Hannah Carrillo

by Lia

MKI Affiliation:

Certificate Cohort Participant


Legislative Liaison


City of Somerville Mayor's Office


Hannah Carrillo’s family and friends would describe her as passionate, tenacious, and affable. After receiving a master’s in public policy, she worked at Metro Housing Boston before landing a housing policy position in the Housing division through City of Somerville. After working in housing for several years, she more recently transferred to the Mayor’s Office as a legislative liaison. Hannah’s passion for community development is ever evolving. What gets her going every day is good policy and well-run social programming.  She believes that there are so many good policies ideas out there, and what’s currently needed is more resources put towards determining the best way to administer and implement those policies.

Hannah first heard about the Mel King Institute through word of mouth, and when she decided she wanted to explore a broader community development background, MKI’s Certificate Cohort Program seemed like a good fit.  In hindsight, learning about related topics like economic development, community organizing, and planning have all complemented her housing work well.  In her words, “You can’t do housing in a vacuum…these things are so interconnected…. community building, community engagement and participation…I’m really glad I have the opportunity to learn through trainings about community development.”  Hannah’s favorite MKI training so far has been Community Organizing 102, where she was able to self-reflect which of her own organizing behaviors could be improved.  She could visualize how to push organizing work further, and she found the instructors Sarah Horsley and Melinda Vega to be very engaging. 

    Hannah has been able to use MKI course knowledge directly in her work. She specifically cited the MKI training “Be a Group Facilitation Pro” as useful to learn strategies about how to run a good meeting, such as regular Transfer Fee Coalition meetings she runs with her amazing colleague Ellen Shachter.  Her former position in the Housing Division also involved the potential for looking into a community land trust, so she took the initiative to do the research and launch a volunteer working group. That working group has grown into what is now the Somerville Community Land Trust.  Hannah has shepherded this project from the beginning, collaborating with volunteers, colleagues, and consultants to provide development support, make connections, and work with other local nonprofits for relationship building. 

“It’s a community effort. All I did was convene and coordinate and facilitate. So yes, I nagged everybody, and it was something that I had to take initiative on and is why I’m genuinely proud of it…the volunteers and working groups did so much work and were so engaged…they have been incredible. It’s been a rewarding process. I’ve never seen a volunteer effort go so fast.”
Since its launch in 2019, the working group has transformed into a full nonprofit that plans to hire a full-time staff person in 2021.   

    Hannah would like others to know about the benefits of the MKI Certificate Cohort program. Specifically, she advises, “You get out of it what you put into it. I think it’s important that you really want to engage – trainings are really valuable if you put in the effort.”  

You can join Hannah and our other community development professionals because our Certificate Cohort application is open!  Learn more about the Certificate Cohort program on our website, and make sure to submit your application before September 10th.