Our Leadership & Volunteers
Sonia Ossorio, President, leads the National Organization for Women of New York. NOW is the nation’s largest organization working to advance women’s rights. With more than 5,000 NYC activist members and supporters, Ms. Ossorio has led the organization in changing laws and policies to further women’s equality and to improve local government and law enforcement’s response to gender-based violence and workplace discrimination. In 2007, Ms. Ossorio was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. In 2016, she was appointed to the New York City Commission on Gender Equity by Mayor Bill De Blasio.
Ms. Ossorio has spoken widely on the topics of American feminism, women in politics, the glass ceiling, human trafficking, and the evolution of rape laws in the criminal justice system. Prior to her current post, she served as Director of Public Information for Catalyst, the preeminent research and advisory organization working to advance women in corporate America. Ms. Ossorio started her career as a journalist and has worked for American City Business Journals, Knight-Ridder and Gannett Newspapers. Her reporting and commentary on human rights, feminist issues, women in business and entrepreneurship have appeared in USA Today, the Denver Post, the St. Petersburg Times, and the New York Times, among others.
Jean Bucaria, Deputy Director of NOW-NYC since 2007, was elected by the organization’s membership as Executive Vice President of NOW New York State in 2014. She plays an instrumental role in driving NOW’s actions and advocacy campaigns to advance the women and girls of New York and in building NOW’s communications and public education and volunteer programs. With over a decade of experience in nonprofit management and advocacy for women’s rights, Jean has built a track-record of motivating volunteers, developing campaigns, and shaping communications that resonate. Prior to her role at NOW, she served as the Director of Program Evaluation at the NYC Leadership Academy and as Program Officer at AMDeC. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch’s School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Stony Brook University.
Jane Manning, Director of Advocacy, leads our campaign for better prosecution and prevention of violent crimes against women. Through Women’s Justice NOW, she provides direct services to survivors of gender-based violence who are navigating the criminal justice system. 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, to criminalize strangulation attacks, and to enact a 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.
May Nazareno, Development Manager, specializes in donor cultivation with a proven track record of increasing unrestricted funds for emerging and established non-profits. May began her career at Stanford University and continued to develop programs in the arts, education, social services, and international reproductive health in New York City. She has focused on major gifts, direct mail, and event planning at Northside Center for Child Development, Leviathan Lab, Artistic Dreams International, and Zara Aina. At the Population Council, May assisted in major donor stewardship, launching their inaugural gala, and providing strategy to key leadership. She continues to serve as a development advisor to Zara Aina and the Village Zendo in New York City.
Alyssa Cannizzaro, Special Projects Manager and Assistant to the President, joined the staff in June 2015. She first got involved with NOW-NYC as a summer intern in 2014. In addition to managing day-to-day office operations, she executes special projects for the President, plans actions, protests and advocacy campaigns, conducts legislative research, oversees social media strategy, and directs the volunteer and internship programs. Alyssa graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University with a B.A. in Political Science in 2015. As an undergraduate student at Columbia, she spent three years as an Administrative Assistant at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality.
Melissa Quesinberry, Membership and Outreach Manager is a former intern and a member of the 2015 NOW-NYC Activist Alliance. As an intern, she led the Clinic Escort Program, increased the volunteer base and established a team of volunteer escort leaders. Melissa organizes and facilitates panel discussions and events, manages the volunteer base and membership processing, and coordinates collaborations with other organizations. She is a gender violence specialist and a certified rape crisis counselor who volunteers with the Violence Intervention Treatment Program at Wyckoff Heights Hospital. Melissa is a former case manager and treatment specialist at a group home and program for sexually abused adolescent girls. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Non-Profit Management from Milano – The New School for Management, Urban Policy and International Affairs with a concentration in gender, advocacy, and politics.
Spring 2018 Interns and Fellows
Women’s Rights Interns
Amy Gong Liu
NOW-NYC Board of Directors
Judi Polson, Board Chair, has been an active NOW member for 17 years and has served on the Board in various roles since 2003. She served as Board Chair from 2007 through 2009, and again since 2014. She has served 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 elect Vice President of Development in 2005, where she brought dormant grant applications to fruition and enabled the Chapter to obtain grants more routinely. In 2016, she was elected to represent the Northern District on the National NOW Board of Directors, where she serves on the Advance Voting Rights and End the Criminalization of Trauma National Action Campaigns.
Judi’s contributions to NOW extend beyond administration. She participated in the 2013 Lobby Day in Albany for the Women’s Equality Act and its followup actions, as well as the 2017 Lobby Day that helped end child marriage in New York state. She led a cadre of demonstrators to the 2004 March for Women’s Lives and to the 2017 Women’s March in Washington. In New York City, she participated in the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, NOW-NYC’s 2005 Alito and 2007 Viacom actions, the 2008 Martin Luther King Day march, and the 2018 Women’s March. She has escorted at NYC abortion clinics, both during ferocious New York winters and sweltering New York summers.
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; and she has been a featured background player on Saturday Night Live.
Phyllis Dent, Board Treasurer, has served as the Chapter’s volunteer treasurer since early 2010. A licensed CPA and CFE in the state of New York, Phyllis works in corporate finance at Time Warner/Time Inc. Phyllis earned a BS in Accounting and an MBA in Finance from Hofstra University. She also holds professional memberships with the American Institute of Certified Pubic Accountants, and the New York State Society of CPAs.
Arthur Lundquist, Board Secretary, has been an active NOW member and has served on the Board in as Board Secretary since 2010, and before that was Board membership coordinator since 2008. In that time, Arthur has supported the cause of gender equality, choice, and the 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. Those duties, in addition to lobbying in Albany, assisting in NOW-NYC’s ongoing fundraising goals, the picket lines, clinic escorts, protests and rallies, have “immeasurably enriched my life, and I hope to have the opportunity to continue them in years to come.”
Rebecca Rafelson, Action Vice President, has served on the Board of NOW-NYC since 2008 and has hands-on experience motivating and mobilizing both new and diverse activists to join NOW-NYC’s ranks. She began as the Chair of NOW-NYC’s Queer Advocacy Project in 2007 and led NOW-NYC’s Gay Pride March contingent for four years. As a Board member, Rebecca contributed to the Steering Committee, the Board Development Committee, and 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 launched NOW-NYC’s weekly yoga program for survivors of violence and co-founded NOW-NYC’s Activist Alliance, an exclusive leadership training program that is in its third year running.
By profession, Rebecca is a fundraising and communications professional for 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”.
Jessica Robles-Morales, Board Member, joined NOW-NYC in 2015 as a member of the Activist Alliance. As a member of the Alliance, Jessica supported events and studied the impact of domestic labor on women’s lives. Additionally, she worked alongside NOW activists to create and facilitate workshops about intersectional feminism, which encouraged diverse and inclusive policies, programs, and practices throughout the organization. Jessica is passionate about reproductive justice and creating spaces for women of color to share their stories.
Jessica is currently the Deputy Director of the Women’s Center for Gender Justice at John Jay College, where she oversees all aspects of the Gender Justice Advocates Program, strategically hosts events to support the Center’s mission, and seeks collaborative opportunities with local community partners. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from Hofstra University and a Master of Arts in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Wednesday, Apr 25 | 5:30pm - 7:00pm ALLY EVENT: Rally Against Sexual Assault
Thursday, Apr 26 | 6:30pm - 9:00pm Deeper Glimpse into City Council: Perspectives of Newly Elected Women of Color
Wednesday, May 02 | 6:30pm - 8:00pm Clinic Escort Training
Thursday, May 03 | 6:30pm - 8:30pm Her Big Idea NOW: An Evening with Female Entrepreneurs & Creative Leaders
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