Our Team

Our Team

Strategies for Social Change (SSC) is a woman of color owned consulting firm. Because we value diversity, clients are able to access a multicultural pool of consultants with extensive experience working in diverse sectors of the nonprofit community.

SSC has carefully screened and selected a highly skilled and experienced team of consultants to meet the diverse capacity building needs of nonprofit organizations. A brief profile of each of our consultants is provided below.

We take the time to get to know and understand our client organizations, and our clients often return to us for additional services as they progress through the different stages of organizational development. Our investment allows for deeper levels of trust and organizational insight enabling us to diagnose problems faster and design better strategies and solutions.

Elsa A. Ríos, MSW, JD


Elsa A. Ríos is the Founder and Principal of Strategies for Social Change (SSC), a woman of color owned consulting and leadership coaching firm dedicated to serving social change organizations and movements. She has more than 25 years of nonprofit experience in the areas of management, grant writing, program design, community organizing and public policy analysis and writing. She has led numerous community organizing and social change initiatives addressing gender violence, HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice and child welfare reform, among others.

During her public service career she held several executive level management positions and engaged in extensive fundraising, program and policy development. Her accomplishments include having served as the Founding Director of the Violence Intervention Program, Director of Education for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and Senor Policy Analyst for the NYC Mayor’s Office.  Elsa has also served as an adjunct professor teaching leadership and management courses at Baruch College in the School of Public Affairs.

She holds a Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law where she received the prestigious Root-Tilden-Snow Scholar Award in recognition of her outstanding public service achievements. She also holds a Master’s of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University and is a graduate of the Columbia University, Institute for Not-for-Profit Management sponsored by the Graduate School of Business.

Elisabeth E. Garrett

Senior Associate and Coach

Elisabeth Garrett (Lisa) is a leadership consultant and coach with more than 15 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and has worked primarily in community based and youth serving organizations.

Lisa is part of the national Somatics and Social Justice Collaborative which explores how combining both somatics and social justice activism leads to transformative change for individuals, organizations and communities.

In addition to running gMoxie and serving as a SSC Senior Associate, she is a faculty member at the Institute for Life Coach Training where she co-designed and instructs the Coaching for Social Action course. Drawing from her experience as an accomplished martial artist and certified fearless YOGA instructor, Lisa works with various practices to bring awareness to how we truly “embody” our commitment to change.

Joyce Klemperer, MCP

Senior Associate

Joyce Klemperer has been lead consultant in executive transition, fund development, and strategic and operational planning engagements. She has a master of city planning degree with a concentration in policy and programs from the University of California, Berkeley.

Joyce has over thirty years experience as a program and network developer, director, and community organizer. She speaks fluent Spanish and has worked extensively in Spanish-speaking communities as a community organizer, director of a community-based women’s center, and a Domestic Violence Coordinator in a public hospital. Her work with grassroots social justice, advocacy and service providing nonprofits and coalitions has included research and policy analysis, planning and organizational development, capacity building, technology development, and fund development.

In addition, Joyce is a talented videographer. She has produced, directed and edited the Reproductive Justice Toolkit Video Series commissioned by the Funder’s Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights; as well as created a number of short videos about community-based social justice programs and about artists and their work (joyceklemperer.com).

Carmen Vivian Rivera, MSW, MPH

Senior Associate

Carmen Vivian Rivera is a certified Life Coach helping clients transition toward greater balance and fulfillment in their lives.

She served as a capacity building consultant for twenty years with over 80 nonprofit organizations, coalitions, and foundations. Carmen has experience as a community organizer, nonprofit executive, public policy analyst and advocate. She has held top-ranking positions in New York City government as Director of the Office on Health Policy under Mayor David N. Dinkins, and for the City of Boston where she was Director of the Maternal Health Commission. She holds a Master of Science degree in Social Work and a Master in Public Health from Columbia University.

Carmen brings a strong multicultural, social justice perspective to help clients act on the things that matter most to them. Specialties: Executive coaching, leadership and life transitions.

Marquita A. James, JD

Special Projects Associate

Marquita James has a passion for empowering people to be agents of their own change which animates her conflict resolution and consulting practice. In her former role as Manager of Mediator Education at the New York Peace Institute, Marquita oversaw the growth, learning, and development of approximately 400 mediators. She has been facilitating difficult conversations and providing training and coaching to professionals since her tenure at the Harvard Mediation Program at Harvard Law School. Marquita has also traveled the country collecting oral histories as a Mobile Facilitator for StoryCorps and has taught self-advocacy skills building courses and led mentoring programs for court-adjudicated youth.

Recently she facilitated policy dialogues between elected officials and constituents about police-community relations. She also teaches dispute resolution courses at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Marquita currently helps students hone conflict resolution skills in their professional and personal lives. She has designed and delivered trainings on a host of conflict resolution topics including: mediation strategy and techniques, negotiation, power imbalance, effective communication, emotional intelligence for professionals, and cultural humility.

Shella Brenner

Associate Consultant

Shella Brenner’s career in nonprofit resource development and management spans 30 years and a range of progressive causes–affordable housing, immigrant rights, educational equity, healthcare access, and juvenile justice reform among them. She has helped grow fundraising and infrastructure at the Lexington Center for the Deaf, Marymount Manhattan College, and the Community Service Society in New York, and the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Legal Services for Children in San Francisco. Her areas of expertise include foundation and government grants, special events, annual giving and membership programs, and board development, as well as supervising human resources and finance as a senior level manager. Shella holds a Master’s in English literature and history from the City University of New York, Queens College. She is dedicated to animal rights and is a longtime volunteer for Toni’s Kitty Rescue in San Francisco.

Randy Jackson

Associate Consultant

Randy Jackson is a long-time strategist, organizational development facilitator, organizer, fundraiser and overall change agent seeking solutions to the issues of racial, economic and climate justice. Prior to becoming a consultant for transformational organizing and change, he was the Director of Development and Planning for ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York, a longstanding alliance of labor and community organizations united for a just and sustainable New York.

Previous to this Randy worked in wide variety of settings including grassroots workers’ centers, statewide voter engagement organizations, and national networks wearing a number of hats in all of them. He was Director of Development for The New Florida Majority, a statewide voter engagement and movement building organization in Florida organizing among the New American Majority – African Americans, Latinx, new immigrants, LGBTQ and youth.

Randy has experience in program development, strategic planning, financial operations, fundraising and development. He has participated in the development of various progressive movements over the years – from the growth of no- and low-wage workers’ centers, the emergence of the immigrant rights organizations, to the anti-war and peace and justice movement.  Randy spent the first eighteen years of his life living overseas in such countries as Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Honduras, Indonesia and Egypt. New York City, where he was born, has been home since 1995.

Yvette Diaz

Projects and Operations Manager

Yvette Diaz has more than 15 years of experience in the public and philanthropic sector, working with organizations and individuals to advance human dignity and opportunity.

Before joining the SSC team, Yvette worked at Tides Center supporting more than 300 fiscally sponsored projects during her 12-year tenure, to help build capacity, increase impact, and help many of them become self-sustaining 501c3 organizations. In addition, she has served as an Advisor at Tides Foundation, coordinating services for individuals, institutions and programs that utilize grant-making services. 

She also served as the Coordinator of the University of California Public Policy & International Affairs (UCPPIA) Institute, a program dedicated to increasing diversity in the field of public policy.

Tracy Leigh

Special Projects Associate and Graphic Designer

Tracy Leigh is our newest Special Projects Associate and helps bring capacity building ideas to life through graphic design. We rely on her to design exceptional materials for our clients. She is a seasoned graphic designer and branding fanatic, working with small, medium and large businesses and start-ups both across the country and internationally.

Tracy has had the privilege of working with numerous non-profits to create outstanding events and memorable collateral that have helped strengthen each organization’s brand recognition, awareness and effectiveness. She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Department of Design, and founder and owner of Tracy Leigh Graphic Design, LLC based in Winter Park, Colorado.

Dacio Quintana

Operations Associate

Dacio Quintana is our Operations Associate handling much of SSC’s administration and back office responsibilities. Dacio was a science teacher in the New York City public school system for more than 30 years. He also served as a union organizer and chapter leader in addition to volunteering for WBAI and other progressive causes. He holds a Masters of Education degree from Fordham University.

Lotus for Ignit

Ideas that
Ignite Change

“Without community there is no liberation.”

— Audre Lorde

“Our experience with the SSC team was extraordinarily positive, they facilitated deep and challenging yet enjoyable conversations that helped our team and our work at AFSC grow stronger.”

— Amy Gottlieb

American Friends Service Committee