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CC Staff

The staff at Connected Communities embody dedication and compassion in their roles, exemplifying selflessness and a genuine concern for the well-being of the individuals they serve. They approach their work with a deep sense of privilege, recognizing the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Beechwood and EMMA residents. Their commitment goes beyond mere duty; it stems from a heartfelt desire to uplift and empower the community.

Connected Communities Staff

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LaShunda

Executive Director

Dr. LaShunda Leslie-Smith, DSW, LMSW, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Child and Family Services from St. John Fisher College, a Master's in Social Work from the Greater Rochester Collaborative Master of Social Work Program, a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College, a Certificate in Business Excellence from Columbia University, and Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California.

LaShunda most recently served as the President and CEO of Young Women’s College Prep Foundation, Inc. LaShunda is an experienced organizational leader specializing in start up initiatives. LaShunda enjoys serving as a motivational speaker through workshop presentations and conference keynotes. 

LaShunda has been nominated and selected as the recipient for numerous awards and accolades, including being named Rochester Business Journal’s 40 under 40 honoree and Woman of Excellence Awardee, Girls Scouts of Western New York Woman of Distinction, and an ATHENA Young Professional finalist by the Women’s Council. LaShunda is blessed to share her life’s journey with her husband Moses and their two adult children, Branden and Myanna.

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Janielle

Chief Impact Officer

Janielle Crocker, MSOL is a native of Rochester New York and a servant leader. She earned her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from North Central University with a foundation in Human Service. She is strategic, personable, and committed to serving the communities to which she belongs. She uses her influence to inspire others and has been noted as detailed oriented and always willing to listen.

Janielle brings over 15 years of experience in program design and development, as well as project management. Her prior roles include 21st Century Community Learning Center’s Director, Childhood Healthy Weight Project Manager, School Building Administrator, and Grants Manager. She is also a budding entrepreneur and committed to professional development.


As the Chief Impact Officer, Janielle is responsible for process innovation and continuous improvement initiatives across our four pillars. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, sharing her faith, reading, and writing.   

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Alicia

Marketing & Communications Project Manager

Alicia Montalvo is passionate about discovering the needs of her community and implementing solutions through creative means. She has spent much of her career as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist facilitating group programs and organizing community events for the senior population. As a natural born creative Alicia enjoys graphic design, painting, and DIY projects.

Alicia established roots in Beechwood at an early age, having attended School 33 and East High School. She lived in the Beechwood neighborhood when her family first moved to Rochester from NYC. She has always been tied to the Beechwood neighborhood, so it was only right that she purchased her first home there. She now sits on the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition Board.

Alicia received her Bachelor's degree from Medaille College in Buffalo, NY. She was a tri-athlete at East High and went on to play basketball in college. Sports have contributed tremendously to her work ethic, competitive drive, and teamwork mentality.

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Meghan

Director of Resource Development

Meghan Callan, M.S., M.Ed,  earned a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University, a Master of Science from North Carolina State University and a Master of Education from University of Massachusetts, Boston. Meghan most recently served as the Sr. Director of Development at Hillside Children’s Center. Previously, she was a program leader with the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection youth development program for nearly 10 years, and prior to that, a public health and youth development professional in Boston, MA.

Meghan enjoys exercising with friends, hiking with friends, and simply sharing space with friends. Her greatest joy is her three inspiring children, Keaghan, Ryleigh and Declan. And when able, a good romance novel and earl grey tea make for some powerful self-care! 

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Jacqueline

Administrative Project Manager

Jacqueline Procope-Isaacs is originally from the beautiful island of St. Kitts. She relocated to Rochester with her husband from Brooklyn twenty years ago and considers herself to be a “Rochestarian”. Before this role, she was the Office Manager at Young Women’s College Prep Foundation.


With over 25 years of experience, she comes to us with professional executive organizational and operational management skills and experience. She is active in the community and volunteers her time as a bible teacher.

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Atashia

Neighborhood Hub Director

Atashia Walker  is excited to step into her new role as the Neighborhood Hub Director. While new to Connected Communities, Atashia has been serving in the Rochester community through education, leadership, ministry, and quality program development over the last 15 years.  As a Delaware native…now proud Rochesterarian she strives to build bridges, empower others and inspire true community change. As a first-time homeowner planting roots in the Beechwood neighborhood, she is passionate about building equity, neighborhood pride, and increasing affordable homeownership. 

Atashia is an introvert posing as an extrovert and really loves building and connecting with people. She is a proud mommy of a fabulous daughter and loves exploring nature and thrift shopping! Atashia has a B.S. in Communication Science from Nazareth College and strives to keep developing as a professional and serve the Rochester community in excellence. 

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La Keya

Education Project Manager

La Keya Hall is no stranger to the Beechwood neighborhood, having lived in the area as a child and committed to neighborhood enrichment through her faith-based connections. Her passion for stimulating change by meeting people where they are was cultivated by her work as a youth mentor and program leader in the faith-based community of Beechwood.
                              
Having spent more than twenty years in the human services sector, La Keya is a dedicated advocate with experience in supporting youth and families. She has fostered an atmosphere for individual growth, independence, and accountability through her work as a Substitute Teacher in the Rochester City School District and as a Care Manager and Skill Builder in the Rochester community. 
 
Being raised in a home where education was a priority, La Keya’s quest for knowledge developed into academic success. She obtained her bachelor’s in business, with a concentration in business administration, from Capella University and her master’s in legal studies from American Public University. She is a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.
 
La Keya enjoys traveling and engaging in new adventures with her two children, Ellington and Harmony. She is a spoken word artist and bakes the most delectable lemon pound cake!

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Tammy

Lead Resident Ambassador

Tammy Westbrook is in her third year as a Resident Ambassador with Connected Communities. Additionally, she is a board member for the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition. In her role as a board member and Resident Ambassador, she is focused on reducing violence in her community.

Tammy also serves on the Housing Committee for Connected Communities; she is passionate about helping people become homeowners. In 2019, Tammy was accepted to speak at Communities Joined in Action, a national conference in New Orleans for her work on eviction. When she is not working, she likes to do puzzles, garden, and spend time with her grandkids.

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Lead Resident Ambassador

Sheila

Sheila Carpenter  is a member of the fourth cohort of Resident Ambassadors. She, her husband, and their six children have lived in Beechwood for four years. They have loved getting to know their neighbors, becoming a part of the community, and understanding their neighborhood's issues. She is excited about investing in her community and making a real difference through the Resident Ambassador position.

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Resident Ambassador

Solomon

Solomon Davis is a member of the fourth cohort of RAs. He has been married for 18 years to his lovely wife Tracy. They have 4 adult children and 4 grandchildren. Solomon has 30 years of work experience engaging with people as a drug and youth counselor, therapist, and intake coordinator. He loves being the boots on the ground and conversing with residents! He believes that positive change in the community happens through authentic relationships.

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Briana

Resident Ambassador

Briana Middleton  is a member of the fourth cohort of Resident Ambassadors. She is looking forward to learning more about her community, its current needs, and how to leverage resources on behalf of her neighbors. She is excited to truly listen and understand how the many different perspectives and experiences shape Beechwood and EMMA residents. She aims to make everyone feel connected, cared for, and accounted for. 

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