Staff and Board
Thrive DC Staff
Alicia Horton, Executive Director
Alicia joined Thrive DC in 2009. A recognized expert in community rehabilitation and social justice, Alicia has a JD from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University and a MPH from Tulane University’s School of Public Health. She previously served as Director of Community Mobilization and National Constituencies for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Executive Director of Health Education and Enrichment Resources, a youth services organization she founded in New Orleans. In 2006, Alicia was appointed to the Howard University Institution-Wide Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects. She has received numerous honors throughout her career including the DC Chief of Police Special Award for Community Service and the Columbus School of Law “Extra Mile Award” for significant contributions to the community.
Terrence Brown, Executive Chef
Terrence joined Thrive DC in 2009. His illustrious career has included cooking for hotels, nursing homes, and other entities. For the last 10 years Terrence has operated his own catering business and in 1982, Terrence was named one of the top 75 chefs in Washington DC while working at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel. Terrence has applied his culinary talents to the preparation of fine cuisine for a host of celebrities and dignitaries throughout the Washington Metropolitan area. At Thrive DC, Terrence oversees menu development, meals preparation, Emergency Pantry distribution and kitchen volunteer coordination.
Jessica Macleod, Director of Social Services
Jessica completed a BSW at Salisbury University, MD, after which she joined the Peace Corps and worked on health issues in Paraguay. Upon returning to the US she earned a MSW at Boston University, where she began working with homeless individuals as the manager of a family shelter program in a women’s shelter in Cambridge, MA. In Wilmington, DE, Jessica managed a drop-in center for the homeless and was a therapist in the Delaware Correctional System. Since moving to the DC area, Jessica has directed a homeless services program offering case management, housing, and health and mental health services. As Director of Social Services, Jessica gives direction to Thrive DC’s Social Services programming and provides clinical supervision to Thrive DC’s Social Services staff.
Jennifer Paul, Director of Development
Jennifer has spent her career of 20 years helping advance child welfare, conservation and social justice causes. After serving as the Director of Membership for the Ocean Conservancy where she oversaw membership and donor programs for 10 years, Jennifer started a non-profit consulting business specializing in annual fund planning, donor program development, direct marketing and strategic communications. She assisted clients ranging from start-ups to major national organizations. As Thrive DC’s Development Director, Jennifer works with Board Members, staff, donors, volunteers and partners to build a community that will sustain and grow our programs into the future.
Michael Ocean, Administrative Assistant
Michael has served in administrative positions for more than 20 years working in the Air Force and many non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Thrive DC, Michael worked at an alternative high school in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Michael has lived in Washington, DC for 12 years and was drawn to the non-profit sector by a desire to give back to the community and serve in the public interest. At Thrive DC, Michael handles a wide range of administrative and office management responsibilities.
Trenett Smith, Evening Program Coordinator/Case Manager
Trenett joined Thrive DC in 2008. She has been in the mental health and social services fields for the past 11 years, specializing in homeless, mentally ill, physically disabled, and aging populations. Trenett also brings experience in crisis intervention, case management, housing, and group counseling. Most recently, she served as a Residential Counselor for Angel Watch Shelter of the Catholic Charities where she worked with homeless survivors of domestic violence. She has also gained clinical social work skills during her employment as a Social Worker’s Assistant with Bradford Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Clinton, Maryland.
Sean has been working with Thrive since 2012. A native of Washington, DC Sean brings over 15 years of security experience to Thrive DC. In addition to helping secure a safe and comfortable environment for all of our community members, Sean enjoys working with fellow staff to engage and support the various social services offered daily. When not at Thrive DC, Sean enjoys following all Washington sports teams and is a movie buff.
Jemahl Nixon, Employment Specialist/Case Manager
Jemahl joined Thrive DC in 2013. He has a solid background helping people with employment, having worked for a variety of companies assisting people in finding jobs and learning life skills. Jemahl enjoys being able to help individuals attain employment and personal goals, getting them from where they are to where they want to be. When he’s not at Thrive DC, Jemahl enjoys cooking as well as outdoor activities.
Herbert Brown, Morning Program Coordinator
Herbert joined the Thrive DC team in 2013. He graduated from the Art Institute of Washington and his work experience includes working at Martha’s Table as well as working free lance for several companies. He likes the environment of Thrive DC as well as the clients and his co-workers. Outside of Thrive DC, Herbert enjoys illustrating, painting, skateboarding, and cooking.
Nicole began at Thrive DC in 2014 and is originally from Detroit, Michigan. Following graduation she moved to Tennessee where she began work in the criminal justice field, with both juveniles and adults. During her time in Tennessee, Nicole developed a passion for empowering others to take control of their lives. Nicole brings a unique perspective to Thrive DC and she is now dedicated to helping those in need and providing guidance to formerly incarcerated women. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys reading, writing, cooking, eating, lots of laughter, and more eating.
Julia Selby, Development Associate
Originally from Chicago, Julia comes to Thrive DC as a recent Indiana University graduate with a degree in anthropology, a certificate in management, and minors in Spanish and fundraising. She has experience working with nonprofits in the health and environmental sectors and has assisted with development related tasks from prospect research to stewardship correspondence. Her studies have taken her from South Africa to Peru and she hopes to use her unique perspectives to make a positive impact at Thrive. In her spare time, Julia enjoys reading, Hoosier basketball, and attempting to find a decent deep dish pizza outside of Chicago.
Brenna Shanahan, Program Assistant
Originally from Plymouth, MA, Brenna joins Thrive DC with her B.A in Psychology from The Catholic University of America. In addition to her background in Psychology, she has acquired Spanish speaking abilities through her minor in Spanish studies as well as her study abroad program in Spain. She has experience in working with developmentally challenged adults through the Best Buddies chapter at her college in addition to a broad assortment of therapy practices through her internship at The Viva Center. All of her advising and mentoring experience allows her to communicate and connect well with our clients. She is really enjoying working at Thrive DC where she is taught meaningful lessons each day.
Greg Rockwell, Volunteer and Communications Coordinator
Greg completed his MSW at the University of South Carolina in 2012. Since 2008, he has worked on the behalf of low-income communities behind the scenes, raising support to help nonprofits fulfill and expand their missions. He previously served as the Business Manger of Home Works in South Carolina and the sole staff of a local DC community center. His results helped secure a three-year grant from Freddie Mac. In his spare time he enjoys board games, writing, and exploring DC’s unique neighborhoods.
Nicole Coates, Substance Abuse Counselor
Nicole Coates joined Thrive DC in June 2014. She has been working in substance abuse counseling for over 25 years, starting as a volunteer straight out of high school. She believes every person should be treated with dignity and respect no matter their circumstance. Thrive DC is lucky to have her, and enjoys seeing her bright, warm smile!
Louise Fix, AM/PM Program Associate, AVODAH Corps Member
Louise has a major in Biology with a minor in Psychology and Music from Whitman College at Walla Walla, WA. She has diverse experience on education and researching in the fields of biomedical and biotechnology. She also worked at SOS Free Health Clinic to spread cancer prevention awareness. Ultimately, she is interested in pursuing a career in public health. In her spare time, she enjoys running, dancing and playing musical instruments. She is very happy to join at Thrive DC!
For the past 14 years Samantha has been working on and managing international development projects in Latin America. She is the Director of Business Development at DevTech, an international development firm based in Arlington, VA. Samantha has served as the Deputy Director of Policy Reform and Conflict Resolution programs in Colombia and Venezuela and has managed large multi-million dollar grants programs in a number of countries. She has worked throughout Latin America, Africa, Russia and Ukraine. She earned an MSc in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries, from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. in International Affairs and Economics from the George Washington University. In addition to a strong back ground fundraising and grant management, Samantha is fluent in Spanish.
Kate is head of communications and marketing for venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), where she leads the development and execution of NEA’s global communications strategy and provides strategic counsel to many of the firm’s portfolio of technology and healthcare companies. She previously held communications and project management roles at MedImmune (acquired by AstraZeneca PLC), The Kroger Co., and The E. W. Scripps Company. Kate began her career as a correspondent for the Cincinnati Enquirer after earning her bachelor’s degree in English/Journalism at Miami University.
Jules is a corporate attorney with volunteer experience that includes work with The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly. Jules has held various positions in non-profit organizations, including as a clinical therapist and manager of a community mental health center and researcher for The Carter Center – Mental Health and Global Development Initiative programs. He received a BA in International Studies from Morehouse College, a MSW and MA in International Studies from the University of Denver, and a JD from the University of Connecticut. Jules resides in Washington, DC with his wife and two children.
Toya Carmichael, Secretary
Toya Carmichael is an attorney with the Department of Veterans Affairs. A graduate of Georgetown Law Center, Toya has has served the underrepresented in the areas of Civil Rights and Criminal Law. In the community, Toya works with teen mothers by coordinating parenting classes for YoungLives DC and as a missionary at her church. Her passion to serve the most vulnerable in our community and her young son’s compassion for the homeless led Toya to Thrive DC where she hopes to inspire other young professionals to lend their time, talent, and resources to assist homeless families in Washington, D.C.
As the founder and principal broker of Towne Residential, Kathleen brings nearly 15 years of real estate expertise and an extensive background in technology and finance to serve clients across the Washington, DC Metropolitan region. Kathleen is also a managing partner in Cityscape Development, a DC-based residential real estate developer. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland. In addition to working with Thrive DC, Kathleen is an active supporter of the Children’s National Medical Center, Whitman Walker Clinic and The Sitar Center. A long-time Washingtonian who has called many of the District’s neighborhoods home, she currently resides in Crestwood with her husband and two children.
Steven Groeninger is the Senior Director of Communications and Marketing for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. In this role, he is responsible for all communications functions including media outreach, public relations and advertising, and external messaging. A seasoned veteran with over 20 years of experience in communications and marketing, Mr. Groeninger has worked with many organizations, businesses and corporations helping them market causes and/or sell products or services. He has helped small organizations raise millions of dollars by building strong donor files and increased revenues, and his strategic approach has helped businesses and corporations promote products and services with extensive success. An active member of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington and a frequent presenter at the Direct Marketing Association’s Nonprofit Federation conferences, Mr. Groeninger is also active in local and national communications and marketing communities.
Sierra is the lead for Nonprofit and Association Industry Services business development at Aronson, LLC in Rockville, MD. Originally from Norfolk, VA, Sierra has been an active volunteer since childhood, beginning as a Girl Scout, through her commitment to service-based sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and beyond. Sierra continues to work with nonprofit organizations both in the capacity of her current employment and as a part of her commitment to serve the community. She is excited to join Thrive DC and return to her roots as she began her career as an intern at the Virginia Organizing Project, a social welfare organization, during her undergraduate studies obtaining a B.S. in Commerce from The University of Virginia.
Dr. Clara B. Lee
Dr. Clara B. Lee began volunteering for Thrive DC in 2010, picking up fresh food from the Farmer’s Markets and serving meals during the dinner program. Her background includes over 25 years of experience consulting to the Department of Defense. After developing management expertise in Fortune 500 companies, Clara decided to follow her passion and founded C.B. Lee Consulting Group, LLC in 2012 to partner with minority women and small businesses. As a transformation consultant, Clara leverages career development and strategic planning techniques to help women and small businesses conceptualize and implement tactics to achieve high performance. Clara received a BS in Social Work from Jackson State University, a MSA/Public Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. Clara also holds professional certifications in Project Management, Contract Management, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Camille Gratch Martone
Camille works part time as a kids’ yoga instructor at Circle Yoga in DC and at Janney Elementary School also in DC. She also volunteers in the Woodrow Wilson High School library and College and Career Center. Camille also sits on three other boards: the Circle Yoga board, where she is helping in their transition to a Cooperative organization, the Notebusters board, where she helps with community outreach for the after-school music program, and the Friends of the Tenley Library board, where she co-chairs the authors committee to find interesting local authors to speak at the library. Camille graduated from Catholic University with a BS in Architecture.
Laura Phelan Wilson, Treasurer
A 1996 Teach for America corps member in California, Laura brings 15 years of experience in the non-profit and governmental sectors. Laura is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the Flamboyan Foundation, a family foundation with the mission to improve public education in Washington DC and Puerto Rico. She has worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of State, U.S. House of Representatives, the Peace Corps, and in the Washington think tank community. Previously, Laura was a founding senior leader at Teach For All, where she helped create and implement foundational policies across the organization, ranging from human resources to budget to program. At Teach For All, Laura was responsible for managing a team of 25 across 18 countries, and, during her tenure, delivered the highest staff satisfaction rates across the organization. Teach For All was launched in 2007 to support social entrepreneurs around the world to adapt the Teach For America model to their local contexts. Laura holds a Masters in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Wake Forest University. She is the proud mother of twin three-year old girls, who test her management skills every day.
Nick Rosenbach, President
Nick began working with the homeless in 2003 as a volunteer at Miriam’s Kitchen & Charlie’s Place as one of their dining room coordinators. He joined the Thrive DC staff in 2010 as the Morning Program Coordinator, where he initiated Thrive’s first art therapy program. Although Nick left the staff in 2011, he maintains a constant presence at Thrive volunteering weekly. Nick has also been a longtime basic literacy advocate, working with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and with incarcerated adults in the city’s detention center as a reading and GED instructor.
Rochelle Sanchirico, Vice President
Rochelle is a marketing professional with a passion for developing successful communities. She is currently the Director of Digital Marketing for The Washington Post, and is responsible for all marketing activities for The Washington Post’s digital and mobile products. With a purview spanning B2C and B2B marketing, she drives visitors, engagement and revenue using various channel marketing strategies, including paid and organic search, online display, out-of-home, broadcast and social media. Rochelle brings an extensive marketing background from her time at Kaplan (a division of The Washington Post Company), where she held marketing roles in their corporate, K-12, and higher education divisions. Prior to this, she held international rights positions in the book publishing industry for several years. Rochelle received her MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and her BS in Geology and BA in English from the University of Michigan. Rochelle resides in Herndon, Virginia with her husband and daughter.
Cathy Harris, General Counsel
Cathy Harris is an attorney with the law firm of Kator, Parks & Weiser, PLLC, in Washington D.C. She has been practicing employment law since 1999, representing individuals in matters including sexual harassment, discrimination and other employment-related matters. Cathy is a co-manager and member of the firm. She previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney in New York. She obtained her law degree at the George Washington University Law School, and attended Brown University for undergraduate studies. Cathy currently serves as General Counsel to the Board of Directors.
Interns and Assistants
Hyungha Yoo, Development Intern
Hyungha was born and raised in Ulsan, South Korea and she is working on a Bachelor degree in nursing. She joined Thrive DC through Korea WEST Program sponsored by the South Korean Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, the U.S. Department of State, and Cultural Vistas. Through her previous experience as a student nurse in a hospital and with NGOs, she became in working for people in need. Her favorite saying is “Don’t wait for the perfect MOMENT, take the moment and make it PERFECT!” She is putting that to good use to make perfect time at Thrive DC!
Laura Hurtado, Social Services Intern
Laura received a scholarship form the Mexican Institute of Youth (IMJUVE) and the Washington Center to do her internship at Thrive DC. She was born in Mexico City but has been living in Guadalajara, Jalisco for the past few years. She is working toward her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and enjoys helping people and giving back to her community. Thanks to her university, she has had the chance to create and participate in programs addressing a variety of issues such as addictions, school desertion, violence, and low self-esteem in adolescents. She really enjoys trying new things and seeing new places, so she is very glad to be here in Washington, DC!
Jonathan Patterson, Social Services Intern
Jonathan is a computer science major from Indonesia. He came to DC looking for a cross-cultural experience, and when Thrive DC contacted him with an offer, he was eager for the opportunity to use his major in a non-traditional setting, allowing him to interact directly with those he wants to help.