Halima Adams, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Immigration and Refugee Programs, Church World Service (CWS)
Halima Z. Adams (she/her) is the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for Immigration and Refugee Programs at Church World Services (CWS), where she leads all monitoring, evaluation, and learning strategies and activities for U.S. newcomer resettlement and integration programs. She headed the strategic development and implementation of CWS’ domestic and global gender equality framework and mainstreaming policy, co-wrote CWS’ racial justice platform, and coheads systematic injustice and racism learnings within the organization and immigration justice community. Halima possesses over 19 years of multi-sector experience and progressive leadership within art and culture criticism, cultural exchange and public diplomacy, human rights, gender, migration and racial justice, focused on program management, strategy and planning, research, and cross-cultural communications and literacy. She researches and writes about the race and immigration in the U.S. She holds a MA in Forced Migration Studies from the University of East London and a BS in Public Relations and Political Science from Florida A&M University.
Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, Senior Managing Educator, Audience Development and Engagement, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Suhaly Bautista-Carolina (she/her) is an herbalist, artist, educator, and community organizer whose work is rooted in the collective wisdom and power of community. Born in New York City [on Lenape Land] to AfroDominican parents, Suhaly’s work, which lives intentionally at the intersection of justice, equity, and the arts, has been executed throughout her roles at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, Creative Time, and Brooklyn Museum and in various capacities with organizations including The Laundromat Project, ArtBuilt, and Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Her work has been published in New York Times Magazine, Oprah Magazine, La Galeria Magazine, Remezcla, United Nations’ International Museum of Women, Caribbean Vistas Journal, among others. She is a 2016 alumna of CCCADI’s Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship and a graduate of Columbia’s Summer Teachers and Scholars Institute, “The Many Worlds of Black New York.” In 2017, Suhaly curated Black Artstory Month, a project of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, bringing exhibitions, murals, performances, film screenings, and more to Brooklyn’s Fort Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods. She also curated the exhibition, “Lakay” at the Haitian-centric community organization, Diaspora Community Services in partnership with Art Connects New York (ACNY). Suhaly has shared been a panelist at conferences and festivals across the country including, ArtChangeUS, ArtPrize7, Open Engagement, POWarts (the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts), Region(es), and the NYC Spiritual Herbalism Conference. Suhaly is a Weeksville Heritage Center Ambassador and serves on the Advisory Boards to Black Girl Project and +More Art. She is a founding member of the collective, present futures, a member of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, and Creative Director of Black Magic Afrofuturism Book Club. She earned her B.A. and MPA from NYU, where she was named one of “NYU’s 15 Most Influential Students.” In 2019, Suhaly joined The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Education department as Senior Managing Educator of Audience Development and Engagement. She is living in Brooklyn with her family and developing her herbalism brand, Moon Mother Apothecary.
Maria Begg-Roberson, Education Administrator & Councilwoman, NYCDOE & The Borough of Rutherford
Maria Begg-Roberson (she/her) is a Councilwoman in Rutherford, New Jersey. She was born in Nigeria and attended boarding school in England. Maria became an American citizen at the age of 19. She was an early childhood teacher for many years and is now an administrator supporting the mayoral vision of ensuring that every child in New York City has access to free, high quality early childhood education. Maria has been married to her husband, Matt, for 18 years and they have two children, Miya and Miller. As a councilwoman, Maria’s focus is on advancing civil rights and ensuring that individuals rights are respected and considered despite their race, sexual orientation, religious belief, and immigration status and more. She is thrilled for the opportunity to learn from inspiring leaders.
Chanelle Church, Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships, Every Mother Counts
Chanelle Church (she/her) is the Sr. Director, Corporate Partnerships at Every Mother Counts, an organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. She is responsible for helping to develop and lead the execution of strategies to effectively manage the Foundation’s corporate partnerships and secure new relationships. Prior to EMC, Chanelle led partnerships at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, growing the Foundation’s fundraising by driving corporate engagement with world-class brands. As a dedicated social impact leader, Chanelle is passionate about applying innovative partnership solutions to help tackle some of the world’s most complex issues. In addition to her roles at EMC and BCRF, Chanelle also managed partnerships at (RED), helping to fight global AIDS. Chanelle holds a B.A. in Political Science from Stony Brook University. She is a native New Yorker and resides in Fort Greene, Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
Alison Cuzzolino (she/her) is the Director of Finance at MoMA PS1, an institution devoted to today’s most experimental, thought-provoking, and socially-driven contemporary art. In this role she is responsible for the financial health and stability of the institution, and was integral in guiding it through the COVID-19 closure period. Prior to MoMA PS1, Alison held a similar role at Lehmann Maupin and worked closely with the gallery’s diverse roster of artists. Alison started her career at Goldman Sachs, where she held financial management roles for nearly ten years, and most recently as a Vice President in Management & Strategy in the firm’s London office. She graduated cum laude from Villanova University with a BS in Finance and International Business, and completed the Arts Business certificate program at New York University. Alison has recently joined the Board of The Laundromat Project, and is the Board President of the condo building where she resides in Brooklyn with her husband.
Dr. Camille DeClementi (she/her) oversees the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) in New York City. AAH provides life-saving care and relieves suffering for animal victims of cruelty and neglect who come to us through our internal partners: ASPCA Adoption Center, Kitten Nursery, Community Medicine and Community Engagement teams; and through our external partners: NYPD and other NYC organizations. Additionally, AAH provides subsidized care exclusively for animals whose owners are experiencing financial challenges and could not otherwise afford medical care for their pet. Dr. DeClementi also is a media spokesperson for the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) on poisoning topics. She received her BS in Biology from Lebanon Valley College of Pennsylvania, and her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She practiced emergency and general medicine in Pittsburgh and Tennessee before joining the APCC in 1999. Dr. DeClementi became a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology in 2006 and the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology in 2007 and is a Certified Veterinary Journalist. She has spoken on various clinical veterinary toxicology issues and has authored several peer-viewed articles and book chapters. Dr. DeClementi is a past co-owner of the Animal Emergency Clinic in Champaign, IL.
Alessia Falsarone (she/her) is a Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Investing in the fixed income team at PineBridge Investments, a global asset manager with headquarters in New York. As a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program and mentor in the Stanford IGNITE accelerator, her work bridges the gap between traditional finance, sustainability and innovation. Alessia also serves as an advisor to the London Stock Exchange Green Segment with focus on propelling capital markets’ participation in climate and environmental solutions. She is a contributing author to several publications including the “PAYTECH Book” by Wiley where she leverages payment technologies for the redesign of carbon markets. In recognition of her innovative vision for business and society, Alessia received the 2019 Honoree Award from the Women’s Venture Fund. She is an alumna of Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Arielle Gross Samuels, Head of Global Business Strategy and Engagement, Facebook
Arielle Gross Samuels (she/her) is the Head of Global Business Strategy and Engagement at Facebook. She leads a global team building initiatives around social good and business equality, serving 200M+ businesses around the world. At Facebook since 2013, she has held various roles at the company, including Business Lead for Global Business Marketing and Creative, running the business and serving as strategic advisor to the VP of Global Business Marketing and Chief Creative Officer. Prior to Facebook, Samuels did Engineering and Construction Consulting at Deloitte. Accolades include being named a Forbes 30 Under 30, United Nations Women Representative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeeper, Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media Board Member, Adweek Executive Mentor, Facebook Women New York Lead, and Founding Member of Chief. Samuels holds a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lives in New York City with her husband.
Lauren Hare, Associate Director, External Communications, EY
Lauren Hare (she/her) is an Associate Director of External Communications at EY, where she leads national PR for the Government & Public Sector and Health Sciences and Wellness practices, as well as for the US-East business unit. In addition, Lauren supports special projects which help advance EY’s commitment to anti-racism and diversity, equity & inclusion. Previously, Lauren led PR at GLG, where she oversaw media relations, executive visibility and social impact communications. Before that role, Lauren worked for four years at Edelman, leading integrated account teams and counseling a range of corporate and nonprofit clients across the Corporate Affairs and CSR practices. She spent the first 10 years of her career in the nonprofit sector in progressively responsible fundraising, marketing and communications roles. Lauren has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Smith College, a M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University, and is an alumna of Americorps and Coro Leadership New York.
Jennifer Heettner, Monitoring, Reporting, and Compliance Manager (Temporary), National Democractic Institute
Jenn Heettner (she/her) is focused on improving how evaluation and program information strengthen organizations’ evidence-based practice, program planning, learning, and communication. She cares deeply about creating effective organizations that elevate the voices of the most marginalized. Her background is in international development, non-profit management, and public policy. She has two decades of nonprofit management experience. Today, Jenn is helping support design, monitoring, evaluation, and learning for democracy and governance programs in international development at the National Democratic Institute. From 2011-2020, Jenn was the Director of Global Program Information and Evaluation at JDC, a global Jewish humanitarian aid organization. She worked in Budapest, Hungary for the Open Society Foundations, focusing on disability rights and prior to this she held posts at the National Democratic Institute, National MS Society, The Center for Domestic Violence Prevention in Kampala, Uganda, and YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities. She holds a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown’s McCourt school and BA from SUNY New Paltz in Political Science. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn and loves all things food, travel, and photography.
Joy Huang, Owner & Executive Producer, Tenth Street Productions
Joy Huang (she/her) is the Owner and Executive Producer of Tenth Street Productions. She has extensive experience working in television, film, theater, and live events. She produced the theatrical New York premiere of “The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur; the critically-acclaimed VH1 special “Behind the Music – Exploring Chicago with the Cast of ‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’”; MTV’s Emmy Award-winning series “True Life” and “Diary,” and “President Obama’s Race to the Top 2011,” for which she received a 2012 Daytime Emmy nomination; and Viceland’s documentary “Third Industrial Revolution,” which had its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Joy empowers young women through mentoring, consulting, and scholarship support at her high school alma mater The Mary Louis Academy, is a proud member of Project ALS’ Executive Action Committee, and co-founded Secret Sandy, an organization that donated holiday gifts and supplies to families whose homes were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.
Nikki Jones, Head of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Konica Minolta
Nikki Jones (she/her) is the Head of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Konica Minolta, a pioneering technology company. Nikki evangelizes the power of diversity and inclusion to drive change and innovation at work. Guided by a deep desire to level the playing field, Nikki is a frequent speaker on topics related to education, technology, the future of work, inclusion, and belonging. An HBCU advocate, Nikki is a second-generation graduate of Tuskegee University, where she earned a BS in Marketing. Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkiayana or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikkiayana
Naureen Kabir, Senior Policy Advisor, Everytown for Gun Safety
Naureen Kabir (she/her) serves as a Senior Policy Advisor with Everytown for Gun Safety, specializing in armed extremism, city gun violence, and public safety initiatives. Naureen joined Everytown in March 2020, after spending a decade with the New York City Police Department’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureaus, most recently as the Deputy Director for Counterterrorism Intelligence Analysis. At the NYPD, Naureen directed strategic and operational intelligence analysis and lead multiple teams focused on assessing potential threats to New York City. Previously, she served in the roles of Intelligence Research Manager for the Counterterrorism Bureau’s Terrorism Threat Analysis Group, Senior Intelligence Analyst, and Briefer for the Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism. Prior to joining the NYPD, Naureen worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she was the Assistant Director of the National Program and developed foreign policy programs in 14 cities across the country. She holds a masters degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, and a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Bryn Mawr College. Naureen is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Tatyana Kleyman (she/her) is an attorney at Jane Street, a quantitative trading firm. Previously, Tatyana was Vice President and Counsel in the Global Markets division of BNP Paribas, where she provided legal advice to the bank’s prime finance platform and was also on the Microfinance Business Networking Group executive committee and the Legal Department’s inaugural Pro Bono Committee. She started her legal career in the finance group of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Tatyana is on the board of Impact Capital Forum, an organization whose mission is to advance the impact investing and social enterprise sectors by providing a platform for innovation, collaboration and thought leadership. Previously, Tatyana has served as a business mentor through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, a board member of Global Youth Connect, and a fellow at the Community Development Project of the Legal Aid Society. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and a Certificate in Global Affairs from NYU.
Lexie Komisar, Director, Global Head of Startup Ecosystems & Partner Platforms, IBM
Lexie Komisar (she/her) serves as the Global Head of Startup Ecosystems & Partner Platforms at IBM. In this capacity, she leads IBM’s global startup business and brings emerging technologies to startups and scale-ups across industries like healthcare, financial services and education. She previously served on the founding team at IBM’s first Digital Innovation Lab, which incubated new digital businesses integrating Artificial Intelligence. She has been recognized as Forbes 30 Under 30 in Tech, Crain’s Business 40 Under 40, Crain’s Notable Women in Tech and LinkedIn’s Next Wave as a Top Professional Under 35 in Technology. Prior to joining IBM, Lexie served as an associate director at the Clinton Foundation, where she created the Foundation’s first program focused on leveraging technology and innovation for social impact and prior to that worked for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. She graduated with honors from Northwestern University and served as a Public Policy Fulbright Fellow with the U.S. State Department.
Jamillah Lamb’s (she/her) nearly twenty-year career in banking has been marked by her unique pioneering vision and extreme attention to detail that have allowed her to improve lives through the provision of affordable housing. During her career Jamillah has distinguished herself and closed dozens of complex and multi layered multi-million-dollar debt and equity investments helping build thousands of units. Jamillah’s insight, drive and unyielding capacity to bring projects to life has seen her simultaneously be both an entrepreneur and intrapreneur. As an entrepreneur she created and helmed one of New York’s most successful off-Broadway theater endeavors. While as an intrapreneur, she was at the forefront of anticipating a need and bravely took the lead pioneering a new way to use bank resources to provide much needed services to individuals and families. As the COVID-19 crisis laid bare the societal consequences of the Digital Divide, with low-income students being unable to connect for remote learning, Capital One was in a unique position to address this problem, because of the pioneering work Jamillah had begun when she created the Capital One Digital Access (CODA) program, where she led a cross-functional team of associates from across Capital One. Jamillah had previously realized the dangers not being digitally connected posed for low-income families. Rather than stand idly by, Jamillah took action and created CODA. At the time the Coronavirus had yet to appear, but when it did, cities across the country were scrambling to address the lack of digital access. Prior to the start of CODA, it was identified that nearly 40% of residents lacked internet access in similar communities. Thanks to Jamillah’s efforts, residents in 11 pilot communities have free digital access for a set period of time to help them get started as well as free Chromebooks or tablets. Children are able to attend their virtual lessons, parents are able to work remotely and senior citizens can still maintain contact with healthcare providers while still staying safely in their homes. When Jamillah received her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Wesleyan University and Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard University John F Kennedy School of Government her intention was to use her skills to help improve the lives of low-income citizens. Her entire career has been committed to that desire. Prior to joining Capital One, Jamillah was an originator and underwriter in Citibank’s Community Development Finance group and prior to that she also served as a Loan Officer for two non-profit community development financial institutions in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Her mission to improve lives continues.
Chong-Lim Lee (she/her) is Director, Programs at Synergos, a global organization building trust and collective action to solve complex issues around the world. She has helped establish and grow in-country programs, working extensively with teams across Synergos’ geographies and functional teams, as well as external partners. Synergos’ programs align actors in government, business and civil society to achieve goals on priority topics, including maternal and child health, nutrition, agricultural transformation, education and social entrepreneurship. They operate in geographies including Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Namibia, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and the Arab World. Chong-Lim has utilized collaborative approaches throughout her career, which have included leading an international program enabling access to current academic and professional materials and consulting for a private water and sanitation provider’s community development program. She received a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and M.Sc. in International Affairs from New School University.
Eliberty Lopez (she/her) is Counsel at Bloomberg, where she focuses on global data privacy matters. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Eliberty was an associate at Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila. Before that, she served as a judicial law clerk to a federal judge. She is a member of several organizations, including the Hispanic National Bar Association and International Association of Privacy Professionals. Eliberty is also on the Leadership Council of the Basser Center for BRCA and is on the creative advisory board of Brilliantly, where she focuses on breast cancer advocacy. In her spare time, Eliberty enjoys spending time with her kids and husband, exercising, and writing. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and Rutgers Law School.
Ijeoma Genevieve Mbamalu, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Homelessness Technology, City of New York, Department of Social Services
Ijeoma Genevieve Mbamalu (she/her) is the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Technology for the Department of Homeless Services, a subsidiary of The Department of Social Services in the City of New York. Ms. Mbamalu is a capable, proven, and charismatic Technology Leader with 10 + years as a Data Science professional. She is currently a C level leader, commanding a variety of data, analytics, and technology development for a mission critical agency in NYC. An American citizen of African heritage, Ms. Mbamalu has worked her way up from an entry level data scientist to a design and analytics technology executive at the helm of a multi-million dollar office, with hundreds of technologists for a multi-billion dollar agency in a world renowned urban hub. A “hidden figure” in one of the most consequential sectors of today, Ms. Mbamalu is an example of women’s achievement in what is still a male dominated field.
Brenda McKinney, Legislative Counsel, NYC City Council
Brenda McKinney (she/her) is a government lawyer in New York City. She holds a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) from Boston College, a Juris Doctor (JD) from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she was one of seven Civitas Childlaw Fellows, and a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Otago in New Zealand. Brenda is an alumna of the Fulbright program, AmeriCorps JD Program, and she has professionally served at the White House, United Nations, U.S. Department of State, as an Obama Administration presidential appointee and as President of the 501(c)(3) JET Alumni Association of New York (JETAANY). Brenda enjoys spending her free time with her family, spending as much time outdoors as possible, running long distances slowly, exploring museums and traveling (now in over 70 countries).
Naakoshie Nartey, Director, Engagement and Operations, Wirecutter, Inc., a New York Times company
Naakoshie (Koshie) Nartey (she/her) is the Director of Engagement and Operations at Wirecutter, a product review and recommendation site owned by The New York Times Company. In this role, Koshie leads engagement and culture, business operations, and internal communications programs. Prior to joining Wirecutter, Koshie served as Director of Enterprise Planning and Chief of Staff to the CEO of The New York Times, where she managed corporate goal setting and cross-functional strategic planning processes, major cross-company projects and initiatives and worked to improve organizational effectiveness. In addition to work, Koshie serves as a co-chair for the New York-Tri State chapter of Duke Black Alumni and is a volunteer with Citymeals on Wheels. A Level Fall 2020 Founding Member and recently-named 2020 Working Mother of the Year by Working Mother magazine, Koshie holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University. She lives in Harlem with her son, Afedi.
Veronica Olazabal, Senior Adviser & Director, Measurement, Evaluation and Organizational Performance, The Rockefeller Foundation
Veronica Olazabal (she/her) is an award-winning measurement and evaluation executive with a portfolio ranging 20 years, four continents and numerous global agencies including the MasterCard and Rockefeller Foundations. With a Bachelors in Communications and a Masters in Policy and Planning, Veronica serves on a number of advisory boards and councils, including most recently with the World Benchmarking Alliance, the American Evaluation Association (AEA), International Food and Agricultural Development Fund (IFAD), and the Global Impact Investors Network (GIIN). She has published on impact measurement and evaluation in journals including the American Journal of Evaluation as well as Stanford Social Innovation Review and recently completed a chapter for the Global Impact Investor’s Handbook, a Wiley publication.
Neha Raval, Senior Program Officer, Global Health Justice & Governance Program, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Neha Raval (she/her) is currently a Senior Program Officer for the Program on Global Health Justice and Governance at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she leads programs and research to advance gender justice. Neha has worked in international development and social justice for over twelve years, with a focus on health equity, education, and human rights for women and girls. She has conducted program design, evaluation, and capacity building with organizations in West and Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining Columbia University, she held positions at Global Fund for Children, Frontline Solutions, The New York Women’s Foundation, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova. She serves on the Programs Subcommittee of the Women First International Fund and is a volunteer mentor with her alma mater, American University. Neha holds a Master of Arts degree from American University’s School of International Service.
Carrie Roble, Vice President of Estuary & Education, Hudson River Park's River Project
Carrie Roble (she/her) is an aquatic ecologist, science communicator, STEM mentor, and life-long water adventurer. She dedicates her work to the health of urban waterways and to empowering local communities to be environmental stewards through participatory science. Carrie has a M.S. in aquatic science and environmental justice from University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability and is a proud Bowdoin College polar bear.
Tiffany Reaves, Senior Director, Social Impact and Fan Engagement - New York Knicks Madison Square Garden Sports Corp.
Tiffany Reaves (she/her) is the current Senior Director of Social Impact and Fan Engagement for the New York Knicks. In this role she sets the strategy and leads the department responsible for all community activation, youth basketball programming, and fan engagement platforms for the brand. Tiffany received her bachelor’s degree from George Mason University and a master’s in sports management from Columbia University. Her previous roles have included marketing strategy and corporate partnership management for the Madison Square Garden Company and global marketing at Haddad Brands, a children’s licensing company. A native Virginian, Tiffany has lived in New York for the past 12 years and enjoys travelling, writing, and staying active through biking and running. She serves on the associate board of youth entrepreneurship organization, BUILD NYC, and is a board member of Manhattan Community Board 10 in central Harlem, where she currently resides with her husband, Duncan, and baby girl, Rory.
Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President, Social Impact Strategy, Comedy Central and MTV
Erika Soto Lamb (she/her) drives cultural and political change via powerful and persuasive campaigns. Erika was the founding head of social impact strategy at Comedy Central and now leads civic engagement campaigns for ViacomCBS brands focused on youth and entertainment including Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Logo and CMT. She is a co-founder of Power the Polls, the first national campaign to recruit a new generation of poll workers and a steering committee member for the inaugural Vote Early Day. Erika was previously the founding chief communications officer at Everytown for Gun Safety, where she helped build the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization that includes Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and her (pro-bono) side hustle is helping elect women and people of color to office. She is a native of border town El Paso, Texas and resides in New York City with her family, including two young sons.
Jennifer Steinberg, Director, Real Estate Development, West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing Inc.
Jennifer Steinberg (she/her) is the Director of Real Estate Development at the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH). In this role, Jennifer is responsible for approximately 1,000 units of affordable and supportive housing with a total development cost over $500 million. She oversees the conception, construction, rehabilitation, and recapitalization of housing projects. She negotiates and deploys complex capital structures incorporating federal and state tax credits, commercial loans, and government bonds, loans and grants. She holds a BA in Political Science from Williams College and a Masters in Urban Planning from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Emerita Torres, Vice President, Policy, Research and Advocacy, Community Service Society
Emerita Torres (she/her) is the Vice President of Policy, Research and Advocacy at the Community Service Society of New York, where she oversees coalition-building, policy initiatives, and advocacy efforts across CSS’ housing, labor, and broader economic justice work to improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers. Previously, Emerita was the Director of Policy Research and Programs at The Soufan Center, a non-partisan strategy center dedicated to making sense of global security issues around the world, from countering white supremacy to understanding the weaponization of information. Previously, Emerita spent over a decade at the State Department, where she served in Brasilia, Islamabad, Bogota, the UN Office of Political Affairs in Washington, and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. In these roles, Emerita worked on advancing Colombia’s peace process, advocating for international workers rights, and promoting prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration efforts for violent extremist offenders at the United Nations, in addition to other issues. She has provided expert testimony in Congress and has contributed to Politico, SiriusXM Radio’s Press Pool with Julia Manson, PRI Global, and Univision. She holds an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. from New York University. Emerita is a Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations, an Aspen Security Fellow, U.S.-Spain Young Leaders Program. Emerita gives her time to several community causes in the Bronx, New York, where she is from and serves as State Committeewoman for her district.
Lilia Toson, Supervising Attorney, The Legal Aid Society
Lilia Toson (she/her) is a passionate advocate for legal and social justice. She currently serves as a Supervising Attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit of the Legal Aid Society, the nation’s oldest and largest not-for-profit legal services organization. In this role, Lilia represents the interests of low-income people in governmental advocacy and impact litigation, including on matters of national importance. Previously, Lilia litigated similar cases implicating civil and constitutional rights as an Assistant Attorney General for New York State. She has also served as a Senior Counsel in the Affirmative Litigation Division of the NYC Law Department, an associate at Cleary Gottlieb, and a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Lilia is a recipient of the National Bar Association’s “40 Under 40” Award. She earned a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she was an AnBryce Scholar, and a B.A. from William Jewell College.