460 West 41 Street, New York, NY 10036 | 212-613-0300

Leadership

 

Julie Farber 

Executive Director

 

Julie has dedicated her career to opening doors of opportunity for children, youth, and families, having more than 25 years of experience working at the local and national levels in the nonprofit sector and in government. Prior to joining CHNY in September 2022, Julie served as Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), where she oversaw the foster care system from 2015 to 2022.  Under Julie’s leadership, ACS reduced the number of children in foster care, reduced length of stay in care, increased kinship care and foster home recruitment, significantly expanded education and employment services for youth, increased supports for parents and families and implemented key strategies to improve race equity outcomes. Previously, Julie held senior leadership positions at two large, multi-site direct service nonprofits providing a range of services for children, youth, adults and families. Julie also brings significant experience in advocacy, having served as the Director of Policy at the national child welfare advocacy organization Children’s Rights, and through work early in her career at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Julie is a graduate of Duke University, and holds an M.S.W. from Howard University in Washington, D.C.. She has also completed the Coro New York mid-career fellowship program.

Simone Hawkins

Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

 

Simone has dedicated her life to public service supporting New Yorkers. Simone has held leadership positions at the NYC Department of Education, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the Children’s Aid Society, and served as Budget Director for Letitia James during her tenure on the New York City Council. Simone received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Economics from SUNY Oneonta, and her Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership from Fordham University.

Lisa Crook, LMSW

Chief Program Officer

 

Lisa has devoted her career to supporting young people. Lisa formerly served as VP of Justice for Youth and Family Programs at Rising Ground, where she oversaw all residential and community-based juvenile justice program. She also led the design and implementation of multiple system reform efforts in her previous roles at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the Department of Juvenile Justice. Lisa is a licensed social worker with a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Kansas and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.

Maria (Rannie) Morota

Vice President of Operational Controllership

 

Maria “Rannie” Morota joined Covenant House New York in September 2019 as a Controller and assumed the position of VP Operational Controllership in January 2021. She brings over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting in non-profit organizations such as Teach for America, Turnaround for Children and Environmental Defense Fund. She also had IT experience as a Consultant for IBM projects . Rannie is most proud to be involved in organizations that promote children and youth education and well-being.

Rev. Dr. Shakeema North

Vice President of Youth Development, Equity & Inclusion

 

Shakeema North is a Youth Development professional with an exceptional ability to develop holistic and inclusive youth development initiatives that are strength-based, trauma-informed, and geared towards serving inner-city youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Shakeema is skilled at designing strategic programs, preparing thought-provoking workshops and seminars, facilitating community-based campaigns, and improving overall organizational productivity. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from North Carolina A&T State University and also holds a Certificate in Internet Technologies from New York University and a Certificate in Christian Ministry from New York Theological Seminary; where she also received the Master of Divinity degree. She is a 2014 Fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary; a 2016 Fellow of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies’ Faith and Justice Initiative; and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. In May 2020, Shakeema received the Doctor of Ministry degree in Leadership in the Christian Tradition at Duke Divinity School.

Vesna Selmanovic

Vice President of Program Compliance and Performance Measurement

Vesna Selmanovic has 15 years of progressive leadership experience with data, compliance, and quality improvement for at-risk youth programs, and she is responsible for ensuring high-quality services and client outcomes for all programs at CHNNY. Prior to her work here, she was the Director of Quality Improvement and Compliance at New Alternatives for Children.

Camden McDaris Black, Esq.

Vice President of Development & Communications

 

Camden McDaris Black oversees all of CHNY’s fundraising efforts, including foundation, government, and local corporate grant-seeking, as well as fundraising collaborations with CHI. She is also responsible for oversight of all internal and external communications, as well as CHNY’s volunteer program. Camden brings a decade of fundraising experience to her role, as well as an extensive prior professional writing background.

Jayne Bigelsen, Esq.

Vice President of Advocacy

 

Jayne Bigelsen’s background is a mixture of law, psychology, communications, non-profit management and public policy. She is a dedicated advocate committed to assisting vulnerable populations, including young people experiencing homelessness and survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence, as they find their way to freedom. 

Eileen S. King

Vice President of Procurement & Leasing

 

Eileen King began at Covenant House New York in February 2021. She oversees the Procurement department that supports the organization’s purchasing needs and contract approvals. In addition, Eileen manages the housing portion of the FAMCOV, NEWCOV and RRH programs. Prior to joining Covenant House New York, Eileen oversaw the finances of the entrepreneurial profit centers of another nonprofit organization. She was the Controller of a Real Estate Development company as well as the owner and operator of a landscaping business. She is a CPA, Real Estate Professional, and holds a DEEP horticultural license. Aside from her professional work, Eileen has volunteered and supported youth organizations for more than 20 years. Through this diverse background, Eileen brings organizational and financial skills as well as compassion to support the programs that assist our youth.


Board of Directors

Covenant House New York is governed by a Board of Directors, to whom our Executive Director reports. The Board of Directors plays a critical role in helping transform the lives of runaway and homeless youth. The Board of Directors is Covenant House New York’s governing body, caring for the fiduciary aspects of our organization, and ensuring fulfillment of our mission.

Current Members:

Libby Cantrill

Managing Director, Head of Public Policy
PIMCO
Sezin Cavusoglu

Vice President, Current Production
Bravo TV
David Cornish

Executive Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer & Corporate Controller
Santander, USA
Virginia (Ginny) Elliot

Vice President, Airport Operations
Delta Airlines
William (Bill) Dacunto

Executive Vice President
Silverstein Properties
Ben Grizzle

Managing Director
Goldman Sachs
Maureen A. Henegan

Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Henegan Construction Co., Inc.
James Karwel

Partner/Principal
Ernst & Young
Pam Lewis

Founder and Executive Director
Connect Us
Mary Mayland
Sandy Logan Mullman

Registered Nurse
Anna Osborn

Chief Revenue Officer
Exiger
Lou Rauchenberger

General Auditor/Member of the Operating Committee
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Covenant House New York Board Chair
Matthew Schmeelk

Senior Executive Vice President
Kensington Vanguard National Land Services
Brian Strong

Global Head of Communications
Bloomberg Media
Alan Thomas

Managing Director
Morgan Stanley
Rick Van Benschoten

Executive Vice President
Wealthspire Advisors
Ethan Wiener

Director, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
NYU Langone Health
Halim Wise

HR Director, GMS
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