New York City WEDNESDAY
Elizabeth Anoff Senior Director of Family and Community Engagement, Coney Island Preparatory Charter Schools
Elizabeth Anoff is a champion of women, children, and families of color with over ten years of experience in the education reform sector. She is the Senior Director of Family and Community Engagement at Coney Island Prep, a college preparatory network of schools in South Brooklyn serving over 1,200 children. Within this role, Elizabeth serves as the family advocate, community servant, and political liaison for Coney Island, Bensonhurst, and Bath Beach (on behalf of Coney Island Prep). She also created Coney Island Prep’s first successful after-school program, which provides after-school care for 200 children free of charge for families, many of whom are Black and Brown and lower-income. Last but not least, Elizabeth is the co-chair of Coney Island Prep’s 2023 initiative of investing in diverse leadership, which supports the development and retention of all leaders, especially women of color. Elizabeth currently resides in Brooklyn and enjoys spending time with her partner, family, and friends.
Kaleena Berryman Executive Director, Newark Youth Career Pathways (Newark Alliance)
Kaleena Berryman is a seasoned strategist, organizer, and education advocate with over 15 years of experience in developing and implementing high-quality, impactful community programs and advocacy initiatives, and creating a culture within organizations that centers community empowerment and political engagement. Most of her education in organizing and professional career has been with the Abbott Leadership Institute at Rutgers University-Newark, missioned to develop parent and youth advocates and leaders for the city’s education system. She is responsible for growing the Institute’s youth development portfolio and helping to create a cadre of youth leaders within the city who are helping to shape its future. Currently, Kaleena serves as the Executive Director of the Newark Youth Career Pathways Program, housed within the Newark Alliance. She is also an adjunct professor at Rutgers University-Newark, Honors Living Learning Community and Montclair State University’s Urban Teacher Residency program. Born and raised in Newark, NJ, Kaleena K. Berryman graduated with honors from Arts High School in 2000 as a television communications major. After being awarded a Presidential Scholarship to William Paterson University, Kaleena earned a bachelor’s degree in Bommunications in 2004, with a minor in African American and Caribbean Studies. In January 2011, she earned a Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University-Newark. Kaleena serves as a member of the following boards and organizations: Statewide Parents Advocacy Network, Mayor Ras Baraka’s Children’s Cabinet, Newark Circle of Sisters, Leaders of the 21st Century, Abbott Leadership Institute, Newark STEAM Coalition, and Newark Summer Youth Employment Program Advisory Board.
Bernard Blake Director of Finance and Operations, National Organization on Disability
As the Director of Finance and Operations at the National Organizational on Disability, Bernard leads key functional areas (finance, talent operations, general administration) that positively support the organization’s strategy, operational delivery, team coordination and analytical/business modeling needs, in order to position NOD as the field’s national premier disability employment resource. Prior to joining NOD, Bernard served as the Finance and Business Operations manager at Dechets a l’Or. Based in Guinea, Dechets a l’Or is a holistic solid waste management solution for rapidly growing secondary cities of West Africa that collects and processes waste to produce fertilizer, supply manufacturers with recyclable plastics, and provide households with renewable energy in the form of paper briquettes. Bernard holds a Master of Business Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Science from the University at Buffalo. In his free time, Bernard tutors STEM for the Parris Foundation located in Harlem, NY.
Manuel Blasco Nonprofit Associate Manager (Regional Partner Network), Scholastic Art & Writing Awards – Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
Manuel (Manny) Blasco is a nonprofit programs manager with more than seven years of experience in event and programming management, partnership management, and children’s book publishing. He is committed to promoting educational equity and is a passionate youth education advocate. Manny earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Business Writing from Rutgers University. He started his career at HarperCollins Childrens Books, where he worked in the editorial department. In 2016, Manny was selected as a We Need Diverse Books Internship Grant recipient and ambassador for the mission of making books featuring diverse characters accessible to all children. Since November 2019, he has been working at the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit organization that administers the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. At the Alliance, Manny manages a national network of over 100 regional affiliate partners, collaborating with them on growth practices, program standards, and community outreach. He also works with the partner network to develop and implement strategic and measurable Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion goals to increase student participation in the Scholastic Awards. Outside of work, Manny is an art enthusiast who frequents art museums in different cities, and is a dedicated marathon runner whose goal is to complete the Six Star World Marathon Majors journey.
Mark Cardona Director Of Operations, NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault (NYCAASA)
Mark Cardona joined NYCAASA in March of 2022 after working with Westchester Community Opportunity Program Victims Assistance Services since January of 2017. He started his work as a bilingual victim advocate and found his way to his passion of operations in the nonprofit sector. Mark thrives in budget and fiscal management and overall governance of nonprofit organizations.
Abasi Clark Director of Development, Leading for Children
For more than 25 years, Abasi Clark has been dedicated to serving nonprofits in New York City, with the past decade devoted to development and advancement work. Throughout his career, Abasi has worked on numerous initiatives and campaigns centered on enhancing and empowering communities throughout the city. His expertise lies in crafting effective strategies to foster engagement with both individual and corporate donors, forging strong connections with board members, volunteers, and institutional partners. A proud alumnus of Hunter College and Columbia University, Abasi’s educational background has complemented his hands-on experience in the nonprofit sector. He has cherished roots in Washington Heights, the community where he grew up, and now currently resides in Harlem.
Kara Daniels Assistant Director of College Advising, SEO Scholars
Kara Daniels is the assistant director of College Advising at SEO Scholars. In her nine years working in college access, she has remained committed to finding opportunities and resources for the students she serves. She is particularly passionate about increasing access to knowledge around financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and debunking myths around those topics. She also loves building relationships with students and learning about their communities and interests. She started her career in two Boston public high schools, working with AmeriCorps and College Advising Corps. She moved to the New York City nonprofit space while working at LEDA Scholars as a school outreach coordinator. In 2018, she joined SEO Scholars where she has served New York City public high school students in a variety of capacities. She currently leads programming for SEO’s College Advising team. Kara graduated from Tufts University with a degree in American Studies, and has a master’s from Boston University in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. In her free time, she likes to read fiction, explore New York City cafes and restaurants, and hang out with her niece and three nephews.
Destiny Davis Director of Programming, YA-YA Network
Destiny Davis (she/they) is a queer, Black, community organizer born and raised in Brooklyn. Passionate about the well-being of young people, they have worked closely with elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Brooklyn for the last six years. Destiny has a longstanding connection to her community, working to support and maintain local mutual aid projects and tenant organizing, and has historically organized to combat discriminatory practices within NYC Schools. They joined YA-YA Network in 2018 and became the Facilitation Associate in 2019. At the end of 2021, they stepped into the role of Director of Programming where they recruit, train, and mobilize NYC high school students across the city to develop and facilitate anti-oppressive workshops, as well as foster the critical thinking skills necessary to strategize around addressing issues within their communities.
Liat Deener-Chodirker Director of Program Operations, Avodah
Liat is the Director of Program Operations at Avodah, where she previously served as the Manager of Program Operations, the Executive Assistant and Special Project Manager, and the Executive Assistant to the CEO. Prior to joining Avodah, she worked at the Adams Street Foundation, helping high school students discover and gain access to extracurricular opportunities. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a minor in Israel Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from Boston, Liat now lives in Brooklyn. In her free time, she can be found in the ceramics studio or preparing a yummy meal in her kitchen.
Adrian España Manager of People and Culture, Pioneer Works
Adrian España (he/him) is a first-generation Mexican-American, born and raised in Queens, New York. He has five years of experience in the human resources and people operations realm. In those years, he has traversed for-profit, tech, and nonprofit spaces; in each of them, he committed to advocating for employees, building community, and improving both the organizations he worked for and himself. He attended Laguardia Community College and went on to get his four-year degree at Queens College. He is an avid fan of both the Mets and the Knicks, and loves to run, especially with running groups in Queens and Brooklyn.
Hannah Fallon Project Director, NYC, Artists For Humanity
Hannah Fallon is a designer, mentor, and lifelong creator who has been constructing works of art since childhood. For Hannah, the experience of discovering her agency through creativity was transformational as a young person. It is this discovery that fuels her to do the work she does today as the NYC Project Director for Artists For Humanity (AFH). AFH is a youth arts enterprise organization where young people are paid to work alongside mentors on creative projects for real world clients. Through the efficacy and resilience of the youth, AFH contributes to the enrichment of the community by bridging economic, racial, and social divisions. Teens at AFH are mentored by professional artists who guide projects from conception to completion, as well as support youth through the turbulence of young adulthood. Employment at AFH provides young people with authentic work experiences that develop real-world career readiness through collaborative problem solving, social and emotional learning, and by fostering a growth mindset. After a decade working as an artist and mentor in the 3D Design Studio at AFH in Boston, Hannah is leading the launch of AFH’s first pilot project in New York City. Hannah believes that offering young people the opportunity to generate collaborative and creative solutions fosters critical thinking skills that will equip them to rise above any challenges that life presents with confidence and grace.
Evan Goldstein Senior Policy Associate, CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance
Evan supports the planning and implementation of initiatives within the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII), a multi-year, $250 million investment in organizations to promote a fairer and more efficient criminal legal system in New York City. Previously, Evan worked at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), where he promoted drug policy reform in New York State through research and advocacy. As a Policy Coordinator at DPA, he supported and managed several projects, including the passage and implementation of the 911 Good Samaritan Law, and state and local marijuana arrest reform campaigns. Evan holds a Master of Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts from New York University.
Cristy Gonzalez Youth Director, The Boys’ Club of New York
Cristy Gonzalez serves as the Youth Director for the Boys’ Club of New York (BCNY). Cristy coordinates the development and implementation of BCNY’s out-of-school and summer day camp programming for boys ages 7-12. She oversees an annual budget that sustains a program focused on leadership, character, life-skills, and healthy living, and provides opportunities for youth to build knowledge, skills, and values in a meaningful and fun context by developing and implementing evidence-based curriculum and lesson plans. Cristy hails from the Bronx and has been in the youth development field for 15 years, serving underserved communities. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and has worked in nonprofit leadership for over ten years. Having worked her way up, Cristy has served in different roles, raising her expertise level and ability to see situations from the vantage point of multiple stakeholders. She believes in the power of connection as the key to motivation, and coaches with care. Her hobbies include writing, reading, attending Broadway shows, mentoring, and creating.
Ginalysse Ingles Director of Development Operations and Donor Engagement, Harlem Children’s Zone
Ginalysse Ingles is the Director of Development Operations and Donor Engagement at Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). In this role, she implements best practice systems and processes for strategic fundraising and leads key donor engagements. Prior to HCZ, she led Development Operations at the USTA Foundation. Ginalysse started her nonprofit work as an intern for One Stop Senior Services, and since then, has focused on supporting organizations that provide resources for underserved populations. Outside of work, Ginalysse enjoys book clubs, musicals, traveling, puzzles, documentaries, and creative writing. She has always enjoyed volunteering and is proud to be an active volunteer in several youth organizations. Ginalysse holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College.
Paulette Jarrett Manager of Talent Acquisition, Learning Through An Expanded Arts Program (LEAP), Inc.
Paulette has over 13 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector and 12 years in the corporate environment, executing strategies for talent acquisition, retention, training, and development. Her areas of expertise include organizational leadership; developing high performing teams; team building; improving environmental, health, and safety conditions for workers and communities; implementing programs for seniors; and executing employment and internship programs for youth and special needs populations. Paulette is a strong proponent for training and development; an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion; an upholder of talent acquisition strategies that encompass all generations; and a passionate individual concerned with serving children, youth, seniors, homeless, and re-entry populations.
Deion Jones Director of Network Engagement, Slow Food USA
Deion (he/him) serves as the Director of Network Engagement for Slow Food USA. He leads efforts in network growth and troubleshooting, providing tools to network leaders and members. Food has been, and continues to be, a passion for Deion throughout his academic and professional endeavors. His undergraduate (Florida Gulf Coast University) and graduate (University of Oregon) studies both centered on food, focusing on sustainable sourcing and immigrant identity through food, respectively. Beyond academia, Deion dedicates his time to seeing the many corners of the food realm that he studied: from urban and rural farms, to food banks with Feeding America, to public health initiatives, to one of the best farm-to-table fine dining establishments in the world, Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
Tameika Kennie Area Director, Young Life
Tameika Kennie was born and raised in White Plains, NY. She received a degree in Physical Therapy from Touro College and a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry from The New York Theological Seminary. She previously served as the Youth Minister at the Fordham Manor Church for several years. Currently, Ms. Kennie is the Area Director for Young Life, Bronx-Kingsbridge, where she serves faithfully. She feels that every kid in the Bronx deserves to have a loving and caring adult walking alongside them as they journey through life. Ms. Kennie has always had a unique connection with young people. Over the years, God has connected her passion for youth and young adults with her purpose. As such, she is trained, skilled, and equipped to ensure that every young person she meets hears about the God of the universe that loves them and has great plans for their lives. Ms. Kennie believes that the next generation of youth will be our future leaders, who will be game changers in their schools, communities, and beyond. She vows to continue doing her part to guide young people into becoming the best version of themselves they can be. Ms. Kennie is the founder and CEO of Kingdom Kids Connection Consulting, where her hope is to help churches create space for young people to find community and support.
Dione Lomando Assistant Director of Student Services and Program Operations, The Opportunity Network
Dione Lomando currently serves as the Assistant Director of Student Services and Program Operations at The Opportunity Network. Prior to joining The Opportunity Network, Dione supported the College Success Program at Bottom Line New York as a Success Team Manager. She served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa, teaching English as a foreign language. Since then, she has worked in a wide variety of education settings, from creating programming and developing career readiness curricula for an organization supporting youth experiencing homelessness, to teaching English classes at a local mosque. She is a first-generation college student and holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Evansville with a minor in Archaeology, and certification in teaching ESL. Dione is an avid reader, an amateur painter, an enthusiastic plant owner, and enjoys exploring NYC with her husband and French bulldog.
Ashley Lugo Director of Development, Events, & Community Engagement, Safe Horizon
Ashley Lugo is a native Brooklynite, born and raised in Bed-Stuy. She is a proactive and results-driven professional with more than seven years of experience in fundraising and strategic planning. Currently, she serves as the Director of Development, Events, and Community Engagement at Safe Horizon in New York. In this role, she is the lead project manager for donor engagement events, manages a community portfolio, plans and executes campaigns, and oversees the peer-to-peer fundraising platform, Team Horizon. Ashley is an active member of Safe Horizon’s RFP Compensation Project Selection Committee, the Supporting Leaders of Color initiative, and the Anti-Racism Steering Committee. She is motivated by her deep passion to break barriers, and advance justice and racial equity. Ashley is an active volunteer with Building Black Bed-Stuy and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She recently completed the Cause Effective Fellows Program: Advancing Leaders of Color in Fundraising, and received her bachelor’s degree in Crime, Law, and Justice from The Pennsylvania State University. Ashley is also fluent in Spanish.
Eric McGriff Sexual Violence Prevention Program Coordinator, Crime Victims Treatment Center
Eric McGriff (he/him) is a violence prevention specialist with over 15 years of experience working on issues related to youth, gender, and violent extremism, and co-creating ecosystems that better prevent and respond to harm. He is the Sexual Violence Prevention Program Coordinator at the Crime Victims Treatment Center and a consultant speaker/trainer for the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. Guided by principles of cultural humility, psychological safety, and inclusive facilitation, Eric’s violence prevention work is about tapping into the strengths and expertise that exist in every organization and community, to overcome the challenges they experience and navigate toward their highest possibilities.
Channell Mellish Director of Marketing & Communications, Common Impact
Channell is a public affairs professional and multicultural marketing strategist committed to advancing positive social change. With over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit, government, and corporate sectors, she leads at the intersection of community, culture, and communication. She is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications at Common Impact, where she is primarily responsible for conceptualizing the brand marketing, storytelling, and content strategy across the organization’s platforms. Channell was an Atlas Corps scholar and a part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative for global changemakers. She was previously the Citywide Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the New York City Public Advocate, Jumaane D. Williams. She also held communications positions within the Office of the Mayor for New York City, Bill de Blasio, and various social sector organizations. Channell profoundly believes in the value of volunteering and empowerment. She previously served as the Chief Young Ambassador and a Dorothy I. Height Global Leadership Academy fellow for the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute. Additionally, she is a member of the American Marketing Association, ColorComm, National Urban League Young Professionals, and the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications.
Em Miller Trainer & Operations Director, Visual Thinking Strategies
Em Miller (they/them) served as both a Trainer and the Operations Manager at Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) since 2015. In July 2023, they transitioned to the role of Director. For Em, leading a nonprofit organization that teaches learner-centered facilitation in order to support the development of critical thinking, visual literacy, communication, and collaboration skills, requires a personal commitment to self-reflection, deep listening, and continued engagement with perspectives beyond their own. In the past three years, Em has led the charge to shift VTS’s organizational focus to more deeply support and uplift queer and BIPOC practitioners through the creation of the VTS Trainer Fellowship Program, a paid, on-the-job mentorship pathway aimed at sustaining the practice of VTS. Em earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Recreation Management from Ohio University (2008), and a Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute (2016). As an artist, Em explores human and inanimate connections, communication, and modes of intimacy through facilitation, performance, video, and play grounded in learning environment design and relational aesthetics. They are a daily runner and walker, and find comfort among chosen families in Brooklyn and across the country.
Lauraliz Morales-Silva Manager of Capacity Building, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA)
Lauraliz (she/her/ella) is a bilingual professional development manager and poverty abolitionist with over nine years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Lauraliz works to advance social and economic justice for marginalized and underserved communities. In her current role as Manager of Capacity Building at FPWA, she designs and implements trauma-informed, people-centered, and equity-driven capacity building initiatives for nonprofit and faith-based organizations, with the ultimate goal of creating a more effective and impactful human services sector, best positioned to serve communities and to interrupt the cycles of trauma and poverty. Prior to her current role, Lauraliz worked as a Program Coordinator at FPWA, collaborating on the Ending the Poverty to Prison Pipeline Trauma-Informed NYC Demonstration Project. Lauraliz has also held positions as a Community Engagement Specialist at the Domestic Violence Project (NMIC), a Self-sufficiency Coordinator (NMIC), and a Legal Project Assistant for the Family Law Project (Sanctuary for Families in the Bronx Family Justice Center). In previous roles, Lauraliz focused on broadening resources and programs to empower participants through economic security and success, with a specific focus on education, career development, financial security, leadership development, and micro-enterprise. Lauraliz is passionate about connecting people, ideas, and resources, and is eager to continue working towards innovative and people-centered programs that promote economic justice, upward mobility, long-term stability, and personal wellbeing. Lauraliz earned an Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Linguistics from the University of Puerto Rico. Lauraliz is Mateo’s mom. She freelances as a translator and interpreter, and has a third side hustle as a singer, performing Latin American Folk and World music with her husband Horacio.
Dana Nurse Director of Inclusive Assessment Development, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Dana Nurse (she/they) is the Director of Inclusive Assessment Development at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and is looking forward to winning the “longest title” prize. From Brooklyn by way of Trinidad, they are a former high school special education teacher, and most recently served as the Director of Culturally Responsive Education at Youth Communication. Dana holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emerson College in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, and a Master of Science in Education from St. John’s University in Special Education. She is committed to anti-racist education and uplifting BIPOC youth voices. They are an afrofuturist nerd and a “sometimes poet,” and love dachshunds maybe a little bit too much.
Christelle Prophete Senior Project Manager, New Left Accelerator
Christelle is a program operations specialist currently serving as a Senior Project Manager at New Left Accelerator, where she oversees the Empower and Protect program. Christelle’s work is primarily focused on program management, operations, and racial equity competency building. Previously, Christelle worked at Living Cities, where she led projects directed toward building racial equity practices within a cross-country network of 21 cities. Christelle also worked at Demos, where she managed a cohort of 35 grassroots organizations across 17 states through successful national convenings, curated monthly content, and essential financial assistance. Christelle is a native New Yorker who enjoys reading speculative fiction and practicing her swim technique.
Leticia Reyes Project Director of Customized Support, uAspire
Leticia is the Project Director of Customized Support at uAspire. Her responsibilities involve delivering projects on college affordability via a flexible advising model. These projects are geared toward high school seniors and/or postsecondary students, to help them navigate the financial aid process. Before uAspire, Leticia had a background in working with low-income families in healthcare and in education. She transitioned into working as a paralegal, where she assisted attorneys in criminal, family, and immigration law. After this role, she shifted to becoming a college advisor, working with high school juniors and seniors in Brooklyn; this is where her motivation to work in higher education started. When Leticia is not working, she’s enjoying time with her family and looking for fun things to do!
Adriana Santos Program Manager, Newark Public Safety Collaborative
Adriana Santos is a doctoral student at the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice (Newark). As a Program Manager for the Newark Public Safety Collaborative, a Rutgers-Newark anchor initiative, Adriana has focused on using geospatial technologies to analyze and interpret crime data. Moreover, she works with community partners to implement data-informed community engagement strategies to address crime problems in the Newark, NJ. She also currently manages the efforts being implemented under the recently-awarded BJA Reimagining Justice grant, which aims to test new models of community safety.
Alexander Schneider Senior Manager, Youth Justice Initiatives, Columbia University, Justice Lab
Alexander Schneider is a Senior Manager at Columbia University’s Justice Lab, where he works on the Youth Justice Initiatives (YJI) team. His work is focused on ending the punitive youth prison model,and accelerating investment in those communities that have been hardest-hit by youth incarceration. Alexander works on strategic communications, and produces events, publications, and other materials to further YJI’s mission, as well as support operations. Previously, he managed an environmentally-focused workforce development program at Sustainable South Bronx and The HOPE Program, and also coordinated an adult education program for people with justice involvement at The Fortune Society. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, and from 2011 to 2021, he volunteered with the People’s Education Initiative, providing educational classes at the women’s jail on Rikers Island. Alexander has a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from The New School, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.
Yasmeen Silva Campaign Manager, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
Yasmeen Silva (she/her) is an organizer, strategist, and advocate for progressive change. She brings more than ten years of experience in organizing across the progressive movement—for issues such as the environment, climate, labor, reproductive rights, and peace and security—to the Global Security Program at UCS. She is passionate about giving people the tools to make positive change in the world. In addition to her work at UCS, she is a board member at Physicians for Social Responsibility. When not working towards social change, you can find Yasmeen on horseback, or snuggled up with a good dystopian novel.
Devi Singh Instructional Designer and Technology Trainer, CCI
Devi Singh (pronounced Day-vee Sing) has a background in education and nonprofit organizations. She is a graduate of two CUNY institutions: Lehman College and Queens College. Devi is an advocate for parent rights and responsibilities, including AAPI work through CACF and PTA Title I.
Justin Singleton Director of Museum Experience and Operations, Queens Museum
Justin Singleton is a Queens native who was recently promoted to Director of Museum Experience and Operations at the Queens Museum, where he oversees the front of house staff, visitor operations, and facility rentals. He has been working in NYC cultural institutions since 2005 in various capacities. He started his career at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) as a weekend volunteer while in high school. During his eight year tenure at NYSCI, Justin has worked within several departments, earning promotions throughout each of them. From 2013 to 2015, Justin held supervisory positions at several Manhattan intuitions, including the New York Historical Society and The Whitney Museum of American Art. Justin returned to Queens to manage the Visitor Experience department at the Museum of the Moving Image until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down operations. Justin joined the Queens Museum in September of 2020, starting in the role of front of house manager. Justin holds a degree in Architectural Technology from CUNY New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, NY.
Kimberly Valle Program Director, ImmSchools
Kim has been managing programs and partnerships in the state of New Jersey at Immschools for two years. ImmSchools partners with schools and districts to ensure safe, equitable, and inclusive spaces for all students and families across the nation. Kim is a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, and feels fortunate to be the first in her family to obtain higher education as a first-generation college graduate. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a focus on International Development from the University of Texas at El Paso (2016) and a masters’ degree in Public Administration focusing on public policy management from Rutgers University (2021). Throughout her undergraduate career, Kim focused on covering borderland immigration stories of undocumented/immigrant students and communities. From 2016-2018, Kim served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco where she created sustainable socioeconomic programs in rural areas for Moroccan youth and women that supported educational and employment attainment. Her passion for public service was deepened during her Peace Corps service and thus continued to work in the nonprofit industry servicing immigrant communities through education and social services. Kim’s motivation and inspiration to continue the path of public service is her personal experiences growing up in a marginalized undocumented community by witnessing the educational and socioeconomic disparities that exist within immigrant communities.
Leticia Vasquez Director of College Access Programs, The Double Discovery Center at Columbia University
For more than a third of her life, Leticia Vasquez has given back to the community that has given her so much by supporting New York City youth—who share similar backgrounds, identities, and experiences as her—navigate the college admissions process. For Leticia, it is important to make the college admissions process as equitable as possible and eliminate barriers for young people who are systemically marginalized, by educating and mentoring them to leverage their assets and utilize the resources available to them, to place them in the same playing field as their privileged counterparts. It is also a passion of Leticia’s to educate, challenge, and shift the mindset of BIPOC educators to see the potential, promise, and assets of our young people, and steer them away from the indoctrinated deficit mindset. Today, Leticia is director of College Access Programs at Columbia University’s Double Discovery Center. She serves on college access and community-oriented organizations, including the National Association for College Admission Counseling, New York State Association for College Admission Counseling, ACCEPT: Admissions Community Cultivating Equity & Peace Today, and Queens Community Board 2. Leticia received her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Leticia hopes that her professional journey will lead her to continue supporting the elevation and success of underrepresented and systemically-marginalized people, particularly folx of first-gen, low-income, and BIPOC backgrounds.
Bianca Vinoya Director of Development, Breakthrough New York
Bianca Vinoya (she/her) is a nonprofit fundraiser with almost a decade of experience in building strategic partnerships to support youth development and urban justice. She currently serves as Director of Development at Breakthrough New York, a nonprofit that supports 500 students from low-income households to and through college. Bianca started out her career as a social sciences researcher, on the frontlines of community organizing and building cross-sector coalitions among women, youth, and the ‘urban poor,’ and agricultural and Indigenous communities in the Philippines. She then moved into grant writing and fundraising – raising money from international organizations to secure research projects, then moving into nonprofit consulting and strategic fundraising roles. She received her Master of Arts in International Development from Fordham University (Bronx, NY), and her bachelor’s degrees in Management and Sociology from the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines). Her years of experience as a frontline community researcher and fundraiser inform her approach to work: she is equipped with a steadfast commitment to quantitative and qualitative research, thoughtful relationship-building, and meaningful community partnerships to advance equity.
Khourin Wilkins Associate Director of Programs, Support Center
Khourin is a NJ-based professional, who is NYC born and raised. Khourin recently became the Associate Director of Programs at the Support Center; before that, she worked at the National Urban League, supporting 25 affiliate centers with grant and program management. Prior to working at the National Urban League, Khourin worked in nonprofits throughout New York and New Jersey, supporting youth and entrepreneurs through career development, program management, and consulting for over 15 years. Khourin graduated from The New School with a master’s degree in Strategic Design and Management, and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Kean University. When Khourin is not working, she enjoys painting as a form of therapy, dancing, family, and being outside when it is warm.
Juliana (Juju) Wong Self-Employed Eduprener (Educator + Entrepreneur), Juliana K. Wong
Juliana (Juju) Wong (she/her) is a bicoastal educator and higher education consultant based in New York City and San Francisco. With 10+ years in college access and success work, Juju centers the social identities and emotions of BIPOC, first-generation students throughout the college process. From workshops to social media content, she makes college knowledge and resources more accessible to young people in fun and creative ways! Juju is also a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) strategist who integrates her ethnic studies and equity lens to build programs and organizations. From curriculum design to organizational development, her ultimate goal is to create culturally-affirming and equitable educational and career pipelines for diverse communities to feel valued and empowered in their professional pathways.
New York City ThurSDAY
Stefanie Alleyne Director Partnerships and Programs, Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC)
Stefanie Alleyne, LMSW, is a compassionate and empathetic leader. In her current role as Director of Partnerships and Programs at Local Initiative Support Corporation, she manages a team of community development officers, and, with senior staff, designs strategic partnerships to expand program growth across the state. Recently, Stefanie completed Coro Neighborhood Leadership Cohort NL23, as a way to build contacts in city government, bolster community and economic development efforts, and solidify her own brand of leadership. She holds a Master of Social Work, majoring in Community Organizing, Planning, and Development from the Silberman School of Social Work, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Hunter College. Previously, Stefanie was the Director of Small Business and Workforce Development at United Way of New York City (UWNYC), where she co-designed the strategy for the initiative, maintained and grew essential partnerships, and implemented opportunities for Black-owned small businesses in New York City. Between 2019 and 2021, Stefanie served as a Senior Community Liaison for the New York City Council, as well as an Outreach Liaison for the 2019 Charter Revision Commission. Her earlier career involved video production and editing, and media education.
Genesis Aquino McGovern Executive Director, Tenants & Neighbors
Genesis Aquino McGovern is the Executive Director of Tenants & Neighbors, a grassroots membership organization that works collaboratively with tenants to preserve and protect affordable housing in New York State. She is a staunch tenant advocate, with over 10 years of advocacy and community organizing experience. Previously, Aquino worked with Housing Court Answers, where she advocated for the fair treatment of unrepresented litigants in the housing courts, and to expand access to legal representation for low-income New Yorkers. She also worked as the Director of Social Services for a member of the New York City Council. Aquino currently serves on the board of directors of the Laundry Workers Center, and as the co-chair of the Brooklyn Community Board Seven Housing Committee. Genesis received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Urban Community Development from Lehman College.
Justin M. Artenant Senior Manager, Newark Thrives, United Way of Greater Newark
Justin M. Artenant is the Senior Manager of Newark Thrives, an initiative of the United Way of Greater Newark. Justin has been on the United Way team since November of 2021. Justin is the Executive Lead for New Jersey’s only out-of-school time intermediary, Newark Thrives. The Newark Thrives Network collaborates, convenes, and advocates for out-of-school time participants and programs in the Greater Newark area. Prior to joining the United Way, Justin was a federally-funded program director of after-school and summer time programs for nine years. Justin recently completed the 12-month White Riley Peterson Fellowship. This national policy fellowship prepares after-school leaders to advocate for funds to disperse to after-school and out-of-school time communities. Justin looks forward to basing the next iteration of the Newark Thrives Network in equity, high-quality out-of-school-time programming, and in genuine student experience. Justin enjoys traveling, playing tennis, and spending time with family in his free time.
Alex Barrett Senior Director of Strategy & Innovation, The Knowledge House
Alex Barrett (she/her) is a facilitator, equitable designer, project manager, and talent developer who believes change is accomplished when we invest in community and people-potential. She currently serves as the Senior Director of Strategy & Innovation for The Knowledge House, a workforce training program focused on transforming the tech industry by nurturing the next generation of Black and Brown technologists. Alex excels at bringing strategy to life, and loves any opportunity to ensure excellent leaders get the resources, training, and support they need to do their excellent, impactful work. She also loves any opportunity to explore a new neighborhood, especially when ice cream is involved.
Wanda Carter Chief Operating Officer, HAC Family Services Inc.
Wanda Carter is the COO of HAC Family Services, Inc., which has been providing early childhood services in the Bronx for over 50 years. HAC operates seven early childhood centers, a family childcare network, a pre-school special education program, and a head start program. Recently, Wanda was elected as the Board President of the Day Care Council of New York, an organization that supports and assists in the development of quality early childhood education. The Council has 102 nonprofit sponsoring boards that operate more than 300 publicly-funded childcare centers across New York City. In addition to her professional commitments, Wanda is a trained doula who provides childbirth and postpartum support to women.
Rubernette Chavis Senior Director of Program Services, Hour Children
Rubernette Chavis, LCSW, is the Senior Director of Program Services at Hour Children. She leads and supervises a team of social workers, house managers, and childcare program staff who support the Hour Community Food Pantry and Hour Working Women re-entry program. Rubernette came to Hour Children in December 2021 from The Family Center, where she was Director of Treatment Services. Over the last 20 years, she has supervised the daily operations of several programs and coordinated social service practice and programming at organizations, such as Vertex Outpatient, Urban Pathways, Beth Israel Medical Center, and Pathways to Housing, with an emphasis on assisting families and individuals beginning the process of recovery and healing. Her focus has been on providing client-centered, trauma-informed treatment, as well as training and using best practice models.
Kelly Connolly Senior Director of Early Childhood and Compass Elementary Programs, Sunnyside Community Services
Kelly Connolly is the Senior Director of Early Childhood and Elementary Programs at Sunnyside Community Services. Kelly has been with Sunnyside Community Services for eight years, where she started as a Program Director in one of the after-school programs. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Kelly was a teacher with the New York City Department of Education. After her tenure with the Department of Education, Kelly was looking for a more satisfying role working with children. She took a chance as a part-time volleyball instructor in an after-school program with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Within weeks, she was promoted to site coordinator, and that’s where her love of working in the nonprofit world developed. Kelly is entering her 20th year working with children, and her 13th year working in the nonprofit sector. Kelly has a bachelor’s in Business Administration, and a master’s in Early Childhood and Special Education.
Clarissa Espinoza Director of Programs, New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault
Clarissa Espinoza (she/her/ella) is the Director of Programs at the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, and leads the strategic direction of all programs. Previously, she served as the New York Statewide Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Program Manager at Crime Victims Treatment Center in NYC, where she coordinated services for incarcerated survivors of sexual violence across New York State. Over the last 15 years, her work has been centered on providing trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and culturally-competent community coordinated response to survivors of crime, in particular, sexual violence. In the many roles she has held, Clarissa has worked on multiple projects that include Prevention in Nightlife, Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (S.A.F.E) Training, Hospital and Helpline Advocacy, and volunteer recruitment and training of first responders across New York State. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Women & Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey, where she committed her time to working with underserved communities, and explored different approaches to restorative justice practices in the criminal justice system. During her time at The New School, working towards her Master’s of Arts in Nonprofit Management, she spent a semester working alongside youth at the Red Hook Community Justice Center exploring the impact of restorative justice practices in their community. Clarissa has been at the forefront, along with other rape crisis programs, to expand and strengthen services in New York State. Her commitment and passion for this work lies in the belief that enhancing the response from the community allows authentic healing for the survivor and community at large.
Yesenia Garcia Vice President of People and Culture, Matriculate
Yesenia Garcia is currently the Vice President of People & Culture for Matriculate, a national nonprofit supporting high-achieving, low-income students in their college application process through a near-peer virtual advising model. She first joined the organization as a founding staff member in 2015, as a Program Operations and Development Manager. She has served in a number of roles across the organization, helping establish processes, systems, and culture to be able to scale from serving 350 students to 7,700 students in 2023-2024. Yesenia holds a Master of Social Work from Hunter College, and a Bachelor of Arts from Stony Brook University.
Monique Hector Executive Director, Harlem Business Alliance
Monique Hector is a seasoned professional in the field of economic and workforce development. With over 10 years of dedicated experience in nonprofits and government agencies, she has consistently displayed her action-oriented leadership style by successfully developing, fundraising for, and establishing impactful programs that provide solutions for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Monique is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Harlem Business Alliance (HBA). Prior to her role at HBA, she served as the Director of Program Development and Implementation for Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC) at the Department of Small Business Services, and held the position of Manager of Entrepreneurship Programs at Queens Public Library. She holds a master’s degree in Business Management and Leadership, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Business. Monique is dedicated to making a positive impact in her field.
Thierry Kehou Director of Programs & Partnerships, Poets & Writers
Thierry Kehou is the Director of Programs & Partnerships at Poets & Writers, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers. Prior to joining Poets & Writers, he was the Writing Programs Manager at The Center for Fiction, the only literary nonprofit in the U.S. solely dedicated to celebrating fiction. In 2020, Thierry co-founded the Lampblack Literary Foundation, a nonprofit supporting writers of the global Black Diaspora, and currently curates the Lampblack Reading Series at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA). Thierry is the translator of Jean D’Amérique’s A Sun to be Sewn, named an NPR Book of the Day in 2023, and his work has appeared in Departures Magazine, Lampblack, The Huron River Review, and elsewhere. Before pivoting to the literary arts, Thierry worked as an educator in New York City and abroad, and is a founding member of the New York French American Charter School, the first bilingual Franco-American public charter school in the United States. Thierry holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Newark, and a Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Study from the Gallatin School at New York University. He lives with his wife and two children in Brooklyn.
Lauren LeBeaux Craig Interim Executive Director, Newark Arts
Lauren LeBeaux Craig is the Interim Executive Director of Newark Arts, a long-standing community-centered nonprofit that powers the arts and culture ecosystem in Newark to change the lives of its residents. Ms. LeBeaux Craig joined Newark Arts in 2016. A cum laude graduate of Spelman College, Ms. LeBeaux Craig received her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, where she was the Notes Editor for Rutgers Law Review. After practicing law for 10 years, Ms. LeBeaux Craig stepped into the role of creative strategist, and now has a decade of marketing/media relations, copywriting, community relations, artist advocacy, and event curation experience in the arts, tourism, and nonprofit industries. Ms. LeBeaux Craig is a former gallery owner in the Lincoln Park section of Newark, and is the former Executive Director of Art in the Atrium, Inc., a 31-year-old, New Jersey-based, Black fine arts organization. Ms. LeBeaux Craig is a certified yoga instructor and the author of 100 Things Newark, a tourism guide to the City of Newark, which was featured in the New York Times, AP Travel, and The National Magazine.
Michael LeeYow Managing Director of Programs, Bottom Line
Michael LeeYow currently serves as the Managing Director of Programs for Bottom Line NYC. In his role, Michael leads the strategic vision and implementation of their core program models (College Access, College Success, and Career Connections). Michael has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and African American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been an educator for over 20 years in four major cities. Since graduating from Penn, Michael has been a recognized educational leader, working in marginalized communities in Philadelphia, Oakland, Chicago, and eventually back to New York in 2015. A few of Michael’s professional stops have been serving as a researcher for the African American Literacy and Culture Research Project in Oakland, a Founding Director at the Breakthrough Collaborative of Philadelphia, an Assistant Principal at the University of Chicago’s North Kenwood Oakland Elementary School, and as an Education Director for Manhattan Youth in Battery Park. Over the years, Michael has been the recipient of various awards including the NYCDOE D79 Superintendent’s Recognition Award, Former Congressman Chaka Fattah’s Men Making a Difference Award, and has sat on a variety of advisory boards and steering committees. Michael lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.
Sibusisiwe Malaba Chief of Strategy and Impact, Newark Alliance
Sibusisiwe Malaba is a seasoned public servant committed to advancing racial equity through public policy and partnerships. She holds 15+ years of professional experience in public affairs and community development. As Chief of Strategy and Impact at the Newark Alliance, Sibusisiwe is responsible for integrating racial equity best practices and strengthening outcomes across Alliance programs and partnerships. Prior to the Newark Alliance, Sibusisiwe served as National Urban Fellow in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department at Prudential. Previously, Sibusisiwe served as executive director for the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC), where she was responsible for defining, analyzing, and advocating for issues affecting people of color in Massachusetts. Under her leadership, the MBLLC secured several policy victories in the state budget, criminal justice reform, cannabis regulation, equal pay, and racial justice legislation. Sibusisiwe also held roles in the Office of Senator Chang-Diaz (D-MA), several electoral campaigns, and educational nonprofits. Sibusisiwe is a graduate of Tufts University (MPP) and Baruch College (MPA).
Jennifer Masdea Training Director, Health and Racial Equity, Health Resources in Action
With nearly 15 years of experience in public health, Jennifer Masdea is the Health and Racial Equity Training Director at Health Resources in Action (HRiA). In this role, Jennifer leverages her lived experience as a Black, multiracial, second-generation immigrant, and first-generation college student to advance health and racial equity in the public sector through training and technical assistance. Jennifer is also a BIPOC facilitator for HRiA’s Racial Justice Affinity Group (RJAG), and serves on the organization’s Black Affinity Group coordination team. Prior to joining HRiA, Jennifer served as a Program Evaluator for the Race to Justice Initiative at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Race to Justice is the agency’s internal reform effort to help agency staff learn what they can do to better address racial health gaps and improve health outcomes for all New Yorkers. Jennifer credits her unrelenting passion for health and racial equity to her experience as a Research Data Coordinator at Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships, where she witnessed firsthand the cumulating and compounding impacts of intersecting structural oppression on BIPOC students at Boston Public Schools. As an experienced facilitator, strategist, program evaluator, and project lead, Jennifer dedicates her unique skillset toward integrating racial equity and public health practice. Jennifer holds an MPH from the Boston University School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Faisal Masood Founder & President, American Muslim Consumer Consortium, Inc.
A technology leader with over 25 years of experience in various leadership roles and a strong commercial mindset, Faisal currently serves as the Managing Partner of ElementOne Digital. His expertise lies in technology transformation, building and scaling technology teams, and optimizing and improving the bottom line for technology service delivery organizations. Prior to his current role at ElementOne Digital, he spent over 20 years in key infrastructure technology roles at JP Morgan Chase and Ernst and Young. He also cofounded an e-commerce company Pcwonders.com in 1998 which was acquired by Buyitnow.com in 2000. Faisal is also the founder and president of the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, Inc. (AMCC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to develop the American Muslim Consumer market. The key objective of AMCC is to address the needs of American Muslim Consumers and empower companies that are developing products for this market. Faisal is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Chicago with a master’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Fadia Mohama Senior Director of Strategy and Workforce Partnerships, Employment Hub, Commonpoint Queens
Fadia Mohama is the Senior Director of Strategy and Workforce Partnerships of the Employment Hub at Commonpoint Queens. Fadia manages the vocational training department, which prepares learners for IT, health, culinary, OSHA, and security guard careers. She also manages several programs that focus on civic engagement, community outreach, job readiness workshops, work support programs, and building partnerships. She has also managed NYC Health and Hospital Test +Trace, a community partnership program that tackled COVID-19 inequities by providing much-needed resources to the community, as well as access to vaccine information and personal protection. She was also a member of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity (TRIE), supporting the ongoing COVID-19 response, increasing the local civic infrastructure, and supporting community needs. Additionally, Fadia is the chair of ECRC, a local community initiative that consists of 25 local nonprofit organizations to meet the needs of the Elmhurst and Corona communities, which ensures that families have: access to food, resources for jobs, and financial security; pathways for community-anchored health and healing programs; and shared educational and cultural experiences. As the lead of ECRC—and active member of the Queens Borough President’s Civic Engagement Committee, Elmhurst Community Partnerships, Jamaica Community Partnerships, and other community coalitions—Fadia Mohama has hosted and participated in hundreds of community events and workshops that benefit seniors, women, teens, families, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities.
Emmanuel Moses Director of College Access & Success, The Opportunity Network
Emmanuel “Manny” Moses (he/him) is the Director of College Access and Success at The Opportunity Network (OppNet), and is thrilled to continue along in his INP journey: Manny was part of the inaugural NYC Community Fellows Program cohort. While he states that he is “New York (Harlem) born” and currently resides there, Manny was definitely not “New York raised”. Growing up in a household dedicated to public service, and given his father’s work in public housing, Manny has called many places home, including: Los Angeles, Annandale, VA (outside of D.C.), Chicago (Southside), and outside of Cleveland. He made it back to NYC attending NYU for his undergraduate degree What has stayed true, besides family, his love for the beautiful game (C’mon, Citeh!), and all things nerdy (he is a Blerd through and through), has been a dedication to supporting communities without access to many of the privileges that he, himself, grew up with. Manny was not a first-generation college student (his father graduated from CUNY Queens College via the SEEK program), and was certainly not low-income growing up. He does identify as a BIPOC and bi-racial: his father is African-American, hailing from Tarboro, North Carolina, while his mother emigrated from Mendoza, Argentina. All of the above has helped define Manny, but it wasn’t until his graduate work (Sociology of Education at NYU) that he found – or rather was pushed into by his wonderful partner – the world of college access. Young Manny always wanted to be a high school English teacher, but graduate school made concrete and gave language to many of the things he was well-aware impacted the communities he had hoped to teach in, such as systemic inequality and social capital (or a lack thereof), as well as the many racist and oppressive systems perpetuating such. Realizations such as this ultimately shifted his focus to what happened before the hours of 8:00 am, and after 3:00 pm, and caused him to seek ways to make an impact outside of the classroom. After some rather lackluster research – and subsequently a gentle, but firm nudge from his partner to find that path – Manny found his way to becoming a part of NYU’s inaugural cohort of the College Advising Corps. He spent two years as a college advisor at a “failing” high school in The South Bronx (Monroe Academy for Business and Law), and then made his way to The Opportunity Network, where he started off as the manager of College Guidance. He is not only enjoying his current role (which he’s been in for close to a year), but he will also be celebrating ten full years at OppNet come August 2023 .
Maritza Myers Principal, MEMJ Consulting
Maritza Myers has extensive experience in nonprofit management and program planning that resulted in successful programs that facilitated the entry into and transition through allied health and health professional schools for talented students of color. She created programs for national organizations that targeted students who were underrepresented in the allied health and health professions, first for the (now-defunct) National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students (NSSFNS), the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and National Medical Fellowships (NMF). Her work at NSSFNS included managing a federally funded Health Careers Opportunity Grant that involved three program components: a national, computerized program that matched talented high school students to undergraduate schools offering majors in their areas of interest; a health careers counseling program through which students interested in health careers were offered one-on one-assistance with the college admissions process; and a series of health careers workshops held in conjunction with NSSFNS’s national college fairs. The National Council of Negro Women recruited Ms. Myers to manage its Health Careers Opportunity Program for non-traditional high school students and women in the major New York City metropolitan area. The program primarily provided college counseling to teens and women interested in careers in the allied health and health professions. As COO and Executive Vice President of NMF, Maritza was responsible for creating and managing 22 programs, providing need-based and merit scholarships, and research and doctoral fellowships to underrepresented medical and doctoral students. She managed three offices in New York City, Washington, DC and San Francisco, California. Ms. Myers is currently working with a member of the New York State Assembly to provide training workshops for CBOs and nonprofits.
Miosotis Pantoja Vice President of Student Support and Success, Row New York
Miosotis (Mio) Pantoja is a proud New Yorker and first-generation college graduate. She currently serves as the Vice President of Student Support and Success at Row New York. For more than 15 years, Mio has dedicated her professional career to the field of youth development and after-school programming. Mio’s passion for helping young people succeed led her to greatly expand Row New York’s post-secondary program for Row New York alumni. Additionally, she has been an integral member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council at Row New York. Mio holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Middlebury College, and an Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from The New School University. She resides in New York City with her husband and two children.
Suvasini Patel Senior Director of Communications, NY Immigration Coalition
Suvasini (Su) Patel is the Senior Director of Communications at the New York Immigration Coalition. She works with the Coalition’s staff, members, and allies to advocate for policies that improve the lives of low-income, immigrant New Yorkers. Previously, she was a consultant, developing and launching social impact campaigns for award-winning documentary films, and using storytelling to contribute to narrative and policy change. Prior to working in the nonprofit advocacy space, Su worked in public television and for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer. Outside of work, Su believes in making contributions at the micro-local level, whether that means volunteering at her son’s school or supporting mutual aid efforts in her neighborhood.
Travis Randall Director (US), Ubuntu Pathways
Travis spent his unusual youth carrying medical supplies on his back to remote villages in disputed war zones, caring for orphans, translating in operating rooms, and participating in Middle East peace dialogues. Having worked and traveled in over 30 countries, he has yet to find social, poverty, or justice issues he isn’t passionate about. In 2011, Travis joined the Ubuntu Pathways team, working to provide pathways out of poverty for thousands of vulnerable children in South Africa. He leverages his diverse experiences to build strategic engagement, lead creative ventures, and execute multi-million dollar campaigns. He directs a cross-functional and global team of staff, artists, and stakeholders to support Ubuntu’s ambitious goals. His prior work includes nonprofit consulting, print media, and policy research in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe—working with USAID and UN projects, nonprofit start-ups, and the British Parliament.
Jill Reyes Senior Director, Crime Victim Assistance Program, Safe Horizon
Jill Reyes is the Senior Director of the Crime Victim Assistance Program, overseeing Brooklyn and Staten Island precincts, with Safe Horizon. Throughout her 18+ years with the organization, Jill has held various roles, from client advocate, case manager, manager, director, and senior director. She began her career working with the Bronx Criminal Court, supporting victims of domestic violence and crime with navigating the arrest and criminal justice process. She developed effective partnerships and collaboration with bureau chiefs, judges, criminal justice partners, and various community-based organizations during her 13-year tenure with the Bronx Criminal Court. In 2018, Jill was promoted to her current role as the senior director with the Crime Victim Assistance Program, overseeing a team of over 30 advocates and eight managers throughout Brooklyn and Staten Island precincts. She has worked with the program to create a diverse community of advocates to reflect Black, Brown, and all people of color, to ensure representation within communities of color. Jill has worked with precinct leadership throughout the five boroughs to create and advocate for policy and procedures to ensure that crime victims’ voices are heard and represented in various meetings and settings. Jill continues to work with her alma mater, John Jay of Criminal Justice, to give presentations to current students, including sitting on panels to discuss working at a nonprofit social justice organization, and alternative career options within the criminal justice sector. She continues to support the professional development of college interns to obtain employment at Safe Horizon and other organizations in New York City. Throughout her career, Jill has worked tirelessly to represent the voices of survivors of crime and ensure that their needs are effectively met.
Debra Rigano Senior Director of Justice Initiatives, Hour Children
Deb Rigano serves as the Senior Director of Justice Initiatives for Hour Children. She oversees Hour Children’s programs in Bedford Hills and Taconic Correctional Facilities, as well as the family visitation program in the Rose M. Singer Center, located on Rikers Island. Deb is someone who loves working in direct contact with the women in these facilities, and all of the programs Hour Children offers are geared toward providing the women with the services they need to stay in touch with their children. Hour Children offers door-to-door transportation to children to visit their mothers, advocacy, a wide variety of classes, as well as therapeutic support while detained/incarcerated. Her growth within the organization has spanned over ten years, beginning as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, and progressing to Reentry Assistant, Program Assistant, Program Manager, and now Senior Director. Every position has come with obtaining vast knowledge regarding the population she serves, as well as personal fulfillment. She believes it is fundamental for her to be physically inside the facilities, speaking and listening to the women, and providing them with the resources to not only thrive during their incarceration, but to successfully transition when released.
Teneka Robinson Senior Director, K-12 Partnerships, CareerWise New York
Teneka Robinson serves as the Senior Director of K-12 Partnerships for CareerWise New York, a youth apprenticeship program serving high schools throughout New York City. In her role, she leads the educational initiatives of the program, which include curriculum implementation, instructional training, and school leader support. She has over 20 years of experience working in nonprofit education, holding various instructional and administrative roles within secondary and postsecondary academic programs. Prior to CareerWise New York, Teneka was the Senior Manager of Higher Education Strategies and Partnerships with the National Math and Science Initiative, where she managed the organization’s collegiate partnerships around STEM teacher recruitment. Teneka has also worked with several youth development nonprofits in the metro New York City and New England regions in the areas of workforce development and program management. As a native New Yorker, Teneka is deeply committed to community service and proudly serves as vice chair of the board managers of the Harlem YMCA and on the board of directors for the Make STEM Fair Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from College of the Holy Cross, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. A proud Brooklynite, Teneka thoroughly enjoys exploring the hidden gems of New York City with her husband and their two sons.
Xiomara Romain Executive Director/VP Organizational Impact, LIFT-NY
Xiomara Romain is the Executive Director of LIFT-NY, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. LIFT’s innovative coaching program helps parents—mostly women of color—set career, financial, and educational goals in order to achieve economic mobility. Xiomara has worked in leadership roles in a range of organizations for over 20 years, leading teams and strategy at several nonprofit organizations, including Vera Institute of Justice, Mentor New York, the Center for Community Alternatives, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, TASC, Children of Promise NYC, and the Bedford Stuyvesant YMCA. Xiomara holds a Master of Arts from the CUNY Graduate Center at Brooklyn College, a Bachelor of Arts from Morgan State University in Maryland, and is all but dissertation towards her doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the Chicago School. Her dissertation is entitled “Intersectionality and Job Satisfaction of Women of Color in the Nonprofit Sector.” She started her career teaching social studies in District 16 in Brooklyn. Xiomara has served on the boards of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Bridge Street Development Corporation. She is an active member of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, The National Association for Female Executives, and the International Leadership Association (ILA), where she is also a member of the Women in Leadership Affinity Group (WLAG). Xiomara is passionate about leadership development, gender equality, as well as women’s economic and financial empowerment. As a scholar-practitioner, Xiomara has presented extensively on leadership and women’s issues, most recently during the International Leadership Association of Women in Leadership Conference in Scotts Valley, CA and the Emerging Leaders Symposium and the Global Leadership Conference on Courage in Ottawa. She is a former Adjunct Professor at Stony Brook University.
Jasmine Rosa Deputy Director of Community Engagement Programs, New York Edge
Jasmine Rosa (she/her/ella) is a native of New York City, growing up in the Lower East Side. She serves as the Deputy Director of Community Engagement Programs with New York Edge. In her role, she works to radically reimagine school environments to better serve every student, particularly those that have been systemically oppressed, by working with 23 Community Schools and Beacon Community Centers. Jasmine is an alumna of Americorps, and is a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in the Republic of North Macedonia. She received a Bachelors of Science in Business from the University of Central Florida, and a Masters of Science in Education from the University of Miami’s Community and Social Change Program. As a first-generation Latina and first-generation college student, Jasmine works to ensure Black and Brown communities have access to a network of integrated supports in schools, striving to improve chronic absenteeism among students, and introducing social-emotional learning and restorative practices in schools. She credits the many community-based organizations who supported her own journey for her passions for youth development and education, starting with her first job as a Counselor-in-Training. Jasmine is a partner, sister, aunt, sorority sister, friend, foodie, world traveler, and lover of dance. She is looking forward to getting a dog and attending the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Reginah Sanyu Founder/Operations Manager, EarlyBird256
Reginah Sanyu is an operations manager, humanitarian and full-time mango-enthusiast. As the Founder of EarlyBird256, she advocates for the support and empowerment of youth through art, movement, and wellness education in Uganda. As a Ugandan immigrant and advocate for mental health, Reginah uses affirmations—written with the conditions surrounding the lives of the students in mind—to provide a space for them to dream outside of the classroom. Reginah believes that everyone deserves the freedom to express themselves, and the opportunity to follow their wildest dreams.
Roy Southerland Chief Investment Officer, Invest Newark
Roy Southerland Jr. is the Chief Investment Officer for Invest Newark, the City of Newark, New Jersey’s community development corporation. Invest Newark was created to propel a strong and diverse economy, help build vibrant neighborhoods, and create opportunities for all Newarkers. He is a high-level member of a team of experts that controls the management of Invest Newark’s $20 million of investment funds, assists with operations of the state of New Jersey’s first and only Land Bank, and helps to empower local businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as other economic, redevelopment, and community development projects. He also plays an integral part in designing and operating the systems that support how Invest Newark provides financing to the various real estate, business, and joint venture projects that stimulate Newark’s economy, catalyze development, and create wealth for the citizens of Newark. Mr. Southerland is a true social impact investment leader in the State of New Jersey. Before Invest Newark, he was with the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) as a Senior Program Officer for Lending. He was charged with the responsibilities of project financing, real estate development lending intake, risk analysis, underwriting, and loan monitoring for New Jersey. He generated over $25 million in investments, and assisted with the portfolio management of over $40 million in loans. Prior to LISC, Roy spent almost two decades at the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) as a Senior Loan Officer, where as an key part of the NJRA’s growth and development, he oversaw projects that totaled more than $50 million and financed projects that created 2,500 units of housing and close to 800,000 square feet of commercial, civic, and educational space. Roy has a B.S. in Communications Sciences from Howard University, a B.A. in Economics from Thomas Edison State University, and a M.A. in Public Strategic Leadership from St. Bonaventure University.
Zainab Sulaiman Vice President of Impact & Advocacy, HealthConnect One
Zainab “Zee” Sulaiman is the Vice President of Impact and Advocacy at HealthConnect One. In her role, she oversees the research, communication, and advocacy departments to ensure the quality and integrity of the organization’s services and programs. Her team evaluates the impact and effectiveness of HealthConnect One’s approach to advocacy, refining projects to address the problems the organization aims to solve. Before joining HealthConnect One, Zee served as a research and communications consultant for various multilateral stakeholders, community organizations, and coalitions, where she worked with activists, advocates, and academics to center feminist approaches to gender-based violence interventions. She also worked with state and local government agencies and community leaders in Nigeria to propose and implement policies and practices on gender-based violence response and prevention. Her work is dedicated to reproductive and gender justice, ensuring underserved populations can access adequate reproductive health knowledge, information, and services to create sustainable communities. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Pan-African Studies and an MSc from King’s College London/London School of Tropical Medicine. Zee is a mother to an inquisitive and ocean animal-loving four-year-old, and enjoys reading books and traveling the world with her sidekick.
Lidia Torres NYC Chapter Director, Say Yes Buffalo
Lidia Torres has over 15 years of nonprofit leadership experience in youth development and higher education. She was the Chapter Director of the New York City Chapter of Say Yes to Education (Say Yes), a national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of students by preparing them for college throughout elementary, middle, and high school. There, she had the privilege of mentoring over 200 NYC students. At Say Yes, Lidia led a team of staff providing various support services to students through three successful academic transitions: middle school, high school, and college. Lidia studied literature and writing and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hunter College and New York University.
Margarita Villa Director of Finance and Operations, Sadie Nash Leadership Project
Margarita Villa (she/they) is a queer Xicana whose values align with Sadie Nash Leadership Project’s mission of strengthening, empowering, and equipping young women and gender-expansive youth of color as agents for change in their lives and in the world. As the Finance and Operations Director at Sadie Nash, she has worked for over ten years to support the organization’s vision of preparing young people to lead lives in committed pursuit of joy and liberation for themselves and their communities. She is dedicated to supporting social justice organizations with finance and operations challenges. She is a proud pup parent of Sky (beagle mix) and a four-time marathon runner. Margarita holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies from DePauw University, where her thesis focused on “Girl Studies”: specifically, what research exists about girls of color, and appropriate program interventions.
Kalimah Wilson Director of Early Learning Strategy, Newark Trust for Education
Kalimah Wilson is the Director of Early Learning Strategy with the Newark Trust for Education in Newark, NJ. She joined the Newark Trust for Education as the Senior Program Officer of Early Learning for the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) in March 2018. She was drawn to the vision of the program: that every child enters school ready to succeed. As Director of Early Learning Strategy, Kalimah now oversees the Trust’s early learning strategy, encompassing the Great Start, Great Future series, Families as Decision Makers Initiative, and the Newark CARES Network. The Early Learning team members collaborate with local stakeholders, national experts, community agencies, family child care providers, and families to ensure equitable access to early childhood education. Prior to joining the Trust, Kalimah developed her passion for serving families by working with community-related programs. Over the course of several years, she has gained substantial professional experience with youth, family, education, policy, management, grant writing, and program development. During her career, Kalimah has worked for and with various youth- and family-centered service and nonprofit organizations in the areas of behavioral health, alternative education, and community outreach, deepening her commitment to community service. A native Newarker, Kalimah holds a bachelor’s in Sociology from Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina.
Xin Xin Chief Development Officer, National Employment Law Project
As Chief Development Officer at the National Employment Law Project, Xin Xin works collaboratively across the organization to resource NELP’s mission by amplifying staff expertise and strengthening relationships with philanthropists committed to racial and economic justice. Xin (pronounced “shin”) works in close partnership with NELP’s president and CEO to develop and successfully execute a comprehensive fundraising strategy to sustainably maintain a diversified organizational revenue goal. Xin brings over a decade of nonprofit fundraising and human rights grantmaking experience. She began her philanthropic career at the Open Society Foundations, supporting global health financing initiatives at the Public Health Program, as well as the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, making rapid-response grants to women and LGBTQI+ human rights defenders. Making the transition from grantmaking to fundraising, she supported individual giving at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, oversaw communications and development at the Human Rights Funders Network, and managed the institutional fundraising portfolio at the New York Immigration Coalition. Prior to joining NELP, Xin led fundraising efforts at the National Harm Reduction Coalition. Xin believes movement-led philanthropy and donor-of-color activism support the revolutionary transfer of power necessary for social and racial justice movements. A first-generation immigrant, Xin is an intersectional feminist, who is pro-Black and anti-capitalist. She serves on the steering committee of the Asian Women Giving Circle, where she can be in community through collective giving.
Yaya Yuan Director of Programs, Apex for Youth
Yaya Yuan is the Director of Programs at Apex for Youth, a New York City based nonprofit empowering Asian and immigrant youth from low-income backgrounds to unlock their potential and a world of possibility. Prior to joining Apex, Yaya worked in many youth development contexts, including: criminal justice diversion programs at the Center for Justice Innovation; international education development, and women and girls’ empowerment at LitWorld; and as a classroom teacher at Fudan International School.