Executive Director

I have been working in the field of workforce development for over 20 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.

Formal Bios for Senior Staff

Development and Evaluation Team

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 most of my career and joined the HOPE team in 2011 (ten years!). I have an MPA from Baruch College and a BA in French. I serve as Board Chair for College and Community Fellowship. In the summer, you can catch me walking into the office in my bicycle helmet.

Eliana Greenwald
Development and Communications Manager

I believe that workforce development is crucial for creating a high quality of life in marginalized communities, so I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to work on HOPE’s Development team. I have a BA in Political Science from Emory University in Atlanta, where I grew up. When I’m not in the office, you can find me jogging, enjoying nature, or exploring the city.

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.

Development Assistant

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.

Finance and Operations Team

Verona Chanderdatt
Senior Government Grants Analyst

Originally from South America, and have been working in the non-profit field for over 30 years. Over the years, I have held several positions from Human Resources to Program Operations to Budget Management. In 2020, I joined The HOPE Finance Team and I am thrilled to be part of such a mission-driven organization. I am very passionate in building connections with programmatic needs and contractual obligations. I attended Queens College majoring in Finance and Accounting. When I am not working on budgets, I love to travel, attend Broadway shows and live concerts.

Isaiah Hope
Government Grants Associate

The most exciting thing about working at HOPE is the opportunity to help others in my community. I mostly worked as a clerical assistant, after which I spent the last year working in debt settlement and health care industries. I majored in Economics and Finance and I am currently a HOPE graduate. In my spare time I like to play video games and exercise. I love martial arts, I practice and teach Muay Thai.

Finance Associate

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.


Facilities and Kitchen Coordinator

I am a graduate of HOPE’s CoolRoofs program. HOPE changed my life for the better in so many ways. I’ve experienced my own personal challenges in life and HOPE played an important role in my professional development. I am now employed as the Facilities and Kitchen coordinator and enjoy every part of my job, especially connecting with current students and graduates. When I’m not at work I enjoy trying new restaurants throughout NYC .

Chief Financial and Operating Officer

A strong back office is crucial to the success of any mission-driven organization. I take great pleasure in helping strengthen and being part of a growing team of professionals who strive to get even more New Yorkers into the path to sustainable careers. Having been connected with the non-profit world for over a decade, I became a part of HOPE in 2018. I have an MBA from Baruch College (CUNY), and a BS in Management Systems Engineering from the Turkish Military Academy. I enjoy running and photography.

Mehedi Rahman
Senior Accounting Manager

Making a positive impact on people’s lives is what excites me the most about working at HOPE. I have been working in the accounting field for quite some time and really enjoy it. I have my Master’s and BBA in Accounting. In my free spare time I like listening to music, watching sports and reading.

Program Team

Ejaz Adams
Digital Literacy Instructor

I have been working technology & support for more than a decade. My special interest is in technology and its effect on academic performance. I am an adjunct professor at CUNY School of Professional Studies, NYC College of Technology, and a Technology Instructor at BMCC. I hold an MS in Information Systems from Pace University and a BA in Statistics & Applied Psychology. If I find free time, I enjoy travel and photography with my family.

Taryn Bettis
Brooklyn Clinical Admissions Coordinator

The work done at HOPE, helping individuals achieve their goals and living better lives, to be meaningful and beneficial. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and throughout my career have primarily worked with the child and adolescent population in various settings. I completed my studies at Pace University obtaining a combined degree in Psychology (B.A.) and Mental Health Counseling (M.S.). I am actively involved in my community through community organizing and volunteering.

Kevin Bollers
Employment Specialist

What excites me the most about working at HOPE is that I am able to see in real time, tangible evidence that what we do makes a real difference in underserved and marginalized communities. For over 20 years, serving my community has been a calling. I have a B.A. in Criminal Justice, and M.Div. in Biblical Theology, and an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. In my spare time, I am a photographer and photojournalist. I also enjoy drawing, Tai boxing, and exercising.

Employment Specialist

I proudly help create positive changes in the community I was born and raised in. 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.

Ana Chapman
Chief Program Officer

HOPE’s humanistic and motivating approach to workforce development speaks to me on many levels. It is obvious that the intent is to invest in helping our communities overcome barriers, thrive, and grow. I have a BA Liberal Arts from the New School, an MA in Individualized Study from NYU, and seeking to complete an EdD in General Education with an emphasis on the Efficacy of Workforce Development Programs. I love exploring NYC, especially places that are tucked away. I enjoy listening to music, playing the drums, time with my rabbit and dog, word games, and family time. I am proud to be a 1st gen Latina. My mom was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and instilled in me a strong work ethic, cooking skills, and a love of diversity.

Cammie Crawford
Community Outreach Specialist

What excites me the most about working at HOPE is knowing that I will be helping and empowering individuals who want more for their futures. My career up until now has been a great learning experience especially being able to relate to the population we serve. I have my high school equivalency and some family development credentialing in a college setting. I enjoy singing and doing hair.

Alexander Davis
Retention Associate

I am a proud true New Yorker (born and raised). My passion is helping individuals with overcoming their barriers and achieving their goals. I obtained my BA in Communications from Virginia Union University. The HOPE Program allows me to continue my passion and be a part of an amazing team that prepares members of our communities with the skills and development to enter/re-enter the workforce.

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.

Business Development Manager

Fused with over 24 years of workforce development, full-stack software engineering, interactive marketing and consultative sales, I bring a rare skill set to HOPE. I was blessed to earn a workforce development position with the very first iteration of Workforce1 helping fellow New Yorkers jumpstart their careers. Moreover, I am a certified NYC Green Building Operator; building and maintaining a sustainable, resilient city is contingent on expanding a boundless green economy for all. I’m tirelessly active with helping children with special needs in District 75; I served as 369K Brooklyn PA President for 3 years. My downtime activities include PC gaming with my son (Half-Life 2 is the GOAT), building RC buggy kits and dabbling with keyboard synthesizers. I played semi-pro volleyball for several clubs across the east coast!

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!

Damian Fagon
Venture Director

I’m blessed to wake up every day and work on new and challenging initiatives that help connect working people with the purpose, financial security and sovereignty they have historically been denied. After close to a decade of public service in international development, the most personally rewarding and important work I’ve done involved either empowering farmers or farming myself. I hold a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University and a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. In my spare time, I enjoy playing pickup ball around the city and admiring my wildly handsome young poodle, Charlie.

Technology Instructor

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.

Work Readiness Instructor

My passion is to help many succeed. With 15 years of teaching within the college setting and in community based programs, I am inspired by the people that I serve. I have a Masters in Public Administration and a Bachelors in Psychology from The College of New Rochelle. I am currently earning my doctorate in Adult Learning at Grand Canyon University. I have 2 adult children that are my wings and I love volunteering within my community. At Hope, I am able to teach and learn from students with many diverse backgrounds and show them that they have limitless possibilities.   

Director of Work Wellness

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.

Nelson R. Gonzalez
Digital Literacy Instructor

After working with 2 world leading corporations, supporting community programs, I reinvented my career in various roles of support to the unemployed and underemployed. I enjoy all the arts, as well as expanding my knowledge of the past and current discoveries. Music has been a part of my life since my early childhood, and I had the privilege of performing Latin music vocals for years.

Jaffrey Gotay
YouthBuild Coordinator

Born and raised in the Bronx I did not see many opportunities offered in my community. When I went away to college in Massachusetts, I really began to live outside of my Bronx bubble and realized that there was so much more out there. I got my BA in Sociology from Boston College with the hopes of being able to help others. I worked retail (mostly management) for 10 years. I later transitioned to workforce development where I recruited for many large companies. I have a passion for helping others.

Administrative Coordinator

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.





Retention Associate

I am a HOPE graduate and have been employed with HOPE since 2008. In my new role as a Retention Associate, I can say my most favorite part is hearing grads tell me about their position and what they do on the job. They sound so proud which they should be, they’ve worked hard for this and deserve the fruits of their labor.

Shakira Hart
Intervine Crew Supervisor

Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life! Being a champion for my students has been a passion of mine since I started in the field of Workforce Development.  My passion for education and success for myself and those around me has led to a burgeoning career. With my vast educational  and professional background, which includes two Masters degrees in Sociology and Educational Counseling, I’ve crafted my knowledge, skills, and experience into an expertise that will help those I’m passionate about. 

Afridi Hussein
Employment Specialist

Impacting the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers in a positive way! Knowing that someone is smiling on the other end of a phone call because of their perseverance and earning their deserved incentive is such a rewarding feeling and I can’t help but smile right back at them. I have a BA in Economics with a minor in Computer Science. I have an interest in hiking trails that are long and challenging. When I finally get to the top and see the end result, I say to myself “it was truly worth it’. I also enjoy watching movies and volunteering as a youth leader in my community!

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.

Administrative Coordinator

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.

HOPEworks Program Director

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!

Joanna Larson
Director of Transitional Employment/General Manager, Intervine

I love HOPE’s focus on opportunity and sustainability! I want to live in a community with economic justice and environmental justice for everyone, and I’m excited to be able to work on those challenges at HOPE. I began my career in the private sector with the goal of building my skills to support a mission-driven career.  I have been working in a nonprofit for the last 15+ years. I have an BA in International Relations from Tufts University and an MBA from Darden Business School. I love gardening, going for walks in nature, and going out to dinner with friends and family.

Katelyn Leong
Clinical Case Manager

I am passionate about the holistic approach that HOPE takes to workforce development, where the unique circumstances of each individual are taken into consideration to support their overall wellbeing and professional growth. I started at HOPE as a graduate intern on the wellness team and I am grateful to have the opportunity to continue collaborating with students and graduates in addressing any barriers that might get in the way of achieving their goals. I have a BA in Psychology with a specialization in Clinical/Counseling Psychology and a Minor in Public Health from The College of New Jersey, and a MA in Counseling for Mental Health & Wellness from New York University. In my free time I enjoy maintaining houseplants, trying new recipes, and spending time with loved ones.

Karen-Michelle Mirko
Director of Employment and Graduate Services

Wes Moore recently defined the goal of workforce development as taking individual success stories and turning them into structural change. I am at HOPE for the hundreds of students that we serve directly and the change we can make on the systems that serve our clients and residents across New York City. Since 2014, I have been working with employers in NYC and across the country to help them launch and grow their business and more recently, to provide quality jobs. I hold a Master of Business Administration from New York University Stern School of Business. Outside the office, I can be found singing in a pick-up choir, reading fiction and walking on the beach.

Bronx Program Assistant

My loyalty is helping people see the positive side of life. My extensive thirst to become the best in social work has influenced me to connect hospitality, humanity, and professionalism in many different environments. My experience includes customer service management, conflict resolution, adaptability, problem-solving, written and interpersonal communications, and workload management. I’m one semester away from graduating and obtaining my associate degree in Criminal Justice. In my spare time I like to Hike, Watch comedy movies & Read books. The last book I read was how to win friends and influence people. By Dale Carnegie. I came from Egypt, 27 years ago when i was 21 years old and I’m so proud to see how far I have come.

Patience Oluwole
Transitional Employment Operations Manager

“I am because we are” summarizes my passion for the workforce field. I am a native Bronxite and have seen the impact of lack of opportunities in struggling communities. The South Bronx has so much potential for growth, but its inhabitants need the skills to obtain career advancement. I am grateful to be a part of a team committed to impacting individuals within my community. I graduated from Smith College with a double Bachelors Degree in Government and Cultural Anthropology. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Business Management and Leadership at CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Paulette Peters
Transitional Employment Program Assistant

I am a graduate of The HOPE Program which changed my life, I get to experience meeting new people. I am now employed as the CoolRoofs Transitional Employment Program Assistant, which is located in the Bronx. During my spare time, I love volunteering, cooking and singing also spending time with my family and friends.

Admissions Coordinator

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.

Renee Ruhl
Intervine Project Manager

I love the holistic approach HOPE offers in environmental sustainability that creates a deeper connection for the local community to the outdoors. I bring a strong project management and design experience from the public sector and in nonprofit management. I obtained my MS in Ecological Design and a BS in Textile Science. I see potential in the great outdoors to ground us, improve our well-being, and increase our awareness of the natural world. In my spare time I like hiking, exploring national parks and public gardens and trying local cuisine and coffee roasters in her international and domestic travels with my family.

CoolRoofs Crew Supervisor

I was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn and I am passionate about sustainability, empowerment and equality. I have a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Engineering with a focus in Green Design and a Minor in Race, Gender and Ethnicity from the University of Michigan. I am Interested in the uplift of society through STEM, the Arts, Youth Development, HIV Advocacy and Sustainable Design. I am excited to merge my interests here at The HOPE Program to propel New York City as a leader in sustainability, led by New Yorkers themselves.

Michael Scanlon

I’m from Brooklyn and I’m a firm believer in self redemption. When I see a person with a renewed self-worth, that gives me goosebumps. I earned a GED during my fifteen years active duty military career. I am a proud graduate of The HOPE Program. I’m currently working on three humorous books which I hope to get published soon.

Alumni Support Manager

I started at HOPE in 2016 as graduate Mental Health Counseling intern! I have always wanted to be in a profession where 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.

Director of Recruitment & Admissions

I am excited to work at HOPE for the opportunity to expand on previous professional relationships and establish new ones that allow me to reach a broader community of New York City job seekers. I am also happy to be a part of a small yet mighty team of brilliant professionals. I have an infectious work ethic and have become a well-respected authority within the fields of workforce development and social justice. I have a Masters of Arts-pending from CUNY Graduate Center, Masters of Science from New York University, and a Bachelors of Arts from Hunter College. I enjoy quiet time with family and friends, traveling, civic engagement, and working on legacy projects that drive my entrepreneurial spirit and lays a strong foundation for my children. I am also a co-author of a recently released anthology, “Still I Thrive.” I enjoy inspiring others! Throughout my 20+ year career in workforce development, I have had the honor of developing and overseeing equitable job readiness and career training initiatives. 

Mindfulness Educator

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!

Bronx Program Director

What I love most about workforce development and social service is seeing the progression and accomplishments of people. As a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve spent a decade providing job and training opportunities to Bronx residents via private, federal and nonprofit programs. I hold a Masters of Public Administration from Metropolitan College of New York and a Bachelors of Arts from Plattsburgh State University. I’m passionate about community organizing, community revitalization and connecting individuals to resources that provide them with access to a sustainable future.