- Alexander HarrisCallen-Lorde Community Health Center
Alexander B. Harris, MPH, CPH is the Clinical Research Manager at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center where he conducts research within TGNB communities. Prior to joining Callen-Lorde, he managed health promotion campaigns geared towards NYC’s LGBTQ communities at the New York City Health Department and lead an insurance advocacy coalitions to ensure coverage for gender-affirming care for Health Care for All New York. Harris currently manages the implementation of three federally funded observational studies focused on HIV prevention and health outcomes for transgender communities. He received his Masters of Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and his Bachelors of Arts in History and Russian Civilization from Smith College.
- Andre WardThe Fortune Society
Andre Ward is the Associate Vice President of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy, where he oversees Fortune’s advocacy efforts to reduce reliance on incarceration, promote model programing for incarcerated people, change laws and policies that create barriers for successful reintegration, and foster a just and equitable criminal justice system. (The Center is named in honor of Fortune’s founder, David Rothenberg.)
Prior to this promotion, Andre had managerial oversight of every aspect of Fortune’s robust employment and educational programs, including implementing a strategic vision that creates synergy and a continuum of services between the two units. Key among his responsibilities were using best practices and evidence-based interventions that improve Fortune’s existing programming. Specific goals included increasing the rate of job placement for Fortune clients, as well as decreasing time to placement, enhancing rates of retention, increasing starting and current salaries, and increasing skills and certification attainment. He also structured Fortune’s education services to improve literacy and math gains.
As a member of Fortune’s Executive team, Mr. Ward also helps steer overall agency operation.
Mr. Ward previously served as Director of Programs at Common Justice, an organization that develops and advances transformative solutions to violence and fosters racial equity without relying on incarceration. At Common Justice, he built community partnerships to support employment, internship, housing, education, vocational training, mental health and substance use needs. At the Osborne Association, a policy advocacy and direct-service organization dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system, Mr. Ward, who is formerly incarcerated, held numerous positions over the course of six years, including Director of Workforce Development.
He is a social worker and longtime advocate and activist for at risk and vulnerable populations who face barriers to employment and have criminal justice, chemical dependency and/or mental health issues.
Additionally, he serves as an Adjunct Professor at Medgar Evers College. In addition to being author of the book: “A Guide to Right Thinking for Reentry: A comprehensive study book for the presently and formerly incarcerated.” he is certified as an anger management specialist and mental health first aid instructor. He is a motivational speaker and Life Skills coach. Mr. Ward was also the Co-Host and Associate Producer for On the Count: The Criminal and Prison Justice Report that aired WBAI radio.
- Angela Mora-VargasVibrant Emotional Health
Angela Mora-Vargas received her MSW degree from the New York University School of Social Work and is a licensed social worker in New York State. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Angela Mora-Vargas is currently the Assistant Vice President of Programs for Vibrant Emotional Health. In her role, she supervises all direct services programs for the organization, including the Family Resource Centers, Harlem Bay PROS Program, Adolescent Skills Centers, Older Adult ACT Team and Family Link Preventive Program. Ms. Mora-Vargas joined the organization in July 2002 as Project Assistant of the Crisis Resource Center. In 2003, Ms. Mora-Vargas became part of the Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative as a Care Coordinator and later, as the Director of the initiative.
As part of her current role, she ensures that all direct service programs are meeting their contractual obligations, that the services provided are of high quality and accessible to the communities we serve and she is continuously ensuring that staff members receive appropriate supervision, training and support.
Ms. Mora-Vargas also facilitates trainings in Mandated Child Abuse Reporting, Mental Health First Aid and ASIST- Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. Ms. Mora-Vargas supported the expansion of Vibrant’s five Family Resource Centers, as well as the implementation of our Circle of Security Parent Coaching Program, including hiring and training of 25+ staff members.
Aside from her role at Vibrant, Ms. Mora-Vargas’s passion is to enhance the lives of those in her community and other communities in New York State by encouraging families and youth to take a lead role in their service plans and advocate for child/adolescent services that are strength-based, individualized and of quality.
- Barbara Beatus-VeghGirls Inc. of Long Island
Barbara Joy Beatus-Vegh is the Associate Director of Girls Inc. of Long Island, whose mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. A life-long feminist and girls advocate, Barbara started as a volunteer in mid 2013, helping to build the organization, grow its outreach and impact tenfold, and more than double its budget. Barbara has also been teaching yoga for over a decade. Her classes focus on mindful self-compassion, and fostering a strong connection to one’s own inner wisdom. She is also an active member of the Long Island Women’s Diversity Network, the Long Island Coalition for Gender Equity, and the State Sex Education Policy Action Council (SEPAC). Barbara holds a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College and a Bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University. She is also a poet and visual artist, selling her goddess-inspired paintings and reading her poetry throughout Long Island.
- Danny KirkNew York Hall of Science
Danny Kirk is Manager of Maker Space Programs at the New York Hall of Science where he supports an amazing team of facilitators as they design and implement creative maker-centered programming. He is a long time youth educator and program facilitator with a passion for making and hands on learning. Before joining the NYSCI team, Danny was the Education Community Coordinator at Maker Ed in Oakland, California. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his terrier pup Margot.
- Elizabeth BishopGlobal Kids
Dr. Elizabeth Bishop is an educator, researcher and youth advocate. She currently serves as Director of Curriculum and Outcomes Evaluation at Global Kids as well as the Assistant Director of Strategy at the CUNY SPS Youth Studies graduate program where she teaches on the faculty. Bishop is also the recipient of the 2019-2020 JFK Jr. Institute for Worker Education Faculty Fellowship from CUNY SPS. Previously, Bishop taught on the faculty at Ithaca College, served as Deputy Director at the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School and as Assistant Director of the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Originally from Newtown, Connecticut, Bishop began her career as a classroom teacher in the Bronx and has served in leadership positions across NYC public schools and youth development organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S.T. in Adolescent Education from Pace University, an M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. in Planned Studies: Critical Ideologies from Ithaca College. She has published and presented widely on her research and is the author of two books published by Peter Lang Publishing, including her 2015 “Becoming Activist: Critical Literacy and Youth Organizing” and “Embodying Theory: Epistemology, Aesthetics and Resistance” which was released in early 2019. She is online @DrBishopDigital.
- Erin PalmerServices for the UnderServed
Erin Palmer is the Director of Evaluation and Practice Innovation at S:US. In her role she helps implement new initiatives as well as evaluate new and existing programming. Her team helps develop new programming through private and government funding opportunities, bring new evidence based and promising practices into the agency, evaluate programs, and help develop metrics to measure success. In recent years, she has lead an agency-wide initiative and training in Continuous Quality Improvement around consumer satisfaction and a focused analysis of Social Determinates of Health in urban farm participation. In the coming year, she is working across divisions at S:US to measure and improve quality of services through a standardized assessment tool as well as implement a data-driven health access project to implement interventions for chronic health diseases and improve integrated care. Erin has represented S:US on various city-wide health care workgroups and is active on multi-agency data and quality committees. Her current policy interests include the evolving needs of homeless individuals in New York City, person-centered practices, and the use of technology to improve health outcomes. Erin came to S:US in 2014 and has worked in the field of behavioral health non-profits since 2006. Erin has a Master’s in Social Research from Hunter College. Outside of work, Erin plays competitive volleyball, reads fiction, and travels with her dog.
- Glen UmbergerThe New York Landmarks ConservancyGlen Umberger received an M.F.A. in architectural history from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a B.A. from the University of Delaware. He is the Manager of Special Projects at the New York Landmarks Conservancy where he serves as the staff architectural historian and is an Adjunct Instructor at NYU School of Professional Studies, Center for Applied Liberal Arts where he teaches courses on New York City’s history and architecture. He specializes in nineteenth and early twentieth century American commemorative and civic architecture.
- Jaime AbbottSafe Horizon
Jaime Abbott is Senior Director of Individual Giving at Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest nonprofit victim services agency. In over five years working with Safe Horizon, she has developed an annual major giving program focused on increasing donor loyalty and commitment to Safe Horizon’s work, leading to the generation of year-over-year revenue growth. Jaime enjoys getting to personally know the organization’s donors and connecting them on a personal level with the life-changing work Safe Horizon does.
She has over 15 years of fundraising experience, including prior positions at Habitat for Humanity – NYC and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, as well as volunteer fundraising for domestic violence shelters, animal shelters and youth sports programs. Prior to committing to the nonprofit sector full-time, Jaime worked several years in various areas of the legal field, including as a paralegal and a Judge’s Bailiff.
Jaime holds a Masters of Public Administration in Nonprofit Organization Management from Seton Hall University, a Masters of Arts in Ancient & Medieval History from Ohio University and Bachelors of Arts in Economics Management and History from Ohio Wesleyan University.
- Jennifer WainwrightRandall's Island Park Alliance
Jennifer Wainwright is the Communications Manager at Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA). As a diverse nonprofit organization, RIPA focuses on working with and providing Park-based sports, recreation, and environmental activities to local communities. As the Communication Manager, Jennifer is responsible for creating and executing communications and marketing strategies for RIPA. Additionally, she works with senior leadership to create a consistent and visible brand. Jennifer is in charge of the promotion of the free RIPA public programming that is available to all New Yorkers with a focus on the neighboring communities of East Harlem and the South Bronx.
As a native New Yorker, Jennifer understands the importance of having accessible green space within the community, especially for children. That is why promoting accessibility and encouraging public engagement has a continued impact on her mission to raise awareness for Randall’s Island Park.
Prior to her work at RIPA, Jennifer has worked with Fortune 500 organizations in retention marketing and public relations. She has a B.A. in English and an M.B.A. in Marketing from Hofstra University.
- Justin DanielOpening Act
Justin was raised in Atlanta, GA by a Puppeteer Mom and an Actor Dad, which meant that his childhood was surrounded by foam rubber, enormous plastic eyes, and physical comedy routines. This instilled in Justin a whimsy, joy, and creative energy that has driven his personal and professional life which has brought him to stages around the world, on screens big and small, and most recently into education spaces for young and old.
After working for many years as a professional actor, Justin propelled his love of theatre towards arts education, receiving a Masters in Educational Theatre from NYU, and was introduced to the term Teaching Artist, which unbeknownst to him was the exact term his mother used when describing her work as a puppeteer in schools.
Since then, Justin has built a career in arts education that has taken him into classrooms all over New York City through long term teaching partnerships with The New Victory Theatre, Disney Theatricals, and Opening Act, as well as serving as Professional Development Specialist for Marquis Studios, helping maintain best practices and innovate the field of Teaching Artistry. Justin is also a proud member of the Board of Directors for the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable and Co-Chair of the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee of NYC.
Justin lives in Brooklyn with his husband and highly energetic twins.
- Karisa AntonioLantern Community Services
Karisa Antonio is a multi-faceted arts and movement director, performer and educator. As Director of Arts, Culture & Fitness at Lantern Community Services, she designs and implements programs in supportive housing, serving formerly homeless individuals and families in 17 buildings around New York City. Previously, Karisa held the position of Assistant Director, RealArts and Education, at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, where she programmed and managed over 70 weekly arts and education programs. Karisa received her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University, a
Masters degree from Yale University, and a Bachelors degree from Grand Valley State University. She has been a New York Foundation for the Arts Emerging Leader Fellow, a Carnegie Hall Choral Fellow, and a recipient of the Yale AlumniVentures grant for her work to bring music programs to low-income youth. In well over a decade of teaching experience, Karisa has designed and presented a broad range of music, movement, and career courses, including extensive work with early childhood, elementary, pre-college, college, and older adult students. Sought after as a clinician and lecturer, Karisa has presented most recently at the Supportive Housing Network of New York Annual Conference, Valparaiso University, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance Technical Assistance Institute, Janian Medical-Project for Psychiatric Outreach to the Homeless-Grand Rounds, Association of Vocational Rehabilitation in Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, National Health Care for the Homeless Annual Conference, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An active oboist, Karisa’s recordings can be found on Naxos, EMF, Northern Spy, Albany and Carrier record labels. She has received chamber music awards at the Fischoff Competition, the Coleman Competition, Chamber Music Yellow Springs and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition; she has also been a featured soloist at the New York City Electronic Music Festival and the International Computer Music Conference.
- Karla BradleyPlanned Parenthood of Nassau County
Karla Bradley is the Public Affairs and Advocacy Manager at Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (PPNC). She first became involved with Planned Parenthood six years ago as a campus organizer. In her current role, Karla is responsible for advocacy efforts to organize, empower, and mobilize supporters to take action in support of Planned Parenthood’s mission.
Karla is originally from Rochester, NY and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies and Sociology from Hofstra University.
- Kerri MarstellerJASA
I have worked for JASA for over seven years as a social worker, supervisor, and director. My newest role is the Associate Director of Intensive Services which oversees JASA’s new housing initiative and the Health Home program. I have vast knowledge base in case management, group facilitation, adult protective services, adult guardianship, mental health treatment, OPWDD, legal advocacy, housing and L/T law, and older adults.
I am excited to be part of the Fall 2019 Cohort and look forward to getting to know the other fellows!
- Konsela SamarakodyLearning through an Expanded Arts ProgramI have worked in data management for approximately eight years. I have a Masters in Forensic Mental Health Counseling from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I am interested in the development of systems to support sustainability in non profits that impact positive outcomes for our youth. Some of my hobbies include storytelling through poetry, gaming and mediation.
- Lisa EddyGRIOT cIRCLE
Lisa Eddy is a Brooklyn native who is passionate about the lives of LGBT elders in her community. Lisa comes to GRIOT with more than 20 years of experience in financial editing and a liberal arts degree and has been the Program Coordinator of GRIOT Circle for the past 4 years where she creates all Health & Wellness Programs for over 400 members of GRIOT Circle.
Her passion for Social Service places her in many volunteer services. She has worked with Global Earth Programs was a mentor for Angel Guardian teenagers (now Mercy-First) and she is currently a mentor with VELM-S Virtual Educational Learning Management. She also has a passion for cycling and is a member of Brooklyn Alliance for Safer Streets, writing a Self-Published Author, and also has a small catering business #aveleatscuisine.
When not doing any of the above you can catch Lisa enjoying all sports and various outdoor activities.
- Lubna AhmedWE ACT for Environmental JusticeLubna Ahmed is an environmental health enthusiast with a strong dedication to environmental justice. She holds a BA in Psychology from Miami University and a MPH in Environmental Health Science & Policy from The George Washington University. Prior to joining WE ACT for Environmental Justice (WE ACT), Lubna served as an Environmental Educator with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. In her current role as the Director of Environmental Health at WE ACT, she promotes health equity within the community of Northern Manhattan through promoting public health awareness, education, coalition-building and advocacy. Lubna hopes to one day play a more active role in addressing issues of water scarcity and sanitation, a public health concern that is at the epi-center of her passion to provide sustainable solutions to communities burdened by environmental, social, and health stressors.
- Maria Teresa TaverasJCCA
Maria Teresa Taveras has over 10 years of experience in the field of social services and is a seasoned leader in the area of foster family resources with a special interest in creating innovative and effective changes. Her areas of expertise include nonprofit management & program improvement. She is an advocate for change, an experienced collaborator on building and implementing strategies for change.
Beginning in 2016, Maria was instrumental in streamlining the intake process for children coming into foster care for the foster home services division. The changes that Maria implemented increased the number of children being placed within homes in the community. This was instrumental in reducing the number of children at the Children’s Center awaiting placement and expanded the opportunities for children to receive services in the areas of family support, case management, mental health services and medical follow up.
In 2018, Maria was named Associate Program Director and became Program Director in 2019.
Maria received her Social Work degree from New York University, Silver School of Social Work. She recently received two Robert Maslow Awards for Excellence in Practice.
- Megan LoebWaterfront AllianceMegan Loeb is the deputy director of development, supporting the organization’s fundraising activities and major events. Previously, she was the development manager at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, where she was responsible for the full range of activities required to prepare, submit, and manage proposals to foundation and corporate sources. Megan graduated from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with dual master’s degrees in public policy and city and regional planning (MPP/MCRP) and has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Bates College.
- Melanie KruvelisYoung Invincibles
Melanie Kruvelis is the Northeast Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy
for Young Invincibles’ New York office, where she leads advocacy and research on issues impacting young adults in New York City and State, including college affordability, immigrant health, and civic engagement.
Prior to joining Young Invincibles, Melanie used her background in policy research to inform policymaking locally and federally. As a policy associate with DC Appleseed, she worked on strengthening the early care and education workforce in the District of Columbia, working with educators and policymakers to implement systems change in DC’s early education landscape. She was also the 2016 Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellow in Women and Public Policy at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, where she focused on improving college accessibility for parenting students. Her research has been cited by the U.S. Department of Education and has been published by the United Nations Population Fund. She previously worked at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research and in public radio.
Melanie received her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 2014, earning high honors for her thesis research on gender in constitutions. She likes bagels and bicycles.
- Robert PollockPrison and Justice Writing Program ManagerRobert Pollock is PEN America’s Prison Writing Program Manager. For over a decade, he has worked with the justice system and its intersection with the arts. He is an ongoing participant in Rehabilitation Through the Arts, Musicambia, Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, and Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections Advisory Committee. He has collaborated with the Fortune Society, Osborne Association, and several NYC grassroots organizations. He has participated in workshops and panels at Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Yale, and other universities to advocate for the power of the arts in prison education and restorative justice practices. As a visual artist, he illustrated the picture book for children of incarcerated parents, Sing Sing Midnight, which is used in therapeutic settings around the country. As a singer-songwriter, his compositions have been heard at the Obama White House, the RFK Human Rights Foundation, Create Justice forums, the Vera Institute of Justice Gala, the New York Ethical Society, and Carnegie Hall.
- Shaquala SantiagoGetting Out and Staying OutAs the Senior Director of Client Programs at Getting Out and Staying Out, Shaquala is responsible for ensuring that the programs and services provided to clients are on par with current youth development trends and that services address actual client needs. In addition to this role, she oversees the Leadership in Training Program (LIT); GOSO’s effort to implement a peer mentoring model as well as the Client Advisory Board (CAB). Ms. Santiago received her MSW with Advanced Standing from Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work and has extensive experience working with at-risk youth. Prior to joining GOSO, she was Associate Program Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC where she supervised 60 mentor relationships.
- Sonia PerezLong Island Cares, Inc. The Harry Chapin Food Bank
Sonia Perez was born in Puerto Rico and came to the United States at the age of 17. Sonia began her career with Long Island Cares, Inc. The Harry Chapin Food Bank in January 2000, working in the Agency Relations Department as an Associate. In May 2002, Sonia was promoted to Agency Relations Coordinator. This position requires Sonia to be out in the field regularly, visiting Long Island Cares’ numerous member agencies (soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries, day cares and congregate residential sites) to evaluate nutritional and food safety needs and compliance with general food regulations as well as state and federal regulations and Feeding America.
Sonia was Long Island Cares’ first bilingual employee I the Agency Relations Department and her language skills allowed Long Island Cares the opportunity to serve its Hispanic population. Many times Sonia finds herself in multiple departments offering assistance with translation.
In February 2010, Sonia was honored at the First Latino Award for being a top Latino Leader that have made a difference in the health, safety and well-being of the Hispanic Long Islanders. In June 2012, Sonia was promoted to Agency Relations Manager.
- Sydney GilbertQueens MuseumSydney Gilbert is an art administrator committed to creating inclusive and vibrant artistic communities. She currently serves as the Development Manager at the Queens Museum, overseeing special events and individual giving. Previously, Sydney was Managing Director of CPR-Center for Performance Research, a performing arts organization serving NYC’s dance and performance community. Prior experience includes Program Assistant to the Conservation and Environment program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Studio Manager for visual artist Matthew Brannon. Sydney is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and holds a master’s degree in Art History from Hunter College.
- Syeatta BoldenStudent Leadership Network
Syeatta Bolden currently serves as the Senior Manager of People and Systems at Student Leadership Network, a non-profit education organization serving students across NYC from underserved communities by providing access to quality education and a college-going culture that encourages our students to see themselves as successful leaders through their own lens. Syeatta’s serves as the Human Resources function for the 70+ employees.
Before coming to SL Network, Syeatta worked at Women’s Prison Association, the oldest advocacy non-profit supporting women with criminal justice histories, serving as the Assistant Director of Human Resources.
Earning her Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Long Island University, Syeatta knew that early on she wanted to be able to work where she could influence positive change in work environments and starting with it’s people would be most important.
- Taïna SanonNonprofit New York
Taïna Sanon joined Nonprofit New York in October 2017 as the Membership Manager and works closely with Nonprofit New York’s Chief Program Officer to strategize, envision and implement membership programming and services according to Nonprofit New York’s strategic plan goals.
Prior to joining the Nonprofit New York team, Taïna worked for Free Arts NYC and the Brooklyn Historical Society. She is passionate about community building and being a connector for individuals and organizations who want to network and collaborate in order to become stronger as a whole.
Taïna holds a degree from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
- Tiffani AlexanderDREAMI am a non-profit professional professional who has been in the non-profit world for the past 8 years. I currently serve as the Director of Compliance at DREAM. I also have experience in internal auditing and accounting in the for profit sector.
- Victoria MunroAlice Austen HouseVictoria Munro b. 1975, Wellington, New Zealand, has been a resident of New York for over 2 decades and is the Executive Director of the Alice Austen House, a nationally designated site of LGBTQ+ history and the only museum in America to represent the work of one women photographer, Alice Austen. Victoria is an Art and Art History Educator, Maker and Curator. Victoria consults and speaks on LGBTQ+ curriculum development, historical and current LGBTQ+ interpretations in public and private institutions. Victoria represents the Alice Austen House Museum in the Stonewall 50 Consortium, an organization of institutions and organizations committed to producing programming, exhibitions, and educational materials related to the Stonewall uprising and/or the history of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. Victoria has been the lead interpretation and project manager of the Alice Austen house updated permanent installation and LGBTQ+ programs director.
- William SpisakChhaya CDCWill Spisak serves as Director of Housing Justice at Chhaya CDC. As the son of working class immigrants and a life-long resident of Queens, he is passionate about the economic empowerment of immigrant communities in New York City. Will holds a Master’s Degree from Fordham University in International Political Economy and Development and a Bachelor’s from CUNY-Queens College, where he studied History and Arabic. Will seeks to advance economic and social justice through Chhaya’s programs in order to keep New York an accessible and affordable place for immigrant and working families.
- Yin SokAtlas DIY Corporation
Yin Sok is a business manager at Atlas: Developing Immigrant Youth. As a business manager, Yin manages financial, operational, and human resources functions. Her duties include forecasting revenues and expenses, overseeing accounting, managing government contracts, communicating and maintaining relationships with over 400 diverse stakeholders, including the board of directors, clients, vendors, and representatives of private foundations, corporations, and government.
Yin is a Chinese Cambodian immigrant and a first-generation college graduate. She received her B.A degree in political science from CUNY City College of New York. Her immigrant background and experience motivate Yin to focus her career in working to support immigrant communities.