Our Staff

Fekadu Adbeb

ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATE

Fekadu is a recent immigrant to the United States from Ethiopia, where he worked as an accountant for two decades. His accounting experience includes processing payroll, banking, billings, account receivables/payables & preparing financial statements. Fekadu has been working with IMPACT since the spring of 2015 to support with accounting duties and is now a part time employee.

Christopher Beard

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Christopher L. Beard is a visionary change catalyst with over 20 years of effective leadership experience in both the government and nonprofit sectors. Prior to his selection as Executive Director at IMPACT, Chris held senior leadership positions with the DC government as Head Start State Collaboration Director and Associate Director at ONSE. As director at National Fatherhood Initiative, Chris managed national programs focusing on incarcerated fathers and capacity building programs. Other significant roles highlighting his multifaceted experience in strategic planning, program management, community engagement, and data analytics include the Interim Executive Director at 100 Fathers, Inc., and most recently, managing a portfolio of clients on the Grow with Google Fund for Justice-Impacted Communities project. Chris is also a published author. Chris holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California and will be graduating next year with a MSc in Major Program Management from the Oxford University Saïd Business School, UK.

Daniel Centeno

IMPACT SPORTS MANAGER / NETWORK BUILDER

Daniel Centeno, a native from El Salvador, has lived in Maryland since 2005. Daniel is the IMPACT Sports Manager, and has been involved in the sports program since 2015. Daniel also leads the Culinary Training Classes as part of IMPACT's Trade Academy. His bi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led him to a number of opportunities and community leadership roles. Daniel received his Associates degree in Culinary Arts at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg; is CPR and First Aid certified; has completed the course for the ``A`` Soccer and Referee licenses with the U.S Soccer Federation; and has over 15 years of sports experience and has worked with kids of all ages and demographic groups and continues to build a safe environment where kids can have fun and learn how to work together to create a better community.

Javier Chavez

NETWORK BUILDER

Javier Chavez is an immigrant from La Paz, Bolívia, an organizer, former educator, and father of three children. He's called Gaithersburg home since 2002 and continues to give back to the community that has given him so much. He’s done this through his experiences as a lead volunteer tenant canvasser for Everyday Canvassing, former English professor at Centro Boliviano Americano Institute, and founder of a Latino parent teacher group called PALA at Gaithersburg High School. Javier was recently certified in Support Coordination & Case Management Training from Virginia Commonwealth University. In his free time, Javier likes to listen to classic rock and play instruments with his children.

Carmen Hernandez

SENIOR NETWORK BUILDER

Carmen Hernandez is without doubt the most seasoned community builder ever to serve on the IMPACT Staff. She is originally from El Salvador, where she worked with the administration and faculty at the Central American University on various community building/engagement projects. Carmen has been in the United States for 16 years, and worked for three years as a lead organizer with Tenants & Workers United in Virginia. She has worked with IMPACT Silver Spring since 2011.

Oneyda Hernandez

NETWORK BUILDER

Oneyda began working with IMPACT Silver Spring in the summer of 2021. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw a need for essential resources and services for at-risk communities and filled it by founding Audelia Community, a mutual aid program dedicated to assisting underserved community members in Montgomery and Prince George’s County. Audelia Community first partnered with IMPACT to coordinate COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics to ensure low- income and uninsured communities had access to the vaccine. Oneyda later joined IMPACT as a Long Branch Network Builder. Currently, she is pursuing a BA in Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She hopes to continue working with community members to eliminate barriers to access including food insecurity and scarcity of resources. Oneyda is a native of El Salvador. She moved to Maryland when she was four years old and speaks both Spanish and English.

Harold Hill

NETWORK BUILDER

Harold is a DC native and Briggs Chaney local who started community engagement work with motivational speaking in prison half-way housing in Washington DC to re-entry inmates. His motivational speaking grew to include audiences at churches, schools, and other organizations. In addition to his work with returning citizens, Harold is also a housing justice activist who has testified before the Montgomery County Council and is a member of the Montgomery County Racial Equity (MORE) Network’s housing committee. Along with being a part-time Network Builder in East County for IMPACT, Harold is also an organizer for partner organization Everyday Canvassing. Harold’s favorite proverb is: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care!”

Renée Katz

NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR

Renée is a graduate of Montgomery County Public Schools and the University of MD at College Park, where she majored in philosophy and English. She continued her studies with graduate coursework in the Philosophy and Social Policy program at American University. She served three years on the Countywide Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, and has led several all-volunteer nonprofits in the Burtonsville area. With a career background in federal court reporting and transcription as well as bookkeeping, Renée brings a variety of skills to the Network Administrator position.

Wilfredo Medrano

ASST. IMPACT SPORTS MANAGER

Wilfredo Antonio Medrano, who goes by Will, was born in Houston TX, and came to Montgomery County when he was 3. He has been coaching soccer alongside his brother since 2007, and has enjoyed every moment of it! He prides himself on teaching kids not only the beautiful sport, but also the fundamentals of life and how soccer can apply. He has been married for 18 years and together, he and his wife have 3 kids--a 17 year-old daughter, (A senior at Blake HS), 12 year-old son, and a 4 year-old son. His full-time job is with the National Institutes of Health as a Physical Science Tech and he currently attends Lakeshore Technical College where he is studying Health Physics. He really enjoys working for Impact and feels he can make a difference in the community.

Sara Mussie

SENIOR NETWORK BUILDER

Sara has been with IMPACT since 2007 and has over 15 years in deep community development and organizing with IMPACT. She began her work as a facilitator working with immigrant parents through the IMPACT in the Schools program and became the lead organizer of IMPACT’s Parent Educator Program before moving to her work with the Family Asset Building Network. Sara currently works as the Senior Network Builder in Long Branch. Sara is a native of Ethiopia and, in addition to English she speaks Amharic and Tigrinya.

Michael Rubin

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Michael joined IMPACT Silver Spring in 2014 as Managing Director and served as Interim Executive Director from January 2022 to August 2023. He was previously employed with the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes as their Director of Operations, and has over 30 years of experience in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. Michael has an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University. He is currently the Treasurer of Crossroads Community Food Network and We Achieve, a developmental disabilities service provider. He is also a founding member of the Resolve Financial Services Cooperative, a virtual worker-owned cooperative providing bookkeeping, business and cooperative technical assistance services. At IMPACT, Michael has demonstrated a capacity for strategic financial management, contracts management, and program management. Additionally, Michael works with the entire staff to ensure organizational and program fidelity, oversees IMPACT sports operations and provides technical assistance to cooperatives and entrepreneurs.

Valerie Salazar

SENIOR NETWORK BUILDER, ECONOMIC EQUITY

Valerie Salazar joined IMPACT as a Local Economy Networker in the winter of 2018. She got involved with IMPACT in 2017 as a founding member and administrative manager of the Montgomery Community Investment Cooperative, the first cooperative initiative in Montgomery County. Valerie has a B.A. in Business Administration with a minor in Theology, a C.S.C in Business Information Technology, and advanced proficiency in Spanish. She also has a background in community organizing, accounts, and program management. Valerie understands local economic support varies among individuals, neighborhoods, and communities. She is centered on working towards building a bridge between economic justice and supporting the creation of democratic workplaces through providing technical support to cooperatives, small businesses, and entrepreneurs by building relationships with community members, empowering personal and local capacity, and providing business development support and relevant business skills countywide.

Lanita Whitehurst

SENIOR ORGANIZER, SPECIAL PROJECTS

Lanita has worked as a fundraiser, project manager, and event planner for non-profits for more than 20 years. Before coming to IMPACT, she worked for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) as Director of Special Projects and worked as a consultant on projects including the national AIDS/HIV Youth Summit, the NASBE New State Board Member Institute, and several State Superintendent of Education searches. Lanita has a BA in English from North Carolina State University. Lanita has been involved in the IMPACT Network since 2009, initially working as a community builder with the Thriving Multicultural Schools Project. She has worn several hats at the organization including East County Network Builder, Director of Development, and Network Coach. She now serves the organization as a Senior Organizer who supports IMPACT's communications, reporting, and special projects.