Carole J. Wacey
WCC President & CEO
Carole Wacey joined Women Creating Change (WCC) as President and Chief Executive Officer in November 2017. From the outset, she has been focused on evolving WCC to be inclusive, impactful, relevant, and innovative.
Carole undertook an intensive strategic planning process to assess WCC’s history and identify opportunities to meet the needs of a transforming city. Carole has led a comprehensive planning process that has included a historical review, surveys of membership, and meetings with past and prospective key partners. This work led to changes in the organization’s name, vision, mission, and programs. She is spearheading a new direction for the organization that leverages its history of activism to expand opportunities for all New York City women to become civically engaged and create change in their lives and communities.
Over her 30-year career, Carole has worked in the politics, policy, philanthropy, nonprofit, media, and advocacy sectors. She came to WCC to return to policy work in honor of her deep activist roots. Her family immigrated to the New York City area from the UK in the 1960s after her father passed away and they encountered financial challenges. Carole’s feminist mother always encouraged her to stand up for her beliefs, and she advocated for the Equal Right Amendment, social security, and pay equity from an early age.
Prior to joining WCC, Carole served as the Vice President of Education at WNET for five years, where she focused on technology, interactive media, youth development and underserved youth. Carole served for ten years as Executive Director at MOUSE, a national nonprofit organization that empowers underserved youth to learn, lead and create with technology. Prior to joining MOUSE, Carole was the Director of the Interactive Media for Children (IMC) program at the Markle Foundation.
Before joining Markle, Carole was Deputy Director of the Office of Education Technology and Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. In that capacity, she provided leadership for the Clinton Administration on the development and implementation of national educational technology policy, legislation, and program development. She addressed issues such as telecommunications, the digital divide, internet safety, privacy, and e-commerce.
Carole is currently an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is a mentor for New York Community Trust’s Leadership Fellows, where she helps cultivate strong leaders to ensure nonprofits can flourish in the future. She is also a member of the Manhattan Complete Count Commission, Women’s Leadership Council, Women in Development, and Nonprofit New York.
Carole lives in Queens with her husband and twin boys. She received her B.A. in Economics from the American University, and her J.D. from Vermont Law School. She has also studied public international law at Oxford University and leadership at Yale University. Carole received City & State’s 2020 Above and Beyond award in honoring the 30 most powerful women in New York who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in their field and have made significant contributions to society.
David Ashenfarb, CPA, CGMA
Auditor, Schall & Ashenfarb
David Ashenfarb, CPA, CGMA has B.B.A in Accounting from Pace University. He is a past Chairman of the Not-For-Profit Organizations Committee of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and is a member of the AICPA. He appeared as a speaker for numerous organizations, including the Charities Bureau, the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, the Human Services Council, UNH, and the Foundation for Accounting Education, where he is a regular member of the expert panel to answer other practitioners’ accounting and auditing questions. David has written numerous articles on not-for-profit matters in publications such as The Executive’s Guide to Nonprofit Governance- published by the American Society of Corporate Secretaries and the American Bar Association, The CPA Journal and The Trusted Professional. David is also an adjunct professor at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College where he has developed a graduate level course on not-for-profit accounting, auditing, and management.
President, Barsamian Communication
Nicole Barsamian is a seasoned communications professional and founder of Barsamian Communication, a creative communication company that produces cutting-edge campaigns, content and design. Nicole helps clients position their brands and clearly and compellingly tell their stories in order to affect positive social change.
Over the span of more than two decades, Nicole has been a strategic communications counselor to some of the country’s leading foundations, corporations and non-profit organizations, including: the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the National Alliance on Mental Illness; Kaiser Family Foundation; Johnson & Johnson; the National Minority AIDS Council; the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women; the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition; and Women’s City Club of New York (where she has served on the board). She has led national, grassroots, and multi-cultural marketing/communication campaigns and educational programs, and has written, designed, and directed creative content (digital, print and video) to support these efforts.
Before founding Barsamian Communication, Nicole advised clients at Ogilvy Public Relations and also was Senior Vice President at IssueSphere/Nelson Communications which was acquired by Publicis.
A graduate of American University in Washington, DC, she holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from New York University and also studied at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China.
WCC Senior Manager, External Relations
Anya joined WCC in 2015 as a Member Manager developing and implementing strategic direction for the organization’s growth within the membership area. As a Sr. Manager of External Relations, she works with staff and leadership to effectively engage WCC supporters and develop outreach strategies. Anya and her family emigrated to the US as political refugees one year before the fall of the U.S.S.R. Anya earned her B.A. in Communications from Hofstra University, and graduated with a M.S. in Nonprofit Management from The New School. Prior to joining WCC, she had spent over 10 years engaged in project management and administration in the corporate sector. After calling Queens her home for over 15 years, Anya is now a converted “Brooklynite,” and lives in Greenpoint with her husband and cat.
Senior Account Executive, Anat Gerstein, Inc
Lynsey Billet, Account Executive, worked in nonprofit advocacy, lobbying and research prior to joining the Anat Gerstein, Inc. team in 2016. She previously served as a member of AARP’s national campaign communications team, working on its digital and social media campaigns that furthered advocacy efforts on behalf of senior citizens. Prior to that, Lynsey interned with the PPL Corporation, a utilities company in Pennsylvania, serving as a junior lobbyist and also worked as a research assistant in the Political Science Department at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She lives in Brooklyn.
Senior Account Executive, Anat Gerstein, Inc
Sophie Crumpacker, Senior Account Executive, joined Anat in 2017. Previously, she worked in communications and development at Partnership with Children, a nonprofit that provides counseling services to New York City public school students. She interned at the Huntington Disease Society of America and worked as a research assistant in the Psychology Department at Washington University in St. Louis. Sophie graduated in 2013 from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied Psychology and Public Health. She lives in Portland, OR.
WCC Community Solutions Fellow
As a Former General Practitioner and Project Coordinator for the Youth Network for Sustainable Development, Segen Berihu Dirar has experience engaging young people in advocacy and lobbying stakeholders to promote comprehensive sexual reproductive health. For her follow-on project in Ethiopia, Segen plans to empower commercial sex workers by providing them a better future and helping them become agents for their Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).
At WCC, Segen will enrich her advocacy strategies, focus on adolescent and young women’s SRHR, and promote gender Segen Berihu Dirar equality.
President and Founding Partner, WCA Technologies
Peter Fidler, President and founding partner of WCA Technologies has more than 30 years of Information Technology experience working with Not for Profit, Legal and Financial organizations. Peter began his career as an Analyst with the New York City Office of Management and Budget. It is at this government agency that he met coworker and fellow IT professional, Warren Eng. Fast forward 30 years later, Peter and his partner, Warren Eng, continue to manage WCA Technologies – an IT Support, IT Consulting, and Managed IT Services company located in midtown Manhattan.
Most of WCA’s original clients are still doing business with them today. WCA attributes its success and longevity to core business values, including: forging a lasting partnership with clients, commitment to excellence when troubleshooting client issues, serving and acting on behalf of clients’ best interests. Their roster of clients is diverse – law firms, non-profits, financial companies, small to medium-sized businesses throughout the Tri-State area. Follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to learn more.
As a native New Yorker, Peter takes pride in solidifying and building a network of local partnerships. He currently sits on the New York City Board of the IAMCP and is a member of the Ingram SMB Alliance, and HTG Peer Group. Peter has an MBA in Finance from Fordham University and B.S. in Marketing from Bentley University. When he’s not creating IT business solutions, Peter enjoys yoga, cooking, and attending Giants football games.
Sada M. Geuss
Investment Manager, Trillium Asset Management
Sada Geuss is an investment manager in Trillium’s Boston office. Prior to joining Trillium in 2015, Sada was an investment analyst at Deutsche Bank, where she spent over ten years providing investment advisory and consulting services to individual, institutional and family office clients. She has significant experience working with investors in the development of customized investment programs and has been working with clients with social investment mandates since 2005. Sada is a member of the Boston Club, and formerly served on the Board of the Thirty Percent Coalition, both organizations focused on increasing the representation of women on boards.
Sada received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in Policy and Management, from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation.
WCC Senior Program and Policy Manager
Lea was born and raised in New York City and has spent six years in the nonprofit sector. Before joining WCC, Lea spent three years at New York Cares managing relief efforts in Queens after Hurricane Sandy — from the immediate response through the long- term recovery.
In Nepal, she worked for All Hands Volunteers (now All Hands and Hearts), where she helped build and manage partnerships after the 2015 earthquakes. Since returning to NYC, she has done part-time work for Spark Street Consulting researching global public health policy, the International Society for Urban Health, and Free Arts NYC. Lea received her Bachelor’s degree in International and Global Studies from Brandeis University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs with a focus on Urban Policy.
Managing Director & Founder, The Accountkeepers
Natasha Goldstein is Founder and Managing Director of The Accountkeepers, a 100% women-owned and operated firm that acts as the outsourced accounting department for other organizations. We typically manage all day-to-day accounting and financial statement preparation for our clients, as well as bill payment, sales invoicing, and payroll management. We pair experienced accountants with technology to automate bookkeeping data entry, which increases accuracy and reduces cost.
Natasha has spent more than a decade in corporate finance, social impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Prior to founding The Accountkeepers from 2013 to 2017 Natasha was Managing Director & Chief Financial Officer of MCE Social Capital, a $60 million global social investment fund focused on improving the lives of low-income women in rural areas. At MCE Natasha was responsible for raising approximately $20 million dollars in impact investment capital annually, as well as all financial and operational aspects of the fund. From 2012 to 2013 Natasha served as Finance Director at Hot Bread Kitchen, a commercial bakery providing on-the-job training to immigrant women in New York City. In 2010, Natasha founded LIFT Investments, a social enterprise focused on business development and skills training in Nairobi, Kenya. Earlier in her career, Natasha worked at UBS Investment Bank as an investment banking analyst, where she focused on multi-million and billion dollar cross-border mergers, acquisitions, and equity transactions. Natasha has a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree with a major in finance from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada and a Masters of Public Administration focused on economic development from Columbia University.
Natasha is also a regular public speaker and lecturer on launching social ventures, entrepreneurship, impact investing and social enterprise. Venues have included Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of North Carolina.
Lastly, Natasha teaches a course on impact investing and social entrepreneurship at Columbia University.
Investment Manager, Trillium Asset Management
Lisa Hayles is an investment manager in Trillium’s Boston Office who joined the firm in 2020. She has more than 18 years experience in sustainable investing, having worked in Canada, the UK and the U.S. advising clients on incorporating ESG analysis into investment approaches. Lisa is a board member of the Thirty Percent Coalition, a national non-profit committed to raising the number of women on boards across the U.S. Lisa also serves on the boards of the Boston Impact Initiative, an impact fund focused on economic justice and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
Lisa received her B.A.in Political Science and History from the University of Toronto and a M.Sc. in International Development from the University of Guelph. She also holds a French language Certificate for the University of Toulouse in France.
WCC Moderator, Table Talk - Dialogue for Civic Change
As the child of social activist parents, Angela has engaged in community-building all her life. After careers in education, empowerment in the developing world, and in executive search and consulting for the nonprofit sector, she has added a career in voice acting. Under the stage name of Grace Angela Henry, her voice can be heard on audiotours for Berkshire Botanical Garden, Dutch World Heritage Tours, and Historic Huguenot Street; and on audiobooks for authors such as Cornelia E. Davis, K. Heidi Fishman, Condoleezza Rice, and Linda R. Spitzfaden. Angela narrated films for the FDR National Historic Site, voiced Toni Morrison in the award-winning “Shokran, Toni,” and narrates “A Sculpted Life”, which will air on PBS this year. She portrays Sojourner Truth in multiple venues for the centennial of the suffrage movement, and is a popular MC for nonprofit galas. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a Master’s degree from Harvard.
WCC Program & Policy Fellow
Haydon John is the Program and Policy Fellow. She recently graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. degree in Anthropology with certificates in Urban Studies and Theater. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Haydon has always been passionate about issues of accessibility and inclusion within the urban context. She is thrilled to address these issues through the lens of women’s civic engagement at WCC and is grateful to the Princeton AlumniCorps for the opportunity.
First Vice President, Social Impact Banking, Amalgamated Bank
Dara Kagan serves as a First Vice President of Social Impact Banking at Amalgamated Bank. Previously, Dara served as Associate Director at Plum Alley Investments, a group of women investors providing Series-A capital to female entrepreneurs. She has also consulted for Ashoka Social Financial services, where she co-authored a brief on ESOPs, as well as International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, where she created an impact investing curriculum for Latin American health clinics. Bringing to bear her additional past experiences at the National Institute for Reproductive Health, the New York City Council Speaker’s Office, and various political campaigns, she provides innovative financial services to mission-oriented clients. She sits on the boards of The Doula Project and The Feminist Press. Dara received her MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and her BA from Smith College. Dara is a co-chair of Amalgamated Bank’s LGBTQ Pride Employee Resource Group.
Alycia is a Brooklyn-based freelance photographer who works closely with Women Creating Change, documenting their myriad events and initiatives.
A native Vermonter, Alycia travels extensively for work and pleasure. She has taught in China and the West Bank, and photographed people and places extensively in Europe, South America and Asia. Her work explores the intersection of public and private, focusing on genuine emotion and intimate moments. She is fluent in French and Spanish, and conversational in Arabic.
Through her images Alycia seeks to bring people from different walks of life together by evoking universal sentiments and conveying unique experiences. She believes strongly in the mission of the Women’s City Club, and her work with them increases awareness of important issues and serves as a vital visual link of communication. You can view her personal work at Alycia Kravitz.
Anita was born and raised in New York City. She proudly hails from Queens. She has been working with non-profits organizations since she was 14 and hopes to pursue a career in the nonprofit advocacy field. She is currently a student at Fordham University majoring in Sociology and minoring in Peace and Justice Studies. After completing her undergraduate studies, she plans on obtaining a Master of Social Work degree to further her knowledge on how to serve underrepresented communities. Anita is passionate about intersectional feminism, equity, and advocacy, among many other social issues. She is very excited to work at WCC and take part in creating an effective inclusive community for advocacy!
WCC Operations Manager
Anita’s involvement with WCC began when she served as a Public Policy Intern where she assisted with the publication and distribution of the Citywide Guide to Services in Resources. Following this internship she served as a Research and Public Policy Fellow where she managed the evaluation of the Citywide Guide and took on other administrative and policy based responsibilities. Anita also served as intern with United States Congressman Joseph Crowley of New York’s 13th District where she assisted constituents with their casework regarding immigration, housing, and workers’ rights. In addition, Anita interned with Suffolk County Legislator, Sarah Anker’s office where she worked with staff on day—to-day tasks, and wrote press releases, and mailings that were later distributed to Legislator Anker’s Constituents. Anita received a B.A. in Political Science from Stony Brook University.
Julie Poncelet, PhD
Co-founder, Action Evaluation Collaborative
Julie Poncelet, PhD has over 15 years of experience in evaluation and strategic planning work, both domestically and internationally, with a focus children/youth and education, issues affecting women/girls and gender equity, and community-based development initiatives. She collaborates with small community-based organizations, foundations, and INGOs to build their capacity to support complex social change initiatives. Dr. Poncelet has conducted capacity-building workshops and highly participatory community meetings, planned clients’ monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) strategies based on Theory of Change methodology, and implemented mixed-methods data collection and analysis plans with a strong emphasis on culturally appropriate, participatory approaches. She has led or co-managed over 30 quasi-experimental or non-experimental, primarily mixed-method evaluations and worked or supported projects in over a dozen countries in Africa, Asia, CIS, and LAC. In 2010, Dr. Poncelet co-founded Action Evaluation Collaborative to support complex developmental and strategic learning evaluations globally and founded JP Consulting in 2016 to support similar evaluations in the US. She has been a lecturer at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) since 2012 teaching program evaluation for non-profits and social enterprises and has advised a dozen student-led international development and policy-oriented capstone workshops in nearly 20 countries. Dr. Poncelet has been a co-chair in the American Evaluation Association’s Youth Focused Evaluation Topical Interest Group (TIG) since 2015.
Executive Vice President, Anat Gerstein, Inc
Jeff Simmons, Executive Vice President, Anat, has more than three decades of experience in private and public sector communications, media, and journalism. Well-networked in New York City, Jeff most recently served as Senior Vice President for Communications at the Alliance for Downtown New York, the country’s largest Business Improvement District.
Accomplished at leading long- and short-term communication initiatives, Jeff has designed strategic public relations and constituent outreach campaigns, tackled crisis communications, and overseen free and paid media campaigns. He previously ran communications for New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., and served as campaign advisor to Thompson in 2009 and as his reelection Campaign Manager in 2005. A born and bred journalist, Jeff spent 17 years as a reporter, working at The (Bergen) Record of Hackensack, New York Post, New York Daily News, and New York 1 News. A New Yorker for nearly two decades, Jeff lives with his partner and two Brussels Griffons in Queens. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @JackHites.
Deneisha Thompson, MA, LMSW
As a natural born leader and true lover of all people, Deneisha has built a strong reputation as a “consultant with a heart” and has over 15 years of experience in strategic planning, group facilitation and retreats used to build strong teams so they can achieve results-based outcomes.
Deneisha began her career working in the area of Adult Education at Hofstra University. She then transitioned into the nonprofit sector taking on a variety of direct service, clinical, management and leadership roles for programs servicing very challenging populations such as mentally ill substance abusers, chronically homeless individuals and families, and people with chronic medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS. More recently, Deneisha has been providing facilitation, consulting services and professional development to educational, government & non-profit institutions. She holds master’s degrees in Forensic Psychology and Social Work. Deneisha is also an Adjunct Professor at Metropolitan College of NY and has taught undergraduate courses such as Statistics for Groups, Critical Thinking, Community Psychology, Social Policy and Values & Ethics.
Deneisha is a fierce advocate for oppressed people and their communities. She has helped to build several partnerships in high poverty communities and worked with clients to develop anti-racist practices as well as improve diversity, equity and inclusion for their staff and stakeholders. As a first-generation American born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Deneisha understands how and why her story is unlikely and could have been very different. She is committed to using her resources, access and voice to help others. In the rare occasion that she has down time, Deneisha enjoys traveling, reading and live music. She has offices in NYC & Atlanta.