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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.

Ben Homrighausen

Chief Operating Officer

Ben worked with us here at Habitat for Humanity NYC from 2012-2017, where in his final role, he served as Chief of Staff. Ben most recently was the VP for Business Development and Operations at a consulting firm that supports non-profits in achieving their growth goals. Ben graduated from Columbia University and the London School of Economics with dual master’s degrees in international and world history. He also worked at the United Nations in the Disarmament, Political and Humanitarian Affairs departments.

Julia Diegel

Vice President, Resource Development

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A native Michigander, Julia sees fundraising not as a job, but as a calling. After serving as President of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy’s Class Gift Committee at the University of Michigan, she moved to New York City, to work at the United Nations. There, she interfaced with diplomats and high ranking UN officials to leverage diverse sources of funding across corporate, government, foundation and individual giving.

Since joining Habitat NYC in 2016, Julia has successfully stewarded exponential growth in our individual giving pipeline and built strong relationships with board members and leadership council members and their networks.

Matt Dunbar

Vice President, External Affairs

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Matt Dunbar oversees Advocacy, Communications, and Community Relations efforts for the five boroughs. For nearly a decade, Matt has provided strategic leadership in advancing and communicating Habitat NYC’s mission, vision, impact and services to diverse support networks. He leads the effort to advocate for diverse and long-lasting affordable housing policies, including Habitat NYC’s involvement in the founding of the Interboro Community Land Trust. He also oversees Habitat NYC’s international partnerships and has led Global Village trips to the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Trinidad.

Matt serves on The NY Housing Conference’s Advisory Board, the NYC Bar Association’s Housing & Urban Development Committee, the Coalition for Affordable Homes, and Habitat for Humanity International’s U.S. Council Advocacy Committee. He received his B.A. from Pepperdine University and his M.A. from New York University in the fields of religion and politics…the two things you’re not allowed to talk about in polite conversation.

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.  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.

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.

Staff

Charlotte Bell

Post Purchase & Preservation Director

Matthew Cladek

ReStore Driver

Chap James Day

Community Giving and Operations Manager

Daniel Fielding

Homeownership Program Director

Charisse Fontnel

Post Purchase and Preservation Senior Associate

Steven Goldgrab

Director of Finance

Juliana Bernal Guinand

Assistant Project Manager

Bud Highleyman

Construction Site Supervisor

Beverley A. Hoyte

Office Administrator

Michael Leete

Construction Coordinator

Brendan Riley Lersch

Assistant Site Supervisor

Nichole Letizia

Manager, Partnerships and Volunteer Engagement

Katrell Lewis

Advocacy & Community Engagement Manager

Virginia Loperena

Senior Manager of Grants

Joe Lublinkhof

ReStore Manager

Matthew Maripally

Accountant

Monica Martinez

Individual Giving Manager

Kevin McCabe

ReStore Assistant Manager

Shammia McQuaig

A Brush with Kindness Site Supervisor

Tazaya Phillips

Brush With Kindness Site Leader

Hannah Presser

Homeownership Program Manager

Roxanne Racinato

ReStore Sales Associate

Robert Rainbolt

Construction Site Supervisor

Benjamin Randazzo

Assistant Project Manager for Construction Preservation Services

Aleen Riasat

ReStore Sales Associate

Chehana Samarawickreme

Manager of Corporate Partnerships

Vernon Samuel

Director of Real Estate Development

Devon Shaughnessy

Creative Director

Melina Silva

Housing Services Volunteer

Ricardo Sebastián

Director of Special Events

Elizabeth Tietjen

Marketing & Communications Manager

Catherine Townsend

Consultant

Brian Walls

Director of Construction

Seth Weiss

Assistant Site Supervisor

Barbara Wengerter

Volunteer Coordinator

Frankie Wiener

Development & Operations Associate

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.

Ron D. Franklin

Ron D. Franklin is co-head of ProSkauer’s Global Finance Group and leads the Fund Finance practice. He is widely regarded as a leading transnational lawyer who has successfully leveraged his in-depth business acumen to build an active practice focused on finance and corporate matters.
Ron advises clients across a broad spectrum of finance issues, including secured and unsecured lending transactions, domestic and cross-border acquisition financings, project financings, workouts, restructurings and general banking concerns. He also counsels corporate clients regarding stock and asset acquisitions, contract negotiations, and general corporate matters.

Vimla Black Gupta

Vimla Black Gupta currently serves as CMO of Equinox, most recently leading the Bobbi Brown Cosmetics business at Estee Lauder as senior vice president of global marketing. There she managed, led and created the product, consumer and digital marketing strategy for the $1 Billion brand. Prior to her four-year tenure with Bobbi Brown, she held the position of vice president, new brand development of Idea Bank, the Estee Lauder Companies’ in-house innovation unit. Gupta has also held key marketing leadership roles at Procter and Gamble and the Gilette Companies.

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.

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.

Melva M. Miller

Melva M. Miller is the Executive Vice President at the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) where she leads the organization’s Census 2020 initiative for an accurate count. Most recently Ms. Miller has served as the Deputy Borough President of Queens, working with the Borough Presidents on moving Queens forward. Ms. Miller’s achievements include the creation of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a $153 million stakeholder-driven strategy to increase quality employment, economic diversity and financial security in downtown Jamaica, and she was also the lead organizer of the Western Queens Tech Strategic Plan, an initiative that produced a five-year $300,000 planning initiative that produced a blueprint for equitable growth of the Long Island City and Astoria tech ecosystem. Ms. Miller has held several senior economic development roles throughout her career, including Director of Economic Development for the Borough of Queens and Executive Director for the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District. Ms. Miller holds a Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and recently received a second Master’s Degree in Philosophy from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Welfare program at CUNY’s Graduate Center.

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).

Chaz Perera

Chaz is the Co-founder & CEO of Roots Automation. Roots is a New York City-based technology startup that provides business process automation as-a-service to small and mid-sized enterprises (SME). Prior to Roots, Chaz was the Chief Transformation Officer and also the Head of Global Business Services for AIG, Inc. In those roles he built new products, grew AIG’s businesses, and reduced operating costs by leveraging data science, behavioral science, digital, robotics, and AI technologies. He has led teams as large as 7,000 people across 50 countries. He is a graduate of Villanova University. Chaz is based in New York City.

Diana Reyna

Diana Reyna is the founding principal at Diana Reyna Strategic Consulting, LLC. Diana Reyna offers an extensive and vast network, incredible experience in both the public sector and private sector. Diana Reyna brings a unique and innovative perspective to the clients she represents. She is driven by an ethical responsibility to not only the clients it serves, but to the communities her work may impact. Diana Reyna Strategic Consulting LLC’s success is based on conscientious results, striving for excellence to achieve client’s goals. Diana Reyna is the former Deputy Brooklyn Borough President for Brooklyn (2014-2017), and a former New York City Council Member for the 34th Council District (2001-2013), which includes Williamsburg and Bushwick as well as Ridgewood in Queens. For over twenty years, Diana Reyna had demonstrated an outstanding commitment to communities across Brooklyn and Queens through government service and advocacy. As a New York City Council Member representing the 34th Council District she garnered citywide attention for her efforts in championing affordable housing, economic development, improving equity in education, park space, waste and environmental justice as well as expanding youth and senior services. Diana Reyna holds a Bachelor’s degree from PACE University and was the first Dominican American woman elected to public office in New York State.

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.

Daniella Schlisser

For the last 20 years, Daniella Schlisser has been recognized as an industry expert representing some of the finest properties in New York City luxury real estate. Migrating her business to Brown Harris Stevens in 2014, Daniella continues to enhance her reputation for success. Daniella’s breadth of industry knowledge and sophisticated style of practice have earned her media attention both locally and internationally. A meticulous, high-energy professional, Daniella has earned the accolades, referrals and repeat business that have carved her success. She is a personable, multi-faceted individual who relates well with everyone she meets. Fluent in English, German, French, Italian and Hebrew, Daniella is adept at identifying a client’s needs, strategizing quickly and swiftly securing the most suitable property or orchestrating the most profitable sale.

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

Matt Galligan

CIT

Pastor Ziddie Hamatheite

Wayside Baptist Church

Charlie Hammerman

Disability Opportunity Fund

Carmen Hughes

Handel Group

Karim Hutson

Genesis Companies

Blair Lichter

Attorney

Stefanos J. Marcopoulos

American Express

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