Executive Director, Rising Tide Capital – New Jersey
Gillian Sarjeant-Allen serves as the Executive Director of Rising Tide Capital’s New Jersey Programs, which supports over a thousand local entrepreneurs a year – 90% people of color and 70% women, with a mission of transforming lives and communities through entrepreneurship. Gillian is expanding the organization’s regional reach and impact in collaboration with an executive team, including co-founders Alfa Demmellash and Alex Forrester, who are working on sharing the regional model with partners from national and global communities. As an Executive Director, she also helms external relations and community engagement for a new urban innovation hub at 311 MLK Blvd in Jersey City, where RTC’s programmatic ventures, shared services teams, local entrepreneurs, impact partners and affordable housing residents, will co-locate to create a first of its kind community-based model for inclusive entrepreneurial development and collaboration.
Prior to joining Rising Tide Capital’s executive team, Gillian supported the planning, development and management of $50 million in investments from the private and public sector to revitalize under-invested communities at Garden State Episcopal CDC, with a deep focus on affordable housing and economic development. She also led and executed the I Love Greenville Community Plan, a neighborhood revitalization tax-credit program initiative where, in collaboration with corporate and municipal investors, she activated creative placemaking strategies and secured over 2.7M in New Jersey government funding to support the plan. Gillian holds a certificate from NJIT’s Center for Creative Placemaking and has partnered with grassroots organizations and arts groups like the Jersey City Theater Center to elevate the work of existing community artists in Greenville Jersey City.
A dynamic leader and “Super Connector”, Gillian Sarjeant-Allen is dedicated to fostering positive change in low-resource communities by employing the principles and best practices of Co-operative Entrepreneurship. Since moving to Jersey City in 2001, Gillian has been a staunch advocate of holistic and inclusive community development. Her journey with Rising Tide Capital begun over a decade ago, when she joined the Community Business Academy to start her first social enterprise, the Jersey City Food Cooperative. Over a course of four years, Gillian employed cooperative economics strategies to build a member-owned grocery store, for the purpose of increasing access to affordable, local healthy food to residents of Jersey City. Her exceptional leadership skills in community engagement has also led to her to spearheading new initiatives like the Black Wall Street Jersey City networking association focused on building wealth for historically marginalized demographics, which recently hosted 26 Washington Mandela fellows/professionals visiting Rutgers University from 22 Sub-Saharan African countries.
Gillian’s exception path to leadership is anchored in her unparalleled passion for galvanizing local talent and energy to create equitable, viable community wealth-building opportunities, which aligns deeply with Rising Tide Capital’s vision of building inclusive communities of resilient entrepreneurs catalyzing a thriving and sustainable economy for all.
Gillian currently resides in Newark, New Jersey and is a Rising Tide Alumni of the Community Business Academy.