Tatiana Bejar, New York City Organizer
Tatiana is a human rights advocate and a very passionate activist on labor, immigrants and women rights. Tatiana has experience in the non-profit and development sectors in Peru and the United States, with a particularly focus on low-income women and immigrant workers and engaging grassroots groups in various UN human rights mechanisms to address inequalities in the United States, and has worked in labor programs in the development sector in Peru. Tatiana holds a Master in Criminal Justice (John Jay College) and a Bachelor Degree in Sociology (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru).
Ilana Berger, New York Director and Strategic Advisor
Ilana brings to Hand in Hand her rich experience in base-building, leadership development, and policy advocacy, as well as her perspective as a parent and employer of childcare providers. She has worked in community-based organizations in New York, Miami, and San Francisco, including ten years as co-founder and Executive Director of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE). She has also worked at the national level with Caring Across Generations, the New Bottom Line and the Center for Popular Democracy.
Amy Cohen, Organizing Director
An organizer for more than two decades, Amy has lived and worked on both coasts, in the south and midwest. She has a wide range of campaign experience including fighting for quality education, strengthening social security, winning progressive taxation, and a host of other grassroots and national campaigns. She specializes in membership and organizational development and believes deeply in the transformational power of organizing. Recent work includes projects with Showing Up for Racial Justice, the Center for Community Change, Virginia Organizing and the Long Island Civic Engagement Table as well as the creation of Small Towns Rising – a hub for small town organizing work in Central Pennsylvania and beyond – founded in the wake of the 2016 election. She works in Philadelphia where she lives with her partner and their two daughters.
Elspeth Gilmore, Director of Development
A longtime organizer, donor organizer and donor, Elspeth brings a unique perspective to the resourcing of social justice movements. Before joining Hand in Hand Elspeth worked at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United organizing restaurant goers to leverage their consumer power for restaurant worker rights. Before that she served as the Program and then Executive Director of Resource Generation, organizing young people with wealth to use their resources and access for social justice. Elspeth’s father was cared for by a home attendant, her family employed a housecleaner, and she was cared for by a childcare provider—all very personal reasons why she is committed to building a system of care that benefits us all. Elspeth lives in New York City.
Lindsay Imai, Bay Area Lead Organizer
Lindsay is the mother of two boys and has depended upon the assistance of a nanny to raise and care for her children. Because of this help, Lindsay has been able to continue to do the work she loves. Before joining Hand in Hand, Lindsay spent six years at Urban Habitat, a regional environmental justice organization, working in partnership with bus riders, community organizations, senior groups and disability rights activists to improve the affordability and reliability of bus service in the Bay Area’s low-income communities. Lindsay has also worked on issues of affordable housing, community reinvestment, and parent-led school reform. Lindsay is based in Oakland, CA.
Stacy Kono, Executive Director
Stacy holds a personal commitment to upholding dignity and respect for workers and professional experience in leadership development and community organizing. As Network Director, Stacy oversees foundation fundraising, leads organizational systems and planning, and partners with staff and our National Steering Committee towards our vision of interdependent communities committed to social justice. Before joining Hand in Hand, she worked with Rockwood Leadership Institute as the Director of Programs and at Asian Immigrant Women Advocates (AIWA), organizing with Chinese immigrant garment workers and their families. As a Japanese immigrant, her paternal grandmother was a domestic worker who worked in homes throughout the Bay Area, and Stacy served as a home attendant in college.
Diana Morales, Administrative & Operations Manager
Diana is a California Native who moved to New York in 2013 to be with her now husband and stepdaughter. She has worked as a controller and office manager for a Green Energy Company and for the non-profit organization Fort Washington Collegiate Church (FWCC) of the Collegiate Churches founded in 1628. While at FWCC Diana reduced a budget deficit and increased revenue by creating community programs, space rentals and partnering with local businesses. Diana has experience in Human Resources, Finances, Accounting, and Business Operations. She is very excited to be working with Hand in Hand’s great community.
Tara Polansky, Digital Strategist
Tara has campaigned for immigrant rights, quality education, social, economic and racial justice. She has organized with ACORN, New York Civic Participation Project, and American Jewish World Service. Based in Columbus, Ohio, she is building Hand in Hand’s mid-western presence.
Suzanne Schmidt, Education Organizer
Suzanne is a parent to two young children and has experienced firsthand the importance of in-home care for her kids as well as for close relatives. Her work with Hand in Hand focuses on expanding educational materials and workshop offerings in order to share our resources with more employers. Suzanne’s prior experiences with community organizing and solidarity work spans many sectors, including preschool cooperatives, international solidarity organizations, public schools, higher education and community arts education organizations. Outside of Hand in Hand, Suzanne is a part time professor at Saint Mary’s College, she volunteers with the Social Justice Sewing Academy and loves to think about (and do) cultural work as an avenue for social change.
Kayla Shore, Long Term Care Organizer & Research Manager
Kayla is passionate about the intersections of community, storytelling, and justice, which she has followed to the entertainment industry, community organizing, and arts non-profits. Most recently, she worked in television at Shondaland and Creative Artists Agency. She has also been a dedicated volunteer organizer and leader with IfNotNow and Never Again Action, organizing the progressive Jewish community around Israel/Palestine and immigrant justice. Originally from Greater Boston, Kayla is now based in Los Angeles, where she is building Hand in Hand’s Los Angeles chapter and managing a research project about residential care facilities and home care.
Erica Sklar, Seattle Organizer
Erica Sklar’s organizing for justice has taken many shapes, from nonviolent direct action to the fight for environmental justice through policy change as a director on Washington State’s campaign for I-1631. She has worked for Rep. Pramila Jayapal and the ACLU of Washington, where she tracked nearly 1,000 bills make their way through the state legislature. She lives in Seattle, where she sits on the board of the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites, a local SURJ affiliate.
Julia Solow, Lead Organizer in the Hudson Valley
Julia’s passion for organizing comes from a long legacy of organizing in her family, personal experiences of struggle and amazing mentors along her journey. She first got involved in movement work when social work professors in college introduced her to immigrant rights leaders fighting for the DREAM Act in 2010. Since then, Julia has been organizing in solidarity with working class people of color-led movements and power organizations on efforts to address gentrification, living wages for farm workers and drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants in New York State, among others. Prior to her work at Hand-In-Hand, she has had the privilege of working at AFL-CIO National Headquarters in DC, Community Voices Heard in New York and as an Americorps VISTA in Cleveland, Ohio. Julia has a Masters in Social Work from CUNY Hunter College. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.
National Steering Committee
Sascha has been an employer leader at the San Francisco Bay Area Hand in Hand since 2011, and is a representative on her local Care Council. She is quadriplegic as a result of cerebral palsy, and domestic workers make it possible for her to be an active member of the Bay Area community. Sascha also currently serves as chair of the Regional Advisory committee on Developmental Disabilities, and is a past chair of the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities. She is a delegate to the California Democratic Party and a member of its Disability Caucus. In addition, Sascha has conducted disability awareness workshops for thousands of students in the Bay Area with KIDS (Keys to Introducing Disability in Society) Project. Sascha has been a disability rights activist for over 25 years, and has served on numerous disability-related committees and boards. She is committed to the mission of creating fair, equitable conditions for both domestic workers and those who rely on their services.
Nikki Brown-Booker is a member leader of Hand in Hand the Domestic Employers Network and believes that all workers deserve a dignified workplace including workers that work in the home. As a person with a disability she has been employing personal care attendants since age 18 years, when she moved away from home to attend UC Davis. She has a Masters in clinical psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is currently the Executive Director of Easy Does It Emergency Services, a nonprofit that provides emergency attendant care, wheelchair repair and transportation for people with disabilities and seniors in Berkeley. She is strongly connected to disability justice, labor and immigrant rights movements. Her mother is a Filipino immigrant and former domestic worker and her father was an active member the SEIU union. She is the youngest of eight and is close with her family.
Violeta, at age 3 when she migrated from Mexico with her family, Violeta became a Brooklynite. She has used her struggles as an undocumented person and currently as a DACA recipient to motivate others to obtain higher education. While at Hunter College she served as the treasurer to the Hunter College Dream Team where she brought attention to the issues affecting undocumented students while making sure students had access to a safe space to voice their fears and needs. At present, when she is not working for the City of New York she still follows her passion of empowering immigrants to raise their quality of life. Violeta studied Business Administration at Borough Of Manhattan Community College, Finance and Accounting at Hunter College and at the moment she is studying Public Administration and Policy at the CUNY Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies. She spends her leisure time punching and kicking at kickboxing class or cooking a delicious meal.
Jessica has a vast range of experience and expertise within the non-profit and corporate social responsibility space, having raised funds for Safe Horizon, Inwood House, Young Women’s Leadership Network and Grace Institute, in addition to the Obama for America Tri-State Finance Office in 2008. Jessica has a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California. Jessica launched Jessica James Consulting in 2016 to support companies in the exploration and execution of meaningful philanthropic partnerships that recruit and retain talent, build culture, tell the brand’s story, drive the bottom line, and make the most possible impact in the community. Current corporate consulting clients including Blackstone, Finance of America, SoulCycle, and Port Authority, and nonprofit clients include nsoro Foundation, PepUp Tech, and UNICEF. Jessica is a featured speaker at Columbia University, Support Center for Non-Profit Management, Non-Profit Coordinating Committee, and SXSW 2018. She lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband and son.
Janet is a communications strategist with a diverse background in consulting, media, campaigning, and storytelling. As the Communications Director for Caring Across Generations, she’s working to shape narratives to make dignified care a right at every stage of life while making the work of caregiving, and the paid and unpaid caregivers who do it, more visible and valued – grounded in racial, gender and economic justice. Before Caring Across Generations, Janet produced radio segments for WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, taught storytelling workshops for The Moth, and consulted for private and nonprofit organizations, including the Freelancers Union, Citigroup, and the YMCA.
Amy works with the New England Jewish Labor Committee on the domestic employer initiative, with a focus on ensuring that all our homes are places where domestic workers are treated with dignity and respect, where domestic workers (no matter their immigration status) are seen as professionals and valued as workers with competence and skill, and where the Massachusetts Domestic Worker Bill of Rights is put into practice fairly and appropriately. The NEJLC is an organization with the mission to engage the Jewish community in support of issues affecting working people, and engage the labor community in issues that affect Jews and the Jewish community. The Jewish Labor Committee is also a supporting member of the Massachusetts Coalition of Domestic Workers, a coalition of organizations that supports change and equals rights for domestic workers.
Rachel is the Director of Organizing at Jews for Racial & Economic Justice and Campaign Director of the New York Caring Majority. In her capacity as Director of Organizing at Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), Rachel has built numerous campaigns and coalitions focused on police accountability, dignity for care work & caregiving, and community safety. She was a leader in the historic campaign for the New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and has been thrilled to help develop the field strategy for Caring Across Generations since its launch in 2011. She serves on the steering committee of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network and is an author of the 2014 report The Eldercare Dialogues: A Grassroots to Transform Long-term Care. She is the Campaign Director of the New York Caring Majority, an unprecedented coalition of seniors, family caregivers, people with disabilities, and home care workers fighting for a more caring economy in New York State.
Aquilina Soriano Versoza
Aquilina is founder and current Executive Director of the Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, a nonprofit serving and organizing the low-wage Pilipino immigrant community in Los Angeles. She has served as Executive Director of PWC for 17 years and has been working in the Pilipino community for 22 years, both here in Los Angeles and in the Philippines. She has been at the head of PWC as it has been a part of the growing statewide and national movement of domestic workers. She studied her BA in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. A mother of two, she sees her work for social justice as a lifelong endeavor that she hopes to pass on to her daughters. Aquilina is also serving on the Board of Mission Asset Fund and as the current President of the Board of Directors of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
Naomi has represented workers and others in wage and hour, employment discrimination, consumer and disability class actions through workers’ rights law firms. During law school she participated in NYU’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, and interned at the ACLU, the NYCLU, the Urban Justice Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Immigration Equality.
Ariana was a founding member of Hand in Hand in California, where she organizes employers of nannies and house cleaners and facilitates workshops for new parents. Outside of Hand in Hand, she has a PhD in medical sociology and is a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Francisco, where she does research on improving health care for low-income people and immigrants in the US. Ariana is the mother of two young children, and is a grateful, intermittent nanny employer.
Mariana has been NDWA’s Deputy Director for over seven years. Prior to joining NDWA, Mariana was an organizer in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 12 years, and experienced first-hand the potential of working-class immigrant women and women of color to advance movements for immigrant and workers’ rights. At NDWA, Mariana oversees our field and organizing work, supervising senior staff, and Board development and management.
Laura Wernick, PhD, LMSW, MPA
Laura is a professor of social work at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service. A former community organizer, their research explores and examines innovative transformative and healing justice organizing models. Laura is a parent, an employer of a childcare worker, and has been actively involved in HIH’s participatory action research project.