence CommunityWorks in 2007. Spencer is bi-lingual in English and Spanish and loves to spend time at his Lawrence home with his wife, two sons and their two dogs.
Sebastian is a newbie to Lawrence–moved here from Tucson, AZ in 2014, but is originally from Silver Spring, MD. Inheriting his parents’ passion for social justice and belief that true change starts right where we are, he enjoys the challenge of helping build a practice of community belonging wherever he finds himself. After being away from a formal capacity as a community builder for a couple years, he’s humbled to be so lucky to have connected with LCW and to now be helping coordinate the Community Education Circles. He’s also always up for a good ol’ game of soccer, or making some noise on drums, brewing beer, or going for a stroll around the beautiful Tower Hill reservoir.
Originally from Medellin, Colombia, Lorena moved to Lawrence MA in 2013 where she lives with her husband. Lorena holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design. She also has experience working with different community based projects in Medellin. She is very happy and grateful to be working at LCW where she can express her passion for working with the people of the community.
Name: Carmen Hernandez
Position: Community Organizer
Lisa bring to LCW nearly 20 years of experience in construction management and nonprofit housing and commercial development. At Lawrence CommunityWorks, she successfully oversaw the complex Reviviendo Family Housing Project, as well as the Union & Mechanic and Scarito Homeownership Projects – from property acquisition and financing through renovation, construction, and rental / sale. Prior to her tenure at LCW, Lisa worked for nonprofit housing developers in both Boston and Cleveland, Ohio, where she managed acquisition, financing, and construction. Lisa has created private sector and community partnerships to support housing development, leveraging over $8 million for affordable homeownership, and creating and implementing homebuyer education and service programs for over 1,000 first-time homebuyers.
Junior Project Manager
Name: Renée Hopkins
Position: Commercial Leasing Associate, Union Crossing Commercial Spaces
Renée joined the team at LCW in the fall of 2014, bringing her arts-based background to market and lease the Union Crossing Commercial spaces. Since then, she has been actively involved in building the community at the Union Crossing Creative Work Spaces including partnerships with local arts groups to organize Arts Crawls approximately 3-4 times per year, and working on the development of affordable homeownership properties. Renée completed her undergraduate studies in dance, French, and philosophy at Muhlenberg College, and received her M.Ed. in community engagement from Merrimack College. As a Lawrence resident and active member of the Lawrence Arts & Culture committee, she is delighted to be a part of the team at LCW to continue strengthening the physical and creative vibrancy of the city.