Pinkerton Advanced Leadership Network (PALN)

The Pinkerton Advanced Leadership Network offers leaders of color the opportunity to create a new community that will provide these leaders with the space, support and professional development resources needed to sharpen skills, share insights and explore new ways to drive impact in the youth development field. Through the Pinkerton Foundation Advanced Leadership Network, participants will: build community and expand networks, leverage the wisdom of peers, deepen knowledge and build skills, receive executive coaching, and participate in an overnight retreat.

Fifteen exceptional leaders of color in the youth development field have been selected to join the inaugural cohort of the Pinkerton Advanced Leadership Network. Learn more about these leaders here.

Aisha Norris

Aisha Norris

DREAM! Dare to Revitalize Education thru Arts & Mediation

Born and raised in the South Bronx, Executive Director Aisha Norris has spent over 20 years facilitating and implementing media-arts programs to improve the lives of vulnerable youth throughout NYC. Prior to co-founding DREAM! in 2009, Ms. Norris’ thrived at the Harlem Children’s Zone where she served at the award-winning arts and media literacy program “TRUCE” – first as a student, video production Teaching Artist, then as the Program Coordinator, managing arts programming. Wanting to offer a TRUCE-like experience to as many youth communities as possible, in 2009 Aisha partnered with other CBO’s. Norris later became trained and certified in Conflict Resolution by the Alternatives to Violence Project; Peer Mediation by Creative Response to Conflict; and in Restorative Practices by the International Institute for Restorative Practices. By 2015, DREAM!’s original media & arts program model evolved; now using the arts as a vehicle for teaching peer mediation and restorative practices.

Angela Diaz

Angela Diaz

Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center

Angela Diaz, MD, PhD, MPH is the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, a unique program that provides comprehensive, integrated, interdisciplinary primary care, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, dental, and health education services to adolescents for free with an emphasis on wellness and prevention. Under her leadership, the Center is the largest adolescent specific health center in the U.S., serving yearly more than 12,000 vulnerable and disadvantaged youth, including sexually exploited and trafficked youth. Dr. Diaz served as a White House Fellow in 1995, where she examined health care policies in the U.S. Territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. Dr. Diaz is a member of the Institute of Medicine and served on the IOM Committee on Preventive Services for Women.

Aracelis Lucero

Aracelis Lucero

Masa-MexEd, Inc

Aracelis Lucero became the Executive Director of Masa in 2013 but had been involved with the organization in various capacities since 2007. She is a proud South Bronx Native, daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, and mom to a beautiful human named Yaocuauhtli. Aracelis attended Middlebury College as a Posse Scholar, earning a Bachelors degree in Economics and later earned a Masters in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She worked at an investment bank for six years, however her work at Masa and on development projects with indigenous communities in Mexico inspired her to switch careers and move into community-oriented and economic development work. Aracelis is deeply committed to the academic, economic and political empowerment of immigrants and indigenous people of this continent.

Claudia Espinosa

Claudia Espinosa

Latinas On the Verge of Excellence, LOVE Inc

Claudia Espinosa has been working with young Latinas for the past eleven years. Her work with this population has enabled her to learn directly from these young women the needs that must be addressed to ensure they can reach their full potential. An immigrant herself, she understands the challenges that must be overcome in order to succeed in a foreign country.

Claudia received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Forensic Psychology with magna cum laude honors from CUNY. She has a second M.A. degree in Public Administration from New York University. Claudia also holds an Ed.M. degree in School Leadership from Harvard. Claudia is currently a doctoral student at NYU.

Dominique Jones

Dominique Jones

Boys & Girls Club of Harlem

Dominique joined Boys & Girls Club of Harlem (BGCHarlem) as Executive Director in March 2015. During her tenure, Dominique has led efforts to re-establish the organization as a leading youth development organization; providing youth with high quality programming. Her achievements include the expansion to six NYC Department of Education schools; serving over 1,000 youth and raising over $6 million in funding to support these programs. Dominique also successfully led BGCHarlem’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic; expanding services to meet the needs of Harlem’s youth and families.

Prior to joining BGCHarlem, Dominique served in leadership roles at Food Bank for New York City, United Way of Central Ohio and NYC Administration for Children’s Services.  Dominique graduated from Spelman College and The New School. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, she has resided and been active in the Harlem Community for over 25 years; finding joy in creating opportunities for Harlem’s youth.

Erica Ford

Erica Ford

LIFE Camp, Inc.

Erica Ford dedicated her life to the liberation of her people from oppression & racism on December 12, 1987 and hasn’t looked back. She is a humble servant for her people.  As CEO & Co-Founder Of LIFE Camp Inc she has played a major role in architecting of The New York City Crisis Management System, The New York City Mobile Trauma Units & New York City Peace Week. She will continue to dedicate her LIFE to our youth & the total Liberation of our People til her last Breath.

Erika Halstead

Erika Halstead

Minds Matter NYC

Erika Halstead is a nonprofit leader dedicated to closing the opportunity gap through education. She has been the Executive Director of Minds Matter NYC since 2015. Her career traverses the whole educational cycle from bilingual elementary school teacher to university lecturer in BIPOC literature. Most recently, she served as the Senior Program Officer at Humanities New York where she directed education and community engagement initiatives, including award-winning programming for Latinx and American Muslim communities. In addition, she is an expert facilitator and master trainer, with experience teaching hundreds of people to lead meaningful dialogue in their organizations and communities. Erika holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and an EdM from Teachers College, Columbia University. A proud Colombian-American, she was named a 40 Under 40 Rising Star by the Hispanic Coalition of New York in 2018.

Gary Clemons

Gary Clemons

Friends of the Children - New York

Gary Clemons started at Friends of the Children – Portland in 2008 as a Friend to eight boys. In 2014 Gary became Chief Program Officer of the National entity, aiding the network in growing from 8 to 15 locations by helping to raise seed capital and bringing the program model to new cities. In 2018 Gary became Executive Director of Friends New York. In an effort to address the stability gap caused by disparate systems he’s leading Friends New York in a $17 million campaign to double the number of youth served in NYC and advance the 2Gen model, which extends services to parents. Gary’s passion for helping marginalized youth and families derives from his own story. Having grown up in underserved communities, he was impacted by systems in young adulthood. This led him to dedicate his life to social justice, which he has been doing for 25+ years.

Hoong Yee Krakauer

Hoong Yee Krakauer

Queens Council on the Arts

Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer is the Executive Director of the Queens Council on the Arts and is an experienced grant reviewer for foundations and corporate philanthropies around the country. She is a proud Queens girl and writes about how to create a rich life at www.hoongyee.com and as a contributing writer for Huffington Post.

Her other superpower is writing and illustrating children’s books. She is the author and illustrator of Rabbit Mooncakes, a multicultural picture book for children published by Little, Brown & Company.

Hoong Yee is a graduate of Oberlin College, attended the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and received a Masters of Music in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She is married to a nice Jewish boy from Rockaway, Queens where they live with their three children, Mikki, Remy & Sky.

Jadayah Spencer

Jadayah Spencer

International Youth Leadership Institute

Jadayah Spencer is an alumna (Tanzania, 2011) past volunteer, board member, and now the Executive Director of the International Youth Leadership Institute (IYLI). She is an advocate for improving access to opportunities that enhance the lives of youth, people of African descent, and indigenous people worldwide.

She has served on several international and local boards, including working as a Co-Chair of the UN DGC/CSO Youth Representative Steering Committee, and on the New York City Young Women’s Advisory Council which addresses policy issues that directly affect young women of color in New York City, and which has received $20 million in funding to implement policy recommendations.

Jadayah is a born-and-raised Brooklynite, and recipient of several fellowships including StartingBloc, and has been recognized as one of 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in the NYC Non-Profit Sector by New York Nonprofit Media. She loves world travel, meaningful conversations, and dissecting rap lyrics.

Jessica Santana

Jessica Santana

American On Tech

Jessica Santana is one of the co-founders and CEO of America On Tech (AOT), a nonprofit organization on a mission to prepare the next generation of technology leaders in order to decrease the economic and racial wealth gap in underestimated communities.

Prior to AOT, Santana worked as a technology consultant for global brands such as JPMorgan Chase, Accenture and Deloitte. She has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and NYN 40 Under 40 Rising Stars list. ​In 2020, City and State named her a Brooklyn Hero for her work in the community during COVID-19 and Causeartist named her 1 of 37 social entrepreneurs to watch.

She graduated with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Accounting and Information Technology from Syracuse University. She has also obtained her Executive Education in Social Enterprise from Columbia Business School.

Keston Jones

Keston Jones

Foundation for the Advancement and Rehabilitation of the Marginalized (FARM)

Born on the Island of Trinidad, Keston was raised on a farm by his grandmother. From the beginning he has associated farming with family and working together.  He immigrated to Brooklyn NY in the mid 80’s, where he settled in Crown Heights. Despite setbacks, including family trauma, bullying and juvenile incarceration, he used the knowledge gained from his personal experience, education and working with other organizations to change his life and become a leader in his community.

Keston is the founder of the Foundation for the Advancement and Rehabilitation of the Marginalized (FARM). Based in Brooklyn, the FARM uses credible messengers to spread hope, community love, and the importance of second chances.

Markell Parker

Markell Parker

Summer on the Hill

Born and raised in The Bronx, Markell was selected as one of two students at IS 116 to apply for the Oliver Program. After his acceptance his educational journey led him to Loomis Chafee and then Wesleyan University and back home to the Bronx where he has been an educator at several public schools and at the Horace Mann School for 23 years. Now in his 5th year as the Executive Director of Summer on the Hill, Markell helps bright motivated students and their families realize their potential through education.

Melody Capote

Melody Capote

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute

Melody Capote is executive director of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.  Instrumental in developing CCCADI into a vital institution dedicated to the preservation of African Diaspora culture she has ushered this next chapter with a renewed commitment to advancing racial and social justice. Melody brings invaluable institutional memory and has taken on the task of leading CCCADI in new directions that remain rooted in its history as a trailblazer for cultural affirmation.  During the pandemics of Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, she implemented the #ArtsGoBlack initiative challenging the arts and culture organizations of NYC, to address the racist practices of their organizations, boards, staff and programs.  This campaign birthed the CCCADI Institute for Racial and Social Justice for Arts & Culture intended to advocate for an arts and culture ecosystem that is grounded in racial and social justice and cultural equity.

Shauwea Hamilton

Shauwea Hamilton

Bottom Line

Since 2018, Shauwea Hamilton has served as the Executive Director for Bottom Line’s New York City region.  Bottom Line supports first-generation students from low-income backgrounds in getting into college, graduating, and going far in life.

As a first-generation college graduate, she understands the challenges students face as they seek access to and persistence through college. She believes fiercely in the mission of Bottom Line and is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve in this role.

Shauwea earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and a Master of Business Administration from Fordham University.