Alice@Work Team

United For ALICE@Work Team

Meet Our Team

Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D.

Stephanie Hoopes has overseen the expansion of ALICE from a pilot study of the low-income community in Morris County, New Jersey, to a national effort with ALICE data for all 3,000 U.S. counties. Her research has garnered the attention of local, state, and national media and legislators.

Before joining United Way of Northern New Jersey, Hoopes taught at Rutgers University-Newark and Columbia University, and at the Universities of Sussex and Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Hoopes has a doctoral degree from the London School of Economics, a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College. She received a resolution from the New Jersey Assembly for work on ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), in 2016.

Andrew Abrahamson
Data Manager

Skilled in geographic information systems, data visualization, and business intelligence, Andrew Abrahamson brings his expertise in compiling and understanding data to ALICE@Work. Along with his management responsibilities with the United For ALICE team, Andrew leads the ALICE@Work data team.

Andrew’s professional background in the information services industry includes roles in technical management, data analysis, and database management.

A graduate of University of Colorado Boulder, Andrew earned a BA in Environmental Studies.

Andrew Abrahamson

Cary Esperanza Dawson
Director of Strategic Partnerships, United For ALICE@Work

In a career spanning more than two decades, Cary Esperanza Dawson excels in bridging the gap between corporations and their communities as a national nonprofit development professional. Cary has become a driving force in resource mobilization and impact-driven fundraising. She thrives when connecting with donors on a personal level and aligning their values with an organization's mission.

Cary leads the ALICE@Work team in delivering the value of ALICE@Work to United Way partners and corporations in NJ and across the nation. Prior to joining the ALICE@Work team, Cary focused on Corporate and Volunteer Engagement for United Way Northern New Jersey (UWNNJ), where she spearheaded the organization’s largest signature impact programs, mobilizing thousands of volunteers and hundreds of corporations in the organization’s five county footprint.

Cary advocates for transparency, accountability, and ethical practices in the nonprofit sector. She sits on the board of Women in Development NJ and serves as President of the Board of Trustees for the Mary Jacobs Foundation in Rocky Hill, NJ, where she lives with her husband and three children. Dawson earned her MA from The New School and her BA at NYU Gallatin.

Cary Esperanza Dawson

Joanne Hala
Grants & Community Impact

Joanne Hala spearheads grant writing, reporting, management and compliance for ALICE@Work. Since joining United Way Northern New Jersey (UWNNJ) in 2010, she has also been active on the local workforce development board and has advocated for quality jobs and other programs that positively impact workers and their employers.

In addition to developing financial education and job readiness programs at United Way, she has experience developing and teaching in community-based English As a Second Language programs in New Jersey and rural Nicaragua, and faith-based programs in Costa Rica.

Joanne has a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University’s Douglass College.

Joanne Hala

Tiahna Hays
ALICE@Work Course Instruction Consultant

Tiahna Hays brings her passion for community empowerment and social change to the ALICE@Work team, playing a vital role in curriculum development and facilitation.

Before joining ALICE@Work Tiahna worked in public health, business operations, organizational strategy, and leadership development. Having lived both below the federal poverty line and in an ALICE household, she has a passion to create and support educating about equitable organizational systems and operations. Tiahna jumped into action as a member of one of the first teams to combat the water crisis in Flint, MI, and served as a public health educator within Detroit Public Schools. As a director at a New York City Tech Start-up, Tiahna built its DEI programming.

Tiahna is a first-generation college graduate from the University of Michigan. She and her husband currently live in Grand Rapids Michigan and will welcome their first child in Spring, 2024.

Tiahna Hays

Stephanie Howland
Director of Program Administration & Operations, United For ALICE@Work

Stephanie Howland brings her passion to influence systemic change and more than a decade of experience working at United Way Northern New Jersey (UWNNJ) to the ALICE@Work Team. Stephanie oversees the implementation and growth of ALICE@Work.

Stephanie started her Social Work career in direct practice, working with adolescents and substance use disorders, victims of domestic, and sexual assault. She enjoys working in the community where she puts into practice her true passion: educating and informing individuals and groups about important issues in their community. Stephanie came to UWNNJ excited to work with the Caregivers Coalition where she used her skills to bring people together from various backgrounds to support family caregivers through education, information, and other resources. Stephanie also worked on the Assistive Technology for Caregiving Families Program and is a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee where she plays a role in mobilizing the community toward effecting societal change.

Stephanie received her MSW from New York University and is a Licensed Social Worker with more than 20 years of experience.

Stephanie Howland

Dana Isaac
Research Assistant

Dana Issac brings her passion for using oral history, digital storytelling, and historical research to help understand marginalized populations to the ALICE@Work team. In her role as a research assistant, Dana ensures program accuracy and provides research support to the team.

Prior to joining the team, Dana worked as an archival resident in Concordia University Library’s Special Collections department, and research assistant for social nonprofits supporting Canadian Heritage research.

Dana has a BA in Psychology from Concordia University (Montreal, QC).

Dana Isaac

Jen Miller
Strategic Marketing Consultant

Jen Miller, a purpose-driven marketing and nonprofit leader, harnesses strategic vision, relationship building, and storytelling to spark transformative action. As an advocate for stakeholder engagement, Jen joins the ALICE@Work team with a focus on driving change by analyzing problems, determining desired outcomes and carefully crafting narratives to deliver the message.

Jen values diverse voices and aims to create spaces where everyone’s goals align. Her impactful work intersects corporate social responsibility and community outreach, evident in her work with organizations like the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Ford Motor Company, Nike, the Women’s Sports Foundation and World Cup USA.

In 2023, Jen founded RootedMatters, uniting strategic vision and storytelling to inspire action. Jen holds an MSJ from Northwestern University and a BA from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jen Miller

Allison Pepin
Human Resources Consultant

With more than 30 years’ experience, Allison Pepin joins ALICE@Work as a consultant and the team’s lead human resources authority. With a personal commitment to support the aspirations of employees, Allison collaborates with the team to ensure the program considers the needs of both employer and ALICE workers.

Allison began her career as an HR professional with Macy’s Department Stores in New Orleans. She worked her way through the ranks to lead HR Strategy as Director of Employee and Labor Relations for Macy’s East division before transitioning to Employee and Labor Relations for Federated Department Stores. Allison also served as Regional Human Resources Manager at CVS/Caremark where she drove the corporate HR strategy across 165 Virginia stores, and District Human Resources Manager for Home Depot, overseeing all aspects of the Human Resources function for 5,000 regional employees.

Allison recently launched Diversified Transformations, LLC, a consulting practice to help companies and organizations establish HR strategies that align with their business priorities and accelerate growth. Pepin holds a BBA from Loyola University New Orleans.

Allison Pepin

Michelle Roers
Senior Vice President of Strategies for ALICE

Michelle Roers, LSW, leads the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of United For ALICE@Work and United In Care. This includes project development, evaluation of progress toward programmatic and funding goals and objectives and strategizing for project sustainability.

Michelle is a member of United Way’s Senior Leadership Team where she is a recognized leader in systems change initiatives in education and workforce development to promote better opportunities for ALICE, and in building strategic partnerships. Prior to United Way, she championed victim rights via the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Jersey Battered Women’s Service (both in New Jersey).

Michelle has an MSW in Social Work from Fordham University’s School of Social Services (NYC) and a BSW in Social Work from St. Catherine University (MN).

Michelle Roers

Ash Schwedt
ALICE@Work Course Instuctor

A seasoned leadership trainer, instructional designer, and diversity and inclusion professional, Ash Schwedt has dedicated her career to making organizations more just and equitable. Within the ALICE@Work team, Ash focuses on designing and delivering curriculum that drives learning and impact. Before joining ALICE@Work as a part-time Course Instructor, Ash worked within non-profits, government, higher education, and tech start-ups to progress organizational equity and justice.

Outside of work, she enjoys writing, riding her bicycle, listening to podcasts, and winning soccer championships. Ash earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Michigan.

Ash Schwedt
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