Board of Directors

Abrigal Forrester

Abrigal is Executive Director of Teen Empowerment. He is a lifelong resident of Boston and grew up in the Codman Square section of Dorchester. Abrigal attended the University of Massachusetts Boston and acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Prior to working for Teen Empowerment, Abrigal worked for Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) as Director of Community Action; YouthBuild USA as the Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives; STRIVE; The Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts; and The Boston Foundation’s StreetSafe Boston Initiative.

Suzanne Lee

Suzanne Lee was a founding member and chairperson of the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) for almost 30 years. CPA is a leading grassroots community organization that seeks to empower the Chinese community through organizing, education and advocacy. She has been involved in the Boston Public Schools for 35 years, most notably as the Principal of the Josiah Quincy School in Chinatown. Suzanne immigrated to the US when she was 11 and remains committed and connected to the needs of Boston’s newcomers. Suzanne holds a BA from Brandeis University and a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Rebekah Lashman

Rebekah Lashman is a consultant specializing in workforce development initiative design, committed to ensuring that individuals without access to professional networks and social capital are empowered to succeed. Previously she served as Sr. Vice President of Commonwealth Corporation, Manager of Workforce Partnerships for the Boston Private Industry Council, a national workforce development consultant at Jobs for the Future and as a program development specialist for Massachusetts’ Department of Employment and Training. Rebekah received her MBA from Simmons College Graduate School of Management.

Jaimie McNeil

Jaimie McNeil is the General Agent for UNITE HERE Local 26. In his role as General Agent, Mr. McNeil has overseen many of Local 26’s growth strategies in the hotel, airport, food service and gaming industries and is a key advisor to UNITE HERE Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo. Mr. McNeil is a Manager and Trustee of the Greater Boston Hotel Employees Trust Funds, a member of the City of Boston Living Wage Advisory Committee, Executive Board member of the Greater Boston Labor Council, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley Board member, and a member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Gaming Policy Advisory Commission. He has negotiated over 100 hotel and food service agreements and manages the legislative and political agenda of the union. Mr. McNeil has lived his entire life in and around Boston and currently resides in Roslindale where he is active in his community.

Tanisha Meranda

Tanisha Meranda has been a member of the Refresh Team at the Aloft Hotel in South Boston since 2017. She was one of the first to complete BEST’s DOL-registered Housekeeping Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship Program. Before coming to BEST, Tanisha was the food and beverage coordinator for a non-profit organization that helps people with reentry, recovery, and homelessness. Through BEST, she has been certified in TIPS, ServSafe, Mass Allergens and CPR.