Meet Us

Our Board

Aimee Ferrer

Board Chair

Rodney Jacobs

Vice Chair

James Lopez

Secretary

Jude Bruno

Treasurer

Akivia Bassaragh headshot

Akivia Bassaragh

Board Member

Cherie Cancio

Board Member

Juan Cuba Headshot

Juan Cuba

Board Member

Pauline Green Headshot

Pauline Green

Board Member

Matt Haber headshot

Matt Haber

Board Member

Gustavo Perez

Board Member

Justin Pinn

Board Member

Monico Skoko Rodriguez headshot

Monica Skoko Rodriguez

Board Member

Our Staff
Daphnee Arana

Daphnee Arana

Senior Development Manager

Daphnee (she/her) was born and raised in Miami-Dade, residing in South Dade for most of her life. As the daughter of Nicaraguan immigrants, she had a passion for advocating and uplifting working-class families in Miami. She has dedicated her time to working in the public sector and electoral campaigns. Her previous work includes serving as the finance director for Omari Hardy for Congress. She has also held positions in public service, having worked as a legislative analyst at the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners and a legislative aide at the Florida House of Representatives. She also serves on the board of the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade. Daphnee holds a B.A. in Communications from St. Thomas University and is a proud product of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. In her spare time, she likes to cook, buy shoes, spend time with friends and family, and volunteer for political candidates/causes.

Headshot of Andrea Azalia

Andrea Azalia

Voter Engagement Program Manager

Andrea Azalia (she/ella) is a Peruvian immigrant who was raised in Miami Beach and North Miami. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Political Science and a focus on Latin American studies. Currently, she is working towards her Master’s degree in Global Affairs at the University of Oklahoma.

Although she is passionate about foreign policy, she realized that the most important work to uphold democracy needs to be done locally. While working on the Daniella Levine Cava and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell campaigns in 2020, she noticed that there is a lot of untapped potential engagement of voters in South Florida. She hopes her work will motivate and support people to be more active in their communities, regardless of their level of experience.

Nadjeda Cherilien

Nadjeda Cherilien

Administrative Associate

Nadjeda(she/her) is a North Miami native and the daughter of two Haitian immigrants. She is a proud graduate of Florida International University. Possessing two Bachelor’s degrees in Women and Gender Studies and Law and Business. As a child, she saw the different protests that her parents attended and as a result, this has motivated her in seeking equity for all. While completing her undergraduate studies, she had the opportunity to intern for the Florida House of Representatives. She previously worked with the City of Miami Gardens and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in organizing vaccination events and educating local Miami Garden residents about the importance of getting vaccinated. Prior to that, she has worked with various community health centers by improving access to care through the means of social services and programs. In her spare time, she enjoys her pets, time outdoors, and music.

Lexi Headshot

Alexandra Contreras

Senior Communications Manager

Alexandra (she/her) was born and raised in Miami, the occupied land of Tequesta, Seminole and Miccosukee indigenous nations. After spending four years in Washington, D.C. earning her B.A. in Psychology, and working in communications at various non-profit organizations, she yearned for the tropical foliage, coastal waters, and vibrant culture of her hometown, Miami. She is passionate about climate, housing, and racial justice and creating a more democratic Miami for all.

Christopher Gonzalez

Finance Manager

Chris was born and raised in Allapattah, Florida. During his senior year at Coral Gables Senior High, he enrolled in an accounting applications course where he fell in love with accounting and it has been his passion ever since! After high school, he attended Miami Dade College at the Wolfson campus where he worked as a student ambassador at the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy (iCED). They served as a catalyst to propel his education, develop his professional skills, and gave him the tools to have a positive outlook on social change. Currently, Chris is an undergraduate student at Florida State University and plans to continue on in the Master of Accounting (MAcc) Graduate Program. Chris’s hobbies are playing video games, watching the Boston Celtics, eating food, and taking naps.

Lawrence Gonzalez Headshot

Lawrence Gonzalez

Data Associate

Lawrence (he/him) is a North Miami Beach native with an eager eye to the world around him and the social and environmental crises of the modern-day. After graduating from the New College of Florida with a BA in Political Science, he returned to the east coast of Florida with a desire to make real world impacts. There he was introduced to the world of independent union campaigns, where in 2020 he joined a remote data team which saw victories in the County Commission and Mayoral races. The campaigns became an opportunity to promote worthwhile change during a time of crisis, from police reform to local climate change responses.

At Engage Miami, he specializes in programs and other data needs to reinforce the organization’s multiple priorities. He believes the shadow of a better world is cast from the best features of the current one and hopes to keep finding new opportunities to build political power from the bottom up. In his free time, Lawrence plays soccer, plays chess, and organizes meetups with his friends.

Gracey Jean-bernard headshot

Gracey Jean-Bernard

Director of Voter Engagement

Gracey was born and raised in Haiti but calls Florida her adopted home. She has worked on various campaigns and is a community organizer at heart. From organizing on her now alma-mater UF to managing one of the largest statewide youth vote organizations in Florida, Gracey has made youth civic engagement her life’s work. She believes in the common notion that all politics is local and wants more young people to own their stake in local elections. She hopes her work at Engage Miami will help turn Florida into a state where equality and equity is the norm.

Briyana Joseph

Engage the Vote Programs Manager

Raised in Liberty City, Miami, Briyana has always wanted to create a better reality for the people in her community. While finding her voice to speak up about many issues, she realized that she can help others find theirs too. She has been actively serving marginalized populations and fighting for the rights of sexual minorities for a while, but honed her craft (of civic engagement) the past four years while attending Mount Holyoke College, where she graduated with a BA in Psychology and Sociology. She is passionate about economic justice, feminism, affordable healthcare and providing people the tools to speak up for themselves so that they can change the world around them.

Joseph Jedley's headshot

Jedley Joseph

Engage the Vote Coordinator

Jedly was born in Haiti but raised in North Miami. A graduate of North Miami Senior High, he went on to pursue dual Bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Sociology as well as a Master’s in International Disaster Management and Preparedness at Florida International University. He has worked with numerous community endeavors including community education, public health, and disaster management. Jedly is thoroughly excited to be a part of the Engage Team in our effort to impact the community!

Rebecca Pelham

Executive Director

rebecca@engage.miami

Rebecca (she/her) previously served as the Director of the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy at Miami Dade College’s North Campus and as a leader of the Miami Climate Alliance Steering Committee and completed a M.S.Ed. in Education and Social Change from the University of Miami. Her passions for democracy, justice, sustainability, and learning have grounded her journey, and she is honored to work with the amazing team at Engage building power for Florida’s future.

Headshot of Jess

Jessica Saint-Fleur

Lead Organizer & Member Engagement Manager

Jessica was born and raised in Little Haiti. She has always exhibited a spirit of activism in her community, as well as the world around her. A recent graduate of Pitzer College, where she obtained a BA in Human Biology as a first-generation student, Jessica began to explore her identity and find her voice. Through her passion directed towards healthcare reform and the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement, Jessica naturally emerged with an intersectional social justice approach in life, leading her to give back to her own community now with Engage Miami.

Yanelis Valdes

Director of Advocacy & Organizing

Yanelis (she/her) is a Miami local proudly representing Hialeah, where she grew up and most of her family still resides. She is passionate about social justice, racial equity, and elevating community self-determination by making civic participation accessible. She believes that collective action is essential to shaping the future all Miamians deserve. She first got involved with Engage Miami as a member in 2019, went on to join the inaugural class of YPPP fellows in 2020, and now leads issue advocacy work at the organization. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Communications from Florida State University.

Headshot of isa zuluaga

isa zuluaga

Director of Operations

isa@engage.miami

isa (any pronouns) is a peruvian~colombian young adult who has called miami home since her family migrated to miami when she was three. She studied critical social thought as a posse foundation scholar in mount holyoke college while simultaneously joining principled struggles for housing justice and prison abolition and also cultivating community spaces for queer and trans people. At Engage Miami, isa holds down the internal operations alongside a brilliant team that collaborates to improve systems and develop a work culture rooted in anti-racism and feminist principles.