Abbie Szymanski was a past board member and Board Chair for the Raleigh-Wake Partnership before taking the helm as the Executive Director in 2018. Abbie leads a dynamic team of non-profit professionals, all working towards ending homelessness as we know it in Wake County. Abbie believes that with a community approach, real changes can be made to the system-wide processes affecting people experiencing homelessness in our region. Previously with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Abbie has a passion for nonprofit management, business, and quality of life for all people.
Abbie lives in a circus with her husband, Chris, Iris (age 5) and Daniel (age 1), and Primrose the cat. She has lived in Wake County for 25 years and loves all of the growth and change that has happened throughout the area within that time.
Coordinated Entry System Manager
Vanessa is a North Carolina native and attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She then attended the University of Pennsylvania and received her Master of Social Work degree. During her time at the University of Pennsylvania, she had the privilege of working for the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (HAP). At HAP, she learned that the driving principle behind housing policy and advocacy relies on a shared belief that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to be able to afford a place to live.”
Vanessa believes the work of The Partnership reflects that vision and provides a crucial platform for housing and homeless service providers to share and advocate for the needs of those it serves. In addition, The Partnership recognizes that an end to homelessness and the beginning of housing stability relies heavily on data-informed, multi-disciplinary, and cross-sector partnerships. She is excited to serve as the Coordinated Entry Systems Manager and support Wake in building a Coordinated Entry and homeless system that we can be proud of.
Homeless Management Information System Administrator
Thurston has a passion for his community. Though he grew up in Charlotte, he visited Raleigh many times a year to visit family. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University, he continued his graduate work in Sociology at North Carolina State University and has called Raleigh home ever since.
Emily Catherine Mealor, MSW
Grants and Operations Manager
Emily Catherine is a North Carolina native with a background in grants management, nonprofit administration, and community development. She studied English and Social Work at Appalachian State University, and received her Master of Social Work from The George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was awarded the Dr. Clara Louise Johnson Outstanding Practicum Student Award for her work with Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Previously she has worked with Visual Art Exchange, The Family Violence Prevention Center, NC Department of Health and Human Services, and the NC Arts Council. Her passions include creative placemaking, disability studies, and writing. She is excited to join the Partnership team to help strengthen and empower local organizations to end homelessness in Wake County. When she’s not working she can usually be found at a local theater or bookstore!
Data and Evaluation Specialist