For formal key staff bios, click here.
I have been working in the field of workforce development for over 15 years and I love it! Before entering the field, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bluefields, Nicaragua for 2 1/2 years. I have a Masters of Public Administration from Columbia University and a BA in Sociology and Environmental Policy from Binghamton University. I am on the board of the NYCETC and active member of the PTA. I married my high school sweetheart and we have two boys.
Manager of Individual Giving and Special Events
I am thrilled be a part of the HOPE family! I look forward to applying my development, events and marketing experience to help make a difference in the lives of our students and graduates. I have my Masters in Public Administration from Pace University and a BS in Marketing from Central Connecticut State University. When I’m not at HOPE, I enjoy spending time with family, playing basketball and cooking.
Human Resources Administrator
Work Readiness Instructor
Brooklyn born and Southern raised, I’ve always had a heart for honesty, and maximizing the potential of people. So, I’ve made it my life mission to show up in each moment as authentic and as compassionate as I can. I believe that’s the way to give myself and others the freedom and support to become the best version of who they are. Outside of being a Workforce Readiness Instructor, I am aiming to obtain a Degree in Business Marketing. In my spare time I write music, read and enjoy engaging in all things that allow for artistic expression. I also enjoy being in nature, staying active and making the most out of every moment of my life.
Chief Development and Evaluation Officer
I believe in the power of storytelling, so I love working with graduates to share their stories of personal transformation. I’ve been working in Development for 8 years and at HOPE since 2011. I have an MPA from Baruch College and a BA in French. I serve on the board of College and Community Fellowship. In the summer, you can catch me walking into the office in my bicycle helmet.
I proudly help create positive changes in the community I was born and raised in by serving as a Job Retention Associate with The HOPE Program. I am a former graduate of the SSBx green collar training. Now I help connect future graduates to gainful employment opportunities. When I'm not in the office you can find me expressing myself musically through live performances, or indulging in my love for tranquility and nature by camping and hiking mountains.
Work Readiness Instructor
My goal is to encourage students to use customer service skills in everyday interactions. My facilitation techniques improve self-confidence and awareness of one’s ability to control personal and professional well-being. I have a BA in English from the University of Toronto and am TESL certified. Nearly 15 years in adult education has increased my energy, positivity and belief in change. I relax by reading, cooking and walking/hiking in all weather.
Work Readiness Instructor
I am very pleased and proud when a student lands employment. I am a proud graduate of Howard University. I play and teach chess, a wonderful way to impart strategy, problem solving, and creative thinking in adversarial situations. An avid reader, I average two books a month - one fiction and one non-fiction. I am the product of great parents. I continue to learn from them.
Clinical Admissions Coordinator
As an immigrant who is familiar with the various challenges of New York City, I am more than thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome individuals who walk through our doors to build sustainable futures. My passion for serving our community and helping people is what brought me to where I am today. I joined HOPE in 2018 as a graduate Mental Health Counseling intern and I am honored to be part of the team. I hold an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University and a B.A. in Psychology from Pace University. In my spare time, I enjoy riding my bike and exploring nature.
Work Readiness Instructor
I am a compassionate person by nature, so it is only fitting that I would be drawn to the field of Human Services. I possess a degree from The Metropolitan College of New York in Human Services and over a decade of experience in the field. I am honored to be a part of the HOPE team. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling to sunny locales with my wife for kayaking and zip lining, reading Sci-Fi and praying for a New York Knicks Championship!
During a 30 year career in music, I performed and produced albums, singles and television and radio broadcast commercials. I have been HOPE’s Technology Instructor since 2011, providing the technical skills necessary for finding work, applying for work, and for the modern workplace. I have always been an athlete, with a particular focus in my “older years” on the all-consuming game of golf on public courses throughout the region.
Director of Work Readiness and Work Wellness Services
I’ve been working in the field of counseling and vocational rehabilitation since 1991. I am a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I love my job at HOPE, especially teaching Work Wellness to our students. I also enjoy spending time with my husband and our son, seeing films, studying French, and traveling.
As a New York City native and a product of Mexican immigrant parents, I am grateful to be pursuing a career in Finance that is driven by social justice and community betterment. I have a passion for process and solutions driven work, and a keen interest in ethics and honesty in finance and accounting. I am analytical and meticulous, and am excited to bring these skills to the non profit sector. I graduated from Pace University with a degree in Finance in 2016, and have practiced TaeKwonDo for 15 years.
Mary Ruth govindavari
Director of Recruitment
I am a HOPE graduate. I am a lifelong New Yorker and have spent many years raising my three children in the Bronx. I’m really proud to be part of an organization that promotes the preservation of the Bronx and New York City. I have learned a lot about the importance in going green (cleaning products, composting and recycling) for sustainability. Singing is one of my greatest passions.
Government Grants Assistant
My favorite part of working at The HOPE Program is hearing the bell ring when someone gets a job. Everyone in the office starts clapping and cheering! It’s the best! I enjoy working behind the scenes as part of the finance team because I know the work we are doing supports the programs that make HOPE one of the premier workforce development organizations in New York City. In my free time I love exploring Brooklyn, volunteering, and seeing as much live music as possible.
I’m a HOPE graduate and I’ve been employed at HOPE since 2008. What I like most about my job is being the first point of contact with applicants because I get to tell them how great HOPE is and how it would benefit them. I love home improvement shows and would love to be an interior designer someday.
Avalon hoek Spaans
Horticulture Superintendent, Intervine
I am passionate about creating sustainable development through green infrastructure! I love using gardening and horticultural work to connect with local communities and strengthen food security and community resilience. I have a MA in Climate and Society from Columbia University and a BS in Environmental Science and Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) I am very excited to be apart of the HOPE team and work together to green NYC.
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Work Readiness Instructor
My mom always knew I’d be a teacher someday. My first teaching job was with out of school youth between the ages of 16 and 22. I have a Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. My favorite things to do are listen to music, dance and try new food dishes.
Senior Employment Specialist
I'm a HOPE graduate and I’ve worked at HOPE since 2002. I’m proud to be a mom and a caregiver. I love giving back, particularly watching clients step out with pride and a smile. I have always enjoyed watching my children learn from my grandmother, their great grandmother who lived to be 103 years old. I love cooking with my children.
Salesforce System Administrator
I was born in a small rural village and grew up seeing my family educating people. Since completing my Master of Technology and starting my career as an IT engineer, I have been searching for a challenging role utilizing my technical skills for a meaningful purpose. Finally, I joined HOPE. I am extremely happy to use my programming and CRM skills to reduce poverty.
Director of Employment and Graduate Services
My passion is helping HOPE trainees achieve their goals, and I love watching them celebrate their successes! I have an MBA in Industrial & Organizational Psychology and a Bachelors of Business Administration,
both from Baruch College. I am a former competitive natural bodybuilder, but today my hobby is theater, working as an actor and stage manager whenever I can!
Chief Program Officer
For me, working is synonymous with serving my community. I joined HOPE in 2017 after a decade as a public servant. I love that the HOPE team and our programs support New Yorkers in advancing along a career pathway while also contributing to the environmental health and sustainability of our city. I hold a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University. Outside the office, I enjoy running, public radio, horror films, and modern art.
Sr. Finance Manager
Facilities and Kitchen Coordinator
Director of Digital Literacy
Youth Recruitment Assistant
For me, giving individuals the tools for positive advancement within their lives is beyond exciting, and here at HOPE, I am honored to assist our students with those tools from the recruitment perspective. I have previously worked as a College Administrative Assistant, providing young adults in a maximum secure facility the opportunity to complete their post-secondary education via Columbia Greene Community College. I have an A.A from Columbia Greene Community College and am currently completing a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
I have been a life coach, meditator and theatre artist for over 10 years. I have a Master’s Degree in Social Science and a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development and Theatre, both from Binghamton University. I believe that life is a stage and we are simply actors, and my passion is to support others on this stage of life to live, laugh and love the process of reaching their goals.
Operations Manager, NYC °CoolRoofs
Bronx Program Director
Toby Sheppard Bloch
Chief Venture Officer
I have been taking things apart to see how they work for as long as I can remember. Repairing machines from farm machinery to electronics holds almost endless interest for me. Before joining HOPE /SSBx, I owned and operated a successful general contracting company in NYC. I have a B.A. in History from Reed College, and I am an accredited Green Roof Professional.
I know that I am special and there's no one else out there that's like me... so enjoy! I am a HOPE graduate, recent HSE recipient and now employed as the Development Assistant here at The HOPE Program. My goal is to support others from all walks of life to reach their potential. Finally, it wouldn't hurt to travel to amazing places, continue to meet wonderful people, finish my education and eventually settle down and enjoy the person I have become.
I started at HOPE in 2016 as graduate Mental Health Counseling intern! I have always wanted to be in a profession were I can make a positive impact on peoples' lives. I have a B.S. in Public Health from SUNY Old Westbury and an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University Brooklyn. I love that my education allows me to get the best of both worlds helping people with their physical and mental health. I am thrilled to be part of an amazing staff where everyone strives to improve the lives of so many people though job readiness training. I also enjoy traveling and spending time with my family.
I've been working as a Wellness Coach, Therapist, and Educator since 2006 and integrate mindfulness into each of these different roles. I love helping people learn mindfulness tools, to see challenges as opportunities, and to find a place of peace and "okayness" amidst the inevitable stresses of life. I am currently writing and illustrating a children's book about mindfulness just for fun!