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.
Ariel works as an Advisor in the Partners Family Office team in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs. In this role she advises Goldman Sachs Partners in addition to external high-net worth individuals, nonprofit endowments, foundations and entrepreneurs on their investment management, trust and estate planning and philanthropy.
Prior to joining the firm, Ariel began her career in the nonprofit sector, working primarily in fundraising. Ariel spent over six years at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History where she worked closely with the leadership, funders, board of directors, students and partner organizations. Following Gilder Lehrman, Ariel worked at a healthcare non-profit in the South Bronx developing their private funding. Ariel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Dance from Barnard College and received her MBA from Columbia Business School. Ariel is a member of the President’s Council for the Gilder Lehrman Institute, and the Young Patrons Circle for New York City Ballet.
Tony Argento has over 40 years of experience in the film and television production industry. As the Founder of Broadway Stages, Ltd. he has dedicated himself to building a sustainable, inclusive and economically productive television culture in New York. Established in 1983, Broadway Stages has evolved from a small music video production company with one sound stage in Astoria, Queens, to the largest–growing film and television production company in New York. Today, Broadway Stages consists of over three million square feet of integrated space with more than 60 sound stages, unique locations, production services, and over seven acres of parking throughout three boroughs in New York City.
Natasha Castillo is a Community Manager in Far Rockaway, Queens, for Community & Business Development. She is a local ambassador for Chase whose job is to build
and nurture relationships with key community leaders, nonprofit partners, and small businesses at the neighborhood level. Natasha hosts financial health workshops,
facilitates nonprofit partnerships, and offers community programming. She is helping to advance racial equity by supporting Black and Latinx communities with tools and
resources to help them improve their financial well-being.
With over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, Natasha has held many positions, including relationship banker and assistant manager of operations
and sales. Before this role, Natasha served as the branch manager in Melville, New York. She is currently a member of NEXT-GEN, Women on the Move, and Adelante
and is a member of the NY Local Forward Planning Committee for Far Rockaway. Natasha currently lives in Queens Village and spends her free time with family.
Originally from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Timothy Fraser’s passion and resourcefulness combined with keen listening and observation skills allowed him to rapidly advance within the media and marketing worlds. Timothy received his Bachelor of Science in Communication and Television Production in 2000 and an MBA in Business Management and Strategic Marketing from Long Island University. He also holds a Project Management Professional certificate and is an active member of the American Marketing Association. Timothy’s professional experience spans from music to sports television programming and healthcare marketing. While at Roca-Fella Records, he coordinated production for Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” music video. He has also worked with media powerhouses MTV and MTV’s sister channel VH1, as well as ESPN’s Daily Show, “Classic Now.” His background in healthcare includes marketing at Humana, Inc. Timothy’s educational background and diverse professional associations have helped him hone in on a new definition of marketing that focuses on building and maintaining strong relationships.
With nearly 15 years of experience in financial services, Nykia has been working with Brooklyn communities since 2015. A passionate leader to her branch team, she inspires them to help customers succeed in their financial journeys. Nykia is a vocal proponent of financial literacy and financial education.
Nykia takes pride in working closely with the community, stressing the importance of equitable access to banking services and helping local businesses achieve their financial goals. In addition to volunteering for local non-profit organizations, she is an active participant in local school districts, advocating for equity in public education. Her involvement with the TCAH and dedication to the work they do, are closely aligned with her personal values and commitment to the economic empowerment of the local community.
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 & CSR 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 efforts to provide pro bono legal services to indigent individuals and organizations seeking access to the justice system, as well its efforts to empower communities through several initiatives in four key areas: fighting hunger, community investment, advocating for justice & equity for all, and sustainability.
Annie is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, a coalition of over 280 leading law firms around the world who have committed to utilizing private bar resources to assist legal services organizations in furtherance of their missions to dismantle barriers to opportunity in communities of color.
She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Guyanese Girls Rock Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Guyanese women and girls to create their own paths to success.
Annie is a graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York. She lives in Queens, New York with her husband and three children.
Spencer Orkus is a Partner and the President of Development at L+M Development Partners who has been with the company since 2007. He has developed over 5,000 affordable new construction units within various mixed-use new construction projects compiling over $2.5 billion in financing resources.
Spencer leads L+M’s efforts to provide housing that is healthy, energy-efficient, and resilient to climate change. He is passionate about the intersection of housing, healthcare and food access, partnering with various healthcare providers, food-oriented social justice enterprises and other non-profits. He has led L+M’s venture into the new era of sustainable construction, having completed our first passive house project with geothermal heating/cooling and many more in the pipeline.
Prior to joining L+M, Spencer worked as a licensed structural engineer for DeSimone Consulting Engineers designing high-rise residential buildings and other structures. He has a BA and MA in Architectural Engineering from Penn State University and an MA in Real Estate from New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. He is co-chair of the NYSAFAH policy
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.
John Woelfling is committed to creating sustainable and resource-efficient designs, using an integrated and holistic approach that reduces impacts on the environment and positively effects the health and comfort of building occupants. He leverages his broad experiences working across project typologies, from education and recreation to healthcare and infrastructure, to inform his leadership of the firm’s mixed-use residential projects. A recognized Passive House expert, John’s focus on sustainable design practices is guided by proactive education of evolving green technologies and incorporating them into his design work.
He frequently lectures about affordable housing and sustainability, speaking at the Center for Architecture, AIA NYS, Urban Green and GreenBuild, Forum for Urban Design, Reimagine Conference, and the PHIUS Passive House Conference. John holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech.
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.