Spring Cohort 2018
Director of Operations since 2013, Anya Irons began working at UHAB in 2007. She also serves as General Counsel (UHAB’s sole in-house attorney) overseeing the physical rehabilitation and co-op conversion of UHAB’s development pipeline. With legal matters an integral part of preserving the affordable co-ops created by UHAB, she helps ensure the survival of this unique form of homeownership and fields issues on co-op formation, regulation, governance, finance and lending, as well as interest inheritance. Anya’s other legal specialties include Elder Law and Wills, Trusts, and Estates. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and New York Law School.
Brian Lewis is the Executive Director at ROC the Future Alliance. He is a Senior DEI consultant with DBI Projects, and has taught courses in Nonprofit Management, Human Services, Sociology, Humanities and the Arts as an Adjunct Professor at NYU Wagner School of Public Service, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The New School and Monroe Community College.
Brian is an alumnus of the Leadership Fellows Spring 2018 cohort. He is a passionate critical pedagogue and social justice leader with 15 years of experience leading teams, building curriculum and trainings, developing strategy, cultivating partnerships and scaling and driving impact. In his 7 years working with exalt, he worked closely with the Executive Director to triple the number of youth served, expand critical partnerships with key stakeholders and manifest new partnerships including leading exalt to be 1 of 7 national organizations selected for 2M in funds for an inaugural grant from the NBA Foundation.
Brian is an expert in Critical Pedagogy and Restorative Justice, especially as these practices pertain to systems-involved young people. He’s trained in Circle Keeping with Community Justice for Youth Institute (Chicago) and studied Peacebuilding and Restorative Justice with Howard Zehr and Hezkias Assefa (Eastern Menonnite University). He’s presented his work in these areas at the National Conference on Higher Education in Prisons (St. Louis) and the International Conference on Restorative Approach and Social Innovation (Podova, Italy).
Brian serves as a board member for Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS) a national organization that facilitates volunteer visits to people who are incarcerated. He enjoys reading, traveling, jogging and playing pick-up basketball.
Cydney Gray, a native of Chicago, Illinois, studied Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She most recently held the position of Program Manager, teaching artist, and resident techy at the DreamYard Project in the Bronx and previously worked in the Mission Hill neighborhood with the Summer Urban Program as a teacher, program director, and project manager. A lifelong learner, she was a National After School Matters Fellow for the National Writing Project and has spoken at several nationwide educational conferences. She is currently the Assistant Director of Youth Programs at Carnegie Hall for the Weill Music Institute.
For the past 12 years, David has advocated for consumers of alternatives to incarceration, workforce development, and re-entry programs. He previously worked as a manager for the Osborne Association and the East River Development Alliance (aka Urban Upbound), as a Director of Compliance at TNT Forensic Solution, and as a Director at the PAC Program. David is currently employed at the Fortune Society as the Director of Strategic Partnerships, a position he was promoted to after only 15 months as the Director of Employment Services and Educational & Vocational Counseling. He believes that now, more than ever, progressive, right-sized criminal justice reform, agitation, advocacy, and robust policies are needed to bring into balance a mass incarceration system that is restorative and trauma-informed for everyone impacted.
Diane Berry is the Director of Development at PHI, where she oversees implementation of the organization’s fundraising strategy and maintains the infrastructure to support its contributed revenue budget through the solicitation of foundation and corporate grants, federal and state awards, and major gifts. Diane works with staff across the organization to inform fundraising activities that strengthen PHI’s impact for direct care workers and clients. She has been a development professional for more than 15 years, and her most inspired work has been in pursuit of minimizing health disparities within vulnerable populations, particularly those in densely populated communities. Diane received a Public Health Generalist graduate certificate from the University of South Florida. She received a BS in Management from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she graduated summa cum laude.
Erica Garber is the Senior Program Manager at LEAP, now in its 40th year of service to all boroughs of NYC. She collaborates with artists, educators, and youth to bring the arts to opportunity-ready communities. She supports LEAP teaching artists in providing quality programs for schools and families across the city, and has been crucial to developing LEAP’s foundational pedagogy, curriculum design, professional development, and student learning. Erica is committed to the delivery of rigorous arts instruction—all aimed to strengthen creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking—as well as supporting the social and emotional growth of all LEAP students. As a lifelong student, artist, and educator, she firmly believes in the arts as a powerful vehicle for change.
Holly Sansom is the Operations Director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC), an organization that partners with community members at local organizations to form theatre troupes to devise and perform plays based on their challenges confronting economic inequality, racism, and other social, health and human rights injustices. Holly oversees TONYC’s finances, payroll, HR, volunteer management, and facilities. Her previous experience includes General Manager and Ensemble member of Honest Accomplice Theatre, creating devised theatre by women and trans people; Production Supervisor of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and Roundabout Theatre Company. For the past two years she has also organized a monthly bookclub for queer women and trans people.
Jason A. Bocko currently serves as Academic Coordinator at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC). He assumed the role after teaching both English as a Second Language and High School Equivalency courses at NMIC for two years. Prior to joining NMIC he taught in the K-12 system as both a special education and social studies teacher while also teaching an English class at the ANSOB Center for Refugees. His other experience in the non-profit sector includes three years as program director of the Museum of Kids Art in Rochester, NY, where he built a partnership to launch Girls Rock! Rochester – which is currently entering its 7th year. He holds a bachelor’s from the University at Buffalo and a master’s in education from the University of Rochester.
Jennifer Silverman is the Manager of Institutional Giving and co-chair of the Advocacy Leadership Team at Sunnyside Community Services (SCS), a multiservice community-based organization in western Queens that serves preschoolers through older adults. Jennifer holds a MA in Urban Affairs from Queens College, and a BA in literature from Bard College. She came to SCS in 2015 with 15 years’ of experience in the nonprofit world, having worked in development, program management, and community organizing. As a former full-time and current freelance journalist for regional and national publications, she has written about healthcare and health disparities, disability rights and access, and food justice, among many other issues. Jennifer has appeared on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show and NPR’s Here and Now, and been a panelist at the National Women’s Studies Association annual conference and the Left Forum.