Joyce S. Dubensky, Esq., Chief Executive Officer
Tanenbaum’s CEO, Ms. Dubensky, has directed its dramatic expansion, adding new initiatives to each of Tanenbaum’s core programs. Her dynamic leadership transformed Tanenbaum from a well-regarded U.S. institution to an internationally recognized thought leader. Ms. Dubensky has overseen many firsts, each a new contribution to the burgeoning field of interreligious understanding: the first toolkit on religious diversity for workplace managers, the first comprehensive guide on the intersections of religion and health care and the first book collecting the compelling life stories of Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action.
Internationally in demand as a speaker and trainer, Ms. Dubensky speaks, trains and conducts workshops on all Tanenbaum programs including on managing issues of religion in the workplace, health care and in schools. As an attorney, Ms. Dubensky served as a National Consultant for the Council of Jewish Federations (now Jewish Federations of North America). She also created the Legal Department at the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York and served as its General Counsel for over ten years. Ms. Dubensky began her legal career with the law firm of Botein Hays Sklar and Herzberg and holds her J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Lydia Baek, Associate Grant Writer and Coordinator
Lydia Baek works in Tanenbaum’s development department. Before joining Tanenbaum, she developed and implemented culturally-specific programs for young Asian Americans on relationship abuse awareness and prevention, healthy relationships and conflict engagement. Lydia has also created genocide awareness projects for high school students in Cambodia to promote dialogue and information about the Khmer Rouge genocide and helped support a coalition of organizations engaged in transitional justice work in South Africa. She earned an MA from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and a BA from Emory University.
Sujata Bajracharya, Workplace Program Associate
Sujata Bajracharya is a Workplace Program Associate at Tanenbaum. She received her MA in Religion from Syracuse University and her BA in South Asian Studies and Religion from Barnard College. While at Barnard, Sujata was a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow. In graduate school, Sujata conducted independent ethnographic research on and in-depth interviews about the relationship between Hinduism, empathy, and systems of exchange among South Asian international students in the United States. This became the topic of her MA thesis. After graduating from Syracuse University, Sujata worked as a sociology research assistant, investigating community formation among South Asian religious communities in the greater New York area.
Judith Banki, Senior Advisor, Interreligious Affairs
Judith Banki is one of the pioneers of organized interreligious dialogue and an award-winning author whose articles have appeared in Commonweal, Religious Education, the Journal of Ecumenical Affairs and The American Jewish Year Book. She co-edited the anthology of Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum’s writings and two volumes emerging from conferences at Catholic Theological Union and Cambridge University which she helped coordinate. Awarded an honorary doctorate by Seton Hall University for her work in promoting Jewish-Christian understanding, she also received the “Peace through Dialogue” Interfaith Gold Medallion from the International Council of Christians and Jews.
Janie Dumbleton, Conflict Resolution Associate
Janie works in the Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding program. Prior to joining Tanenbaum, Janie was a Ghandi Fellow at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego (USD) where she earned a Masters in Peace and Justice Studies. During her time at USD, she volunteered with the International Rescue Committee and interned with Tanenbaum’s conflict resolution department, leading Tanenbaum’s monitoring and evaluation cycle for that year. Janie’s time in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and at the University of Georgia studying English and Religion cultivated her passion for conflict resolution and social justice.
Rev. Mark E. Fowler, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Mark E. Fowler is responsible for overseeing the design and implementation of Tanenbaum’s programmatic trainings. Mark has been involved in New York City’s education community for over 20 years and is a skilled facilitator/trainer who worked with teachers, counselors, administrators and students at the Anti-Defamation League on prejudice reduction, conflict resolution, and reducing bias and bullying. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and facilitator who has addressed organizations throughout New York on issues of equality in race, gender, sexual orientation and religion. He earned a B.A. in English and Education at Duke University and was trained as a Mediation and Conflict Resolution Specialist with the NYC Department of Education. Mark also is a graduate of the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and is an ordained Interfaith/Interspiritual minister.
Leslie Funk, Workplace Program Associate
Leslie Funk has a background in alternative dispute resolution, in both programming as well as hands-on mediation of community conflicts. Most recently, Leslie was the Manager of Mediation Programming at Community Mediation Services in Queens, and, prior to that, mediated small claims court conflicts in her home state of Massachusetts. She is a member of the board of directors for the Association for Conflict Resolution, Greater New York Chapter (ACR GNY). During the past few years, Leslie has been active in multiple peace building organizations, including working with Northern Irish youth through Friends Forever International and developing case studies on the international use of video as evidence for Witness, Inc. Leslie earned a JD from Hamline University School of Law as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Communications from the University of Connecticut. Throughout it all, Leslie has remained an avid traveler and portraiture artist.
Ilana Lehmann, Health Care Program Assistant
Ilana Lehmann received her BA in Religion and Neuroscience (one major) from Barnard College. During her senior year at Barnard, Ilana wrote a thesis on different ways to understand spiritual experiences from temporal lobe epilepsy. Throughout college Ilana was involved in interfaith work on campus, which aimed to foster mutual respect between various identity-based student groups. She also spent one summer interning at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.
Nicole Margaretten, Communications Manager – Creative Content
Nicole Margaretten received a Master of International Affairs (’13) from Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) with a focus on economic and political development, peacebuilding, and international communications. Nicole worked as a consultant for Covenant House International where she developed a residential intake survey for at-risk children. After conducting interviews in Honduras and Nicaragua, she authored a guide for interview best practices with children who may be victims of trafficking. In Bogotá, Colombia, she helped develop community peacebuilding workshops for corporate clients of Tandem Insourcing, SAS, a communications negotiation consulting firm. Nicole is a visual and sound artist and will be launching a jewelry line in 2015. In addition to her Master of International Affairs, she holds a Master of Fine Arts (’05) from Tufts University/the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (’02) from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Michael McShane, Peacemakers in Action Network Coordinator
Michael McShane is responsible for providing support to Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action Network by systematizing communications and collaboration among Peacemakers, as well as managing the projects and documents that emerge from it. Michael is a recent graduate of The New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs, where he earned his M.A. in International Affairs. For his final practicum, he collaborated with five New School students to produce reports on International Taxation and Global Economic Governance for the NGO Committee on Financing for Development (FfD), a faith-based advocacy organization inspired by the 2002 Monterrey Consensus. He also participated in The New School’s International Field Program, working for a pan-democrat political party in Hong Kong during the summer of 2012.
Maria McQuade, Health Care Program Associate
Prior to joining Tanenbaum, Maria worked as a Case Aid Assistant with the International Institute of Buffalo, a refugee resettlement program, and as a Staff Assistant with U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer’s office. She received her MA in Medical Anthropology from the University at Buffalo and her BA in International Studies, with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East, from American University. Her MA Thesis, titled “Doctors, Doulas, and Self-Determination: Examining Agency During Pregnancy and Childbirth”, focused on parturient patient populations in Buffalo, NY and analyzed the impact of education, socioeconomic status, and care provider options in shaping reproductive decisions and patient experiences. Maria has volunteered extensively in Buffalo, NY and Himachal Pradesh, India working with refugees in health care settings.
Mary Kate Mueller, Operations Associate
Mary Kate Mueller contributes to Tanenbaum’s operational team to ensure top-quality office functionality, overseeing finances, HR and other due processes. Mary Kate received her B.A. in Global Studies with a minor in International Relations from LIU Global College, a four-year degree that utilizes an experiential curriculum. Graduating as valedictorian, Mary Kate studied and worked in twelve countries on five continents, focusing on de-colonial frameworks, language acquisition for refugees and grassroots/non-profit work. Prior to joining Tanenbaum, Mary Kate worked in Berlin, Germany and northern Ecuador in refugee reintegration and intercultural programming.
Joe Riccardelli, Operations Manager
Joseph Riccardelli is responsible for managing all operational aspects of Tanenbaum, mainly financial and technological. He received his Master’s in Public Administration and B.A. in Political Science from Seton Hall University with concentrations in Foreign Policy, Nonprofit Management, and Policy Implementation. Additionally, he has experience working in the tech sector and has used those skills to inform his policy work. The research Joseph has worked on has included improvements to state government data repositories, peaceful policy recommendations for U.S. foreign relations, and an analysis of the impact nonprofit organizations have regarding online media and journalism.
Cameron Smith, Workplace Program Associate
Cameron received his B.A. in Political Science with a Middle East Studies concentration from Drew University. He received his M.S. in Global Affairs with a Peacebuilding concentration from NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. As part of his graduate capstone, Cameron helped produce a documentary on women’s security issues within Haitian internal displacement camps. The project built upon his previous work with refugee populations in the Middle East and his focus on the intersections of religion, culture, and conflict. Cameron joins Tanenbaum after working as a Legal Assistant at a corporate law firm.
Dasha Tanner, Communications Manager – Media and Public Relations
Dasha Tanner received her BA in International Affairs, with a minor in Peace & Conflict studies and a regional focus on the geopolitical Middle East, from the University of San Francisco. Dasha has a published thesis examining art as a medium for resistance; using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a case-study, she examined the role art has played and continues to play in the emergence of a cultural intifada within the conflict. Most recently, Dasha was the Social Media Coordinator for Brooklyn Law School, where she was responsible for developing overarching divisional social media strategies, policies and procedures for increased engagement and maintaining brand continuity across platforms. Prior to her time at Brooklyn Law, Dasha worked at Seeds of Peace assisting with all camp related programming; managed a flagship retail boutique in Soho; and interned for the Clinton Foundation as part of their CGI Events team during the 2014 and 2015 Annual Meetings. Outside of work, Dasha spends a lot of time playing with her puppy, reading, writing poetry, imagining better futures and thinking about how to build those futures now.
Elizabeth Turnwald, Retreat Coordinator Assistant
Elizabeth Turnwald is the Retreat Coordinator Assistant in the Conflict Resolution Program. She received her BA in Music and Spanish from the University of Dayton. Interested in the connection between faith and justice, her senior thesis explored the intersection of Catholicism, politics, and gender within Latin American protest music from the 1960s and ‘70s. In college, she interned at Catholic Social Services: Refugee Resettlement and worked in liturgical music ministry.
Nancy Wolfe, Development Manager
Nancy brings Tanenbaum over 25 years of fund development experience. An accomplished grant writer and relationship builder, Nancy has expanded resources to promote a wide range of social justice issues ranging from workers’ rights, to child care for low income working families, to quality education for young children with special needs. She comes to New York from Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, where her efforts not only expanded the organization’s ability to provide safe, affordable homes for families in the community, but also initiated unique projects to build understanding and acceptance through interfaith collaboratives. Nancy’s development strategy reaches out to a full spectrum of potential contributors, including individuals, corporations, faith communities, foundations, civic organizations, and government funders. Mrs. Wolfe holds a B.A. in Communications from The Pennsylvania State University and Master’s in Public Policy from New England College. She is excited to roll up her sleeves and get to work building greater opportunity for Tanebaum’s powerful mission.