Biiftuu Ibrahim AdamNational Diversity Committee - Vice Chair
Biiftuu Ibrahim Adam is an Oromo American Women who was born in Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis, MN.
Biiftuu Ibrahim Adam is an Oromo American Women who was born in Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis, MN.
Brandon began his teaching career in Miami after graduating from Yale University in 2012.
He began teaching to continue the tradition that his own mother, a NYC High School Principal, started when he was a child: to fight tirelessly on behalf of our students’ right to a quality education. He fought for that right as a teacher at Miami Central SHS where he taught U.S. History and Reading, and successfully mentored students toward college acceptances and scholarships. He continued to fight for that right as a Dean at Jose de Diego Middle School, a once failing school, where he led the school culture’s transformation and helped increase school and student achievement.
Now, as a Managing Director at Equal Opportunity Schools, Brandon manages Partnership Directors in transforming the cultures of high schools nationally and helping increase access to college prep courses for low-income students and students of color. Brandon realizes that he was lucky to grow up with a parent who, as an educator, knew how to navigate the bureaucracy of public education. Brandon fights for our kids and communities, because he knows both what it means to have someone fight for your education and to have no one there to help you avoid the cracks in our system. Brandon believes that no student should have to rely on luck to access the educational opportunities they deserve.
In addition to Brandon’s work in the education sector, he looks forward to working with New Leaders Council to advance its DEI lens. He recognizes that to truly move progressive values forward, leaders must pair strategy and organizing with a developed understanding and ability to work with communities across lines of difference and similarity. Brandon has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale University, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Saint Thomas University. Born and raised in New York City, Brandon still roots for the Yankees, and is a free agent football fan until the Giants get it together again.
Candace Stanciel founded The Common Good Agency (CGA), a consulting firm focused on capacity building for nonprofits and Higher Education institutions, in 2003.
Through CGA Candace has led a number of efforts around DEI capacity building, public-private partnership development, brand activation, strategic planning and leadership development.
Candace’s work with clients focuses in developing DEI capacity and competency for systems change. Increased DEI capacity, or the ability to identify, interpret and interrupt inequitable practices, is critical for all individuals, but significantly more valuable for those in spaces of social impact seeking to deliver outcomes for people not driven by factors of race, gender, SES or other markers of identity.
Candace also serves as a Partner with New Profit, a venture philanthropy firm, where she coleads the Capitalizing Diverse Leaders and Organizations (CDLAO) initiative. CDLAO works to expand funding for Black and Latino social entrepreneurs; increase diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) capacity across the social impact sector; develop and support a growing body of senior philanthropic leaders of color; and expand the DEI data collection and analytics across philanthropy. Candace also leverages her convening expertise to design learning experiences that support the development of leaders across the philanthropic sector. She designs and facilitates New Profit's Diversity and Inclusion Group (DIG), as well as supporting on Talentrelated DEI initiatives and opportunities.
Prior to New Profit, Candace spent a decade supporting nonprofits across the United States. She would support strategic integration and student learning at historically Black colleges and universities including Morehouse and Spelman College, as well as Morehouse School of Medicine. She would also lead external relations within the national United Way network and for organizations like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And she would partner with corporations like The Coca-Cola Company, Nike/Brand Jordan and DaimlerChrysler to support public-private partnerships focused on community impact.
A consummate professional, she seeks to create synergy for each client through initiatives that meet an organization’s needs while creating positive community impact. Candace’s passion for social change is also exemplified through her volunteer work with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., New Leaders Council (NLC), The Boston Pearl Foundation and Mother Caroline Academy. Candace earned a B.A. in African-American studies from the University of Georgia in 2002 and a master’s degree in higher education from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006.
Danielle Groves grew up in a small suburban town outside of Philadelphia, PA.
From her time spent volunteering as a young child with her grandmother, to leading volunteer projects as a college student, she developed a passion for serving her community. While studying at the University of Central Florida, she fell in love with the diversity and culture of Orlando. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Event Management, Danielle worked for a variety of nonprofits, ranging from start-ups to national organizations. Throughout her 10+ year career, she gained a wide-range of experience, with a specialty in fundraising strategy, event management, corporate partnerships, and volunteer leadership.
Her career experience also provided a firsthand perspective into the inequitable and exploitative nature of the nonprofit industry. While serving on the executive board for Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Orlando, Danielle created professional development events for members to address some of the issues they were facing and overcome hurdles within their own organizations. This led her to New Leaders Council, where in 2017, she became part of the NLC family as a fellow. She was profoundly impacted by her experience, and went on to serve two years as Finance Chair and one year as Co-Director for NLC Orlando. NLC is the community of like-minded change-makers she had always been seeking to find. Now, Danielle is expanding her focus from a local level to the National Diversity Committee, looking forward to supporting the work of her peers in fulfilling the mission of New Leaders Council across the country.
Like millions of others who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, Danielle is using this time to transition to entrepreneurship; seeing through her longtime vision of supporting nonprofits in her community with her own business. She is driven by her desire to constantly grow, both personally and professionally, and looks forward to what’s ahead. Danielle is a proud wife and mother of a teenage stepson, twin preschoolers and a rescue dog. She currently resides in Ocoee, FL and enjoys nature walks, photography, a good debate, and X-Files reruns.
Evan Wright is a DEI educator with more than a decade of experience and has worked with people of all ages from a variety of backgrounds in educational and professional environments.
Farah is a Bangladeshi American, midwesterner, vegetarian, public servant, and parent.
Farah joined the 2014 NLC DC Fellows class and was a member of the NLC DC Executive Board in 2015. Always involved in NLC volunteerism through the years, especially regarding alumni engagement and fellows class selections, Farah is excited to support NLC in its mission to embed the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of NLC in her role on the National Diversity Committee.
Farah serves as Chief of Staff for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she focuses on community and economic development in rural and tribal communities. Her career has centered on economic inclusion and racial equity both within the federal government and outside at think tanks and advocacy organizations. Farah holds a Master in Public Affairs degree from Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
An avid reader, coffee-drinker, and extrovert, you will likely find Farah outside around a fire with her friends, family, and two incredible kids, effusing endless optimism for a more equitable world.
My name is Jamarr Sanchez Akins and I am a Magna cum Laude graduate of Florida A&M University with a baccalaureate degree in Public Relations.
I minored in political science and was very active on campus. I was a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, White and Gold Honor Society and the Public Relations Student Society of America where I was awarded the “Spirit Award.”
My humble beginnings began in the rural farming country of Gadsden County in a town called Quincy. I am the only child born to Jerry and Deborah Akins and I am the oldest grandchild on my mother’s side and one of the youngest on my father’s side. In high school, I excelled in academics and was voted, “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Class Clown.” I was also President of the National Honor Society and Homecoming King.
Currently, I am working temporarily with FEMA and the State Emergency Response Team as a Lead Case Manager. I assist people affected by Tropical Storm Fay to restore their homes and all properties lost. I am also at Nova Southeastern University pursuing a Master of Science in Leadership. After obtaining my masters degree, I plan to continue my matriculation at Nova and receive my Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership. I plan to start community centers in rural areas to instill in those individuals that they do not have to come from a big city to think and do big things.
My hobbies are socializing, imitating comedians and actors, singing, reading, writing and traveling to places that I have never been before. I also enjoy going to theme parks and riding the best roller coasters.
In brief, I am a simple country boy who enjoys playing spades as well as attending an opera or two. Being born during the Era of CAPRICORN makes me an ambitious, yet realistic young man. I look forward to getting to know each of you and I truly hope that we become blood and bleed crimson!
Katherine MacHolmes currently serves as the Program Partner for Community Outreach and Business Programming for Inclusive Communities, an affiliate of the National Federation for Just Communities.
Prior to her role at Inclusive Communities, Katherine worked in various positions in the culinary industry, working as a chef-in-training, and can still be caught tinkering around the kitchen and occasionally experimenting with recipes.
Currently, she organizes a community engagement program series, Omaha Table Talk, which provides opportunities for the Omaha and greater metro area community to engage in conversations around social justice themes and issues to open dialogue and build community and achieve understanding. She also has the privilege of working with a multitude of businesses, organizations, nonprofits and municipalities around institutionalizing diversity, equity, inclusion and justice and shifting interpersonal paradigms around how to infuse justice-centered approaches to interpersonal relationships.
As a biracial woman and a nontraditional college student, her approach to her work is informed by understanding the ways in which systems of inequity have been obstacles to her own potential to thrive and this approach informs her world view. Her work as an ardent social justice activist, accomplice and educator in dismantling systemic oppression and theatre actor has led Katherine to become particularly passionate about the ways in which the arts intersect with social justice. The combination of her passions has manifested this year into several new projects that would seek to combine social justice, theatre and community engagement to create new communities of shared experience. Shifting the ideas that we currently hold around talent, creativity and art is just one goal of these new efforts.
Katherine, in her spare time, is a member of several community organizations and leadership programs and can be seen around town auditioning for roles, volunteering on theatre productions, having coffee, laughing loudly and making new friends.
After Katherine completed the NLC Institute in 2019 with the San Francisco Chapter, she joined the Chapter Board as a Recruitment and Selections Co-Chair.
She is excited to advance NLC’s vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion by serving on the NLC National Diversity Committee.
Katherine served as the Deputy Director of Immigration Services for former U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris. In this capacity, she handled immigrant affairs, monitored ICE enforcement and detention issues, and assisted Californians having issues with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and Department of Justice.
Prior to joining the U.S. Senate, Katherine worked at the ACLU of Northern California in various capacities working on policy advocacy, criminal justice, and volunteer coordination. Her proudest role was Program Coordinator, where she built and oversaw the organizing department’s immigrant rights field fellowship program in the wake of Trump’s presidency.
Katherine volunteers with the American Center for Philippine Arts, based in Oakland, CA, where she teaches dance and supports building cultural education programming for Filipino-American youth. She danced with Kularts, a Filipino tribal and contemporary arts company, based in the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District of San Francisco. She has a background in classical ballet and regularly dances ballet, contemporary, and modern dance.
As a college senior, Katherine launched her career in public service interning at the Obama White House supporting Latino and Immigration Outreach. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in Sociology and double minored in Philippine and Legal Studies. She grew up in San Jose, CA and is a daughter of Filipino immigrants.
Kelly Capatosto is a researcher, author, and public speaker from Ohio. She graduated from the Columbus NLC chapter in 2020.
For the past five years, Kelly has worked at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University where she serves as their Research and Data Policy Specialist. Her work explores how systemic racism affects decision-making and its impact on public policy. She also led the launch of Kirwan’s online Implicit Bias module series, which has reached over 65 thousand participants in the fields of, education, child welfare, and health. Most recently, her research has focused on how bias in big data and algorithms can perpetuate inequality. Her work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, L.A. times, Slate, and The New Republic
Kelly is a three-time OSU graduate. She has masters degrees in School Psychology and Public Administration as well as a Bachelors in Psychology. She will also be entering Harvard Law School as a student in Fall 2021.
In her spare time, Kelly likes to cook, garden, and spend as much time outdoors as midwest weather allows.
Kim Hess is an anthropologist and DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) senior consultant who has worked with companies, non-profits, and organizations such as the Democratic Congressional Caucus Committee, VMWare, the City of San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Development, and Black Girls Code.
She holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in Anthropology and Social Change. She is the founder of BlacksinTech.org and co-founder and principal of The Anthropological Research Center. She is currently serving as a board member of the New Leaders Council, Oakland chapter, and also serves on the National Diversity Committee for NLC.
Maaso Kalema, M.S.Ed is a DEI strategist and practitioner, community and institutional organizer and the Founder of AYA Consulting Firm, a firm committed to actualizing equity and justice at a foundational and institutional level.
She has researched, studied, and worked in partnership with clients, organizations and systems leaders in the public and private sector around the world including South Africa, Bangladesh and Kenya where she has had the opportunity to work, serve and learn through her equity work and systems strategy, design and facilitation work with global leaders. Maaso believes that holistic development is the path towards equity, justice and liberation and strives to work towards global solutions towards transformation and impact.
Originally from Minnesota, her work as a leader and advocate spans across the country and world. In her home state, she developed and created programming to explicitly address the growing disparities alongside various organizations including the City of Minneapolis, Urban Research and Opportunities Center, NAACP, and the Children’s Defense Fund and researched social change systems at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
As a product of public schools and institutions, she believes deeply in rights and opportunities associated with attaining an equitable and quality education and the role she has in ensuring that this is not a dream deferred but a right actualized not only for some but all. Her expertise lies at the intersection of systems and organizational strtegy, diversity, equity, & inclusion design and facilitation, coaching, and leadership development and she seeks to create synergy through her work. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and earned her Master of Science degree from John Hopkins University in Education Studies.
Maaso enjoys developing leaders to maximize impact for families and communities and serves as Managing Director of Capacity Building with an educational equity non-profit; Teach for America. Maaso's commitment and passion for social change and impact is also exemplified through her volunteer experience as a member of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., NAACP and local and city governments. She is a New Leaders Council (NLC) North Carolina alum and serves as a member on the National Diversity Committee with NLC.
Madaline Edison is an educator, nonprofit executive, South Dakotan, and mama.
In 2015, she joined the founding board of New Leaders Council - Twin Cities and served as curriculum chair. She then joined the National Diversity Council, leading efforts to revise and expand curriculum offerings related to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
In her day job, she serves as the founding executive director of Educators for Excellence in Minnesota, where she has worked since 2012. She draws upon her prior experience as a kindergarten teacher to organize other educators to enact policy change on topics ranging from strengthening teacher preparation to increasing teacher diversity to ending racial discipline disparities in schools.
Nekpen Osuan is a Manager of Strategy & Analytics at Deloitte Consulting and an Adjunct at Columbia University.
Nekpen's background in analytics combined with her public sector experience in education and political organizing led her to create the non-profit @WomenWerk. Nekpen serves as CEO & Co-Founder of @WomenWerk which reaches 5,500 women and girls annually in New York City. A Contributor for Women at Forbes.com, she was recently named a NYC Five Borough Future Fellow by The Arena, a BlogHer 2018 Voice of the Year, the 2017 Baylor University Young Alumna of the Year, a 2018 92Y Woman in Power Fellow, a 2018 Walkers Legacy Women in Leadership Honoree, and a 2017 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow. Nekpen serves on the DNC’s Young Professionals Committee and Women's Leadership Forum, and is a volunteer on professional boards for Vote Run Lead, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, The Council of Urban Professionals, The New Leaders Council, and the famed Apollo Theatre in New York City.
Nekpen speaks widely on my passion for amplifying women in leadership across politics, social impact and business. She has a poken at SXSW, Essence Festival, the Riveter, AdWeek, the National Urban League Annual Leadership Conference, Columbia Business School, Wharton Business School, New Leaders Council National Conference, Barnard College, NYU, 92Y Global Leadership Training, The Council of Urban Professionals Annual Conference, WeWork and Ladies Get Paid's Women's Equal Pay Day events, and more.
Nekpen earned her bachelor’s degree with honors and Baylor University and earned her master's degree at Columbia. She enjoys running, travel, and cooking in her free time.
A trailblazer, Reda Taleb is a first generation college graduate, first female attorney, and first Founder and CEO in her family.
She zealously embraces her role in changing the trajectory of her family's lineage, intent on creating pathways for generational wealth, and being a servant leader in her community. Her unique background and interdisciplinary perspective make her a highly sought after consultant, mentor, and facilitator to clients across the country.
Through her company Dream Catcher Innovations™, Reda uses the synergy of her innate, multi-passionate, and entrepreneurial skills, to serve her clients with grant writing and management, startup development, and leadership and career coaching. She has presented her signature grant writing workshop at Detroit Startup Week, and in numerous US cities including NYC, Denver, Houston, Chicago, and New Orleans.
Reda's Spark! Talk, "Marhaba, Enti Bent Min: Hello, Whose Daughter Are
You?" was featured at the 2019 NLC National Convention. The talk utilizes spoken word poetry to expose the listener to the impact of incarceration on the Middle Eastern community, through a personal testimony that exists at the intersection of patriarchy, criminal justice reform, and the need for healing. She is the co-founder of the NLC MENASA Caucus (Middle East, North Africa, South Asia), and also serves as a senior LEAD trainer.
Reda currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Dean's Office at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Campus. She is a proud Detroiter, and daughter of Lebanese Muslim immigrants. Reda is a criminal justice and decarceration advocate, spoken word artist, loves to paint, travel, and enjoy the outdoors.
Richard Leong is a diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) consultant and leadership/identity development coach. He identifies proudly as an Asian American, the son of immigrants, and uses he/him/his pronouns.
Richard is an Associate Strategist at Collective, a DEI consulting firm for millennial-driven brands and organizations. In his role, he leverages a diverse set of skills ranging from learning/development, data analytics, and program/project management. In his career and independent practice, Richard has successfully designed and facilitated DEI workshops and conversations for over 1,000 participants collectively around the world. As a coach, Richard focuses on supporting Asian Americans and people of color with unpacking how their identities and lived experiences inform their values and leadership style. He has a particular passion for supporting students and young professionals of color with how to take space and deepen their influence.
Richard began his career with Teach for America as a 5th grade teacher in St. Paul, MN. His experiences working directly with students and families ground his commitment to partnering with others to drive systemic change. Prior to coming to Collective, Richard worked on national and statewide campaigns to recruit and train equity-oriented civic leaders to run for public office, work in policy/advocacy, and organize their communities. He is particularly passionate about building spaces that invite those from marginalized communities to bring their full and authentic selves into their leadership.
Outside of work, Richard was a 2019 NLC Los Angeles fellow, and serves on the Board of Directors of Act To Change, a national nonprofit that empowers Asian Pacific Islander American students, families, and educators with the knowledge and tools needed to stop and prevent bullying.
Richard is proud to live in Los Angeles where he spends his free time trying new restaurants, listening to podcasts, and coming up with excuses to avoid hiking. He has a BA in Sociology from Columbia University and an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. He can be reached through LinkedIn or his website, www.richardleong.com.
A 2017 alum, Sean entered NLC leadership immediately after his fellowship and is serving his second year as NLC Chicago’s co-director.
He serves on the National Diversity Committee to institutionalize the values of equity and justice at the chapter level.
Day-to-day, Sean works at Kivvit, one of the most eminent public affairs firms in the world. He helps clients develop their public affairs and integrated communications strategy, with a particular focus on advocacy coalitions, non-profits, and CSR/social-impact initiatives. He specializes in strategic planning, messaging, stakeholder engagement, and digital media.
Sean went to Kivvit after serving as the communications director for Amara Enyia's campaign for mayor, where he led overall communications strategy and served as campaign spokesperson. Prior to that, he handled marketing, digital media, and executive communications for World Business Chicago, the city's public-private economic development organization. Throughout this career, Sean has moved institutions toward equity by initiating organizational development and communicating the need for transformational change.
Sean graduated from Roosevelt University with a BSBA in management and organizational development. Currently living in Chicago's South Loop, he spends his free time on personal health, spiritual growth, and enjoying visionary fiction such as sci-fi movies and anime. If he weren’t doing this work, he’d be a physicist and astronaut.
Shenée L. Simon, is an independent researcher, committed advocate for girls and women.
After spending twelve years in Corporate Recruiting, Business Development and Independent Girl Schools she channeled her skills towards Non Profit Development. Launching S.H.E. Collective a movement rethinking women’s peace and security (WPS) for girls and women through research, advocacy and programs.
Shenée a Tennessee transplant from Richmond, VA is actively engaged locally, nationally and internationally. She believes in triad approach for engagement and transformation. Contributing, and leading programs and initiatives promoting gender equity, inclusion, and leadership. She is a 2018 New Leaders Council Fellow of San Antonio and has served as the National Co-Chair for the Women's Caucus since 2019 and a national member of New Leader's Council Diversity Committee. She was a 2020 Inaugural Fellow for Women of Color Advancing Peace & Security (WCAPS). A current fellow for Urban Rural Action and 2020 United State of Women Ambassador for Tennessee. Shenée is a member of the International Committee for People Strike and Director of Membership and Development for the Southeastern Women's Studies Association. She is newly appointed member of the Parks and Recreation Board for her new hometown, Bartlett TN.
Shenée has a M.A. in Women & Gender Studies (Southern Connecticut University) M.A. in Human Resources Management (Rollins College) and B.A. in Women’s Studies & Leadership Studies (University of Richmond). She is a proud Army Spouse and mother of 4!
Stephanie Brown currently serves as associate counsel in the Governor’s Authorities Unit, which provides oversight of the governance and operations of more than 50 independent state and bi-state agencies on behalf of Governor Phil Murphy.
Stephanie works directly with several authorities, including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Fort Monmouth Revitalization Authority, New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, and the Casino Control Commission. Additionally, Stephanie is working across the authorities to develop a diverse, equitable, and inclusive statewide ecosystem. Stephanie previously served as a diversity officer and cabinet liaison for the Murphy administration.
Prior to her time in Trenton, Stephanie served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Jersey City. While there, she worked in the Labor and Employment Section, where she represented and defended the City, its entities, and employees in labor and employment-related matters, including claims for discrimination, wrongful discharge, employment-related torts, Public Employment Relations Commission matters, and matters before the Office of Administrative Law.
Stephanie attended Seton Hall University School of Law and completed her undergraduate study at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She graduated from Rutgers with a dual degree in Political Science from the School of Arts and Sciences, and Planning and Public Policy, from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
Stephanie is committed to her community, specifically on issues related to racial justice, the creation of meaningful pipelines, and the empowerment of under-resourced communities. She is currently the Deputy Chapter Director of New Leaders Council New Jersey, a nationwide training program for the next generation of progressive leaders. Stephanie has also served as a Trustee for the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, a Commissioner on the Human Relations Commission for the Township of West Orange, a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns, and as a mentor in the NJLEEP and American Dream Pipeline Programs.
Zakhar Berkovich currently serves as Director of Undergraduate Student Services at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy.
In his role, he is responsible for developing and maintaining meaningful undergraduate engagement opportunities. Prior to his appointment at the Rockefeller College, he was the Assistant to the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Staten Island/CUNY where he worked with ten departments and over 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Zakhar double majored in Biology and Judaic Studies at the University at Albany and earned his M.S. in Education Administration from the School of Education at UAlbany as well. Zakhar is proud alum and a zealous Great Dane.
RT @MrMikeBlake: .@NLC_NYC trains rising civic leaders in politics/gov’t, advocacy, business, & the arts. The @NLC NYC Institute is 100% fr…