The Connection Welcomes New Talent with Inaugural Director of Diversity and Social Impact

Middletown, CT – The Connection is excited to announce that Mariana Serrano, MPH (she/they) has joined the organization as the inaugural Director of Diversity and Social Impact.

“It has been our goal at The Connection to create a Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging initiative that will impact our staff and the people we serve while setting an example for partner organizations to promote diversity and create an inclusive culture in the workplace,” says The Connection Chief Executive Officer, Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore. “The opportunity to work with Mariana arrives at the perfect time as we are rolling out our new strategic plan to evolve, celebrate, and elevate our amazing staff, board, and leadership teams.”

Centering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) takes more than just words, it takes action. Serrano will offer partner organizations training and consultative services that include DEIB and Racial Equity assessments. The assessments consist of qualitative and quantitative measures to identify where an organization is on its journey towards equitable practices and create a roadmap for DEIB growth and development. Serrano will provide DEIB tactical actions and strategies to move organizations in a more inclusive direction, which can include coaching and technical assistance for implementation. Serrano will also provide customizable trainings and leadership development workshops that encourage meaningful conversations centered around racial equity, inclusion and belonging. Serrano’s programs assist organizations to define measures of success and establish accountability, while providing support for leadership, key stakeholders, and employees through this adaptive process.

“In my experience, organizations are eager to prioritize DEIB, but often don’t know where to start,” Serrano explains, “The benefit of the DEIB assessment is that it allows partner organizations to identify practices that amplify DEIB and new opportunities for growth. Together, we create a plan and course of action to encourage meaningful connections within the organization. When we encourage, honor, and celebrate the diverse and intersectional perspectives of our employees, this leads to an inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplace with improved retention and performance overall.”

About: For fifty years The Connection has served as a statewide human services non-profit providing unique solutions to the problems of homelessness, mental illness, substance use, and community justice rehabilitation. The Connection has founded a social enterprise, The Institute for Innovative Practice. The Institute provides quality professional development, training, and consultation to help people, communities, and organizations meet their mission. The proceeds from The Institute are reinvested into The Connection’s programs. Find out more information on our website.

If you are interested in learning more about Mariana Serrano’s work or bringing her facilitation services to your organizations, please contact Brenna Adams, Communications Associate, at

For media inquiries, please contact Allison DeBlasio, Senior Director of Communications and Business Strategy at 860-682-5927.