Meet Us

Our Staff

Rebecca Pelham

Executive Director

Rebecca was raised in the beautiful green mountains of Vermont and is proud to call Miami home for the past six years. Her passions for democracy, sustainability, and education have guided her professional journey, and she is honored to work with the amazing team at Engage. She previously served as the Director of the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy at Miami Dade College’s North Campus and as a leader of the Miami Climate Alliance Steering Committee after having completed a M.S.Ed. in Education and Social Change from the University of Miami. When she’s not at work her love for good books, modern dance, and gardening keep her more than busy.

Gilbert Placeres

Organizing Director

Gilbert grew up between New York City, Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. and Miami. He was first trained as an organizer during President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 here in Miami, before attending Tufts University where he double majored in Political Science and Quantitative Economics. He continued to organize by joining NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s re-election campaign in 2014 and founding a Students Against Mass Incarceration chapter on his campus. Gilbert is passionate about affordable housing, economic justice and empowering marginalized communities, and in the long-term would like to combine his organizing and policy & data analysis skills to advance these causes.

Briyana Joseph


Raised in Liberty City, Miami, Briyana has always wanted to create a better reality for the people in her community. While finding her voice to speak up about many issues, she realized that she can help others find theirs too. She has been actively serving marginalized populations and fighting for the rights of sexual minorities for a while, but honed her craft (of civic engagement) the past four years while attending Mount Holyoke College, where she graduated with a BA in Psychology and Sociology. She is passionate about economic justice, feminism, affordable healthcare and providing people the tools to speak up for themselves so that they can change the world around them.

Liel Lankari


Liel was born in Israel and migrated at an early age to the United States with her family. She grew up very aware of the situation in her home country and the the magnitude of it. Once she went off to the University of Florida, she began to become more involved on a local scale in her college town as well as in Israel. She became president of JStreet UF, volunteered in her community, and even taught foreign students english. After graduating from UF she wanted to see and be a part of a positive change in the city she grew up in, Miami. Liel hopes that through the work she is doing with Engage Miami that she will see the change that is so needed to bring her generation to power. She envisions affordable housing, transportation that works, and bringing positive change to the environmental crisis of rising waters through voter engagement and education.

MacKenzie Marcelin


MacKenzie graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 with a B.A. in History. In the classroom he learned of the historical and systemic disparities that Black communities face when it comes to education, housing and the criminal justice system. Upon graduating he choose to put his knowledge into practice and moved to Miami for City Year in 2016, where he served his first year as an AmeriCorps Member at Miami Northwestern Senior High School and a second year as a Team Leader at Miami Edison Senior High School. His time with City Year has led to a passionate commitment to the marginalized communities in Miami through Engage.

Jessica Saint-fleur


Jessica was born and raised in Little Haiti. She has always exhibited a spirit of activism in her community, as well as the world around her. A recent graduate of Pitzer College, where she obtained a BA in Human Biology as a first-generation student, Jessica began to explore her identity and find her voice. Through her passion directed towards healthcare reform and the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement, Jessica naturally emerged with an intersectional social justice approach in life, leading her to give back to her own community now with Engage Miami.