Skip to Content

Our Staff

Kate C. Farrar, Executive Director 

Kate C. Farrar brings over 15 years of nonprofit management and women's issue expertise to her role as Executive Director of the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF).

Prior to CWEALF, Kate was the Vice President of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)'s Campus Leadership Programs in Washington, D.C. where she guided the strategy and management of the organization's nationwide college women's leadership programs, college/university relationships, and science, technology, engineering, and math programs for girls. In D.C. Kate also served as the associate director of National Programs and Policy at Wider Opportunities for Women where she led the Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Project (FESS), a nationwide project focused on policies and programs to move low-income families toward economic independence.

To begin her career, Kate lobbied the Connecticut state legislature on behalf of nonprofit organizations and served as a field organizer in Wisconsin for the 2004 presidential campaign.

A lifelong advocate of women's representation in politics, Farrar served as President of the Women Under Forty Political Action Committee, the only nonpartisan PAC in the country that supports young women running for office. She volunteers as a mentor for the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and as a committee member of the Aurora Foundation for Women and Girls. Kate earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Connecticut and a master's in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She was honored in 2017 with the UConn Honors Alumni Award and Syracuse University Maxwell School Alumni Award. 

Catherine Bailey, Deputy Director

In June 2013, Catherine Bailey joined CWEALF as the Legal and Public Policy Director and became Deputy Director in 2017. Her work includes overseeing the Legal Education Program, which seeks to fill the civil legal justice gap by providing women and low-income individuals with access to legal information, advocacy, and resources. She also spearheads CWEALF's policy agenda, which includes leading the Campaign for Paid Family Leave, the Family Law Working Group, and participating in the Campaign for a Working Connecticut and the Coalition for Choice.

After earning a B.A. from Boston College and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, Ms. Bailey held several positions in state government in Massachusetts, most recently as Deputy Legal Counsel to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Ms. Bailey is a founding Board member of Autism Families CONNECTicut, a nonprofit organization that provides recreational programs to individuals with autism and their families. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Greater Hartford Legal Aid and as a member of the Connecticut Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee and the Women in the Law Section


Meg Dubois, Development & Communications Coordinator

Meg Dubois leads fundraising and communication efforts for CWEALF. This includes managing social media and email communications, donor relations and assisting with grant writing. Ms. Dubois earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Connecticut and serves as an MSW field instructor for graduate student interns. Ms. Dubois previously worked as CWEALF's Development Associate from 2003-2006. She's a volunteer board member at the Friendly Hands Food Bank in her hometown of Torrington, CT.

Marisa Feijóo, Research Associate

Marisa Feijóo began at CWEALF as a Research and Evaluation Intern in September 2016 after earning her BA in English and Fine Art from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. Ms. Feijóo was hired in September 2017 as a Research Associate, assisting with the evaluation for the Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and other research and evaluation needs for CWEALF.

Madeline Granato, Policy Manager

Maddie Granato began at CWEALF as an intern in June 2014 after earning a BA in psychology from Union College in Schenectady, NY. Ms. Granato was hired in January 2016 as a Policy Associate, assisting with the Campaign for Paid Family Leave and CWEALF’s other legislative priorities. Ms. Granato earned her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Policy Practice in May 2016. She's a steering committee member of Young Women Rising. 

Melinda Johnson, Secure Jobs CT Program Manager

The Program Manager leads the coordination of the Secure Jobs CT technical assistance model, develops problem-solving approaches and new strategies for regional systems-level change, and maintains communication among all stakeholders of the project. Secure Jobs CT was launched by the Melville Charitable Trust and over 25 other foundations to increase the income of families with children exiting homelessness into housing by connecting them to the education, training, childcare, and other supports they need to secure and maintain stable, competitive employment. A collaborative effort between over a dozen foundations, several state agencies and nonprofit partners, Secure Jobs CT strives for systems-level change that forges strong connections between workforce and homelessness service providers in new and innovative ways.

Melinda L. Johnson has dedicated her life to her faith and the service of her community. The majority of her career has been devoted to the non-profit sector, serving in a diversity of areas including case management, counseling, program management, program coordination and administration. Most recently Melinda was a team member of the Urban League of Greater Hartford where she served as the Program Coordinator for the Go Girls Program. Melinda is also the founder and CEO of the RIVERS Women's Initiative, an organization that assists women who have been victims of sexual trauma, domestic violence and human trafficking. She is a host and producer for Change Talk Wednesday on, a live streaming show that is a part of her RIVERS Women’s Initiative.

Melinda began her post-secondary education at the University of Connecticut followed by the Tabernacle Bible College and Seminary Tampa Florida where she graduated with her Masters in Religious Arts and Christian Counseling.  In 2011 she also authored and published her first book entitled Image and Likeness. 

Denise Rhone, Legal Education Manager

Denise Rhone joined CWEALF in May of 2012 and currently supports CWEALF's overall Legal Education Program needs. This includes managing the program's Information and Referral (I&R) service, community outreach and education, and grant writing. Additionally, Ms. Rhone coordinates the agency's interns and volunteer needs and assists on the implementation of CWEALF's strategic plan.

Ms. Rhone received her B.A. in English from Trinity College and combines her artistic and communications abilities as well as her passion for social justice both in and outside of the workplace. She served as co-Chair of Young Women Rising, is a member of Journey Writers, Inc., and volunteers her time to faith-based initiatives in and surrounding her hometown, Hartford.

Nilda Rivera, Bilingual Community Advocate

Nilda Rivera joined the CWEALF staff in 2004 as a Bilingual Community Advocate. Ms. Rivera conducts extensive advocacy in the Greater Hartford and Greater New Haven areas to provide individuals with legal information and referrals on family, employment discrimination, civil rights, and education equity, and helps clients navigate legal and social service systems. Ms. Rivera sits on the board of Aspira of Connecticut and the City of Hartford Grandparents Committee. The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) formally honored Ms. Rivera, as a “2016 First 100 Plus Champion” for her work to improve the lives and outcomes of victims of domestic violence and their children. Ms. Rivera is bilingual in English and Spanish.



stay informed

Wondering what news you are missing from CWEALF? Join our email list and wonder no more!

Sign me up