Dr. Melony Samuels is the founder and executive director of The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH). Dr. Samuels is responsible for daily operations, vision planning, and resource management for TCAH. Before founding TCAH, Dr. Samuels worked in the insurance industry and was the Chief Administrator for the Full Gospel Tabernacle of Faith Church Inc. in Brooklyn, working extensively on strategic management, proposal writing, event planning, and business development. In 1998, she founded a small, traditional food pantry located in the church’s basement. TCAH grew out of this effort. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TCAH mobilized to serve food for 20 million meals from March 2020-March 2021 and continues to adapt to current and emerging food security challenges.
Dr. Samuels’ philosophy is that only through strong partnerships can lasting change arise. She has lived this vision by forming and presiding over the Bed-Stuy Providers Network, a collaborative group of 18 emergency feeding programs in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community. She sat on the Strategy Council of the Food Bank of New York, the Advisory Committee of City Harvest, the Council on Hunger and Food Policy, the Steering Committee for both the Manhattan Borough President and the Politics of Food Conference, and she currently serves on the Vital Brooklyn Initiative Committee and the Southeast Vital Council.
Dr. Samuels work as building The Campaign Against Hunger was featured in the Bill Moyers Journal report on Hunger in America and numerous other publications, including the New York Times. Dr. Samuels was honored by the Brooklyn Community Foundation with the Brooklyn Do-Gooder Award and received the Food Bank of New York’s Can Do Award. She was recognized as an Everyday Hero by the NY Post and awarded their Liberty Award. Dr. Samuels was also the recipient of the 2017 Harry Chapin Award for Excellence and TCAH was a finalist for the Spark Prize for Innovation awarded by the Brooklyn Community Foundation in December 2018.
Dr. Samuels received her doctorate in Religious Education from the Christian Outreach Bible College and Theological Seminary in Fayetteville, North Carolina and continues to use her faith, commitment to service, and deep love of community to work tirelessly to end hunger in America.
Michael Woolley is a retired attorney who practiced business litigation in New York City for 15 years. Mr. Woolley is involved with several non-profit organizations, including The Campaign Against Hunger. Mr. Woolley also is a Team Leader for New York Cares, which is the largest volunteer organization in New York. Mr. Woolley’s primary focus areas are food reclamation and distribution, urban farming, and youth development. Mr. Woolley obtained his B.S. in Business Administration from The University of Nebraska and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law School.
Josh Cohen began his restaurant career three decades ago in New York City, where he was born and raised. He spent his 20s living and working in Chicago, Santa Fe, and San Francisco, eventually returning to New York to helm Relish, one of the pioneer Williamsburg restaurants. Josh impressed diners (and Sam Sifton) at Relish with his skilled interpretation of American cuisine. He went on to open his restaurant, Biscuit, on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, which quickly became a neighborhood favorite and critical success. In 2008 Josh moved back to Williamsburg, where he currently lives with his wife and three children. Over the past decade, he has had a hand in opening 15 different restaurants and is an owner-operator of six establishments: Anella, Jimmy’s Diner, Lilia, Extra Fancy, Chez Ma Tante, and Saint Vitus. Josh’s strengths lie in his vast experience in the restaurant industry, understanding all aspects of the business, and the invaluable relationships he’s built with landlords in North Brooklyn. In recent years, Josh’s passion for the business has been directed to helping those less fortunate. He has assisted in the Kitchen set up at Mt. Carmel, a church in Williamsburg that is the home to North Brooklyn Angels, a non-profit that feeds over 1,000 people a week with its mobile soup kitchen. He also provides meals weekly for NYC Together, an organization that provides volunteer mentors from the NYPD to teens who are at risk to not graduate. Working in and running restaurants in New York City is something that Josh feels fortunate to do. It is a business he loves and a city he is endlessly passionate about serving.
Jennifer Compton is a public relations executive with over 15 years of experience advancing the products, services, and public image of industry-leading companies. Jennifer began her career in government relations and has since counseled and developed successful branding, go-to-market, and media campaigns for a number of other industries, including financial services, law, food and wine, retail and consumer goods, venture capital, private equity, mergers & acquisitions, high growth entrepreneurs and professional services.
Her areas of expertise include: media relations and strategic communications, thought leadership programs, go-to-market branding strategies, campaign planning, and execution, messaging development, event planning, social media, grassroots communications campaigns, advertising campaign planning and execution, media buying, B2B and B2C, media training CEO and Clevel executives, reputation management
Belynda has spent over a decade supporting such companies’ operational betterment as Comedy Central, Michael Kors, Grey advertising, AKQA, and The Skimm. Belynda is currently the Director of Media Strategy and Business Operations at the National Football League (NFL), where she ensures some of the league’s most high-profile licensing and distribution deals are implemented to perfection. When she’s not liaising between client and internal partners, she serves on the board of directors for The Campaign Against Hunger, one of the largest anti-hunger nonprofits in New York City
Joshua Lukeman is a Managing Director of Credit Suisse in the Investment Banking division, based in New York. He is the Head of Delta One Trading Americas in Prime Services. Mr. Lukeman joined Credit Suisse in July 2004 from the buy-side, where he was a proprietary trader. Before that, he worked at Morgan Stanley as a Cash Position Trader and an Index Options Market Maker. Mr. Lukeman is the published author of The Market Makers Edge, Day Trading Tactics by a Wall Street Insider (McGraw Hill, 2000). Mr. Lukeman holds a B.A. from New York University and an M.B.A. from Fordham University.
For more than twenty-five years, David N. Mair has focused his practice on representing clients in high-stakes employment disputes and complex employment litigation. His clients include senior financial services professionals, executives at private and public companies and lawyers, physicians, accountants, and academics at leading global professional firms and academic institutions. He also represents executives and professionals in negotiating employment transitions, team moves, and severance arrangements.
Known for his pioneering legal strategies, David frequently represents executives and employees in Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claims. He also represents both U.S. and foreign executives and professionals in cross-border employment disputes, often working together with foreign law firms to implement joint negotiating and litigation strategies for clients in financial services and other industries. David’s practice also includes representing a wide range of clients in high-stakes business and real estate litigation, including representation of residential and commercial property owners in real estate and construction disputes and litigation. As part of his deep commitment to pro bono work, David also counsels and represents clients in employment matters for the Cancer Advocacy Project of the New York City Bar Association.
David was awarded the highest “AV Preeminent” Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, one of the country’s leading legal directories. He has also been named each year since 2012 to the list of New York Super Lawyers, a peer-reviewed listing of the top attorneys in New York. David is also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. He was elected as a Fellow by the Board of the American Bar Foundation.
Annie Mohan is the Manager of Pro Bono at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, an international law firm established in 1792, that serves a diverse client base, including many of the world’s leading financial institutions and corporations. She oversees the firm’s global efforts to provide pro bono legal services to indigent individuals and organizations seeking guidance in accessing and navigating the justice system.
Annie has been involved with Food Bank For New York City for several years and recently served as Chair of their Junior Board. She now serves as Campaign Manager for Food Bank’s annual Justice Served campaign, an effort led by New York City’s legal community to close its meal gap.
She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Guyanese Girls Rock Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Guyanese women and girls to create their paths to success. Annie is a graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Lisa K. Preudhomme has a 25-year history of working with institutions and individuals to clarify what they want and focus on getting it. Before becoming an independent consultant, Lisa started her career as a research associate at an international money management firm. From there, she has developed a wide swath of experience, holding senior positions at several boutique investment firms and a senior role at Wells Fargo before branching out on her own. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany. She lives in Brooklyn and has two children.
Richard Roberts is a Business management professional with 20+ years of experience in the for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental sectors. He has served as chief executive of the nation’s largest municipal affordable housing and community development agency, founded the community development private equity business at one of the world’s premier financial services firms, and provided senior leadership to the affordable housing business for one of New York City’s marquee nonprofits.
Richard has been the Managing Director for Business Development at Red Stone Equity Partners, LLC, where he is responsible for developing strong relationships with affordable housing developers in NY, NJ, the District of Columbia, and the Northeast United States. He is also responsible for sourcing and assisting in the structuring of investment transactions. In conjunction with the President and COO, Richard leads the firm’s efforts in general business development activities, including identifying additional business opportunities. Richard has worked with Buchtel Advisors LLC, and The Doe Fund Inc. as Senior Vice President and as Managing Director of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. In the early 2000’s he spearheaded the NYC Department of Housing and Preservation as commissioner.
After 20 years working on Wall Street, primarily focused on the Global Debt Capital Markets, Mr. Witz launched his own commercial real estate investment company. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX with a BBA in Finance and later attained an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business in 2000. Previously a Board Member of Westchester, NY- based hunger relief charity, Family to Family, alleviating food insecurity has been a cause he and his family support. A long time New Yorker, Mr. Witz resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and child and is proud to be associated with Dr. Samuels and TCAH.