CCEH has a dedicated Board of Directors with sixteen members who passionately work with the organization and advocate for the homeless of Connecticut and their service providers.
Executive Board Members
Omar Kouatly, President
Omar Kouatly is Microsoft’s Director of Premier Developer support services for the Northeast district of the USA. His responsibilities include new business development, customer satisfaction, hiring and managing a high performance consulting and support team. Omar joined Microsoft in 1997 and has held a number of leadership positions within the Microsoft Windows Server and System Center product groups. Prior to joining Microsoft, Omar was a founding member of the Price Waterhouse Insurance Software Division. Omar is active in the community and serves as the Recorder Officer of the St. Jude Council for the Knights of Columbus in Coventry CT. He teaches 2nd grade catechism, is a lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Mary’s church in Coventry. He is the Committee Chair and Wolf den leader for the Mansfield Cub Scouts and an assistant baseball coach for Mansfield Little League.
Belinda Arce-Lopez, Vice President
Belinda Arce-Lopez currently serves as the Program Director of the Center for Human Development’s (CHD) Region 5 area, which operates supportive housing programs, homeless day drop in center, community integration programs as well as intensive residential support programs. She has also served as the Co- Chair of Waterbury’s Continuum of Care for the last ten years. Before beginning her work at CHD, she was the Director of the Section 8 Department for the Waterbury Housing Authority for seven years. She has a five year old son Joshua, she’s approaching her 10 year wedding anniversary, and is a proud resident of Waterbury.
Peter DeBiasi, Treasurer
Peter DeBiasi has since March 2005 served as the President/CEO of The Access Community Action Agency, the state and federally designated anti-poverty agency in northeast CT. He is also an Adjunct Professor in UConn’s Master of Public Administration Program. Peter began his 40 year career in human services working in homeless shelters and soup kitchens. He has also taught High School in inner-city Boston, directed large-scale annual and capital fundraising campaigns, and provided staff leadership in community-based nonprofits and the statewide CT Council of Family Service Agencies. Under Peter’s leadership over the past 12 years, Access operated a 50-60 bed emergency shelter while strategically focusing on providing access to permanent affordable housing because of the critical role it plays for under-resourced individuals and families moving toward increased economic self-reliance. Additionally, Access is also growing its commitment to a second critical element needed to achieve and sustain economic stability – providing access to, including the creation of, good paying jobs. Peter was appointed as the first nonprofit leader to Co-Chair the Governor’s Cabinet on Nonprofit Health and Human Services, and his is currently the Board Chair of the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance. His formal education includes a Bachelor Degree from Boston College, and a Master Degree from Harvard University.
Tanya Barrett, Secretary
Tanya Barrett is the Senior Vice President of 2-1-1 Health and Human Services (HHS), a program of the United Way of Connecticut which helps meet the needs of CT residents by providing information, education, and connection to services. Tanya began working with United Way 2-1-1, providing telephone information and referrals to health and social services programs, in 1998. Over the past 19 years, she has served in various roles within the organization. She currently oversees the 2-1-1 HHS division and specialty units, 211 Housing, Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services and Child Development Infoline. In addition, she Co-Chairs the 211 US Steering Committee; a select group of national 211 leaders that works together with the two national leadership organizations(The Alliance for Information and Referral Services and United Way Worldwide)to advance it’s mission to ensure that 211 is “excellent, everywhere and always.” Prior to her work at 2-1-1 she worked in child protection and in employment services for the mentally ill. She serves on the Board of Klingberg Family Centers and the Connecticut Health Foundation. She holds a Masters Degree in Counseling/Human Resource Development from the University of Bridgeport and a Bachelors degree in Social Work from Western CT State University.
Since July 2019, Michele Conderino, MSW, has served as Executive Director at Open Doors in Norwalk. Prior to her role at Open Doors, Ms. Conderino has worked for nearly two decades in homeless, human services, and mental health services, including as the Regional Director for Northern Fairfield County and Director of Homeless Services at Catholic Charities.
Since 1974, Mary Conklin has been a staff attorney with a primary focus on housing law at Connecticut Legal Services. Mary has dedicated her career to improving the lives of low-income people by providing access to legal services and justice. In addition to her work at CT Legal Services, she is also a fellow with the Connecticut Bar Foundation and a member of the Connecticut Bar Association. Mary serves on a number of boards and committees including the board of New Opportunities, Inc. and the Waterbury Homelessness Collaborative. She has served on numerous boards previously including the CT Housing Coalition including as Board Chair from 2017-2018, as well as on the State of Connecticut Citizen’s Advisory Council on Housing Matters, 2014-2018. She earned her J.D. from Duke University School of Law and her Bachelors degree from State University of New York at Buffalo.
Anderson Curtis serves as a Smart Justice Field Organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT). In his role, Anderson is tasked with mobilizing and expanding the ACLU Smart Justice Connecticut campaign through strategic public engagement, identification, education, and recruitment of supports and volunteers to participate in ending mass incarceration in Connecticut. Anderson is a proud alumnus of Gateway Community College Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor (DARC) and was the DARC 2009 Student of the Year. He recently completed the Community Foundation of New Haven’s Neighborhood Leadership program. Anderson developed Life Support, which is a Pilot program funded by Community Foundation and an extension of his mentoring of men on parole, helping them navigate their reentry. After 12 years of seeking paths of healing and freedom, Anderson lives with hope and dignity, despite barriers to employment and housing from the collateral consequences of incarceration, by being a voice for the unheard and uninvited.
David R. Fay
David R. Fay took over as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Bushnell in June 2001. He is responsible for the execution of policy, the operation of The Bushnell’s facilities and programs and management of its more than $20 million annual operating activity. From 2014 – 2016, he also assumed the role of CEO of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra when The Bushnell entered into a long-term management agreement with the Symphony. Previously, Fay was President of the Canadian Producing Division of SFX Theatrical Group and Executive Director of the Pantages Theatre in Toronto. Fay also spent 15 years as the President and CEO of Fox Associates in St. Louis, Missouri. Under his leadership, the private partnership grew from a company operating a single theater (Fox Theatre) that was losing money, to a diversified entertainment company with multiple venues in St. Louis (The Fox Theatre and the St. Charles Family Arena) and Chicago (the Briar Street Theatre and The Cadillac Palace Theatre). He also formed Fox Theatricals, which produced shows on and off-Broadway, some of which toured nationally, including Jekyll and Hyde and Death of a Salesman (Tony Award for Best Play, 1999). Fay has a master’s degree in Theater Arts from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He lives in Cromwell. Fay is currently on the Board of Corporators of Hartford Hospital.
Lou has been a nonprofit manager since starting his career in the sector in 1993 after completing an MA in Theology. He first worked at the agency in 1998-99 as Director of Administration and left to become Executive Director of a youth program which contracted with the State Department of Children and Families. After nearly a decade and half of leadership there, he returned to ImmaCare to become Executive Director in the fall of 2013. He arrived during a period of intense change in the housing and homelessness field and has been very active helping position ImmaCare for the future. He has been a resident of the City of Hartford for more than twenty years.
After a nearly forty-year distinguished career in law enforcement, Keith Mello was appointed the 9th Chief of Police of the Milford Police Department in April 2006. In his leadership role, Chief Mello has partnered closely with Beth-El Center, municipal departments, and other community organizations in developing a compassionate and collaborative response to people experiencing homelessness in Milford. He currently serves as the President of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association.
Mike Lawlor is a nationally recognized expert on criminal justice reform which was a major focus of his 24 years as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives and as former Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning in the Office of Policy and Management. Elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1986 representing East Haven’s 99th district, he chaired the House Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2011, taking a leadership role in a wide variety of criminal justice reforms, including a law that established rights for crime victims. He was a founding board member of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, and he’s served on numerous national criminal justice reform commissions. He also led the push for legislation that made Connecticut the second state in the nation to pass a law allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.
Beth Mecteau has been with the CT REALTORS® Association, the largest trade association in Connecticut with more than 17,000 members across the state, since 1989. Over the last 30 years, she has served in a variety of capacities with the Association, most recently as its Director of Executive and Foundation Programs for the last 5 years. In this role, Beth is responsible for organizational governance and serves as Director of the CT REALTORS® Care Foundation, a charitable 501c3 that was founded primarily to provide disaster relief and award scholarships to high school/college students. In recent years, the Foundation’s efforts have been expanded to include programs aimed at addressing hunger, homelessness, animal and child welfare. Beth has been involved with CCEH for 3 years now through the CT REALTORS® Care Foundation’s sponsorship of the be homeful for the holidays campaign. She also serves on CCEH’s Private Sector Working Group. Through both of these experiences, Beth has developed a strong interest in and support of CCEH’s work to end homelessness in Connecticut. Beth and her husband of 29 years reside in East Hartford and are also dedicated animal rescue supporters, fostering many dogs over the last several years and they enjoy helping them find their forever homes. She believes everyone deserves a place to call home.
Jennifer Paradis has served as the Executive Director of the Beth-El Center, Inc. since June 2018. Previous to this position, Jennifer served as the Director of Programs and Facilities at Beth-El Center, Inc. since 2015. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Applied Social Relations from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2009 and received her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Non-Profit Management. The work of Beth-El Center, Inc. has most recently shifted to using Outreach and Engagement efforts as a broader system to engage community partners and build coalitions, creating community-based support and systemic change.
Since 2011, Brian Preleski has served as State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New Britain. Mr. Preleski has helped to lead efforts to reduce prosecution and incarceration among people with behavioral health needs including those experiencing homelessness, including launching the Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) initiative in New Britain.
Carl Schiessl is an accomplished attorney and advocate with rich and diverse experience as legal and compliance counselor to healthcare, insurance, financial services, and manufacturing companies, a former elected state official, a volunteer in public service, and an instructor in legislative process. At the Connecticut Hospital Association, Carl advises hospitals and other healthcare institutions on all legislative and regulatory matters, with special emphasis on patient care regulation, children’s health, and mental health and substance use issues. He has been a principal spokesperson for the hospital industry with state and federal agencies and other oversight entities on an array of healthcare issues. Carl is a chair of the Connecticut Children’s Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board. He is a member of the Connecticut Department of Insurance Behavioral Health Working Group and the Department of Public Health Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) Advisory Group. Carl was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives six times, serving as chairman of the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee, as Deputy Majority Leader, and Vice Chairman of the Public Health Committee. He also worked in the Connecticut State Senate for six years. Carl is presently a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law, teaching legislative process and instructing a legislative clerkship field placement program.
Tressa Spears Jackson is the vice president of Community Affairs & Corporate Communications at Community Health Network of Connecticut, Inc. (CHNCT), the medical Administrative Services Organization (ASO) for the state’s HUSKY Health program. For more than 22 years, Tressa has served in a variety of capacities within the organization, including 13 years as the Executive Director of Community Health Network of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. Tressa is a proud resident of New Haven, with a long history of community service. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Fund for Women & Girls, is vice-chair of the Delta Foundation of Greater New Haven, and is a very active member of the New Haven Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Tressa earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Design and Resource Management and her graduate degree from Southern Connecticut State University in Urban Planning Management.