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Meet our team

Our full-time staff is made up of passionate people who believe deeply in the cause of affordable housing and the promise of a more livable New York City.

Management

Karen Haycox

Chief Executive Officer

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Karen Haycox is an experienced leader in the affordable housing space who joined Habitat for Humanity New York City as CEO in August of 2015. During her tenure at Habitat NYC, Karen has instituted a bold new vision for the organization, with a goal of increasing the number of families served through construction and preservation from 550 to 2021 by the year 2021. She has also overseen the groundbreaking of Sydney House, a 56-unit co-op in the north Bronx, which will be Habitat for Humanity’s largest single-structure, multi-family development ever built.

Previous to Habitat NYC, Karen served as Vice President, Fund Development at Southwest Solutions and held a number of senior positions with Habitat for Humanity International in Atlanta. At Habitat for Humanity International, Karen served in leadership roles on the organization’s annual Carter Work Projects and on international and domestic disaster relief efforts, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricanes Katrina & Rita, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Midwestern tornados in Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma as well as Superstorm Sandy.

Karen is deeply involved in New York’s LGBTQ and housing communities, including serving on the board of the Stonewall Community Development Coalition, an organization dedicated to providing New York’s LGBTQ seniors with supportive, affordable and safe housing options. She also serves on the board of the Housing Partnership, which assists in the development, promotion, and revitalization of New York City’s affordable homeownership and rental housing through an assortment of specialized programs.

Karen received her degree in Creative Cinematography, Film & Television from Humber College in Toronto, Canada, and enjoyed a successful career as a producer in advertising, film and communications before she transitioned to the affordable housing sector.

She lives in the New York City area with her dog Ripley and cat Pepper.

Alex Havriliak

Chief Financial Officer

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Alex Havriliak has over 30 years of experience managing the finances of both for profit and not for profit organizations. Prior to joining Habitat NYC, he was the Chief Financial Officer for Volunteers of America-GNY for 14 years. During that time, he developed long-term strategic plans that enabled the agency’s operating budget and services to expand throughout the Greater New York area. Alex spearheaded the development of real estate projects, including a shelter for domestic violence victims, a school for special needs students, and housing for low-income residents. Prior to joining Volunteers of America-GNY, Alex worked as a Controller at The Hospital for Special Surgery and an Assistant Controller at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Alex received an M.B.A. in finance from Manhattan College and B.S. in accounting from St. Francis College.

Orlando Marín

Vice President, Real Estate & Construction

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Orlando Marín has extensive experience in the development and management of affordable housing, and has worked for prominent government and civic organizations. Orlando has worked to strengthen the economic core of upstate cities and municipalities. Orlando has also worked in architectural and engineering capacities; he won the American Institute of Architect’s Creative Design award for the City’s first prototypical school, which became the template for planning and development of future schools. Orlando currently serves as a Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission. Orlando’s role is to ensure that planning for the Bronx is strategic and comprehensive in order to protect and compliment the public and private investment that has led to the boroughs recent resurgence, and previously served as chairman of Bronx Community Board #2.

Sabrina Lippman

Vice President, Development and Communications

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Sabrina Lippman’s career spans over ten years of experience in business development, management and sales for top commercial real estate developers. Before joining Habitat NYC, Sabrina was a Director of Marketing and Business Development for Simon Property Group, where she implemented and oversaw a community partnership program with local non-profit organizations. Prior to that she spent four years in San Francisco revitalizing a retail complex with a focus on cultivating startup businesses for Cushman & Wakefield and managed one of the premier shopping destinations in the country for Westfield. Sabrina joined Habitat NYC in 2014 to lead the development and successful implementation of the corporate program, focused primarily on expanding and diversifying Habitat NYC’s base of corporate support. Sabrina is a native New Yorker, University of Rochester alum and proud member of the Habitat NYC team.

Christopher Illum

Vice President, Housing Services

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Christopher Illum received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Temple University in 2005 and master’s degree from Hunter College Department of Urban Planning in the winter of 2010. Since 2007, Christopher has been working in in different positions developing and preserving low-income homeownership models here in New York City.  He is member of the Task-Force on City Owned Property, a group of affordable housing advocates, community groups and lawyers who work toward policy based approaches to affordable housing issues in NYC. Christopher grew up on Long Island and currently lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. In his spare time he is involved with his local Community Development Corporation and the Ft. Greene-Clinton Hill Community Foods Council. Being from Long Island, he also likes to fish.

Matt Dunbar

Vice President, External Affairs

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Matt Dunbar is the Vice President of External Affairs at Habitat NYC, overseeing the affiliate’s advocacy, organizing, and educational activities for the five boroughs of New York City. Since 2006, Matt has worked with multiple organizations and coalitions in mobilizing faith communities, youth advocates, and volunteers around various issues of social justice. In his time at Habitat NYC, Matt has overseen the implementation of an on-site volunteer education curriculum and successful campaigns to save the foreclosure prevention services program, increase statewide capital funding for affordable housing, and the renewal and strengthening of the city’s rent regulations.

Jennifer Schwerin

Vice President, People Services

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Jennifer Schwerin brings over 15 years of non-profit work, highlighted by a breadth of experience building and leading effective volunteer programs. Jennifer has built, revitalized and grown volunteer programs for Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Catalog for Giving, the American Red Cross in Greater New York and most recently the New York Organ Donor Network. Jennifer, whose educational background also includes certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, brings a life-long commitment to service and strengthening her community. Hailing from Wisconsin, but East coast at heart, Jennifer lives in Brooklyn where she spends a good deal of her time mastering the Lego universe with her son.

Staff

Charlotte Bell

Post Purchase & Preservation Director

Jasmin Braithwaite-Hanson

Development Operations & Project Manager

Henry Bynoe

Construction Site Supervisor

Jerome Chao-Chiu

Accountant

Matthew Cladek

ReStore Driver

Chap James Day

Manager of Community Giving

Heather Deal

Director of Fundraising

Julia Diegel

Senior Development Officer

Tessa Farah

Manager of Volunteer Services

Daniel Fielding

Homeownership Program Director

Charisse Fontnel

Homeownership Associate

Kirsty Fraser

Marketing & Communications Assistant

Juliana Bernal Guinand

Assistant Project Manager

Bud Highleyman

Construction Site Supervisor

Beverley A. Hoyte

Office Administrator

Michael Leete

Construction Manager

Ashley Lehrer

A Brush with Kindness Site Leader

Brendan Riley Lersch

Construction Crew Leader

Katrell Lewis

Advocacy & Community Engagement Manager

Virginia Loperena

Manager of Grants

Joe Lublinkhof

ReStore Manager

Wan Luo

Staff Accountant

Kevin McCabe

ReStore Assistant Manager

Shammia McQuaig

Preservation A Brush with Kindness Site Leader

Elan Peskin

Senior Project Manager

Asha Pollard

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Hannah Presser

Homeownership Associate

Roxanne Racinato

ReStore Sales Associate

Robert Rainbolt

Construction Site Supervisor

Benjamin Randazzo

AmeriCorps National - Volunteer Services

Aleen Riasat

ReStore Sales Associate

David Ruan

Director of Finance

Chehana Samarawickreme

Corporate Partnerships Coordinator

Devon Shaughnessy

Creative Director

Melina Silva

Housing Services Volunteer

Ricardo Sebastian

Special Events Manager

Elizabeth Tietjen

Marketing & Communications Manager

Catherine Townsend

Consultant

Ray Usera

A Brush With Kindness Site Supervisor

Brian Walls

Director of Construction

Joshua Weber

Preservation Consultant

Seth Weiss

Construction Crew Leader

Barbara Wengerter

Volunteer Coordinator

Leslie Williams

ReStore Director

Doug Morse

Chair

Douglas Morse is a private investor with extensive experience in real estate and asset management, and is the Managing Member of North Lake Capital. His professional career began in real estate, at Colliers/ABR, focussing on commercial office leasing and management. He later joined his family real estate firm, where he was active in mortgage financing and acquisitions. In 1997, he shifted his career into investment management, becoming a Vice President of Alliance Capital Management’s Hedge Fund Group. More recently, Mr. Morse was Chief Investment Officer of Duet Alternative Investments – US, where he served as Senior Portfolio Manager, overseeing several hedge fund of fund portfolios. Mr. Morse is Treasurer of the Morse Family Foundation and is currently a Trustee of Young Audiences/NY, one of New York’s oldest and largest arts education organizations. He received his B.A. in Economics from Trinity College, Hartford.

Erika Parkins

Secretary

Erika Parkins currently serves as Senior Analyst, Emerging Technologies for the Hearst Corporation, where she helps the organization understand how new technologies can impact their many businesses. Erika believes in having options and not being afraid to try new things—she has thus spent her academic and professional life exploring every intellectual curiosity. With a career that has spanned art, urban planning, real estate, entertainment and media, she has honed her strengths in strategic and analytical thinking while launching new brands, products and corporate divisions. Erika has a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania- where she concurrently completed a year of architectural studies from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation—an MA in Urban Planning from Harvard University and an MA in Journalism from New York University.

Michael Castellon

Mike moved to NYC from Atlanta in January 2015 to be North American Corporate Counsel for SYSTRA, a global transportation engineering company. He is currently Corporate Counsel at SKANSKA WALSH Design-Build Joint Venture. While in Atlanta, Mike was a member of the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors for 6 years, from 2008 to 2014. He chaired the resource development committee and was very active in sponsoring and building homes, attending special events, and leading home dedications and events with family partners. Mike first became involved with Habitat for Humanity in 1991, volunteering with his church on a home build and has been committed to the mission ever since. Mike also served as the family selection and site selection chairman for the Dekalb County, Georgia Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the late 1990’s.

Rick Gropper

Rick Gropper has nearly a decade of experience in real estate development throughout the 5 boroughs of NYC.  At CPG, Rick focuses on sourcing and structuring transactions using his deep relationships with various partners including investors, lenders, the community and government. Prior to co-founding CPG, Rick was Development Director at L+M Development Partners, one of the largest developers of multifamily housing in NYC. At L+M, Rick was responsible for the development and preservation of more than 5,000 units of housing totaling over $1 billion in total capitalization. Prior to joining L+M, Rick worked for a boutique adaptive reuse development firm based in New Haven, CT. He has an undergraduate degree from Connecticut College and an MS in Real Estate Development from Columbia University. Rick serves on the boards of New Yorkers for Parks, NYSAFAH 2G and the CHPC Strategic Impact Fund.

Vimla Black Gupta

Vimla Black Gupta is a Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at the Estee Lauder Companies where she most recently led marketing at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Vimla’s 20-year career in marketing working on $1BN businesses, began at Gillette, then Procter&Gamble and currently the Estee Lauder Companies. Her marketing leadership and expertise has taken her across numerous categories from Personal Care, to Oral Care, to Grooming to Beauty. A graduate of Duke University, Vimla then went on to receive her MBA at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

John S. Isaacs

John S. Isaacs joined CBRE as an Executive Vice President in November 2005. During his 24 years in the commercial real estate industry, John has successfully arranged over 26 million square feet of transactions, representing a wide range of public and private corporations and owners in multifaceted assignments in the New York metropolitan area and throughout the U.S. Prior to joining CBRE, he established himself as one of Cushman & Wakefield’s top producers during his seven-year tenure. In 2009, he completed a 100,000-square-foot transaction on behalf of ImClone Systems Inc., as the anchor tenant in East River Science Park, the first world-class research and laboratory development in NYC. He was awarded a national exclusive with IDS USA, to expand a three million-square-foot portfolio throughout the U.S which included 1.8 million square feet of transactions in Mira Loma and Chino, CA, the largest transactions in the state of California. In 2008, he was awarded Most Creative Deal of the year by SL Green Realty Corp for a transaction on behalf of RSM McGladrey. Over the years, John has represented a multitude of companies such as Cole Haan (Nike Inc.), Pernod Ricard USA, Vestar Capital Partners, PB Capital Corporation and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Brian Lichter

Brian Lichter is a partner in the Real Estate Group at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, one of the world’s premier law firms, where he represents owners, developers, funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other financial institutions in a broad range of commercial real estate transactions. He concentrates on the acquisition and disposition of office, retail and multifamily properties, joint ventures, commercial mortgage, mezzanine and construction financings, preferred equity investments, and debt restructurings. Prior to joining Davis Polk in 2013, Brian was a partner in the Real Estate Department at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where he spent the first 11 years of his career. Brian has served in a number of roles at UJA‐Federation of New York and is currently a member of its Real Estate Council as well as the chair of its Loan Funds Task Force. Brian also serves as a next generation trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He received a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. Brian’s wife, Blair, is a member of Habitat NYC’s Leadership Council.

Gerald Lins

Mr. Lins is General Counsel of Voya Investment Management (formerly ING U.S. Investment Management), which comprises several investment advisory entities managing a wide variety of investment strategies and vehicles. Previously, Mr. Lins was in charge of legal matters for a number of major asset managers and fund complexes, and also spent several years in private practice, concentrating on general corporate law matters and the regulation of investment companies, investment advisers, and other financial service providers. Prior to that, he was a staff attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Christine McGuinness

Christine McGuinness is a business lawyer, combining knowledge of real property and other commercial assets with on-the-ground experience. She is the leader of the Real Estate Practice Group at Schiff Hardin, a national law firm with over 400 attorneys in eight offices. She represents real estate developers and lenders in all aspects of commercial real estate, as well as individuals and corporations in the acquisition, leasing and financing of corporate jets and fractional aircraft interests. She is also committed to several important pro bono causes. She previously served as board member of Habitat for Humanity NYC from 2008-2015, rejoining the Board in 2017. She also currently provides guidance and representation at the Leviticus Fund in connection with the financing of low-income housing.

Fr. Stephen Mimnaugh

Vice Chair

Fr. Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM is a Franciscan friar and Executive Director of St. Francis Friends of the Poor, one of New York City’s original permanent supportive housing providers. Stephen began his Franciscan life in 2002 following a career in real estate finance and banking and was ordained as a priest in 2009. Born and raised in Connecticut, Stephen graduated from the University of Vermont, and eventually settled in his adopted home of Philadelphia. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in urban policy, a master of divinity from the Washington Theological Union, and is a PhD candidate in social welfare at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Anthony Montalto

Anthony Montalto, PE, LEED AP, is an Associate Partner at Jaros, Baum & Bolles (JB&B), a New York City consulting engineering firm. He has parlayed his technical expertise into managing projects for one of New York’s top medical center’s post-Sandy restoration, Weill Cornell Medical College’s Belfer Research Building, New York Stem Cell, Columbia University Medical Center, SUNY Cobleskill, in addition to numerous high-profile financial institutions. Anthony plays a leading role in his firm’s in-house professional development program, JB&B University, of which he is a PDH-accredited professor in the HVAC division. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New York, a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), on whose Board of Governors he currently serves as vice president, and was recently honored as one of ENR New York’s 2017 Top Young Professionals. He has a longstanding history with Habitat for Humanity, having first volunteered in high school, and he was a key player on the design coordination of the Sydney House project.

Peter J. Murray

Vice Chair

Peter Murray is the founder and owner of Dolphin Property Services, LLC, a full service property management and consulting firm specializing in affordable housing. Prior to forming Dolphin Property Services, he was the development partner for Loewen Development. During his 20 years at Loewen, Mr. Murray completed 23 developments (mostly affordable) with over 1,800 housing units as well as ancillary commercial space. As the development partner, Mr. Murray oversaw acquisition, municipal approvals, financing, loan administration and marketing. Mr. Murray has a BA in Political Science and Urban Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a JD from the University of Miami School of Law. Mr. Murray is admitted to the Florida and New York Bar and is an Executive Board Member of the New York State Association of Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH).

Charith (Chaz) Perera

Chaz Perera is AIG’s Head of Global Business Services.  He is responsible for developing, enhancing and promoting AIG’s shared services capabilities, as well as augmenting the process re-engineering, automation and outsourcing practices across AIG. Mr. Perera began his career with AIG in IT.  Throughout his tenure, he has held several management positions within Operations and IT.  Mr. Perera has contributed to AIG’s overall business development efforts and quality of operations, by improving operational performance, reducing delivery costs and ensuring a consistent customer experience. Mr. Perera is a graduate of Villanova University, earning a B.S. in Management Information Systems and Finance.

Brian Smalley

Brian Smalley is a Senior Vice President in charge of Amalgamated Bank’s Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Finance Division. Bringing 17 years of expertise in commercial real estate lending, Mr. Smalley is responsible for expanding and diversifying the Bank’s CRE loan portfolio which currently stands at $1.06B. Before joining Amalgamated in 2010, Mr. Smalley worked as a commercial real estate Vice President at M&T Bank in New York City. During his tenure at the bank, he managed a portfolio of loans over $650 million. Brian began his career at the NYC Housing Partnership promoting the development of affordable housing in New York City. Brian earned his bachelor’s degree at Hamilton College, and he received an M.B.A. from the Columbia Business School. He lives in Fairfield, CT with his wife and two sons.

Marti Speranza

Marti Speranza most recently served as Executive Director of Women Entrepreneurs (WE) NYC, a New York City initiative that raises up thousands of female business-owners from underserved communities though its innovative programs on leadership, access to capital and mentorship. This role not only harnessed Marti’s passion for women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, but also built upon Marti’s decade of experience running her own small business. Prior to that, Marti served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs, the agency tasked with the enforcement of consumer protection laws. Marti began her career in the private sector as a senior manager at Lucent Technologies, but her desire to have a positive impact inspired a transition to public service. Marti is an active volunteer – serving on Community Board and several local non profits. Marti studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania and earned her MBA from Harvard University. Marti lives in Manhattan with her husband, Dr. Rod Wong, and their children Leo and Gia.

Scott Zucker

Scott Zucker is Chief Administrative Officer of Tradeweb. In this role, Scott is responsible for managing Tradeweb’s compliance, human resources, corporate services, market data and information management functions. Mr. Zucker joined Tradeweb in 2002 as served as General Counsel until 2009. Scott played an active role in establishing and building the global legal department for the Company. Prior to coming to Tradeweb, Scott worked in the Corporate Department of Willkie Farr & Gallagher providing legal, regulatory and securities law support exclusively to FinTech companies. Previously, Mr. Zucker worked in the Corporate Department of Robinson, Silverman, Pearce, Aronsohn and Berman (now Bryan Cave) where he specialized in general corporate and securities matters. He received a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law, and currently serves on the Market Risk Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Mr. Zucker is an executive sponsor of the Tradeweb Cares corporate philanthropy program, serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity New York and has an active involvement with the Greater New Jersey Chapter of The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).

Chair – Christine McGuinness

Schiff Hardin

Chris Bennett

S&P Global

Emily Bergl

Actor

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte

New York State Assembly

Liz Blake

Habitat for Humanity International (retired)

Les Bluestone

Blue Sea Development

Contessa Brewer

MSNBC

Erica Buckley

Nixon Peabody

Amy Carlson

Actor

Denise Courter

FiDi Families

Anil Fernando

Glenview Capital

Matt Galligan

CIT

Pastor Ziddie Hamatheite

Wayside Baptist Church

Marc Heinrich

McKinsey & Company

Carmen Hughes

Handel Group

Karim Hutson

Genesis Companies

Blair Lichter

Attorney

Keith Mestrich

Amalgamated Bank

Pastor Gilford T. Monrose

Mt. Zion Church of God 7th Day

Lee Olesky

Tradeweb Markets

Martha Parrish

MVP & Company

Councilman Donovan Richards

New York City Council Member

Richard Roberts

Red Stone Equity Partners

Zali Win

Credit Agricole