Our Staff

Gian-Carl Casa, MA
President and CEO
In 2016, Gian-Carl Casa became the first President and CEO of the The Alliance. 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.

Brunilda Ferraj, MSW
Director of Policy Research & Organizational Initiatives
Brunilda’s focuses 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.

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.

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

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.

Zoe Schwartz
Manager of Membership Services
Zoe started with The Alliance in 2019 as the Manager of Membership Services. Prior to joining The Alliance, Zoe worked for Community Renewal Team, Inc. (CRT), writing federal reports, researching community trends, and advocating for CRT programs and clients. Also serving as the liaison between the Greater Hartford Continuum of Care and the Connecticut Balance of State, Zoe ran the 2019 Hartford and Greater Hartford Point-in-Time Count, the annual count of all sheltered and unsheltered homeless people. Zoe graduated from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with degrees in Political Science and Public Policy and is currently working on her MPA from the University of Connecticut.

Paul Giguere
Vice President of Administration and Finance
Paul oversees Alliance finance, operations, and administration. He directs the Preferred Purchasing Program and is responsible for grants and contracts. Prior to coming to the Alliance, Paul served for nearly twenty years as President and CEO of the nonprofit Connecticut Public Affairs Network, responsible for the growth and development of CT-N, Connecticut’s version of C-SPAN, as well as the educational and community programming at Connecticut’s Old State House. He has also served as President of the National Civic Trust, a nonprofit membership organization based in Connecticut. Paul earned his Master’s degree in Business Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Central Connecticut State University.

Jeff Shaw, MA, MPH
Senior Director of Advocacy & Public Policy
Jeff Shaw is the Senior 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).

Ben Shaiken
Manager of Advocacy & Public Policy
Ben joined The Alliance in 2015. He is a veteran of politics and the Nonprofit Sector, working for Connecticut House Democrats, Congressman Joe 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.

Liz Lowe
Manager of Business Development

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
Manager of Advocacy & Public Policy
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 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.