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BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Deborah Chay, PhD   Deborah is a management consultant focused on the intersections of philanthropy and other forms of mission-oriented capital. She assists individuals and organizations develop and deploy their cultural and philanthropic capital for greater total impact. Deborah has special expertise in race and gender issues, along with extensive practical experience creating platforms and pathways for donors, investors, and advocates to achieve shared social purpose objectives together. Deborah has launched and directed program initiatives at Duke University and Japan Society among others.

Deborah Chay, PhD

Deborah is a management consultant focused on the intersections of philanthropy and other forms of mission-oriented capital. She assists individuals and organizations develop and deploy their cultural and philanthropic capital for greater total impact. Deborah has special expertise in race and gender issues, along with extensive practical experience creating platforms and pathways for donors, investors, and advocates to achieve shared social purpose objectives together. Deborah has launched and directed program initiatives at Duke University and Japan Society among others.

Michele Long, MS   Michele is the Director of Corporate Communications at Triumph Group. Her professional expertise includes communications and marketing, employee engagement, and global transformation and change management initiatives,Michele is a native New Yorker living in Philadelphia with her husband and their two daughters.

Michele Long, MS

Michele is the Director of Corporate Communications at Triumph Group. Her professional expertise includes communications and marketing, employee engagement, and global transformation and change management initiatives,Michele is a native New Yorker living in Philadelphia with her husband and their two daughters.

Melody Rollins, MBA, CFA, CAIA   Melody Rollins, CFA, CAIA, is a Partner and Head of Client Service and Business Development at Brightwood Capital Advisors, LLC and also serves on Brightwood’s Executive Committee. . Outside of work, Ms. Rollins is very active in the community, focusing on organizations and programs that are eliminating disparities in access to educational, legal and health resources in underserved communities.

Melody Rollins, MBA, CFA, CAIA

Melody Rollins, CFA, CAIA, is a Partner and Head of Client Service and Business Development at Brightwood Capital Advisors, LLC and also serves on Brightwood’s Executive Committee. . Outside of work, Ms. Rollins is very active in the community, focusing on organizations and programs that are eliminating disparities in access to educational, legal and health resources in underserved communities.

Advisors


Ifey Anoliefo - Legal & Regulatory Advisor, Department of Veteran Affairs

Starita Ansari - Philanthropy Consultant

Kobla Asamoah - Director, HBK Incubates, Hot Bread Kitchen

Heidi Bruce - Director of Development, University of Maryland

Ruth Conner - Management Consultant, Clearstory Communications

Celine DeCarlo - Chief Executive Advisor, Mara Hoffman

Dennis Derryck - President, Corbin Hill Road Farm

Cathy Gilliard- Senior Minister, Park Avenue United Methodist Church

Guylene Grace - Senior Product Development & Garment Production Consultant

Amini Kajunju- Director of Strategic Partnerships, Africa Integras

Christian Lem - Strategy Consultant

Marsha Modeste - Assistant Professor, Penn State University

Patience Oti - Assistant Vice-President, WIN (formerly women in need)

Eric Palmer- Grants Accountant, Stevens Institute of Technology

Michelle Pryce-Screen - Manager of Social Services, Hope Community

Mark Reed- Founder, Contact Fund LLC

Arva Rice - President, New York Urban League

Andrea Rogers - Nonprofit & International Philanthropy Consultant, CRE

Lisa Shepard Stewart- Designer, Cultured Expressions, Inc.

Vanna Sin - Director of Events & Engagement Programs at National Audubon Society

Rachel R. Tobias - Attorney, Colby Law Office P.C.

Caitrin Burns - Fabric Systems and Sustainability, Lafayette 148

Alfonso Wyatt - Public Speaker

THANK  YOU

We are grateful for the support of our partners and donors who are dedicated to helping women obtain education and networks so they can access good paying careers. We extend special thanks to The Riverside Church and to Hope Community.

CORPORATIONS

EILEEN FISHER

Hanky Panky LTD.

Lafayette 148 New York

Wells Fargo

FOUNDATIONS

The Beacon Giving Group

Brooklyn Community Foundation

Darma Fund

Eileen Fisher Community Foundation

Goldman Sachs Gives

Hyde and Watson Foundation

New York Community Trust

New York Women's Foundation

Patrina Foundation

Project People Foundation

The Riverside Church Sharing Fund

Valentine Perry Snyder Fund

WellMet Philanthropy

Lily Auchincloss Foundation

West Harlem Development Corporation

NYU Community Fund Committee

INDIVIDUALS

Benjamin Abelson, Chinonso Akano, Wajiha Akhtar, Rhonda Allen, Racquel Alston, Reshma Alva, Meeta Anand, Ifeyinwa Anoliefo, Clarissa Arocena, Danielle Azoulay, Anonymous, Sylvain Bazinet, Jennifer Boyd, H.Hunt Bradley III, Sarah Broach, Rinat Brodach, Shirley Brodach, Natalia Bruslanova, Ava Bynum, Susan Bynum, Deborah Chay, Victoria Concepcion, Ruth Conner, Elizabeth Cordonier, Nesli Danisman, Tricia Davies, Dana Davis, George Davis, Celine DeCarlo, Dennis Derryck, Brenna Dolan, Greg Dolan, Angelique Dorsey, Melody Rollins Downes, Shari Drewett, Paul Duston-Munoz, Steven & Susie Feldman, Amanda Flannery, Laurence Fox, Caneel Fraser, Austin Fremont, Pia Gero, Reverend Cathy S. Gilliard, Robert Goergen, Cristina Gonzalez, Victoria Grant, Saara Hafeez, Theresa Hanrahan, Dr. Ruby Harmon, Todd Hendricks, Anne Herrmann, Dr. Adam Hill, Theodora Hinkle, Suwha Hong, Katherine Jacobsen, Kerry James, David Jones, Veronica Jones, Amini Kajunju, Cynthia Kolbowski, Patricia J. Kozu, Rana LaPine, Christian Lem, Michele Linton, Amy Loder, Michele Long, Tessa Maffucci, Karole Mazeika, Ashley McCue, Marsha Modeste, Carol Baldwin Moody, Alisia Moore, Ronald Morris, Gali Netter, Teka Nicholas, Joellen Nicholson, Katherine OHare, James Okaro, Ngozi Okaro, Nnabike Okaro, Amarachi Onouha, Ifunanya Onyekwere, Sheila Onyekwere, Eric Palmer, Carmen Perez Pineda, Loch Phillipps, Christine Pomeranz, Michelle Pryce-Screen, Elaine Reiss, Rajashree Raghunathan, Paolo Raymundo, Rosa Richmond, Abby Robinson, Blaine Robinson, Suzanne Rust, Andrea Rogers, Juliana Rowe, Solade Rowe, Tabitha S Bernard, Sharona Sankar-King, Carolina Santos-Neves, Laurel Schaffer, Tanya Selvaratnam, Celine Semaan, Renee Senoran, Sandra Senoran, Jin Seo, Willa Shalit, Karen Simmons, Vanna Sin, Denise Slater, Tiffany Smith, Bory Sok, Huong Son, Nina Spezzaferro, Corina Stonebanks, Ayumi Stubbs, Jeanette Suelto, Dr. Ramona Sunderwirth, Vivian Taylor, Owen Traynor, Soo Uhm, Anna Verghese, Carl Webb, Nora Worthington, Enrique Godoy Ynzenga, Susan York, Florence Zaide

PARTNERS

STAFF


Ngozi Okaro    Executive Director   Ngozi is as an advocate for socioeconomic justice. She understands the challenges facing women who want nice clothes but whose bodies do not conform to ready-to-wear’s template — the majority of US clothing buyers. Ngozi aims to bridge gaps between constituencies: fashion-industry workers who want fair compensation, thoughtful consumers who want quality clothes, and the natural environment.

Ngozi Okaro

Executive Director

Ngozi is as an advocate for socioeconomic justice. She understands the challenges facing women who want nice clothes but whose bodies do not conform to ready-to-wear’s template — the majority of US clothing buyers. Ngozi aims to bridge gaps between constituencies: fashion-industry workers who want fair compensation, thoughtful consumers who want quality clothes, and the natural environment.

Veronica Jones    Entrepreneurship Coach   Veronica has led a storied career in fashion. Rising from assistant buyer to buyer of contemporary sportswear for major department stores. She traveled across Europe to view collections by Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Gianni Versace, Blumarine, and Fiorucci. Veronica transitioned from retail to wholesale to become Vice President of Gene Ewing Bis, later opening The Veronica Jones Showroom, her first entrepreneurial venture selling American designers. She is currently a fashion retail consultant advising emerging designers & retailers how to navigate the business of fashion.

Veronica Jones

Entrepreneurship Coach

Veronica has led a storied career in fashion. Rising from assistant buyer to buyer of contemporary sportswear for major department stores. She traveled across Europe to view collections by Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Gianni Versace, Blumarine, and Fiorucci. Veronica transitioned from retail to wholesale to become Vice President of Gene Ewing Bis, later opening The Veronica Jones Showroom, her first entrepreneurial venture selling American designers. She is currently a fashion retail consultant advising emerging designers & retailers how to navigate the business of fashion.

Constance C.R. White    Media Fellow   Constance is renowned for her wealth of experience and significant contributions across print, broadcast and online media. A veteran writer, editor and arbiter of culture and style, Constance has helped steer brand and editorial direction for some of the most exciting companies, from magazines like Essence and Elle to The New York Times and eBay. She is the author of Stylenoir, a groundbreaking book on black culture and style. Constance White has served as style director for eBay, editor in chief of Essence Magazine, and style reporter for the New York Times. She most recently was editor in chief for Zink Magazine’s Spring/Summer relaunch issue and is also a contributor to TheImpression.com. She has shared her style expertise on the Today Show, CBS and BET.

Constance C.R. White

Media Fellow

Constance is renowned for her wealth of experience and significant contributions across print, broadcast and online media. A veteran writer, editor and arbiter of culture and style, Constance has helped steer brand and editorial direction for some of the most exciting companies, from magazines like Essence and Elle to The New York Times and eBay. She is the author of Stylenoir, a groundbreaking book on black culture and style. Constance White has served as style director for eBay, editor in chief of Essence Magazine, and style reporter for the New York Times. She most recently was editor in chief for Zink Magazine’s Spring/Summer relaunch issue and is also a contributor to TheImpression.com. She has shared her style expertise on the Today Show, CBS and BET.

Tessa Maffucci    Managing Director of Strategy   Tessa is a fashion scholar with a strong interest in creating a more responsible and equitable fashion industry. Her research and professional work focus on sustainable business practices and the intersection between fashion and technology. Tessa teaches in the Fashion Department at Pratt Institute and aspires to make positive change in the global fashion system.

Tessa Maffucci

Managing Director of Strategy

Tessa is a fashion scholar with a strong interest in creating a more responsible and equitable fashion industry. Her research and professional work focus on sustainable business practices and the intersection between fashion and technology. Tessa teaches in the Fashion Department at Pratt Institute and aspires to make positive change in the global fashion system.

Ari Harris    Production Manager   Ari is a sustainable designer based in Brooklyn. She studied fashion design at Colombia College Chicago where she focused her work challenging antiquated ideals in the fashion industry. Since moving to New York, shes worked in many different facets of the industry from couture design to mass production, learning industry standards in production and concept development. Her purpose as a designer is to aid in creating a more inclusive and mindful fashion industry.

Ari Harris

Production Manager

Ari is a sustainable designer based in Brooklyn. She studied fashion design at Colombia College Chicago where she focused her work challenging antiquated ideals in the fashion industry. Since moving to New York, shes worked in many different facets of the industry from couture design to mass production, learning industry standards in production and concept development. Her purpose as a designer is to aid in creating a more inclusive and mindful fashion industry.

Brenna Dolan    Engagement & Sustainability Lead   As an alumni of the Fashion Institute of Technology's Fashion Business Management BS with an Ethics and Sustainability minor, Brenna contributes her passion for developing a more socially, environmentally, and economical sustainable fashion industry.

Brenna Dolan

Engagement & Sustainability Lead

As an alumni of the Fashion Institute of Technology's Fashion Business Management BS with an Ethics and Sustainability minor, Brenna contributes her passion for developing a more socially, environmentally, and economical sustainable fashion industry.

Jennifer Gutierrez    Development Assistant   Jennifer Lee Gutierrez has had a long career in teaching adults and children the English language. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Adult Literacy, Jennifer’s passion dramatically veered into Fashion. She left her 13-year career to begin a new facet in life by learning how to make her own clothes and gained an interest in making clothes for others.  Mid 2018, she took a couple of courses at Mood U in Midtown, New York. Near the end of the year, Jennifer was accepted into Custom Collaborative as a fashion student. Next, she gained acceptance into the 16-week Brooklyn Fashion Academy program where she prepared a capsule collection for the May 2019 fashion show.

Jennifer Gutierrez

Development Assistant

Jennifer Lee Gutierrez has had a long career in teaching adults and children the English language. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Adult Literacy, Jennifer’s passion dramatically veered into Fashion. She left her 13-year career to begin a new facet in life by learning how to make her own clothes and gained an interest in making clothes for others.

Mid 2018, she took a couple of courses at Mood U in Midtown, New York. Near the end of the year, Jennifer was accepted into Custom Collaborative as a fashion student. Next, she gained acceptance into the 16-week Brooklyn Fashion Academy program where she prepared a capsule collection for the May 2019 fashion show.

Alicia Benis    Communications Intern   Alicia is a sophomore at Barnard College studying American Studies and Race and Ethnic Studies. She is interested in intersectionality, and how movements, such as the movement for a more sustainable fashion industry, are (or are not) intersectional and inclusive. She is also interested in advocating for immigrants, especially immigrant women and women of color, as well as for socioeconomic and racial justice for these communities.

Alicia Benis

Communications Intern

Alicia is a sophomore at Barnard College studying American Studies and Race and Ethnic Studies. She is interested in intersectionality, and how movements, such as the movement for a more sustainable fashion industry, are (or are not) intersectional and inclusive. She is also interested in advocating for immigrants, especially immigrant women and women of color, as well as for socioeconomic and racial justice for these communities.

Sydney Long    Intern   Sydney is a sophomore at New York Institute of Technology studying Computer Science and Graphic Design. Coming from a immigrant mother, she strongly stands behind the mission of Custom Collaborative. She is interested in sustainable fashion and hopes to merge her technological skills with fashion as a career.

Sydney Long

Intern

Sydney is a sophomore at New York Institute of Technology studying Computer Science and Graphic Design. Coming from a immigrant mother, she strongly stands behind the mission of Custom Collaborative. She is interested in sustainable fashion and hopes to merge her technological skills with fashion as a career.