President and CEO
Sharon Sewell-Fairman has over 25 years of workforce and economic development experience at the local, state, and national levels. As the new President and CEO of Women Creating Change (WCC), Sewell-Fairman will position WCC at the forefront of civic engagement work in New York City. She is personally motivated to advance WCC’s mission and support initiatives to reduce social, racial, and economic disparities.
Sewell-Fairman joined Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) in 2010 as the Director of Program Operations, assumed the role of Executive Officer in 2012, and Chief Executive Officer in 2021. Sewell-Fairman steered the organization through a decade of innovation and sustained growth. During her tenure, Sewell-Fairman has steadily grown the organization’s budget, staff size, and programmatic reach while successfully navigating significant operational headwinds. She facilitated meaningful cross-sector discussions about workforce issues and launched a Leadership Development program that connected innovators—primarily leaders of color. Sewell-Fairman’s work directly impacted low-and moderate-income individuals (over 10k unique workforce practitioners and 740 unique organizations) by ensuring access to economic opportunities. Among her legacy is recruiting a diverse and expanded Board of Directors representing extensive expertise and experience in the for-profit, nonprofit, and academic worlds.
Sewell-Fairman began her career at the New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals, a member organization based in Albany, NY. She has held senior positions at the New York City Employment & Training Coalition, Wadley-Donovan Growth Tech LLC, and National Association of Workforce Boards in Washington, DC, where she worked with the nation’s 600+ workforce boards including 15,000 business leaders and Congressional staff on workforce policies and advocacy priorities.
Sewell-Fairman holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from State University at Albany, an MBA in International Business from the University of Maryland Global Campus, a Certificate in International Business Studies from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, and a Certificate of Business Excellence, Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals from Columbia University. She currently serves on the Human Services Council’s Priority and Strategy Council and the Workforce Development Council for the Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation. Ms. Sewell-Fairman previously served on the Boards of Day One New York and New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals (NYATEP).
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.
WCC Communications Intern
Ankita, a sophomore at Baruch College, is a driven individual pursuing a degree in Marketing Analytics. Having been born in Bangladesh and immigrating to New York at the age of 9, Ankita’s personal experiences have fueled her passion for advocating for underrepresented communities, especially women of color, and promoting civic engagement. Throughout her academic journey, Ankita has actively pursued opportunities to make a positive impact. She has interned at organizations such as YWCA, Neon Arts, UKW MEDIA, and City Limits, where she gained valuable experience in advocating for social change and amplifying marginalized voices. With a keen interest in merging marketing and advocacy, Ankita is excited to contribute to Women Creating Change, where she aims to use her skills to promote social justice and empower underrepresented communities.
WCC Senior Program and Policy Manager
Lea was born and raised in New York City and has spent her career doing mission-driven work in the nonprofit sector, including civic engagement, arts education, disaster recovery, and public health. She is passionate about equitable engagement and making sustainable change in her community. 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 as the Partnership Manager, helping to build partnerships after the 2015 earthquakes. She has also worked part-time at Spark Street Consulting researching global public health policy and at the International Society for Urban Health. 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.
WCC Program and Policy Intern
Natasha was born and raised in Queens, New York and has a passion for social advocacy issues. Before joining WCC, she recently graduated from Hunter College with a double bachelors degree in Political Science and History. Upon graduation, she has been working with various nonprofits in order to protect and expand the rights of underrepresented communities. In the future, she plans on becoming a civil rights lawyer and political writer in order to continue her journey on achieving systemic change. She is very excited to being working as an Intern at WCC and take part in creating an inclusive community for civic engagement.
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.
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 nonprofit 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.
Associate Vice President, Anat Gerstein, Inc
Lynsey Billet, Associate Vice President, worked in nonprofit advocacy, lobbying, and research prior to joining the anat. team in 2016. In her current role, Lynsey works with organizations that engage in advocacy work and those that provide health care and other social services. Before joining anat., Lynsey was a member of AARP’s national campaign communications team, where she worked on digital and social media campaigns that furthered advocacy efforts on behalf of seniors. Lynsey also interned with the PPL Corporation, a utilities company in Pennsylvania, where she served as a junior lobbyist. As an undergraduate, she was a research assistant in the Political Science Department at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Observer recognized Lynsey as a 2022 PR Rising Star.She is a graduate of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and 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.
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, nonprofits, 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.
Senior Account Executive, Anat Gerstein, Inc
Joanna Gallai began her career at Shandwick Public Affairs (now Weber Shandwick) in Washington, D.C. where she worked on a team that supported the U.S. government and a client in a case at the World Trade Organization. She later moved to the New York office where she staffed and managed a variety of consumer goods and food accounts, including Ferrero USA, which makes Nutella. When she left full-time paid work to stay home with her children, she continued freelancing and spent seven years as the vice president of communications for PennNYC, the University of Pennsylvania’s Alumni Association. There, she created content for and launched the organization’s website and crafted all communications materials. Joanna joined Anat Gerstein, Inc. in 2013, fulfilling a career goal of working with nonprofits exclusively. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and art history.
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.
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 nonprofit 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.
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.
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 nonprofits 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.
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 & nonprofit 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.