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Thirty-one Professionals Selected for Inaugural IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector

Thirty-one Professionals Selected for Inaugural IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector

The Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service is pleased to announce the 31 members of the inaugural IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector, a nine-month program enabling them to strengthen their  leadership and management skills.

Offered with support from the American Express Foundation, IGNITE offers a diverse group of mid-career women directing nonprofit programs and organizations across the United States exposure to best practices, processes for building personal and organizational leadership, and opportunities to build and strengthen core management capacities.

American Express Foundation President Timothy J. McClimon said, “We are thrilled to support this extraordinary group of women working on critically important social issues who are poised to not only deepen their organizations’ impact, but strengthen the leadership of the sector as a whole.”

The Fellowship begins with a leadership institute in New York City from August 1-6, which includes a welcome reception in the NYU President’s Penthouse, a luncheon with top nonprofit leaders, and robust leadership and management sessions over four days. Over the ensuing nine months, Fellows will participate in peer mentoring and webinars to sharpen their leadership skills with the support of cohort members and Fellowship managers.

RCLA Executive Director Bethany Godsoe said, “These women are advancing justice initiatives in game-changing ways across the nation. We are excited about giving them a chance to reflect, learn and apply best practices, and build a national network they can call on for ideas and support as they undertake ambitious change agendas.”

To learn more about the IGNITE fellowship, please visit: 

2013 IGNITE Fellows:

  • Alethea Simon, Vice President of Programs and Policy, Greenhope Services for Women, New York, NY
  • Ayeola Kinlaw, Director and Engagement Manager, Center for Public Research and Leadership, New York, NY
  • Elizabeth Clay Roy, Chief Strategy Officer, Phipps Community Development Corporation, New York, NY
  • Erica Hamilton, Vice President and Executive Director, City Year, New York, NY
  • Erika Davies, Director of Membership & Development, Association of Black Foundation Executives, New York, NY
  • Gaylon Alcaraz, Executive Director, Chicago Abortion Fund, Chicago, IL
  • Iliana Estevez, Federal Programs Manager, Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute, Washington, DC 
  • Imelba Rodriguez, Senior Program Director, Bridge Street Development Corporation, Brooklyn, NY 
  • Inez Gonzalez, Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Pasadena, CA
  • Jennise Hall, Director of Finance, Turning Point, Brooklyn, NY
  • Jovian Zayne Irvin, Managing Director for Regional Talent Recruitment and Strategy, Teach For America, New York, NY
  • Joy Messinger, Deputy Director, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Chicago, IL
  • Juhu Thukral, Director of Law and Advocacy, The Opportunity Agenda, New York, NY
  • Kia Chatmon, Development Officer, National Organization of Concerned Black Men, Washington, DC
  • Krystal Portalatin, Co-Director, FIERCE, New York, NY
  • Margarita Guzman, Program Director, Day One, New York, NY
  • Meredith Freeman, Program Director, Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Monique Miles, Deputy Director, The Aspen Institute, Washington, DC
  • Nathalie de Los Angeles Hodge, Program Director for the NYCHA Resident Training Academy, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, Brooklyn, NY 
  • Pamela Saelieb, Advisory Services Consultant, Taproot Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
  • Parisa Norouzi, Executive Director, Empower DC, Washington, DC
  • Rachelle Olden, National Director for the Roosevelt Institute Pipeline, Roosevelt Institute, New York, NY
  • Ramatu Bangura, Program Director, Sauti Yetu Center for African Women, Bronx, NY
  • Raquel Lynch, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Charlotte, NC
  • Rosita Choy, Director of Operations, National CAPACD, Washington, DC
  • Shreya Malena-Sannon, Program Director, Sadie Nash Leadership Project, Brooklyn, NY
  • Simone Sneed, Director of Development and External Affairs, Inwood House, New York, NY
  • Sindy Benavides, Director of Civic Engagement and Community Mobilization, League of United Latin American Citizens, Washington, DC
  • Tameeza Alibhai, Policy Manager, AKDN, AKF-Afghanistan, Washington, DC
  • Tiffany McQueen, Director of Educational Programs, LINK Unlimited, Chicago, IL
  • Tonya Davis-Taylor, Program Director, Palladia Inc., New York, NY

NYU Wagner’s Research Center for Leadership in Action conducts breakthrough research on leadership and offers customized leadership development and capacity-building programs. IGNITE is a program of RCLA’s People of Color Leadership Network, which aims to strengthen communities of color by supporting leadership by and for people of color. Learn more at . 

American Express: Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow
One of American Express' three platforms for its philanthropy is Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow. Under this giving initiative, which recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit and social sectors, American Express is making grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. More than 10,000 emerging nonprofit and social sector leaders worldwide have benefitted from American Express leadership programs. Launched in 2008, the American Express Leadership Academy addresses the growing deficit of leadership talent in the nonprofit sector. The Academy brings together emerging leaders from a diverse set of nonprofit, social sector and nongovernmental organizations.

About American Express
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Three Chosen as African Women Public Service Fellows (Oprah Scholars) for Fall, 2014

Three Chosen as African Women Public Service Fellows (Oprah Scholars) for Fall, 2014

NYU Wagner is delighted to announce that three incoming students with highly impressive education credentials, leadership skills and accomplishments in public service have been chosen as African Women Public Service Fellows beginning in Fall, 2014.

The African Women  Public Service Fellowship program, made possible by a donation from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, expands the opportunity for African women to prepare for careers in public service in their home countries. At NYU Wagner, the Fellows study in one of two graduate programs: the two-year Master of Public Administration or the one-year Executive MPA. They are committed to returning to their respective home countries at the conclusion of the program with the goal of assuming a leadership position on the continent where they can meaningfully contribute to the challenges currently confronting Africa.

Congratulations to the 2014 Fellows - Safina Shao, Lois Aryee, and Samrawit Melles.

Safina Shao (MPA PNP, May 2016):

Safina Shao was born in Kenya on the 24th of November 1985. Her humble upbringing inculcated in her lessons and values which she still carries to date. After completing her high school studies, she went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations at the United States International University-Africa where she graduated with cum laude.

Safina has worked in various capacities in the Private and Nonprofit sectors as a Program Assistant, Communication/Research Officer and one of the Founders of Ustawi International. In the course of her work, she has persistently advocated for programs that enhance support for women and the girl child to realize their socioeconomic potential, worth and political strength.

Safina’s passion of fostering women’s rights and empowering the girl child to realize and exercise her rights and freedoms is a lifelong journey to permanently alter the dire state of gender equality in Africa.

Lois Aryee (MPA PNP, May 2016):

Lois Aryee works with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) as an Evaluation Coordinator on the National Apprenticeship Program. At IPA, she works closely with researchers and economists to rigorously assess the apprenticeship program being implemented by the government of Ghana to provide skills training to secondary school drop-outs.

Lois graduated from DePauw University in May 2012 with a BA in Economics. During her undergraduate study, she spent a semester at New York University in London, where she took classes in International Economics and Renaissance Art.

She also worked for ClearlySo, a company that connects Social Businesses and Enterprises with potential investors looking for opportunities to be involved in the social sector. Lois received a Franklin Howes Grant from DePauw University which sent her home to conduct an independent research study on Microfinance in Ghana. Lois enjoys cooking and loves spicy food. She also enjoys working with children, and reading.

Samrawit Melles (EMPA, May 2016):

Samrawit Melles has more than seven years of experience in both the government and non-governmental sectors working in the gender and gender-based violence (GBV) fields in Ethiopia. Samrawit is currently working with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as a Women’s Protection and Empowerment Assistant Coordinator based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

She has worked with the IRC in Ethiopia in different capacities toward improving the wellness of women and girls, particularly those residing in refugee camps throughout the country. Samrawit has worked directly with refugees from Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, providing direct case management and psychosocial support services and coordinating with different agencies to support survivors GBV. Samrawit is the IRC Ethiopia focal person for GBV information management system in more than 10 refugee camps.

She is an engaging facilitator on various topics and one of the IRC global team’s key staff equipped to train on SASA!, an innovative prevention strategy aimed at ending violence against women and HIV. Samrawit consistently seeks opportunities for learning, exposure and experience, seeking to continue her work to improve the lives of the most at-risk populations.

We wish the 2014 African Women Public Service Fellows great success at NYU Wagner and beyond!


Three NYU Wagner Students Named 2014 Presidential Management Fellows Program Finalists

Three NYU Wagner Students Named 2014 Presidential Management Fellows Program Finalists

Three outstanding NYU Wagner students have been selected as Finalists by the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program, a flagship U.S. government leadership development program for advanced-degree candidates.

And the winners are...Leda Bloomfield, J. Ryan Norton, and Bianca Girault.

Under the PMF Program, created by Executive Order more than three decades ago, Finalists who assume two-year appointments with federal agencies are eligible for competitive salaries, fast-paced experience, classroom training, and potential promotion.

Out of 7,000 PMF applicants, 609 were named Finalists on April 10 – including Wagner’s very own:

Leda Kahee Noel Bloomfield - Program/Specialization: MUP/Economic Development & Housing / Expected Graduation: Spring (May) 2014.

J. Ryan Norton - Program/Specialization: MPA-PNP/International Policy & Management / Expected Graduation: Spring (May 2014).

Bianca Girault - Program/Specialization: MPA-PNP/Public Policy Analysis
Expected Graduation: Spring (May) 2014.



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