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Cross Cultural Community Services is a non-profit organization run and owned by three women of color who have worked together for over 15 years conducting trainings to community members and organizations on cultural differences, US customs and norms and policies. Abeir, Deqa and Regina have vast knowledge and expertise about the refugee, immigrant and POC experience. They are strong advocates for social justice, policy and system change so disenfranchised persons are afforded fair and equitable treatment.


The mission of Cross Cultural Community Services is to promote equitable opportunities for full societal inclusion and advancement of culturally and ethnically diverse communities through education and advocacy.


Before becoming an official 501(c)3 organization, they owned and operated Cross Cultural Consulting Group, a corporation that also conducted training on cultural humility and equity.


Abeir Ibrahim


Abeir Ibrahim has worked for the City of Portland for approximately 15 years. She supervises the HIRE Program and works diligently to help General Assistance clients to secure long-term stable employment. Before working at General Assistance, Ms. Ibrahim worked at the City’s Refugee Services program. There, Ms. Ibrahim oversaw the Survivors of Torture program and provided case management services to asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants detained in their home country and tortured. As a case manager for Refugee Services, Ms. Ibrahim also worked as a cultural broker with the State of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services Child Protective and Family Crisis Services, a domestic violence program.


Ms. Ibrahim is originally from Sudan but has been in the US for over 20 years and in Maine since 2004. She serves on the Department of Corrections Juvenile Justice Advisory Group and Disproportionate Minority Contact committee. Ms. Ibrahim is a certified mediator.

Deqa Dhalac MSW, MDP


Ms. Dhalac is originally from Somalia, East Africa, and migrated to the United States in Atlanta, GA, in 1992. Ms. Dhalac moved to Maine in 2005. Currently, Ms. Dhalac is the Assistant Director for Gateway Community Services. Previously, Ms. Dhalac worked for the State's Department of Education, The Center for Grieving Children, The Opportunity Alliance, the City of Portland Refugee Services, and the Public Health Division’s Minority Health Programs. Ms. Dhalac has a Master’s degree in Development Policy and Practice from the University of New Hampshire and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of New England. She's established, chaired, and participated in countless committees and meetings to continually advance and advocate for social and racial justice. She's a certified language tester and mediator and treasurer for the Somali Community Center of Maine. Ms. Dhalac was elected Mayor of South Portland, the first Somali-American to do so in the state, and then elected to the state legislature, representing Muslim Americans. .


Regina Phillips, DSW, MSW


Regina Phillips worked for the Westbrook School Department and was an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Maine and the University of New England's School of Social Work. Prior to that, she worked for the City of Portland Social Services Division as the Refugee Services Program Manager for 12 years and at

the homeless family shelter for seven years. Ms. Phillips has established, chaired,

and served on countless boards and committees, including the United Way of

Greater Portland, Coastal Enterprises Inc., and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Additionally, Ms. Phillips was a Greater Portland NAACP branch member for over ten years, serving on the Executive Board and the Chair of the Education committee. Ms. Phillips grew up in Maine and received her undergrad from Curry College in Milton, MA, her Master of Social Work from UNE, and her Doctor of

Social Work from Tulane University.

We are a growing organization that often reaches out to thought leaders in order to build our community of practice and respond to the needs of the consumers.

We are honored to cultivate supportive connections with the following industry professionals.

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Through her consulting, coaching, and speaking, Cathy helps people and organizations mobilize to face realities - with insight, compassion and humor. Identifying and leading through adaptive challenges is the base of her consulting and coaching practice.  A graduate of Smith College, she holds masters degrees from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (Public Administration) and the University of New England (Social Work). Based primarily in Maine, her consulting, training, and speaking has taken her to Micronesia and Dubai and point across the U.S.  Her experience is nontraditional – spanning the public, private, and nonprofit sectors – and includes: internal organizational development consulting and executive coaching with Hannaford Brothers/ Delhaize America, a Fortune 500 company; external consulting for nonprofit, public, and private organizations of all sizes; interim executive leadership for several organizations; adjunct faculty for Boston College Graduate School of Social Work; and, founding executive director of a nationally recognized youth leadership organization serving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

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Ms. Perez, originally from Newark New Jersey, is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist of 24 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is completing a Doctorate in Social Work from Tulane University in New Orleans. She is a native Spanish speaker and daughter of parents from Cuba and Puerto Rico.  Prior to joining UNE, Ms. Perez was a system of care director from 2005-2015, leading three Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants for the state of Maine. During these years she managed to find time to start a non-profit, THRIVE, a technical assistance center for trauma-informed care. She is a certified cultural competency trainer and has presented and provided consultation extensively, both locally and nationally, on Trauma Systems Change, Organizational Healing and Resiliency, Cultural and Linguistic Competency issues, and Youth-Adult Partnerships. She provides technical assistance and consultation to states and communities on the development of trauma-informed systems and provides system of care consultation through federal site monitoring and coaching for the University of Maryland's Technical Assistance Network. 

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Bayard “Bay” Love is an organizer and trainer based in Portland, Maine who works primarily as a partner at the newly formed Groundwater Institute. He holds a BA in Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University, an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Master’s in Public Policy from Duke University. Professionally, Bay is a management consultant whose work is dedicated to ending structural racism by building successful campaigns, strong organizations, and empowered leaders. He has worked with diverse clients, including large private sector law firms, city and state-level legal advocacy organizations, grassroots community organizations, universities, and others. Bay’s consulting work is primarily concerned with helping leaders leverage their institutional resources, analyze modern-day inequity, and hone their strategy to maximize impact against entrenched structures of power. Bay is also a longtime trainer/organizer with the Racial Equity Institute and has a secondary focus on “internal work” to help himself and others develop the capacity for bearing witness and the personal transformation necessary for sustainable change.

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