Meet our staff

ESC staff come from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and share a passion for building a more just and civil society.


Rachel Birkenthal

Rachel Birkenthal is the Program and Talent Coordinator, responsible for the logistics of ESC’s programs and supporting the professional talent including ESC Consultants, ESC Fellows, ESC coaches and internal part-time and full-time staff. Previously at ESC, she was also the Marketing Coordinator where she maintained the ESC brand both online and in print and designed collateral for program specific events. She earned her BS in Marketing Communications at Emerson College. At Emerson, she led her senior capstone team in developing a fully integrated marketing campaign proposal to increase the number of women in executive roles at State Street Corporation.


Julie Crockford

Julie Crockford is the Executive Director at ESC, a role she sees as the opportunity of a lifetime. She oversees all aspects of the organization, including strategic direction, program development, operations, marketing and communications, and fundraising. Prior to joining ESC, she was President of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy for eight years, where she grew the annual budget from $200k to $1m, completed restoration of the historic H.H. Richardson Gatehouse in the Fens to become the Shattuck Visitor Center and organization’s headquarters, and launched the organization’s first youth programs. Julie first worked with ESC while at the Conservancy, and saw first-hand how their consulting services transformed nonprofit organizations, and provided the framework for building the organization.  Her former positions include Director of External Affairs at the Museum of African American History, Deputy Director of the Boston History Collaborative, and Executive Director of the Boston Institute for Arts Therapy. Julie is currently on the advisory council of the National Association of Olmsted Parks, and has served on the boards of organizations including PCI (Project Concern International), EmergeMassachusetts, Piers Park Sailing Center, and UNICEF. She has a BA in psychology from George Washington University.


Katherine Cruise

Katherine Cruise is Director of Communications, responsible for developing, directing and implementing marketing and communications strategies to raise awareness of Empower Success Corps. In this role, she assists with business development and consultant recruitment and manages the website, social media and public relations campaigns. As results driven professional, Katherine has more than 25 years of experience in strategic communications initiatives for both local and national nonprofits. She held senior level positions at organizations that focused on mental health, early childhood literacy, and public health. Katherine holds a BA in Television, Radio, Film Production and Public Policy from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.


David Guydan

David Guydan is Director of ESC Discovery which fosters social sector engagement for 50+ adults. David also provides his expertise as an ESC consultant to nonprofit clients in strategic planning, capacity building, and marketing. Throughout his career, he has guided several successful mergers, business turnarounds, and start-ups. He founded and served as CEO for Commonwealth Card Services, a company that developed innovative electronic and card-based payment solutions. He has also held senior positions at a number of major Boston financial institutions.  David has served as a board member and financial officer of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, and co-chaired the annual fund for The Winsor School.  David holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh.


Ulea Grace Lago

Ulea Lago directs ESC’s consulting practice of 150 consultants who provide engagements to 100 nonprofits annually. She has responsibility for client services, consultant recruitment, professional development, and evaluation programs. An attorney and independent consultant, Ulea has over 15 years of experience working with nonprofits, religious organizations, and community groups. A veteran community organizer, she is the former director of the Truth and Reconciliation Project in Nashville, Tennessee, and previously served as Associate Director of Community Partnership and Service Learning at Sarah Lawrence College and Chair of the Political Action Network at Vanderbilt University, where she organized educational panels, forums, and fundraisers. She has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, and a M.Div. and J.D. from Vanderbilt University.


Donna A. Morelle

Donna Morelle is the Director of ESC Fellowships, which provides transitional management support from experienced professionals to nonprofits. She brings over 25 years’ experience in leading school, community, and government stakeholders in strategic planning to develop missions, visions, and goals. In her primary career, she worked in PK-12 education as a classroom teacher, school principal, curriculum leader, and Superintendent of Schools and was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. During her tenure as the first female school superintendent in Cumberland, RI, she developed a student-centered decision-making framework.  Donna holds a M.Ed. from Rhode Island College and a Ed.D. from Boston College.


Lynn Post

Lynn Post serves as Interim Director for the ESC Northern New England Office. She is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with NNE clients, consultants, and partners. Lynn also is dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition as ESC NNE unites with Empower Success Corps. As an ESC consultant since 2009 and board member since 2015, Lynn provided strategic planning and communications strategies for NH clients such as the Seacoast Science Center, McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Visiting Nurse and Hospice for VT and NH, Monadnock Conservancy, and Ausbon Sargent Land Conservation Trust.

As President of The Post Group, Inc. since 2009, Lynn provides marketing and operational consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. Previously, she held leadership product marketing positions in technology companies such as EMC, HP, Apollo Computer, and Digital Equipment Corporation. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with additional graduate courses in Management at Harvard University, Lynn enjoys traveling, gardening, and walking in her free time and resides in Hollis, NH.


Mary Tafuri Ross

Mary Tafuri Ross is the Outreach Manager for ESC, responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with the organizations that ESC serves throughout southeastern New England. Mary is also an ESC consultant, providing strategic planning services. Mary comes to ESC after 25 years in health care administration-related positions including hospital administration, health insurance, and pharmacy benefits consulting. She has a track record of improving financial and organization outcomes in the face of demanding management challenges, and leading cross-functional teams to provide service to high profile clients. Mary most recently served as a Director of Health & Welfare in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC) Global Human Resource team. Prior to joining PwC Mary spent ten years with a small health benefit consulting company, rising to the position of CEO. Mary has a B.S. in Biology from Providence College and an MBA from the University of Rhode Island.


Christine Warren

Christine Warren, the ESC Office Manager and Bookkeeper is often the first point of contact for a caller or visitor to ESC.  She not only extends a warm welcome but is responsible for executive and fundraising support, office administration, bookkeeping, and event coordination. As a volunteer, Chris has served as a member of the Friends of the Landlocked Forest Steering Committee and Treasurer since 2008, and was a former board member of the Friends of Mary Cummings Park. She recently became an advisory board member for HELPIS (Help Me Help Someone), a grassroots nonprofit that provides goods and services to people who are struggling throughout eastern Massachusetts, whether they have homes, are homeless or in foster care.  Prior to joining ESC, Chris was a website editor and freelance reporter for Burlington Union and Wicked Local Burlington, GateHouse Media for seven years, and previously had a career in corporate accounting at Harvard Management Company. Chris has a BS in Business, Concentration in Accounting, from Skidmore College.