Staff
Alyssa Pence
Associate, Operations & Executive Assistant to the CEO
Nicole Vera
Senior Advisor
Kristen Bennett
Chief Executive Officer
Umera Khan
Manager, Recruitment & User Engagement
Alyssa Pence | Associate, Operations & Executive Assistant to the CEO

[email protected]

As Operations Associate for Service Year Alliance, Alyssa serves directly with our COO to ensure all administrative tasks for our organization are completed. She assists our finance team with bookkeeping, reporting, and maintaining records. She assists our team as a whole by managing calendars, travel, and operational logistics.

Alyssa also serves as Executive Assistant to our CEO, to provide complete administrative support. Alyssa manages all scheduling, emails, travel, expenses, and prioritization of tasks for our CEO.

Prior to joining our staff, Alyssa worked as a bookkeeper for over ten years. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Liberty University. She is a true Georgia peach, where she lives with her husband and baby girl.

Alyssa has a heart for serving others and managing the day-to-day tasks, allowing our team the space to focus on our mission. When she is not working her calendar magic, you can find her caring for her daughter or at a coffee shop.

Nicole Vera | Senior Advisor

[email protected]

Nicole Vera is a strategic and values-driven leader on a mission to support organizations leveraging AmeriCorps to deepen their impact in communities. With 15 years experience in the national service field, Nicole has designed and directed AmeriCorps programs for state and national organizations, spanning dozens to hundreds of members. She is well versed in program design, legislative advocacy, Federal funding requirements, strategic planning, and operations.

A native of Virginia with roots in Peru, Nicole grew up between cultures. From an early age, she learned to draw lines between supposed opposites, to make connections, and live “in between.” It’s because of this that building and tending to relationships is a core value of Nicole’s. In using a people-centered approach Nicole has built and led high-performing teams who excel in their work and enjoy the company of their colleagues, even when the going gets tough.

In 2008 she served as an AmeriCorps member supporting youth transitioning out of systems of care. Eventually, after directing the program she once served with, Nicole moved to Peru to support the work of the Sacred Valley Project, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide access to education for young indigenous women. She would go on to serve as a Program Manager for Reading Partners before stepping into the Director of National Service role for the national nonprofit. Later, she served as the VP of Programs for Lead for America, a national organization connecting locally-rooted talent with distinguished service opportunities.

In 2023, she traded full-time employment to support emerging national service initiatives and spend more time with her three young children.

Kristen Bennett | Chief Executive Officer

[email protected]

As Chief Executive Officer of Service Year Alliance, Kristen is responsible for formulating and ensuring the execution of Service Year Alliance’s strategy to make a service year a common expectation and opportunity. A leader at Service Year Alliance since its founding — most recently as Chief Strategy Officer and interim co-CEO — Kristen brings nearly 15 years of national service experience and an in-depth understanding of the sector to the role as national service launches into a new era.

Her vision for a new era of national service prioritizes the experience and outcomes of those who serve and focuses on how to make national service more equitable and accessible for youth of all backgrounds.

Kristen previously led the development of ServiceYear.org at Service Year Alliance and worked as a Program Officer at California Volunteers, California’s state service commission. Her nonprofit, government, and strategy development experience positioned her well to lead Service Year Alliance through the recent strategic planning and allows for a clear understanding of what the national service field needs to be successful, where the barriers lie, and how we can bring the next generation into national service.

Kristen is also a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum. As a VISTA, Bennett served on California First Lady Maria Shriver’s WE Connect campaign, connecting low-income families with valuable programs and resources to become more financially secure. While serving, built crucial community partnerships, trained and managed volunteers, and planned and implemented large-scale community events during tax season.

Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science in Planning, Public Policy, and Management from the University of Oregon and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento.

Umera Khan | Manager, Recruitment & User Engagement

[email protected]

As the Manager of Recruitment and User Engagement at Service Year Alliance, Umera is responsible for managing and continuing to grow Service Year Alliance's user engagement and support efforts for ServiceYear.org.

Umera has served two terms of national service. In 2018, she served with NYC Service as an AmeriCorps State and National member. In 2021, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader at The Texas Association of Charitable Clinics. Umera is a proud AmeriCorps alumna and firmly believes in Service Year Alliance's mission statement on making a year of service a common expectation for all Americans! Umera is excited to make this vision a reality. 

Umera earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the City University of New York, Hunter College. She hails from New York City but currently resides in Austin, Texas. She enjoys traveling, trying new food and coffee, and reading.

Maureen Eccleston
Chief Impact Officer
Brent Kossick
Director, Climate & Workforce
Jennifer Bagaglio
Chief Operating Officer
Juanita Henry
Programs & Communications Manager
Maureen Eccleston | Chief Impact Officer

[email protected]

As the Chief Impact Officer, Maureen works across Service Year Alliance bodies of work to connect strategies, increase collaboration, and deepen impact. Maureen coordinates efforts across programs, partnerships, recruitment, and alums; and provides support to the CEO in implementing the organization’s strategic plan.

Maureen is an AmeriCorps alum with over two decades of experience in national service. Prior to joining Service Year Alliance, Maureen served as the Executive Director of PennSERVE, Pennsylvania’s state service commission, and was the Board Chair for America’s Service Commissions. Maureen has worked across most streams of service, including AmeriCorps State and National, VISTA, National Civilian Community Corps, and Learn & Serve.

Maureen holds a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management and a Bachelor of Arts in English. Still interested in learning new things, Maureen took up running in 2020 and biking in 2022. Born in Philadelphia, PA, Maureen has also lived in New York, Louisiana, Florida, and Maryland. She currently resides in Lancaster, PA, with her husband and two children.  

Brent Kossick | Director, Climate & Workforce

[email protected]

As Director of Climate & Workforce, Brent is responsible for growing Service Year Alliance's efforts to build and strengthen relationships with partners and programs inside the national service field.

Brent is an AmeriCorps alumni and has more than fourteen years of experience in national service and nonprofit programming.  His experience has included serving as the former Director of the South Carolina Service Commission, National AmeriCorps Director for SBP Inc, and Founder for Aligned Impact Consulting Services.  Brent is passionate about environmental conservation and helping to bring-out the best in others. He currently resides in Columbia, South Carolina with his wonderful wife Rachel, two year-old Carter, baby girl Zoey, and fur-baby Marley.

Jennifer Bagaglio | Chief Operating Officer

[email protected]

Jennifer Bagaglio serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Service Year Alliance where she oversees finance, human resources, and operations for the organization. She works closely with the entire team to handle budget development and reporting, strategic planning, and board relations. Jen has been a leader at Service Year Alliance since its founding and was previously the Operations Director at the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC). 

Prior to joining the NCoC team, Jen spent four years working at DC Vote to end taxation without representation in our nation’s capital. She worked there as the Public Affairs Manager, focused on community engagement, coalition building, and volunteer management.

Jen grew up in Massachusetts and attended the University of Vermont where she graduated with a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration on social movement theory and political activism and civic engagement in the nonprofit sector. She lives in DC with her husband and two young daughters. 

Juanita Henry | Programs & Communications Manager

[email protected]

As a Communications Manager at Service Year Alliance, Juanita supports all communications functions of the organization including media relations, messaging, social media, and more.

Juanita is a proud AmeriCorps alumna and served in 2016 with City Year DC to help support students' social, emotional, and academic development while providing schools with additional capacity to enhance learning and belonging.

Juanita earned a master's degree in Public Relations & Corporate Communications from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Penn State University. She resides in Maryland and enjoys sightseeing, traveling, and indulging in new foods.

Sandy Keith
Chief Advancement Officer
Sandy Keith | Chief Advancement Officer

[email protected]

In 2006, Sandy graduated from the University of Maryland College Park and began working in the nonprofit sector. He completed a service year as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Jumpstart for Young Children, working to build their regional fundraising efforts. After serving his term, he spent 6 more years at Jumpstart in various fundraising roles out of their Washington, DC office. Most recently, Sandy served as the Director of Development at Council for a Strong America, a public policy organization working to improve America's public safety, national security, and economic growth through research-based investments in children.

Today, Sandy serves as Chief Advancement Officer, building funding partnerships that help fuel Service Year Alliance's ambitious strategic plan. In his spare time, Sandy enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu, hiking, and brunch. Especially brunch.

Our Team
Staff
Our Vision