The human services workforce is 81% women. In March, we honor some of the women providing critical services across New York. We must invest in women like these to ensure nonprofits can recruit and retain quality staff, and so our communities value our leaders!
Click on the honorees below to learn more about them! View last year’s honorees here.
New York State Youth Leadership Council
Who Is Guadalupe: Guadalupe Ambrosio is the Co-Executive Director at the New York State Youth Leadership Council - the first undocumented youth led organization in New York. She is a community organizer and educator, born in Mexico City and raised in the Bronx. She is a leading Immigrant Rights Organizer and Fat Positive activist. She thinks of her new leadership role as an opportunity to represent the intersectionalities of all of her identities that defy beauty and conventional standards of success. Guadalupe is inspired to uplift and support non citizen self identified women. Today, Guadalupe is currently pursuing a degree in Early Bilingual Childhood Education.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Guadalupe has been involved in the NYSYLC for close to a decade. She has fought for the NYS Dream Act since day one, as the bill was written and introduced by youth from the NYSYLC. She has guided young immigrants into walking into their power and create change in their community. She has organized her community into action."
Barrier Free Living
Who Is Cynthia: Cynthia Amodeo is Barrier Free Living's Chief Program Officer where she oversees all programming in the agency including Freedom House, Secret Garden, and Barrier Free Living Apartments. She is a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in the intersection of domestic violence and disabilities. Ms. Amodeo regularly presents at Domestic Violence and Trauma conferences nationally to spread awareness of how domestic violence affects people with disabilities. Ms.Amodeo received her Master of Education and Master of Arts from Teacher's College, Columbia University in 2006.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Cynthia took on the brand new role of Chief Program officer at our agency and has demonstrated incredible insights and vision to take the agency to the next level related to expanding our program goals and ever-increasing the quality of the work we do. Her energy is boundless and her capacity to focus her goals with emotional intelligence and grace is inspiring."
Day Care Council of New York, Inc.
Who Is Andrea: Andrea Anthony is the Executive Director of the Day Care Council of New York (DCCNY), a position she assumed in 1998. Ms. Anthony holds a BA degree from Marist College (1977), and a MS degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1987). In 2004, Ms Anthony was a recipient of a Community Trail Blazer award from the Pi Kappa Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in recognition of her work in Child Advocacy.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "For over twenty years Andrea Anthony has advocated on behalf of community based organizations providing crucial early childhood education services for New York City's children and their families. Her efforts have aided over 200 child care providers in securing city funding, gaining technical training and assistance, and managing a workforce of over 3,000 unionized staff comprised mainly of women of color."
Who Is Marlene: As Children's Aid’s Program Director, Marlene Aranda-Fillman is a pioneer in working with expectant families and children through the age of five. Her incredible dedication and high quality performance on numerous federal reviews led to the expansion of Zero to Five Programs within Children's Aid. She implemented such dynamic strategies such as Doula services, infant massage, international days, and a Children's Aid program for infants and toddlers with special needs called Talk and Play.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Marlene is incredibly skilled at assisting the most desperate and fragile population. She easily develops a sense of trust and can develop a plan that creates greater long term security. She is able to empower families and to network in order to provide the greatest support."
The Arc of Rensselaer County
Who Is Lucinda: Lucinda Ballard is the Quality Assurance Specialist at The Arc of Rensselaer County. Lucinda has been an integral part of getting many things accomplished during her time on the Arc team, including advocating for someone to live independently, assisting 2 people through a complicated divorce process, and helping someone get back in school. The list of meaningful contributions can continue, these are just a few examples of how she has significantly improved the quality of the lives of others.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Lucinda goes above and beyond regularly and never settles for doing only the bare minimum. She is willing to step up to the plate when there is a vacancy and will pitch in to ensure quality services are delivered and individuals are safe."
The Time In Children's Arts Initiative
Who Is Cyndie: Cyndie Bellen-Berthézène’ is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Time In Children's Arts Initiative. Her diverse artistic gifts and academic accomplishments – in modern dance, opera, languages, the visual arts and as a published children’s book author and creative director – support and energize the innovative arts-based pedagogy of Time In. Huffington Post’s 2015 Woman of the Year in Art, Cyndie is the creator of studio art based classroom materials for over two dozen operas, ballets and symphonic works and was a Creative Director/author for Scholastic’s Kidsketch.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Through her unflagging commitment to equality, opportunity and access for at-risk public school children, Cyndie has successfully changed the lives and learning of over 2,000 of New York City’s youngest and most at-risk public school children from Harlem, East Flatbush and the South Bronx."
Patricia E. Berggren
Home Assistance Referral Team (HART)
Who is Pat? Patricia (Pat) Berggren is currently the President of the Board of Directors for HART, Home Assistance Referral Team. She retired in 2010 as Vice President of the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Foundation/Community Relations. She has served on boards of the SPCA of Niagara County, Main Street Business Association, Planned Parenthood of WNY, the Auxiliary of NFMMC and the Niagara Club. Pat is also a member of Session, personnel committee and Elder of First Presbyterian Church of Lewiston, New York. Her personal interests include golf, gardening and reading “real books”.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: “Pat is a wonderful supervisor who always shared her knowledge with others to make them better at their jobs as well. The staff truly love and respect her and feel that she never got enough recognition for all the good she has done for the organization and New York's communities."
Who Is Georgia: Georgia Boothe joined Children's Aid in 2015 as the Vice President of the Child Welfare and Family Services Division. She oversees the organization's work with young people who have become involved in the juvenile justice system and the preventive services program, which works to strengthen families that are involved in the child welfare system. She also leads a deeply experienced team of social workers and other front line staff in serving children and families with special needs. Georgia holds an MSW from Columbia University and earned her undergraduate degree from Skidmore College, where she studied social work and American studies.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Ms. Boothe is passionate about her work in the Child Welfare field and has committed her career to improving the lives of children and families. She truly cares about clients and respects and appreciates the value and the power of the work providing services to the city's children and families. Under her leadership, our outcomes for the children and families have dramatically improved, which is truly a credit to her vision and leadership."
Unique People Services
Who Is Yvette: Yvette Brissett-Andre is the Executive Director at Unique People Services. She is responsible for executive planning, contract management and real estate negotiations. Her expertise includes over 20 years of experience in the areas of finance and budgeting, program development, contract negotiation, low-income housing development and proposal writing. Yvette holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from CUNY/Baruch and a Bachelor's of Science from SUNY/Plattsburgh. She is a National Urban Fellow and was one of the first participants in their America's Leaders of Change program.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Yvette ensures that the individuals the organization serves receive the needed supports, available resources, and respect they deserve to live fulfilling lives."
The Financial Clinic
Who Is Haidee: Haidee Cabusora is the Chief Program Officer of The Financial Clinic. Haidee is responsible for leading the execution of the Clinic's financial security building strategies: financial coaching and tax preparation services, capacity building with other organizations, and research initiatives and policy work. Before joining the Clinic, Haidee worked as a tax lawyer at Hale and Dorr LLP and FoodChange, where she supervised the largest free tax preparation site in the country and led their post-tax season legal services. She holds a JD and LLM from Cornell Law School and a BA from Columbia University.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: “Haidee has worked for over 10 years to serve low to middle income individuals in New York State become financially secure. She has helped build out our organization's free financial coaching service program. She was integral in helping us pass our first bill and has helped introduce 4 legislative bills towards supporting lower income individuals.”
SCO Family of Services
Who Is Connie: Connie Cerrato is Assistant Executive Director at SCO Family of Services, where she is responsible for programs and services for women, adolescent girls, and families. Connie previously served as Program Director at Madonna Heights for nearly 20 years. She has also served as Director of SCO's Independence Inn program for homeless youth and has worked in other SCO programs concentrating on children with special needs, children in foster care, and youth in transitional housing. Connie is a graduate of SUNY at New Paltz and earned an MSW from Adelphi University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "For over 30 years, Connie Cerrato has dedicated her professional career to helping women and children overcome challenges. Connie's passion for helping others "find their voice" is evident in everything she does. Her proudest moments are sharing the successes of those in her care. Every obstacle overcome is a victory for all, and the thousands of people whose lives she has touched along the way are all the better for it."
Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice
Who Is Narbada: Narbada Chhetri works as the Director of Organizing and Program at Adhikaar. She led Adhikaar in successfully campaigning for the New York State Domestic Workers Bill of Rights which became law in 2010 and Nail Salon Bill of Rights which became law in 2015. She has been leading the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) campaign for Nepal since 2015 until now. She currently represents Adhikaar on the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Board of Director. She has completed the NDWA 2012 Strategy Organizing Leadership (SOL) program, the 2012-2013 Union Leadership Institute at Cornell University and the 2014 Coro Immigrant Leadership Program.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Narbada is a strong leader who gracefully speaks up and advocates on behalf of her Nepali and Tibetan community while also encouraging members of the community to do the same."
Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.
Who Is Sumon: Sumon Chin, LMSW, MH&A, is the Deputy Director of the Manhattan Community Services and the Director of Asian Child Care Resource & Referral at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). Sumon previously held the positions of Director of HIV/AIDS Services at CPC and Executive Director of the China AIDS Fund serving infected and affected persons in the Asian/Pacific Islander (API) communities. She served for 6 years as a Full Member on the Executive Committee in the New York State HIV Prevention Planning Groups as well as the Co-chair of the Women's Committee. Sumon is also a Field Instructor for Master of Social Work students from New York University and Fordham University.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Sumon has devoted and done tireless work on behalf of children, women, families, immigrants and the Chinese community at large in New York City and for which she has received numerous awards and recognition."
Grand Street Settlement
Who Is Willing: Willing Chin-Ma is Managing Director at Grand Street Settlement. She currently oversees all administrative and financial affairs for two of the organization's departments, Early Childhood and Senior Services. She currently serves as an active member of the 3K and EarlyLearn transition advisory council. Willing is an active fundraising Board Member of the Coalition for Asian Children and Families. She also serves on the NYC Day Care Council Advisory Council and the Head Start Sponsoring Board. Willing received her BA in Sociology/Counseling from Hunter College and graduated from NYU's School of Social Work.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: “Willing Chin-Ma is a dedicated and visionary human services leader. At the heart of her work lies a commitment to empowering communities to embrace life-long learning and a determination to eliminate the disparities in resources and opportunities afforded low-income communities.”
Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc.
Who Is Gloria: Gloria Choi is the Senior Vice President of the Behavioral Health Services division for Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. She received her undergraduate education at Vassar College in Psychology and her graduate degree from NYU in Social Work. She received not for-profit management training from Columbia School of Business in 2009. She also received intensive training on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy from Behavioral Tech, LLC in 2005. She is currently a licensed clinical social worker in the state of NY. Gloria is a long-distance runner and has completed 3 NYC marathons, including one as a Charity team member for Goodwill NYNJ in 2017.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Gloria's goal has been to help adults with Behavioral Health conditions to stay well, out of hospitals, and remain in their homes, jobs and schools. The impact is tangible. The rate of re-hospitalization for individuals receiving Behavioral Health services at Goodwill NYNJ is 13.1% compared to the NYC rate of 23% in 2017. This results in a $5M savings to the system of psychiatric care in NYC."
Services for the UnderServed, Inc.
Who Is Donna: Donna Colonna is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Services for the UnderServed, Inc. Throughout her career, Ms. Colonna has been a vocal advocate for the rights and services for individuals with disabilities. Over the years, Ms. Colonna has served in industry leadership positions in statewide and NYC trade associations and has served on numerous government committees that have shaped policy and program implementation. Ms. Colonna was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association for Women Business Owners.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Donna Colonna has worked tirelessly her entire career on behalf of under-served people with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health conditions living in poverty. She is a subject matter expert in many areas including non-profit operations, finance, managed care and the interaction of many moving and changing parts in New York State's systems of care. She is one of the most impressive non-profit women leaders in the state if not in the nation."
Who Is Zulma: Zulma Cruz is the Director of Food Advocacy at Project Hospitality. Zulma helps connect low-income, food-insecure families to our food pantry services and enrolls them in SNAP. She also makes sure families receive wrap-around services such as health insurance navigation, domestic violence counseling, immigration and legal help, and mental health services. She earned a B.A. in business with a concentration in marketing from the College of Staten Island in 2000. She is married to Tomas Cruz and is the proud mother of Candice, Thomas, and Nicole.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Zulma's lifetime of commitment to connecting struggling families to human services, and her grassroots community organizing to address systems of inequality which cause families to fall into poverty in the first place, makes her the ideal candidate for the 2019 Women in Human Services Hall of Fame."
Northern Rivers Family of Services
Who Is Kim: As Chief Officer, Residential and Foster Care Services, at Northern Rivers Family of Services, Kim Cummins provides oversight, strategic guidance, program development, and supervision for a $30 million portfolio of programs administered by Northeast Parent & Child Society and Parsons Child & Family Center that serve children and families throughout New York state. Additionally, she serves as a member of the organization's executive leadership team, helping to direct the Capital Region's largest human services nonprofit organization. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Fordham University and her M.S.W. from the University of Wisconsin.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Through more than 25 years in human services Kim Cummins has dedicated herself to providing ever-better care to communities while implementing sound business practices and emphasizing sustainability. Throughout her career with Northern Rivers Family of Services, Kim has displayed a gift for increasing program capacity while improving quality."
Dr. Joan Dawson
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc.
Who Is Joan: For the past 15 Years, Dr. Joan Dawson has served as a member of the Board of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI). In July of 2018, she was appointed and served as the first female Chair of the Board since the Organization's inception 33 years ago. In the various capacities on the Board of HCCI, she has guided the work of many programs involving housing and social services for homeless populations, HIV AIDS patients, youth aging out of foster care, senior housing, daycare provisions, and after school programs. Dr. Joan Dawson has a PhD in Educational Administration from New York University with a concentration in Public School Administration and Supervision.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Dr. Joan Dawson had improved the quality of life and education for students, clients and the communities in Harlem and neighboring boroughs. She works with people who has limitations in capacity in communications of ideas and dreams in and general equity of access to quality in living a full life."
Dr. Thelma Dye
Northside Center for Child Development
Who Is Thelma: Dr. Thelma Dye is The Hilde L. Mosse Executive Director/CEO of Northside Center for Child Development. She has served in this position for 24 years. At Northside, she served as Director of the Clinic, Director of Research and Training and Chief Psychologist. Dr. Dye's 30 years' experience as a psychologist, clinician, researcher, supervisor & administrator prepared her well to lead one of New York's oldest and most respected mental health and educational agencies founded by Drs. Kenneth & Mamie Clark. Under Dr. Dye's leadership Northside quadrupled its budget, increased the number of children and families served and expanded to four locations. Dr. Dye is a licensed psychologist who received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University and her Bachelors' degree from Cornell University.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: “Dr. Dye is a tireless advocate and visionary leader who has made a significant impact in human services and communities. For over thirty years, she has been innovative in growing the organization, introducing new evidence-based educational and mental health programs, and expanding to reach new communities."
Community Healthcare Network
Who Is Dorothy: Dorothy Farley is the Vice President of Social Services at the Community Healthcare Network. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW-R) who received her master’s degree in social work from the Hunter College School of Social Work. While she assumed the position of Vice President of Social Services in 1999, she began her career at CHN managing a teen program and would later become a center Social Worker. She has extensive experience in coordinated care delivery and social services. She currently sits on the Integration of Care Committee as a voting member of the HIV Health & Human Services Planning Council of New York City.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "For over 30 years, Dorothy Farley has worked tirelessly at Community Healthcare Network (CHN) as a leader and visionary towards integration and collaboration of social services/primary care. Her dedication and expertise have led to an overall higher standard of excellence in care service delivery, helping to improve health outcomes for the diverse communities we serve."
Northern Rivers Family of Services
Who Is Lori: As Executive Program Director of Home and Community-Based Services at Northern Rivers Family of Services, Lori Favata provides oversight and direction for the provision and delivery of Medicaid waiver services for children in the care of Northern Rivers member organizations Northeast Parent & Child Society and Parsons Child & Family Center. She is also responsible for relationship management with subcontracted organizations and guidance of ongoing development of community-based services for children and adults. She earned her bachelor's degree from Siena College and her master's degree in counseling from Sage Graduate School.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Throughout her two decades in the field, Lori Favata has helped change the way that essential services are provided, funded, delivered, and understood, and continues to push herself and others to do more for everyone who receives help."
Legal Services of the Hudson Valley
Who Is Barbara: Barbara Finkelstein is the CEO of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley. Ms. Finkelstein received her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law – Newark, and her B.A. from Hunter College of the City University of New York. She has received a number of awards throughout her career such as the New York State Bar Association Dennison Ray Legal Services Program Director Award (2018) and the New York State Bar Association Diversity Award (2018).
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Barbara Finkelstein has dedicated her career to advocating on behalf of the venerable and disadvantaged members of our communities. She serves as a model of what it means to work in human services – passionate about helping others and committed to improving the Westchester and Hudson Valley communities."
Who Is Rhonda: Rhonda Frederick, MPA, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of People Inc. Rhonda currently serves as president of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY). She received the Dr. Evan Calkins Meritorious Service Award from Network in Aging of Western New York, was named Buffalo Business First Woman of Influence in 2009 and a winner of Buffalo Business First's Health Care 50 in 2014. Rhonda has been named on the Buffalo Business First Power 125 Women for a multiyear period, having been named #4 in 2018. Frederick earned her master's degree in public administration from Canisius College and a bachelor's degree in social work from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Rhonda has a deep commitment and has been a strong voice to the dedicated Direct Support Professionals and the individuals that they support."
Miss.BE Life Coaching Services
Who Is Bianca: Bianca Gambrah is a life coach, speaker and counselor. She supports women and adolescents to confidently embrace their inner uniqueness and strength; helping them live a positive, purpose driven life. Bianca holds a B.S. in Criminology with a minor in Social work, and a M.A in Counseling.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Bianca curates spaces and offers her services to the community to help eliminate the stigma of mental health. She loves connecting people to resources that help them live a substantial life and working with first generation college students and young mothers."
Good Shepherd Services
Who Is Alyssa: Alyssa Garcia is the Division Director of six Brooklyn YABC/Learning to Work programs at Good Shepherd Services. Alyssa holds an MSW degree from SUNY Stony Brook and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Delaware. She is certified as a New York State Licensed Master Social Worker and received her SIFI certification from Yeshiva University. She is currently enrolled in a Post-Master's Clinical Supervision course at NYU.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Alyssa has been a strong leader at Good Shepherd Services for the past fifteen years... She is committed not only to the youth and families we serve, but to young staff, many of whom were once program participants. Alyssa is dedicated to improving the lives of those in our core communities and to helping empower people to help themselves.
Green City Force
Who Is Tonya: Tonya Gayle is the Chief Development Officer of Green City Force. Prior to joining Green City Force, Tonya worked at NYCHA as Special Advisor to the Executive Vice-President for Community Programs & Development, and as Senior Manager for Strategic Projects in the Office of Public Private Partnerships. Tonya is a member of the New York Women's Foundation Circle of Sisters for Social Change and Grants Advisory Committee. She was Associate Producer for The Perfect Life, a documentary film focused on urban youth growing up in Harlem. Tonya is a native of Brooklyn and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Tonya's career focused on creating pathways of opportunity for young people, particularly in and from underserved communities and is a mentor to dozens of young professionals."
Who Is Jane: Since 2015, Jane Golden has been the Chief Program Officer at Sheltering Arms. During that time she has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia and on several Boards of organizations working for children. At Sheltering Arms she oversees all programs: Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, After School Programs, Early Childhood Education, Medicaid Redesign, and the Children's Health Home. Jane Golden graduated from Barnard with a degree in Political Science and Women's Studies, and also has an MSW and a JD from Columbia University.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Jane has spent over three decades working on behalf of children and families. She has always been an advocate for change in the systems in which we work, has developed numerous programs to match the evolving needs of children, and has mentored countless young professionals in the field."
Northern Rivers Family of Services
Who Is Nicole: As a residential supervisor at Northern Rivers Family of Services, Nicole Graham is responsible for the daily functioning of a residential cottage housing youth who have experienced abuse, neglect, and emotional challenges that prevent them from safely living at home. She is responsible for implementing a program that includes life skills, recreation, family visitation, and community engagement for each resident, and oversees a staff that provides 24/7/365 care and therapeutic support. During her 15-year plus career with the organization, Nicole has served as a childcare worker, community worker, residential counselor, and assistant supervisor.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "As a long-time residential supervisor, Nicole's unique blend of compassion, strength, and personality has allowed her to make meaningful connections with struggling teenagers, helping them find their way on the road to recovery."
Jessica Greer Morris
Girl Be Heard
Who Is Jessica: Jessica Greer Morris is the CEO/Founding Executive Director of Girl Be Heard. She is a a human rights advocate and published playwright listed in Newsweek as one of 150 Fearless Women who "shake up the world," for her innovative leadership at Girl Be Heard. In addition to being an Aspen Institute Scholar, Ashoka Changemaker, and Hearts on Fire Visionary, Jessica is the recipient of the SELF Magazine's Women Doing Good Award, What Better Looks Like Award, and WomenWerk's Leadership in Service Award. A graduate from Columbia University with a Masters in Public Health, Jessica brings her expertise in the area of public health, strategic management, and communications to Girl Be Heard and other nonprofit organizations she supports.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Jessica has driven the human rights education curricula, incorporating it into afterschool and weekend programs, and has been a powerful anti-racist voice with the young women in her programs as well as among other women leaders in NYC."
Little Flower Children and Family Services of NY
Who Is Corinne: Corinne Hammons is the Chief Executive Officer of Little Flower Children and Family Services of NY. Corinne holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Harvard University and a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. She is a graduate of the Energeia Partnership, a regional stewardship program on Long Island, and was a recipient of Long Island Business News 40 Under 40 in Business award. She lives in East Setauket, NY with her husband, two daughters, and one bunny.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Corinne has a longstanding interest in strategic design and implementation of effective programs to help those who are underserved, while ensuring the long-term success and growth of the organization. She values the opportunity to collaborate with peer organizations to pursue her passion for innovation and leadership development for the benefit of New York's communities."
Hetrick-Martin Institute (Institute for the Protection of Lesbian & Gay Youth)
Who Is Joyce: Joyce Hunter, D.S.W., is one of the founding members of the Hetrick-Martin Institute's Board of Directors and a Research Scientist at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University and a member of the Global Community Core. She is also Principal Investigator of the Working It Out Project, a community-based HIV prevention research project for gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents that utilizes an award-winning video and an intervention curriculum. This program, which Dr. Hunter co-developed with community members, addresses coming out, stigma, development of coping strategies to address stressful life events, and personal identity development.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Joyce Hunter is truly a visionary and trailblazer. She has spent her life advocating on behalf of society's most vulnerable populations, particularly queer and trans youth of color. Her legacy has provided educational, clinical, and communal opportunities for others to carry her tradition of creating affirming spaces for LGBTQ youth."
Who Is Debora: Debora Hynds-Smith is a staff nurse at Jacobi Medical Center in the Pediatric Emergency Department and she is also an Assistant at PATHHSEO. She began her career in 1983 as a Licensed Practical Nurse at Harlem Hospital Emergency Department, in which she learned the foundations of nursing. This experience encouraged her to seek higher education and to further develop her professional capacity. She obtained her License as a Registered Nurse in 1998 and began her work with mothers’ and children at “Regeneration –Treatment Center for Women and Children, Bronx NY in 1998. She returned to school and obtained a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree, from the College Of New Rochelle in 2003. She gained valuable experience as a staff nurse working at Kirby Forensics in Wards Island, NY, during this time.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "She remains a volunteer and advocate for those in her church and community for which she generously contributes her time and resources.”
Who Is Yvonne: Yvonne Jaros is the former Director of Youth Services at Compass House Emergency Shelter and Resource Center for Runaway and Homeless Youth, where she continues to volunteer much of her time in retirement. Yvonne began her journey at Compass House Emergency Shelter and Resource Center for Runaway and Homeless Youth as a Buffalo Junior League volunteer in 1981. From 1983-1989, she served as President of our Board of Directors.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "It is safe to say that in her 35 years at Compass House, Yvonne has impacted the lives of at least 18,500 runaway and homeless youth. She is truly a staple in this community."
The New York Foundling
Who Is Carmen: Carmen is the Chief Program Officer of The New York Foundling. She has worked in or overseen nearly all programmatic divisions at the Foundling from specialized foster care to preventive services, professional development and training, early childhood education and Headstart, and developmental disabilities. She has been instrumental in the administration and rebuilding of the Foundling's Headstart and Early Headstart programming in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, where we provide critical services to almost 1,500 children and families in 44 centers across the island. She received her Master's degree in Social Work from Fordham University.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "In her more than 40 year career in Human Services, Carmen has touched the lives of thousands of children and families and equal numbers of staff. It cannot be understated the impact Carmen has had as a woman of color in a senior leadership role at one of the city's largest human service agencies in a sector that is staffed by women of color and primarily serves families of color..."
The Doe Fund
Who Is Harriet: Harriet Karr-McDonald is the Executive Vice President of The Doe Fund, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that provides a working way home for homeless men with long histories of incarceration, addiction, and employment. Mrs. Karr-McDonald co-founded its Ready, Willing & Able in 1990, which is the first and only program that combines paid work with comprehensive social services and job training to help men become permanently self-sufficient. Her leadership helped to steward The Doe Fund into a $55 million organization that has served over 23,000 people with paid work, transitional housing, employment skills, and social services.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "In her 30 years leading The Doe Fund, Harriet has always gone out of her way to forge personal connections with the people we serve. Early on, she served as the de facto case manager. As we grew larger and larger, she wrote appeal letters, planned events, hired people, and managed our facilities. She is the heart of this organization, and her warmth and compassion still run deep in the culture of our three facilities, even after 30 years."
The HOPE Program
Who Is Michele: Michele Knox is the Director of Employment and Graduates Services at The HOPE Program. Michele is responsible for facilitating job and internship placements for approximately 400 HOPE trainees each year, as well as the job retention and advancement support and programming for another 800+ graduates. Michele's efforts at HOPE have resulted in some of our strongest job placement and retention outcomes, including 74% job placement, 95% 90-day retention and 76% one-year retention. She has an MBA in Industrial & Organizational Psychology and a Bachelors of Business Administration, both from Baruch College.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Michele's dedication is not only evident to her colleagues, but also to our partner organization, such as Dress for Success who presented Michele with their 'Spirit Award' for her commitment to their mission of helping women gain financial independence."
LSA Family Health Service
Who Is Susanne: In 1969, Sister Susanne Lachapelle received her BS in Nursing at Boston College, and in 1973 she moved to East Harlem to work as a Community Health Nurse and Nursing Supervisor at the LSA Family Health Service. In 1986, Susanne became the Director of Patient Services. Here, she became the supervisor of the Certified Home Health Agency and Co-Director of the organization as a whole. She continues to volunteer at the LSAFHS today as a nurse and Community Liaison. Susanne has earned five prestigious awards for nursing, community outreach, or grassroots humanitarian activism, including a New York State Legislative Citation as Nurse of Distinction in 1991. She has co-authored 46 medical articles and conducted numerous presentations on these topics.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "From the days of the Young Lords and the rise of the HIV/AIDS to shifting immigrant populations, Sister Susanne Lachapelle has been a passionate advocate for the health of families and young children in the neighborhood she calls home."
Westchester Jewish Community Services
Who Is Patricia: Patricia (Pat) Lemp is the Assistant Executive Director of Clinical Services. She worked in the Bronx Community Office's Victim Services Agency from 1981-1988, first as a social worker and then as a director. She has worked at WJCS since 1988, first as a supervisor in the Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Center, then as a Director of the Treatment Center for Trauma and Abuse (now called the Trager Lemp Center for Treating Trauma & Promoting Resilience). Pat was a faculty member of the Fordham University School of Social Service, Family Violence from 1988-2007. Pat obtained her Social Work degree at the Columbia University School of Social Work.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Pat is second to none in her outstanding contributions to the field of social work and to improving the quality of life for some of the most underserved members of the Westchester community."
Broome County Urban League
Who Is Jennifer: Jennifer Lesko has been serving as the President and CEO of the Broome County Urban League since November 2006. She is an adjunct instructor at SUNY Broome in the Health Sciences Department. Jennifer serves as the co-chair for the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Workforce Development Workgroup and she also participates on the Binghamton/Broome Anti-Poverty Initiative Steering Committee. She received the Phoenix Award in 2016 and a Women of Power Award-Salute to Women Leaders from the National Urban League in 2017. She was also appointed by the Governor of NY to the BInghamton University Council. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree in Health Science and Human Services and her Masters Degree in Health Education from SUNY Cortland.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Jennifer uses a team-oriented approach with each member consistently striving to work outside of the box to make sure services are continually provided and improved. Jennifer works to empower communities and change lives one day at a time."
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Who Is Vanessa: Vanessa Leung joined CACF as Co-Executive Director in April 2017. She was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to the Panel for Educational Policy and has been Chair of the PEP since January 2014. She currently also sits on the Advisory Panel for the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education. Vanessa holds a bachelor's degree from New York University and a master's degree from Columbia University's Teachers College. She also completed the Middle Management Program of the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at the Graduate School of Business of Columbia University, the CORO New York Immigrant Civic Leadership Program, the CRE Leadership Caucus, and the 2017 American Express Leadership Academy 2.0 at the Aspen Institute.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Throughout Vanessa's career, she has made sure that the most marginalized New Yorkers, including young people, women, recently arrived immigrants, and limited English proficient individuals, receive the resources and services they need."
L.I. Against Domestic Violence
Who Is Wendy: Wendy Linsalata is the Associate Director of L.I. Against Domestic Violence. In this role she has direct oversight of Advocacy, Hotline, Counseling and Shelter services. As well as coordination and evaluation of new and existing services. It is during this tenure the DOVE Project was formed providing immediate services to victims entering the emergency room after a violent incident. She holds a degree from SUNY Empire State College in Human Service Management, as well as Paralegal certification. In her spare time she is also a staunch advocate for animal rights and welfare and can be found spending quality time with her rescue dog, Presley and husband, Nasir.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Ms. Linsalata' s has spent 20 years at this agency serving victims of domestic violence. It is through her unwavering dedication to all who suffer this violence that she has been able to help thousands of victims."
The Salvation Army
Who Is Anne: Throughout her 40+ years of commitment to social work, Anne Lown has left an indelible mark in the world of child welfare, tirelessly pushing our system to be more just and more reliable for children and families in need. Anne was known across the city for her deep knowledge and understanding of the needs of vulnerable children and families. Her dedication and commitment to protect and improve the well-being of those involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Ms. Lown spent much of her 25 years at The Salvation Army championing Preventive services, which was at the time only a small portion of the city's child welfare endeavors. She went on to serve in other agencies following her leading Salvation Army staff in a principled stand against religious discrimination in the nonprofit workplace."
Center for Community Alternatives
Who Is Stanley: Stanley Martin is the current Project Director for Center for Community Alternatives' Recovery Community and Outreach Center and additionally works as the Director of Safer Monroe Area Reentry Team, grassroots non-profit whose mission is to enhance service from effective reentry from incarceration into society. Through her various leadership roles, she is committed to creating solutions to structural oppression by addressing the impacts of intergenerational poverty on the people she serves.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Ms. Martin always strives to find creative ways to be a part of the solution and her recent decision to be in a leadership role running for City Council that impacts members of our community exemplifies her commitment to doing whatever it takes to ensure equity and justice is reached."
Goddard Riverside Community Center
Who Is Susan: Susan Matloff-Nieves is a highly respected leader in nonprofit and community-based social services. She has served as Deputy Executive Director for Youth and Aging Services at Goddard Riverside Community Center, Executive Director of Lincoln Square Community Center, and Associate Executive Director for Youth Services at Queens Community House. Throughout her career she has worked to expand and professionalize youth programs, create services to address needs in the community, fight systemic bias, and bring people together to strengthen the community.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Susan is a tireless networker and mentor who brings people together for the common good. She has been a leader in professionalizing the youth development sector in New York City and State, ensuring that these programs provide not just a safe place to be during non-school hours but an enriched environment that fosters growth and learning.”
Shalima L. McCants
Who Is Shalima: Shalima L. McCants is the Assistant Department Director in the Children & Youth Department at BronxWorks in which she has over 15 years of experience. She oversees 13 programs that serve young people from ages 14 through 24. In 2018, her program portfolio served over 5,000 youth and young adults in addressing their education and employment needs. Ms. McCants holds a BA from the College of New Rochelle and MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker since 2011 and has received additional training from Columbia University School of Business and the Ackerman Institute for the Family.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Shalima's passion for supporting youth and young adults in gaining access to experiences and resources is evident in her developing and/or supporting projects such as: arranging back to school supply drives, serving as a panelist or workshop presenter promoting higher education, serving as the Public Relationships Chair for the scholarship committee and taking part in girls empowerment initiatives."
Senator Velmanette Montgomery
New York State Senate
Who Is Velmanette: In her role as the Chair of Committee on Children and Families, Senator Montgomery is committed to helping young people achieve positive outcomes through reform of the State's juvenile justice, foster care and adoptive care systems. Senator Montgomery continues to be one of New York's leading proponents of school-based health care as a model system for delivering comprehensive primary and mental health services to children of all ages, in the school setting where youth spend most of their day.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Throughout her career in the New York State Senate, Senator Montgomery has championed lifting women out of poverty as the means for raising children out of poverty."
Turning Point Brooklyn
Who Is Iesha: Iesha Moore has held several positions while at Turning Point Brooklyn, from Peer Educator, Outreach Coordinator, Counselor, and presently Director of Transitional Housing at our 39-bed transitional shelter for homeless women between the ages of 18 and 25. In this role, Iesha helps young women find stable housing. Iesha holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Medgar Evers College, and a Master's Degree in Organizational Leadership from Mercy College of New York.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Ms. Moore embodies the spirit of service and commitment to community that are the hallmarks of NYC's non-profits. For over 20 years, Ms. Moore has labored to support the clients at her housing programs, including at the young women's shelter where she is on call 24/7, managing any and all crises you can imagine (broken heat, flooding, security issues, etc.), all on a bare bones budget."
Who Is Dianne: Dianne Morales is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Phipps Neighborhoods. She is responsible for the overall organizational management and has led the organization through a change process that has resulted in growth from a $17 million to a $24 million, multi-service agency helping almost 10,000 children, youth and families overcome poverty. Dianne has earned graduate degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Columbia University, as well as a Bachelor's in Psychology from the State University of New York in Stony Brook.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Dianne Morales is a dedicated leader and steadfast champion for economic and social justice for low-income children and families in New York City. As a native New Yorker with immigrant parents, she took every educational opportunity presented to her over her lifetime and works tirelessly to ensure other underprivileged young people are exposed to the same opportunities."
Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation
Who Is Rosaura: Since 2005, Rosaura Morales has been NMIC's Chief Financial Officer. Her keen sense of finance has led to consistent increased net assets which has allowed NMIC to increase the fund balance. Rosaura has a B.S in Accounting from Lehman College and has been working in the non-profit sector since 1999 in a CFO role. She is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage and her three children and grand kids are her pride and joy.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Rosaura has excelled in ensuring that the fiscal team is cohesive and is the unsung hero that keeps NMIC's finances humming along. She gives 150% to NMIC and it reflects in her work product, and the team she has built."
Who Is Melissa: Melissa Mowery is the Vice President, HomeBase of CAMBA. She has over 30 years of experience working in the social services field with diverse populations. She has coached Special Olympians, worked with mentally ill adults and juvenile offenders, and worked on workforce development and vocational training with asylees, refugees, and those receiving public benefits. Over the past 15 years, Ms. Mowery has grown and continuously developed the HomeBase program, constantly looking at new ways of approaching the complex issues and challenges inherent to working in homelessness prevention.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Melissa Mowery is a role model and source of inspiration for those she leads, works with and serves. She is a humble, approachable leader who does not shy away from any task, no matter how big or small, if it is necessary to accomplish the goal at hand."
Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.
Who Is Gia: Gia Miu is the Director of the Multi Social Services Center at the Chinese-American Planning Council. She has overseen CPC's Manhattan walk-in center since 2003 where community members come for assistance in entitlement benefits such as Medicaid, SNAP, Lifeline, Heap, subsidized housing, and immigration. Gia leads her SNAP team in providing SNAP education, resources, prescreening, and applications to those who are hungry. She is on the forefront of immigrant issues as the community deals with issues such as Public Charge. Gia provides assistance to the community for DACA, Asylum, and Naturalization. She supervises naturalization services, CPC's immigration clinics, and referral to immigration attorneys.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Gia's daily work requires her to go above and beyond what is needed because the population she mostly serves are monolingual Chinese and elderly. Her tireless work to ensuring health access, equity and efforts to eliminate hunger are no doubt commendable. Gia is passionate about making a difference in the lives of the undeserved community pockets we work with."
TOBB Future Inc.
Who Is Cornetta: Cornetta Murray is the Founder of TOBB Future. She is a social worker by trade and life changer by assignment. Murray was recently nominated for the 2017-2018 Life Changer of The Year award by the National Life Group. Through workshops, speaking engagements and coaching, Ms. Murray and TOBB Future help provide families with the skills they need to live successful and fulfilling lives. She received her AAS from Queens Community College, her MSW from Adelphi University, and her MS in Education from Mercy College.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Cornetta Murray is a dedicated social worker who always goes above and beyond the call of duty. She is dedicated to the children and families she works with on a daily basis as well as the staff and all people she comes across daily. She is truly there for the benefit of the students and the community she serves."
Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center
Who Is Trudy: Trudy Murray is the Program Director, Therapeutic Pre-K School at Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center. She has been a community activist since she was 15 years old, taking an active role in President Johnson's Great Society programs, fighting for adequate housing, more jobs, daycare and improvement of hospital services in Coney Island. She graduated from City College with a degree in Psychology and Columbia University's Teach College's Clinical Psychology Program. Trudy has provided individual and group therapy for children, sex education, peer mediation, and created parenting groups to assist the needs of her community.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Trudy's love of children and families and the ways in which she has helped to effect change as a mental health educator and administrator."
Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.
Who Is Po-Ling: Po-Ling Ng is the Director of Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Senior Services and the director of Project Open Door Senior Center. She is a dedicated community member, and mother of four. She immigrated to the United States in 1967, and is the longest serving staff member at CPC.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Po-Ling is deeply dedicated to her community and a central fixture of Chinatown and a hub for the senior community. She is a fierce advocate on behalf of seniors and AAPIs at City Hall and in Albany, and has more knowledge about human services than many of us know!"
New York State Community Action Association
Who Is Jackie: Jackie Orr is the Chief Executive Officer for the New York State Community Action Association. Previously, Jackie was the Director of Operations from 2010-2016. Jackie has also been employed by the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) as the CSBG State Assistance Director. During her time with NASCSP, Jackie worked to assist state offices with their management of CSBG responsibilities, helped to organize the new CSBG Annual Report, and created tools and resources for State office administrators. Jackie is a Certified Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) Master Trainer and has several years of experience in facilitation and training.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Jackie has been crucial to the rebuilding of the organization, as well as the reputation and relationship with key stakeholders and funders. Her work in the past six months has succeeded in stabilizing and growing the organization and its entire membership."
The Arc of Rensselaer County
Who Is Carrie: Carrie Painter, Director of Brunswick Center Services, has worked to help The Arc of Rensselaer County meet our mission for 11 years. Carrie brings her passion, energy, and bridge building to the community at large. She has a caring personality and tremendous respect for people. We have seen several neat connections where the participants of Brunswick Center have been able to do wonderful things to connect to the community. In addition to this work, Carrie has served on the Board of Trustees for the Brunswick Community Library for the last six years.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Carrie is known around the organization as a go-getter who works on improving herself and others around her. She has been active at bringing opportunities for integration into community settings for all whether they are artists displaying their work, individuals obtaining employment, or attending various activities at local community centers and libraries."
Volunteers of America-Greater New York
Who Is Tere: Tere Pettitt has served as President and CEO of Volunteers of America-Greater New York since August 1, 2014. She had previously served as EVP/COO since 2002. Prior to her tenure at VOA-GNY, Ms. Pettitt worked at New York United Hospital Medical Center since 1977, most recently as EVP/COO. Ms. Pettitt received her MA in Social Work from NYU and an MA in Philosophy from Villanova University with a concentration in medical ethics and American Philosophy.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Tere is a strategic leader, directing a dynamic strategic planning process to ensure that we are meeting the changing needs of our clients."
Franklin County Office for the Aging
Who Is Becky: As the director of the Franklin County Office for the Aging, Becky Preve is a tireless advocate for seniors and direct care professionals, ensuring that residents of our community have high-quality care and access to information and resources. She works to give seniors the tools and support to live independently. She also manages the county's NY Connects program, which links people over the age of 60 and individuals living with disabilities to long-term care options.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Becky goes above and beyond day in and day out to serve the seniors in Franklin County. Her work never ends and she can often be found during her personal time still trying to assist those she serves. Becky is a tireless advocate for the seniors in Franklin County and runs one of the most robust offices in the state."
NYS Coalition for Children's Behavioral Health
Who Is Andrea: Andrea Smyth is Executive Director of the NYS Coalition for Children's Behavioral Health. She has served for 8 years on the Children's Subcommittee of the Behavioral Health Medicaid Redesign Team, emerging as a key architect of the expanded Medicaid benefits for children's behavioral health entitlement services, Children and Family Treatment and Support Services. Ms. Smyth has a BA from the University of South Florida and an MPA in Public Management from the Rockefeller College at the University of Albany.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Andrea Smyth has spent decades giving voice to some of our state's most vulnerable citizens - children with behavioral health needs. She has fought for an improved quality of life for them and their families. Known as a national policy expert on behavioral health and substance use disorder issues and funding, Ms. Smyth represents the issues impacting service providers throughout New York. "
Alliance for Positive Change
Who Is Brenda: Brenda Starks-Ross came to Alliance in Positive Change in the 1990s. As Deputy Executive Director/COO, Brenda has led the agency's evolution into a social change organization that helps New Yorkers make lasting positive changes towards health, housing, recovery, and self-sufficiency. As a registered nurse and minister during the peak of the epidemic, Brenda witnessed the stigma those living with AIDS face. Her approach fosters self-respect, personal responsibility, and connection to community for more than 6,000 New Yorkers annually.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "For nearly three decades, Brenda has dedicated her life to helping those with HIV/ADS. She is a talented and generous minister, nurse, executive, and mother who selflessly and consistently gives to others in need. "
The Children's Village
Who Is Mona: Mona Swanson is the Chief Program Officer at The Children's Village. In this role, she is responsible for a more than 25 programs serving children and families throughout New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. Under her direction, The Children's Village was one of the first agencies to embrace evidence-based practices such as Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), and the Integrated Treatment Model (ITM). Throughout her work, Ms. Swanson has upheld the highest standards of social work, championed the success of children, youth, families, and staff, and dedicated her life to others. She received her BA from Syracuse University and MSW from New York University.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Mona Swanson's 42 years in social work is marked by her strong commitment to families, children and staff and a deep commitment to front-line practice with children and families."
Good Shepherd Services
Who Is Vivian: Vivian Troche is the Director of Residential Life, Euphrasian Rapid Intervention Center & Marian Hall Group Residence at Good Shepherd Services. For over 30 years, she has dedicated her time to assisting young women in Good Shepherds' residential programs. Over the years, Vivian has time again proven to be a leader in Good Shepherd's efforts to integrate trauma informed care into our programs. She was awarded the Good Shepherd Services Sanctuary Leadership Award and was nominated for the Sanctuary Institute Sanctuary Star Award. In addition, she was honored and recognized by the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies for her dedication and excellence in child welfare service delivery.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Vivian is a true mentor and coach, especially when it came to positive youth development, relationship building and working from a high standard of excellence."
YWCA Syracuse and Onondaga County
Who Is Fanny: Fanny Villarreal is the Executive Director for the YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County. She was born and raised in Peru, where she earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in law. Fanny became a judge, a job she worked until 1991, when she moved to Syracuse. While pursuing her education and mastering her English-literacy skills, Fanny became increasingly aware of and concerned about the state of Latinos in Syracuse and Onondaga County. In 1993, she created Nosotros Radio Inc., "Your Latino Voice". Fanny has also Co-founded the Latino Festival; the Hispanic Coalition NY, Inc. and the Latino Scholarship in CNY Community Foundation.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Fanny has expressed numerous selfless acts to help better the community and always had a heart for people and her culture. Her efforts to create a stronger Latino Community has positively affected many and allowed community members to gain a sense of self-identity and/or learn about a different culture."
East Flatbush Village, Inc.
Who Is Monique: Monique Waterman is the Founder/Executive Director of East Flatbush Village, Inc. Monique co-founded East Flatbush Village, Inc. with the vision of having a community center serving the neighborhood she grew up in. She currently serves as a two term community board member. She serves on the Parent Teacher Association for her children’s school (1st Vice President) and (PTA President.) Monique is married to her husband, Eric Waterman and they have four magnificent children.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Monique is an entrepreneur with a community focus, and a super mom and role model to young girls and boys in Central Brooklyn.”
Who Is Kimberly: Kimberly (Kym) Hardy Watson is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Graham Windham Services for Children and Families. With 35 years of professional experience in the NYC child welfare system, Kym's entrance to the child welfare world began in 1984 when she started as a case worker at what is now SCO Family of Services. Kym holds a Masters of Science in Public Administration from the City University of New York (Baruch College) and a Bachelor's Degree in English from Fordham University. She attended the graduate studies program in Social Welfare Policy at Rutgers University and was a member of the inaugural class of the George & Belle Strell Executive Leadership Fellows Program at the Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Kym's impact and influence can be seen and felt across an entire agency. Kym possesses an amazing combination of exceptional leadership qualities including integrity, trustworthiness, humility and empowerment. She demonstrates selfless involvement as she builds unity and celebrates in our diverse community."
Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW)
Who Is Linda: Linda Young is the Director of Social Services at Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), where for over 19 years she has provided support to hundreds of NEW students and now over 3,000 NEW graduate tradeswomen active in its alumni community. Linda has over twenty-five years of experience and leadership in the mental health, education and social work fields. She is a Licensed Social Worker for the State of New York and has a Master of Social Work from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Linda holds a SIFI certification and provides and supervises field instruction to social service interns from several New York City colleges and universities.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "For over 19 years, Linda Young has worked to build a social services department that utilizes a grounding, compassionate approach, emphasizing internal family systems, strengths-based interaction, and unconditional positive regard."
Sunnyside Community Services
Who Is Judy: Judith Zangwill is the Executive Director of Sunnyside Community Services. She oversees three corporations providing community services and home care. Ms. Zangwill sees the organization as a center where everyone in the diverse communities of Queens can feel welcome and find help to meet their families' needs. She sits on the board of LiveOn NY and is a Trustee of the Unemployment Services Trust. She is also a member of FPWA's Successful Aging Committee and co-chairs the membership committee of the Human Services Council. In the past, Judy served on the board of United Neighborhood Houses (UNH), and was chair of its Executive Directors Council. She holds a Master of Social Work degree with a focus on community organizing from Hunter College.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Judy Zangwill personifies the impact of women in human services through her stewardship and commitment to the field. She has had a steadfast commitment to the western Queens community, ensuring that the organization responds to its changing needs with high-quality programs."
Cattaraugus Community Actions, Inc.
Who Is Tina: Tina Zerbian is the CEO at Cattaraugus Community Action, Inc. She is a member of the Board of the Mental Health Association of Cattaraugus County, the NYS LIFE Steering Committee, and the Board of Universal Primary Care. Ms. Zerbian is an active member of the board of the NYS Community Action Association. Tina has also received numerous awards such as Woman of the Year by the Enchanted Mountain Business and Professional Women's Club and the NYS Community Action Association's Administrator of the Year Award. Ms. Zerbian holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education, and earned her designation as a Certified Community Action Professional.
How She Makes Her Community Strong: "Tina is one of the most innovative and progressive thinkers in the sector. She has dedicated her career to the human services field and improve services to the communities that she serves."