Meet the Connect the Dots Team | Stakeholder Engagement for Impact
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Our Team

Meet our amazing, interdisciplinary team

Per project, our team expands beyond our core members to include experienced facilitators, researchers, engagement and design experts. For our community-based projects in particular, we work to include community members as an extended part of our team to ensure that our approach is representative, inclusive and rooted in the local area.

Marisa Denker

Founder + President

Marisa Denker is the founder and CEO of Connect the Dots. Evolving from Marisa’s Fulbright project in 2014, Connect the Dots now operates across the East Coast in the US and continues to have a sister branch in Dublin, Ireland. Marisa brings deep expertise in engagement design, design thinking, inclusive public outreach, strategic communications, stakeholder management, and project management.

She holds an MA in Design Practice from Dublin University (via her Fulbright fellowship) and a BA Urban Studies and English from University of Pennsylvania where she graduated as Phi Beta Kappa. Marisa additionally serves as an adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania of her course Participatory Cities. She also co-founded A Playful City, a nonprofit in Ireland focused on co-creating playful, inclusive public spaces for all ages.

Rosanne Lubeck


Rosanne Lubeck leads cross-sector and transportation-focused planning projects, focusing on goals-based consensus building, inclusive outreach processes, and creative tailored engagement tools. Rosanne earned a Masters in Community Planning from University of Maryland in College Park, and has since worked in the transportation field for the City of Chicago and economic development organizations in the Washington, DC area.

Rosanne’s planning work is informed by a prior decade-long career in advocacy and public relations. Her varied experience prioritizes high-quality communication, detailed project management, and innovative participatory processes.

Sylvia Garcia-Garcia

Project Manager

Sylvia Garcia-Garcia runs a variety of stakeholder and community engagement projects at Connect the Dots. She is a bicultural multilingual experienced social impact professional, passionate about centering inclusion and sustainability. Sylvia holds a Master’s in Strategic Thinking from Tec de Monterrey and has since worked as a consultant and project manager across sectors and countries.

Her 15-years long career in social impact and collective change informs her work as does prioritizing knowledge sharing as key when creating social impact. She works guided by the idea that the future is created today.

Lily Goodspeed

Senior Associate

Lily Goodspeed is a Senior Associate at Connect the Dots and most recently worked at SEAMAAC as Community Building and Planning Coordinator in South Philadelphia. Before that, she worked as Outreach Coordinator at scout (the urban design firm redeveloping the Bok building) and at Philly 3.0.

In 2020, she completed a Masters at Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania and has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University. She has also worked in real estate, adaptive reuse development, marketing, communications, and community organizing in Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Mexico City. On the weekends, she writes comics, volunteers, explores, and runs a street art project called Plaque to the Future.

Michael Gulino

Project Assistant

Mickey Gulino is a Project Assistant at Connect the Dots, and assists with resource development, analysis and reporting, and outreach coordination. He has specialized in fostering non-profit connections, positive volunteerism, culturally informed engagement, and equitable education. Mickey is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in Urban Studies. He is also a current master’s student at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a M.S.Ed in Education, Culture, and Society.

With a passion for urban studies, education, and non-profits, he has sought to link non-profit and educational spaces to advocate for equitable, informed, and engaged urban landscapes. He has gained the majority of his experience in the non-profit world working for immigrant advocacy organizations and through his non-profit initiative connecting student volunteers and non-profits organizations in West Philadelphia. Concurrently, as an avid teacher, Mickey recognizes the value of discourse and participation, and seeks to incorporate these experiences to inform best practices and support equitable community engagement and participatory design.

Jasmin Velez

Outreach Strategist

Jasmin Velez is part of Connect the Dots Outreach team, designing outreach strategy and overseeing outreach plans. Jasmin is an applied practicing anthropologist and an almost life-long resident of the Kensington neighborhood. She grew up in Puerto Rico and moved to Philadelphia when she was only five years old. She graduated from Abington Friends High School on a full scholarship, and later attended Bloomsburg University of PA, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology. After completing her bachelor’s, she continued her education at the University of Colorado Denver where she received her master’s in Medical Anthropology. Missing the diversity of her community and the east-coast city vibes, she returned to Philadelphia following her studies and moved back to her neighborhood to begin her career.

She has been working in the Community Development/Engagement Sector for several years throughout North Philadelphia with her projects focusing on community beautification, community gardening, and environmental stewardship and justice. Jasmin is a vocal activist in the Kensington community and has been outspoken about the injustices surrounding the opioid crisis responses, the massive gentrification that’s taking place, and overall concerns around public health and safety. She is passionate that her community can thrive and deserves the same treatment as other communities. Jasmin is currently working and living in the Kensington neighborhood.

Keyana Johnson

Outreach Assistant

Keyana Johnson is part of Connect the Dots Outreach team, conducting outreach activities including on-the-ground events. She is an undergraduate at Temple University majoring in Global Studies with a concentration in Cultures and is also seeking a minor in Community Development. She is skilled in grassroots community engagement and outreach with a devotion to capacity building and empowerment.

She has centered applying these scholarships to projects focused directly on her surrounding West Philadelphia community. These include creating and advising on the condition of street trees for a major commercial corridor streetscape revitalization initiative, and planning and implementing an engagement strategy for updating a business district corridor revitalization proposal. Currently, Keyana can be found acting as a community ambassador for expanding the Indego bike share program throughout Philadelphia.

Alexandra Zazula

Outreach Associate | Translator

Alexandra Zazula is part of Connect the Dots Outreach team, serving as an on-the-ground facilitator at community-based events, and professional translator. She specializes in strategic communication, data collection and visualization, and grassroots engagement with diverse communities. She is a summa cum laude graduate of New York University in Metropolitan Studies and holds a Master of City & Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

She gained the majority of her experience working at nonprofit organizations, ranging from a Bronx community board to a waterfront development corporation in Philadelphia. She became bilingual during her time working in migration and community development at a human rights organization in El Salvador. Now based in Philly, she uses her experience in Central America to apply a lens of social justice to fostering more inclusive environments.

Our team also expands beyond our core members to include additional experienced facilitators, researchers, designers, and more. We often include community members as an extended part of our team to ensure that our approach is representative, inclusive and rooted in the local area.

To meet our team in Ireland, click here.