Joan Cromwell  | 

Joan Cromwell serves as President of Chelsea Black Community, a nonprofit community organization that promotes inclusion, diversity, and partnership to improve the economic, social, educational, health and safety conditions for community all members in Chelsea, MA. She also serves the MA Department of Public Health as a Public Health Nurse Advisor in the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Science. Previously, her career as a Registered Nurse has allowed her to work at Boston Children’s Hospital, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Mass General Hospital, Chelsea Public School District (as a school nurse), and Chelsea Public Health Department. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from University of Massachusetts, Boston and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Simmons College.

As a child, Joan marched (in a stroller at the age of two) for MLK and Civil Rights, walked holding her mother’s hand at the age of four for Fair Share, played hours at the polls as her mother held up signs on many election days, and canned for Biafra with her older siblings. Today as a community organizer, she strives to uplift and empower our youth, and respectfully serve our seniors. She is the mother of four adult children and the grandmother of two.

Jon M. Herzog  | 

Jon Herzog, a partner in Goodwin’s Private Equity and Technology Companies groups, focuses his practice on company and investor side merger and acquisition transactions, growth and venture capital investments, and the representation of both emerging and mature private companies.

Mr. Herzog represents a variety of businesses in various industries including consumer products, software, technology, business services, and for-profit education and has worked with clients in structuring and executing minority and control investments, acquisitions and dispositions. His practice also includes representation of private equity funds, growth and venture capital investors and search fund entrepreneurs.

Sharmese Walcott  | 

Sharmese Walcott was appointed State’s Attorney for Hartford J.D. in 2020 and has spent her career committed to seeking justice for abused children and partnering for safer communities. Over the years, State’s Attorney Walcott has learned the key to safer communities is stronger families, opportunity, accountability, and support. That is what brought her support to Roca and has led her to be a champion for all of Roca’s work but especially the Girls & 2Gen program. She is committed to Roca’s 2Gen success in Hartford and wants to see the program grow to a national model that recognizes the strength in our young women.

State’s Attorney Walcott has a long history of commitment to community and children. She previously served on the boards of the Girl Scouts of America, Danbury Regional Child Advocacy Center, the Resiliency Center of Newtown, and A Better Chance. In addition, she is the co-founder of the Regionalized Human Trafficking Recovery Taskforce of Greater Hartford that is dedicated to improving the systemic response to human trafficking. In Connecticut, she is a member of the Trafficking In Persons Council, active in the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee, and serves on the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls. She also serves on the Legislative and Management Committees for DCJ, and is the former Chair of the Commission on the Standardization for the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations. State’s Attorney Walcott serves as a partner to local government and organizations in their efforts to interrupt, intervene and prevent violence, particularly gun violence, in the community.

State’s Attorney Walcott earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury and a Juris Doctor Degree from the George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C.

Augie Chiasera  | 

Augie is currently the President of the Maryland Region for M&T Bank. Upon receiving his MBA from the University of Chicago, he joined M&T Bank as an Executive Associate in 1993. Since then, he has performed a number of senior line and staff roles throughout the organization. Augie relocated to Baltimore in 2002 to help lead the integration of M&T’s acquisition of Allfirst Financial. He and his family have called Baltimore home since then.

Augie holds a BS from Boston University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Augie is Board Chair for the Baltimore Development Corporation and Garrison Forest School, and serves on the boards of the Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund, Greater Baltimore Committee, Baltimore Center Stage, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Maryland Economic Development Council.

Seth Stratton  | 

Seth is a Western Massachusetts native and seasoned executive-level legal professional with experience in large scale mixed use real estate development, zoning and permitting, litigation, dispute resolution, risk management, contract negotiation, regulatory compliance and government relations. Seth started his career working on Beacon Hill in Boston, first in the State Senate and then in the Executive branch. After attending graduate school and law school, Seth practiced law at large international commercial law firms in Boston and then Hartford. Seth eventually joined a boutique business services firm in his home city of Springfield. Seth then had the opportunity to help spearhead the largest economic development project in the history of Western Massachusetts – MGM Springfield – eventually leading its legal, compliance, regulatory and government relations functions as General Counsel. Seth more recently stepped down from that role to return to and lead his former law firm as Managing Shareholder. Seth lives in Wilbraham, MA with his wife Jennifer and three children Nolan, Caitlin and Ian.

Robert L. Wallace  | 

Robert L. Wallace currently serves as a member of the Board of the Greater Baltimore Committee, Maryland Economic Development Commission, Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council, and is Chairman of Global Vessels International, a humanitarian organization committed to eradicating poverty, hunger, and human suffering throughout the world. He is an internationally-known entrepreneur, author, business consultant and keynote speaker. Mr. Wallace is the founder of and investor in emerging companies including BITHGROUP Technologies, Inc., Bithenergy, Inc., and EntreTeach Learning Systems, LLC. Robert is the recipient of numerous business awards including The Daily Record’s 2021 Icon Honors, 2018 Most Influential Marylander, The Smart CEO’s Best Run Company, the Mayor of Baltimore’s MBE of the Year Award, Minority Business Hall of Fame, and the SBA Unsung Hero Award.

Mr. Wallace is a highly sought-after consultant and advisor for corporate and government leaders. He has served as Chairman for the State of Maryland Information Technology Board, the Governor’s Advanced Technology Commission, Small Business Task Force, Minority Business Task Force, and the City of Baltimore Mayor’s Coalition of Supplier Diversity and Inclusion. Currently, he is the Chair of The President’s Roundtable (PRT). The PRT is a results-driven organization made up of the CEOs of regional African-American owned companies that strive to create and sustain an economic ecosystem in the local communities whose foundational tenets are entrepreneurship and the accelerated economic collaboration between minority and majority communities.

Robert grew up in the Cherry Hill community of South Baltimore. He attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute before matriculating at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. Later he earned his Master of Business Administration from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. It was at Dartmouth where Mr. Wallace began his groundbreaking research on the success characteristics of women and minority entrepreneurs. This research has led to the publication of five successful books that address the issues of wealth creation through entrepreneurship, community economic development, the effective formation of business alliances and partnerships, and the correlation between spiritual fortitude and entrepreneurial success. Prior to becoming a serial entrepreneur, he was groomed by innovative industry leaders such as IBM, DuPont, Westinghouse, and Procter & Gamble.

Robert resides in Maryland with his wife Carolyn. They have 5 grown children, Robert, Joshua, Collin, Jordan, and Taylor and 7 grandchildren.

Hiren Mankodi  | 

Hiren Mankodi is a Managing Director at Charlesbank Capital Partners, which he joined in 2018 to lead technology investments for the firm. Previously, he was a Partner at Pamplona Capital, where he co-led a $1 billion technology-focused fund that invested in segments including cloud computing, cybersecurity, healthcare technology and software. Before that, he spent 12 years with Audax Private Equity, most recently as Managing Director, heading investment activity in application software, infrastructure software, technology-enabled service and industrial technology companies. Earlier in his career, he was at Highland Capital Partners and Accenture.

Hiren lives in Chestnut Hill with his wife and two children. He is a member of the New England Advisory Board for Jumpstart, and he is a member of the Supervisory Board and Chair of the Audit Committee for Trivago (NASDAQ: TRVG). He also serves on the boards of Symplr, Ivanti, Aptean HelpSystems, Wolfepak Software, GetWell Network and

Hiren received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Daniel L. Eggers  | 

Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, Ed.D  | 

Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, Ed.D. is Chief Executive Officer at BellXcel, a leading national non-profit in youth development with nearly 30 years’ experience innovating proven educational solutions. BellXcel partners with youth organizations and schools to license its evidence-based comprehensive solution for K-8 afterschool and summer programming.

Lauren joined BellXcel in 2011 and served in several leadership roles prior to being named CEO in 2017, including Vice President of Program Impact, President and Chief Strategy Officer.

Lauren is leading the organization in an ambitious strategic transformation focused on changing the way its partners empower educators, build sustainable high-quality practices and outcomes, and reach exponentially more children and their families. Most significantly, Lauren is overseeing the creation of bold, innovative solutions that will further revolutionize the youth development sector as first to market, all-in-one SaaS products for youth leaders and school administrators to scale and power their programs anytime, anywhere.

Lauren’s ongoing commitment to bring the power of practitioner work and deep research together to build field capacity fueled the launch the Sperling Center for Research and Innovation, an independent BellXcel affiliate designed to bridge the research to practice to policy gap in the education field.

Lauren began her career as a special education teacher in her native New Mexico and later served as an Assistant Superintendent in Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of New Mexico in Special Education and earned a Doctorate in Education from Boston College.

Lauren has attended the highly-selective nonprofit leadership program at Harvard University, and was named a Results for America Nonprofit Fellow in 2016. She serves as a member of The Bridgespan Group’s Knowledge Advisory Board, a diverse group of recognized leaders committed to accelerating impact in the social sector and deepening the relevance and influence of insights and tools.

Lauren also serves as a board member for Roca, a community-based organization determined to be a relentless force in disrupting incarceration, poverty and racism by engaging young adults, police and systems at the center of urban violence to address trauma, find hope and drive change.

Lauren is the proud mother of an active and beautiful teenaged daughter.

Jay Ash  | 

Jay Ash is the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, a non-partisan, non-profit organization comprised of 16 of the largest businesses in Massachusetts.  His work there, to focus on policies and initiatives that make the Massachusetts economy stronger and more competitive, comes after serving as the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development in Governor Charlie Baker’s first cabinet.  As secretary, Ash was responsible for directing and executing Governor Baker’s agenda on housing and community development, job creation, business development, consumer affairs, and business regulation.  During that four-year tenure, Ash headed-up efforts to retain and attract businesses, promote the revitalization of communities, and support the prosperity of the state’s residents.  In addition to championing four major economic development bills into law, Ash was the Governor’s lead on the attraction of GE to Boston and the PawSox to Worcester; the implementation of more than 100 community revitalization initiatives, including the groundbreaking of the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield and the Paramount Theater renovations in Springfield; the development of strategies that led to greater state support for workforce development; and a 96% decrease in the use of hotels & motels to shelter homeless families. He previously served for 14 years as the City Manager in his native Chelsea, where he grew the city’s housing stock by over 10 percent, expanded its commercial base with two dozen major projects, led all Gateway Cities with a 15 percent increase in new employment, developed 10 new parks, secured five credit rating increases, and won two All-American City designations. Jay also served in the past as Staff Director to the Massachusetts House Majority Leader, and his previous board engagements include Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, past President of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and member of the public policy think tank MassINC.