Spring Cohort 2022
- Jeremy PoolT'Shuvah CenterJeremy PoolT'Shuvah Center
Jeremy Pool is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor from Los Angeles, CA. Through his own journey and healing process, Jeremy created and lives by his life’s mission statement, which is as follows. “With integrity love and compassion I will be an instrument of change in my life and the lives of all who struggle. I will continue to be someone the world needs by being the best version of myself daily to help inspire others to do the same.” Through this mission he encourages anyone in the process of recovery to discover their personal mission statement. At T’Shuvah Center, Jeremy is the Director of Recovery Services/Counseling, helping and aiding struggling people, of all walks, find their way to light, love, and inspiration.
- Tijuana FulfordThe Butterfly Effect ProjectTijuana FulfordThe Butterfly Effect Project
Tijuana Fulford is the Founder and Executive Director of The Butterfly Effect Project, a mentoring program for young girls from predominantly underserved communities on the East End of Long Island, that teaches the practical and psychological tools necessary for stable and successful futures. Tia, who grew up in a disenfranchised community with a severely dyslexic mother and father with addiction issues, knows firsthand the struggles her mentees face daily. Through a fortuitous mentorship with one woman, Tia gained the necessary skills and confidence to succeed, as well as access to opportunities usually unavailable to girls like her. Tia launched BEP in 2014 to pay it forward; to share her life lessons, increase access to opportunity, and to empower young women by eliminating obstacles. Tia is Master Life Coach and a published Author. Tia is married to Troy Fulford, and they have three children, Jaliek, Alexandria, and Genesis
- Rosa SantanaEnvision Freedom FundRosa SantanaEnvision Freedom Fund
Rosa Santana is a native of Honduras who became involved in immigrant rights in 2010 after witnessing the injustice of detention and separation’s impact on her own family. Her family’s separation was documented in “Colussus,” the film. Rosa’s advocacy work started at Friends of NJ & NY, where she worked for almost nine years supporting community members in detention. Rosa joined Envision Freedom Fund in 2020 as the Bond Director, where she continues to help detained community members secure their freedom through bond posting.
Rosa serves as the Detainee Advocate at the Hudson County Jail and a member of the Civilian Task Force at the Essex County Jail.
- Jose AbrigoManhattan Legal ServicesJose AbrigoManhattan Legal Services
Jose Abrigo is the Director and Supervising Attorney of LGBTQ/HIV advocacy at Legal Services NYC’s (LSNYC) Manhattan Legal Services. Previously he was the staff attorney of the LGBTQ/HIV Project at Queens Legal Services. Jose supervises the provision of legal services to low income LGBTQ+ and HIV+ individuals in administrative hearings, civil, supreme and federal court on issues ranging from discrimination, housing, public benefits, immigration, social security, to name change/identity documents. He engages in extensive community organizing with the clients he serves. He also engages in impact litigation and policy advocacy for the LGBTQ and HIV communities. In addition to serving clients, Jose has taken various leadership roles at LSNYC in enacting the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion plan.
- Tomoko OkunoJapan SocietyTomoko OkunoJapan Society
Tomoko Okuno is the Senior Director of Business & Policy at Japan Society and is responsible for planning and executing our public and private business and policy programming.
In her role, she ensures audiences receive high-quality opportunities for engagement through lectures, panels, networking events and high-level invitation-only exclusive meetings.
Prior to joining Japan Society, she worked for the Japan National Tourist Organization and also worked in the translation and PR fields. She holds a Master of Science degree in International Affairs from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Language and Communications from Kansai Gaidai University in Japan.
- Mike CushVISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually ImpairedMike CushVISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Michael J. Cush has been with VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired for more than 16 years, starting as the Blindline information Coordinator, and is now the Chief Program Officer for VISIONS rehab and workforce programs. As CPO, His responsibilities include insuring that quality employment, vocational, rehabilitation, youth and technology skills training services are provided to VISIONS’ participants in the most efficient manner possible. This entails oversight of all vocational training and adult work readiness programs, job placement services, vision rehabilitation, orientation and mobility, social work, outreach and youth services.
Before becoming the CPO of rehab and workforce, Michael oversaw the VISIONS job placement and technology services, and under his guidance, VISIONS workforce had the highest number of placements of blind job seekers in New York State each year since 2016.
Prior to joining VISIONS IN 2006, Michael spent nearly ten years working in Human Services as a Case Manager, Customer Service Representative and Information and Referral Specialist. Michael Graduated from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, With a Bachelor of Arts, Dual Degree Psychology & Sociology.
- Kofi WilliamsAsase Yaa Cultural Arts FoundationKofi WilliamsAsase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation
As Chief Executive Officer of the Asase Yaa Entertainment Group, LLC, Kofi Osei Williams has ascended to a position of tremendous influence on African Dance, Music, and Culture in Brooklyn, New York where he also oversees the creative and business direction of the affiliated Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre, Asase Yaa School of the Arts, Asase Yaa Children’s Arts Camp and the non-profit Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation. Beginning as a deft drummer and dancer, Williams scaled the ranks as a student, historian, touring performer, educator, administrator, and company co-founder. He has worked with artists ranging from jazz greats Pharoah Sanders and Dianne Reeves, gospel’s Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and new age guru Paul Winters to Djembe Drum innovator M’Bemba Bangoura, soul chanteuse Erykah Badu and conscious hip hop star Talib Kweli.
Detailing his role as CEO with Asase Yaa, Williams states, “I develop our programs, curriculum and run most of our day-to-day operations. I also remain a musician for the dance theater and the summer camp. One of our ongoing core missions has been to bring people from Broadway and professional companies into the neighborhood to teach at affordable prices so kids can benefit and flourish in the arts.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Williams is the son of father Ofori Payton – a rebellious, Mississippi-born Black Nationalist – and mother, Nana Kodia Ababio, an African Spiritualist. Both inspired Kofi to become entrenched in African culture and the Black community.
Kofi and his siblings attended a private school started in 1982 by their mother through an organization run by the great Nana Yao Opare Dinizulu. Within this school was the Asafoba Dance Company where Kofi began indulging his passion for African drumming and dancing. The best students went on to the professional Dinizulu African Dancers, Drummers & Singers – the oldest African Dance company in America (1947). By 9th grade in 1993, Kofi entered Professional Performing ARTS School in Manhattan and found he was significantly ahead of other students in academics.
Upon graduation in 1997, Kofi and his brother Yao made a pilgrimage to Guinea to study the African drum, Djembe, with the National Company of Guinea. Yao had a vision in 2001 for the brothers to pool their knowledge and experience in starting their own dance company. Following two years of development, they invited First Child Society to fund a concert held on Saturday, June 28, 2003, at York College titled “Africa: A Journey in Dance” headlining Asase Yaa along with four others – three from New York (representing Guinea, Ghana, and Senegal) and one from Washington, D.C. (Ivory Coast & Guinea). This begat the launch of the Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theater, symbolically named after the Earth Goddess of fertility in the tradition of the Akan people of Ghana. In 2005 they participated in the acclaimed Dance Africa at Brooklyn Academy of Music – a MAJOR event for African Dance (starting in 1977) where Kofi also came under the invaluable creative and business mentorship of Artistic Director Chuck Davis.
In 2010, Kofi also co-founded, produced, and directed an African dance & drum concert series, “Djembe in the New Millennium.” This is in addition to Kofi’s annual month-long continued studies in Ghana, drumming for programs and workshops given by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and adjunct musician duties at Medgar Evers College.
- Catherine GonzalezBrooklyn Defender ServicesCatherine GonzalezBrooklyn Defender Services
Catherine was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. She is a Senior Staff Attorney and Immigration Policy Counsel at Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), a non-profit public defense office that provides outstanding representation and advocacy free of cost to people facing loss of freedom, family separation and other serious legal harms. She manages city, state, and federal legislative and policy work for BDS’s immigration units. She also advises clients and attorneys about the immigration consequences of criminal and family court cases and represents non-citizens fighting to remain in the United States. Catherine received her Juris Doctorate degree from Pace University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University.
- Tamara OrtizWINTamara OrtizWIN
Tamara Ortiz, Assistant Vice President, Program Support Services: Tamara, better known to clients and staff as “Ms. Tammy,” has been with Win for 25 years. She has held various positions including Head Teacher, Director of Youth & Recreation Services, and Director of Children’s Services. Her insight to Trauma-Informed Care facilitated her promotion in 2019 to AVP, Program Support Services, where she oversees Clinical Services, Income Building, Children’s Services and Recreation/Youth Services. Tammy has a unique sense of the emotional and social development needs of clients and has applied this knowledge in each role. As Director of Youth & Recreation Services, she implemented the SONYC Program (School’s Out NYC) for its first time in an untraditional setting. Now in its sixth year, it maintains an above average success rate while implementing STEAM programming. She honors the accountability for raising the bar and ensuring Win clients received the highest, most relevant quality services. Tammy has a Bachelor of Science in behavioral health from Mercy College.
- David NgThe Advocacy InstituteDavid NgThe Advocacy Institute
David Ng is the Engagement Manager at the Advocacy Institute. Before joining the Advocacy Institute, he worked as the External and Government Relations Manager at the Human Services Council. Prior to that, he was appointed as a Chief of Staff in the New York State Assembly and as an External Relations Specialist in the New York State Senate working on various legislative priorities, state budgets, and issue campaigns. David also served as a Fellow to the First Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Administration for Children Services, working on procurement and workforce issues.
Prior to working in government, he worked as a community organizer focusing on housing, immigration, and community development. He currently serves as a Member of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Racial Equity in his hometown. David holds a M.P.A from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and graduated from Binghamton University with a B.A. in Political Science & Economics.
- Ava RosenrothThe New York FoundlingAva RosenrothThe New York Foundling
Ava Rosenroth has worked in the nonprofit sector in New York City for over a decade, and is a passionate advocate for strengthening those who serve our community. As Director of Institutional Giving at The New York Foundling, Ava has raised millions of dollars annually in support of programs that help children, adults, and families reach their full potential-including those that work with families involved in the child welfare system, help people with developmental disabilities to live their best lives, offer alternatives to incarceration for young people caught up in the justice system, support students on their path to academic achievement, and improve access to health care. As a leader, Ava strives to foster an environment where all employees are appreciated, heard, and equipped for success.
Ava discovered her passion for nonprofit management while pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Binghamton University, and learned to love the sound of her own voice from broadcasting on her college radio station, WHRW Binghamton. When she is not fundraising for The Foundling, Ava organizes events with the New York Horror Movie Meetup Group, and is a member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and The Workers Circle, where she is learning to speak “a bisl Yiddish.”
- Aqirah StanleyAlliance of Families for JusticeAqirah StanleyAlliance of Families for Justice
Aqirah Stanley has been an active member of Alliance of Families for Justice since January 2018. She started out as AFJ’s first Shirley Chisholm Fellow, and then became AFJ’s Project Manager before stepping into the role as Deputy Director. As a directly impacted person, Aqirah fully understands the trauma and challenges of incarceration on families and children and wholeheartedly supports the use of collective action as a driving force of change, healing, and empowerment. Aqirah has been a passionate visionary and an asset to AFJ since day one, and looks forward to continuing to create opportunities for AFJ to unite and empower directly-impacted families and friends, as well as allies and volunteers.
- Tierra LabradaSupportive Housing Network of NYTierra LabradaSupportive Housing Network of NY
With more than ten years in the nonprofit sector, Tierra has experience across industries from community development to programming and grant management to training and facilitation and lobbying and advocacy. A lifelong NY, Tierra grew up on Long Island and has lived and worked in almost every region of the state. Her work has focused mostly on development and operation of affordable and supportive housing, with a particular focus on the government’s role in ensuring equitable access to affordable housing for people who face barriers to obtaining housing on their own. Currently, Tierra serves as the Associate Director of Advocacy and Outreach at the Supportive Housing Network of NY, where she focuses on developing and implementing advocacy campaigns, resolving government contracting issues, and strengthening the nonprofit human services workforce. A skilled facilitator and public speaker, Tierra has extensive experience leading teams, developing workshops and trainings, and building relationships with a broad group of stakeholders, including elected officials, community stakeholders and directly impacted persons. As an engaged community member, Tierra also sits in several local boards and advisory groups, and was the inaugural chair of the City of Ithaca’s Community Life Commission.
Tierra is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where she resides with her daughter, Hayden, their mini-poodle, Artemis, and their cat, Luna.
- Jamie BurnsRoulette IntermediumJamie BurnsRoulette Intermedium
Jamie Burns leads Roulette Intermedium, a presenter of experimental music, dance, and intermedia performance founded in 1978. In this role she oversees staff, strategic planning, and the organization’s $1.9M operating budget. She also serves as a thought partner and advisor to the organization’s founding Artistic Director. Her prior professional experience includes managing Roulette’s venue sales and community partnerships program; overseeing membership and member programs at PEN America; Publishing Director at Common Ground Research Networks; and fundraising roles at The Boulevard of Chicago and the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute in Southern California. She holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and was a 2015-16 Emerging Leader of New York Arts Fellow. She is a current member of the Board of Directors for the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance and a founding member of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Eagles Leadership Council.
- Rana AboomarMuslim Community NetworkRana AboomarMuslim Community Network
Originally from Ohio, Rana earned her undergraduate degree at the Ohio State University. She later earned a Master’s of education in higher education from Temple University. She has a background in post-secondary education policy, non-profit development, and education research. She joined MCN in 2019 as a program coordinator and has grown within the organization into a managerial position. She is passionate about engaging her community in civic discourse and city government.
- Lillian Y. PadillaNew York State Executive ChamberLillian Y. PadillaNew York State Executive Chamber
Lillian joined State government in 2015 as an Executive Assistant, and managed multiple senior executive staff in the Executive Chamber. Shortly thereafter, she was recruited by the Nonprofit Unit as Special Assistant to work on research-based projects and traveled with the nonprofit team across NYS, visiting various nonprofit sites. Lillian stepped fully into her new role as Chief of Staff of the Nonprofit Unit in 2021. She manages research and resulting briefings. In addition, she is solely responsible for operational management, planning and staffing quarterly meetings of the Not-for-Profit Contracting Advisory Committee. Lillian has open and constant communication with relevant state agency heads and nonprofit leadership.
It was during the 2020 Covid shutdown where broad adjustments had to be made, and challenges were met head on. At times, Lillian played the role of liaison when contacted by New York constituents who were unsuccessful in seeking assistance with pandemic-related State services. During a time of great worry and confusion, she served many in whatever capacity was needed.
Lillian is working towards improving nonprofits’ ability to interact effectively with State government, and conversely making sure State executives are fully versed in the important role nonprofits play.
Lillian is a native New Yorker, born and raised by her single mother with four siblings in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. After obtaining her working papers, she worked part-time at The Boys Club of New York. Out of her hard work and determination, she became the first Latina female of color sponsored by the Boys Club education program to attend High School at The Purnell School in Pottersville, NJ. At Purnell, she was a successful student where she held leadership positions on school committees and sports clubs. Later, Lillian majored in Biology at the University of Hartford from 1983-1985. Throughout her daughter’s kindergarten – high school years, Lillian has held leadership positions on PTA boards and on the School Leadership Team committee. She also leads, manages and supervises three ministries at her church. Lillian is inspired by her faith, community volunteer work, her love for animals, and values her time spent with her young adult daughter and family.
Lillian’s vision is to grow her contribution between State and nonprofit leadership. The NYCT Fellows program will give her the opportunity to build on her management and leadership skills. Most importantly, the program offers Lillian the ability to braid together her skills and her own strong nonprofit network.
- Foustina GreenawayJCCAFoustina GreenawayJCCA
Foustina Greenaway was born on the Caribbean Island of St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands; when she was 12 years old, her family relocated to New York. Growing up in New York, presented a welcome change as well as new challenges. When she arrived in New York, she enjoyed the sights and sounds and the fact that there were so many activities available; however, the harshness of the winter season, was a huge change from the year-round sunny climate she was accustomed to as well as the assimilation into a new culture.
Growing up in New York, Ms. Greenaway quickly realized the disparities within her community which directly impacted her desire to be a change agent. She decided then, that it was important for her to strive to be the best she can be in her studies, so that one day she will be able to make a positive impact on her community. While in High School, Ms. Greenaway joined a peer mentoring program with the Montefiore Hospital where she worked as a peer mentor for hospitalized teenagers who had behavioral issues. This exposure fostered her interest in working in the human services field. Upon graduating from high school, she embarked upon a career in human services.
She received a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts at the City College of New York, and a Master of Science Degree in Guidance and Counseling from the College of New Rochelle. Ms. Greenaway decided to broaden the scope of her work in human resources and continued her education in a program that studied the effects of substance abuse and its impact on the community. She obtained her Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Certification (CASAC-T). She utilized her experience in substance abuse and alcoholism to provide individual and couples counseling at SCAN – NY for the United States District Court population.
Over the last twenty-four years, she has worked in various administrative roles addressing the needs of youth and families in the foster care system. The various roles have provided direct oversight of the SILP, Hard to Place, Group Homes, the RTC, and management of the mother-child program. These experiences were the catalyst for the development of a 501c3 Chinyere House Inc., a non-for-profit agency which she is the Founder and Executive Director. The focus of Chinyere House is to provide services for youth who have aged out of foster care. The goal of Chinyere House is to decrease recidivism and homelessness, provide our youth the opportunity to sustain gainful employment, stable housing, and upward mobility. Ms. Greenaway is currently the Assistant Director of Child Care Service for the Edenwald Residential Treatment Center (RTC) at JCCA which has a population of 110 youth. Edenwald RTC is the only residential program in New York City currently providing services to youth on the Spectrum. Ms. Greenaway provides facility oversight of the cottages and monitor records to maintain ACS/OCFS standards. She supervises four residential supervisors in four different cottages, two of which are specialized programs; one of the programs tailored to meet the needs of Autistic youth with a state-of-the-art sensory room and structured programming to address their needs. The other provides transitional services to youth aging out of foster care. Youth transitioning from care or stepping down into foster homes are tracked by staff in the community to provide additional support to the youth while acclimating to a new environment. Foustina Greenaway identifies as a Champion for at risk youth and her aim is to advocate for and to empower the underserved.
- Elizabeth StingleySouth Bronx Rising TogetherElizabeth StingleySouth Bronx Rising Together
Elizabeth Stingley is currently the Collective Impact Manager of Organization Partnerships at South Bronx Rising Together. As an education practitioner and previous high school teacher, Elizabeth completed an M.Ed. in Educational Studies examining the ways in which the classroom historically and presently contributes to systemic racism and heteropatriarchal structures. She is passionate about the intersection of equity, education, and community, and the ways in which relationships can be built and fostered to create systemic change.
- Sara NegronProject Renewal Inc.Sara NegronProject Renewal Inc.
My name is Sara Negron and have been working with Project Renewal Inc since 2016. While transitioning into my new role as the Senior Director of Programs, I am currently serving as the Program Director of New Providence Women’s Shelter, and prior to that, as the Director of Social Services. My career in non-profit homeless services, working with mental health and substance use populations, began 12 years ago. Over time, my focus has shifted to supporting staff in succeeding in their roles when they are onboarded or promoted to ultimately improve the quality of care and service we offer to our clients. I wish to help break the cycle of “throwing staff to the wolves” when they are starting a new role, avoiding having them learn only by experience, and instead providing them with the tools and resources they would need to get a running start.
- Tina GoodrichHELP USATina GoodrichHELP USA
Tina Goodrich has 25 years of experience in the fields of affordable housing administration and homeless service delivery. Most of her initial experience in the area of government subsidized housing and services came during her nine-year tenure at MBD Community Development Corporation in the Bronx. In 2006 Tina has made the transition and served in various capacities in NYC Department of Homeless Services shelters with VIP Community Services, Care for the Homeless in The Bronx.
In 2009 Tina joined HELP USA a non-profit organization a national leader in the fight against homeless as Director of Housing and Director of Social Services for the HELP Women’s Center (HWC) in Brooklyn. She also was the Executive Director of Homeless Prevention and Aftercare Special Project overseeing three HELP USA Programs simultaneously: New Beginnings Critical Time Intervention for young adults 18-24-year-old at risk for homelessness; Veterans Aftercare Critical Time Intervention for single veterans leaving shelter with the assistance of the New York City Department of Veterans Services (DVS), and NYC Housing Preservation and Development “HPD” Our Space for formerly homeless individuals and families focused on crafting positive outcomes for the most vulnerable households in NYC to maintain housing stability as they transition from homelessness to the community.
Tina currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Supportive Services for HELP USA’s permanent supportive housing program and services located in the Greater New York City area and Long Island supervising Program Director level staff in coordination of day-to-day activities associated with managing supportive housing programs including an afterschool/summer camp program. Tina serves as the liaison to all funding agencies and is responsible for meeting all program targets and ensuring quality service delivery at each location.
Tina has a BA from CUNY Brooklyn College and Master of Arts in Urban Affairs from CUNY Queens College. Mrs. Goodrich also serves as Board Vice-Chairperson at The Institute of Family Health, a Federal Qualified Health Care non-profit organization providing quality patient centered primary care to those in underserved communities.
- Vianey Romero-MéndezMixtecaVianey Romero-MéndezMixteca
Vianey Romero-Méndez, LMSW is a Mexican immigrant, raised in the Bronx, NY. She received her bachelor’s degree from CUNY City College of New York and her MSW from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Vianey’s experience includes working with children, youth, and adults, immigrant survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Through years of experience working with immigrant communities, Vianey became aware this target population requires services that are not only linguistically accessible to them; they must also incorporate culturally relevant practices. With an understanding of intergenerational trauma, Vianey strives to provide culturally appropriate services that educate and empower the Latinx immigrant community.
- Crystal CharlesSchuyler Center for Analysis and AdvocacyCrystal CharlesSchuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
Crystal Charles is a Policy Analyst. She conducts policy and data analysis, leads and participates in coalitions, and advocates on behalf of the Schuyler Center in the areas of child welfare, child poverty, home visiting, and other related issues. Prior to joining Schuyler Center, Crystal was a Public Administration & Policy PhD student, Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at the University at Albany. Her research focused on how collaboration between nonprofit organizations and government agencies, the internet, and social media can be employed as vehicles for social change, increased civic participation, and government transparency. Before coming to Albany, Crystal was a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Fortune Society. Crystal holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Justice from John Jay College.
- Makeda SmithUrban Bush WomenMakeda SmithUrban Bush Women
Makeda Smith received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Temple University in 2013. Born in Los Angeles, CA, she resided in Richmond, Virginia, where she began her dance training with the Center For the Arts at Henrico High School in 2005 and joined the Richmond City Dance Theatre from 2006 to 2009. In addition to her interest and years of experience in fashion retailing, merchandising, client relations, and management, Makeda is a self-taught Digital Media and Marketing Artist who strives to shine light on Black creatives who are the pioneers of international cultural influence. She joined Urban Bush Women as the Administrative Associate in 2018 and became the first Marketing Manager for the organization in 2020. Makeda is also the Director of Digital Media with Black Dance Stories, Digital Media Manager with TheREDprojectNYC, and the Operations Manager for NYC’s 2021 Best Group/Duo and Breakthrough Artists, The Dragon Sisters. She is blessed to continue her professional development and thrilled to be part of NYCT’s Leadership Fellows 2022 Spring Cohort with incredible leaders in the nonprofit sector.
- Diante WebbGrowNYCDiante WebbGrowNYC
Diante Webb is the Executive Assistant and Liaison to the Board of Directors at GrowNYC, the sustainability resource for all New Yorkers. At GrowNYC, Diante assists the organization’s c-level leadership, staff, and Board of Directors with daily operations, meetings, and secretarial tasks while also managing calendars, scheduling, and events. Diante began his career working for non-profits at the Fund for the City of New York in 2016 after graduating cum lade with a B.A in History from Marymount Manhattan College in May 2015. During his time at Marymount, Diante sharpened his leadership and organization skills which earned him several academic and leadership awards, an Alumni Association Award, and status as a Fulbright Alternate. Born and raised in Newark, NJ, Diante took an early interest in recycling and sustainability, even inspiring his family to recycle plastics and glass at home, and has continued to inspire others through his work at GrowNYC. Outside of work Diante enjoys yoga, cooking, travel, museums, and music, you can probably find him sitting in the park or at the beach relaxing, enjoying the sun, or somewhere in a museum.
- Carlos RosalesCitizens' Committee for Children of New YorkCarlos RosalesCitizens' Committee for Children of New York
Carlos (he/him/el) is a first-generation American a proud member of the LGBT+ and Latinx Community who believes that every person had the voice and right to shape their lives in an inclusive, just and equitable society. Carlos has almost a decade of experience in shaping community lead approaches and takes pride and taking a community first approach across all areas of work he is a part of. In his current role as Community Outreach & Engagement Associate at Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Carlos focuses on cultivating and strengthening relationships with CCC’s community-based partners, child and family service providers, elected community leaders, neighborhood alliances, faith-based organizations, and the children and families living in New York City.
Carlos brings a range of experiences over the last 10+ years including expertise in facilitation, partnership development, and centering community voice through participatory engagement. This includes bringing these skills to make a difference towards social justice issues including LGBT rights, mass incarceration, community change through collective impact, issues concerning the Latinx community, issues on child and family well-being, and racial equity in the workplace. In the past, he has worked with various organizations including The Center for Human Development and Family Services, Humanities Action Lab: States of Incarceration and NYC Parks GreenThumb, and South Bronx Rising Together.
Carlos holds a BA in Political Science & History from Ithaca College, and a Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management with a focus on Organizational Change from The New School. #RepresentingQueensNY
- Talitha-Koumi OluwafemiYWCA of Rochester and Monroe CountyTalitha-Koumi OluwafemiYWCA of Rochester and Monroe County
Talitha-Koumi Oluwafemi is a missioned-focused transformational leader, DEI professional, social justice advocate, community-centered coalition builder, fearless fundraising professional, and aspiring womanist theologian. Oluwafemi is a native of Rochester, New York who grew up in Chatham Gardens housing development in the city’s impoverished northeastern quadrant. Among her academic achievements, Oluwafemi has earned the following educational credentials: Master of Theology degree in Church and Society from Princeton Theological Seminary; Master of Divinity degree in Social Justice and Theology from Northeastern Seminary; and a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from The University at Albany, SUNY.
The name “Talitha-Koumi” in ancient Aramaic language means, “little lady, asise”, hence Oluwafemi’s extensive professional resume and personal narrative characterizes one who relentlessly rises to the occasion to embody, employs and exemplify a hunger and thirst for righteousness, restorative justice and “good trouble’. She is a BIPOC agent of change, fierce advocate for the marginalized, champion of women and antiracist accomplice for all who individuals who are experiencing homelessness, hunger and rendered “hopeless” by systemic racism and societal norms.
Oluwafemi recently returned to her home city of Rochester, New York to become a lead “Interrupter” of racism in the City of Rochester and Monroe County. She serves on the Board of Director at REACH Advocacy to use her professional experience, educational background and lived expertise of homelessness to advocate for housing as an essential human right.
Personally, her greatest achievement is serving as mother, “soul provider” and life guide to her thirteen year old daughter, who is the epitome of “black girl magic.” Professionally, she is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all at the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County where she has recently been appointed as the Director of Mission Advancement.
- Marterra WalkerThe Bronx DefendersMarterra WalkerThe Bronx Defenders
Marterra first joined The Bronx Defenders as a Team Administrator, ascending to the title of Director, Legal and Administrative in her nine year tenure with the organization. She has always had an unwavering commitment to social justice and the work of uplifting impoverished communities, which is what has led her to work at this incredible organization. Marterra’s extensive administrative background and commitment to furthering the Bronx Defender’s mission of providing high-quality indigent defense has always been her passion. She holds a degree in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Law and Due Process from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.