Meet the TEAM
To ensure ROC the Future functions effectively with clear communication and organized efforts, we rely on our Backbone Staffing. These dedicated individuals are the heart of our alliance. They are leaders, parents, professionals, and concerned citizens of Rochester, NY.
Before joining The Children’s Agenda, Jackie worked for the City of Rochester and led the Bureau of Youth Services in the Department of Recreation and Youth Services, including four years as Assistant Commissioner, with responsibility for oversight of human services and youth development programs, including youth and adult employment efforts. Jackie has a master’s degree in Management Science from Keuka College, and is a trained facilitator of multiple curriculums for youth development, parent and family engagement, and leadership.
Jackie is a strong advocate for community and family engagement, and is active in several community efforts, including the Black Women’s Leadership Forum, Parent Leadership Training Institute, and Racial Equity Justice Initiative (REJI), and is a Cultural Broker and Advisor to the Community Advisory Council (CAC). Jackie has received numerous awards and recognitions, including “Citizen of the Year Award” from Action for a Better Community, “Community Leader Award” by Rochester A.B.O.V.E., “Champion for Youth Award” from Teen Empowerment, and the “2019 Rev. Raymond L. Graves Social Justice Community Service Award” from the Greater Rochester Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission.
A long-term community resident, she and her husband Michael, have six adult children and a number of grandchildren. As a proud graduate of Rochester City Schools, Jackie is a committed servant to the children and families of her community.
Family & Community Empowerment Manager
Tanishia has had a 13-year career in the Rochester City School District holding various roles such as school counselor, Student and Family Support Center Coordinator, and College Coach. As Coordinator of programs for expectant and parenting students, she instituted the first parenting class in the Rochester City School District for expectant and parenting students.
Tanishia holds a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology and M.S.Ed. Counseling from The College at Brockport. She sits on the Board of Directors for The Villa of Hope, Healthy Baby Network and is President of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Theta Alpha Zeta Chapter. She’s been featured in the Democrat and Chronicle as Rochester’s “Woman to Watch”, BreakThru Magazine’s “Power List: The Top 10 Women in Rochester Making History”, is the recipient of the BreakThru’s “Inspiration Award” and recipient of the “2018 ROC Award for Outstanding Community Involvement.” She was also featured on News 8 Extraordinary People and received the 50/50 award for leadership.
Residing in the City of Rochester, her greatest pride and joy is being married to her husband of 19 years, Cory, and being a mom to their five purpose-driven children.
Jessica Lewis is the Communications Specialist for ROC the Future (RTF) and leads RTF’s communications initiatives by developing and executing comprehensive, integrated communications for funders, conveners, networks, community-based organizations, and parents.
Prior to joining ROC the Future, Jessica served as the Communications Specialist for the Urban-Suburban Transfer Program, the nation’s first and oldest school-based integration program. In that role, she developed content for the program’s publications, social media accounts, and website. She also served as an anniversary steering committee member, which led the program’s major initiative to commemorate 50 years serving the Rochester community. She had the honor of emceeing the 50th-anniversary gala with Adam Chodak of WROC News 8. Before joining the Urban-Suburban program, she served as the director of after-school programs at the Urban League of Rochester, where she coordinated five college and career programs serving Rochester area youth and managed a budget of $400,000. Jessica’s programs consistently surpassed outcomes and goals, which earned her the “2012 Employee of the Year” award.
Jessica received her bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State College in Social Studies Education grades 7-12 and a master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education at the University of Rochester. She is the owner of a public relations firm called LáLew Public Relations.
Manager of Continuous Improvement
Camille Simmons is the Manager of Continuous Improvement for ROC the Future. Camille works directly with our stakeholder groups to develop and implement process improvement to accelerate the impacts of our work.
Camille previously served in various capacities focused on youth intervention work, most recently as Operations Manager for a local non- profit agency. In her previous role, Camille oversaw a team dedicated to the agency’s youth employment, academic, college readiness, and career-based services and partnerships, as well as provided project oversight for multiple special projects.
Camille is Lean Six Sigma certified and received her bachelor’s degree from Keuka College in Social Work. She received a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership at Roberts Wesleyan College. She is a 2010 graduate of the United Way’s African American Leadership Development Program and a 2015 graduate of Leadership Rochester, where she returns each year to serve on their Building Common Ground panel focused on race and equity.
Stephanie Towsend, Ph.D.
Director of Research and Analytics
Before joining ROC the Future, Stephanie worked for 12 years as a consultant to community-based and educational organizations. Her work included projects here in Rochester as well as for state, national, and global organizations. She also taught as an adjunct instructor in undergraduate and graduate programs at St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, and SUNY College at Brockport. Stephanie has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Religious Studies from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in social ethics from the Graduate Theological Union, and master’s and doctoral degrees in community and prevention research from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
As a community psychologist, she has been widely published and is recognized as an expert on community-based responses to violence, including violence prevention. Stephanie grew up in a military family, attending public and Department of Defense schools around the country and overseas.
She and her husband have one son in middle school.
Administrative & Grants Assistant
Ryan Lavoie is the Administrative/ Grants Assistant who works closely with the ROC the Future Alliance Director to provide high-level administrative and financial maintenance support, as well as critical communications to key leader partners and stakeholders in the community.
Before joining the team at ROC the Future, Ryan’s experience focused on brand marketing and human resources, where among other responsibilities, he successfully led an inclusion initiative tasked with diversifying the hiring process for a top Fortune 500 company. Ryan dedicates his spare time to volunteer work in the community, ranging from stage-managing local theater productions to providing aid at various food banks. His remaining time is spent relaxing with his schnauzer, Lady, and a good book.