Team

Donna Lawrence
President & CEO

Donna Lawrence has extensive experience in advocacy and policy development in support of disadvantaged children, youth and families. She spent many years at the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) where she served in both a statewide role as Director of the CDF-NY office and in a national position as Vice President of National Field Operations. She also worked as Director of the Mayor's Office for Children and Families under New York City Mayor David Dinkins, and was his Senior Policy Advisor on Children and Youth when he was Manhattan Borough President. more...

Donna most recently served as Vice President at the JPB Foundation, a relatively new family foundation with a grantmaking program that will grow to over $200M annually. Prior to this, Donna was the Children & Youth Programme Director at The Atlantic Philanthropies, responsible for directing a $100M global grant making program for disadvantaged children and youth, and the Executive Director of The Riggio Foundation, where she worked to develop a strategic social justice agenda and funding guidelines for the foundation, and served as a liaison to existing grantees. In that position she managed a $20M grant for building 150 homes for poor New Orleans families who lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Prior to joining the Riggio Foundation, she was the Executive Director of the New York office of the Susan Komen Breast Cancer foundation. In addition to these, Donna has held many other leadership and managerial roles in her professional career.

Donna has an M.A. in Political Science from Columbia University and a B.S. in Social Work from Cornell University. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Revson Fellowship and Outstanding Women Achievers. Donna brings a wealth of experience in the foundation, government and not-for-profit sectors; strong organisational and managerial skills, and a commitment to work for social justice and equality for all people.

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Soji N. Adewumi 
Chief Program Officer

In her role as the Chief Program Officer, Soji partners with the Foundation’s network of Affiliates to use data inquiry, design thinking and new technologies to help drive program outcomes and improve program effectiveness.  Soji oversees the National Foundation’s portfolio of initiatives focused on promoting higher education and increasing our Dreamers’ access to and success through their college pursuits.

 Soji joined the "I Have A Dream" Foundation's staff in 2015 as a Fellow through Education Pioneers, an organization which matches private sector professionals with education nonprofits to put their skills to use for education causes. Soji holds a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining IHDF, Soji held several positions in Program Management, Process Design, and Technology Consulting at large and Fortune 500 companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Nationwide, and Kaiser Permanente, among others. In her spare time, Soji teaches yoga and enjoys international travel.


Cheryl Alleyne
Office Manager

Cheryl joined the "I Have A Dream" staff in January 2003. In addition to her duties as Office Manager, she provides general administrative support to the national staff.

Prior to joining "I Have A Dream", Cheryl worked at the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), where she was a member of the national staff for 13 years. She studied computer programming at Fordham University. Cheryl is a member of the North Central Bronx Hospital Auxiliary Board advocating for improved patient care for a predominantly immigrant community.


Kaitlin Archambault
Director of Marketing and Communications

Kaitlin Archambault is a designer, creative director, and communications strategist interested in the social impact of visual communications. With experience in communications design, new media, and the nonprofit sector, Kaitlin founded Incendiary Designs, a Brooklyn-based design & communications firm, in 2013, and has since worked with nonprofits, startups, and corporate clients on 5 continents. Kaitlin believes in a multimedia design process that is both iterative and forward-thinking. In 2015, she piloted Spark, a design education program for startups & nonprofits. She is currently leading the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation in reimagining their brand and increasing their visibility as they launch a strategic plan to double their program impact by 2020. more...

Before founding Incendiary, Kaitlin managed communications for The Futuro Media Group, producers of Latino USA on NPR and America By The Numbers on PBS (eventually leading the rebrand for both of these signature programs). Kaitlin holds a BFA in Illustration and a BA in Anthropology with Honors from the University of Connecticut, as well as certificates in Building Restoration and Traditional Painting Techniques and Conservation Issues from the International Institute for Restoration and Preservation Studies in San Gemini, Italy. Kaitlin is an actively exhibiting visual artist and has taught public art, screen-printing, and zine-making workshops across the northeast. 


Marvin D. Cabrera
Director of Alumni Network and College Partnerships

Marvin serves as the Director of Alumni Network and College Partnerships. In this role, he will focus on launching the Dreamer to Dreamer Network to connect alumni and current Dreamers, engaging alumni through an annual National Alumni Reunion, and creating partnerships with colleges to better serve Dreamers. more...

For over 20 years, Marvin has worked with youth and college access programs. Most recently, he lived in Bangladesh where he founded an international organization, Art in a Suitcase, that helps youth across continents learn about one another through art and global citizenship. Prior to that, he served as the Program Director for the “I Have a Dream” Foundation – New York’s DeHostos-Wise program where he supported Dreamers and their college aspirations. And for over a decade, he held various roles at Double Discovery Center’s TRIO programs at Columbia University. During this tenure, he oversaw volunteer tutoring, alumni engagement, and programmatic partnerships, directed the Talent Search program serving over 825 middle and high school students, and provided college application and financial aid advising to 12th graders. He continues to give back to the community in which he was raised as a board member for the DOME Project, a youth advocacy and college access organization that he attributes to his own college success. Marvin holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Columbia University, and lives in New York City with his partner and two children.


Pat Gunst 
Senior Executive Admin/ Office Manager

Pat joined the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation team in January 2016 as Senior Executive Admin/Office Manager. Prior to joining "I Have A Dream", Pat worked at The Atlantic Philanthropies as a Senior Program Associate for 11 years, providing administrative support to the Children & Youth Program.



Andrea Hill
Manager, Performance Reporting & Evaluations 

Andrea joined the “I Have A Dream” Foundation Team in November of 2016 as the Manager of Performance Reporting & Evaluation.  In this role, she is responsible for executing the national office’s performance measurement efforts. Andrea oversees internal and external national outcome reporting activities and ensures that high quality program evaluations are regularly performed. 

 

Prior to joining “I Have A Dream”, Andrea worked for the NYC Department of Education, managing data and reporting for the After School Professional Development program providing professional learning opportunities to New York City teachers. Before moving to New York, Andrea spent several years in her native Washington, DC, working as a political consultant on Capitol Hill.  Andrea holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and an M.S. in Government Analytics from Johns Hopkins University, and is an alumna of the Education Pioneers Analyst Fellowship. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with her foster dogs.


 

Eugena Oh
Chief Operating Officer

As the Chief Operating Officer at the "I Have A Dream" Foundation, Eugena works closely with the President & CEO to build the organization’s administrative, operational, and program-support functions to maximum efficacy and achieve its ambitious growth plan to 2020. Eugena serves as a strategic thought partner to the senior management team, as well as the Board of Directors, and is responsible for overseeing the governance and operations of “I Have A Dream” Foundation affiliate sites. Eugena is also the organization's legal counsel. more...

Prior to joining "I Have A Dream," Eugena practiced commercial and products liability law, and served in development, strategy, and operations roles within several non-profit organizations, including Teach For America - New York City, Rock The Vote, and Washington State Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Eugena received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and her J.D. from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Eugena serves on the Alumni Board of Directors for the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Board of Advisors of the University of Pennsylvania Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH), an Asian student resource center. In addition, she is a Board Member of the Korean American League for Civic Action (KALCA), whose mission is to develop the next generation of civic leaders and to increase civic participation in the Asian American community, and is a founding member of the George Hannah Society of the Brooklyn Historical Society. .

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Laura Persichette Owens
Director of Strategic Initiatives

As the Director of Strategic Initiatives, Laura is responsible for leading critical cross-functional initiatives aimed at developing and testing new programming or program models and improving key processes across the organization, including an innovative College Savings Account initiative aimed at helping more students save for post-secondary education. more...

 

Laura Persichette Owens joined the "I Have A Dream" Foundation in December 2011. Before joining "I Have A Dream," Laura worked at the New York City Department of Education on a variety of projects. In her most recent role as Director of Talent for the Division of Academics, Performance, and Support, Laura was responsible for all human resource processes across a division of 300 people and directed key projects and pilots, including various performance management processes, a division staff satisfaction survey, and staff professional development opportunities. Prior to that role, Laura worked as a project manager on the ARIS project, a website that provides parents, principals and teachers across NYC the ability to view student information, explore instructional resources, and collaborate with other educators across the city. Laura also worked in the Division of Portfolio Planning supporting new school development for the Office of Charter Schools.

Laura has a Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola University Maryland. She serves on the Director's Council for Coney Island Prep Charter School and in her spare time enjoys running, cooking, and traveling.


Shawn Sadjatumwadee 
Manager of Affiliate Expansion

As the Manager of Affiliate Expansion, Shawn works closely with the senior leadership team to lead the development  and execution of the organization’s strategic growth plan. Shawn directly oversees the process of bringing new affiliates to the “I Have a Dream” network, and helping those affiliates launch successfully in alignment with the organization’s mission. 

Shawn joined the staff in November of 2016. He holds a B.A. in History from Morehouse College and a M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College at Columbia University. Prior to joining IHDF, he worked at Krossover  a sports-tech startup where he led the development,  strategy, launch, and operations of a new product aimed at college and high school conferences. Before joining Krossover, Shawn had over 15 years of  experience as a K-12 educator -- working as a high school counselor, middle school dean of students, director of high school placement, and kindergarten teacher.

 

As a first generation college student, Shawn is committed to helping young people find their path to and through college. Shawn is passionate about  exploring the intersections of education/entrepreneurship/social justice/technology. In his spare time Shawn enjoys spending time with his family, sports, bike commuting, traveling, Brazilian jiujitsu, and dreaming.


Nadira Saunders 
Manager of Events and Donor Relations 

Nadira is the event planning specialist and donor relations manager for the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation. After planning a gala while serving her first professional love as an educator, Nadira Chase Saunders developed a thirst and talent for Event Planning. As such, over the years she has worked on teams that produced music festivals, sports programs, comedy shows and concerts. Her know-how quickly assumed her the position of directly meeting the need of VIP clients, Sponsors and Talent for these events. An Atlanta transplant, Nadira has found a way to merge both passions by joining the IHAD National team as the Events / Donor Relations Manager.

 

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Nadira Saunders
Manager of Events and Donor Relations 

Nadira is the event planning specialist and donor relations manager for the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation. After planning a gala while serving her first professional love as an educator, Nadira Chase Saunders developed a thirst and talent for Event Planning. As such, over the years she has worked on teams that produced music festivals, sports programs, comedy shows and concerts. Her know-how quickly assumed her the position of directly meeting the need of VIP clients, Sponsors and Talent for these events. An Atlanta transplant, Nadira has found a way to merge both passions by joining the IHAD National team as the Events / Donor Relations Manager.


 

Robert Thompson
Chief Development Officer

Robert brings over 30 years of experience as a development practitioner and INGO/NGO senior executive to the "I Have A Dream" Foundation. After spending the first half of his career in higher education and corporate fundraising, Robert moved into the global health and humanitarian fields, working first for the United Nations Association, the largest advocacy organization supporting UN causes in the US, and later for the Institute for Cancer Prevention, Columbia University Medical Center, and as Chief Development Officer for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Save the Children. He has engaged numerous multinationals and international donors in disaster relief and long-term development initiatives and worked with many other public and private groups in the U.S. and around the world. Most recently, Robert served as Executive Vice President & Chief Philanthropy Officer at the National Center for Learning Disabilities. 


Sandra Trujillo
Senior Director of Affiliate Supports

Ms. Trujillo has spent more than three decades working in New York City’s public and non-profit sectors focused on children and family services, community development, anti-poverty services and public health. Her experience includes policy and legislative advocacy, public education and mobilization of diverse communities on city, state and national levels. Sandy has been a lifelong community activist on issues related to racial, economic and social justice, including community empowerment, education, childcare, youth development, women’s rights and immigration reform. more...

Prior to joining “I Have A Dream” Foundation, Sandy was a program associate at The Atlantic Philanthropies, co-managing the Elev8 Community Schools portfolio, a $120 million, place-based initiative operating in Chicago, Oakland, Baltimore and the state of New Mexico. Sandy served as Deputy Director at the Children’s Defense Fund and in New York City government, for nearly a decade, first as a community liaison at the Office of Manhattan Borough President Dinkins and later as Deputy Director of the Mayor Dinkins’ Office for Children and Families. Sandy also served as the Latino Field Coordinator for Mayor Dinkins’ successful 1989 Democratic Mayoral campaign and as a Senior Associate at Bill Lynch Associates, a New York political consulting firm.

Sandy is the recipient of a number of awards including: the New York City Council’s award for Outstanding Leadership and Contributions to the City at the first Mexican Independence Day Celebration; El Diario La Prensa’s annual Outstanding Latinas Award; Asian Americans for Equality award for work on behalf of New York’s Immigrant Communities; and the Puerto Rican Bar Association’s Award for Senior Latino Officials in the Dinkins Administration. In 2005, Sandy was recognized as a “Top 100 Most Influential Hispanics” in Hispanic Business Magazine.

Sandy earned her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University, majoring in Latin American Studies with a minor in Elementary Education. Originally from San Francisco, CA, she has lived in NYC since 1970.

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