Local Resident Appointed to Pine Street Inn Board of Directors

Pine Street Inn, New England’s largest homeless services organization, has added three distinguished members to its Board of Directors. Dennis Berger, Chief Culture Officer at Suffolk Construction; Revere resident, Avana Epperson-Temple, Esq., Litigation Associate at Peabody & Arnold; and Paula D. Leca, Esq., Chief Counsel at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, will be joining the board effective immediately.

Pine Street Inn looks forward to the significant contributions that each will bring to the board. These additions come at a key time for Pine Street, as the organization turns the corner from its emergency operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues its focus on permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness in Boston.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dennis, Avana and Paula to our Board of Directors,” said Lyndia Downie, President and Executive Director of Pine Street Inn. “Each brings tremendous experience and a unique skillset that align with the organization’s strategic vision, which will help us as we continue to move individuals off the street, out of shelter and into housing.”

Dennis Berger is Suffolk Construction’s chief culture officer and serves on Suffolk’s Executive Committee. Prior to joining Suffolk, Berger was with CDW Corporation and the PepsiAmerica Corporation. He is a current board member and former vice-chair of skills for Chicagoland’s Future, and serves on the Board of Directors of Skills for America’s Future. Berger holds a BA from Northeastern University and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Avana Epperson-Temple is a trial attorney in the Litigation Department at Peabody & Arnold. A former Pine Street Innbassador, she also serves as an at-large director for the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, member of the Anti-Defamation League’s Associate Board and as a pro bono attorney for the Women’s Bar Foundation’s Family Law Project, representing survivors of domestic violence. In 2018, she was recognized by Get Konnected! as one of Boston’s Most Influential Millennials of Color; she was named an Up & Coming Lawyer by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2020, and in 2021, she received the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. Epperson-Temple earned a BA from Emory University and a JD from Northeastern University.

Paula Leca serves as the chief counsel, Specialty Business Units/Research and Development, at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge. She joined Takeda in 2015 as associate general counsel and became vice president and head counsel, oncology in 2019. Previously, Leca held positions at the New York Genome Center, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Goodwin Proctor. She earned a BA from Stanford University and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Berger, Epperson-Temple and Leca join an esteemed group of current Board members at Pine Street Inn, including Patrick T. Jones, Chair; Lorn Davis, Treasurer; Megan Gates, Clerk; Margaret M. Stapleton, Assistant Clerk; Gaye Bok; Michelle Botus; Jack Cinquegrana; Jeffrey Figueiredo; Tom Glynn; Amber Kagan; Msgr. Francis H. Kelle;, Alyce Lee; James MacPhee; David W. Manzo; John H. McCarthy; Mark McHugh; André Mehta; Lisa R. Murray; Thomas O’Brien; Kay Whelan O’Halloran; James F. O’Leary; Jason Park; Laura J. Sen; Robert A. Stringer; Susan Tracy; Rev. John J. Unni; Nicole Casty Vignati; and Kate Walsh. Founded in 1969, Pine Street Inn is the largest homeless services provider in New England, offering a comprehensive range of services to nearly 2,000 men and women each day, including permanent housing, workforce development, emergency shelter and street outreach. Our goal is to end homelessness by making permanent housing a reality for all, as we support men and women in moving off the streets, out of shelter, and into a permanent home, reaching their highest level of independence.

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