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Designing Lives, Empowering Women

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 - Director of Philanthropy, United Methodist Women

Kobla Asamoah - Director, HBK Incubates, Hot Bread Kitchen

Heidi Bruce - Director of Development, University of Maryland

Ruth Conner - Management Consultant, Clearstory Communications

Dennis Derryck - President, Corbin Hill Road Farm

Cathy Gilliard- Senior Minister, Park Avenue United Methodist Church

Guylene Grace - Senior Product Development & Garment Production Consultant

Makeba Morgan Hill - Deputy to the President and Chief Planner, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Amini Kajunju- Director of Strategic Partnerships, Africa Integras

Christian Lem - Strategy Consultant, Poet's House

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 Donor Engagement Fundraising, ASPCA

Caitrin Watson - Fabric and Sustainability Coordinator, 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.

CORPORATIONS

EILEEN FISHER

Hanky Panky LTD.

Lafayette 148 New York

FOUNDATIONS

Cottonwood Foundation

Darma Fund

Eileen Fisher Community Foundation

Goldman Sachs Gives

Hyde and Watson Foundation

New York Community Trust

New York Women's Foundation

Project People Foundation

The Riverside Church Sharing Fund

Valentine Perry Snyder Fund

WellMet Philanthropy

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, George Davis, 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, 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. Tall since birth, she understands the challenges facing women who love nice clothes but whose bodies do not conform to ready-to-wear’s template—which represents the majority of US clothing buyers. Ngozi aims to serve two constituencies, meeting both the need of fashion-industry workers for fair compensation and the demand of thoughtful consumers for quality clothes.

Ngozi Okaro - Executive Director

Ngozi is as an advocate for socioeconomic justice. Tall since birth, she understands the challenges facing women who love nice clothes but whose bodies do not conform to ready-to-wear’s template—which represents the majority of US clothing buyers. Ngozi aims to serve two constituencies, meeting both the need of fashion-industry workers for fair compensation and the demand of thoughtful consumers for quality clothes.

Daniel Concepcion - Lead Instructor   Daniel is a fashion designer and pattern maker with experience in women's and men's ready-to-wear and made-to-measure. As a young practitioner who sharpened his skills and aesthetic under the wing of the best designers in the industry, he gives back by sharing his knowledge to the people he works with.

Daniel Concepcion - Lead Instructor

Daniel is a fashion designer and pattern maker with experience in women's and men's ready-to-wear and made-to-measure. As a young practitioner who sharpened his skills and aesthetic under the wing of the best designers in the industry, he gives back by sharing his knowledge to the people he works with.

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.

Elisa Koizumi - Production Manager   Elisa is a veteran design professional who focuses on sustainability, fashion design, and product development. She wears her "veteran" status as a badge of honor; one because she has endured this crazy industry through its constant turns; two, because those changes have guided her towards being nimble, responsive, open-minded, and forward thinking; and three, because her core foundation of solid training and mentored experience have never faltered, and have been her rock throughout. MA and Sustainable Design and Sourcing Certificate: Fashion Institute of Technology; BFA: SUNY Purchase.

Elisa Koizumi - Production Manager

Elisa is a veteran design professional who focuses on sustainability, fashion design, and product development. She wears her "veteran" status as a badge of honor; one because she has endured this crazy industry through its constant turns; two, because those changes have guided her towards being nimble, responsive, open-minded, and forward thinking; and three, because her core foundation of solid training and mentored experience have never faltered, and have been her rock throughout. MA and Sustainable Design and Sourcing Certificate: Fashion Institute of Technology; BFA: SUNY Purchase.

Ruth Conner - Advancement Writer   Veteran promotional writer Ruth has served more than 100 organizations—from Fortune 50s to nonprofit start-ups—while helping others learn to write competently as a community college adjunct professor of English Composition. Today Ruth is privileged to deploy her skills in the cause of expanding economic and social opportunity through her support of Custom Collaborative’s communications initiatives.

Ruth Conner - Advancement Writer

Veteran promotional writer Ruth has served more than 100 organizations—from Fortune 50s to nonprofit start-ups—while helping others learn to write competently as a community college adjunct professor of English Composition. Today Ruth is privileged to deploy her skills in the cause of expanding economic and social opportunity through her support of Custom Collaborative’s communications initiatives.

Brenna Dolan - Engagement & Sustainability Lead   As a recent 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 a recent 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.