board of directors
shanequa Levinis an award-winning social justice leader, motivational speaker, and author who believes that it is important to step up and advocate for those that need one's strength and voice. She is also a registered ordained wedding officiant. Shanequa founded the Long Island chapter of Mocha Moms a support group for mothers of color and served as chapter president, regional director, and the National Parent Nation Coordinator. She is the former director of Every Child Matters in NY, an advocacy and electoral engagement organization on behalf of kids. Currently, she is the convener of LI United to Transform Policing and Community Safety, a Community Advisor for Hofstra University's Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge, a member of The State of Black Long Island Equity Council through the Urban League of Long Island, an associate member of Jack & Jill of America where she served as the Suffolk county chapters Legislative Chair, and the creator of culturally relevant Facebook groups. In the past, she has been involved in organizations like Girl Scouts, where she was a troop leader for 6 years; the Huntington Station Enrichment Center, where she was a board member; and the National Association of Mothers' Center, where she was a facilitator.
Shanequa gives her all to campaigns that focus on marginalized community members. She has spoken at various events across the country, and facilitated countless workshops on advocacy and voter engagement in early learning centers, community groups, training programs, and colleges. She meets with community members one-on-one to provide them with guidance during their journey to become lifelong advocates. She works alongside prominent politicians, organizers, and individuals impelling change. Creating and getting involved with grassroots justice campaigns, participating in speaking circuits, and lobbying in Albany and Washington, DC led her to be instrumental in grassroots advocacy for legislative changes to Early Care and Learning, Raise The Age, Paid Family Leave Insurance, Bail Reform, and policies that protect safety net programs which allow every child to thrive. Along with other leaders, her contributions helped give more access to affordable and quality child care; sixteen and seventeen-year old's the right to be tried and housed with youth instead of adults in the criminal justice system; moms, dads, military, adoptive parents, and caretakers the right to have their job secured while taking care of a loved one; and allowed people to not have bail as a barrier while trying to prove their innocence.
After working for over a decade in the non-profit sector to advocate for mothers and children, Shanequa noticed the lack of diversity in non-profit social movements. She felt these movements themselves were segregated; everyone was working to do good with people from their own ethnicity only. To build cultural bridges, educate people on issues that affect them, celebrate diversity, unite women, and create unified advocacy opportunities, she founded the 501(c)(3) Women's Diversity Network, aka WDN, where she serves as the Chief Executive Officer. WDN has become a social movement organization practicing transformative justice processes based on group leadership where marginalized lives are centered. The mission of the WDN is to connect and mobilize women of different backgrounds to create positive change through collective work and a unified sisterhood. Through WDN, she has created the Health Equity Task Force, which focuses on addressing Maternal Mortality. She's also created a yearly summit that brings diverse people together to learn about social justice issues and celebrate cultures.
Shanequa also convenes a Black-led, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational coalition of organizations, activists, and community members who are working to ensure genuine public safety for all Long Island communities called LI United to Transform Policing & Community Safety. LI United's mission is to transform public safety by divesting from policing and investing in our communities.
After surviving childhood poverty, dealing with drug-addicted parents, an incarcerated father, and having a teen mom, she understands the importance of using her voice to help others break negative generational cycles. She values loyalty, collaboration, justice, optimism, and honesty. Shanequa has written a book titled Poverty's Phoenix, which sheds light on the child's perspective of growing up in suburban poverty.
Shanequa attended Lincoln & Hofstra universities in pursuit of a bachelor's degree. She has certificates from Adelphi University for Organizational and Community Leadership; Social Movement Technologies for Digital Organizing; the University of Connecticut for Workplace Empowerment Leadership & Skills; Rockwood Institute for The Art of Leadership; and the National Association of Mothers' Centers for Group Facilitation.
Kathryn Abbatiellohas dedicated her life’s work to championing the needs of children with disabilities and their families. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education N-6 with a minor in Sociology and her M.S. in Early Childhood Special Education, Summa Cum Laude, from Adelphi University. Previously employed by the NYC Board of Education, Kathryn has spent the past 12 years working as an independent contractor within the NYS Early Intervention Program. As an Applied Behavior Analyst, she provides in home therapy to young children with Autism. In this capacity, she leads teams of related professionals in their mission of identifying and fulfilling the needs of the children and families they serve. In conjunction with local school districts, she also provides direct service to students and behavior consultation to classroom teachers, ensuring the successful inclusion of preschoolers with disabilities across a diverse array of early educational settings.
In her personal life, Kathryn continues the work of educating and empowering families to advocate for themselves and their children, helping to connect them with community resources to support their needs. She is steadfastly committed to increasing diversity and equity in access to educational opportunities and healthcare, especially among the most marginalized. Within her own community, she has successfully lobbied for increased fairness and transparency in educational practices, resulting in the implementation of more comprehensive, formative assessments.
Kathryn volunteers her skills and time, working alongside organizers and community leaders, in support of candidates for elected office, who support progressive policy changes. She actively campaigned in support of Autism Action NY and continues to publicly promote the passage of the New York Health Act. Kathryn is a founding member of NY02 Indivisible and a professional member of The Council for Exceptional Children and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Kathryn enjoys traveling to new places, discovering new cuisines, and spending her free time with her husband of 25 years, her two adult daughters, and her three fun-loving dogs.
Debbie Mercer-Miller is the U.S. Securities Country Manager and Head of U.S. Custody Product Management where she manages over $6 trillion in stocks and bonds for clients domiciled in the US and approximately 30 other markets. She has been in the industry since 1993 and her experience spans across multiple disciplines in the capital market.
Her current responsibilities include setting the strategy and managing the U.S. Custody business as well as effectively positioning Citi and our client’s interest in the U.S. capital market. Debbie works closely with our clients to ensure alignment with their strategies and provide solutions for complex matters. Debbie is the Vice Chair of the Association for Global Custodian (AGC) and Citi’s voting member. She is also a member of The Federal Reserve Securities Wholesale Committee, Depository Trust Clearing Corporation Americas Committee, and Citi’s Steering Committee Representative at ISITC. She has a stellar track record of proactively initiating and leading market initiatives that fundamentally change the market infrastructure and mitigate market risk. She is the first At Large Pubic Member for NYS Midwifery Board. She is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and her views are often solicited by market peers. Debbie is equally very passionate about volunteering and mentoring.
Debbie joined Citi in 1997 as Citi Transaction Services Global Risk Manager in New York and was subsequently promoted to Operations Project Manager in Dublin to oversee Euro Implementation for Cash Management, Client Executive in American Depository Receipts servicing clients in the Middle East, Global Custody Marketing Manager and U.S. Custody Product Development Manager.
Prior to joining Citi, she was the Assistant Treasurer at IBM. She pursued a dual major in finance and accounting at the City University of New York where she graduated with honors and an M.B.A. in executive management from St. John’s University.
Carla Simpsonhas an MBA and has been working in the real estate industry for over 20 years. She is the founder of SIMPCo Properties LLC, a value-oriented boutique real estate investment and property management firm.
Carla serves on several boards dedicated to the empowerment and education of children and women. She is the proud mother of one daughter and a graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia University School of Business.
Christine Pellegrinois a proud mother of 2 daughters, an educator, a community leader, and a former NYS Assemblywoman. Christine understands the challenges facing Long Island’s families. Her passion for advocating and organizing has led to her involvement with a broad range of issues including healthcare, protecting our environment, protecting our LGBTQ+ community, voter registration & election reform, and many others.
Christine earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and Master of Science Degree in Reading. She spent most of her 25-year teaching career as a reading specialist in the Baldwin school system, working with students who are at risk for reading below grade level and advocating for their needs. Christine’s commitment and dedication to our children have been recognized by both colleagues and parents.
As a leader of the Opt Out movement, Christine has advocated and organized against the implementation of developmentally inappropriate standards, a harmful standardization testing regime, and the forces that seek to privatize public education. She has fought for a fully funded and equitable public education system and believes that Long Island’s families deserve their fair share of school budget dollars from Albany.
Elected to the NYS Assembly in 2017 in a special election, Christine shocked the nation by flipping a historically red district by 40 points. During her time in the Assembly, she delivered record amounts of funding for schools, libraries, the environment, veterans facilities, and individuals seeking treatment for opioid addiction.
Christine has also worked extensively as a community leader. She is a founding Executive Board Member of Long Island Pride PTSA, and is currently serving as the chapter’s Vice President. In that role, Christine advocates for LGBTQ+ kids to have the freedom to be themselves and learn in safe and supportive school environments.
has a proven track record of dedication to creating a more inclusive Nassau County. She is the former Executive Director of The Office of Asian American Affairs of Nassau County, the first Muslim to be appointed as a department head in Nassau County. That department elevates the social, political, and economic issues of the Asian community by strengthening how government addresses those concerns. She spearheaded community building through the various cultural events she organized for the county such as: Ramadan Iftar, Independence Day Celebrations, Diwali, and Lunar New Year. She organized forums and MWBE events to help build bridges between the government and residents. She was also a member of the County Executive’s Task Force on Domestic Violence and on the County’s Census Count Committee.
Prior to this, she was a teacher at Lynbrook High School and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Science and a master’s degree in Education. In addition to her accomplishments as a teacher and government liaison, she is committed to serving the community. She was instrumental in Eid being recognized as a school holiday in Valley Stream. Farrah is a member of Salam Sholom and a school board member for Hamza Academy, a private school located in Valley Stream. Recently Farrah founded the Asian American Institute For Research And Engagement (AAIRE). Her most important accomplishment is that she is a proud mother of 6 children. Please welcome Farrah as she shares her latest report with us.
Jasmine Johnsonwas born and raised in CT and currently resides in GA. She is African America, Puerto Rican, and Taíno. Jasmine has earned her bachelor's in tourism and hospitality and her executive masters in business management and marketing. She works full-time at an accounting firm and runs a digital business for Women called b.demp that aims to help women create a balanced, healthy, and happy lifestyle. When she’s not working or running her business, she enjoys spending time and taking adventures with her Fiance Erica, and her three dogs, Lola, Nina, and Zoey.
Jazmyne Archeris a Client Services Manager at SEO Career where she helps Black, LatinX, and Native American students secure internships with fortune companies, and corporate and banking partners. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor's in Communication & Behavior and a double minor in Consumer Psychology and Spanish. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, she worked in a boutique sales and marketing agency managing the Beauty Supply Sales, Field Marketing & Brand Ambassador Programs for Sundial Brands. She currently consults for Black Girl Digital, a premiere black female digital marketing and influencer agency, where she connects black female influencers with brands. She is a mother to an adorable 3-year-old and currently resides in Long Island, NY.
Pascale Jean-Noel is the Director of Training for the ACT Institute at the Center for Evidence-Based Practices. Working with the New York State Office of Mental Health, she helps design coordinate, and facilitate extensive training curricula in treatment planning, cultural Humility, awareness, engagement, working with mandated clients, and ACT core daily principles based on person-centered recovery-oriented principles. The training curricula are used by 108 ACT teams, consisting of over eight hundred people collectively, throughout the state. Pascale is also an adjunct lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Fordham University School of Social Work. At Columbia University, she teaches Adult Psychopathology and Wellness in a residential and online setting. At Fordham University, she teaches Assessment and Diagnosis and Clinical Seminar.
Pascale Jean-Noel received her BSW and master’s degree from Adelphi University School of Social work, Garden City, NY. She holds a Clinical License in Social Work and has over twenty years of experience in social-service settings. Prior to her current position, Mrs. Jean-Noel worked in managerial as well as direct-care roles in Foster Care, Outpatient Substance abuse, Inpatient Psychiatric Hospital, and on ACT.
Mrs. Jean-Noel currently serves as a member of the Statewide Multicultural advisory committee that advises the Commissioner of Mental Health on policy, programs, and activities related to fostering recovery and resiliency among individuals from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who are diagnosed with mental illness and their families. She also serves as an executive board member on the Haitian- American Family of Long Island Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides family support services and promotes community development to facilitate the acculturation process for people of Haitian descent. Pascale is also an executive board member of the Cazale Community Cultural Center, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that aims to improve the lives of the youth living in Haiti by providing year-round educational support services.
Pascale Jean-Noel presents yearly at multiple conferences nationally and statewide. Her topics include Positionality through leadership and service delivery, Person-centered treatment and Supervision, Strategies to Improve Mental health Outcomes in the Black Community, and Supervision in a Data-Driven Environment. Her Interest is to push through barriers by influencing cultural shifts within the organizations to hire and deliver services that are inclusive, equitable and reflect the diversity of the people that are being served!
Sandra Krebelj-Douglasis a Media Entertainment Executive with 30+ years of experience in Advertising Sales Administration, Operations, and Finance. She has led teams both at A+E Networks and TV One with an emphasis on collaboration and mentoring talent. In her professional capacity, she provides fiscal oversight and is a liaison with Finance, Legal, and HR business areas. A cohort of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) 2018 Rising Leaders Program (RLP), she was nominated and participated in a premier professional development program for emerging women leaders in media, entertainment, and technology.
Since 2020, Sandra has been a member of her company’s Diversity Advisory Council (DAC). The council works with the executive team to ensure A+E Networks builds a diverse, inclusive, and high-impact internal culture. Sandra represents the Global Connectedness (GC) subcommittee and serves as its co-chair. GC strives to raise awareness of cultural diversity within the organization and create connections across global offices. Sandra is also a Hearst INCLUDE Certified Change Agent, having participated in the Hearst INCLUDE conscious inclusion training. An initiative aimed to bolster awareness of biases within the workplace and help foster a more inclusive and diverse culture.
In the past, Sandra served as LIRRCC Member/Vice-Chair. Appointed by the Governor's office to represent Suffolk County on the Long Island Railroad Commuter Council (LIRRCC). In this role, she represented the voice of the riders and provided Long Island Rail Road management and the MTA Board with informed and timely advice on service, communications, and rider experience. This committee worked to hold Long Island Rail Road management accountable to the users of its services Her other volunteerism includes school PTA; Cub Scouts; JDRF International; Long Island Activists.
Sandra holds a B.A. in Communications Arts & Sciences from CUNY Queens College and was the first in her family to attend college. A native of Croatia, Sandra grew up in the NYC boroughs and now resides on Long Island. Sandra enjoys yoga, meditation, travel, and time with her husband, adult son, and dog.