Polis Institute Key Team Members
Bahiyyah Maroon is Chief Executive Officer at Polis Institute. Widely recognized for her contributions, Dr. Maroon is a recipient of the United States President’s Volunteer Service Award and has been a National Science Foundation Fellow. In her career, she’s provided research and strategy insights to Intel Corporation, the US Dept. of Justice, US Dept of Education, Harvard University, Columbia University, and the US Dept. of Labor among others. She has an MA and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California Santa Cruz. Dr. Maroon is passionate about using scientific insights to create solutions for building a more compassionate and vibrant world benefiting the many.
Andres deploys the power of geographic information systems and data analysis to understand current assets and reveal unseen trends in localized settings. The purpose of his work is to empower strategy and decision making. He holds a Master of Science in Human Geography, and has studied the impact of development programs in a highly vulnerable area of Colombia in South America. He brings experience creating and managing Geographic Information Systems, as well as quantitative and qualitative research experience. He has worked in different facets of the nonprofit arena, including economic development and faith based organizations. Andres’s work and education are grounded in the belief that every single person is deserving of access to the same opportunities. He is married to his high school sweetheart Hannah and they are the proud parents of three beautiful children.
Chris Ramos oversees partnerships with foundations, nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies to build strong networks of dedicated leaders who together, are building brighter futures for all. Chris has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University. His work in collegiate athletics has included strategic communications, life coaching, operations management, and video production. Chris now brings his desire to ensure every individual and community receives a just opportunity to fulfill their goals.
Brandy Hannah oversees the portfolio of Strong Families programs at Polis Institute. She has over fifteen years of nonprofit and community building experience. She has proudly served on the Essex County Human Services Advisory Board, Essex County Council for Young Children, Rutgers University Community Health Board, and the City of Newark Coalition on Homelessness, among countless other roles and affiliations. She has a strong background working in diverse communities and creating meaningful relationships with the people. She believes it is there that the seed of truly strengthening and engaging a community cultivates. Brandy is the proud mother of two amazing children.
Shawn exercises his gift of communication and event organization to facilitate Polis program offerings conducive to positive change. He has been engaged in community improvement since creating a poetry and life skills program for youth offenders at the 33rd Street Jail in 2006. Shawn is the founder and host of Diverse Word, the longest running, weekly open mic gathering in Orlando. In the past, Shawn has devoted himself to area nonprofits including The Hope Community Center, the Orlando Boys & Girls Club, Frontline Outreach Community Center, and Professional Opportunities Program for Students (POPS), a youth empowerment and internships program. Shawn Welcome is the proud father of four children and husband to his beautiful wife, Jannah
Ron Jones is a founding member of Polis Institute. He currently serves as the Community Engagement Specialist. He thrives in understanding and empowering individuals and communities. Ron has also worked extensively with Orlando’s homeless population and helped found the Steps program at the Coalition for the Homeless in 1999. Ron has two children and four grandchildren.