Our Staff

Gian-Carl Casa, MA
President and CEO
In July 2016 Gian-Carl Casa became the first President and CEO
of the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance (“The Alliance”), a statewide association representing nonprofit agencies across Connecticut. Before that, he served for five and a half years as Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs at the state Office of Policy and Management. At OPM he was responsible for budget-related and other legislation, managed requests for state bond funding and was in charge of communications for the agency, working closely with the Governor’s office in all areas. Before joining the administration he worked for
over two decades at the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, most recently as Directory of Public Policy and Advocacy, where he worked on many association-related activities. He has a BA
and MA in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He lives in New Haven.

Lilian Gutierrez, MBA
Director of Membership and CT Nonprofit Center
Lilian Gutierrez, MBA possesses a professional background of
diverse responsibilities and accomplishments in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, in the fields of education, program and business development, management, human resources, organizational development and client services. Currently Lilian serves as the Director of Membership and the CT Nonprofit Center for the Alliance. In this capacity, Lilian oversees the operations of the Center, leads and manages staff and develops member services. Prior to the Alliance, Lilian worked at CAANH as the Vice President of Planning, Development and Special Projects. She also worked at Post University and for the Special Olympics World Games. Gutierrez earned her Bachelor’s degree of Science in Business Administration and Management as well as, her Master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership and Project Management from Post University.

Nicole Bisson
Accounts Receivable Specialist
Nicole supports the accounting functions of the Alliance.

Katie Breslin
Communications and Membership Specialist
Katie leads communication efforts, and supports membership services and training and education functions of the Alliance.

Natalie De La Rosa
Customer Service/Administrative Specialist
Natalie supports the Preferred Purchasing Program.

Deb Elliott

Accounts Receivable Specialist
Deb supports the accounting functions of the Alliance.

Brunilda Ferraj, MSW
Senior Public Policy Specialist
Brunilda works as Senior Public Policy Specialist at The Alliance. Her areas of focus include child welfare, behavioral health, Medicaid and healthcare reform. Brunilda received a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Policy Practice from the University Of Connecticut School Of Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island. Prior to joining The Alliance, Brunilda worked as a researcher at the University of Connecticut conducting program evaluations.

Odessa Lopez
Professional Training Specialist
Odessa has over 15 years combined professional experience in training and education, client relations, brand management and customer acquisition. As the Alliance’s Professional Training Specialist, Odessa coordinates and facilitates training sessions throughout the State to help meet the needs of nonprofit organizations.

Joshua Lipshitz, MBA
Director of Membership and Business Development
Josh joined The Alliance with over 10 years’ experience in development and fundraising for a variety of nonprofit organizations. He brings his skills and passion for non-profit work to his role, where he manages relationships with member organizations and corporate partners. Josh has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from Stony Brook University in New York and an M.B.A in Non-Profit/Human Services Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University. Prior to CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, Josh was the Director of Development for the Jewish High School of Connecticut and before that was the Development Manager for the Hospice of the Nature Coast in North Central Florida.

Donna Lorenzo
Contract Specialist, Preferred Purchasing Program
Donna assists in implementing the Preferred Purchasing Program, acting as liaison with state purchasers and vendors.

Kirk Springsted
Vice President of Administration and Finance
Kirk oversees Alliance finance, operations, and administration. He directs the Preferred Purchasing Program and is responsible for grants and contracts. Prior to the merger that created the Alliance, Kirk worked for twenty-seven years at the Connecticut Community Providers Association in the same capacity. He came to the association following twelve years of program management positions with four Connecticut community nonprofit providers in southern Connecticut.

Jeff Shaw, MA, MPH
Director of Public Policy
Jeffrey Shaw is the Director of Public Policy for The Alliance. Jeff has over twelve years’ experience in government relations and public policy development, providing expertise on the state budget, bonding, nonprofit trends, economic impact, public health and federal legislation. Prior to joining The Alliance in October 2012, Jeff served as Senior Legislative Aide & Team Leader at the Connecticut General Assembly, specializing in health policy and judicial reform. He has been active in the Council of State Governments Innovations Review and Health Policy Committees, and was recognized with the Virgil Puskarich State and Regional Leadership Award at the 2012 Council of State Governments, Eastern Regional Conference (CSG/ERC).

Mick Reyes
Accounts Payable Specialist
Mick is responsible for maintaining the dry cleaners database and responding to their billing questions. She also responsible for the processing payments for the Preferred Purchasing Program.

Ben Shaiken
Senior Public Policy Specialist
Ben joined The Alliance in 2015. He is a veteran of politics and the Nonprofit Sector, working for Connecticut House Democrats, Congressman Courtney’s re-election campaign, and the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. He specializes in adult behavioral health, developmental disabilities and legislative and federal advocacy.

Dorena Wasik, MBA
Director of Finance
Dorena manages the financial and accounting responsibilities, including the Preferred Purchasing Program and all Association functions and activities.

Julia Wilcox
Senior Public Policy Specialist
Julia joined The Alliance in 2002 providing advocacy and support to the Developmental Disabilities Division, the Business Managers’ Forum and the Connecticut Youth Services Association. Since then, Julia’s responsibilities have evolved to include the Community Justice and Juvenile Justice Divisions, as well as providing support to the Arts and Culture member organizations. In her present role, Julia enjoys significant interaction with nonprofit executives, fiscal directors, state agency officials and legislators. Among her favorite interactions: securing the Annual Conference Keynote. Prior to joining the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance team, Julia’s experience included many years in the fields of disabilities, nonprofit development and the arts. Julia attended Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, with a Fine Arts double major.

Sherri Woolley
Administrative Specialist
Sherri provides support services for Divisions and the Board of Directors. She maintains the member database, coordinates member communications and also assists in hospitality and other membership functions.