PROGRAMS TEAM

Alexandra Riggs

Raised in Moscow, Russia, it is first in London, where she moved to pursue higher studies, that Alexandra realized how challenging but exciting life as an immigrant can be. In this diverse city, she came to learn about new cultures and traditions and her passion for education and languages grew day after day. In New York City, her encounters with inspiring women have driven her desire to engage with, and empower other young women like her.

Alexandra holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Marketing from Imperial College London and has extensive experience working in marketing and sales for international companies. She speaks fluently Russian, English, and Spanish, and enjoys learning other languages like German and French.

Alexandra loves to travel and read, to broaden her mind and discover new horizons.

 

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Ayala Benjamin

Having moved to New York in 2012 from Israel, Ayala brings her personal perspective and experience of acclimating to a new country and culture. She is passionate about women’s empowerment and interested in helping individuals develop their abilities by providing them the resources to have a competitive advantage in the job market and advance in their careers.

Ayala has international experience in the Human Resources field, including recruitment, training and development, talent management, and employee relations. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and graduated with honors from New York University with a Master’s Degree in Organizational Behavior.

In her free time, Ayala enjoys dancing salsa, traveling, exercising, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

 

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Elizabeth Cauchois

Elizabeth spent the last two years working with refugee and asylee youth, with a special focus on empowerment and providing tools to succeed in the US workplace and educational system. She is extremely passionate about women’s empowerment in particular, and ensuring that women have equal access to opportunities.

Elizabeth graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health, and has since taken on a variety of roles in the nonprofit world, whether it is in direct programming, fundraising, or marketing – She’s tried it all!

Elizabeth loves exploring new cities, meeting new people, and seeing live music.

 

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Eugenia Boutylkova

Born in Moscow, Russia and raised in the Netherlands, Eugenia experienced immigration at an early age, both the difficulties of starting anew and the excitement of the unknown. Since then she has migrated manifold and she enjoys exploring new cultures, meeting people, and discovering foods and languages.

Eugenia holds a Bachelor’s Degree (University College Utrecht) and Master’s Degree (University of Amsterdam) in the fields of Political Science and International Law. She has experience working in academia, the non-profit sector, and the United Nations. Her current work in New York is project-based, ranging from conducting evaluations and impact measurement for international NGOs to group facilitation for UN agencies and coaching young professionals. She is passionate about helping individuals and organizations define and reach their desired impact.

Eugenia’s favorite things to do include laughing at the new shenanigans of her toddler, catching up with good friends over dinner and drinks, taking photos when no one is looking, and listening to feel-good music.

 

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Fabiola D. Aniton

Fabiola immigrated with her parents from Haiti to the US at the age of 3. She has witnessed immigrant family members and other groups face discrimination and struggle to assimilate, yet their spirit and tenacity have helped them overcome significant barriers. She believes in helping leaders find their potential to impact and influence the world around them.

Fabiola is currently a freelance leadership development consultant. Previously, she held positions supporting diversity and inclusion in the corporate sector, as well as fundraising and board development in the nonprofit sector. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University and a Master of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Fabiola is an avid cyclist and self-proclaimed foodie who seeks adventure in international travel.

 

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Jan Kliger

JanJan, originally from New Jersey, lived several years in California before making New York her home. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, she started and developed successfully her own business in textile design. She returned to school after raising her daughter, earning a Master’s degree in Gerontology. She drew upon her education to develop and facilitate wellness classes for seniors in the New York area. Her fluency in Spanish added to her ability to interact joyfully and positively with a diverse community.

In the past few years Jan has worked for her local food pantry, first as a volunteer assisting the primarily Latino community, and most recently as the pantry’s Outreach Specialist. In this capacity she assisted clients of all ages with education and job opportunities, ESL classes, and more.

In her spare time, Jan loves to dance, play tennis, make art, and swim in the ocean.

 

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Kasia Szymanska

Kasia was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 15. Growing up in Chicago gave Kasia first-hand exposure to the troubles and tribulations faced by new immigrants to the country, particularity young women.

Kasia earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from DePaul University in 2013. Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America and taught 7th grade social studies at a turn-around charter school in Indianapolis. She simultaneously earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Marian University in Indianapolis.

Through her professional life, Kasia has gained experience in both teaching and facilitating. That, combined with a personal understanding of the immigrant experience makes Kasia especially excited about her work with NWNY.

In her free time, Kasia can be found volunteering at the Met, taking long strolls around Central Park with her standard poodle, Winston, or with a book at her Harlem apartment.

 

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Line Westergaard Rask

Originally from Denmark, Line worked in her home country with several nonprofit organizations to help the integration of immigrants and refugees. After moving to NYC in May 2016, she found in New Women New Yorkers a place where she could empower other young immigrant women and continue doing something close to her heart.

Line holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in the Study of Religion from the School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University. She strongly believes that cultural awareness – the ability to recognize the different beliefs, values, and customs that someone has based on her or his origins – is key to allowing individuals to build more successful personal and professional relationships in a diverse environment.

Line loves yoga, spinning, hiking, and travels whenever possible.

 

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Mary Woldegiorgis

Mary immigrated to the US with her family from Ethiopia when she was a child. Embedded in the immigrant community all of her life, she finds constant inspiration from their common spirit of transformation and perseverance.

Mary has several years of experience consulting for nonprofits both domestically and internationally, specializing in fundraising and communications. After studying International Development at UCLA, she worked for organizations and programs focused on issues ranging from domestic violence, gang prevention, and rare diseases, to refugee resettlement, youth development, and higher education.

Mary loves the outdoors, and enjoys hiking parts of the Appalachian trail whenever she visits her family in Georgia.

 

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Monica Foote

Monica is the Assistant Director of Next Step’s Employment Programs at Project Renewal. In this role she helps New Yorkers with significant barriers to employment obtain and keep jobs throughout the city. She has volunteered with non-profits in both California and New York focused on empowering women, especially with access to housing and employment.

Monica received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University. She volunteered at Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco for five years, was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in the dependent court system, and spent seven years running human resources and marketing for a small software company.

Monica adores her grandma. She spends her free time walking around NYC, drinking coffee, kickboxing, and eating cheese.

 

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Netsanet Tekeda Alemu

Netsanet was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but moved to California 10 years ago. Her first job while going to school was at an Ethiopian restaurant in Los Angeles, working alongside women who were refugees. Coming from a family who made it to the US from Ethiopia via Russia, Germany, and the Czech Republic, she understands that for immigrants the challenges are many, but the return in the chance they took is priceless. And she wants to be part of the force that propels them to accomplishing their goals, like her family members are doing for her.

Netsanet graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley. However, over the last few years she developed a strong interest in journalism. She is currently learning French and Arabic with the project to move to North Africa or the Middle East to pursue a career in freelance journalism, focusing on women’s rights, labor, and geopolitical issues.

Netsanet always looks at the big picture, and at finding alternate ways to do things. She prides herself in enabling an open and collaborative environment when working in groups.

Netsanet loves staying active, whether it is participating a boxing or ballet class, running or spinning. She also loves dancing and listening to music, currently Fetty Wap is on repeat, and she’s really sad that it took her this long to discover him.

 

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Pamela Dicent

Pam’s passion for leadership development and facilitating community-driven change is influenced by her experiences growing up in Queens, NY as the daughter of Dominican immigrants.

Pam has worked in various capacities at nonprofit organizations in New York City, focusing on leadership training, youth development, and fundraising. She was a Posse Foundation Scholar at Wheaton College (MA) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at New York University.

Pam enjoys utilizing her facilitation and project management skills to support people from diverse backgrounds in designing and implementing their visions for change.

Pam enjoys summer weekends in Rockaway Beach, working on her language skills, and planning her next getaway.

 

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Rose Chan Siow

Born in Hong Kong and immigrating to New York as a child, Rose’s parents hail from the countryside of Fujian, China. Rose’s strong desire to advocate and coach fellow women immigrants stems from her early experiences of not being able to tap resources due to a language barrier and cultural newness.

Rose is the Founder and Managing Director of SCOUT, a recruiting and talent consultancy focused on the retail and creative spaces. Her previous experiences include HR leadership roles at brands such as COACH, LVMH, Talbots, and OshKosh. She holds an MA in Human Resources from Marymount University and a BA in Economics from SUNY Stony Brook.

Rose is an avid runner, tinkerer (bookbinding, letterpressing, knitting and the like) and stays perpetually curious with her two daughters and husband.

 

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Sandra Merrill

As a New York native, Sandra has seen first hand the beauty of living in a place where diversity is celebrated and people from many cultures mix harmoniously. Sandra strives to support the woven NYC culture she loves by contributing to NWNY’s mission to promote education, cultural exchange, and assist women as they find their stride in NY.

After completing her Bachelor’s Degree at Boston University, Sandra joined Lulu Frost, a jewelry design house based in New York. She is currently its director and has many years experience as a business operator and manager.

Sandra is a strong believer that we are all citizens of the world and takes every opportunity to travel and put herself in situations where cultural exchange and learning are possible. Sandra is passionate about the outdoors and is an avid surfer, skier, and hiker with a love for the arts.

 

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Sneha HS

SnehaSneha was born and raised in Manipal, India, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering at the Manipal University. She moved to Bangalore to work with Infosys for 10 years – initially in the IT Services space, and then as part of their Learning and Development team. With a post-graduation degree in Human Resource Management and various certifications in behavioral sciences, she has gained extensive experience in managerial and leadership training and development.

While at Infosys, Sneha was involved in initiatives with the women’s inclusivity network. She has also worked with nonprofits in India, enabling education of near-literate adults in villages, and skills training of underprivileged students.

Sneha is actively involved with Toastmasters International and is a winner of various speech contests in India, UK and the US. She loves traveling, loves Bollywood music, dancing, reading fiction, supporting environmental and animal causes, and eating sweets!

 

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