Board of Directors
Kevin Searles (Emeritus)
Kevin served as chief of the Windsor, Connecticut Police Department for 28 years. He began his career in law enforcement in Plainville, where he rose to the rank of detective. He then worked for The Capitol Region Council of Governments on a project related to police departments in the region, including working with Windsor, where he was subsequently hired. Kevin has been recognized for his work in the community, where his passion continues in his retirement. He enjoys serving with his church and as a tutor for elementary-aged students at a Hartford after-school program.
George earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wesleyan University. He is Vice President of WorldBusiness Capita, where he is responsible for their lending, underwriting, and marketing activities in Eurasia, Africa, and the United States. He previously served as Associate Director for ORIX Growth Capital and worked as a Senior Associate for Smith Whiley & Company, where he led business development, deal analysis and portfolio management with a focus on subordinated debt and minority equity investments. George enjoys coaching his two children in basketball and baseball and believes that “have fun every day” are great words to live by.
Jeff is the Executive Director for Emmanuel Gospel Center, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, where he has worked since 1991. He is responsible for all aspects of the Center’s operation, including strategic planning, program design, development and implementation, financial management, partnership development, and fundraising. He oversees EGC’s research and development, and also engages in teaching, training and consulting with leaders, churches and organizations. Jeff also holds a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering from Princeton University. When not at work, you can find Jeff on the tennis court playing doubles or video chatting with his new granddaughter, who lives in England.
Romanita Hairston-Overstreet is President & Founder of MORE320, a non-profit consulting, leadership development, and publishing organization and a Program Director for the Murdock Charitable Trust, a top 100 foundation. Prior to the Murdock Charitable Trust, she spent 20 years at World Vision, starting as a Program Director just prior to completing her MBA. Romanita is a nationally recognized thought leader on issues impacting vulnerable populations and, in 2016, she was recognized for her service by the National Council of Negro Women. Romanita writes a regular blog called the “Power of One” and is a seasoned marathon runner.
Jeffrey J. Vanderploeg, Ph.D.
Dr. Vanderploeg is the President and Chief Executive Officer at the Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI), based in Farmington, Connecticut. He also leads the Children’s Fund of Connecticut, a public charitable foundation that serves as the parent organization to CHDI. He serves on a number of state committees and task forces in the pediatric health care and behavioral health care arena, including serving as Co-Chair of the Behavioral Health Partnership’s Quality Access and Policy Subcommittee, and as a member of the Children’s Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board. Dr. Vanderploeg received a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a Ph.D. in child clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University. He lives in Farmington, Connecticut with his wife and two children and attends Calvary Fellowship in West Hartford.
Dave is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Urban Alliance. He is responsible for ensuring that Urban Alliance is accomplishing its mission in a highly effective manner through ongoing organizational development that expresses Christian values, emphasizes excellence in all that the organization does, promotes a culture of mutual respect and teamwork, and embraces the dynamics of change. He has decades of experience as business owner, an investment manager of a large financial institution, and a senior manager with an international public accounting firm. Dave, who has been married to his wonderful wife Jeanne for 42 years, is a self-described crazy New England Patriots fan and enjoys the competition of card and board games.
Russell leads Urban Alliance's staff team as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and oversees all of the organizations operations. He has been a part of Urban Alliance leadership since the organization began in 2008, driving the development of UA's service model and network. Russell holds a Master of Arts in sustainable international development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a dual Bachelor of Arts in religion and psychology from Duke University. Outside of work Russell enjoys playing the drums and living in the Hartford community, but his favorite thing in the whole world is being a dad to his kids.