The Opportunity Project Demo Week 2020 The Opportunity Project Demo Week 2020
Join this event to build your agenda.

Empowering Communities for Resilience and Sustainable Growth

Meaghan Kennedy
Orange Sparkle Ball, Founder

Meaghan Kennedy, MPH founded Orange Sparkle Ball after graduating from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and conducting HIV research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Orange Sparkle Ball is an innovation and impact consultancy that accelerates initiatives in the private and public sector, as well as works with startups. Meaghan has taught at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has been a guest reviewer at Georgia Tech since 2007, a judge and mentor for the Global Social Venture Competition and Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA), a mentor for social entrepreneurs and is frequently invited to sit on innovation and entrepreneurial panels. 

Chelsea Blake
National Indian Gaming Association, Legislative Director

Based in Washington D.C., Chelsea currently serves as the Legislative Director for the National Indian Gaming Association. In this role, she builds and maintain relationships with Congressional offices, the Federal agencies, and other BIPOC organizations to effectively advocate for the policy priorities of the Association’s member tribes. She develops policy recommendations, legislative outreach strategies, and oversees communications and branding efforts for the organization.


In her personal time, Chelsea serves as the Director of External Affairs and the Capital Region's Interim Vice-Chair for the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, the largest national affiliation of Filipino American institutions, umbrella organizations, and individuals. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, which provides invaluable placements for AAPI students to experience federal service first-hand

Colin Foard
The Pew Charitable Trusts, Manager

Colin Foard is a manager with Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative, leading the project’s research into state and federal spending on natural disasters and other topics. He also engages stakeholders to improve understanding of the federal-state fiscal relationship and ensure that policymakers have data and evidence to inform their decision-making.

Before joining Pew, Foard spent five years on the staff of a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ appropriations and budget committees, handling committee work as well as a broad policy portfolio that included homeland security, transportation, housing, and immigration issues. He also served as a congressional constituent caseworker and field representative in Oakland, California.

Foard holds a bachelor’s degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and a master’s in Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jake Akervik
HUD: US Dept of Housing & Urban Development, Federal Liaison/Analyst, Community Initiatives

Jake Akervik, MS, PMP, is an Analyst for Community Initiatives with the US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Minneapolis Office of Field Policy & Management. In addition to leading HUD Midwest Region OZs efforts, he also serves as the Federal Liaison to the North Minneapolis Promise Zone initiative. Jake has spent the past five years helping Federal, Tribal, and local partners and stakeholders across the country, state, and Twin Cities metro build place-based and collective impact efforts around a range of issues, including racial equity, affordable housing, living-wage job creation, minority entrepreneurship, community health, public safety, education, civic engagement, the opioid epidemic, technology, data, innovation, and more. Jake holds an AA from Minneapolis College; a BS from the University of Minnesota; a MS from the University of Denver; and numerous program and project management certifications.

Basma Alawee
Refugee Congress, Florida Refugee Organizer

Born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, Basma came to the U.S. with her husband as a refugee in 2010, leaving behind her career as an engineer with the Ministry of Oil within the Government of Iraq. As a refugee and activist, her stories and activism have been featured in the media. Most recently, she was nominated to be one of the Athena40 women in the world who are leading change and was the recipient of the 2019 OneJax Humanitarian Award. She was also elected the Florida delegate for the  Refugee Congress and is a board member of USAHello (formerly, Refugee Center Online) and many other nonprofits. Currently, she is the State Refugee Organizer with the Florida Immigrant Coalition and resides in Jacksonville and the co- founder for WeaveTales.

Matthew Dalbey
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Director, Office of Community Revitalization

Matthew Dalbey is a proven thought leader in developing community-driven economic revitalization strategies at the local, state, and federal level. These strategies focus on identifying economic drivers, build on existing assets, and supports economic growth that improves environmental and human health outcomes. His recent efforts at EPA have focused on supporting economic revitalization and environmental protection in economically distressed communities, including those with Opportunity Zones. Upon joining EPA in 2004, he focused on collaborating with private sector developers interested in meeting growing market demand, and providing technical assistance to help cities and towns, particularly rural ones, leverage new development to support better health, clean air, and clean water outcomes.  In 2010, he joined the leadership team in what was then the Office of Sustainable Communities, where he led a series of partnership efforts with other federal agencies and states to support a cleaner environment, more efficient public investments in communities, and economic revitalization. In 2012 and 2013 as the deputy director of a White House initiative, he oversaw much of the day-to-day work supporting multi-agency, coordinated technical assistance in several metropolitan areas, including Fresno, Detroit, Cleveland, New Orleans, and Memphis. Since 2014 he has led the office that is now called the Office of Community Revitalization. Prior to joining EPA, Matthew was an assistant professor at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.  He has a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from Columbia University, Masters degrees in City Planning and Architectural History from the University of Virginia, and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the College of William & Mary. He is a career civil servant and part of the Senior Executive Service (SES).

Patrick Corrigan
White House Office of Management and Budget, Senior Advisor, Performing the Duties of the Controller

Patrick Corrigan is a Senior Advisor at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Performing the Duties of the Controller.

Prior to joining OMB, Patrick worked for over 25 years at three financial services firms (i.e. Bankers Trust, Deutsche Bank and Barclays Investment Bank) in a variety of roles within Operations, Trading and Risk. Most recently, he was the Chief Operating Officer / Business Manager for the US Rates business at Barclays Investment Bank.

Prior to his financial services experience, Patrick was an Auditor with Ernst & Young where he audited the New York City Housing Authority and a variety of financial services firms.

Patrick is a graduate of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he was the President of Beta Alpha Psi (Honor Society for Accounting, Finance and Information Systems Students). He is a Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner™ as well as a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

When he is not in Washington, DC, Patrick resides with his wife and four children in Garden City, NY. Patrick likes to spend his free time volunteering as a youth sports coach in Garden City and is an Honorary Usher at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Matt Dunne
Center on Rural Innovation, Founder and Executive Director

Matt served 11 years in the Vermont House and Senate, enacting the state’s first broadband grants, brownfields revitalization funding, and downtown redevelopment program. He helped grow a VT-based software company to over 100 people and was Associate Director of the Rockefeller Center on Public Policy at Dartmouth College.

In 1999 Matt was appointed director of AmeriCorps*VISTA under President Clinton, where he led PowerUp, one of the first national efforts to bridge the digital divide, and launched an Entrepreneur Corps to focus on micro-finance in high-need communities.

In 2007, he started Google’s Community Affairs division out of a former bread factory in White River Jct, VT, where he led all local US philanthropy and engagement, including the Google Fiber rollout and orchestrating educational and development initiatives in Google’s data center communities across rural America.

Matt has a BA from Brown University, and also held an appointment at the MIT Media Lab. He is a lifelong Vermonter who lives on the 100 acre farm where he was raised.

Linda Ge
Citi Ventures, Assistant Vice President & Associate Product Manager, Studio

Linda uses data to create narratives in a product focused on rebuilding local economies.

Previously, she was a Global Risk rotational analyst at Citigroup, implementing machine learning algorithms (gradient-boosting decision trees and neural networks) to create forward-looking financial performance views. She also wrote scripts to automate daily trade reporting with Citigroup’s hedge fund clients and developed strategies for business transformation in Citi’s Global Consumer Bank.

Linda graduated with high honors from UC Berkeley with a BA in Economics and a BS in Business Administration. She enjoys sailing, skiing, Python programming, and knitting.

Ryan Harper
Citi Ventures, Senior Vice President & Senior Product Manager, Studio

As a member of the product team at Citi Ventures, Ryan creates new products and services delivering innovative solutions within the domains of banking and finance.

Previously, Ryan led product development at Condé Nast Entertainment where he focused on the video initiatives of Condé Nast brands such as The New Yorker, Vogue, and WIRED in order to drive increased engagement, growth, and monetization. Ryan started his career designing and developing award-winning iOS and Android apps for iHeartRadio, WebMD, and LACMA.

Ryan graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in Literature and Music and received a M.M. in Composition from the USC Thornton School of Music. Outside of work, Ryan loves reading, visiting museums, and writing music.

Dawn Holl
Reveal Global Consulting, Vice President
Marie Breton
Alteryx, Sales Engineer-Federal
Michelle Zee
Columbia University, Graduate Student

Michelle A. Zee is an MA Candidate at Columbia University, studying applied statistics in the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program. She joined her master’s program with experience in strategic planning and implementation for international business expansions in North America, Asia, and Australia. Most recently, she served as the Director of Real Estate Development for a development firm with projects in New York, Texas, California, and a dozen countries outside of the U.S.. Michelle is now combining her business acumen with the latest data analytical techniques, to create better systems for problem solving and contribute to research in strategic management and decision making.


In her free time, Michelle enjoys running in parks in New York City and along the Hudson River.

Surekha Sreethar
iConsult Collaborative, Syracuse University, Program Manager
Salonee Ameria
iConsult Collaborative, Syracuse University, Program Manager
Joe DiStefano
UrbanFootprint, CEO & Co-Founder

Joe leverages more than 20 years of experience in land use and transportation planning in leading the development and deployment of the UrbanFootprint modeling platform. His career has focused on the implementation of actionable, data-driven tools that bring critical information to land use planning decisions, energy and water resource choices, and the environmental, public health, and social equity challenges of our times. Joe has presented extensively across the US and abroad on sustainable land use and transportation planning and modeling.

Co-hosted by Orange Sparkle Ball

The health of rural communities and access to services, infrastructure, and data is critical to implementing solutions that tackle economic, environmental and human health challenges. In this session, technologists and community leaders come together to showcase creative solutions that help the American public understand the challenges, gaps and opportunities to help facilitate sustainable rural economic development and track federal financial assistance to local communities  in response to emergencies and disasters.  Featuring speakers from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Environmental Protection Agency, Center on Rural Innovation, Citi Ventures, UrbanFootprint, Alteryx, Baruch College, Syracuse University, and Columbia University. 

Translating Tools to Change: Community Reactions and End User Discussions

After hearing about these new products, are you curious to know how these tools will ultimately get into the hands of end users?  Join a group of brilliant community and subject matter experts , each from distinct communities across the country, and hear their reactions to the tools presented and reflections on how they will translate to real change and impact. Featuring speakers from the National Indian Gaming Association, Pew Trusts, HUD, and Refugee Congress.