Lydia Stazen

Executive Director | Institute of Global Homelessness

Pronouns: she/her

Lydia has dedicated her career to building a world where all people have a place to call home and a strong foundation upon which they can build the lives they envision for themselves. Lydia has held executive leadership roles in anti-poverty organizations across the Midwest, focusing on housing, employment, education, and policy advocacy.

Immediately prior to joining the Institute for Global Homelessness, she served as Vice Chancellor of Advancement and President of the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation, where key achievements included establishing a $500,000 fund for student basic needs emergencies and securing funding for a full-time staff position to drive a college-wide response for students experiencing homelessness. She also served for several years as Vice President of All Chicago Making Homelessness History, where she was instrumental in integrating homeless data with medical data to help patients experiencing homelessness access housing services.

Her expertise spans systems change, collective impact, fundraising, communications and marketing, program design, outcomes and data tracking and analysis, nonprofit management, government administration, executive search, and more. She was a “Greater Good” fellow at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2015, has been a featured panelist at the Association for Fundraising Professional’s Midwest Conference, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

When she’s not traveling the world helping communities address homelessness, you can find Lydia swimming competitively, inhaling fiction, or hunting for Chicago’s perfect brunch.

Julia Wagner

Program Director| Institute of Global Homelessness

Pronouns: she/her

Julia leads IGH’s work on the Vanguard Cities, Better Data Project and Community of Impact. She has more than a decade of experience in program design, building partnerships for systems change, and collecting inclusive data working across the fields of international public health, education, and homelessness.

Prior to joining IGH, Julia served as a Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Advisor for the AIDSFree Project, where she worked with teams from 13 countries to track and improve outcomes. She has also worked in Namibia and South Africa on projects focused on empowering youth, forming continuum of care networks, and engaging civil society organizations. Her experience includes creating data management systems, building dashboards and tools to make data more accessible for decision making, and providing technical assistance to field-based partners.

Julia holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Julia Wagner's headshot

Tiffany Connolly

Program Coordinator | Institute of Global Homelessness

Pronouns: she/her

Tiffany is the Program Coordinator at the Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH). She is passionate about progression, collaboration, and knowledge exchange. Through her work, she supports IGH’s efforts to achieve individual and team goals; organize and facilitate collaborations, projects, and convenings; and curate and share useful information, tools, and resources on homelessness and intersectionality. She also supports IGH’s effort to achieve its diversity, equity, and inclusion mission.

Tiffany holds a B.A. in Psychology from DePaul University and is pursuing continuing education in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Yamitza Yuivar Villarreal

Research Assistant | Institute of Global Homelessness

Pronouns: she/her

Yamitza is a Research Assistant at the Institute of Global Homelessness. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. Yamitza has worked as a community manager of social organizations, assisted in research about education and communication, and designed theoretical frameworks that facilitated projects. Her personal and professional objectives are advocating for a more equitable society that respects all cultures and believes in people.

Yamitza holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Universidad de Chile and is pursuing a MED in Education, Culture, and Society at DePaul University.


River Smith

Research Assistant | Institute of Global Homelessness

Pronouns: any/all

River is a research assistant at the Institute of Global Homelessness. They are originally from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and currently live in Chicago. River’s background is in psychology and mental health. He’s worked in direct service, designing and running psychosocial programming for adults living with mental illnesses. He’s also done psychological research on moral perceptions of criminality, and is committed to bringing a social justice focus to his mental health work.

River holds a B.A. in Psychology from Knox College, and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from DePaul University.

Mollie McNulty

Conference Planning Intern | Institute of Global Homelessness

Pronouns: she/her

Mollie is a junior at DePaul University studying Hospitality with an Events concentration in the Driehaus College of Business. She is currently working as a conference planning intern for the Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness. Mollie has six years of experience working in the hospitality industry and she believes in the power of events to connect people. Her career goal is to work as a meeting planner for a large association.