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New Leaders Council

Our Board

NLC Boston, 2018-2019 Board Members

Helena_Berbano_Cropped.pngHelena Berbano, Chapter Co-Director

Helena Berbano is a civic engagement and organizing specialist. She has managed national voter engagement programs, working with state and local nonprofits and grassroots groups. She has worked with diverse constituencies, with a particular focus on disenfranchised populations. For the 2016 election cycle, she co-founded and organized a national coalition of Asian American Pacific Islander millennials in support of a major party candidate. She also has trained leaders from a variety of advocacy and nonprofit networks, including the National Association of Community Health Centers, YWCA, United Way Worldwide, and League of Women Voters. She currently directs Teens Leading the Way, is a statewide, youth-led coalition which seeks to empower young people to create lasting change through policy-making.

She holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she was given the distinctions of McCormack Scholar, Keough Capstone Fellow, and Best Capstone for her research focused on women of color public office initiatives. She sits on the
boards of Mass NOW, New Leaders Council - Boston, and the Young Democrats of Massachusetts. On her days off, she listens to musical theatre compilations and avidly sings power ballads at karaoke.

Danielle_Kim_Cropped.pngDanielle Kim, Chapter Co-Director

Danielle (2015 NLC Boston Fellow) is the Director of Policy and Communications at Boston After School & Beyond, a public-private partnership that seeks to expand access to after-school and summer learning opportunities for all Boston youth. Previously, Danielle served as a Communications Specialist for the NJ Senate Majority Office, where she managed the legislative press for six state senators. Danielle began her career in education policy as a Fulbright Fellow in South Korea, where she taught over 1,300 students at an urban, all-girls high school. Danielle then worked as a community organizer in New Jersey, most notably as a Regional Field Director for the 2012 presidential campaign. She earned a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Psychology from Smith College. From 2015-2017, Danielle served as NLC Boston's Selections Co-Chair. She transitioned into the Co-Director role starting last year.

Jamaal Williams, Chapter Co-Director

Jamaal Williams is committed to building youth to affect social change. A native of Queens, NY, Jamaal strives to serve others and to help them unlock their full potential. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in psychology and has used his talents in service-learning programming, group facilitation, and talent development throughout his career. Jamaal served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year New York for two years, crafting and running a leadership development program for middle school youth centered on social justice and empowering youth to become agents of change in their communities. After his service years, he redesigned and ran the Summer Institute program at Ithaca College, their pre-freshman summer program, honing his skills in building team and leading peers. After serving as the Recruitment Manager for City Year Boston for three years, Jamaal moved to Detroit to manage Adam Hollier's Detroit City Council campaign in 2013. As a Campaign Manager, Jamaal saw first-hand the importance of grassroots work, mobilizing residents and volunteers to remain civically engaged. Currently, Jamaal serves as the National Recruitment Director for City Year, informing City Year's strategy to recruit talented and diverse AmeriCorps members to serve as tutors, mentors, and role models in 28 cities across the country and working to develop City Year's recruitment and admissions workforce. His passion for youth development is only matched by his love of reading, drawing, cooking, and basketball.

Dave Rini, Advisory Committee Chair

Dave (2014 NLC Boston Fellow) is the Prison Rape Elimination Act project coordinator for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, working to support survivors of rape and sexual assault who are currently incarcerated in Massachusetts. Previously, he served as an assistant director for Boston's Inspectional Services Department, overseeing the city's rental housing inspection ordinance.

Prior to joining BARCC as staff, he was a long-time volunteer with the community awareness and outreach team, and briefly worked as the organization's staff attorney. Dave was a member at-large of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women from 2011-2010, and as the Vice-President of Legislation from 2012 to 2015, where members of his legislative action team drafted the Massachusetts equal pay bill. He previously served as the NLC Boston alumni chair from 2014-16, and then as chapter co-director from 2016-18. Dave has his B.S. from Boston University and a J.D. from Northeastern University.


Sandra Sarucia, Institute Co-Chair

(2013 NLC Miami Fellow) Wife. Dog-mom. Dorchester Community Member. Educator. Advocate. Queer. Latina. Jewish. Born in Brazil to a Mexican mother and American father, Sandra grew up across the three countries. She has masters degrees in Public Administration and Education & Social Change. During her day job, she works to impact MA public school students through the Department of Ed by ensuring new teachers receive the training and skills they need to be effective educators for all students, and she is working to increase the number of educators of color in MA. Sandra entered the education field as a Kindergarten teacher through Teach For America where she also worked on staff in Miami and led initiatives to increase the focus on issues of diversity, inclusiveness, and values-based leadership. Outside of work, in addition to NLC, she spends time volunteering to help children at a Dorchester homeless shelter and supporting formerly incarcerated young men who are working to turn their lives around and learning to become personal trainers. 


Lisa Lazare, Institute Co-Chair

Lisa (2018 NLC Boston Fellow) was born in Trinidad and moved to Brentwood, New York when she was nine years old. She grew up understanding the value of an excellent education. Her parents always reinforced the idea that your education is the one thing that someone cannot take away from you. Lisa was inspired and supported at an early age to advocate for herself and her education. While obtaining her degree, it became apparent that there were few women of color majoring in the sciences. After graduating from Stony Brook University with a bachelors of science and an M.B.A., she found her way to teaching high school chemistry. She always had a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and wanted to inspire more young women and young men of color to pursue degrees and careers in STEM. In the classroom, she found her calling as an advocate for others and wanted to broaden her impact to include as many students, families, and communities as possible.

Lisa currently works at Educators for Excellence to continue positively impacting communities of color in education. As an immigrant and a woman of color, there have been many spaces where she felt her voice was either stifled or not allowed. As an Outreach Director, she grounds herself in listening to the needs of her community and always bears in mind that best intentions do not always have the intended impact.


Sathyaprya Mandjiny, Recruitment Co-Chair

Sathyaprya Mandjiny (2018 NLC Boston Fellow), also known as Sathya, was born in France and raised in North Carolina. Sathya recently graduated from the Boston College School of Social Work with her MSW focused on macro social policy. Her interest in policy was sparked during her undergraduate studies at UNC Chapel Hill focusing on Global Studies and South Asian Studies. However, inspired by the work of her parents, both educators, she joined Teach for America to teach 9th grade science in Colorado Springs and later 7th and 8th grade science in her hometown. During this time, Sathya saw first-hand the need for social workers for both children and families. Once at Boston College, her previous interest in policy was renewed and she interned at the Massachusetts State House and then at the National Association of Social Workers-Massachusetts Chapter where she focused on legislation surrounding child welfare and criminal justice. She had the unique opportunity in her final year internship at the NASW to lead 700 social workers to the Massachusetts State House to lobby on a variety of bills of interest to social workers. Sathya’s collective experiences has led her to her current position as Political Manager at MassEquality where she engages in legislative advocacy and electoral politics. She lives in Quincy and now calls Massachusetts home.


Connor Wakayama, Recruitment Co-Chair

Connor (2018 NLC Boston Fellow) is committed to creating collaborative, scalable solutions that help low-income individuals gain access to greater economic opportunity.

He currently works for Grads of Life, a national initiative that works to change employer perceptions and hiring practices to make quality jobs more available to the 5 million young adults in the United States who are currently unemployed and not enrolled in higher education. As an Associate, Connor engages directly with employers and job training organizations to build partnerships that allow motivated young people to enter the workforce with a clear pathway and resources to guide continued career growth. He also contributes to Grads of Life’s work to develop tools and products that amplify the impact of such programs, both on the lives of participants and on the companies that have created sustainable solutions to their pressing talent needs.

Connor entered the workforce development field through a New Sector Alliance fellowship on Year Up’s Human Resources team, in which he coordinated several initiatives to support organizational development and staff wellbeing. Before moving to Boston, he spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow in Saratov, Russia. During this time he taught English at the city’s main university and organized several events with local partners to foster greater understanding of American culture and society.Connor graduated from Middlebury College, where he studied political science and Russian. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and enjoys running, cooking, and kayaking in his free time.

Nyah_Macklin_Cropped.pngNyah Macklin, Selections Co-Chair

Nyah Macklin (they/she) (2017 NLC Boston Fellow) is a dedicated and charismatic diversity and inclusion professional who has dedicated her life to creating and sustaining systems of education, government, and society that consistently re-examine and re-evaluate the ways these institutions perpetuate the exclusion of historically underrepresented communities. Nyah specializes in holistic and programmatic reform, drawing on her experience as a consultant to various institutions. She has analyzed, designed, and implemented policies centered on the empowerment of diverse, marginalized communities within these institutions, thereby strengthening their culture, operations, and revenue.

Prior to obtaining her degree in African and Afro-American Studies from Brandeis University, Nyah studied in the New Haven, CT public school system. It was here that she watched her fellow low-resource Black and brown students struggle to excel in an educational environment where budget cuts left students with tattered and outdated textbooks, overcrowded classrooms, and frequent engagement with the school-to-prison pipeline. Her undergraduate studies and her background shaped her drive to re-examine policies that affect urban education, housing markets, and income inequality.

Ms. Macklin is a Breakthrough Collaborative alumna and teaching fellow alumna, the first Black woman in the history of Brandeis to serve as President of the University’s Student Government, one of four women of color to negotiate for the rights of 100 students of color during a 12-day crisis occupation. This effort resulted in a diversity and inclusion implementation plan for Brandeis University. She serves as Vice Chair on the board of the Black Alumni Network at Hopkins School, and is a 2018 Philanthropy Connection Fellow. Currently, Nyah works as the Senior Advisor and Legislative Aide to a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and is a proud Roxbury resident.

Jessica_Pires_Cropped.pngJessica Pires, Selections Co-Chair

Jessica (2018 NLC Boston Fellow) is passionate about bringing people together as an event planner and fundraiser. She currently works as an Executive Assistant and Events Coordinator at Pacific Resources. She also serves as Co-Director for Women with Purpose, a Boston organization that strives to connect, cultivate and empower women who identify themselves as minorities by enhancing their professional and leadership skills and helping them to thrive personally and professionally. In this volunteer role, Jessica plans and emcees a series of development seminars on topics ranging from negotiation to personal branding and financial health. A woman of many trades, Jessica is also a team member for Without a Hitch, working with brides and celebrants to ensure their wedding day is flawless. Previously, Jessica worked with Accion International in fundraising and donor engagement. Jessica started her career as a fundraising consultant on several political campaigns in Massachusetts; she is particularly proud to have been a part of Attorney General Maura Healey's historic win in 2014. Jessica is a champion of racial and LGBT equality as well as services for elders. She volunteers weekly with FriendshipWorks as a companion for isolated elders, and serves as a fundraising adviser for Glenmeadow Retirement Community in Longmeadow, MA. Jessica holds a B.A. in International Studies and Anthropology from Colby College. In her free time, she enjoys hosting themed potlucks, curating playlists, and bullet journaling. She is a Hygge enthusiast and a proud Cantabrigian.

Jennifer_Angarita_Cropped.pngJennifer Angarita, Engagement Co-Chair

Jennifer Angarita has a deep passion for advancing racial and economic equity. Her background is in partnership building, strategic planning, and advocacy for immigrant, underserved and financially vulnerable communities. Her experience spans multiple fields including labor, youth and human services, community development, municipal government and philanthropy. She has served as an Opportunity Finance Fellow, a New Leaders Council Fellow and a Philanthropy Connection Fellow. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Yale University and a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.




Phuong_Luong_Cropped.pngPhuong Luong, Engagement Co-Chair

Phuong Luong is the founder of Just Wealth, a virtual, fee-only financial planning practice serving people doing mission-driven work. She also trains nonprofit professionals on how to build effective and culturally relevant financial coaching and counseling programs for marginalized communities, and provides education on structural economic inequality. Her first career was as a math teacher, special education case manager, and curriculum developer, for public schools throughout New England.

Phuong is a member of the CFP (Certified Financial Planning) Board’s Council on Education. The COE advises CFP Board staff on the development of all educational policies related to the CFP® certification process. She is also a member of the Center for Financial Planning’s Diversity Advisory Group, to build recruitment pathways for planners of color and to retain them in the profession. Recently, she served on the CFP Board’s Ethics Working Group to develop Ethics training standards for financial planners.

Phuong earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she was a graduate of the Teacher Education Program and a recipient of the Woodrow-Wilson Rockefeller Brothers Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color. She also earned a M.Ed in Special Education from Boston University. She completed the Financial Planning Program at Boston University, where she earned the CFP® designation and was a recipient of the Robert J. Glovsky Scholarship for Financial Planning. Phuong is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).

Ying_Wang_Cropped.pngYing Wang, Engagement Co-Chair

Ying (2015 NLC Boston Fellow) grew up in Boston and remains deeply committed to her community. Professionally, she serves as Associate Counsel and Assistant Vice President at State Street Bank & Trust Company, practicing financial services law and specializing in contracts drafting, review, negotiation and distribution services. Ying is also a Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, providing legal assistance to military service members and their families on a diverse range of topics as well as supporting legal operations to national strategy.

Ying was appointed by Attorney General Maura Healey to serve on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Asian American Commission, which advocates and supports Asian American Pacific Islanders throughout the state. She currently volunteers for Boston's Community Preservation Committee, making project funding decisions in affordable housing, parks and open space improvements, and historic preservation. As a member of Mayor Martin J. Walsh's SPARK Boston Council, Ying creates programming and resources to answer the policy and social needs of millennial Bostonians. She is also a part of the Boston Bar Association's Public Interest Leadership Program, promoting public service and civic engagement in the legal profession.

Maggie Filler, Policy Chair

Maggie is a legal fellow with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, where she files strategic litigation on behalf of prisoners who have endured years of extreme solitary confinement in prisons across the country. Maggie previously worked at Prisoners' Legal Services of Massachusetts, the statewide legal services organization for persons incarcerated in Massachusetts jails, houses of correction, and prisons. Her focus at Prisoners' Legal Services included disability rights, access to medical care, conditions of confinement, and legislative reform.

Maggie is a former law clerk to the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Myron H. Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Stanford Law School. At Stanford, Maggie volunteered with the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison, where she organized a course on the criminal justice system. She also led know-your-rights courses for young people in juvenile detention. Maggie has interned with the ACLU’s National Prison Project, the Santa Clara and Alameda County Public Defender, and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

Maggie is on the funding panel for the Haymarket People's Fund and is a resident of Jamaica Plain.

Molly Maloney, Communications Co-Chair

Molly Maloney (2017 NLC Boston Fellow) serves as the Assistant Director of Legislation, Communication and Political Action for AFSCME Council 93, a 45,000 member public employee union in Northern New England. In her role with Council 93, she drafts and analyzes legislation and budgets at the state and municipal level across Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In addition, she leads political campaign efforts for the union in Northern New England focusing on good jobs, access to affordable housing and healthcare, quality public education, and preventing the privatization of public services. Molly previously served as a Fundraiser and Political Action Representative for AFSCME International from 2011-2014. In this role, she managed all membership fundraising efforts in 13 states while also leading campaigns to fight ‘Right to Work’ and anti-union legislation in Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and California. Molly is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with a BA in Criminal Justice. She recently served as a member of the City of Boston’s Residency Policy Commission whose mission was to examine current residency policies in place in the City of Boston and recommend policy changes.

Originally from Grass Valley, CA, Molly has quickly fallen in love with the charm of Boston life and warmed up to the chilly Boston winters with the help of a Burdick’s hot chocolate!

Garrett_Nichols_Cropped.pngGarrett Nichols, Communications Co-Chair

Garrett (2018 NLC Boston Fellow) is an Assistant Professor of English at Bridgewater State University where he teaches and writes about rhetoric, power, and culture. Born in rural Idaho, much of Garrett's scholarly writing focuses on the intersections of sexuality and rurality in U.S. culture. At BSU, Garrett helped to establish the university's first LGBTQ Residential Learning Community, which allows LGBTQ+ students to live and study together, building community and improving retention.

Outside of his work at the university, Garrett is involved in politics, working with several local and regional political campaigns in a variety of capacities, including campaign management and communications. (He loves writing speeches.) He has a B.A. in Psychology from Grove City College, an M.A. in English from Illinois State University, and a Ph.D. in English from Texas A&M University.

Garrett lives with his husband in Quincy, where he fills his spare time knitting, luxuriating in the new Golden Age of Television, and sweeping up dog hair.

Val_Castanteen_Cropped.pngVal Castanteen, Finance Co-Chair

Val (2017 NLC Rhode Island Fellow) is a proud first-generation Colombian, Lebanese, and Syrian American. Following her interest in progressive initiatives, Val served 2 years with AmeriCorps in Providence, RI, as a City Year AmeriCorp member and as an Americorp Vista at Brown University. After her service years, she then transitioned to her next role as an Economic Development Associate in the Office of Economic Opportunity for the City of Providence, RI.

At her time in Rhode Island, she also served as a state Governing Board Member for Common Cause RI. As an NLC fellow, she expanded upon her community work with Rhode Island Correction Facility and Roger Williams University initiative; Pivot the Hustle, a program that provides skills and career development support the RI male/female prison population to prepare them for employment and career paths that lead to self-sufficiency.

As a young professional, she aspires to continue to learn more about collective leadership, organizational infrastructure, and effective/ inclusive team dynamics in today’s multi-disciplinary private, public, and nonprofit private sectors.

She recently moved to Greater Boston from RI and is excited to be part of the NLC family.

Val_Castanteen_Cropped.pngZach Hobbs, Finance Co-Chair

Zach (2018 NLC Boston Fellow) serves as Director of the Community Service Center at Boston University, working to create space within an institution where students develop as engaged civic leaders creating programs and opportunities for their peers to learn beyond campus, student and community partner voices are centered in the academic experience, and members of the BU and Boston communities can partner to increase access to opportunities and resources for all. Beyond Boston and BU, he has worked in civic education in Andover and Lawrence, MA at Phillips Academy Andover, and in New Orleans at Tulane University. A fiercely proud native of New York’s Capital District, Zach spends time away from work eating pizza, going to shows, slowly working to become an Adirondack 46er, and exploring The U.S.’ cities, small towns, and national parks.


Melissa_Ganley_Cropped.pngMelissa Ganley, Operations Chair

Melissa (2017 NLC Boston Fellow) is currently the Operations Manager for Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County (CAC), where she oversees finance, grants management, human resources, and general office support. Prior to joining CAC she was the Executive Director of One Brick, a national volunteer nonprofit with volunteer lead chapters in 7 cities; a role that brought together her passion for volunteerism and building community with her nonprofit management experience. Melissa has dedicated her career to supporting the work of nonprofits and social justice organizations. She has extensive experience in nonprofit operations, volunteer recruitment and training, and human resources. Melissa holds a B.S. in English from Fitchburg State College. Melissa is also a craft beer nerd, food enthusiast, reader, volunteer, and lover of the arts.












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