Hellos and Goodbyes
As we welcome new managers to our organization – Director of Finance Ray Estrella and First Source Jobs Program Manager Blake Roberts Crall – we say farewell to two SCC superstars of the past decade.
Mary Ann Sclafani is retiring after serving as the organization’s business manager for the past 15 years. “Mary Ann has been a critical lynchpin for SCC’s operations, albeit always behind the scenes,” explains SCC CEO Danny LeBlanc. “Any of you who have ever been involved in running a nonprofit, or any kind of organization, really, know that the folks – like Mary Ann – who run the business side of the operation are absolutely critical to keeping the whole thing together and moving forward.”
And while Danny will miss the professionalism that Mary Ann brings to SCC, he knows that she leaves the financial work in Ray’s capable hands. “What I will miss most is the human side of Mary Ann,” Danny shares, “her willingness to step in when she sees a need.” For example, Mary Ann began keeping track of staff birthdays and made sure everyone was recognized with a card and small celebration.
Also departing SCC is Thais DeMarco. She served as Director of Economic Opportunity. Thais first worked for SCC as its Director of Asset Building from 2006-2014. After working for SCC and creating and/or growing a number of programs that helped people gain or regain financial stability, she left to return a year later and head up the expanded Economic Opportunity department. She created a strong foundation for the First Source Jobs Program and expanded the First-Time Homebuyers and Financial Literacy programs. She also created strong alliances with partner organizations as well as helped gain City support for the need to strengthen its commitment to a comprehensive workforce development system. Thais has also been a champion for linguistic diversity in Somerville, holding up the many contributions of recent immigrants.
SCC President Van Hardy speaks warmly of Thais. He praises her for the kindness and compassion that she marries with her professionalism.
New Finance Director Ray Estrella is an experienced finance professional who will maintain the high financial integrity that Business Manager Mary Ann Sclafani has brought to SCC’s budget, contract, accounting and finance functions.
A lifelong Somerville resident, Ray is excited by the opportunity to give back to the community, having worked in the for-profit sector previously. He comes to SCC from RetailNet Group, LLC in Boston, where he served as Finance Manager, overseeing operations and management and communicating domestic performance to the British parent company management.
According to Danny LeBlanc, Ray’s background is a great fit with SCC and his commitment to the community just adds to that fit. Ray has been the board treasurer at the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS), which gives him insight into how nonprofit finances differ from the corporate world.
Ray has an MBA from the Babson College F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University. He is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.
Blake Roberts Crall will manage our signature jobs program, which connects local residents looking for jobs with local employers. She comes to us from the Connect Program at The Neighborhood Developers in Chelsea, where she served as the Director of Financial Capabilities.
“Blake’s comprehensive approach to coaching, and her commitment to working with as opposed to for our participants perfectly matched SCC’s own ideology and approach,” states Deputy Director Meridith Levy. “She brought to each interview an astute analysis of our program design and vision, and was ready to roll up her sleeves the minute we hit start.”
When asked what made her apply for the SCC position, Blake said that she was excited about the opportunity to work in the community where she lives. “SCC does such great work fighting to prevent displacement, through building affordable housing, community organizing, and direct service programming, and I wanted to be a part of that effort. Somerville residents need opportunities for good jobs, so that everyone is able to support their family and can afford to stay in the community.”Blake received her M.A. and M.S. from Tufts University at the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program, and the Food Policy and Applied Nutrition program. Blake and her husband have a one-year-old son.