Abdulrazakh Abdirahman (Razakh), Board Member
Razakh is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer , serving in Comoros from 2015-2017. He was an Education Volunteer focusing on teacher development, English lesson plan standardization, and women’s small-business development. Razakh is originally from Mogadishu, Somalia and was raised in Ethiopia. He and his family moved to Seattle, WA by way of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program. Razakh holds a B.A. in International Affairs at Seattle Pacific University and a Master’s in Public Administration from NYU Wagner. He is passionate about immigrant rights as well as criminal justice reform and community engagement. Domestically, he hopes to work towards reducing rates of socio-economic inequality through increasing education and civic engagement efforts. Internationally, he strives to work in refugee crisis response and increasing economic inclusion for migrants and internally displaced persons. Razakh currently works at the Robinhood Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on helping lift impoverished New Yorkers out of poverty. He is excited to join the NYPCA board and help expand and diversify its’ ranks.
Emily Castro, Board Member
Emily served as a Community Economic Development volunteer in El Salvador from 2013-2015. She worked with two women’s savings groups and a youth group to grow organizational capacity and leadership skills. Along with peers Emily adapted the curriculum for a “Men As Partners” conference, and designed entrepreneurship programming for youth and women. During year two she mobilized community groups to establish the first municipal library, expanded the pueblo restaurant, and incentivized the use of bamboo for income generation. Emily is now an Organizational Effectiveness consultant and owns a resume writing platform that offers coaching targeted at high school students and early-career professionals. She recently hosted our annual Story Slam.
Carlie Congdon, Community Service
Carlie served as a Community Health Facilitator in Vanuatu from 2011 – 2013. She worked within the communities to increase awareness for disease prevention as well as within a local health center to increase their capacity to deliver basic health services. She ate dinner every night with her host family and misses her contribution to the meal, scratching the coconuts for milk. She currently works as an Associate Program Director at the END Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Njemile Davis, Board Member
Njemile served as a Response volunteer in Ukraine from 2018-2019. In her primary role she delivered professional development and coaching to the staff of 100% LIFE, Kryvyi Rih – assisting the organization in winning three grants to test, treat and suppress the local HIV epidemic. In her spare time she supported camps OHALOW and American Days and coordinated English language instruction for local patrol police and officers. Before joining the Peace Corps, Njemile was Director of Housing and Community Development for the National Urban League where she directed $20M in federal funds for services to 200,000 clients in 30 states.
Greg Emerson (Bocquet), Secretary / Podcast producer
Greg was a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru from 2003-2005, but he was also a Peace Corps Trainee in Morocco in early 2003 before the Iraq War started and volunteers were evacuated from the country. While he was going to be an environment volunteer at a gazelle reserve in Morocco (the toughest job he’d ever love to have been able to do), he became a community health volunteer in the high Andes of Peru. While there, he focused on nutrition and sanitation work, but led a number of side projects with his community, including computer training, English and Spanish classes and working with the local association of high-mountain guides and porters. After leaving the Peace Corps, he lived in Iceland for two years working as a journalist, and currently leads the product team at HuffPost.
Nicole Ethier, Vice President
Nicole served in East Java, Indonesia from 2011-2013 as an education volunteer and again in 2018 with Peace Corps Response in the Republic of Georgia as a Project Management and Fundraising Specialist supporting capacity building for a local nonprofit. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, she’s lived in New York City for more than six years and been involved with NYPCA for almost just as long. Currently, Nicole is a Manager of Foundation Partnerships at UNICEF USA, the U.S. national committee to UNICEF which supports UNICEF’s global work for children through advocacy, fundraising and education.
Kevin Kwok, Board Member
Kevin Kwok leads development of Fixed Income Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Research at MSCI. He also sits on the award-winning Bloomberg Barclays MSCI Global Green Bond Index selection committee. MSCI ESG Research is the largest provider of ESG Ratings and analytics to global institutional investors. Prior to joining MSCI, Kevin was most recently an Associate Director in S&P Global Ratings’ Energy, Materials, and Commodities practice and a member of its Sustainable Finance Team. In private equity, he advised and raised capital for small to midsize energy companies. He was a former Corporate Trust CDO Manager at The Bank of New York Mellon. Kevin is currently an Earth Institute Sustainability Management (EISM) Fellow at Columbia University. He holds a BA in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin and an Energy Finance MBA from University of Houston. Kevin also served in the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa.
Weijin “Gina” Leow, Board Member
Gina served as an Education volunteer in Sichuan, China from 2014-2016. She taught English and critical thinking skills to college students. Her secondary projects included managing the student cooking club, movie club, English-speaking club, reading club and global pen pal program reaching over 100 participants. She also helped establish best practices of affinity groups for over 140 Peace Corps Volunteers in China. Gina currently works as the Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the New York City Fire Department.
Nick Motwani, Treasurer
Nick served in the Republic of Macedonia (now known as the Republic of North Macedonia) from 2012 – 2014 as a Community Development volunteer. Nick’s primary focus was to increase the opportunities available for young adults by organizing weekly workshops aimed at developing leadership and employment skills including networking, CV building, career guidance and other various topics. In addition to being a volunteer, Nick was a Peace Corps trainer, responsible with training the new generation of volunteers who arrived in September 2014. Currently, Nick is a Senior Director of Finance at Sesame Workshop, the non profit organization behind the iconic Sesame Street television show.
Sarah Porter, President
Sarah served as an Community Development volunteer in Macedonia from 2005-2007. Sarah worked with local NGOs and schools to focus on reproductive health, gender empowerment, and anti-trafficking initiatives. Sarah helps produce the group’s annual story telling show, where RPCVs take the stage in front of a live audience. This past year, Sarah became a storyteller and took to the stage to share her story about why she joined the Peace Corps.
Marian Rivman, Socials & Events
Marian served in the Philippines from 1966-1968. Her first year, she taught science at a local elementary school in a small town. Her second year, she moved to Davao City to work with a non-profit that trained ‘campesinos’ for 9-5:00 jobs. She has maintained relationships with her Filipino ‘family’ and her language instructor for the last five decades. Currently, she is retired after a successful career as a public relations consultant representing an eclectic roster of clients including UN agencies, programs and world conferences.
Julissa Soriano, Board Member
Julissa served as an Education volunteer in Madagascar from 2014-2017. Her primary role included teaching English to high school students. In addition to her primary duties, she co-led a week-long GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp for female students from three different high schools. Her passion project as a volunteer included serving on the Diversity Committee and planning and co-leading diversity workshops for Peace Corps staff and new volunteers. Since returning from abroad, Julissa has assisted in fostering greater community for RPCVs in NYC. She has helped plan the RPCV NYC spring networking event in and a summer picnic for RPCVs of color in 2019. She currently works as an Investigator to help eradicate workplace discrimination.
Christopher Starr , Socials & Events
Christopher served as a Rural Community Development volunteer in Costa Rica from 2011 to 2013. Chris taught a lot of English, ultimate frisbee and art while also directing the establishment of a savings and loan cooperative in Guanacaste, a province in the northwest of Costa Rica. Chris currently works as part of a technical assistance/consulting team for Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, helping social service and/or financial organizations establish financial inclusion programs and advocacy projects.
Lenny Vasquez, Board Member
Lenny served as a Community Economic Development Consultant in Peru from 2013 – 2015, establishing micro-credit groups, consulting various small businesses, and teaching financial education and entrepreneurship to groups including adolescent mothers, the elderly, and college-aged students looking to start a business. Lenny was also the Chair of the Volunteer Advisory Committee in Peru, facilitating communication and policymaking affecting the Peace Corps volunteers in country with Peace Corps senior staff, including the Country Director and the Directors of Management & Operations, and Programming and Training. He currently is a Grants Associate at the Citi Foundation, working in grants management for the $75MM grant portfolio, as well as board governance and finance and operations.