council of advisors
Deputy Commissioner, CT Department of Consumer Protection, Hartford, CT.
Andréa Comer joined the Department of Consumer Protection in August 2021. As deputy commissioner, Andréa chairs the Social Equity Council and provides guidance on various Department initiatives. Previously, she served as Chief External Affairs Officer for the CT Paid Leave Authority, where she led communications, legislative and outreach strategies. Prior to her state service, Andréa served in several leadership positions, bringing more than two decades of experience in strategic planning and program management in government, industry and nonprofit entities.
Andréa has served on the Hartford and State Boards of Education, as Chair of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Greater Together Advisory Committee, and as Chair of the CT NAACP’s Education Committee. She currently serves as Vice Chair of Five Frogs and sits on the boards of the School + State Finance Project, the Hartford Public Library and the state’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission.
Andréa holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Buffalo State, is an Aspen Executive Leadership alumnus and a UConn MPA Fellow. She was an inaugural recipient of the 100 New England Women of Color Award and has been recognized by the CT Commission on Children, YMCA, Urban League of Greater Hartford and the CT NAACP. A resident of Hartford, she is the proud mother of a kindergarten teacher and wife of a law enforcement officer.
Robert Cordero has served as Executive Director Grand St. Settlement since 2015. With an operating budget that increased from $15M to $35M during the first five years of his tenure, Robert works to guide the growth of a historic settlement house in its next 100 years of service in the Lower East Side and throughout Brooklyn. He prods himself and others to think creatively about innovative solutions that amplify impact, all while remaining focused on Grand Street’s mission, vision, culture and values in service to over 10,000 low income New Yorkers annually.
Robert got his start as a public school educator and community organizer in Chicago. He received the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Leadership Prize for outstanding work in the fields of health and harm reduction services in 2012, later completing the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program at the Anderson School of Management as the former President and Chief Program Officer of BOOM! Health in the Bronx, New York.
Kassandra Frederique is the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national nonprofit that works to end the war on drugs—which has disproportionately harmed Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities—and build alternatives grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights.
During her time at DPA, Frederique has built and led innovative campaigns around policing, the overdose crisis, and marijuana legalization—each with a consistent racial justice focus. Her advocacy, and all of the Drug Policy Alliance’s work, lies at the intersection of health, equity, autonomy, and justice. She has mobilized cities to rethink their approach to drug policy from the ground up, and has helped bring the dialogue around safer consumption spaces to the national level through strategic organizing and partner development. Among other victories, Frederique was the architect of the campaign that cut the number of New York City marijuana arrests by more than 99% since 2010, curtailing the city’s infamous reign as the marijuana arrest capital of the country.
Caprice Taylor Mendez
Caprice Taylor Mendez has dedicated 24 years of her career to systemic change for greater social justice, working with historically disenfranchised communities in Boston, throughout Connecticut and nationally. Prior to joining New Haven Promise, she served as the Youth Service Director for the City of New Haven under former mayor John DeStefano, managing a $1.8-million budget for the City of New Haven. She also has experience with non-profits and youth development institutions focused on community organizing, policy advocacy and strategic planning. Caprice Hosts “Together, We Can /Juntos, Podemos” 103.5 FM and Facebook Live at La Voz Hispana Connecticut on Mondays from 3- 4 PM, New Haven CT Together We Can / Juntos Podemos is a bilingual show celebrating co-creators and initiatives for a kinder and more just world.
Kenyatta Muzzanni was apart of Katal staff for nearly 5 years and most recently served as director of organizing. Her experiences growing up in Brooklyn exposed her to disparities in police surveillance, access to educational opportunities, and overall outcomes for people in her neighborhood. These inequities ultimately helped propel her to challenge the justice system.
Since joining the team in 2018, Kenyatta has worked with members on issues including mass incarceration, drug policy, and housing. As Katal’s first on-the-ground organizer in Connecticut, she helped build the statewide membership base and supported the development of other organizers in the field through our BLOC Roundtable. During that time, she also played an instrumental role in the formation of the Connecticut Criminal Justice Reform Field Scan, a road map for organizers, policy makers, and activists. As the director of organizing with Katal, Kenyatta is working extensively on the #LessIsMoreNY campaign, the #FreeThemNowCT & #FreeThemNowNY campaigns, and the #CutShutINVEST campaign with our organizers.
Prior to joining Katal, Kenyatta worked as a workforce developer at Roca Inc. in Springfield, Massachusetts. In that role she facilitated workforce readiness groups with young people impacted by the justice system. In Springfield, she witnessed the same disparities she had seen in Brooklyn, a reality that shaped Kenyatta’s path toward justice. Previous internship experiences also pointed her in that direction. Before coming to Katal, she interned with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on prison suicide prevention strategies, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services on statewide suicide prevention policy, and with Massachusetts State Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow) on criminal justice reform and constituent cases in his district.
A self-described East Coast nomad, Kenyatta holds a bachelor’s of science in psychology from Juniata College and a master’s of social work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Outside of work, Kenyatta enjoys reading, skateboarding in her neighborhood, and reruns of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Dorsey is a leading expert with over 40 years of professional experience in criminal justice reform. He is the first formerly incarcerated director of a public interest law office in California. Dorsey was sentenced to life in the California Department of Corrections when he was 19 years old. He paroled in 1981 and discharged from parole in 1984. Under his leadership LSPC has made significant advances including the development of the Elder Freeman Policy Fellowship, legal victories including the Ashker lawsuit that ended long term solitary confinement in California, and policy victories including numerous Ban the Box laws passed at the local, state, and federal levels, the end of shackling of pregnant women, and the biggest drug sentencing reform passed by the CA legislature in recent history (SB 180).
Prior to becoming Executive Director, he worked as a paralegal, community organizer, and program manager at LSPC and as a paralegal at the Prison Law Office. Dorsey’s leadership has helped to establish several local and national institutions and movement building projects including All of Us or None, Free at Last, Critical Resistance, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement. His commitment to anti-racist organizing is international. He has visited numerous international prisons including prisons in El Salvador, New Zealand, and South Africa. He has also served on delegations to international conferences including The International Conference on Prison Abolition in Canada and The International Conference on Youth in Cuba.
Lisa Puglisi, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale University where she practices primary care and addiction medicine. She is the director of Transitions Clinic-New Haven. Her clinical practice includes treatment of addiction and hepatitis C in primary care and she also oversees a medical legal partnership. She has developed specific skills in training, hiring and supervising community health workers and directing interdisciplinary teams of physicians, midlevel providers, community health workers, research personnel and legal colleagues around the work of clinical care and research to improve the health of people with recent incarceration. She has expertise in building and maintaining strong ties with community organizations and partners including the Connecticut Department of Correction. Lisa received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University, her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed her medical training at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Lisa Raville grew up outside of Chicago, IL and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Women’s Studies. Lisa is the Executive Director of the Harm Reduction Action Center, a public health agency that works with people who inject drugs. Lisa has been with HRAC since 2009. Lisa’s activist voice was cultivated with her experiences as an overnight homeless shelter coordinator, development work at a domestic violence agency, a former campaign manager for a CA County Supervisor, and an AmeriCorps VISTA at an AIDS agency.
Lisa is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. Lisa is the co-chair of the Naloxone workgroup for the Colorado Consortium on Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. Lisa is on the Board of the New Leaders Council Denver and is the VP of Membership for a local Toastmasters chapter. In 2014, Lisa won the Colorado Public Health Association Award for Excellence in Policy.
Raegan Seely is a British writer, singer, poet, performer and teaching artist whose mission is to empower people to own their stories. She is based in New York City. Raegan is an official TED speaker and has performed alongside the likes of Ice-T, Shane Koyczan, Kate Tempest and Judah & The Lion, in a plethora of venues ranging from classrooms to stadiums, including Central Park Summer Stage, Kate Spade, The Rainbow Room and Wells Fargo Arena.
She has written, edited and coached on memoirs, TED Talks, op-eds and dissertations, and is in equal parts a coach, educator, advocate and artist. Born in the UK, Raegan relocated to New York City in 2015 as a Fulbright scholar. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, and a Master of Fine Arts from The New School.
Raegan was the recipient of a P.E.O International Peace Scholarship in 2016 for her work to create more educational opportunities for young women, and was also a Women’s International Leadership Fellow, and Resident Fellow for three years at the International House of New York. She was a TNP Fellow at The Nantucket Project in 2017, a TED Resident in 2018 and the Fulbright NY Alumnus in Residence in 2019.
As CEO & Founder of Sinclair Social, Ayme’s passion for wanting to improve human and environmental well-being is placed in the core of the company’s mission. She has over 15 years of experience in marketing in the social enterprise, luxury merchandising and publishing industries. Ayme has had key roles at WWD, GQ Magazine, Estée Lauder and Stanton working hand-in-hand with Architectural Digest, Henri Bendel, General Electric and the NFL Players Association. In her free time Ayme sails competitively on the race team SAIL SWEET CAROLINE
Robert is an NCSU consultant and their National Coordinator. In 2019 he led the crowd of participants in West Virginia during both the candlelight vigil’s name calling and the die-in at the park. He has been involved in creating an “Onboarding” program for harm reduction, and is now involved in the creation of AVOCACY ACADEMY.
As the AVP of the Fortune Society, Andre Ward has managerial oversight of every aspect of Fortune’s robust employment and educational programs, including implementing a strategic vision that creates synergy and a continuum of services between the two units. Key among his responsibilities are using best practices and evidence-based interventions that improve Fortune’s existing programming. Specific goals include increasing the rate of job placement for Fortune clients, as well as decreasing time to placement, enhancing rates of retention, increasing starting and current salaries, and increasing skills and certification attainment. He also structures Fortune’s education services to improve literacy and math gains. As a member of Fortune’s Executive team, Mr. Ward also helps steer overall agency operation. Mr. Ward, who is formerly incarcerated, previously served as Director of Programs at Common Justice, an organization that develops and advances transformative solutions to violence and fosters racial equity without relying on incarceration, and at the Osborne Association, a policy advocacy and direct-service organization dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system.
Clifton Nathaniel Watson
Clifton Watson has managed youth development initiatives at Grand Street Settlement, Prep for Prep, and the Center for Supportive Schools (formerly the Princeton Center for Leadership Training). For nearly 7 years, he directed the Children’s Aid Society’s African American Male Initiative – launched in 2007 to addresses the disproportionate representation of black males in negative outcomes associated with education and the criminal justice system. Clifton was formerly a program manager at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation – where he oversaw the foundation’s grant-making in youth development and education. He is currently the director of Wesleyan University’s Jewett Center for Community Partnerships – which focuses on supporting the civic preparedness of Wesleyan students, while working with partners to create a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.
* Organizations listed for identification purposes only