Muriel Baptiste, Executive Director
Muriel brings over 16-years of dedicated work to communities across Chicago with a strong aptitude for building partnerships and leveraging resources. A great team player, she is known for her leadership and coaching skills; and for her project direction, design, and management. She has a keen eye for finding innovative measures that we have no doubt will unfold in her mission for Utopia Connect Foundation. She also believes that the key to getting things accomplished is the ability to pool resources and will rely heavily on collaborative endeavors by seeking out individuals, organizations, corporations and governmental agencies that are effectively getting the job done to ensure communities are well serviced and supported.
Michele Diaz, Treasurer
Michele Diaz brings over 25-years of experience working in the non-profit sector to Utopia Connect Foundation. She specializes in program quality assurance, evaluation, and training. Her work has included the development of quality non-profit programming for “at-risk” youth within the City of Chicago in collaboration with Chicago Public High Schools with a focus on instructor development and external and internal consumer relations. Her position prior to joining UCF was contracted work as a consultant with Urban Policy Development Consulting (UPD) where Michele worked on a project with Chicago Public School’s (CPS) providing structured training and support on CPS’s newly implemented Reflect and Learn System; a tool used for teacher and principal evaluation, classroom observations and providing feedback on effective teacher practice. As a part of that project, she worked in collaboration with True North Logic and CPS to provide project management, system testing, training coordination and implementation as well as on-site training support for Network Chiefs, Principals and Teachers throughout Chicago.
2010 - present
2010 - present
Sterling Goodrich, Secretary
Sterling has worked in the non-profit arena for the last 18-years as a youth worker and as a manager. He has become a trainer for the Youth Program Quality Assessment Tools to help support youth workers improve their program quality. He further became an External Assessor in the Youth Program Quality modules to strengthen his understanding of quality youth program and support direct-service providers with attaining their program goals.
Sterling has also worked as an administrator to select grants and provided support to community-based organizations to enhance the quality of their programs. He spearheads projects with local businesses, Aldermen, and corporations to expand the resources for the youth programs he manages. He has created unique opportunities for youth in the Chicagoland area, such as, he created an improv festival at the legendary Second City Theater for teens across Chicago to perform.
Mrs. Darlene A. Carty Baptiste, MA Ed., R.T.T., E.M.T. was born in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She graduated from Howard University in Washington, DC with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1992; Radiologic Medicine with a minor in Business Administration, as a Board of Trustees Scholarship Recipient. Mrs. Baptiste obtained a Masters of Arts in Education with a concentration in guidance and counseling from the University of the Virgin Islands in 1998.
In 2003, Mrs. Baptiste was appointed as the first fulltime Health Commissioner in the USVI and was the first non-physician and youngest local female to have held this post. As the Health Commissioner she was responsible for a $67 million budget, provided support and advised the Governor and made recommendations that affected the healthcare system within the USVI.
Lea Prevost-Casimir is a graduate of Springfield College, MA, with a master’s degree in Organizational Management and Leadership and a BA in Human Services. She is a Board Certified Human Service Practitioner and a licensed minister in North Carolina and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Christian Counseling.
Lea is a second time breast cancer survivor. She has worked in the HealthCare Field for over twenty years in various leadership roles which are often manifested in her ability to connect the academic, personal experience, volunteerism, and professional work experience for the greater good of mankind.
Olandrian Glasper has long worked to support Chicago schools and communities as a champion for our most precious gifts – youth and children, education and opportunity. Whether serving in an indirect or in-person capacity, she has facilitated and delivered integrated planning and services for young people and their families.
Olandrian brings strong team management skills, sustained partnership development, and a clear understanding of the building blocks of organizational integrity. She joins the Foundation with a vision to leverage connections that not only raises the bar and effect real change, but those which also lift human beings and inspire.
Meet Mary, a Professor of Intercultural Communication and Conflict Transformation at the Department of Communication Arts at North Park University. Mary brings unique insights to the organization that will help us frame our work and dialogue around conflict resolution approaches, social change, and cultural competencies.
She has served as presenter and consultant for many churches and organizations on matters ranging from: Survivors of Historical Trauma; Diversity Issues for Health Care Workers; Culture and Conflict; and Interracial Marriage.