Our Leadership & Volunteers
Sonia Ossorio, President, remembers her first NOW protest at the opening night of the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in 1999, which had no women musicians and made no apologies for it. As president of NOW-NYC since 2005, Sonia has led campaigns to increase women’s rights in the criminal justice system. In 2007, she launched NOW-NYC’s campaign, “Ending the Business of Human Trafficking,” and worked with a coalition of organizations to draft New York’s first anti-trafficking legislation. Sonia received an Outstanding Public Service Award from NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Under her leadership, NOW-NYC has significantly grown its operating budget and visibility. A former journalist, she has appeared on MSNBC, Hannity & Colmes, the Glenn Beck Show, Impacto Nacional and other national and local news networks and print media.
Jean Bucaria, Deputy Director, has served in this role at the organization since 2007. She first volunteered with NOW-NYC in 2003, staffing the phones and collecting signatures in the streets on behalf of Title IX. She continues to play a key role in creating and implementing programs that support and advocate for women and girls. In 2005, she led an effort to remake the chapter’s newsletter of which she is currently Editor-in-Chief. She has expanded the efforts of NOW-NYC’s sister agency, the Service Fund, launching a financial clinic for women going through divorce and initiating an annual gift drive program for sexually exploited girls. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch College and has established a record of diverse experience in program evaluation and management in the nonprofit arena.
Brielle Nalence, Program Associate, develops NOW-NYC’s membership and fundraising events, urgent action campaigns, and the community outreach programs instituted by the Service Fund. She also coordinates the organization’s communications and media presence, as well as the Activist Alliance and volunteer and intern programs. Prior to her joining NOW-NYC, she was the Project Assistant at the Institute for Research on Women, and also developed a networking website for young social justice leaders in New Jersey. Concurrently with NOW-NYC and the Service Fund, she serves as the Policy Chair for the New York Younger Women’s Task Force, and she is a Mentor with the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. She received her BA in Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology and a Certificate in Women’s Leadership from Rutgers University.
Samantha Plotner, Executive Assistant, joined NOW-NYC as an intern in 2012 and has stayed involved ever since. After coordinating the 2013 Women of Power and Influence Awards she joined the staff full time. She has a BA from Barnard College in Political Science and Human Rights Studies. Previously, Samantha worked for the Junior Statesmen Foundation as Staff Director of their summer program at Stanford University and for Barnard Residential Life.
NOW-NYC Board of Directors
Judi Polson, Board Chair, has been an active NOW member for 11 years and has served on the Board in various roles since 2003. Judi is has served as Board Member at Large since 2010. She served as Chapter Board Chair from 2007 through 2009, serving on the Employment Rights, Bylaws, and Nominating Board Committees. She joined NOW-NYC in 2000, first participating in the Women in the Workplace and Repro Rights Committees. She joined the Board in 2003 as Director of Membership Processing, and was elected Vice President of Development in 2005, where she brought dormant grant applications to fruition and enabled the Chapter to obtain grants more routinely.
Judi’s contributions to the Chapter extend beyond administration. She led a cadre of demonstrators to the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington, and in New York City, participated in the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, NOW-NYC’s 2005 Alito and 2007 Viacom actions, and the 2008 Martin Luther King Day march.
Raised on a family farm, Judi has lobbied state and federal representatives from her native Midwest as well as from New York. She holds a B.A. from the University of Kansas and an Executive M.B.A. from Duke University. She led technology projects for IBM from 1981-1992, and joined Merrill Lynch in 1993, rising to Vice-President and leading institutional markets technology compliance until 2008; she currently is a project manager for a European bank. Also, she appeared as Liam Neeson’s sister in the Oscar-nominated Kinsey; her appearance in The Onion’s 2008 online dating video segment reached “most-viewed” and “most-dugg” status.
Jane Manning, Legislative Vice President, has been a member of NOW-NYC since 1992 and served as chapter president in 2010 and 2011. An attorney specializing in criminal law and violence against women, she helped lead NOW-NYC’s successful campaigns to repeal New York’s statute of limitations on rape cases and to enact strong penalties for strangulation attacks. She advocated for more effective enforcement of sexual assault statutes through the chapter’s Take Rape Seriously campaign. While working for the international women’s rights organization Equality Now, she was an architect of New York State’s law against human trafficking.
She began her career as a prosecutor of domestic violence, child abuse, and sex crimes. In private practice, she represented a coalition of battered women’s organizations advocating for reversal of a New York State court decision making it easier for men who murder wives or girlfriends to invoke extreme emotional disturbance as a defense; the state’s highest court ruled unanimously in her clients’ favor. In 1992, she was a lead organizer of the Coalition to End Violence Against women, which led a rally of 5,000 demonstrators to the steps of the Democratic National Convention, urging passage of the Violence Against Women Act.
Kim Gerstman, Development Vice President. Kim has diligently overseen NOW-NYC’s programs and strengthened the organization’s resource base. She has almost 25 years expertise in fundraising with progressive organizations. Kim led a nationwide major gifts program at the American Civil Liberties Union during a critical growth period for the organization which doubled in size during my tenure from 2003 to 2009. Prior to that, she oversaw an annual revenue increase of 500%–from $300,000 to $1.8 million-during my nine years at NARAL Pro-Choice New York. Kim has been working as the Associate Director of Development at the Population Council for almost three years and in the last fiscal year helped them increase their unrestricted income from individuals and family foundations by 92%.
Rebecca Rafelson, Action Vice President, Rebecca first joined NOW-NYC as an intern in 2007. She has been intimately involved in the planning and execution of the Women of Power and Influence Awards, the Susan B. Anthony Awards, and the annual Gift Drive, among other programs. She has headed tabling efforts, Love Your Body Day and has participated in numerous protests and rallies, including representing NOW-NYC at the 2010 March for Equality with over 250,000 people in attendance.
Rebecca has served on the Board of NOW-NYC since 2008 and has hands-on experience motivating and mobilizing both new and young activists to join NOW-NYC’s ranks. Rebecca served as the Chair of NOW-NYC’s Queer Advocacy Project and has led NOW-NYC’s Gay Pride March contingent for four years running. As a Board member, Rebecca contributed to the Steering Committee, the Board Development Committee, and has spearheaded the Outreach Committee. Over the last two years, during which she served as Vice President of Action, Rebecca helped to devise and launch NOW-NYC’s Activist Nights, strengthening NOW-NYC’s commitment to grassroots, membership-based activism. She co-designed a new community outreach training program and launched NOW-NYC’s weekly yoga program for survivors of violence.
By profession, Rebecca currently devotes herself to an international medical relief association; a women’s non-profit founded on the belief that healthcare transcends all boundaries. Rebecca graduated Cum Laude from Brandeis University, with a Bachelors degree in Sociology,” “Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies,” and “Women and Gender Studies”.
Meaghan Carey, Programs Vice President, has been a lifelong feminist. Before she even knew about the women’s movement, she was fighting her parents for her right to wear pants to church on Sundays. An attorney whose practice focuses on family law issues, Meaghan first became involved in NOW-NYC as an intern in 2006 and has been a board member since 2009. Meaghan believes the power of a thriving activist organization depends on people’s passions. Meaghan was instrumental in tripling the revenue of our annual Women of Power and Influence Awards fundraiser and raising the visibility and prestige of this and other chapter events. She also secured a grant with the New York Lawyer’s Alliance.
Phyllis Dent, Board Treasurer, has served as the Chapter’s volunteer treasurer since early 2010. Phyllis is a licensed CPA and CFE in the state of New York. She earned a BS in Accounting and an MBA in Finance from Hofstra University. Phyllis has also held various financial and analytical positions in corporate finance at several large global companies.
Arthur Lundquist, Board Secretary, has been an active NOW member and have served on the Board in as Board Secretary since 2010, and before that was Board membership coordinator since 2008. In that time, Arthur lives to serve the cause of gender equality, choice, and task of bringing a supportive voice to victims of violence and indifference. As Board Secretary, he is especially proud to help arrange meetings, to take minutes for both the Board and the Service Fund Board, to solicit corrections, comments and additions from other Board members, and to have maintained them in the chapter archives. He has also completed two web pages for our web site entitled “Are You the Victim of Workplace Sexual Harassment?” and “Are You the Victim of Workplace Gender Discrimination?”
Eric Alterman joined the NOW-NYC Board in May 2012 as an at-large member. He is currently Director of Individual and Major Gifts at Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. Before joining PRCH, Eric ran the individual giving program at Spence-Chapin Services for Families and Children, one of the nation’s oldest adoption agencies. Prior to that, Eric was Membership Director at NARAL Pro-Choice New York for over 10 years, where he cut his reproductive rights teeth. He has done fundraising and communications work for the ACLU, the Democratic National Committee, several state PIRGs, and The War Resisters League, among others. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Columbia College in New York City, Eric joined the staff of the Guardian Newsweekly, eventually becoming Circulation Director. A native New Yorker, Eric has been raising money for non-profit organizations for almost 30 years.
Fall 2013 Interns
Soo Bin Ahn
Bergen County Academies
NYU, Social & Cultural Analysis (’14)
Jocelyn Rhodes Cook
SUNY Plattsburgh, BA, English, Women’s & Gender Studies
Hunter College, Political Science (’16)
Friday, Dec 13 | All Day Activist Alliance Application Priority Deadline
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Saturday, Dec 14 | 7:00am - 11:00am Clinic Escorting
Saturday, Dec 14 - Sunday, Dec 15 | 10:00am - 5:00pm The Role of Health Care Professionals in Addressing Human Sex Trafficking
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