Our Board

The Kennedy Street Development Corporation (KSDC) is led by a Board of community members who bring unique skills, experience, and volunteer energy to our community. The Board oversees KSDC’s commitments as 501c3 non-profit organization. We have no paid staff or board members.

We are always looking for volunteers to help us with initiatives and eventually formal roles on the board. If you’re interested in contributing, please contact us at contact [at] kennedystreet [dot] org!

KSDC Board Members (Jan 2018)

Board Leadership

Melissa Lindsjo, Chair – Ms. Lindsjo is an experienced urban planner, recently in government as the Senior Planner for the National Park and Planning Commission, based in Prince George’s County Maryland. She is adept at transit-oriented development implementations, sustainable planning, land use, development review, and neighborhood revitalization, and serves these rolls as the project director for the City of Bowie Sustainability Plan project. Ms. Lindsjo was an active organizer for KSDA, and has served as a board member for athletic non-profits in the DC area. She lives in the Kennedy Street neighborhood. She has led numerous community initiatives to attract urban planning and design concepts to the neighborhood. She has a Master’s in Public Policy and Urban Planning from The Ohio State University.

Alexis Simone Olive, Vice Chair – Ms. Olive is a protocol officer at the US State Department. In this role, she specializes in diplomatic engagement with foreign missions in She is a community leader who has organized various neighborhood volunteer initiatives and regularly engages with public officials on delivering on public promises. She is active on the Junior League, is the Vice Chair of her condo association on Kennedy Street, and holds a BA from the University of Michigan. Ms Olive contributes to board management and organization, as well as fundraising and volunteer mobilization.

Danielle Parsons, Secretary, Co-Founder – Ms. Parsons is an international public health expert and small business owner who works out of a home office near Kennedy Street NW. Ms. Parsons is a co=founder of KSDA, and in that role is the chief architect of the Kennedy Street Festival, the organization’s premier event, as well as a myriad other community initiatives. She is an expert in strategic planning for nascent non-profit organizations, as well as advocacy and related project management functions on both an international and domestic context. Her core expertise is in ensuring inclusion of at-risk people in social and public health programs, including the homeless, incarcerated, and people living with HIV. She has a MPH in Public Health from Boston University.

Myles Smith, Executive Director (uncompensated, not a voting board member), Co-Founder – Mr. Smith is an international development professional who works in organizational development, strategy, fundraising, and project management for a major US non-profit organization. He has worked on media, economics, and technology projects across five continents. Using these stills, he contributes to fundraising, management, and coordination of the organization’s initiatives. He is not a voting member of the Board of Directors. He is a co-founder of KSDA. His areas of expertise include economic development strategies and media engagement. He has a BA in Economics and International Relations from Boston University.

Board Members

Chris Gabris – Mr. Gabris is a professional GIS mapping expert, with additional skills in data mining and visualizations. Mr Gabris is a leading advocate for improvements on and around the Unit and 100 Block of Kennedy Street separate from his work with KSDA. He regularly attends public safety meetings, organizes meetings with development professionals, entrepreneurs, and organizations interested in investing in the neighborhood. Mr Gabris contributes to data collection and management, as well as new business recruitment and matchmaking with opportunities to redevelop blighted properties, and was one of KSDA’s earliest and most active members.

David Gottfried – Mr. Gottfried has been an active member of KSDC’s precursor, Kennedy Street Development Association (KSDA), since its founding in 2014.  He has spearheaded efforts to address vacant and blighted properties along Kennedy Street, coordinating with city agencies, neighbors, and business owners to enforce existing laws against blight, hold negligent property owners accountable, and return vacant properties to productive use. After college, David served as a teacher in the United States Peace Corps in Azerbaijan and led a number of community development projects, including one to reforest a mountain surrounding a village school to prevent flooding and topsoil runoff.  David and his wife, Elizabeth, live in 16th Street Heights, along with their son, Charlie, and daughter, Josephine. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. David works full time as an international economist for the United States Department of the Treasury.

Wendy Harman – Wendy Harman is a connector of creative ideas, a collaboration enthusiast, an intrapreneur, a digital nerd, a citizen scientist, a human centered designer, a civic hacker, a strategic thinker and a professional listener. She recently served a civic tour of duty as a Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF). A Fellow since early 2016, she worked on improving outcomes for youth in foster care with Health and Human Services and making cancer clinical trials easier to navigate with the National Cancer Institute as part of the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. She also helped plan a White House Mapathon and the first White House Foster Care Hackathon, and conducted research for the White House Data-Driven Justice InitiativeBefore joining PIF, Wendy spent more than 9 years at the American Red Cross where she built the social media program, launched the Digital Operations Center and digital volunteer program. She also launched and led the information management and situational awareness program for Red Cross Disaster Operations. In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, she was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list. She taught President Obama to tweet in 2010 and is often cited for her smart handling of the #gettngslizzerd mistaken tweet. Before joining the Red Cross in 2006, Wendy managed operations for Future of Music Coalition and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, in addition to creating an artist management firm.  

Tiffani Nichole Johnson – Ms. Johnson is a community activist with a legal foundation, a leading member of KSDA, and a Rights and Advocacy Specialist at the DC Department of Disability Services. She has a law degree from the University of the District of Columbia and a BA from Virginia Wesleyan University. She has dedicated her career to public defense, advocacy for disability service, criminal justice reform, public safety, and community life in the neighborhood. She is a lifetime resident of the Kennedy Street area. Ms Johnson will contribute to legal considerations, public safety initiatives, and youth services, and inclusion of marginalized groups in all neighborhood improvements.

Lena Prince Nchako – Ms. Nchako is an advisor on non-profit and academic institution leadership. She is the Principal of LPN Consulting, LLC, developing implementation strategies for businesses, universities and non-profits. Ms. Nchako founded the Diaspora Resource Center, that supports socio-economic projects and legacy transfer. She has led development at Coppin State University, Florida A&M and Howard University, supporting the growth of endowment funds. Internationally, Ms. Nchako served as a logistics director for the US State Department in Central Africa, supporting the operations of embassies and consulates. She has a Masters in Project Management from Boston University and a BA from the University of Rochester. She has particular expertise in education and youth programming, and building the capacity of a board of directors. Ms. Nchako lives on Kennedy Street and has participated in several KSDA initiatives. She is ideally suited to lead the process of developing KSDC’s institutions.

Erin Palmer – Ms. Palmer has lived in the neighborhood for five years and in DC for 13 years. She serves as Corresponding Secretary of the Manor Park Citizens Association and as an At-Large Advisory Board Member of the Student Education and Leadership Fund, a non-profit organization providing college scholarship to local students who have overcome a significant challenge and plan to give back to the local community. Erin is active in the community and strives to make political and community participation (especially service activities) easier for families and those with young children. Erin has three young sons, one of whom was unexpectedly born en route to the hospital, at 13th and Gallaudet Streets. She is a lawyer for the federal government.
Harlan Jones – Mr. Jones is the proprietor of the New Sewell Music Conservatory, a Kennedy Street business and cultural hub. He has lived on Kennedy Street for decades, and contributed throughout to initiatives to revitalize the community. Mr. Jones will contribute to cultural programming, youth services, and bridge-building between generations of Kennedy Street residents and business owners.
Dan Reilly – Mr. Reilly is a political campaigns specialist, who works to mobilize communities to achieve common goals. He works as a Campaigns and Elections Specialist for the National Education Association, and worked previously as a Political Director for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He has worked in political organizing for several campaigns at the state level, Masters in Public Policy from Rutgers University. His particular areas of emphasis have included education, labor rights, and economic development. He has served on zoning boards in New Jersey. Mr. Reilly is new to activism in the Kennedy Street area.


Previous Positions and Board Members:

Lena Prince Nchako, Chair, 2016-17

David Gottfried, Vice Chair, 2016-17

Earl Bigelow, Treasurer, 2016-17

Didi Green, 2016-17

Manu Kristnan, 2016-17

Maura Humphrey, 2017-18