Spring Cohort 2023

  • Ashley Cheng
    Center for Employment Opportunities
    Ashley Cheng
    Center for Employment Opportunities

    Ashley is the Director, Culture & Engagement at Center for Employment Opportunities, leading the team that designs and drives a comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy across the talent lifecycle and broader organization and serving as a leader on the DEI Governance Group. Ashley joined CEO in the fall of 2018, bringing her prior talent support and management experiences in the education and non-profit sectors to the role. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from New York University and a Master of Education in Prevention Science and Practice from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She finds joy in food, movies, and karaoke!

  • Ashley Johnson
    America on Tech
    Ashley Johnson
    America on Tech

    Beginning her career in k-12 education, Ashley is a lifelong learner dedicated to understanding intersectional issues and the impact of power, privilege and oppression on Black and Brown communities through social justice and civic engagement initiatives. With over 10 years of experience across the public and private sectors, Ashley has a proven track record of gathering and translating data to tell stories and support organizations in the development of programs and standards that effectuate long-term change.

  • Arielle Burlett
    Public Health Solutions
    Arielle Burlett
    Public Health Solutions

    Arielle Burlett has spent her public health career connecting vulnerable community members to vital social and clinical resources in their communities. As the Director of Healthcare Community Partnerships at Public Health Solutions (PHS), Arielle builds and supports relationships between community-based organizations and healthcare partners to bridge the gaps in social and clinical service delivery. Since the start of pandemic, her work has focused on mitigating the health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19, including the disconnect between available resources and how communities access them. Arielle is dedicated to developing strong relationships with community partners and is very eager to continue the work needed to make services available and accessible to everyone in NYC.

    Prior to her current role, she served in a community engagement role in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. She holds a Master of Arts in Food Policy from Chatham University.

  • Cynthia Chong
    Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing
    Cynthia Chong
    Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing

    Cynthia Chong is the Special Projects Manager at Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Ms. Chong was born and raised in Queens and has personally witnessed the stigma around mental health, and the inequities in healthcare provision and access. She has vowed to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable populations who face inequities in healthcare. Due to her interest in health promotion and advocacy, Ms. Chong obtained a masters in public administration with a focus in health policy and management. In her current role, she manages HIGN’s community health education programming, which aims to increase individual older adults’ health literacy. The program also addresses community health promotion by providing accurate, evidence-based health information to be spread organically in the community. Her life experience and passion for change drives her desire to shift the collective mindset of the BIPOC community where there is a strong resistance to seeking medical attention, avoidance of preventive care, and stigma towards mental health care. It’s this personal knowledge that brings a genuineness to all that she does.

  • D. Eng
    One Brooklyn Health System
    D. Eng
    One Brooklyn Health System

    “D.” Eng (they/them) is a public health professional currently working as the Data Specialist in the Department of Strategic Planning and Grants Management at One Brooklyn Health- Interfaith Medical Center. They take large datasets and translate them into accessible and actionable information for grant applications, reporting deliverables and strategic plans across the OBH system. In particular, they are interested in understanding the social determinants of health and health disparities in underserved communities. Mx. Eng received a B.S. in Animal Science from Cornell University and a Master of Public Health degree in Global Health from Stony Brook University, focusing on communicable diseases in developing countries. In addition to their day job, they are a board member at Forefront Brooklyn and a speaker/advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly for the visibility and inclusion of asexual/aromantic and trans identities.

  • Danté Hudson
    YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester
    Danté Hudson
    YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester

    Danté Hudson is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in leadership, strategic planning, marketing and communications, and leadership development. Based in White Plains, New York, Danté is an accomplished professional with a proven track record of success in various organizations.

    Currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer at YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester, Danté plays a vital role in the organization’s overall development, strategic planning, service delivery, and management across multiple departments. In addition, he works closely with the Chief Executive Officer and executive team to create and support a high-performing culture to ensure the vision is aligned with the YWCA’s core values.

    Prior to his work with YWCA, Danté served as Regional Director of Membership Sales & Engagement at the YMCA of Greater New York, where he managed the performance of 22 branches to ensure new member acquisition annual budgeted targets were met. He also created sales plans for branches in support of association objectives. Additionally, Dante has served in various roles at Boys & Girls Clubs and local YMCAs.

    Danté is an active member of various foundations and advisory committees. He serves as the Committee Chair of the Non-Profit Westchester Emerging Leaders Program and was previously a Board Member at Open Door Foundation in Westchester. He also advises the My Brother’s Keeper Advisory Committee, White Plains Chapter. Danté has won several awards, including the Wunderkind’s Award from 914INC. Westchester Magazine, the “Rock Star” Award from United Way of Westchester & Putnam, and recognition from the City of White Plains Youth Bureau for “”Recognizing Success.”

  • Dennis Opoku
    Dennis Opoku

    Born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, Dennis is currently the Program Analyst Manager at JCCA. Prior to this role, Dennis served as the Community Organizer for the Mott Haven Community Partnership where he supported the outreach efforts of Community Ambassadors and executed various events and workshops for underserved families in Mott Haven, primarily immigrants and racial minorities.

    In his current role as a Program Analyst Manager, Dennis manages projects for the Foster Home Services program through their entire life cycle and analyses data to get a deeper understanding of program issues and offer recommendations. Dennis has a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Ghana, Legon.

  • Denise Acron
    Manhattan Legal Services
    Denise Acron
    Manhattan Legal Services

    Denise Acron is a Unit Director at Manhattan Legal Services where she leads the Government Benefits Unit. In this role, she supervises a team that litigates on behalf of low income clients in federal, state, and city courts concerning government benefits issues. Manhattan Legal Services, which is part of Legal Services NYC, the largest civil legal services provider in the country, fights poverty and seeks racial, social, and economic justice for low-income New Yorkers. Raised in San Diego, California, Denise graduated from Columbia University with honors and Wake Forest University School of Law.

  • Dorothy Auer
    God's Love We Deliver
    Dorothy Auer
    God's Love We Deliver

    Pastry Chef, Dorothy Auer, oversees the beloved Joan Rivers Bakery at God’s Love We Deliver, bringing 20+ years of baking, culinary and management experience to the team. Dorothy is an entrepreneur, having started a successful bakery, restaurant and retail store. Dorothy also has experience in large scale production having been the head baker at NYC nonprofit, Hot Bread Kitchen for many years.

    Dorothy’s approach to production is streamlined, with a product development focus on wholesome and healthful ingredients. While baking hundreds of thousands of desserts, she and her team are able to maintain a homemade quality that brings comfort to the people we serve. Dorothy is thrilled to be able to share her passion for being in the bakery and kitchen with the many God’s Love volunteers who work to make it all a success!

    Dorothy splits her time between the West Village and the Adirondacks, she runs half and full marathons in her free time, paddleboards in the Summer, and loves catching a Yankee game, checking out local bakeries or spending the day at the MET. She joined the God’s Love team in December of ‘21 and has been a huge addition to the team!

  • Fahmida Alam
    Fund for the City of New York
    Fahmida Alam
    Fund for the City of New York

    Fahmida Alam is a Senior Portfolio Manager at the Fund for the City of New York, under the Fund’s Partner Project Program, which provides fiscal sponsorship to over 80 nonprofit organizations. Prior to working at the Fund, Fahmida was an International Trade Associate at the Philadelphia U.S. Commercial Service and also worked with children in West Philadelphia as an after-school mentor. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. She also participated in the 2018 Coro Leadership NY Program, NYC’s premier civic leadership training organization for creating an equitable, just and engaged society.

  • Hoda ElMahdy
    Hoda ElMahdy

    Hoda is the Senior Director of Programs and member of the executive leadership team at Footsteps, an organization that supports and affirms individuals leaving insular religious communities in pursuit of self-determined lives. Hoda joined Footsteps in 2019 and in her role she supervises the economic empowerment, clinical services, legal support, community engagement departments ensuring alignment to strategy and mission, and optimal delivery of services. She also collaborates closely on organizational change projects to enhance internal systems, create policies to improve performance management, sustainability, and impact.

    Prior to that Hoda worked for a decade at Sawiris Foundation for Social Development in progressive roles and ended her tenure as the founder and acting manager for the education and scholarships department. With Sawiris, Hoda managed tens of national and global education, professional support, social, health and economic empowerment programs for marginalized individuals. She worked closely in partnership with grassroot orgs in developing countries, local governments, universities, institutes, and co-sponsors such as The World Bank, CARE, ILO, USAID and others.

    In 2018, Hoda was a Fulbright fellow with Penn State University’s College of Education. In 2016, Hoda graduated summa cum laude with a master’s degree in public policy from the American University in Cairo 2016.

    Hoda pursues her passions in helping nonprofit organizations create impact in their communities through her work as a capacity building consultant and volunteer, and she enjoys mentoring underprivileged youth to fulfill their educational dreams.

  • Gillian Alman
    Project Guardianship, Inc
    Gillian Alman
    Project Guardianship, Inc

    Gillian Alman is the Chief Program Officer at Project Guardianship, Inc. She is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York. She is a graduate of New York Law School (JD) and Rutgers University (BA).

    Gillian has substantial experience in the areas of Elder Law, Estate Planning, Guardianship, Immigration Law, Real Estate and Juvenile Rights. She has been involved with the Part 36 Fiduciary list for several years; and served as Counsel for Article 81 Guardians, Court Evaluator, Court Examiner and Attorney for the Alleged Incapacitated Person. Moreover, Gillian has extensive Courtroom experience and has litigated numerous civil cases.

    Gillian brings an array of experience from the public and private sectors. She previously worked for a community guardianship program in New York City. Additionally, Gillian worked for a medium size law firm representing institutional and private clients, alike, in the areas of Medicaid, Guardianship, and Estate Planning. Gillian previously worked at Touro Law Center. She is particularly proud of starting her legal career at the Legal Aid Society.

    Gillian is a member of the New York City Bar Mental Hygiene Law Committee, New York State Bar, and New Jersey Women’s Bar Association.

  • Kahlii Thompson
    Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation
    Kahlii Thompson
    Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation

    Kahlii Thompson is a true trailblazer in the industry! With a passion for service that’s unmatched, she’s always looking for ways to amplify her leadership and take her team to new heights. Whether she’s streamlining processes, motivating her team, or finding innovative solutions to complex challenges, there’s never a dull moment when she’s around. As the Service Coordinator Manager for Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization in Far Rockaway, Queens, Kahlii manages and provides access to vital supportive services in the Rockaways for NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) and low-income residents.

    Kahlii believes that people living in public housing, especially older adults and persons with disabilities, have unmet needs and require assistance to live fulfilling lives. Her mission is to serve and uplift her community by sharing knowledge and resources for the betterment of all.

    Kahlii believes that women and girls are key to building a healthy community, and she leads a weekly support group called Women of Empowerment to help women and girls in the Rockaway community support each other in personal and professional capacities. Kahlii also started an intergenerational reading program called Read to Succeed, which brings together older adults and young people through reading and storytelling.

    Kahlii’s commitment to her community in the Rockaways has been recognized through various honors, such as a Special Congressional Recognition from Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and a Certificate of Appreciation from the United Neighborhood Houses Older Adult Strengthening Communities Initiative.

    Kahlii Thompson, a mother, and grandmother, is a native of Queens, New York, and uses the pronouns she/her/hers. She studied Sociology at the City University of New York Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. In her free time, she enjoys reading non-fiction, watching political and true crime documentaries, and spending time with family and friends.

  • Lisa Mishraky-Javier
    Center of the Study of Social Policy
    Lisa Mishraky-Javier
    Center of the Study of Social Policy

    Lisa Mishraky-Javier, LMSW, is a Senior Associate working to advance the Center of the Study of Social Policy’s public system reform efforts, focusing on the use of data and research to inform policy, decision making and best practices. Ms. Mishraky-Javier has expertise in child welfare system reform, adolescent development, protective factors, leveraging data to advance equity, and authentic engagement of lived experience experts. She has managed national, cross-system and multidisciplinary learning and innovation networks focused on improving policy and practice and has experience providing high-quality technical assistance to multi-site initiatives. Ms. Mishraky-Javier leads CSSP’s national initiative on expectant and parenting youth in foster care and has helped child welfare systems develop mechanisms to meaningfully engage lived experience experts in policy and practice decision making. She is also part of a team responsible for monitoring and providing technical assistance to child welfare systems operating under federal consent decrees to improve practice for children and families. Ms. Mishraky-Javier co-developed the Youth Thrive Survey, a valid and reliable instrument used by public systems and community organizations to measure youth protective and promotive factors.

  • Nathaniel Coburn
    NY Sun Works
    Nathaniel Coburn
    NY Sun Works

    Nathaniel is a SHRM-CP certified human resources practitioner who is passionate about supporting the goals of the growing team at NY Sun Works. Joining NY Sun Works in 2014, Nathaniel has held positions in multiple departments and roles to meet the needs of the organization thoughout its growth, transitioning into the Human Resources field in 2020.

    A former line cook, baker, and chef, Nathaniel sought to merge his passions for food and social change at New York University’s Food Studies program, where his studies primarily focused on food justice and scalable local distribution systems. Upon completion of his graduate work at NYU, Nathaniel worked as a grant writer and contributing reporter for Heritage Radio Network, a nonprofit Brooklyn-based internet radio station covering food issues. Prior to his graduate studies, Nathaniel cooked in numerous restaurants, food trucks, bakeries, and supper clubs in South Carolina, New York, and San Francisco.

    Nathaniel is a passionate advocate for the well-being and rights of all workers to determine their own futures.

  • Noor Muhammad
    Arab-American Family Support Center
    Noor Muhammad
    Arab-American Family Support Center

    Noor Muhammad works as Training and Technical Assistance Manager at the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC), an organization championing underserved individuals, including immigrants, by delivering culturally responsive services and uplifting community voices for the last three decades.

    He has been working in the non-profit sector for almost 15 years, serving organizations like Doctors Without Border (MSF), British Council, Aga Khan Development Network and Rural Support Programs Network, among others, in Pakistan.

    After immigrating from Pakistan to the US in November of 2017, Noor started working as a Case Planner at AAFSC, a role in which he got the opportunity to observe and understand the lives of underserved communities grappling with poverty and domestic violence, as well as myriad legal, health and other social issues.

    He loves writing poetry in Wakhi, his mother tongue – an endangered language, and Urdu language. He is a member of the Language Access Advisory Committee (LACC), a voluntary body working under the NYC Civic Engagement Commission.

    Noor is the co-founder and honorary Chief Editor of Pamir Times, citizen-journalism initiative working in the northern mountain regions of Pakistan since 2007.

    Noor firmly believes in and actively advocates for the creation of a just society that is inclusive, equitable, and humane, ensuring dignity of life and liberty for all peoples.

  • Peter Michelen
    Hispanic Federation
    Peter Michelen
    Hispanic Federation

    Peter Michelen is the Workforce Development Program Manager at Hispanic Federation, where he is responsible for developing the strategy and programmatic activities of Hispanic Federation’s national workforce development programs. Peter’s career in the non-profit and corporate social responsibility sector is driven by a commitment to creating equitable solutions to society’s most pressing issues. Prior to joining Hispanic Federation, Peter spent four years in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where he led a vast corporate social responsibility initiative including recycling programs, building entrepreneurial ecosystems and healthy food access. Coming from an immigrant family, Peter is passionate about immigrant rights and establishing opportunities for immigrant families.

  • Rochelle Rodney
    NY Birth Control Access Project
    Rochelle Rodney
    NY Birth Control Access Project

    Rochelle is the Director of Advocacy at the NY Birth Control Access Project and has been with the organization since its inception. She is critical to our success and assists in the development of programming and key day-to-day operations. Rochelle tackles barriers to birth control with a holistic view and through the Reproductive Justice framework.

    Rochelle created our Associate Board from scratch and has spearheaded the entirety of programming and the recruitment of advocates. Driving the relational organizing programs at NYBCAP, Rochelle is building a corps of activists with the energy and know-how to grow the reproductive health care movement. Since 2021, our Associate Board has trained over 250 advocates and each year the ranks grow. Through social media initiatives like the “Tell Your Story” campaign, Rochelle has brought to light powerful stories of access issues facing people across New York State.

    Prior to joining NYBCAP, Rochelle interned at Protecting the East, a community health project based in East New York, and and was a Resident Assistant at Monroe Community College and Buffalo State University – in both roles she led workshops on the importance of safe sex and healthy relationships.

    Rochelle was born in Jamaica and grew up in East New York, Brooklyn. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Buffalo State University.

  • Rosa Cohen-Cruz
    The Bronx Defenders
    Rosa Cohen-Cruz
    The Bronx Defenders

    Rosa Cohen-Cruz is the Director of Immigration Policy for The Bronx Defenders, where she has worked in different capacities over the past 7 years. Rosa began her career as a prisoners’ rights attorney with Prisoners Legal Services of NY in Albany, where she started a universal representation project, providing free deportation defense to people who were facing deportation while serving their state sentences. After leaving PLS, Rosa became a Padilla attorney for The Bronx Defenders, helping non citizens navigate the criminal and family legal systems with the goal of minimizing the impact on immigration status. Rosa was a supervisor in this capacity as well before becoming immigration policy counsel and then immigration policy director. Rosa was born and raised in NYC and graduated cum laude from Brooklyn Law School in 2012.

  • Sonali Jhurani
    Nonprofit New York
    Sonali Jhurani
    Nonprofit New York

    Sonali Jhurani is the Development Director at Nonprofit New York, an organization committed to championing and strengthening nonprofits through capacity building and advocacy to cultivate a unified, just, and powerful sector. Prior to joining Nonprofit New York, Sonali served as the Director of Fund Development for WomenRising, a human services nonprofit and state-designated Domestic Violence Service Provider for Hudson County, and Membership Director for the New York City Hospitality Alliance, a progressive trade association that advocates on behalf of the NYC hospitality industry. She is a dedicated fundraiser that is deeply committed to advancing nonprofit sustainability. Sonali holds a B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from California State University, Fullerton.

  • Stephanie Trejo
    Queens Museum
    Stephanie Trejo
    Queens Museum

    Stephanie Trejo has orchestrated major fundraising events for three different organizations, most recently at the Queens Museum. As the Queens Museum’s Individual Giving and Special Events Manager she has developed new partnerships with local businesses and leaders, helped establish a patrons giving circle and dinner club, and relaunched their membership program.

    A veteran of nonprofit leadership, Stephanie has worked in financial management, internship development, event production, and board management. She holds a BA in Art History from Dartmouth College and MA in Arts Adminstration from NYU.

  • Tamara Morgan
    Tamara Morgan

    Tamara Morgan is an artist, past art therapist, previous co-host of online television show. She currently works to encourage communities to embrace diversity and adaptations at the Adaptive Design Association for individual and community betterment.

    As a therapist, she worked for several years in the inner city supporting children, adolescent and their families to find healing through the creative arts. Encouraging them to embrace tools of strength and resilience they have within.

    Through her art she explores the power of diverse bodies, love, connections, achievement. As a previous co-host of Disabilities Redefined she unshaped the constructs of ableism. You can learn more about Tamara in publications in the New York Times, Ask a New Yorker.com, Disabilities Redefined, Yoocan’s Friday’s with Tamara.

  • Terrell Hall
    Transformative in-Prison Workgroup
    Terrell Hall
    Transformative in-Prison Workgroup

    Terrell Hall is the Director of the TPW-NY (Transformative in-Prison Workgroup), where he oversees The TPW-NY’s advocacy efforts to primarily support meaningful programming for incarcerated individuals in New York jails and prisons. TPW-NY is focusing on building a statewide collective voice for high quality in-prison programs and through partnership, building an effective reentry community in New York.
    Terrell’s leadership skills began as a youth playing sports, however, it was during his 3 years military service that he truly began to develop as a leader. However, unable to successfully navigate childhood trauma, and overall bad decisions, Terrell found himself incarcerated facing a slew of charges from NY & GA state and federal agencies. He was eventually sentenced and served 16 1⁄2 years of incarceration.
    During the early years of incarceration he struggled, which would lead to him serving more than ⅓ of his sentence in solitary confinement. Terrell would eventually change his perspective, which was motivated by the deep desire to change. He soon found that the prison environment was not conducive to change, however, he found community in the multitude of programs that he participated in, including designing and implementing new programs, as well as upgrading existing programs to better assist individuals who’d served long terms of incarceration reintegrate successfully. Terrell received a multitude of New York state certifications and awards, including substance abuse counselor.
    Following his release Terrell hit the ground running with a strong support system, he studied Community Health at his alma mater Hostos as a full-time student, while working as Outreach Manager for Fair Shake, a national reentry resource center. Following his time with Fair Shake, Terrell focused on building Reentry Essentials, to educate and inform individuals, families and communities impacted by incarceration. In 2017 he began working for Defy Ventures, an inside out entrepreneurship program, where he held numerous positions over the course of 5 years. He is a 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.
    “I am an action oriented visionary. I understand firsthand the importance of in-prison programs, and can personally attest to the impact that they have on individuals and facilities alike. During my 16 ½ years inside I was fortunate enough to create, facilitate and participate in programs that assisted me in my journey of change. It is truly a privilege to be in a position to create those same opportunities for others.

  • Vindhyaa Pasupuleti
    Vindhyaa Pasupuleti

    Vindhyaa Pasupuleti (she/her) is a multi-passionate non-profit professional and future leader. She comes from a proud and chaotic family of South Asian immigrants. As a first-generation college student in the US, she graduated with a Dual Bachelors Degree in Health Equity and Neuroscience at Rhodes College where she examined interdisciplinary fields of sociology, political science, psychology, and cultural neuroscience. In her senior thesis projects, she researched multilingualism in the brain and explored the question: what motivates womxn of color in their justice-oriented work?

    She’s worked in diverse non-profit and tutoring experiences from student-run free clinics to international community-based organizations. She is thrilled to continue driving educational equity and collective liberation efforts at ImmSchools through her role as Development Specialist.

    In her spare time, she enjoys trying new sports, traveling, and journaling/writing. She has recently moved to New York City, and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

  • Yeneika Puran - O'Connor
    Queens Public Library
    Yeneika Puran - O'Connor
    Queens Public Library

    Yeneika Puran – O’Connor was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She immigrated to New York in 1996. Growing up, she developed a strong interest in helping others, which led her to pursue a degree in Urban Studies from Long Island University. Pursuing a degree in urban studies allowed her to gain insight and examine a wide range of social problems found in urban communities. After years of working in community organizing, she embarked on a career in adult education, where she is currently working as the Assistant Director of Career & Academics Pathways for Queens Public Library.

    In her role, she spearheads a program that provides contextualized learning and training to individuals experiencing barriers to learning, underemployment, and unemployment. She is proud of the positive impact that she has made and enjoys connecting individuals and families with opportunities to create economic sustainability.

    Outside of work, Yeneika enjoys volunteering and serves on the Board of the Erasmus Neighborhood Federation. She believes in giving back to the community and making a difference in people’s lives. She is a self-proclaimed life-long learner who is always seeking new challenges and opportunities to grow and learn. Yeneika also has a Master of Social Work Degree from Lehman College.