We wanted to take the time to introduce ourselves to you and make sure you got a peek behind the curtain here at YEC. So please allow us to introduce ourselves, your community team.

Top Row: Angie Gibson, Allen Hartwig Bottom Row: Cassandra Sousa, Ryan Paugh, Ashley Grant, Nicole Niss, Morgan Brady

Meet: Cassandra Sousa, Community Director and fearless leader

Cass Headshot

Photo courtesy of Pretty Instant

Hometown: Gardner, MA
Fun fact: I am a trained professional tap dancer.
Favorite community benefit: Having the concierge team at your fingertips – just think of us an extension of your team. We are behind the scenes looking for opportunities to connect you with other members, help you solve business challenges and get you access to the resources you need as a community member. Connect with us at concierge@yec.co and we can start making introductions or connections to help your business.
What does community mean to me? Family – a place of trust, mutual respect, support and some down-right love. We all have amazing ideas, stories and passions and it’s my job and my team’s job to make sure that each member has the platform to grow their business, share ideas, collaborate and foster lifelong friendships. There is nothing more rewarding to me then seeing these connections happen from being part of the YEC community and getting introduced to those you might never have had the opportunity to ever know. Community is all about joining together to create a common and passionate cause.

Meet: Nicole Niss, Senior Community Manager and instigator of shenanigans


Photo courtesy of Katie Salerno

Hometown: Westchester County (Briarcliff Manor), NY
Fun fact: Richard Gere once attended a play I was in.
Favorite community benefit: The Member Dashboard is my favorite benefit because you can access everything about your fellow members in one place – who they are, what they do, where they live. It makes connecting with one another and getting a feel for the community you’re a part of so much easier!
Why do I work in community? For me, there is nothing better than helping someone else achieve their goals. Whether it’s connecting them to the right person within our community, the right business service, or just talking through an idea – I love being able to help others do those things and be successful members of our community.

Meet: Morgan Brady, Program Director and jet setter

Photo courtesy of Pretty Instant

Hometown: Long Island, NY
Fun fact: My parents met on St. Patrick’s Day in Queens at a bar called Bliss Tavern. When they were young lovedbirds, they originally had said they would name their first daughter Bliss. I could have been “Bliss Brady”, close call!
Favorite community benefit: Getting access to right members in our community, exactly when you need it – or what we like to call “social capital”. Never underestimate the power of the people in your network to help support your company’s growth and have your back in your crazy, amazing life as an entrepreneur!

Meet: Ashley Grant, Events Manager and team fashionista

Hometown: Orange County / Westchester, NY
Fun fact: I’m an All-American track and field athlete.
Favorite community benefit: Events are my favorite benefit as it’s the time where all of the interactions between members, our team and those interested in joining the community become tangible and truly something memorable.
What does community mean to me? Ohana. 🙂 Community means an extended family to me… being a part of something that is timeless, inclusive,  mutually advancing and supportive.

Meet: Patrick O’Keefe, Community Director and Diddy fan

Hometown: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Fun fact: I once DJed with DJ Jazzy Jeff on Turntable.fm.
Favorite Community Benefit: Our online forums give members immediate access to a powerful brain trust. Dealing with what seems like an impossible obstacle? Need a recommendation? Want to connect with someone who knows about X? Someone in our group probably has the answer!
What does community mean to me? Great online communities change lives. They have definitely changed mine. Most of my close friends, I know because of an online community. My career is online community. I’m not sure where I’d be without community.

Meet: Marie Coller, Community Manager and resident foodie

Hometown: Cleveland Heights / South Euclid, OH
Fun fact: I collect nail polish as a hobby (former beauty blogger here!), and currently have 5,000+ bottles stored in three IKEA Helmers.
Favorite community benefit: I might be a little biased, but I love our online forums. It’s a great way to connect in real time with your peers, while also an opportunity to peek into the world of professionals in various industries and gain new insights. I’ve watched some really amazing strategic partnerships form between members in the forums as well!
What does community mean to me? I define community as a network of allies that you can rely on, as well as trust them to support or help each other out when needed. It’s like having a safety net of people that are always looking out for your best interest. I love being a part of the community because I love getting to welcome everyone to the council, and I strive to do my best to make sure that everyone can succeed in their endeavors.

Meet: Amanda Butler, Lead Concierge and comic book specialist

Hometown: Ishpeming, MI
Fun fact: Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is the reason that I have a history degree.
Favorite community benefit: I love the networking aspect. It’s amazing to see all of these individuals coming together from vastly different sectors to build up our community and support one another.
What does community mean to me? Community is like a ladder and every person is a piece of it. Without the pieces, you can’t go anywhere. With everyone working together, you can climb to the stars.

Meet: Vered Corken, Member Concierge and language enthusiast

Hometown: Netanya, Israel
Fun fact: When I get really happy I do my “thumbs up” dance. Kind of like Elaine’s in Seinfeld.
Favorite community benefit: The fact that you are able to communicate and meet with other members, no matter of their physical location in the world, that share the same interest as you, and can benefit and help each other based on your experience and knowledge is grand! Where else can you do that?
Why do I work in community? Community means to me UNITY. A place where we help each other at any given time. It is a way to benefit one another and thrive. I do believe that we live just once and community is a privilege that not many get to experience.

Meet: Jhing Vicencio, Member Concierge and TV junkie

Hometown: Manila, Philippines
Fun fact: I love pampering myself. Since grade school, I’ve never missed a day applying lotion to my whole body
Favorite community benefit: I love the Marketplace. Who doesn’t love discounts, perks and privileges?
What does community mean to me? Community is all about the core word: Common. Passionate people that share common interests and a common goals and meet in a physical or virtual common area.

Meet: Likhe Daejie Almora, Member Concierge and Korean Drama addict

Hometown: Baguio City, Philippines
Fun fact: I am an avid Korean Actor Gong Yoo fan which led me to my K-Drama Addiction
Favorite community benefit: I love the Marketplace because members can take advantage of great services offered by great partners.
What does community mean to me? Community is all about the core word: Aside from the awesome services and discounts available, each person gets a chance to meet like-minded individuals to share knowledge and experiences. It is awesome to see people connect and start a business relationship through the Community Platform. I am proud to be a part of this awesome team and will strive to do more to help!

Meet: Shim Ordaniel, Member Concierge and D.I.Y. aficionado

Hometown: Manila, Philippines
Fun fact: In college, my project proposal won a nation-wide contest and one of the prizes was a 5-day vacation to Boracay, Philippines.
Favorite community benefit: Having a team of competent and first-rate editors who will make sure that your article is in tiptop shape for publishing.
What does community mean to me? A community is like a kaleidoscope. Singularly, each component appears insignificant. But when connected to each other, coupled with clever use of resources like the mirror and light, individual merit is multiplied and creates an exquisite picture, that is almost never replicated.

Meet: Trish Panibio, Member Concierge and ukulele enthusiast

Hometown: Manila, Philippines
Fun fact: I’m a huge fan of tattoos and dream of becoming a professional tattoo artist.
Favorite community benefit: Events give members the opportunity to connect with people who shares the same interest and ideas. Plus, events are a great opportunity for peers to help one another, whether it’s brainstorming a solution or making connections. In short, events are the prefect marriage of fun and professionalism.
What does community mean to me? It means people getting together to collaborate and to drive each other to achieve more. When people work together in a community, they are like fireworks: they light up each other and show how brilliant each and everyone is.

Meet: Mafer Marroquin, Community Account Manager and soccer star

Hometown: San Salvador, El Salvador
Fun fact: I like to collect any type of helpful cookware and I love to set the table as formal as possible.
Favorite community benefit: I like the opportunity that members have to connect with others in a fast way. The communication tools we have today are of immense help and I feel it is in us to make the most of it. Only in this way, we can be better communicated, shorten the distance and share ideas with others.
What does community mean to me? The definition of Community that comes to my mind is “a group of people working as a team to reach the same goal”. Of course, we all know that behind that  short sentence there is much more than that, such as trust, friendship, understanding, respect, and also something very important that many times we forget and it is to value the work that someone else does and that with much determination has done. All of what I’ve mentioned before and more is found in the YEC Community team, I am proud of being part of this amazing team.


YEC Young Entrepreneur Council
745 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02110





YEC Young Entrepreneur Council
745 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02110




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