Meet the PCC Team

PCC’s team is small but mighty. Many of us were once the students for whom PCC fights today. Calling on our unique talents, experiences, and points of view, we take bold and strategic action to effect systemwide change that supports greater college access and greater college success for underrepresented students across the state.

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Lisa Castillo Richmond

Executive Director

Lisa Castillo Richmond is an entrepreneurial higher education leader committed to collaborative approaches to addressing longstanding racial and socioeconomic inequities in colleges, universities, and higher education systems. Lisa became PCC’s second Executive Director in 2021 after serving as the founding Managing Director since 2016. Prior to returning to Illinois, she served as the Executive Director of the college completion initiative Graduate NYC at the City University of New York. As a first generation college student, she is deeply committed to addressing inequities in higher education.

Kim Everett

Kim Everett, Ph.D.

Managing Director

Kim Everett recently joined PCC as its next Managing Director. Kim began her work in equity and inclusion in student affairs 25 years ago and most recently served as the Director in the Office of Multicultural Student Success at DePaul University. Kim, a Chicago native and CPS alum, earned a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with an emphasis on Social Justice in Higher Education, an MEd in Student Affairs Administration, and a BS in Elementary Education – all from Iowa State University.

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Jonathan Lopez

Senior Manager of Operational Effectiveness

Jonathan Lopez joins the Partnership with diverse experience in development and management of educational, cultural and social justice organizations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and aims to use his experiences to support and inspire other first generation students to follow their higher education goals.

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Bravetta Hassell

Senior Communications Manager

Prior to joining the Partnership, Bravetta Hassell led Communications for the Cook County Pension Fund, the  administrator of annuity and retiree health benefits for employees of Cook County, Illinois, and Cook County’s Forest Preserve District. A proud HBCU alumna and Medill School graduate, Bravetta’s background is in journalism and communications with work appearing in publications across the country including the Tulsa World and The Washington Post.

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Lauren Grimaldi

Communications Associate

Before joining the Partnership, Grimaldi worked in politics, serving on communications teams for campaigns for elected officials at the state level and equitable policies at the state and national levels. Lauren is passionate about increasing equity in higher education and believes that every student can succeed if given the right tools. Lauren earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Roosevelt University and Master’s in Public Policy from DePaul University.

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Emily Goldman

Senior Policy Manager

Emily Goldman’s policy work is informed by her time as an admissions officer at DeVry University and her experience as a first generation college student. As a lawyer, she advocated for policies and programs that improve outcomes for students in Illinois. Her diverse background in social justice advocacy will be used to support and catalyze systemic change in Illinois to increase graduation rates for underrepresented college students.

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Mike Abrahamson

Policy Manager

Before joining the Partnership, Mike Abrahamson worked as a Mayoral Fellow while completing a master’s degree from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. He focused largely on projects in postsecondary education, working with City Colleges of Chicago and its Star Scholarship. He also recently served as Data Fellow for One Million Degrees.

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Sonianne Lozada

Community Engagement Manager

Sonianne Lozada most recently worked in policy and advocacy in the areas of food justice and poverty, mobilizing advocates to defend legislation and policies that protect federal nutrition programs and decrease food insecurity and poverty in Illinois. Previously, she spent several years in youth development, working with Chicago Public School youth in the areas of advocacy, leadership development, and post-secondary education.

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Paula Hanley

Senior Partnerships Manager

Paula Hanley joins the Partnership after having worked at a community college for four years implementing a one-stop student service center. Additionally, she brings over 30 years of experience in higher education with an extensive background in strategic, operational planning, enrollment management, academic advising and transfer student services. Paula earned a BA in English and MA in Counseling from Bradley University.

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Joe Saucedo

Senior Partnerships Manager

Prior to joining the Partnership, Joe Saucedo was the Director of Loyola University Chicago’s department of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. He has over ten years of experience engaged in college access, residence life, and student retention. Joe earned his BS in Marketing at Georgetown University and a MEd in Student Affairs from the University of California-Los Angeles.

Tanisha Earwin

Project Manager

Before joining PCC, Tanisha Earwin worked with City Colleges of Chicago in Admissions Advising as well as serving as a Senior Early College Coordinator. Her experience in student affairs began at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign while earning her BA in Sociology. Tanisha has a passion for working with college students. She earned her M.Ed in Counseling with a specialization in College Student Development from DePaul University.

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Tomi Kolapo

Policy Intern

Tomi Kolapo is a policy intern at PCC. He is currently a 4th year undergraduate at the University of Chicago studying Political Science and Philosophy. He’s interested in studying and advocating for issues around racial and social equity.