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Community Action Partnership Staff Members

Denise Harlow, CCAP, NCRT 
Chief Executive Officer
Denise Harlow, CCAP, is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Community Action Partnership, a national hub that links the nation’s 1,000+ Community Action Agencies to each another and to federal, state, and local leaders looking to connect Americans to greater opportunity.
She was appointed the Partnership’s CEO in 2014 after serving as Senior Director of Training and Technical Assistance and Interim Chief Operating Officer. Working with Community Action Network partners, Denise was instrumental in the design and deployment of network-wide Organizational Standards and was a leader in the recent update to the Community Action performance management framework.
Contact Denise

Phone: (202) 860-1020

Please click here to read Denise's extended bio.
Prior to her tenure at the Partnership, she was the Chief Executive Officer for the New York State Community Action Association where she launched the Association’s annual Symposium on Poverty and Economic Opportunity and its annual Report on Poverty in New York State. She has also served as the Sr. Vice President for Capacity Building for the New York Council of Nonprofits where she was the project director for the New York State Board Training Consortium.
Denise has more than 28 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, has served on several nonprofit boards of directors, and was an appointee to the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council in New York State. She has extensive experience in board governance, strategic planning, public policy/advocacy, leadership development, and organizational development. She is a Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP), a certified Results-Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) Trainer, and a Pathways to Excellence Peer Reviewer.
She started her Community Action career as a social worker with the Schenectady Community Action Program. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University at Albany where she was also a Fellow on Women and Public Policy at the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, and holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Valparaiso University.
To reach Denise, please email
General Information Line
Phone: (202) 265-7546

Tayla Daniel
Program Associate, Training & Technical Assistance
Phone: (202) 838-8378
Email Tayla

Johnny Eudaly 
Communications & Branding Associate
Phone: (202) 860-1032
Email Johnny

Tayla's bio

Tayla Daniel is the Program Associate for the Partnership’s Training and Technical Assistance Team. Before joining the Partnership, she has done extensive community outreach around COVID-19 in Wards 7 and 8 of the District of Columbia. Tayla is a proud Michigan native. She is an alumna of the Trinity Washington University and is a recent graduate of the Yale Divinity School. Tayla is passionate about uplifting stories and experiences of Black and Brown women. Her work can be found at the intersections of race, faith, and gender.

Johnny's bio

Johnny Eudaly is the Partnership’s Associate for Communications and Branding. In this role, Johnny is responsible for developing and implementing social media strategy, managing email newsletter production, graphic design, photography and video production. Johnny holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature, Literary and Cultural Studies from the University of Cincinnati.

Ashley Frevert
CARES T/TA Senior Associate
Phone: (202) 860-1030
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Ryan P. Gelman, Esq.
Project Director, Public Policy & Advocacy
(202) 860-1027
Ashley's bio

Ashley Frevert brings high energy and passion to Community Action and describes working within the network as “aligning with her life’s purpose.” Ashley entered the network at Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, establishing and implementing their Affordable Care Act Navigator Assistance program. She transitioned to Nebraska’s state association, Community Action of Nebraska, as the Executive Director in 2017. As the CARES Supplemental Senior Associate, Ashley supports promotion of adaptation and innovation in Community Action Promoting, efficiency in State and Eligible Entity operations, ensuring financial and administrative accountability, and assessing results, identifying lessons learned and future-preparedness.

Ashley has a strong background in direct services and holds a Master of Science in Education degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Wayne State College. She is also a proud graduate of the Head Start program, one of Community Action’s most successful initiatives. Ashley serves the network from Lincoln, Nebraska.

Ryan's bio

Ryan Gelman serves as the Senior Associate for Public Policy and Advocacy for the National Community Action Partnership. He recently completed a legislative fellowship in the U.S. Senate focusing on pretrial justice and previously served as Legislative Director for a Massachusetts State Senator. He has a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law where he concentrated on constitutional law and public policy.

Aimee Gendusa-English
Project Director, Energy Partnerships
Phone: (202) 860-1023
Laura Griffin, MPM
Program Associate, Learning Communities Resource Center
Phone: (202) 860-1026
Laura's bio

As the Program Associate for the Learning Communities Resource Center with the Practice Transformation team, Laura Griffin supports the planning and implementation of the national Community Action innovations hub for addressing the causes and conditions of poverty. Previously, she worked as a Program Manager at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee service where she oversaw training, peer learning, and grants management to support a national network of nonprofits.  For over seven years, she supported a wide range of social programs for migrants and refugees, including job development, case management, foster care, and legal programs. As a former business owner and non-profit consultant, Laura’s worked on a range of other topics, including homelessness and housing, public health, sustainable food education, international development, and program evaluation.  She holds a Master of Public Management degree with a focus in nonprofit management and social policy from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and a Bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College.

Mitzi Hubbard
Program Administrator, Certified Community Action Professional Program
Phone: (202) 838-8380
Courtney Kohler, MA, CCAP, NCRT
Project Director, Instructional Design & Technology
Phone: (202) 860-1022
Courtney's bio

Courtney Kohler serves as the Project Director for Instructional Design & Technology with the National Community Action Partnership. In this role, she leads the design, development, and delivery of the Partnership’s online learning and resource platforms, as well as provides training & technical assistance to the Community Action Network. As a Nationally Certified ROMA Trainer, CCAP, and FDC Instructor, areas of training expertise include community needs assessment, strategic planning, family-centered coaching, board roles and responsibilities, organizational standards, customer satisfaction, ROMA, and leadership development. Previously, she worked as Program Director for the Missouri Community Action Network (CAN) where she did curriculum design, trainings, grant management, and program development. She holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Louisville and Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Prior to Community Action, she worked in the mental health field, hospice research, and coached gymnastics and dance. Courtney lives in mid-Missouri with her husband, Matthew, and 3 children, Emma, Addilyn, and Clarke.

Nia Lizanna
Project Director, Administration
Phone: (202) 860-1029
Tiffney Marley, CCAP, NCRT
Vice President, Practice Transformation
Phone: (202) 860-1025
Tiffney's bio

Tiffney Marley is the Vice President for Practice Transformation at the National Community Action Partnership, where she leads training and technical assistance strategies to maximize impact and transform anti-poverty practices of the Community Action Network.  This work has many dimensions including leadership of the National Learning Communities Resource Center (LCRC)—the national Community Action innovations hub for addressing the causes and conditions of poverty, working with CAAs to redesign their programmatic strategies, and collaborating with governmental and private stakeholders on special initiatives to transform organizations and systems.  A Whole Family Approach and Institutional Equity leader, Tiffney has successfully led multiple intensive technical assistance cohorts aimed to transform organizational and anti-poverty practice.  She also serves as a thought-partner to the CEO on national racial equity implementation and other strategic initiatives.

Tiffney is a Head Start Alumni and touts her personal transformation from being Community Action customer to becoming a national Community Action leader. She has close to 9 years of Community Action professional experience, having served as the Training Coordinator for the North Carolina Community Action Association prior to joining the Partnership team.

Tiffney is the former Director of Black Church Studies at Duke University Divinity School and has over 17 years of senior-level experience in the academic, faith-based, and nonprofit sectors.  She is a Certified Community Action Professional, Nationally Certified ROMA Master Trainer, and a Rx Racial Healing Practitioner.  She also holds a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy, a Master of Divinity from Duke University, and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education from North Carolina State University.  Her biggest accomplishment is that she is the mother of twins, Randi and Jesse, whom she is grooming to become future leaders.

Aimee Roberge, MPA
Program Associate, Learning Communities Resource Center
(202) 860-1024
Lillie Seels
Director, Practice Transformation
Phone: (202) 860-1033
Aimee's bio

Aimee Roberge is an experienced social services professional, most recently having managed operations and development for an advocacy nonprofit in Washington D.C. and served as an advisor for young pregnant and parenting mothers in a New York City homeless shelter.  She has research and data analysis skills and has studied the intersection between policy, practice, and organizational systems supporting low-income youth and families.  As the LCRC Program Associate, Aimee is responsible for resource curation, development and dissemination as well as communications and grants management support. She holds a Human Development and Family Studies/Human Rights degree from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College with a focus in nonprofit management and social policy. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, concerts, reading, meeting new people, and exploring.

Lillie's bio

Lillie has over 15 years of service with the Community Action Network. She currently serves as the Director of Practice Transformation for the National Community Action Partnership and is a Nationally Certified ROMA Trainer. Prior to joining the Partnership, Lillie worked at a local Community Action Agency where she served as the Deputy Director. In this role, she managed and supported Administrative and Programmatic Operations, including Human Resources, Fiscal, IT, Procurement, Grant Management, Head Start, Early Head Start, and CSBG-Funded Services. Lillie is an avid traveler and enjoys spending time with family.

Lana Shope
Co-Project Director, CARES Act Supplemental
(202) 838-8382
Gabriel Smith
Senior Associate, Learning & Dissemination
Lana's bio

Lana Shope began her career in the community action network at Mid-Iowa Community Action, Inc. (MICA) in Marshalltown Iowa.  Over a period of ten years, Lana created a variety of new programs that improved the lives of people experiencing poverty.  Lana departed MICA to serve as the lobbyist for the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church where she was immersed in the day to day efforts of advocating and lobbying for social justice issues, including addressing the causes and conditions of poverty.   After five years in this role, Lana returned to the network as the executive director of the Iowa Community Action Association (ICAA) and served in that role for sixteen years.  With a commitment to increase her skills and knowledge, in 2010 Lana successfully completed the curriculum and became a Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP). 

In addition to her work addressing the causes and conditions of poverty, Lana enjoys spoiling her grandchildren, reading, exercising and operating a small business, Pies and Pastries by Lana, which she has been doing for six years. 

Gabriel's bio

Gabriel Smith is the Senior Associate for Learning and Dissemination at the National Community Action Partnership. Gabriel brings experiences from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Tampa Florida,  the Congressional Black Caucus, and the U.S. House of Representatives to the partnership. Smith holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in History from Tuskegee University and Auburn University respectively, with emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement and economic resistance to White Supremacy. Gabriel enjoys traveling abroad and participating in trivia competitions.

Steph Smith
Senior Associate, SNAP E&T
Phone: (202) 838-8379
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Jovita Tolbert
Senior Vice President
Phone: (202) 860-1028
Email Jovita
Steph's bio

Steph Smith serves as the Senior Associate, SNAP E&T Program, with the National Community Action Partnership.  Steph brings her 15 years of experience in both the Washington, DC and Texas nonprofit sectors to NCAP and is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan to further connect the SNAP E&T program with our Community Action Agencies nationwide.

Jovita's bio

With a passion for increasing the economic mobility of America’s most vulnerable citizens, Jovita A. Tolbert joined the Community Action Network, working with the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), shortly after graduating college. During her ten year tenure at NASCSP, Ms. Tolbert gained a wealth of experience providing management support and technical assistance to all levels of the Community Action Network. More specifically, she provided policy guidance and advocated for the preservation and advancement of the Community Services Block Grant. Ms. Tolbert coordinated and provided local, state, and national trainings with the goal of increasing the Network’s capacity and effectiveness. She also worked with Community Action to document and disseminate best practices from within Network and the anti-poverty field as a whole.

During her four year tenure as Deputy Director with the national Community Action Partnership, Ms. Tolbert has assisted in managing agency operations and human resources. She also oversees member services, benefits, recruitment and retention. Another key responsibility is the coordination of annual conferences and other training events. Ms. Tolbert also oversees agency and member communications.

Ms. Tolbert holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Public Policy, Management, and Planning from the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, CA.  

Denise Waits
CARES T/TA Project Assistant
Aaron Wicks
Vice President, Organizational Capacity Building
(202) 860-1017
Aaron's bio

Aaron Wicks began his career in Community Action working at Action for a Better Community, in Rochester NY. He credits his passion for Community Action to his mentor, James H. Norman. In his 15 years at this local CAA, Aaron helped support the agency’s strategic plan, community assessment, outcomes reporting, compliance, customer satisfaction, grantwriting, advocacy and other programmatic and organizational needs. Aaron is a Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) and a Nationally Certified ROMA Trainer. Aaron holds a PhD in political science from the University of Rochester and has worked as an adjunct professor teaching courses in American politics and public administration. Aaron lives in Rochester, NY with his partner, Kelly, and children Dylan and Sydney.

Madison Wicks
Program Associate, Administration & Membership
(202) 860-1018
Cashin Yiu
Project Director, Grants Management
(202) 838-8381
Madison's bio

Madison Wicks is a Program Assistant at the Partnership. In this role, she takes an active part on the Events and Membership teams and provides support the Leadership Team and Board of Directors. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Affairs and Anthropology from the George Washington University. 

Cashin's bio

Cashin Yiu comes most recently from a non-profit, Global Integrity, that supports learning centered approaches to complex governance challenges around the world. She served as Operations Associate covering everything from finance to human resources to performance management to communications.

Prior to that, Cashin was with Community Action Partnership for 6 years from 2011 – 2016. She held a variety of roles including Special Assistant to the CEO, Program Associate focused on the Organizational Standards, Program and Events Coordinator for the training and technical assistance (T/TA) team, and Program Support Specialist for the National Training Center. She is excited to return to the Partnership and combine her knowledge of the Community Action Network and T/TA issues with her experience in nonprofit operations to support the grants and contracts teams as they successfully carry out their work.

She is originally from Georgia where she attended the University of Georgia and earned a degree in International Affairs. She worked in the DC area for 8.5 years before moving to Charlotte, NC in 2019 where she continues to work remotely.