Founding Members: Eleanor Swanson, Nancy Mezey, Helene Schlegel
Growing up in the projects of Newark, Art Howard was forced to confront violence, intimidation, crime and abject poverty. The one constant grounding influence throughout his life was his grandmother who had a sixth-grade education. Art's grandmother used a proactive approach steering Art away from violence and towards positive alternatives. Thanks to his grandmother's influence, he overcame countless obstacles and was the only family member out of 12 children to graduate college. Not only did he overcome odds by going to college, he went on to obtain three master's degrees and is currently working toward his doctorate. As a middle school principal in Holmdel, NJ, Art is emulating his grandmother's influence serving as a role model instilling the virtues of resilience, overcoming adversity and lifelong learning. In addition to his administration position, Art also counsels high risk children at the Millhill Child and Family Development Center in Trenton. Art is a living example that your circumstances don't determine your destiny.
Rachel is a speaker, teacher, blogger, certified executive & life coach and founder of Wondrance Coaching. She is dedicated to helping women executives create magnificent and fulfilling lives. She has been a passionate advocate for empowering women and girls throughout her life. She started her career as assistant professor of psychology, statistics and the psychology of language and commununication. From there, she shifted to business, where Rachel continue to leverage her psychology background and interest in the application of data to business decisions. She spent over 20 years in media and marketing in executive, leadership and entrepreneurial roles where she fostered the career development of women. Rachel is also a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who creates personalized wedding and other ceremonies. She earned a B.S. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, an MS and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is certified as a professional coach from The Coaches Training Institute. She is a regular speaker at professional and academic conferences, associations, and universities.
Stephanie has been the principal at Lafayette Estates School #25 in Fords, NJ, since 2009. After growing up in Newark, NJ in a multigenerational household (grandparents, uncle, aunt and mother), the only child of a teenaged mother who became a teen mom spent a short stint in the Navy. She then returned home to attend classes at Essex County College, Chubb Institute and Montclair State University while working for the then Bell Atlantic and raising her daughter. She took the leap of faith of leaving Bell Atlantic to complete her degree at Montclair, and upon completion of a bachelor's degree took another leap and began teaching in the Poconos only to return to Newark upon the death of her grandmother. In 2001, after attaining her M.A. in Educational Administration from New York University, Stephanie began working as an English Supervisor in the Woodbridge School District where she has remained and continues to be instrumental in developing unique programs to accomodate the widely diverse population and motivate others to strive for more.
Subhodev is a computer scientist by profession and a humanist by passion. He enjoys solving real-world problems, particularly of humanitarian nature, for which he sometimes relies on his doctoral degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His favorite pastime have been reading, writing, acting, photography, listening to music, traveling to places and meeting new friends.
Rahul is a management professional and a business leader with broad experience in technology and globalization. Rahul has more than 30 years of international business experience in leading companies in the US, United Kingdom and in India. Rahul has developed business strategy, set up new ventures, delivered multi-million dollar technology projects, and led global teams. Rahul’s goal is to put his business strategy and execution experience into practice for the cause of women’s education and empowerment.
Raili is assistant dean of Global Programs and associate faculty member at the New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in Women, Gender and Sexuality studies from The Ohio State University; two master’s degrees in history from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Kolkata, India. Prior to coming to NYU, Raili served as the associate director of the South Asia Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where she led a service-learning study abroad program in India and developed globally focused programming with schools, educational organizations, and community groups. In addition, she taught courses on topics such as women in social movements in South Asia, gender, development and women’s empowerment in South Asia, and gender and globalization in South Asia.
Cassandra, who has more than 15 years of experience as a litigator and court attorney for high profile cases, is an attorney at Havkins Rosenfeld Ritzert & Varriale, LLP on Long Island. During her career, she has also successfully defended officers and directors of housing cooperatives and other housing corporations in numerous professional liability and breach of contract cases throughout New York State and before the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Prior to embarking on her law career, Ms. Donovan was the assistant director of commercial revitalization at a local economic development group where she devised and implemented public-private initiatives to foster targeted and sustainable economic development and commercial revitalization ventures in various New York City neighborhoods. Cassandra, who began college at 16 as a Trustees Scholar, is fluent in French, Haitian Creole, and has a working knowledge of Spanish. A voracious reader and community advocate, she is also a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council – Geneva, Switzerland.