Ariel Rojas, MS, MA
President / Founder
As an interdisciplinary cultural entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the fields of mental health, HIV/AIDS, counseling and youth development, Ariel has experience working in New York City’s multi-faceted social service and healthcare industry, delivering culturally competent services, creating inclusive environments and implementing highly effective outreach strategies in diverse communities. He has in-depth knowledge of the local challenges affecting the Caribbean and Latino communities as well. In the field of international development, Ariel played a key role in the intergovernmental negotiation process at the United Nations by constructively engaging in various informal interactive hearings of the General Assembly with NGOs, civil society organizations, major groups and the private sector in preparation for the summit that officially adopt the post-2015 Development Agenda. In collaboration with other U.N. Major Group members, he advocated for the improvement of global policy issues related to youth engagement, cultural diversity, women inclusion, families rights and health promotion; and he has been also invited by U.N. permanent missions to attend various forums where he has promoted more innovative and inclusive partnerships between national governments, non-governmental organizations and local initiatives. In 2015, he was invited as an official speaker to attend the NGO Conference at the United Nations. Ariel emigrated from Havana, Cuba, to the United States in 2000 as the first young Cuban researcher to be unanimously awarded Vassar College's Latin American Culture Fellowship, in the Hispanic Studies Department. He holds a Masters degree in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University, mentored by Prof. Michael Taussig, one of the iconic fathers of Post-modern Cultural Anthropology. Back in Cuba, he graduated with a BA in Psychology and a Masters in Social Psychology from the University of Havana. He has also earned Master-level credits at Columbia University with a concentration in Social Enterprise Management, where he audited a class in International Social Development, and presented an independent research entitled "Cross-cultural Study of HIV/AIDS and Preventive Strategies." Ariel launched TDN in 2007 in response to the lack of culturally relevant HIV prevention programs for youth in Brooklyn. For his leadership, his innovative and entrepreneurial effort, and his social commitment to bring HIV prevention to a new frontier, Ariel is the recipient, along with his TDN team, of the New York State Department of Health Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award provided by the AIDS Institute. Since 2014, he has been our NGO representative at the United Nations' Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC,) and an active member of NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's Brooklyn Knows Steering Committee. In 2019, Ariel was granted a membership at the Alumni Society, a platform for the most distinguished Latinos in the country who are making a difference in a meaningful way and are alumni from highly selective U.S. colleges and universities, Publications: Written Statement on the occasion the 54th Session of the Commission for Social Development (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs -E/CN.5/2016/NGO/46-, January 2016); Written Statement on the occasion of the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (UN Women -E/CN.6/2015/NGO/136- March 2015); Article "Enabling Culture for Effective Responses to HIV/AIDS" (Real Life Times Newspaper, January Issue, 2014); Article "Social Enterprise: Improving Communities' Future and People's Live" (Real Life Times Newspaper, February Issue, 2014); Fact sheet "HIV and Substance Use: Who is at Risk? Our People, or Our Culture?" (National Hispanic & Latino Addiction Technology Transfer Center, Year 2, Vol. 2, March 2014); Webinar Presentation "HIV and Substance Use Among Hispanics and Latinos" (National Hispanic & Latino ATTC, March 2014)
Sophie Cardona, MA, EMIT, LEED
Sophie is a multi-cultural sustainability professional who practices at the intersection of economic development and the environment. With a solid background in economics, she advises clients on how to implement and finance energy efficiency projects. She completed her MA in International Relations and Latin American Studies, with a specialization in economic development and emerging markets from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She also holds a BA in Economics and Psychology from Barnard College, and an Associates Degree from Parsons The New School for Design. She is a founding member of Transdiaspora Network. She speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
Dillon Clark, MSW
Currently, Dillon serves as the Director of Operations for Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School and Research Associate & Special Education Advisor for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector. He has also held multiple program management and school leadership positions with the The District of Columbia Public Schools and District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation. Dillon has worked closely with various local and federal politicians on Capitol Hill, in Albany, on Long Island and in New York City on a variety of issues including education, healthcare, and the environment. He has held posts with Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Steve Israel, Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic Policy and Communications Center, and in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Operations Division. Most recently, he been nominated and recommend for appointment as Tennent Representative and Commissioner to the Montgomery County Commission on Landlord-Tennent Affairs by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. Dillon has a BA in Politics from The Catholic University of America, and a Master's degree in Social Work from Columbia University. While attending graduate school, he was selected to be part of the competitive Law Minor program. He also received credits in Mental Health Counseling at Touro College School of Education and Psychology.
Martha Navas, MS
Martha is a business development specialist at Calypso Technology. Previously, she worked as a financial service professional at New York Life. She has a Master's degree in International Economy and a Bachelor's degree in Finance and International Relations from Universidad Externado de Colombia.
Dorimar Morales, LCSW
Dorimar is a graduate of the Hunter College School of Social Work and an alumna of the Ackerman Institute’s Externship Program where she received intensive training in family therapy. She has clinical experience in various settings including mental health, child welfare and schools working with bicultural-bilingual populations of various socioeconomic backgrounds. As a Latina immigrant and a speaker of several languages, Dorimar has developed an interest in how experiences pertaining to race shapes the inner life of families and couples. As a former theater performer and artist educator, she brings creativity and action to the vision of our organization. She is currently a Field Supervisor for social work students in training, is an active member of the teaching Faculty at the Ackerman Institute and a founding member of its Multiracial Family & Couples Project. In addition, Dorimar maintains a private practice in New York City specializing in families and couples.
Albert J. Jimenez Cabrera, LMSW
Albert was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic where he lived until the age of 20 and moved to New York City in 2007. Albert has been a Bronx resident since 2013. He started his higher education at Bronx Community College facing the classic immigrant experience of learning a language in which he was also learning a career. Those challenges and experiences provided him with the clear purpose of making a career and a life pursuit of helping others in similar or worse circumstances. As a Cisgender Afro-Latino male, he has made a personal goal to advance the cause for people who are gender none-confirming. As of 2019, Albert is a primary care Social Worker providing HIV prevention and HIV+ case management supervision, trauma focused therapy and substance abuse counseling. Albert also provides Applied Behavioral Therapy for children in the Autism Spectrum as part of an early childhood intervention program. Albert first graduated from Bronx Community College in 2013 and immediately transferred to John Jay College of Criminal Justice where he graduated in 2018 earning a Bachelor in Science of Criminal Justice and a manor of Public Administration. Lastly, Albert graduated from Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work in 2018 with a Masters of Social Work. Albert has experience and trainings of Individual & Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy, Ego Modifying Therapy and Substance Abuse Counseling.
Dr. Joyce Shim, PhD
Advisory Council Member
Dr. Joyce Shim is Assistant Professor at Dominican University Graduate School of Social Work. Previously, she was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work and worked for various international organizations including the UN and UNICEF as well as Human Rights Watch. She holds a BA in Political Science from Rutgers-New Brunswick, and earned Dual Masters in International Affairs and Social Work as well as a PhD in Social Policy at Columbia University. She has lived in Korea and Spain and travelled widely in Europe and Asia. As an advisor, she assists with international development and research strategies.
Casey Reckman, MA
Senior Board Associate
Casey works in macroeconomic research and analysis at Credit Suisse. She earned a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University, with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Latin American Studies. Later, she received a MA in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University, where she concentrated in Latin American Studies, International Finance and Emerging Markets. She has also conducted analysis for AIG Capital Group in Buenos Aires, taught English in Santo Domingo, and monitored Latin American and European issues for Human Rights Watch. She has traveled extensively within Latin America and also lived in the Dominican Republic. She speaks fluent Spanish and has working knowledge of Portuguese.
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