Community Ambassadors Directory

Learn about the Community Ambassadors providing your community with timely financial education resources.

Recap of the 2023 Community Ambassadors Program

The Community Ambassadors Program is an initiative of the Office of Economic Empowerment (OEE) aimed at increasing the number of Massachusetts residents who have a deep understanding of financial foundations by creating a network of community spokespeople tasked with delivering financial education to their communities.

In 2023, nine Ambassadors served in the inaugural cohort of the program. From May to October, Ambassadors tabled at 59 events, coordinated 50 financial education workshops, and established 6 BabySteps Enrollment Hubs in their cities and towns.

On November 1, the Ambassadors gathered in the Massachusetts State House to offer feedback on the program itself and to discuss how OEE can improve its strategies to reach more residents. Each Ambassador also received a citation from State Treasurer and Receiver General Deborah B. Goldberg.

Community Ambassadors stand with Treasurer Goldberg

The 2023 cohort has concluded. Sign up for our newsletter to hear about future cohorts.

Learn who served your area below!

Table of Contents


Khady Mascarenhas

About Khady

Khady is an enthusiastic advocate for women and minorities. She is fluent in Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Lesley University and the University of Porto - Faculty of Economics.

As a Community Ambassador, she aims to help create a thriving and sustainable community. She is dedicated to providing residents with resources to improve their financial literacy and work towards economic prosperity to enhance their quality of life.

Contact Khady


A photo of Khady Mascarenhas with test reading: "My passion lies in building a stronger and more resilient community. As a Community Ambassador, I have the chance to positively impact the lives of residents and families by providing access to resources, enhancing financial literacy, and fostering economic growth. Khady Mascarenhas. 2023 Community Ambassador. Brockton."

Chelsea & Revere

Jaime Jimenez

About Jaime

I am a Colombian immigrant who has worked in the mental health field for 20 years in several roles beginning as a multicultural specialist in 2003. As an immigrant that came to this country as a teenager in the early 90s and due to the lack of understanding on how to access higher educational resources and opportunities, this prevented me from achieving my educational goals as a young adult and joined the workforce directly after high school. In my early 20s I became a paramedic and was able to begin my career as a multicultural specialist at North Suffolk Community Services (formerly known as North Suffolk Mental Health Assoc.) in their Emergency Services Program (ESP). There, I was able to continue educating myself in other administrative areas using internal resources and was promoted several times reaching the role of Director of Operations within that program and subsequently became the Director of Training for the agency.

In my role as a Community Ambassador, my goal and commitment to the community will be to provide access and resources to support personal growth and development that will enable people to reach any goal set by making informed financial decisions that will support financial stability using the resources available from OEE. Also, it is important for me based on my lived experience to provide access to educational resource opportunities available that our community members may not be aware of due to previous lack of outreach within the communities we serve and/or individual factors like language capacity.

Contact Jaime

A photo of Jaime Jimenez with text reading: "I believe in the importance to provide opportunities for personal growth to all our community members in order to support good overall health. As an Ambassador, I can provide guidance in the areas of economic stability and assist with educational access, which are important aspects of social determinants of health. Jaime Jimenez.  2023 Community Ambassador. Chelsea and Revere"


Lucy Pineda

About Lucy

For more than 33 years, I have been a community activist and organizer. I have dedicated my life to amplifying the voices of Latino immigrants in the Commonwealth. As the Executive Director of Latinos Unidos in Massachusetts, I know the need in our community to be a leader who fights for the rights of our immigrants, the empowerment of women, the need to be educated, and the efforts of mobilizing. To be a leader, we need to understand the culture of each of the populations we serve, and I focus on helping low-income families, youths, and people of color across the state. I also help everyone understand the rights of tenants and the rights of workers.

Contact Lucy

A photo of Lucy Pineda with text reading: "My passion to help our community – the families that live under the shade, our community that has no voice –  together we will make a difference to accept each other with love and equality. Lucy Pineda. 2023 Community Ambassador. Everett."

Fall River

Stephanie Barboza

About Stephanie

I have lived experience in PTSD, addiction, recovery, and homelessness, and my past doesn’t keep me from my present nor from having hope for my future. I currently work for SSTAR Addiction and Treatment Center as the Program Coordinator/Educator of the First Responders Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. I also serve as the Human Rights Officer, as a member of the DEI Committee, and as a member of the Substance Abuse Task Force (SATF) here with SSTAR. I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I recently established a nonprofit organization, C.L.U.B. Blessed Services Incorporated, leading the way with a Wellness Pathway in Recovery Program.

My previous experience representing and advocating on behalf of my community prior started first with me and advocating for myself. As I regained my power and ability to create the life I want for myself and my family, I found a place of purpose that allows me to share what I have learned with those who have a desire to see a positive change in all aspects of their life. My background is in operation management, recovery coaching, personal training, nutrition, wellness coaching, ministry, and is always aimed towards encouraging, equipping, and empowering people to become the best version of themselves. I desired to become a Community Ambassador because I believe in debt freedom for everyone, and this gives me an opportunity to impact places and create spaces for practical applications of economic empowerment in my community.

Contact Stephanie

A photo of Stephanie Barboza with text reading: "Supporting financial education is important to me because it presents opportunities for financial wellness and leads to self-sufficiency. I want to see people free from the bondage of lack, to having more than enough to thrive instead of just surviving, ultimately enhancing overall well-being. Stephanie Barboza. 2023 Community Ambassador. Fall River"


Ancel Tejada

About Ancel

As a Community Ambassador, I am driven by a deep commitment to serving and advocating for my community. With an extensive background in the banking industry, I have gained valuable insights into the importance of financial empowerment and the role it plays in developing economic stability. Throughout my career, I have actively worked towards promoting financial stability and integrating programs that provide individuals and families with the tools and resources they need to thrive.

In addition to my background in banking, I have dedicated a portion of my professional life to community action agencies. Previously, I served as the Program Manager for Financial Literacy and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) at the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council. In this role, I not only managed the program but also acted as an advocate for financial education, ensuring that individuals from all walks of life had access to the knowledge and resources necessary to make informed financial decisions. The experiences gained through my work in the banking industry and community action agencies have further deepened my understanding of the challenges faced by individuals and families striving for economic stability. By taking on the role of a Community Ambassador, I aim to leverage all these tools to increase my impact and collaborate with community members and organizations. Together, we can create lasting positive change, empower individuals through financial literacy, and provide the necessary support to uplift our community.

Contact Ancel

A photo of Lawrence with text reading: "The Community Ambassadors Program will empower our community by providing essential financial education and resources, enabling individuals and families to achieve economic stability and make informed financial decisions. Ancel Tejada. 2023 Community Ambassador. Lawrence."


Marie Elianor

About Marie

Marie Elianor is the Senior Director of Community Strategies at United Way of Mass. Bay. She is committed to building, fostering, and supporting community-based collaborations that promote financial empowerment, wealth building, and economic inclusion. With a strong track record of organizing influential events and workshops, Marie empowers individuals to make informed financial choices and foster economic inclusion. Previously, she served as the Project Director of Rising to the Challenge at the United Way, leading a multi-partner effort to end youth homelessness in Boston. Marie is known for her strategic leadership and ability to foster collaboration across sectors. She is dedicated to creating equitable communities and believes in empowering individuals to thrive.

Contact Marie

A photo of Marie Elianor with text reading: "By helping individuals gain financial literacy, access to resources, and the skills necessary to make informed financial decisions, we can empower them to transcend economic barriers and achieve their full potential."

New Bedford

Paula Montgomery

About Paula

Paula has spent 20 years in leadership and management roles with national and local non-profits.  She served as key member of the leadership team at the Buttonwood Park Zoo, American Red Cross, Rhode Island Chapter, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and the American Cancer Society. She currently serves as the Women United Director for the United Way of Greater New Bedford, where she works to elevate and strengthen the lives of women, children, and families.

Her passion for helping people and engaging communities is at the core of all she does. For Paula, serving as a Community Ambassador for the Office of Economic Empowerment was a natural fit to her work with Women United and her passion for her community and supporting women.

She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Emerson College and a Master of Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. As a reporter for MediaOne Metro News, she was nominated for a CableACE Award by the National Academy of Cable Programming.

Paula grew up in New Bedford; she loves the city for its history, culture, and food! Her interests include reading, traveling, yoga, snowboarding, hiking, and the beach.

Contact Paula

A photo of Paula Montgomery with text reading: "I believe financial literacy is key to healthy families; when families thrive, so do communities! Paula Montgomery. 2023 Community Ambassador. New Bedford."


Tracey Messina

About Tracey

"Working with seniors is rewarding and I enjoy every moment."

With over ten years in the senior living industry, Tracey has a wealth of experience having worked in home care, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and independent living.

Tracey currently resides with her four children and two fur babies. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family and attend her children's sporting events, especially her favorite, ice hockey. Tracey also loves spending time outdoors.

Tracey grew up in Williamstown, which is located in Berkshire County.

Contact Tracey

A photo of Tracey Messina with text reading: "I made a lot of mistakes in my early years, not knowing what was available to me and what tools I could utilize from the state of Massachusetts for free. I wish I had learned early on and had a clear path to understanding. I love that I can give back and share my stories and offer the tools needed to succeed. Tracey Messina. 2023 Community Ambassador. Springfield."


Rachelle Lappinen

About Rachelle

My career has taken diverse paths through the years, which has helped to enhance my current position as a college and career coordinator. After graduating from Fitchburg State University, I worked for 12 years in insurance sales and underwriting. Transitioning from insurance, I dedicated three years to working in colleges and non-profits, gaining insights into career coaching and college advising. During this time, I pursued my MBA, also from Fitchburg State. For the past seven years, I have been working for MassEdCO, primarily serving at North High School in Worcester. As a college and career coordinator, I provide personalized guidance to seniors for their college applications and help them align with their career aspirations.

Within MassEdCO, I actively engage in various organizations, including: Investing in Girls Alliance, Massachusetts Educational Opportunity Association (MEOA), and Reach Higher Massachusetts. Our mission at MassEdCO involves bridging the equity gap, and encompassing financial literacy is a crucial component. I decided to become a Community Ambassador to share my passion for financial literacy, empower others in my community, and, most of all, I want to make a positive impact on people’s economic well-being.

Contact Rachelle

A photo of Rachelle Lappinen with text reading: "Supporting financial education is important to me because it promotes economic stability and creates pathways towards financial success and independence. Rachelle Lappinen. 2023 Community Ambassador. Worcester."

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