Public Engagement Accelerator Staff


IISC consultants, trainers, and staff have developed the Public Engagement Accelerator.

Design Team

Andrea Nagel, Senior Associate

Andrea loves people and life. She is driven by a desire to challenge inequity and bridge the divisions between people. Born in Chile and transplanted to the suburbs of New York at the age of 8, her boundary crossing experiences began at an early age. Andrea delivers training, consulting and facilitation services to IISC clients in both Spanish and English.

Alia Lahlou, Associate

Alia engages individuals and groups to achieve more connection, honesty, and depth, in service to holistic social change. Her work has taken her around the world and has focused on conflict transformation; leadership development; collaborative workplaces; identity; processes of deep listening, visioning, and reflection; and community building.

Ceasar McDowell, President

Ceasar brings his deep commitment to the work of building beloved, just and equitable communities that are able to – as his friend Carl Moore says – “struggle with the traditions that bind them and the interests that separate them so they can build a future that is an improvement on the past.” At MIT, Ceasar teaches on civic and community engagement and the use of social media to enhance both. His work is known around the world for groundbreaking impact.

Cyndi Suarez, Director of Development and Strategic Relationships

Cyndi Suarez helps social change leaders identify the key strategic shifts their organizations can make to increase the impact of their efforts. She specializes in network strategies—helping organizations identify their core functions and niches, and leveraging strategic partnerships to achieve large-scale change.

Cynthia Silva Parker, Senior Associate

Cynthia Silva Parker is an advocate for equity and justice and builds the capacity of individuals, organizations and networks to work collaboratively for social justice. She has served as a Senior Associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change since 1998 and was affiliated with the Institute for 5 years before joining the staff. She delivers training, consulting, coaching, and facilitation services to nonprofit and public organizations focused on racial equity, environmental sustainability, community development and other aspects of social justice work. She has led or co-led the development of several IISC workshops, including Diversity in the Collaborative Organization, Collaborative Social Change, and Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work.

Danielle Coates-Connor, Director of Communications

Multi-media producer and communications strategist, Danielle works across IISC on internal and client projects. She developed the digital engagement strategy for Go Boston 2030, a city-wide transportation planning process which has “set a new gold standard” in Boston for public engagement.

Ivy Steele, Project Coordinator

Ivy’s background in sustainable design and project management has allowed her to explore the complex relationships between sustainability and the built and social environment, while also informing her interest in nonprofit and grassroots development.

Kelly Bates, Chief of Staff and Democracy Strategy

Kelly Bates is a social changer, nonprofit civic and political leader and lawyer who has led advocacy, racial justice and women’s organizations for more than 20 years promoting civic engagement locally and nationally. She has strived to be a transformational leader and civic innovator for progressive movement building.

Maanav Thakore, Senior Associate

Maanav’s life work is devoted to facilitating learning spaces for individual and collective transformation. He has worked as an organizer, educator, coach, consultant and program director in group homes, public schools, community organizations, social enterprises, public agencies, and national youth organizations. He has been blessed to have consistently been at “the right place at the right time” to participate in truly effective social change work.

Faculty for the Inaugural Cohort will be announced soon.


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