Support and Resources for COVID-19

Leadership & Staff


Governance Advisory Board Staff


Julie_Alleyne.jpg   Julie Alleyne: Currently, Ms. Alleyne is the CEO of a startup Deposit Group, of which she is a co-founder. The company is providing alternatives to the cash security deposit for renters. Prior to Deposit Group, Julie Alleyne served as a Director in the Bond Claim Department of The Hartford, where she managed a team of attorneys and claim professionals. She was with The Hartford from 2002 to 2011, prior to which she was in-house counsel with Travelers. She has focused her career in the area of Construction, Surety and Fidelity law for over 17 years, originally starting in private practice in CT. Ms. Alleyne is a regular speaker at industry conferences and contributing author for industry publications, including the ABA Torts and Insurance Practices Section's Fidelity and Surety Law Committee and the Pearlman Conference in Seattle, WA.  She received her B.A. from Drew University in 1992 and her J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law in 1995.

Bethany Berger: Professor Bethany Berger is a widely read scholar of Property Law and Legal History and one of the leading federal Indian Law scholars in the country.  She is a co-author and member of the Editorial Board of Felix S. Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law, the foundational treatise in the field, and co-author of leading casebooks in both Property Law and American Indian Law.  Her articles have appeared in the Michigan Law ReviewCalifornia Law ReviewUCLA Law Review, and the Duke Law Journal, among other publications, and have been excerpted and discussed in many casebooks and edited collections as well as in briefs to the Supreme Court and testimony before Congress. Professor Berger graduated with honors from Wesleyan University, where she was elected to phi beta kappa, and from Yale Law School.  After law school, Professor Berger went to the Navajo and Hopi Nations to serve as the Director of the Native American Youth Law Project of DNA-People's Legal Services.  There, she conducted litigation challenging discrimination against Indian children, drafted and secured the passage of tribal laws affecting children, and helped to create a Navajo alternative to detention program.  She then became Managing Attorney of Advocates for Children of New York, where she worked on impact litigation and policy reform concerning the rights of children in public education. At the University of Connecticut School of Law, Professor Berger teaches American Indian Law, Property, Tribal Law, and Conflict of Laws.  She is also the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law, a chair named for one of America’s greatest poets, a lawyer who lived and worked in Hartford for most of his life.  She has served as a judge for the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals and as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and the University of Michigan Law School.


Robert Hinton: Robert C. Hinton has extensive experience in all phases of commercial and complex litigation and employment law counseling and is a member of Pullman & Comley LLC's Labor, Employment Law & Employee Benefits Department.  He has represented a wide range of clients from small business owners to Fortune 500 companies. He regularly litigates and counsels on breach of contract claims; employment discrimination claims; non-compete litigation; wage and hour claims; Family Medical Leave Act claims; ERISA benefit denial of disability claims; enforcement/execution of domestic and foreign judgments; recovery of funds, assets, and property; commercial landlord/tenant matters; unfair and/or deceptive trade practices; and fraudulent conveyances.  Prior to beginning his legal career, Bob served more than eight years on active duty in the United States Army. 


Anthony De Jesús: Dr. De Jesús is an Assistant Professor of Social Work and Latino Community Practice and Director of Field Education for the new MSW Program at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT. Dr. De Jesús has extensive experience as a social work practitioner, administrator and researcher in urban schools, community based organizations, and institutions of higher education and previously served as an Assistant Professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and as a researcher and Interim Director at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. Dr. De Jesús holds an Ed.D. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an MSW from the Boston University School of Social Work and a BSW from Dominican College. Dr. De Jesús’ current research focuses on examining pathway models into health and social work careers for Latinos, the post-secondary experiences of Latinos within higher education, the effectiveness of cultural competence training in child welfare and the evaluation of supportive housing and mental health services provided to formerly incarcerated women.


Makaela Kingsley: Makaela Kingsley is the Director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneuership at Wesleyan University. Makaela (Steinberg) Kingsley graduated from Wesleyan in 1998 with a degree in Neuroscience & Behavior. After a brief stint doing public relations for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, she returned to Wesleyan, in 2000, to join the Alumni & Parent Relations team, before becoming the Director of the Patricelli Center in 2013. She has served on boards for Middletown’s North End Action Team, the Neighborhood Preschool, and the Wesleyan Alumni Association, and she has been a judge for the Echoing Green Fellowship and a mentor for Startup Weekend. Currently residing in Hamden, she still considers Middletown and New Haven two of her home cities.


Estela López: Estela R. López was previously the interim provost and senior vice president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System. Prior to her current appointment, she served as senior associate at Excelencia in Education, a non-profit organization committed to accelerating Latino student success. She is the former vice chancellor of academic affairs for the Connecticut State University System. She served in that capacity from 2002 to 2007. From 1997 to 2002, Ms. López was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). Prior to joining NEIU, Ms. López served as a senior associate at the American Association for Higher Education and as a senior fellow at the American Council on Education while on a year-long sabbatical. Ms. López is a board member of the Connecticut State Board of Education, and a past president of the board of the Fund for Greater Hartford Foundation. In addition, she serves on the board of United Way of Connecticut, Bay Path University, and the Latino Endowment Fund of the Hartford Foundation. 


J. L. Pottenger, Jr.: Professor Pottenger, is the Nathan Baker Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney at Yale Law School. His subjects include housing and community development, legislative advocacy, prison legal services, trial practice, landlord/tenant law, and professional responsibility. Professor Pottenger received his A.B. from Princeton and his J.D. from Yale.


John Relman:Mr. Relman is the founder and director of Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC.  Mr. Relman has represented scores of plaintiffs and public interest organizations in individual and class action discrimination cases in federal court.  Prior to the formation of the firm, Mr. Relman served as project director of the Fair Housing Project at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.  Under his leadership the project achieved national recognition, winning some of the largest housing, lending, and public accommodations discrimination jury verdicts and settlements obtained in the country.  Prior to joining the Lawyers' Committee, Mr. Relman worked as a staff attorney at the National Office of the Lawyers' Committee.  Mr. Relman received a A.B. from Harvard University, cum laude, and aJ.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.


Constance Royster: Constance L. Royster is the principal of Laurel Associates LLC. She is a recognized fundraising, education, nonprofit, and organizational leader. Ms. Royster served as the first ever director of major giving for WSHU National Public Radio station in Connecticut, and subsequently at Yale University, her alma mater, as associate director of development at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and then as director of development at the Yale Divinity School. Ms. Royster came to nonprofit work after a successful career as a lawyer, and is deeply committed to civic responsibility. She has been entrusted with leadership positions at numerous local, national, and international organizations. In addition to Open Communities Alliance, the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven’s Fund for Women and Girls, Federal Bar Council, Yale Alumni Fund, International Festival of Arts & Ideas, and Dwight Hall at Yale – The Center for Public Service and Social Justice are but a few of the boards that have benefited from her wisdom. Beyond her impressive career accomplishments, Ms. Royster brings to OCA her family’s deep civil rights legacy. Her aunt, Constance Baker Motley, was the first black female federal judge, and participated in drafting the complaint in Brown v. Board of Education. Ms. Royster and her extended family remain committed supporters of civil rights and social justice issues. Born and raised in New Haven, CT, Ms. Royster is a Fellow of Jonathan Edwards College at Yale. She received her juris doctor from Rutgers University Law School – Newark, and graduated with a B.A. cum laude from Yale University.

tegeler.png   Philip Tegeler:  Mr. Tegeler is the Executive Director of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, a civil rights policy organization convened by major civil rights, civil liberties, and anti-poverty groups. Mr. Tegeler is a civil rights lawyer with more than 25 years experience in fair housing, educational equity, land use law, and institutional reform litigation. Before coming to PRRAC, he was with the Connecticut ACLU, where he served as Legal Director from 1997-2003. He has also worked as Legal Projects Director at the Metropolitan Action Institute in New York City, and taught in the University of Connecticut School of Law clinical program. Mr. Tegeler is a graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia Law School. (Member of the Connecticut and District of Columbia Bar). 



Elected by the OCA Coalition


Bildade_Augustin.jpg    Bildade Augustin: I knew that as a single parent of a little girl I needed to figure out how to facilitate stability, and housing was a huge part of that. When I became a parent my daughter and I moved a total of 5 times in less than 4 years. Several of our moves were precipitated by our living conditions in Hartford. I had 2 vehicles stolen in a 9 month span, and I thought to myself, I can’t live like this. We then moved to another town, but anywhere outside of Hartford without the proper public transportation access was impossible. I struggled to provide financially for a period of time but eventually I was able to purchase a condo in a great suburb, purchase a car and stabilize our lives. Having lived in a town where I had experienced crime, it was definitely a huge difference living in a suburb that was still relatively accessible to work in the city, but also safer, and filled with activities and opportunities for my daughter and I to thrive as a family. We went to living in an area with 1 supermarket to a town where we lived between 2 major supermarkets, a few smaller markets, pharmacies, gas stations, restaurants, etc. I could walk to the park with my daughter and she could play outside, make friends, and get to know the neighbors.

I understand the importance of housing choice, because for a long time I also understood what it was like when your choices are limited. When you’re picking between the lesser of 2 evils either because you couldn’t afford a better situation, or because you didn’t know where to start. Open Community’s efforts are near and dear to my very experience and I’m hoping to be a part of a movement that facilitates empowerment through information and access. I’m looking forward to seeing families be empowered by choice and not dis-empowered by circumstances.


John Selders: The Right Reverend Doctor John L. Selders, Jr. is an ordained minister serving in the United Church of Christ, the Organizing Pastor of Amistad United Church of Christ, Hartford, CT, Associate College Chaplain, Trinity College, Hartford, CT and one of the leaders of Moral Monday CT.  For 15 years, he served Executive Director of Zezzo House (an 18 unit housing project) in Hartford, CT.

Bishop Selders is a founding member of Moral Monday CT, a grassroots statewide organization committed to a wide range of social justice issues. Bishop Selders has exhibited extraordinary commitment and dedication to a number of efforts that have afforded him the opportunity to travel across the country speaking, lecturing and conducting workshops in the areas of race, oppression and reproductive justice. He is a teacher, lecturer, workshop leader, an HIV/AIDS educator and activist with numerous citations for his work.

Originally from St. Louis, Bishop Selders has returned to his hometown after the events in Ferguson, MO to advocate for change.  In an interview with Connecticut Magazine, he says "I’m married to my bestie. We have two children and one granddaughter—and they are all why I do what I do,” says Selders. “To make the world better for them."











  • Open Communities Alliance
  • 75 Charter Oak Avenue
  • Suite 1-200
  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040