Who We Are

In early 2015, Watertown Community Conversations grew out of a discussion among several residents at the World in Watertown's annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast. Following that discussion, the group expanded and met regularly to shape our mission and programs.  We have benefited tremendously from the insights, support, and encouragement of the Watertown community - residents, Town and State elected officials, Town staff, and business and community leaders. We would like to thank Abby Yanow, one of our founding members, for her tremendous contributions to creating Watertown Community Conversations and theWatertown Community Foundation for their funding which facilitated our first programs.

Ora Grodsky

Ora co-founded Just Works Consulting in 2000 to provide organizational development for organizations advancing social justice.  Since then she has guided hundreds of groups through successful planning and change processes. She received a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a graduate and former academic dean of the New England School of Acupuncture.

Cecilia Lenk

Cecilia served three terms as Town Councilor, District B, during which she chaired the Public Works and Technology Committees, and served on the Budget and Finance Committee. Formerly Vice President of Technology and Digital Design at Decision Resources, she has directed large-scale technology projects for major corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. She currently works with companies at all stages to provide assistance with business strategy, capital raising, and technology consulting.  She has served on a number of non-profit boards, including Chair of the Johns Hopkins Engineering Alumni and Cultural Survival. Cecilia has a PhD in Biology from Harvard University and a BA from Johns Hopkins University.

Larry Raskin

Larry is an organizational effectiveness consultant and community leader.  He helps leaders, teams, and groups define their missions, overcome challenges, gain commitments, build capacity, and implement strategies to achieve their objectives. He is a co-founder and former Chair of World in Watertown, an organization that promotes diversity, fair treatment and equal rights through public programs and collaboration with elected officials and local leadersLarry is a certified facilitator, workshop leader, trainer and coach.  He graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from SUNY at Buffalo, and earned a Master of Education degree from Harvard University.  

Janet Penn

Janet is the founder of Youth LEAD (Youth Leaders Engaging Across Differences) and was its Executive Director from 1999-2014.  She is currently the Project Director of Training and Resource Development for the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and is developing a resource library, including on-site national trainings, videos, and webinars which will support thousands of Muslim and Jewish women across the U.S.  Janet is also currently working on a pilot project with  university chaplains.  She has been a non-profit manager and advocate for social change for over 30 years.  Janet received her MBA and MSW from Boston College and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School.

Maya Townsend

Maya, founder and lead consultant at Partnering Resources, helps individuals, teams, and organizations thrive in our networked world. She uses knowledge of the art and science of networks to help leaders create resilient strategy, find opportunities in complex business ecosystems, and influence change. Her clients include Fortune 500, mid-sized, emerging, and nonprofit organizations, such as Bayer, Biogen, Commongood Careers, Intel, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, MIT, and the National Braille Press. Maya is co-editor of Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network (AMACOM, 11/2012). Her articles have been published in CIO, Nonprofit Quarterly, Talent Management, and other outlets. Maya earned a Master's degree with Honors in Applied Behavioral Science from American University / NTL Institute and a Bachelor's degree from Oberlin College. In her spare time, she hosts chocolate learning and tasting sessions.

Nancy Hammett

Nancy is an Environmental Policy and Economic Consultant and Stormwater Compliance Expert who has worked extensively in the US and globally.  She has served on the Town's Storm Water Advisory Committee. Nancy was Executive Director of the Mystic River Watershed Association.  She received her BA from Wellesley College and an MSc from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management.

Bill Madsen

Bill is the founder and director of the Family-Centered Services Project, an effort to help community agencies develop more collaborative ways of working with families.  He has spent many years doing training, consultation, and leadership coaching.  Bill spent 10 years working with Public Conversations Project (now Essential Partners), a prominent organization devoted to supporting dialogue and constructive conversations on divisive issues.  Much of that work particularly focused on working with city departments and supporting reflective leadership in often frenzied contexts.  Bill has written several guides for dialogues in fractured organizational contexts and is the author of Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families (2nd Edition) and Collaborative Helping: A Strengths Framework for Home-Based Services.