DRG Welcomes New Team Members!

In 2022, our team of talent experts has grown to better support our growth and expanded focus. Our team now includes more than 40 experts in over 15 locations across the country. Meet some of our newest additions!

Jessica Black, Talent Consultant

New Jersey

Jessica is an expert in talent strategy, including organizational design and culture. This expertise allows her to also conduct executive searches with a greater awareness of how a candidate’s skill and experience deliver on both the current and future needs of her client’s organization.

She loves traveling and exploring new cities and countries by wandering their streets and trying new foods. When at home, she loves baking and building towers with her two-year-old son.

Connect with Jess via e-mail or on LinkedIn.

Nina Cogan, Talent Consultant

Washington D.C.

Nina has expertise and direct experience working in development roles across various nonprofit organizations. Her clients rely on Nina to keep the search process highly organized and to go above and beyond to ensure candidates are authentic and genuinely able to lead their organization to success in achieving their mission.

Nina used to play five (yes five!) musical instruments and won a John Phillip Sousa award in high school. She lives in the Washington DC area and is passionate about design, spending time with her dog Nala, pickleball, true crime podcasts, and mental health advocacy.

Connect with Nina via e-mail or on LinkedIn.

Gabriela Kocerha, Operations Associate


Gabi attended the University of Maryland for her undergraduate as well as graduate degrees, focusing on Education.  Gabi has worked for the University of Maryland, Emory University, as well as Nonprofits in Washington D.C. and Atlanta. Having served as a Teacher, Administrator, and Advisor among other roles, Gabi understands how important the details are for a project’s success.  She enjoys supporting and learning from her colleagues in whatever they take on.

In her free time, Gabi loves to cook and bake while enjoying time with her family.

Connect with Gabi via e-mail or on LinkedIn.

Alessa Lacarta, Marketing & Communications Associate


Alessa specializes in marketing and communications and is passionate about building community and telling stories. She is skilled in content curation and brand strategy. She is an excellent multitasker, problem-solver, and collaborator.

She is a proud graduate of Florida State University and enjoys reading, cooking, and is attempting to like running. Her ultimate goal is to be able to cook at least one dish from every country in the world.

Connect with Alessa via e-mail or on LinkedIn.

Alexa New, Senior Director of Operations


Alexa designs and manages firm-wide strategies related to people, operations, and special projects, leading the operational infrastructure to support growth, excellence, and creativity for the team and the clients we serve.

She’s a passionate cook and baker who’s known to throw amazing parties and loves museum-hopping on weekends (her family has memberships at ten local museums!).

Connect with Alexa via e-mail or on LinkedIn.

Akshita Sankepally, Talent Consultant


Akshita supports nonprofits with executive search and talent strategy, including organizational design, transition planning, and culture. Akshita is an expert in external and internal compensation equity analysis. Clients can always expect Akshita to apply a racial-equity lens to all the work she does for their organization.

She has lived in several interesting international locations, including Ireland, India, and North Macedonia. Her passions include running and baking sweet treats.

Connect with Akshita via e-mail or on LinkedIn.


Gabrielle “Bee” Smith, Associate


As a member of the Research & Outreach team, she approaches her searches with warmth and compassion to attract and retain the best candidates. She is an expert at identifying and selecting candidates who have a meaningful vision of the client organization’s future in mind.

Gabrielle is always ready to go on an adventure with her dog, Sheba. She loves word puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, painting, embroidering, dancing, baking, journaling, and walking through nature.

Connect with Gabrielle via e-mail or on LinkedIn.

Raven Stubbs, Talent Consultant


Raven is passionate about understanding the nuances and specialties of each company’s culture. She is an expert at identifying the underbellies of culture that causes some of the greatest frustrations, leadership and staff misalignments, and problems with retention.

In her free time, Raven curates for and sits in deep community with Women & Children First Independent Bookstore, one of the few remaining independent feminist bookstores left in the U.S. that is fully owned and operated by women.

Connect with Raven via e-mail or on LinkedIn.

Michelle Tafel, Principal, Organizational Consulting


Michelle brings extensive experience leading youth- and education-focused nonprofit organizations through strategy, innovation, and change leadership. She meets clients at the intersection of vision and execution to anchor future goals to a step-by-step plan. Michelle brings her expertise as a former chief innovation officer, chief strategy and advancement officer, and executive director. She partners with clients to reimagine what is possible and clear a path to the future.

In her free time, she finds almost any excuse to dance, including picking up new styles while traveling all over the world.

Connect with Michelle via e-mail or on LinkedIn.

To learn more about DRG’s experts, visit HERE.