Board Spotlight: Tracey Weeden, MSW, LCSW/LICSW

Tracey Weeden, MSW, LCSW/LICSW; RCAP Solutions Board of Directors, Vice Chair

Tracey Weeden is the Executive Director of Brockton Behavioral Health Facility at Boston Medical Center and joined the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors in January of 2021.

She has extensive experience in the healthcare and nonprofit arena, with a background in administration, behavioral health, and homelessness prevention. In her previous position as Chief Operating Officer for First Step of Sarasota, she focused on affordable behavioral health treatment and system of care optimization. She also has experience managing a private practice as a psychotherapist.

Tracey was drawn to social work because of her childhood experiences growing up in an urban environment. She remarked “there was a lot of violence, parentification, mental illness, and substance misuse. But amid the prevalence of trauma, there was also so much hope for a better way of life. At an early age I was interested in other people’s stories and potential. When I went to college, I did not know what I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to break the cycle of oppression in the community I had grown up in. I majored in social work, and it just felt right. At an early age, I felt sensitive to others’ needs and seemed to be able to put myself in someone else’s shoes. Although I don’t make it a practice to disclose my experiences, oftentimes I deeply understand the barriers to quality of life clients experience.”

Tracey is a former employee of RCAP Solutions, where she was a member of the leadership team, as Director of Counseling and Homeless Services. “When I was at RCAP, I absolutely loved the work,” she commented. “Working at RCAP, I showed up 100% every day for the organization and our clients. They were long days, but it was all worth it. RCAP is deeply mission driven. RCAP’s services for people in need is undeniable. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a community, helping people where they are and supporting them as they move to a better place? RCAP’s work aligns with my values and everything I stand for as a social worker, a woman, and a woman of color.”

Tracey went on to say “RCAP’s work comes down to people helping people. This resonates with me and is what’s unique about RCAP. The employees genuinely want their clients to achieve a better quality of life. At RCAP we are paying it forward.”

Tracey feels strongly about being an active board member. “I want to be a real objective resource to the leadership team and a sounding board. I understand the culture and dynamics as a social worker and as a businesswoman.”

When talking about her experience serving on the board, Tracey exclaimed, “It’s been fun! I like the diverse expertise the volunteer team brings to the table. The board is open to looking at things differently and trying new ideas. This will determine the sustainability of the organization overall. The board is engaged, understands the impact of the work, and is realistic about what it takes to provide services. It’s very exciting to be a part of this energized board.”

When asked about her future goals for the organization, she replied, “I hope that a year from now we are in the process of implimenting a successful, operational, and people-driven strategic plan. I believe we can really put RCAP on the map as a leader in all aspects of community and environmental services.”

Tracey is a self-published author and has volunteered for the City of Worcester’s Human Rights Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s suicide prevention initiative. She is currently a Commissioner for the Massachusetts Status of Woman of Plymouth County. Tracey earned a MS in social work at Boston University and is working towards her Doctorate degree in Business Administration with a focus in Health Services Administration at Northcentral University. She brings a deep understanding of the programmatic, funding, and strategic needs of the organization, along with nonprofit leadership, fundraising and community outreach.

When asked about her personal and professional achievements, Tracey commented, “it was always a goal for me to do more of the work in helping others to grow and lift themselves out of traumatic environments. I’m proud of that. In this field of social work, there are not many Black People or Native Americans in leadership positions. I don’t see a lot of “me” represented and I will never take it for granted. I hope to be an example and to inspire others.”

In her free time, Tracey enjoys creating things. “I love candle making, jewelry making, upcycling furniture, gardening, and creating a new space in my yard or home. It helps me relax. Being creative helps me to think outside of the box overall. I enjoy focusing on the hobby and it’s extremely relaxing for me.”

RCAP Solutions’ 2022 Impact Report – A Year of Rejuvenation

2022 was a year marked by growth, development, and ultimately rejuvenation as RCAP Solutions began its rebound from a tumultuous and transformational time. View our 2022 Impact Report to learn more about last year’s accomplishments and check out stories from the people we serve!

We thank our partners and continued supporters and invite you to join us as we continue to work towards a collective vision of a world made up of strong and resilient communities and individuals, confident in their potential and with ownership of their success.

We look forward to a productive 2023 as we remain steadfast in our commitment to fulfilling our mission: To foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and the communities in which they live.

Synergy Spotlight: Meet Rebekah Novak, Community Specialist

Rebekah Novak is her name and wastewater is her game, among several other skills and subject interests. Rebekah has a versatile background; she’s worked in several municipal surveying, engineering, and wastewater operations roles – making her an extremely valuable addition to the Community & Environmental Resources team at RCAP Solutions.

She began her career as an intern for the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts’ engineering department, eventually becoming a full-time employee and earning the title of Municipal Surveyor. During her time with the city of New Bedford, Rebekah was responsible for transferring paper maps into digital GIS (Geographic Information System) versions. She also worked in the field overseeing road reconstruction and improvement projects.

Two of Rebekah’s passions are learning and helping. While she was working as a surveyor, Rebekah continued to expand her knowledge, pursuing her wastewater operator’s license and eventually earning a grade 5 license. Rebekah had always been fascinated with water re-use and environmental sustainability. Turning wastewater into treated effluent (sewage that has been cleaned and discharged back into the environment) is a necessary process for communities of all sizes, and this process piqued Rebekah’s interest.

After working as an associate engineer for several years, Rebekah eventually dived head-first into wastewater (not literally), first working at the Ashfield Wastewater Treatment Plant, a few years later at the city of Northampton, Massachusetts’ Wastewater Treatment Plant, and later at Green Wastewater Solutions as an operator/installer of Orenco wastewater treatment systems.

Rebekah prided herself in being a female who was tackling these surveying, engineering, and wastewater roles – as the fields are often male-dominated. It was difficult, but her determination and drive helped her excel in these fields. “Being a woman straight out of college was super intimidating,” she said, “but I still did it. I still showed up and did my best.”

Rebekah eventually joined RCAP Solutions in 2019, where she works with small communities in Massachusetts, providing technical assistance and training to help them improve both their wastewater and drinking water operations. Rebekah lives in a small, rural community herself, so she recognizes the struggles that these communities face when it comes to limited resources and not knowing the answer to everything. Advice she gives to the communities she serves – as well as her co-workers – is to embrace trial-and-error, “Get comfortable with not knowing exactly what to do, it’s okay not to know. [You have to] jump in the muddy water and figure out how to do it.”

During the pandemic, Rebekah was instrumental in transitioning in-person trainings and workshops into a virtual format. She embraced new software and became a leader for her colleagues, constantly offering them support and assistance with the new technology. In addition to managing numerous training events, she also has anywhere from 10 to 13 of the aforementioned technical assistance projects active at a time.

Rebekah’s contributions were noted by Jim Starbard, Regional Director (MA/CT/RI), who said, “Rebekah is an exceptional team member who goes the extra mile for the communities she works with. She is highly skilled in wastewater – both centralized and decentralized, GIS, and is a great trainer. Rebekah’s contributions to the Southern New England Team and RCAP Solutions as a whole are greatly appreciated and highly regarded.”

In addition, Rebekah is passionate about many causes including local farming, sourcing food locally and humanely, and supporting small businesses. She has experience volunteering at a homeless shelter and during her free time enjoys gardening, arts and crafts, and spending time with her husband, two cats, and “Hoss” – her 180-pound Neapolitan Mastiff-Great Dane mix.

Andrew Evans, fellow Community Specialist, added, “Rebekah’s organizational capability, attitude, and attention to detail makes her one of my favorite people to work with. Whatever the project or training she is always seeking the best product or outcome possible for our clients. The way she approaches her work has helped me be a better technical assistance provider and trainer.”

Fun Facts About Rebekah:

  • Hometown: Conway, Massachusetts
  • Favorite Book: Harry Potter series by series by J. K. Rowling
  • Favorite Movie: Tremors directed by Ron Underwood
  • Favorite Hobbies: Gardening (flowers & vegetables), arts & crafts (dot art painting, jewelry making)
  • Place She’d Like to Travel to: Alaska

Timothy Morse, Jr. Retires from RCAP Solutions’ Board of Directors

Timothy Morse, Jr., Vice Chair of the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors, recently announced his retirement from the Board after dedicating 7 years to the support and growth of the organization.

As the Sales and Customer Service Representative with Miles Press in Worcester, Massachusetts, Tim has extensive experience in the field of printing, having worked for several large firms throughout Worcester County. He got his start working for his parent’s company, Spencer Printing, which closed in 1984.

Tim is a third-generation printer but didn’t always see himself going into the family business. “I always saw myself as a doctor,” he remarked. “It was something I wanted since childhood. I enjoyed science and math in high school and went to college for a degree in biology, with the intention of continuing in medicine.” He left college after two years and focused on a lifelong career of getting to know every aspect of the printing business.

Tim’s success in an industry that is constantly evolving can be credited to his exceptionally likable and calming demeanor, paired with a strong and professional presence. He brings his passion and spirituality into everything he is involved in. “Everything I do is in relation to that,” he states. “Professionally, in sales and customer service, I enjoy my many interactions with numerous people. I like to have easy exchanges and keep a direct focus on what’s important.”

Tim joined the Board in October 2016 after meeting members of the RCAP staff at a Worcester Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at a Worcester Bravehearts baseball game. Tim has a clear passion for supporting families and making a difference in the community he works and lives in. He mentions that he “was first drawn to volunteer with RCAP Solutions because of the mission of helping people and communities in great need.” He continues, “many people debate about social programs that help people and how government funds are spent. There used to be safety nets that would help others in their time of need. I believe people need to be helped and provided with resources to get on their feet and sustain themselves.” He concludes by saying “I believe that the real value of RCAP’s services is in helping to restore dignity to those who need support.”

In his free time, Tim enjoys golfing and gardening, but especially loves spending time with his family and seven grandchildren. When he’s not busy with family he enjoys making rosary beads. “I typically make at least one per day or about 10 each week,” he noted. He started the hobby of making prayer beads as a gift for kids that were about to be confirmed. He explained, “the next year a teacher asked me to make some, then a priest, and it just kept growing from there.” He describes his process almost as a meditative activity. “I have a signature style,” he commented. “I use a heavy cord and wooden beads, making 58 knots and praying on each one, and finishing with a crucifix.” He ends by saying “I will do it until I can’t do it anymore. I close my eyes, so I don’t have to see what I’m doing.”

When describing his seven years of experience with RCAP Solutions, Tim states, “there are so many things that I enjoyed about being on the board. Many volunteers have come and gone since I started, and I found that working with a diverse group of likeminded people with the same passion for supporting others was extremely rewarding.” He said that one thing he has always tried to do is ask a lot of questions. “There are no dumb questions,” He states. “I’m not a trained accountant and reviewing financials for a large organization can be very intimidating, especially for new board members or those who are not used to working with complex budgets. I ask questions without the risk of feeling uncomfortable, and it helps to empower others who might be afraid to ask. One question might lead to another and asking challenging questions is important for a board to move forward. I’ve never been afraid of asking the tough questions.”

We thank Tim for his time, talents and many thoughtful contributions in his seven years as a member of the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors.

Synergy Spotlight: Meet Jeysa Nortey, Senior Property Manager

Jeysa Nortey has a diverse background; her experience in the medical field, human services, and even interior designing (her now public “hidden talent”) has positioned her to excel throughout her career, including in her current role as Senior Property Manager at RCAP Solutions. Working primarily with older adults, Jeysa’s versatility has proven to be an asset for the residents at our affordable housing properties as well as her colleagues.

Born in Puerto Rico, Jeysa moved to Worcester, Massachusetts when she was just two months old. Jeysa has always been family-driven, she spends most of her free time with her husband, children, cats, and dog named “Ashy”, a Maltese-Chihuahua mix. Jeysa has a passion for interior design, embracing many styles and making the simplest of spaces come alive – a talent that comes in handy when decorating our properties during the holidays.

Jeysa’s first job was working at the YMCA as a summer camp counselor. Working with young children enrolled in the summer camp program springboarded her love of being involved and giving back to the community. Shortly thereafter, she began attending college at Salter School, where she received her certification in medical assisting. After working as a Certified Medical Assistant at several hospitals in Worcester, Jeysa attended Becker College, earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Human Services.

After a few years in the medical field, Jeysa shifted her career and began working in property management. Jeysa worked as a Leasing Agent – and eventually Leasing Manager – at Lincoln Village Apartments while it was managed by Cornerstone Corporation. In 2015, after 6 years with Cornerstone, Jeysa began working at RCAP Solutions as the Property Manager at Slater Estates – one of our affordable senior and accessible housing complexes located in Webster, Massachusetts.

At Slater Estates, Jeysa oversees the day-to-day operations of the building, manages the financial aspects of the property, fosters relationships with vendors, and works with residents to ensure they have a safe and healthy home. When asked what she likes most about working at RCAP Solutions, Jeysa said she feels a sense of fulfillment, remarking, “The reward is in the success and smiles of my residents’ faces, along with my co-workers’.”

A few years after joining RCAP Solutions, Jeysa briefly left the organization for a new opportunity, where she quickly realized she was not as happy. After only a month, Jeysa re-joined the RCAP Solutions team in the same role she had left, citing the work-life balance as the main reason for her return. Jeysa reflected on this stating, “It says a lot when you leave a company on good terms and your work speaks for yourself and you’re able to come back. It’s a good feeling.”

Upon her return to RCAP Solutions, Jeysa continued to be a trailblazer in her department and was eventually promoted to Senior Property Manager in December 2020, several months into navigating her residents through a tumultuous time – the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. In her new role, while still based at Slater Estates, Jeysa has taken on additional responsibilities such as training new staff, developing new policies and procedures, and assisting with other properties located in the southern tier of our Central Massachusetts footprint.

Jeysa’s contributions were noted by Linda Kirwan, Chief Elderly Services Officer & Director of Property Management, who said, “We are extremely lucky to have an employee like Jeysa. She has raised the bar with the quality of her hard work and services she provides to her colleagues and residents. Companies dream of hiring employees like her. She is always one to volunteer a helping hand when needed. We couldn’t do it without her, she’s a true gem to the organization and the property management team!”

In addition, Jeysa is a volunteer at the United Way of Central Massachusetts, where she helps with the Dollars for Scholars program – an initiative aimed at providing financial literacy skills and knowledge to support school-aged children’s college, career, and life plans. She is passionate about many causes including inclusion for women, homelessness prevention, and the Black Lives Matter movement. She is also a strong advocate for mental health awareness.

Deb Foley, Deputy Director of Property Management, added, “Working with Jeysa over the years and watching her grow into a role that allows her to mentor others by sharing her many skills of organization, compliance, and teamwork, just to name a few, is what makes her truly special and someone I am proud to have as a co-worker and friend. She always steps up to the plate and gives 110% no matter the task.”

Fun Facts About Jeysa:

  • Hometown: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Favorite Book: In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
  • Favorite Movie: Jumanji directed by Joe Johnston
  • Favorite Food: Macaroni and cheese
  • Favorite Musician: John Legend (singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, and actor)
  • Historical Figure She’d Like to Meet: Rosa Parks (African-American activist in the civil rights movement)
  • Place She’d Like to Travel to: Ghana or Egypt

Check Out This Video (ft. Jeysa) About Life at Slater Estates!

Board Spotlight: Henry Noël Jr., Boston Impact Initiative LLC

Henry Noël Jr., an Investment Director with Boston Impact Initiative LLC, joined the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors in November 2022.

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston Impact Initiative is a nonprofit investing fund, working to build a future where entrepreneurs of color and their communities have the financial, social, and political power to create a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable economy for generations to come.

Henry is a passionate champion of social and environmental impact and brings a robust background in business and fund development, investment, financial expertise, strong team management and communication skills.

Henry was drawn to RCAP because the organization’s work aligns with his goals, and he saw similarities in the missions of RCAP and his organization. He remarked, “Empowering communities is important to me. Building communities from the ground up is where you can make the most impact. RCAP provides deep resources for communities, families, individuals, and businesses. This is what I do in my professional life, so I feel there are a lot of synergies.”

Henry has over 20 years of investment experience with an expertise in analysis, valuation, management, and sales; however, he did not always see himself in the financial arena. “Growing up, I always wanted to be a doctor,” stated Henry. “In my first year of college, I took labs and biology courses. During my second semester, I took a required economics class. After that, I switched majors, fell in love with finance, and never looked back. I was fascinated with understanding how the economy worked. My professor brought the concepts to life and showed us how different strategies and concepts can impact people’s lives.”

When asked what he is most proud of, Henry commented, “It’s not just any one thing, but the sum of what Boston Impact Initiative is doing right now, by putting money to work in the community to support some great entrepreneurs.” He went on to say, “I have an easy job, looking at balance sheets and hearing their pitches. I evaluate these things on a regular basis, and seeing the passion in the entrepreneurs’ eyes, hearing what brought them to a problem and what solution they bring can be fascinating. I ask, how can I help them magnify their vision? Supporting entrepreneurs and seeing these companies doing extremely well, the more they grow and prosper, I feel pride in having a small part in contributing to their success.”

He describes his short experience as a board member as a learning journey. “RCAP does a lot and does it well,” he stated. He hopes to add value to the organization where it’s most necessary. “I’m really starting to wrap my arms around everything we do, and I look forward to finding a niche that I can help to champion. I look to make connections for RCAP and believe my network can benefit the organization from many different standpoints, including funding, local resources, relationships, and networks.”

He earned an MBA from Hofstra University, Zarb School of Business in Hempstead, NY, and a BA in Business Administration from Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, MA. He also completed the Oxford University Impact Investing Programme at Said Business School in Oxford UK. He has volunteered as a mentor with Entrepreneurship for All, a nonprofit that partners with communities nationwide to help under-represented individuals start and grow their businesses through training, mentorship, and an extensive support network. In his spare time, Henry enjoys cooking. He joked, “it helps to relieve stress, brings out creativity, and I enjoy eating, so it works out well”.

Synergy Spotlight: Meet Pat Byrnes, Development Advisor

The name Pat Byrnes is well-known throughout the Massachusetts affordable housing industry, and for good reason. Throughout her extremely tenured career, Pat has worked for many organizations throughout the Commonwealth, including the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, MassHousing, the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts (RHN), and most recently, RCAP Solutions.

Born into a family who immigrated from Italy, Pat grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. Although she has worked in other states on both the east and west coasts, Western Massachusetts has always been her home. Pat’s very first job was working in retail at a children’s clothing store while in high school. This sparked her love of retail, leading to an executive training opportunity with Filene’s, which, she explained, “set my career on fire.”

One of Pat’s earliest accomplishments was working as a property manager at a 160-unit affordable housing complex in Springfield. Pat was in her early 20’s when her work managing such a large complex got her noticed by industry leaders. She moved to Boston, which was “the big click” for her career in housing, she loved what it stood for and that, much like retail, many of the industry leaders were women.

Later, Pat was recruited by EOHLC and RHN to write the contract for the state’s Section 8 Homeownership Program. Upon completion of this project, Pat’s skills proved to be invaluable, and thus she was hired at RHN full-time. Pat worked there for 16 years, where she made strides assisting the nine Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs), hosting annual conferences, and working with legislators and advocates to ensure proper funding for affordable housing programs and developments across Massachusetts.

During her substantial time at RHN, Pat worked together with Maureen Fitzgerald, then-Executive Director of the organization, to ensure fair and equal treatment for the people we all collectively serve, as well as to uphold respect for the staff. These two female trailblazers brought the agency to where it is today – the forefront – and eventually positioned it for success under new leadership.

“For 16 years, I had the pleasure of working as a team with Pat Byrnes at the Regional Housing Network. Her efforts were woven into everything that the Network accomplished”, said Maureen, “Pat is one of the most mission-driven, smartest people I know in the housing industry. She is also one of the warmest, funniest, most generous people I know.  RCAP Solutions is very lucky to have her on board!”

Pat reflected on her history at RHN, stating, “For me and for Maureen, it was a shared experience. Whatever one accomplished, was also the accomplishment of the other. We were kind of seamless.”

Pat has worked tirelessly with other industry leaders, including Nancy Rivera, Housing Advisor at RCAP Solutions, who said, “Pat and I have known each other for more than 40 years. During this time, I’ve had the pleasure of working and participating with Pat in a variety of projects and subcommittees. Her knowledge and expertise have been invaluable. She is such a wealth of information in the housing industry and is always willing to share. Pat is a very kind, caring, and loving person. She is very sympathetic and is willing to support causes by contributing her time or helping monetarily. Pat is not only my co-worker, but she has also been a true friend to me and many of us who know her.”

In late 2019, Pat joined RCAP Solutions as the Development Advisor and currently works extensively with the organization’s housing department and in support of grant-writing activities. She is always up for a challenge and ready to assist with any new project which lands in her inbox. Pat’s extensive experience, knowledge of the housing industry, and familiarity with the non-profit world has proven an integral resource for the many RCAP Solutions staff members who collaborate with her on a daily basis.

When asked what she is most passionate about, Pat said, “People having homes – people having keys to a door that nobody else has. That has been a driving force of mine for years.”

Pat is a member of the board of directors at Valley Community Development in Northampton. When she is not working to ensure people have safe homes, she is often working to ensure animals have safe homes – Pat is a volunteer at her local animal shelter. Pat is also an avid college basketball fan and currently enjoys rooting for the Providence Friars, an NCAA Division I team.

Brian Scales, President & CEO at RCAP Solutions remarked, “I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Pat for a number of years. When she came to work at RCAP Solutions, she brought with her a wealth of knowledge and experience; she very quickly became a vital member of our team. I am extremely grateful for all of her input and can rely on her to accomplish anything put before her, including assisting in filling out March Madness brackets.”

Fun Facts About Pat:

  • Hometown: Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Favorite Book: Still Life by Louise Penny
  • Favorite Movie: The Big Easy directed by Jim McBride
  • Favorite Food: Anything Italian
  • Favorite Musician: Tish Hinojosa (folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist)
  • Historical Figure She’d Like to Meet: Josephine Baker (American-born French dancer, singer, actress, and civil rights activist)
  • Place She’d Like to Travel to: Italy