Kelonda Maull Executive Director Kelonda Maull was appointed Executive Director of the Waterbury Promise Program (WPP) in April 2022. She brings a wealth of knowledge to this role from her previous experience as the Executive Director of Horizons at the Foote School in New Haven, CT. In addition, she has an extensive track record leading as a positive change agent and advocates for equity in education for Connecticut's inner-city communities. Kelonda's background includes nonprofit leadership, management, and community engagement. Her portfolio spans New Haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford, Connecticut.
For the past twelve years, Kelonda has empowered New Haven and Bridgeport students on a path to and through post-secondary education during her time working in External Relations for Achievement First, as the Director of High School and College Programs for Horizons at Greens Farms Academy (HGFA) and as the Placement Director at Squash Haven. Her leadership has led high school and college scholars on a successful path of academic achievement and college completion. As Executive Director of Horizons at Foote, she strategically scaled the program in the following areas; program operations, staffing, fundraising and development, community partnerships and engagement, and increased the program's visibility in the community.
Kelonda's passion and commitment to service and fulfilling WPP's mission are personal to her. She leads by example and believes in the power of education as a steppingstone to significant opportunities and self-growth in life. She is an avid mentor in her community and actively gives back to future generations. Kelonda has been a member of multiple non-profit leadership boards and currently supports the Black Executive Coalition as a founding member and the Greater New Haven Community Foundation's Non-Profit Management Cohort for Emerging Leaders of Color. Kelonda earned a bachelor’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology and a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of New Haven. In her spare time, Kelonda loves to cook and try new foods, watch comedy specials, spend time with her furry animals Gracie and Bella, and enjoys the beach and summer sunsets.
Hedy Ayers Director of Development and Community Engagement A dedicated and accomplished professional with an exemplary track record of success, Hedy brings more than twenty-five years of experience working with chief elected and appointed officials, nonprofit leaders and industry stakeholders to build innovative regional and statewide programs and to create vibrant, equitable and sustainable communities.
For more than two decades, Hedy was employed by the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), Connecticut’s largest regional planning agency. Her work there focused on leveraging best practice and continuous process improvement strategies to drive program development, implementation and expansion efforts. Hedy was charged with a wide range of responsibilities, including strategic planning, relationship building, grant writing and administration, event management, marketing, member recruitment and more.
Most recently, Hedy spent nearly four years as part of Eversource Energy's Community Relations team and had the privilege of serving the City of Waterbury. She worked closely with city, business, non-profit and community leaders to advance municipal and company priorities. Hedy also worked in close concert with Eversource corporate citizenship and hardship staff to direct much-needed philanthropic, volunteer and informational resources to frontline organizations in the city and across the region.
Hedy's role at Waterbury Promise includes strategic development planning and implementation, building long-term partnerships to support scholar success and maximizing program visibility in the community.
Hedy holds a bachelor's degree from Trinity College in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut. Hedy is a graduate of Leadership Greater Hartford’s signature Quest program and has held executive board level positions for numerous professional, nonprofit and foundation-based organizations.
In her free time, Hedy enjoys playing tennis, reading, baking and spending time with her husband and two sons. Her happy place is anywhere with a water view, preferably with a palm tree in sight.
Noelia Giusti Scholar & Family Engagement, School Partnerships + Reaching Forward Committed to the Waterbury community, she has over eight years of experience working for the City of Waterbury and Waterbury Public Schools. Her role at Waterbury Promise includes scholar and family outreach, scholarship enrollment, building post-secondary relationships, and reaching forward supporting scholars in college. She brings an entrepreneurial mindset, a wealth of administrative skills, and dedication to public service as a former Mayoral Aide for the City of Waterbury, and working directly in Waterbury Public Schools. Her passion includes being a mother to her 16-year-old daughter, spending time with her family, and her beloved cat, and drinking coffee.
Angela Ciochetti Operations, Communications, Program Support Starting four years ago, Angela joined the City of Waterbury as a Human Resources (HR) Assistant working in the HR Education Department before transitioning to her role at Waterbury Promise. Angela’s role includes coordinating day-to-day operations, program support and communications, and assisting the Executive Director. Angela obtained a BA in psychology from Simmons University, before graduating with her MBA from the University of Bridgeport. She has previous experience working in the non-profit sector and enjoys building relationships with those she is assisting.
In her free time, Angela enjoys hiking, going to the beach, and spending time with her family.