Young Professional Leadership Council
Maria Vlassenko, co-chair
Maria Vlassenko is an attorney in New York City. She has extensive experience representing public and private companies in connection with various corporate and securities law issues. She is fluent in her native Hebrew and Russian languages, and is proficient in German. Maria holds an LL.M from Columbia Law School, and an LL.B from Tel Aviv University. She has joined Children’s Rights because she believes that every child deserves a happy childhood.
Samrat Singh, co-chair
Samrat Singh is a Vice President and Private Client Associate with U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management in Princeton, New Jersey. Samrat earned his M.B.A. from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He also holds a master’s degree in industrial & systems engineering from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ramaiah Institute of Technology in India. He began his career as a financial advisor in New York City and also worked as an industrial engineer in private industry before joining U.S. Trust.
Kevin Landau, board liaison
Kevin Landau is Managing Partner of The Landau Group. Kevin’s experience as an attorney, General Counsel and business advisor, expands over four continents, several countries, a variety of industries and companies ranging from the modestly funded start-up to Fortune 500. Such sectors include but are not limited to: tech/social media, fashion/lifestyle, entertainment, PR, culinary/spirits, hospitality and healthcare. From his integral participation with Project Synergy, a federally funded education program dedicated to addressing the needs of urban youth deemed “at-risk”, due to socio-economic or domestic challenges; to his involvement with Sheets From Home, a grassroots non-profit aimed at appointing the hospital beds of sick children with certain comforts, Kevin has remained passionate about improving the lives of children. As a lawyer, he understands the necessity of making changes at a policy level to effectuate profound and sustainable progress.
Christine Rivera, treasurer
Christine is a financial services professional with 13 years of experience leading teams coupled with accounting, finance, financial services and project management experience. She is presently responsible for driving, coordinating and implementing a portfolio of Wealth Management programs for the Americas within Deutsche Bank. Christine holds an Executive MBA from NYU Stern and is a graduate of Boston University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in finance.
Doreen Allen has over 7 years of experience in direct child welfare services and particular experience with children and adolescents in foster care. Prior to this, she conducted program development analyses for a social service agency, to visually document the “current state” process of foster care & adoption, to identify breakdowns and inefficiencies. In 2016, she launched iThrive Worldwide, a nonprofit that will strive to decrease statistics and create a positive future for foster care youth. iThrive will create this positive influence via the hosting of curriculum events, such as personal development seminars, professional development seminars, financial literacy classes, health and wellness guidance, academic help, housing assistance, and creative opportunities. Prior to launching iThrive Worldwide, Doreen Allen completed a Bachelors in Psychology from Morgan State University and a Masters in Criminal Justice from American Public University.
Jason Bressner is an entrepreneur and educator. A biomedical engineer by training, he is the founder of Limpiagua, an innovative startup that employs small tree branches as filters to provide local, clean drinking water for communities in developing countries. He also is President of the Bressner-Santana Baseball Agency, serves as an elected official in Lexington (MA) Town Meeting, and teaches college physics at a small university in Boston. Jason is a graduate of Harvard College and Tufts University, residing in the Boston area with his 5-year old twins. His experiences as a dad are what inspire him to serve with CR, providing highly vulnerable foster children with a powerful voice and a sense of hope.
Jenine Bressner is a maker, a teacher, and a parent. She has been sculpting glass with torches for nearly 20 years, and she also specializes in lasercutting textiles. Jenine has been a Fellow of Craft for the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She studied glass at the Rhode Island School of Design and digital fabrication through MIT’s Fab Academy.
Candice Chachkin is the Northeast Regional Recruiter for NFC Amenity Management. As a Red Cross Licensed Training Provider she runs employee certification classes and is also the owner of Saving Certs, an organization that teaches lifesaving skills to professionals and laypeople. With a 5-year history in the foster care system, Candice is dedicated and committed to Children’s Rights and their mission.
Brittany Davis is an Associate Program Manager within the Workplace Mentoring Center at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC. She holds a master’s degree from the Columbia School of Social Work, where she specialized in advanced generalist social work practice and programming with an emphasis on contemporary social issues and law. She is also a graduate of Brown University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public policy. She has experience working on a variety of social justice issues including working to reform the child welfare and criminal justice systems and eradicate human trafficking and gender-based violence. After working for Children’s Rights as a paralegal, Brittany is excited to continue supporting its important mission to defend America’s most vulnerable children.
Ronald A. Draper
Ronald A. Draper is an Artist from Harlem, New York. The NAACP Award-winning artist serves as the Director of Contemporary Arts and Culture at Harlem Hospital Center and is the Head of the Arts Department for the Eagle Academy for Young Men at Ocean Hill. Draper owns and operates The Draper Space art gallery in the South Bronx. He majored in Law and Business at St. Johns University and has over a decade of experience in the creative services industry.
Through her work in the public and private sector, Lexie Gruber is passionate about reforming our nation’s social safety set. She currently works at Accenture as a Management Consultant in the Health and Human Services practice. Lexie has also served as a Policy Associate at the American Public Human Services Association, where she acted as a liaison between human service agency commissioners, Congress, and the Obama Administration to ensure the perspectives of state and local human service agencies were incorporated in the development of new legislation and regulation. Lexie has testified before the United States Senate Finance Committee and the Connecticut State Legislature, and has presented at several Congressional briefings on child welfare issues. Lexie has also been published in the Washington Post, Hartford Courant, and the Huffington Post. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Quinnipiac University.
Airenakhue Omoragbon, a senior at Yale University, is currently completing an Intensive Sociology major with a concentration in Urban Studies. With interests at the intersection of social work, child welfare, and social policy reform, she has focused her studies and research on poverty, childhood trauma, welfare systems, and the life histories of foster-involved youth. Most notably, she previously worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights where she initiated the organization’s research on child marriage in Nigeria as it pertained to Boko Haram abductions, and the JPB Foundation where she authored an internal report on the intersectional relationship between social and environmental determinants of health. A few months shy of graduation, Airenakhue hopes to one day attain a PhD in Social Policy and a Master’s in Clinical Social Work. She is in awe of the work done by Children’s Rights and is excited to serve the organization to the best of her abilities.
Cindy L. Taylor
Cindy Taylor is the founder of Full Extent Coaching LLC, a coaching and consulting practice. Cindy has over 20 years of experience in Financial, Retail and Accounting corporate offices helping leaders and their employees meet the challenges of a business world that is constantly changing. Cindy has a long history of volunteering with organizations focused on youth engagement, supporting women and their children and food pantry support. Cindy is a Certified Coach, holds a MS in Organizational Change Management, BA in Liberal Arts and has formally studied the field of Fundraising and Philanthropy.
Hana is an Accounting Manager at MacAndrews & Forbes, a top private equity firm. She is a finance professional with an exceptional track record leading business development initiatives that drive savings and enhance productivity. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance from the National Liberal Arts and Engineering School, Paris, France, and will be embarking on her Executive MBA at Cornell University starting in 2017. She is fluent in French and Dutch. Hana has been inspired by her foster family and her childhood to use her business acumen to make a difference in the not-for-profit world.
Briana Williams graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint John’s University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies. While there, Ms. Williams conducted extensive research and writing for a New York lawyer specializing in Criminal Law, Family Law, Personal Injury, and International Law. In addition, Ms. Williams wrote an internship program for the New York City Council to facilitate internships for marginalized students. During her tenure at Saint John’s, she also handled intricate issues with local constituents as a Staff Assistant intern for the Queens Bar Association and New York’s Fifth Congressional District. In her third year at Harvard Law School, Ms. Williams serves as the Communications Director for the Harvard Black Law Student’s Association, bridging the gap between internal and external communications, as well as fostering opportunities for political and social awareness on a local and national platform by co-hosting the podcast Petty Politics. She is currently a member of the Child and Youth Advocacy group, researching policy work on behalf of disenfranchised youth.