Maisa Tisdale has advocated for the preservation of the Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses since 1994, and founded the Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community in 2009, after coordinating a successful movement to save the homes from demolition. Ms. Tisdale led the Freeman Center as a volunteer until 2019 when she became the Center’s first professional staff member. Over the past ten years Ms. Tisdale not only focused on the restoration of the Freeman houses, but has worked to create a safer and healthier “built” environment in Bridgeport’s South End – stressing the importance of historic preservation, community development, environmental justice, and climate change.
Bernicestine McLeod Bailey is President and Founder of McLeod Associates, Inc., an information technology consulting firm. Prior to McLeod, she was a Systems Engineer with IBM. She is also Vice President for Operations of Aisha & Co. LLC, a family gift company whose signature product is lshababies®, a line of multicultural plush dolls. In the volunteer arena, Bernicestine McLeod Bailey is Secretary of TEAM Westport in Westport, CT., and has served as a Director of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.
Lola Smith retired from General Electric Corporate Headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut in 2014 after a successful forty-year career as an administrator. Ms. Smith began her career at Action for Bridgeport Community Development (ABCD), where she worked for five years before accepting a position at General Electric. Born in Sanford, North Carolina to Artent and Edward Smith. Lola Smith moved north to Bridgeport, Connecticut with her mother, four brothers, and two sisters at the age of sixteen.
Brandon Cardwell was born and raised in Stamford, CT. He graduated from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) with an Individualized major – Mass Media, Popular Culture & Business Entrepreneurship. He minored in Business. Cardwell works for Stamford-based Indeed.com, a comprehensive internet search engine for jobs. He is an Agency Development Partner (Agency Relations). He specializes in Digital Advertising.
Sarah Griswold is a consultant for small and mid-sized history museums, historical societies, libraries with historical collections, and other non-profit organizations. Ms. Griswold works primarily in collection assessment & management, board development, strategic planning, and exhibit development. In addition, she works with organizations and organizational communities in developing their capabilities through improving communications and governance structure.
Charles Brilvitch is the historian who “discovered” the Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses, researched Little Liberia, and began the drive for recognition of the historic Liberia settlement and promoted the preservation of the Freeman Houses. He has prepared Historic Tax Credit applications since 1978, and has served as historic preservation specialist for most of the major certified rehabilitation projects in the Bridgeport area, including the Crescent Block on Washington Avenue, winner of the 2001 AIA Design Award; and the Washington Park Rehabilitation (10 buildings), winner of the 2002 National Trust Annual Award.
Cecelia Bucki, Ph.D., has been Professor of History at Fairfield University for the past twenty-five years, after previously teaching at Hamilton College, Wesleyan University, and Yale University. Her specialties within US History are social, labor and working-class, and immigration and ethnic history. Her main research interest is the nexus of US 20th century labor and urban politics, as demonstrated in her first book, the award-winning Bridgeport’s Socialist New Deal, 1915-1936 (University of Illinois Press, 2001).
Adrienne Farrar Houël is President and CEO of the Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, Inc. (GBCE). Ms. Farrar Houël is a Bridgeport area native with 25 years of international executive experience in France, Russia and Ireland in real estate development and marketing. In 2002 she returned to the U.S. and pursued a career in economic development where she designed, funded and operated workforce training programs.
George Logan is a Connecticut State Senator. He represents the 17th District; which includes Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge. The Senate Republican Majority Whip, Senator Logan is Co-chair of the Planning and Development Committee and Vice-Chair of the Public Health and Veterans Affairs Committee. Senator Logan also serves as a member of the Education Committee and the Regulation Review Committee.
Attorney Preston Tisdale is Of Counsel at Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder. Nearly forty years ago, Preston began his legal career at KK&B. He later left to pursue other legal and civic ventures. Tisdale’s legal accomplishments and his devotion to community service made him a welcome addition back to KK&B in 2010. Prior to returning to KK&B, Preston Tisdale served as the Director of Special Public Defenders for the State of Connecticut, Office of Chief Public Defender.