Teamwork Englewood was formed in 2003 as part of the New Communities Program, sponsored by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the MacArthur Foundation. Its goal is to unite the many organizations serving Englewood residents and work toward the common goal of building a stronger community.

Created by St. Bernard Hospital, Greater Englewood Parish United Methodist Church and Pullman Bank Initiatives (a subsidiary of the former Park National Bank), Teamwork Englewood drew input from more than 600 residents to draft a “Quality of Life Plan” – a roadmap to a brighter future for Englewood.

We are a capacity builder and a catalyst for positive community change, focused on safety, services to special needs populations and the promotion of healthy lifestyles for all residents. We are committed to providing quality services aligned to best practices. We will maintain existing partnerships and create new ones with community organizations, schools, faith-based institutions and businesses to continue our positive impact on the quality of life in the Englewood community.

EQLI Small Business Plan Competition
Cecile De Mello

Cecile De Mello

Executive Director

I come to the role with years of experience in organizing, policy, and not for profit management. I am a mother and wife and have been raising our family here in the Englewood community. I have a Masters in Not for Profit Management and another Masters in Urban Planning and Policy. While serving in this capacity at the organization I have been so proud of our intentional work to improve the Quality of Life for residents through our services and community building efforts.

Debra Strickland

Associate Director –  EQLI

Debra attended Saint Xavier University in Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studies with a minor in Business Administration. I currently manage the community program staff at Teamwork Englewood, which includes the Parent Mentor Program, Englewood Women’s Initiative, Youth Programs and the Englewood Quality of Life Initiative. My connection to the Englewood community is my desire to work for change by improving the quality of life for residents and community leaders in Englewood.I have years of experience in organizing and services for Southside residents.

Debra Strickland

Mark M. Mitchell

Associate Director – Re-Entry

After working for various reentry organizations in the past 10 years, Mark M. Mitchell accepted the position of Reentry Program Manager for Teamwork Englewood in February of 2017. It is his contention that the current state of reentry–excessive job readiness, insufficient resources, and inadequate job opportunities–has been and continues to be a failure. In understanding that disappointment, he continuously seeks to implement innovative and holistic approaches to truly assist with improving the lives of returning residents. Mr. Mitchell’s perspective of this work derives from lived experience and having obtained four post- incarceration degrees, the latter two being a master’s in Political Justice and Criminal Justice. Mr. Mitchell was born and raised in the Englewood community.

Tiffany White

Associate Director – Finance and Administration

I am the Director of Finance here at Teamwork. I handle all fiscal and administrative matters. I am responsible for paying over 50+ program and Teamwork staff, vendor and contract management and support with budgets and vouchers for all of our grants. This role also allows me to help foster the family dynamic of the Teamwork Englewood staff.

Tiffany White
Gary Prichett

Gary Prichett

Marketing Associate

Southsider born and raised in the Chatham community. Graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, enjoyed a successful tenure as a cannabis cultivator and marketer before joining Teamwork Englewood in the Spring of 2022 

Mike Tidmore

Restorative Justice Coordinator

Mr. Tidmore leads our youth programming and violence intervention and  public safety work. “I am dedicated to the Englewood community, I grew up here with my family. and My connection with the Englewood neighborhood is my family  growing up here and me attending school in the community. The rich activism of the Englewood residents and leadership around local issues of overall health and wellness of the community  is a history that I have come to embrace.”

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

 Program Director

Mark Thompson  holds a B.S. in Business Administration, Management from the University of Evansville, and Master of Business Operational Excellence from The Ohio State University. He also holds certifications in Lean Six Sigma and Project Management.   


Mark’s proven successes and leadership acumen have led to numerous appointments and awards whether, that is being a part of the JAED taskforce, working with the Go Green On Racine Development Group or during his time in Evansville he likes getting involved in community development.  Mark was appointed to the University of Evansville Alumni board and City of Evansville Women and Minority Business Enterprise development board, and he is a member of the Institute for Supply Chain Management organization here in Chicago, where he serves as Committee member Co-Chair. The Evansville Business Journal named him to its “2014 20 under 40 in Business” list, as well as, Evansville Business Journal’s “Emerging Fresh Faces for 2014.” 

Avanii Inarii

Youth Program Manager 

Avanii is a youth development professional with ten years’ experience implementing programming and services for youth residents from Chicago’s south side communities. Avanii’s work in the youth development field is focused on youth inclusivity, youth empowerment, and addressing adult-ist systems. As an Englewood native,  Avanii is committed to addressing systemic barriers and disadvantages faced by Englewood youth residents. Through her work she hopes to highlight the value of young people, their ideas and their existence. Avanii is an alumnus of Northeastern Illinois University, where she graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology.

Avanii Inarii

Calvin Moore

Youth Program Associate

My passion and drive for the work that I do derives from my connection to Englewood, and my innate love for my community. My focus has been primarily youth centered, with hopes that programming and mentorship will infiltrate the minds of young people.If you change one mind, you can change the world.

Mykia Merchant, Esq

Legal Service Coordinator 

Mykia is our Program Manager of Legal Services specializing in Sealing and Expunging criminal records. She attended Northern Illinois University, where she obtained her dual Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Indonesian Studies. Mykia gained ties with the Englewood community when she was hired as a Rental Assistant Case Manager in May 2021. She later obtained her Juris Doctorate Degree and served as our Paralegal/ Legal Aid Developer until passing the July 2022 Bar Exam.

Kenny Banks

Kenny Banks

Re-Entry Case Manager 

Born and raised in the Englewood community, Kenny Banks works for Teamwork Englewood as an Outreach Navigator and Case Manager. Beyond giving back to his community after the work day has ended, Mr. Banks is currently pursuing higher education within the City Colleges of Chicago System.

Neferti Brown

Englewood Women’s Initiative 

Neferti joins Teamwork Englewood as the Women’s Initiative Coordinator with over 20 years of experience working with women and families. Neferti is an alumnus of Kennedy King College with an Associate of Science degree and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Chicago State University. In addition, Neferti comes with experience with WIOA (Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act), housing counselor with Chicago Housing Authority and youth engagement specialist (Ujima) for homeless at-risk young adults 18-24 years. Neferti looks forward to assisting EWI clients in creating and maintaining economic security, health and wellness, financial literacy, and more.

Neferti Brown
LaShawn Evans

LaShawn Evans

Re-Entry Program Manager  

LaShawn Evans is a Program manager for Teamwork Englewood’s Re- Entry Department. Mr. Evans has been a member of the Teamwork Family since 2017, and is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Ruthie Dworin

Re-entry Program Associate 

“I started here as a summer intern in 2019 while in college at the University of Chicago. Since then I have worked on administration and case management in the reentry department.”

Ruthie Dworin
Sir Demetrius Everett



Sir Demetrius Everett

Job Developer

I align TWE Clients effectively with employment opportunities, once they are prepared for gainful employment. Gain strategic partnerships in creating pipelines with employers to send our clients. Assist with mock interviews, creating resumes and overall employment preparation and retention for clients. -Masters of Science/Industrial-Organizational Psychology & Bachelors of Science/Behavioral Science.  I have lived in Englewood and have family that live in Englewood.

Tametrius Files

Public Safety Coordinator 

My passion is in community work. I have a bachelors in African American Studies. My professional paradigm has been centered solely on Englewood because that is the community that I grew up in and live in, and I am here to serve my people, in order to be unapologetically Black in black spaces, through the work of public safety. I was a public safety ambassador in our Public Safety initiative #TIME2136 and now serve a the Coordinator.

Sonseriya Williams

Englewood Quality of Life Initiative Manager

Sonseriya Williams graduated from TEAM Englewood Highschool, before moving on to study and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Missouri- Columbia. After returning to Chicago Ms. Williams spent three years working as a special educator within the Chicago Public Schools system and furthering her education. Obtaining a Master’s in Public Administration in Public Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Using both life experience and professional training, Ms. Williams now leads as Project Manager for the Englewood Quality of Life Initiative.

Brianna J. Hobbs

Health and Wellness Coordinator 

“I was born and raised in Englewood, first attending Arna Wendell Bontemps for elementary school then Lindblom Math & Science Academy. After high school, I left the Chicagoland area, taking my talents to Mizzou in Columbia, Missouri where I obtained a Bachelors of Science in Health Science. As the Health and Wellness Program Coordinator, I am responsible for facilitating programming to promote health and wellness in the Englewood community in partnership with the Englewood Quality of Life Plan Taskforce. 

Brianna Hobbs

Maanasi Laird


Hi im Maanasi Laird. I attended Richard Vocational High School. I work in the Englewood community and have been for several years helping people.

Sabrina Jackson

 Safe Passage Program

Mother of 4, born and raised in the Englewood community. Sabrina has been serving her community since 2007. She began as Chairperson of the Local School Council and Parent Advisory Council at her children’s elementary and high school here in Englewood. In 2012 she began working at Teamwork Englewood as the Base Operator of the Safe Passage program. She quickly established her connection to people as a Community Organizer, and currently is the Parent Programs Manager for Teamwork Englewood. Sabrina oversees the Parent Mentor Program which supports elementary schools and the New Englewood Stem high school in Englewood. She has an Associate Degree in Business Management with a minor in Marketing.

Sabrina J
Rita L

Rita Lewis

Development Associate 

My name is Rita Lewis. I am the Development Associate for Teamwork Englewood. I enjoy using my skills, work experience, and contacts to contribute to the resources and services we provide to Englewood residents and businesses. My collegiate path was redirected to marriage and welcomed motherhood. I believe my 40+ year work experience, mainly in the non-profit sector, has proven to replicate higher learning. My vested interest in the Englewood community stems from being a former resident. My professional proudest moment was spearheading Teamwork Englewood’s inaugural and successful fundraiser, “FUNNYraiser, in 2018.

Shania Jackson


I am a paralegal at Teamwork Englewood, A paralegal is an essential part of any legal team’s operations. My duties consist of helping developing and managing cases, research clients, and drafting legal documents. I also compile and analyze data, organize documents, by preparing charts, graphs, and other statistical materials. Aside from serving documents, I also focus on the expungement and sealing of our clients criminal record. I am a proud alumni of Kenwood Academy High School, and a soon to be alumni at Chicago State University where I will be obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Shari bio

Taylor Allen

Office Manager 

My name is Taylor Allen, and I am the Office Manager for Teamwork Englewood. I am here to assist all staff with general overhead tasks and to aid others by getting what they need to get the job done! I am in my last semester of college and will earn my Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago this upcoming May. I have lived in the south-side Chicago area my entire life, and the Englewood community is a big part of Chicago’s culture.

Janika Parnell

Case Manager and Lead Community Outreach Navigator – Re Entry

Janika Parnell is a lifetime resident of the Englewood Community, seeking to give back to the neighborhood that made her. Ms. Parnell serves at Teamwork Englewood as a Case Manager and Lead Community Outreach Navigator. Beyond the office Ms. Parnell is pursuing higher education at Kennedy King College.

Jan bio