Melissa Mendez-Garcia, MBA, Rutgers University (2014), MPA, New York University 2003, and BA, Columbia University, 1995. Melissa currently works as the Director of the Catalyst Program, a community development program focusing on neighborhood and community revitalization in New York City. Melissa brings a wealth of policy, advocacy, and program experience to Catalyst from her work at New York University and, prior to that, with the City of New York's Parks and Recreation agency.
In her work with NYU’s Women of Color Policy Network, Melissa implemented and documented community initiatives, facilitated partnerships among government, community groups, and academics, and focused on developing advocacy and policy opportunities for youth. Prior to NYU, Melissa served in a number of capacities with the City, including Chief of Finance and Administrative Services. Melissa is a graduate of the Immigrant Civic Leadership Program with Coro NY in 2014. She served as Commissioner for the Women's Issues Commission under Mayor Bloomberg from 2009-2013. She is also a board member with the Commission on the Public's Health System.
Ibrahim Diallo, a native of Guinea, is a Trinity College graduate, with a major in International Relations and minor in Human rights. He is a co-founder and Chairman of the African Development Coalition or ADC, a student run development organization, which focuses exclusively on Africa. To date, the ADC has raised over $100,000 and carried out projects in three African countries in the areas of health, education, technology and access to clean water. Currently, Ibrahim is a Finance Analyst at JP Morgan Chase.
Garance Choko is a social entrepreneur, international system builder and innovation strategist currently residing in New York City. Born and raised in Paris, France, she started her career as a concert pianist at the age of 3. Later, when she moved to the United States to continue her performance studies, she pursued her passion for political theory and design practices. She has designed organizational structures, educational programs, impact evaluations and poverty relief strategies for organizations in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. She earned a Master of Public Administration from Cornell University.
Garance's philosophy is rooted in challenging the notion of institutionalized expertise and its deriving power structures. She has used participatory design principles in her work with the US Congress, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Clinton Global Initiative, Purpose, The Lowline, Community Solutions and Nesta. As a speaker and educator, she has taught her unique framework for multi-stakeholder problem solving at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University.
Janis Rosheuvel was born in Guyana, South America. She currently serves as Executive Secretary for Racial Justice for United Methodist Women. She also lectures on race and ethnicity and the criminalization of migrant life at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and serves on the boards of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). Janis holds an MA in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England.
Janis has worked in the fields of international development and gender rights. From 2007-11 she served as Executive Director/Organizer at Families for Freedom (FFF), a New York-based network of immigrants resisting mass incarceration and deportation. Janis was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship from 2011-12 to South Africa where she documented the work of social movements organized by migrants, shack dwellers and other working class activists