Youth Catalytics has a small cadre of staff working throughout the country, and many consultants who either manage discrete projects or regularly contribute to ongoing work. Our office, staff members and key consultants are listed below.
Melanie Goodman, Executive Director
Melanie Goodman has been in the field of human services since 1979. She assumed co-directorship of Youth Catalytics (then New England Network) in 1994, and became its sole executive director in 2003. Prior to joining Youth Catalytics, she served as executive director of a community-based youth service agency in western Massachusetts, where she created one of the first comprehensive transitional living programs in the country. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass., and a master’s degree in organization and management from Antioch College, New England. She is certified in mediation, trustee leadership development, and as a facilitator/trainer with the Institute for Cultural Affairs. In addition to being an experienced organizational planner, program developer and grant writer, she conducts frequent presentations and trainings, and provides ongoing consultation to both public and private agencies. Areas of expertise include: strategic planning; group facilitation; board development, fund development; federal grant writing; transitional living programs and community collaboration. She lives in Vermont with her husband, daughter and dogs.
Contact: Voice (802) 425-3006
Cindy Carraway-Wilson, Director of Training
Cindy Carraway-Wilson has over 20 years of experience in the child, youth and family services field. She has extensive experience in program evaluation and outcome measurement, and trains on a variety of topics such as positive youth development, youth participation and asset building, and GLBTQ topics. Before coming to Youth Catalytics, she worked as a counselor and mental health therapist in Pennsylvania and at Kids in Crisis in Greenwich, CT. She is a member of the training cadre for the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development and a certified trainer from the Academy for Educational Development. She has a master’s degree in psychology from Duquesne University. She lives in Maine with her husband and two Alaskan huskies.
Contact: Voice (207) 319-6009
Meagan Downey, Director of Special Projects
Meagan Downey has more than 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in strategic program development and external affairs. She brings extensive experience in the areas of communications and development, with specialties in comprehensive and capital campaigns, crisis communications and new media. Prior to joining Youth Catalytics, Meagan established and still serves as Principal for Praximity Consulting Group. Before that, she served as Adjunct Counsel for Ter Molen Watkins and Brandt, held several senior management positions at two Planned Parenthood affiliates, and served on numerous committees to advance Chicago’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness. She has lectured at the undergraduate and graduate levels on nonprofit management and the strategic use of new media for youth engagement and positive youth development. Meagan is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and holds an MBA. She lives in Vermont.
Contact: Voice (802) 425-3006
Levi Jackson, Information Technology Specialist
Levi Jackson has over seven years of experience developing web sites for various businesses, organizations, and individuals. For the last five years he has worked as a web site development consultant for Youth Catalytics, creating, among other things, the highly customized interface behind ‘Mapsite.’ Levi graduated at the top of his program with a bachelor’s degree in web site development and management from Champlain College. When he isn’t working he enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, and camping. He lives in Rhode Island.
Jennifer Smith, Research & Communications Associate
Jen Smith is a research and nonprofit communications professional with two decades of experience focused on improving outcomes for young people experiencing homelessness and violent trauma. Since 2008, she has provided research and technical support for state, nonprofit, school and community initiatives that promote capacity building in the areas of best practice implementation, advocacy, youth engagement, and fund development. Before that, Jen provided direct therapeutic services in drop-in and shelter settings, and oversaw program evaluation and grant writing for a designated Youth Services Bureau. She holds a BA in English from Tufts University, and an MA in clinical mental health counseling from Union Institute & University. Jen was a contributing author to Counseling with Confidence: From Pre-service to Professional Practice, published by Synthesis Center Press (2009). She lives in Oregon with her husband and son.
Contact: Voice (802) 535-2524
Doug Tanner, Organizational Development Specialist
Doug Tanner is an evaluation specialist and provides technical assistance specialist to Family and Youth Services Bureau grantees. He has over 20 years of experience in case planning, staff supervision, program development and grant administration in programs serving at-risk youth. Doug integrates best practices for assessment and evaluation with cutting-edge information management technology in order to build capacity and increase client effectiveness. Before joining Youth Catalytics, Doug was associate director of shelter and housing at ServiceNet in Northampton, Mass. He has also been residential director, program director, computer systems administrator, youth counselor and special education teacher in a variety of agency settings. He has worked with adults, families and children. Doug has a master’s degree in education and is a licensed social worker. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife, and has two grown children.
Contact: Voice (978) 544-2067
Melanie Wilson, Director of Research
Melanie Wilson, director of research for Youth Catalytics, has extensive experience in qualitative and quantitative research, with a special focus on transitional living services and educational options for disadvantaged youth; spirituality and youth; the sexualization of girls; asset-mapping; and youth media. She has presented dozens of workshops around the country and written extensively on these issues. She has a master’s degree in social work from Boston College and an undergraduate degree in journalism from Indiana University. She has worked in the field of child/youth services for 15 years, and before becoming a social worker was a newspaper reporter. She supervises a small staff of research associates and mentors students and interns. She lives in Arlington, Va. with her partner, and has one son.
Contact: Voice (703) 243-1572
Mindi Wisman, Research Associate
Mindi Wisman, research associate for Youth Catalytics, has several years of clinical and research experience with children, adults, and families throughout Greater Boston and the New Hampshire Seacoast. She has an undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of New Hampshire. She also has a post-master’s certification in sports psychology, and has worked with amateur and professional athletes as a mental coach. She lives in Boulder, Col., with her husband and children.
Contact: Voice (720) 212-8160
Sharon Vardatira, Fund Development Specialist
Sharon Vardatira, fund development specialist with Youth Catalytics, brings over 35 years in nonprofit management and fund development, serving in a wide variety of leadership roles, including executive director, fund development director, consultant and professional coach, trainer, national representative, and board chairperson of several nonprofits, including two statewide coalitions. Since 1998, Sharon has provided grantwriting and organizational development services to Youth Catalytics, first through Meridian Consulting and currently as director of Nonprofit Funding & Fiscal Solutions, a business unit of the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. Over the past two decades Sharon has provided consultation and training to 130 nonprofits across the country, from grassroots groups organizing in small rural communities to large national organizations with numerous regional and national partners and programs. Ms. Vardatira holds a Master in Theological Studies (M.T.S.) from Harvard Divinity School and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College. She lives in Massachusetts with her wife, enjoying periodic visits from their adult son.
Contact: Voice (413) 687-1006 / Fax (888) 539-4616
Karen Vincelette, Administrative Assistant
Karen Vincelette has 20 years of experience providing administrative support, including database maintenance, internet research, online auctions, data entry, correspondence and event coordination, in various corporate settings. She is the ‘voice’ of Youth Catalytics for events, logistics, partnership and subscription management and related functions. She lives in Vermont with her husband and children. She has worked with Youth Catalytics since 2010.
Contact: Voice (802) 370-5007
Think of Us
Think of Us, a startup spearheaded by Sixto Cancel (right) and supported by a team of 15 young professionals, is dedicated to leveraging technology and data to empower youth in the foster care system. Based in Richmond, VA, Think of Us is developing Unify, a self-coaching platform that supports foster youth in making their own decisions about life, work, education, and health; sites in California and Washington DC will be piloting the product in 2016. Youth Catalytics is proud to be a mentor and fiscal sponsor for Think of Us.