Belema Derefaka

As a member of HR&A’s Growth Team, Belema supports strategic communications by leveraging storytelling to advance the company’s growth and impact.


Prior to joining HR&A, Belema worked with the 100 Black Men of Greater Washington D.C. While there, she developed and implemented initiatives that support the development of social, emotional, and educational needs of African American youth in the metropolitan area. She also worked with Future Now Action and Clean Cities Coalition. Her previous roles ignited a passion for storytelling through communication channels to promote company growth and prosperity. Her work is rooted in philanthropy and giving back, and she particularly enjoys mentoring and community engagement.

Belema is an honors graduate of Howard University where she received her Bachelors in Strategic, Legal & Management Communications. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and learning new skills.

Asha Bazil

Asha collaborates with public and private stakeholders to develop equitable, resilient, and future-ready infrastructure.

Asha specializes in developing governance and funding mechanisms for broadband infrastructure deployment. She designs digital equity plans and implementation strategies for cities, counties, and states across the country to ensure that Federal broadband funding serves communities most impacted by the digital divide. Asha also works on infrastructure projects related to decarbonization and resiliency. She co-authored the first study on the impact of electric vehicle charging infrastructure on for-hire-vehicle drivers in NYC, demonstrating the ways in which public and private actors can collaborate to reduce emissions from for-hire-vehicle fleets. She also supported a benefit-cost analysis of resiliency actions in Alexandria, Egypt presented during COP 27.

Prior to HR&A, Asha supported the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the development of a new master plan to accommodate over 2.5 million square feet of development. She has been involved in planning for creative and cultural industries and led the spatial analysis for a GIZ-sponsored pandemic recovery plan supporting creative industries across seven cities in Africa and the Middle East. As a part of the Housing Initiative at Penn, she researched the efficacy of COVID-specific rental relief programs in US cities. Before planning, Asha worked in advertising technology helping companies optimize their data across online and offline channels.

Asha has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Affairs from the George Washington University and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received the Smart Cities Award from the School of Design.

Sori Han

Sori brings experience in research and data analysis to support creative and equitable economic development strategies for both private and public sector clients.

Prior to HR&A, Sori served as a community planning fellow at the Manhattan Community Board 2, deepening her understanding of the NYC DOT Open Street program’s impact at the community level and witnessing the transformation of streets into valued civic resources and a catalyst for economic development. Prior to her studies in urban planning, Sori was a high school geography teacher in Seoul, South Korea. She also worked briefly as a 3D modeling consultant for the Seoul Metropolitan Government, working closely with city agencies in developing emergency management plans.

Sori holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Geography Education from Ewha Womans University.

Lexi Quiroz

Alexandra (Lexi) joins HR&A’s GPO team in NYO and brings nine years of administrative experience ranging from immigration to the fashion industry.


Lexi has interned with Betsy Johnson-fashion house, as a production intern specializing in the international market. Soon after, Lexi worked with the Wholesale company Liu Sun Enterprises, specializing in soft accessories and swimwear for the likes of Tory Burch, Coach and Marc Jacobs.

In addition to her professional experiences, Lexi is a graduate of the University of New Haven and a founding sister of the University of New Haven chapter of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc.

Moira Todd

Moira joins the People team as a Talent Manager based in HR&A’s DC Office (DCO) and has over 20 years of experience in higher education and the private sector through her work at Georgetown University, Tufts University, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty.

Most recently, Moira coached over 1,500 alumni and graduate students at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service (SFS). Previously, Moira led the Mortara Center for International Studies, the SFS research center, by supporting the research life cycle from brainstorming to book launches. Moira brings skills in developing others through the flow of work, onboarding, coaching, mentoring, event planning, and research support. Moira’s human resources management graduate capstone project focused on improving performance development and performance evaluations in partnership with the Bureau of Global Talent Management with the U.S Dept. of State.

As Talent Manager, Moira will be working closely with Studio Leadership, Partners, and Project Managers in support of staffing and talent development for Studios 1, 3, and 5 where she will align consulting staff with client projects and business development opportunities to optimize the professional growth of employees and firm outcomes. Moira also looks forward to supporting community-building programming and working with HR&A’s Anti-racism Core Team to implement the firm’s People-based anti-racism initiatives.

Moira holds a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Human Resources Management from Georgetown University, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Johns Hopkins University in International Studies, and a Gallup-certified Clifton Strengths coach, and holds membership with the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).

Melissa Quirk

Melissa brings over 20 years of cross-sector experience in broadband and affordable housing.

Most recently, she was Chief of Staff at the New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer overseeing execution of the $157M strategy to build publicly-owned broadband infrastructure for new affordable internet service options for 1.6M New Yorkers and open the broadband market to new small businesses, including MWBEs. She also staffed the NYC Technology Steering Committee that evaluated large expenditure technology initiatives of City agencies.

Melissa was previously the Director of Federal Policy and Legislative Affairs at the New York City Housing Authority where she gained introduction of legislation in the U.S. Congress and secured a first in decades increase in capital funding. She also coordinated implementation of HUD’s ConnectHome internet connectivity initiative for 5,000 households in the Bronx.

Prior to her work with the City of New York, Melissa shaped housing policy at the National Low Income Housing Coalition in Washington, D.C. and at Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association in Boston, MA. She previously managed homelessness policy and interventions at the City of Boston Mayor’s Office.

Melissa holds a Master of Arts in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Matthew Rivas

Matthew’s research and analytical work guide economic development projects that create more vibrant and equitable cities.

Based in HR&A’s New York office, Matthew’s work centers on the intersection of community economic development, small businesses support, and real estate development advising. He brings with him work experience in Philadelphia and New York City advising business improvement districts’ responses to the pandemic, in economic policy consulting, policy research with community development financial institutions, and both public and private commercial real estate.

During his time at the University of Pennsylvania, Matthew completed his graduate studio on a climate change resiliency plan for the island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. He also collaborated with Philadelphia’s first commercial land trust to create a set of metrics tracking economic and cultural displacement in the Kensington neighborhood’s commercial corridor, as well as a set of steps to mitigate the effects of these changes.

Eman Mahamed

Eman works as a Research Analyst and is based in the Dallas office, providing data, research, and support to various urban development projects in the city of Dallas.

Before joining HR&A, Eman worked in various data management and analysis roles as a university student. Recently, she worked as a data and evaluations assistant for Girls Empowerment Network (GEN), a girls initiative non-profit based in Austin, TX. Eman helped manage and organize their data apparatus at GEN using CRM software. In addition to working part-time, Eman worked as a research intern for the Department of Government at UT Austin. During her internship, she wrote and organized qualitative data in order to generate qualitative narrative for an extensive research project studying peace and conflict. Prior to working at GEN, Eman served as a part-time tutor for the AVID program at Austin ISD, providing academic support to students in order to boost performance and prepare students to matriculate.

Eman has a B.A. in Government with High Honors from the University of Texas at Austin.

Becca Rosen

Rebecca brings over 13 years of experience in politics and public service, focused on developing programs and policies that support community economic development and economic mobility.

Most recently, Becca had an independent consulting practice where she advised and built programs for social impact organizations focused on issues related to civic technology and civic engagement. Her clients included New America, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline, and Civic Hall @ Union Square.

Previously, Becca served in the Obama Administration in roles at the White House, U.S. Trade Representative Office, and the U.S. Department of State, including a six-month rotation at the U.S. Mission to the OECD. During her time in the Administration, she led the design, development, and execution of public and intergovernmental engagement strategies to advance the President’s international economic agenda. She began her career in politics working on then-Senator Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Becca holds a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University, and B.A.’s from the University of Maryland.

Sophie Danish

Sophie joins the DCO as a Research Analyst and supports the firm’s affordable housing and transit-oriented development projects.

Before joining HR&A, Sophie served as the Regional Mobility and Infrastructure Intern at the Greater Washington Partnership. At the Partnership, she created a survey to collect information on Washington-area employers’ return-to-work plans and conducted research on equitable transit-oriented development. She has also interned at the Congress for the New Urbanism, Charlotte Sister Cities, and taught at Horizons Greater Washington.

Sophie holds a B.A. in History with Honors from Davidson College and a minor in Digital Studies. At Davidson, she wrote her senior thesis on the history of development in neighborhoods around the D.C. Metro.