Chamber Spotlight: Welcome! Six New Nonprofit Leaders

“There is nothing permanent except change,” – Heraclitus

Over the course of this past year, six of Brookline’s nonprofit organizations have new leadership. And, these leaders will knock your socks off – if you’ve incorporated footwear back into your wardrobe.

Meet your new nonprofit leaders:

Alicia Adamson, Executive Director, Brookline Teen Center

“I’m looking forward to creating a new path forward for teens to feel both of physically and mentally safe. Hope is driving the BTC to design programming that will inspire young people to have hope again despite the complications of this global pandemic.”

Alicia is dedicated to work that promotes access, equity, and shared power. Prior to joining the Brookline Teen Center, Alicia held key leadership roles at the Boston Debate League, United Way of Mass Bay, Reebok and Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions. Alicia is the founder emeritus of the National Black Women’s Society Inc. She spent over a decade as the Executive Director of THE leading organization designed to empower and cultivate the advancement of women of color in Boston. Alicia has a BA in marketing from Simmons University. She resides in Boston with her husband and their three beautiful children.

More: Meet Brookline Teen Center's new director, Alicia Adamson

Juan Cantu, Jr. Executive Director, Steps to Success

“I’m looking forward to meeting and talking with folks in Brookline and learning how we can work together to support low-income youth and families through academic support and enrichment activities. I know that Brookline has many residents that are passionate about educational access and success and hope to share what Steps to Success is doing for our community, especially as we near our 20th anniversary.”

Juan Cantu grew up in South Texas as a migrant worker, working in the Iowa cornfields to support his family. His parents instilled in him the value of education, and through their support and high school resources, he headed north for college. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 2012 and his master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2018. Juan is passionate about educational access and success, pursuing both at the Hyde Square Task Force and The Boston Foundation. In his free time, you can see Juan learning how to longboard, running around the Arnold Arboretum, or reading a book.

Michelle McGlone, Executive Director, Brookline Adult and Community Education

“This year has been difficult for so many members of our community as the months of this pandemic have stretched on, and I know we all look forward to a greater return to normal. Although aspects of our lives will continue to be influenced by public health considerations for quite some time, I am looking toward next year with a sense of optimism.”

Michelle joins PSB after working with the New England Patriots where she oversaw The Patriots Hall of Fame education programs. Michelle received her M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from N.C. State University and in Organizational Management from Endicott College. With more than ten years as an urban educator, Michelle transitioned into school administration, where she served as an instructional leader for over seven years.

Jessica O’Hearn, executive director, Brookline Arts Center

Jessica attended the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, NM and then pursued a career as a collaborative printer. She has managed the print studio at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, worked as a collaborative printer at the Segura Arts Studio at the University of Notre Dame, and as Artistic Director and Curator at the Juliet Art Museum in Charleston, WV. Jessica, her husband, and two daughters returned to this area to be closer to family and the city they love. Jessica’s daughter requested that she work somewhere fun.

Giselle Ferro Puigbo, Executive Director, Brookline Community Foundation

"This coming year, I'm most excited about launching BCF's new organizational strategy--which prioritizes equity, community collaboration, and values-driven decision-making--and to working with a growing network of community partners to strengthen our shared efforts to create a better Brookline for all."

Giselle comes to the Foundation from her role as Vice President of Development at Health Leads, where she designed and led a multi-year fundraising strategy to fuel the national nonprofit’s effort to unearth and address the deep societal roots of racial inequity that impact health. Previously, Giselle served in leadership roles at Teach for America and Blue Engine. A trained lawyer, Giselle began her nonprofit career at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Originally from Miami, Giselle is a native Spanish speaker, the daughter of immigrants from Colombia, and a proud first-generation college graduate. She received a BS from Georgetown University and a JD from the University of Miami School of Law. She lives in Boston with her husband and two children.

Hannah Swartz, Managing Director, Puppet Showplace Theater

“As Managing Director of Puppet Showplace Theater, I’m dedicated to making storytelling and the arts accessible and affordable to people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. I am ever so eager to reopen our door to the public and safely welcome old friends and newcomers into the theater: to draw the red curtains, lift our puppets, and witness a whole new generation of story-hungry children experience the joy of puppetry.”

Hannah came to Puppet Showplace mainly from the museum world, including six years at the Peabody Essex Museum. She has also worked for the Tufts University Art Galleries, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and Nevelson Chapel. Hannah has a Master’s in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in Art/Architecture from Smith College. Hannah lives in Brookline with her husband and their two young sons, enthusiastic fans of puppetry and storytelling.

These inspiring leaders will build on the strengths of their organizations and lift their nonprofits to new heights.


Read Deborah Good Miller's article first published on the Brookline TAB


Debbie Miller
Author: Debbie Miller

The Brookline Chamber of Commerce promotes and advances the continued success of Brookline as a thriving community in which to live, work and do business. The Chamber takes a leadership role in the business community for growth, advocacy, information, and networking.

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