Michael McAfee, President at PolicyLink, began his service at PolicyLink in 2011. Under his leadership, PolicyLink has emerged as a national leader in building cradle-to-career systems that are ensuring that all children and youth in America have a pathway into the middle class. Central to this equitable systems-change are communities of opportunity, where all children can grow up with access to great schools and strong systems of family and community supports that prepare them to attain an excellent education and successfully transition to college and/or a career. As Vice President for Programs, Michael joins the Executive Team and Program Teams in strategic planning, policy development, policy campaign strategy, and programmatic design and implementation at the local, state, and national levels.
- Lisa Cylar Barrett, Managing Director of Federal Policy at PolicyLink, collaborates with other PolicyLink staff to develop and execute federal policy and advocacy strategies to advance economic and social equity. Her work focuses on improving access and opportunity for everyone, especially people in low-income communities and communities of color. Additionally, as Co-Director of Promise Neighborhoods Institute (PNI), Lisa leads and manages PNI’s policy efforts to sustain and advance Promise Neighborhoods, manages its relationships with other stakeholder organizations, and manages the day-to-day operations of PNI. Having worked in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, Lisa has significant experience developing and implementing policy agendas and strategies to influence policymakers, funders, civic leaders, and government officials to align their work in an effort to improve outcomes for children and families. A lawyer by training, Lisa practiced law prior to beginning her career in the philanthropic sector. She holds a BA in English from Spelman College and a JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Jessica Pizarek, Senior Associate provides technical assistance to communities across the country seeking to plan, operationalize, and sustain cradle-to-career systems of supports for all children and families. In addition, she specifically supports the development and management of sustainability efforts for the national Promise Neighborhoods network. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Jessica worked with Step Up Savannah, a 100-partner collaborative focused on improving economic mobility and financial stability for all families in Savannah, Georgia where she facilitated interagency collaboration and supported the development of equitable local and state policy agendas. Jessica has also supported the City of New York’s Housing and Neighborhood Study of the educational outcomes of children living in mixed-income public housing, the Forgotten Navajo People Community Development Corporation, and UC Berkeley’s 2048 Project. Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in Education Policy & Social Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University.