Meet The Team
Brian Daskalovitz, CPA, MBA, is a distinguished financial professional with a rich background in accounting, finance, risk management, and banking. Over the years, Brian has successfully steered multiple organizations through reengineering and modernization initiatives, driving sustainable growth.
Brian’s most recent role was as Director of Risk Management at DreamSpring CDFI from 2021 to 2023, where he played a pivotal role in spearheading and managing key departments, fortifying fraud prevention protocols, and implementing innovative technologies to streamline lending processes. Prior to this, he served as Interim CFO at the same organization, showcasing his ability to architect sophisticated control structures and manage finances with precision. Brian’s career journey also includes significant achievements as a Fractional CFO at Red Rocks Federal Credit Union and as Chief Finance Officer at NextMark Federal Credit Union, where he achieved remarkable revenue and net income growth. Brian was awarded the CFO of the year in 2017 by Credit Union Times
Brian is a CPA in the state of Maryland. With a Master of Business Administration from the University of Baltimore and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Towson University, Brian’s qualifications are complemented by his active involvement in the community, as evidenced by his volunteer work with the Town of Hamilton’s Planning Commission and his candidacy for Mayor in October 2022. Brian has one daughter and loves coaching her baseball team.
Estee Smith joined NCRC in April 2022 as Healthy Communities Director where she is responsible for leading the organization’s efforts on workforce development, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) and their intersection with social determinants of health. Prior to NCRC, Estee was responsible for community engagement efforts at Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), specifically within PBS KIDS and PBS Station Services. At PBS, Estee supported PBS member stations in connecting high-need communities with PBS content and resources. Estee worked with stations to develop, test, and evaluate parent and educator-focused initiatives adapted in local communities nationwide. She also led community engagement efforts to provide training and support to member stations identifying and enhancing ways of utilizing data for impact based storytelling, meeting station business goals and providing insight into audience engagement.
Prior to PBS, Estee led the state of Missouri’s SNAP E&T efforts across 32 counties through her work at University of Missouri Extension which was contracted to provide workforce development services to unemployed and underemployed Missourians receiving SNAP employment and training services. Estee additionally worked with Central Missouri Community Action delivering family and workforce development services, particularly families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) employment and training services. She developed community relationships in Central Missouri while facilitating community-based workshops and being a part of human services coalition groups. Additionally, she served as an advisor and facilitator for front line staff earning the Family Development Credential through University of Connecticut and Missouri Community Action Network.
Estee is a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia. She is a Chicago native, now currently residing in Arlington, VA and is most passionate about social equity issues. Estee enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, art, music, and exploring the DC food scene.
Doug Mollett is NCRC’s Workforce Development Program Manager. He will be based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before coming to NCRC, Doug was Manager of Economic Empowerment Programs at Easterseals serving Greater Cincinnati. There, he oversaw four workforce development programs designed to help low-income job seekers remove the barriers that were standing in the way of long-term, gainful employment. Doug’s favorite part of that work was the voice that bridges the viewpoints of job seekers, employers and community development leaders. He also has a background in affordable housing work, including eviction and foreclosure prevention, and in-depth knowledge of federally-funded public assistance programs.
Doug has bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science and Spanish from Georgetown College (Kentucky) and a master’s degree (MA) in Urban Sustainability from Xavier University and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Northern Kentucky University.
Outside of work, he enjoys cooking, reading and traveling.
Lexine Varughis is NCRC Community Development Fund’s CDFI Program Specialist. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, and comes from a background in the legal and mortgage industry, and in affordable housing, while working with many housing agencies across the country.
Lexine holds a master’s degree in public policy, human rights advocacy from Adler University, Chicago, and a bachelor’s in political science from Michigan State University. Through this educational experience, she was able to see how political, social and economic change is evaluated, and how policy recommendations are developed and implemented especially for communities that are in need.
Lexine enjoys volunteering and serving in the community, and leading people to serve in the communities around her. She has a heart for social justice and believes everyone has the right to reach their full potential in this world.
Nayeli Pelayo is Operations Director at NCRC’s Community Development Fund where she oversees the management of the organization’s programs and internal operations. Nayeli has over 10 years of experience working in advocacy for social justice nonprofits with an emphasis in DEI, communications, fundraising and people management at organizations including National Immigration Law Center, American Immigration Council and GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic. Most recently, she served as co-executive director at ProgressPop, a nonprofit focused on producing pop culture content to increase civic participation with the goal of making the US a more equitable society.
She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration with a certification in Nonprofit Sector Management from California State University, Northridge, and a bachelor’s in Journalism. Originally from California, Nayeli is bilingual in Spanish with native fluency and currently lives in the DMV on a small suburban homestead with her husband and son.
Patrick Dixon has experience serving low-income African American communities through volunteering, interning, and work experience. His passion, mission, and purpose lie in helping those who are overlooked and underserved. His ultimate goal in his career is to expand awareness and access to economic development for groups who are underserved. He believes that closing access and opportunity gaps while empowering the underserved are not only the best way to create more equitable economies, it is simply the right thing to do. To achieve his goals, he plans to gain real-world experience in economic development so that he is in a position to build opportunities for others. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and is originally from Blythewood, SC.
Zaba Rashan joined the NCRC Community Development Fund as a program manager in 2021 with a primary focus on the organization’s small business technical assistance and portfolio management. Her professional experience spans the non-profit, federal, and government contracting sectors where she has worked on issues in foreign affairs, security, humanitarian aid, climate change, small business education and sustainable housing.
Prior to joining NCRC, Zaba worked as a researcher in support of government and NGO clients and managed a portfolio including the CDC, State Department, World Bank, USAID, and the US military. She regularly provided briefings and situation reports as a subject matter expert on the security and humanitarian situations in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Pakistan. Prior to that, she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the marketing and communications departments at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals where she worked closely with the executive team to produce the organization’s annual publications and entrepreneur programming.
Zaba received her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in International Affairs and bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine in Political Science. A polyglot with fluency in English, Spanish, Arabic and Farsi, Zaba is a humanitarian at heart who believes in thinking globally and acting locally.