Network Staff

Staci Berger, President and CEOAs the President and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, Staci Berger directs this statewide association of over 270 community-based organizations and individuals, created in 1989 to enhance the efforts of these groups to create affordable housing and revitalize their communities, and to improve the climate for community development in New Jersey. Before becoming the President and CEO, Staci served as the Director of Advocacy & Policy. In this role she was responsible for leading the community development policy staff team, including working with the Policy Coordinator and field organizers, to broaden and mobilize support for the Network’s public policy agenda.

Prior to joining the Network, Staci worked for nine years with New Jersey Citizen Action where she went from being an organizer to the Political and Legislative Director. As the Political and Legislative Director, she devised and implemented political, legislative, and electoral strategy for the state’s largest non-profit, non-partisan independent watchdog coalition. She received her Masters in Public Affairs and Politics from Rutgers University in 2004. Staci has served as an associate trainer for the Midwest Academy, a leading national training institute for the progressive movement, and worked as a labor organizer with the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute and the Health Professionals and Allied Employees/AFT/AFL-CIO.

Staci has achieved numerous professional milestones and honors. She received the 2017 Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Policy Career Achievement Award and the 2017 Golden Rose Award for Advocacy from The Rose House. Staci serves on the Economic and Community Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and is a member of the Housing Advisory Council for the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. In 2016, she was honored by the New Jersey General Assembly during Women’s History Month as a Change Maker and was the inaugural recipient of the Center for Non-Profits’ Emerging Leader Award in 2013. A member of the NJ Citizen Action Board of Directors, Staci was honored in 2014 with its Community Service Award. Representing the Network on Community Reinvestment Act Advisory Boards for both PNC Bank and Valley National Bank, and on TD Bank’s Leadership Council, Staci assists these institutions in meeting their community investment objectives. She has made multiple appearances on national media outlets, including MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and is a recognized expert on housing and community development issues sought by national, regional and local press. 

Sharon K. Barker, Vice President and COO - Sharon brings over 35 years of non-profit experience across a broad range of community and national human service organizations. Sharon is a Certified Fundraising Executive who has raised millions of dollars throughout her career. She has also served as a trainer and consultant for numerous non-profits with a focus on fundraising, capacity building, and planning.  Sharon has also served on many boards and advisory committees throughout her career.  Additionally, she has extensive experience as a Section 8 Housing Specialist and has worked with numerous communities in the areas of rental assistance, rental rehabilitation, housing rehabilitation, homelessness prevention, program development, and community development programs. Prior to joining the Network, she served as Senior Vice President of Community Impact and Development and Interim Co-CEO for the United Way of Bucks County.  Sharon has a track record of building strong corporate and community relationships as well as initiating innovative programs and services.  As Vice President and COO of the Network, Sharon is responsible for the daily operations of the organization, as well as fund development and the areas of training, program development and management, consulting, and technical assistance. 

Terri Benson, Technical Assistance and Training Coordinator - Responsible for coordinating the Network’s technical assistance and training component for membership and community partners. She has over twenty years of work history in the not-for-profit community as well as federal and state government. Her professional experience includes housing, community and economic development programs with a focus on staff development and compliance monitoring. Having served much of her career in project implementation and facilitation, as well as direct service counseling, she has a holistic perspective of successful service delivery. Terri holds a B.A. Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from North Carolina Central University and an A.A.S. Degree in Paralegal Studies from Burlington County College. 

Kelvin Boddy, Director of Healthy Homes and Communities – Kelvin is responsible for collaborative development projects involving crime prevention, healthy housing, and local advocacy/empowerment. Specially, he works on Healthy Homes and Communities, the Community Reinvestment Act, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and numerous other projects that increase the capacity of the Network. Prior to working with the Network, Kelvin was a recent graduate of Rutgers-Camden with a BA in History, and has since become one of the leading figures on matters of CPTED, through the creation and presentation of educational workshops, seminars, and field exercises involving the subject.

Arnold Cohen, Senior Policy Advisor - Responsible for coordinating the Network’s public policy advocacy and outreach activities. Prior to joining the Network in 1994, Arnold began his career in Newark, NJ as a grassroots advocate organizing statewide public policy campaigns in the areas of affordable housing, early childhood education, health care, and environmental justice. In addition to his work at the Network, Arnold sits on the boards of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, the Anti-Poverty Network and the Essex Community Land Trust. He represents the Network on their partnership with the Regional Plan Association’s 4th Regional Plan. In his role as the Senior Policy Advisor at the Network, Arnold has been instrumental in leading campaigns that have led to the passage of the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit, State Rental Assistance Program and the Abandoned Properties Act. Through Arnold’s efforts, the Network has been a leader in advocacy for creating homes lower income people can afford, revitalizing the communities where they live and strengthening the work of nonprofits in these areas. 

Lia Ferrante, Development Specialist
- Responsible for researching and developing new sources of funding, and guiding the new VISTAs. Prior to her new title and duties here, Lia worked for a full year at the Network as an AmeriCorps VISTA collaborating on many projects including healthy homes, equitable Sandy recovery, and homelessness. She holds an Artium Baccalaureus degree in Classics from the College of Charleston.

Sarah Franzini, Housing Project Coordinator- Responsible for coordinating outreach and mediation efforts for tenants at risk of eviction throughout the state due to COVID-19. Prior to her current role, Sarah worked at the Network as a contractor on Healthy Homes and Communities initiatives, including working to get hospitals and community development organizations to communicate and collaborate on affordable housing matters. She also served a summer as a Community Scholar assisting with the Network’s policy priorities through research and graphic design. Sarah graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy. During her time in college, Sarah interned with the Institute for Public Administration in Newark, DE where she assisted in the redevelopment of the state’s transportation coordinated plan.

Carrie Garcis, Director of Finance - Responsible for the bookkeeping and accounting of the Network's finances, including payroll, employee benefits, banking, grants and insurance. Prior to joining the Network, Carrie worked in the fields of project management, financial analysis and financial services in the private sector for over 13 years. Carrie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Communication from Rutgers University. 

Jessyca Hart, Office and Special Projects Coordinator - Responsible for providing technical support and executing administrative tasks which support Network operations and programs. Prior to her new title and duties here, Jessyca worked for a full year at the Network as an AmeriCorps VISTA focusing on expanding our Healthy Homes & Communities initiatives and coordinating the Community Scholars Program. Jessyca holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sustainability with a concentration in Policy and Economy from Stockton University. During her time in college, she interned with Mercer County Board of Social Services, providing support to case workers within the Medicaid department.

Matthew Hersh, Director of Policy & Advocacy - Responsible for leading the Network’s policy, advocacy and community engagement efforts. A long-time journalist and policy and nonprofit communications professional, Matthew previously served as senior editor at Shelterforce Magazine, a publication of the National Housing Institute, which focuses on federal, state, and local affordable housing policy as well as community development and community organizing. He has worked extensively with several local chapters of Habitat for Humanity, New Jersey Clean Communities, the Newark Trust for Education, New Jersey Audubon, and more. Matthew is a member of the Highland Park Borough Council, as well as a member of the Highland Park Affordable Housing Corporation. As a member of the Borough Council, he worked with the NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice and the New Jersey ACLU to lead the Borough’s “Inclusive Communities” policies to assure protections for undocumented residents. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the Highland Park Educational Foundation, which makes small grants to the Highland Park Public Schools.

Denise McCardle Ladden, Special Projects Coordinator - Responsible for providing administrative support to the Network. Throughout her career, Denise has been in the education field in varied capacities including music education and eventually healthcare education as a respiratory therapist. She also managed a college-level program to train therapists before moving onto the administration side of higher education. Prior to joining the network staff, Denise had been retired only a short time from Bucks County Community College. Her fourteen years there she worked in the Continuing Education/Workforce Development/Public Safety division as Executive Assistant to the Vice President, and for the last two years as Assistant Director in the Allied Health department of that division. Denise holds a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Carol Mikulski, Office & Membership Coordinator - Responsible for carrying out the technical and administrative functions supporting Network Operations and Programs. Carol previously served as Executive Director of Continuing Education at Bucks County Community College where she developed, planned and directed programs to attract students to the College’s continuing education program. An integral part of her outreach efforts was to include students who were non-traditional students and those who were facing barriers to education.  As a manager for a College department, Carol successfully developed and implemented operational policies and procedures to streamline processes. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Management.


Jessica Ramos, Finance Associate - Responsible for assisting in bookkeeping and accounting of the Network’s Finances. Prior to joining the Network, Jessica worked 11yrs with Paterson Habitat for Humanity as a Family Services Administrator and an Accounts Payable. She also worked for the Air Force as an Accounting Tech. Jessica holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Arts in Geography, Anthropology and Minor in Urban & Community Studies from William Paterson University.


Nina Rainiero, Director of Communications - Responsible for coordinating the Network's media and outreach communication efforts with members, supporters and media representatives. Prior to joining the Network in 2010, Nina spent five years as a Public Relations Coordinator for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Public Policy from Penn State University and a Certificate in Public Relations from Rutgers University. During her time at Penn State, Nina interned with the Harristown Development Corporation in Harrisburg, PA, doing marketing and research for their downtown redevelopment plan.


Nicole Wiggs, Healthy Homes and Communities Project Coordinator - Nicole has over 20 years of multi-faceted domestic and international experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. From establishing and implementing visionary business strategies to lobbying and advocating for fair and affordable housing, she has successfully maneuvered the delicate balance between dedication to mission, the need for bold entrepreneurial initiatives, and the application of sound business management. Prior to joining HCDNNJ, Nicole worked for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles where she spearheaded various programs such as the Home For Good and Home for Heroes initiatives where she partnered with the Business Leader’s Task Force on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to develop systems and solutions to house homeless veterans and end homelessness altogether in Los Angeles County. Nicole holds a dual B.B.A. in International Business and Insurance from Howard University in Washington, DC, and also attended DePaul University in Chicago, IL where she worked on earning her Executive MBA in Strategic Management. Most recently she attended the University of Southern California where she pursued a Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Staci Berger, President and CEO, ext. 1700
Sharon K. Barker, Vice President and COO, ext. 1400
Terri Benson, Technical Assistance and Training Coordinator, ext. 1900
Kelvin BoddyDirector of Healthy Homes and Communities, ext. 2100
Arnold Cohen, Senior Policy Coordinator, ext. 1600
Lia Ferrante, Development Specialist, ext. 2000
Carrie Garcis, Director of Finance, ext. 3400
Jessyca Hart, Office and Special Projects Coordinator, ext 1000
Matthew Hersh, Director of Policy & Advocacy, ext. 1100
Denise McCardle Ladden, Special Projects Coordinator

Carol Mikulski, Office & Membership Coordinator, ext. 3700
Nina Rainiero, Director of Communications, ext. 1200
Jessica Ramos, Finance Associate
Nicole Wiggs, Healthy Homes and Communities Project Coordinator

Main Number (609) 393-3752 | General Inquires:  [email protected]