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Who We Are

Staff

Rev. Mark E. Fowler, Chief Executive Officer

Rev. Mark Fowler guides Tanenbaum to the fulfillment of its mission to promote justice and build respect for religious difference by transforming individuals and institutions to reduce prejudice, hatred, and violence. As CEO, Rev. Fowler is responsible for all of Tanenbaum’s departments, the design and implementation of all Tanenbaum trainings, and the expansion of Tanenbaum programs nationally and internationally.

Rev. Fowler represents Tanenbaum on the United Nations Multifaith Advisory Council for the UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development, the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the Inclusion Allies Coalition, and Interfaith United NYC.

As architect of Tanenbaum’s Corporate Membership Program, Rev. Fowler has conducted trainings at GSK, Merck, Turner Broadcasting, PwC, The Walt Disney Company, CVS Health, Aetna, Bloomberg, Sodexo, Google, Moody’s, Bank of America, Walmart, and Target, among others. He has also managed the design of Tanenbaum’s Religious Diversity Leadership Summit and the Religious Diversity Symposium, which have brought together senior leaders, DEI practitioners and advocates to strategize on creating religiously inclusive workplaces.

Rev. Fowler led the evaluation of Tanenbaum’s Education program and managed the process and creation of its second editions of the Religions in My Neighborhood and World Olympics curricula.

Rev. Fowler is a sought-after keynote speaker and facilitator in all of Tanenbaum’s core program areas, and has addressed organizations globally on issues of equality in race, gender, sexual orientation and religion. Recently, Rev. Fowler delivered the keynote at the 2020 Diversity Best Practices EmERGe conference, was featured in a fireside chat with Robert Cook, CEO and President at FINRA’s 2020 Virtual Diversity Summit and continued in his role as Navigator at the 2020 unveiling of OUTNext’s latest curriculum “Out of the Closet and into the C-Suite.”

Over the course of Rev. Fowler’s tenure at Tanenbaum, he has presented at the National Council on the Social Studies, National Association of Multicultural Education, Teaching Tolerance, the YMCA of Greater New York, Partnership for Afterschool Education, Asia Society, National School Board Association, the United Nations, the Newseum, the Power of Women Institute, the Return on Inclusion Summit, the OutNEXT Summit, and the Forum on Workplace Inclusion regarding prejudice reduction, conflict resolution, bias and bullying.

Rev. Fowler 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. Rev. Fowler also is a graduate of the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, is an ordained Interfaith/Interspiritual minister, and is a Dean of second-year students at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary.

Joyce S. Dubensky, Esq., CEO Emerita, Sr. Strategic Advisor

Tanenbaum’s CEO Emerita, Joyce Dubensky, has directed its dramatic expansion, adding new initiatives to each of Tanenbaum’s core programs. As CEO for 18 years, 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 respect and understanding: the first toolkit for workplace managers on addressing religious diversity at work, the first comprehensive manual on the intersections of religion and health care, and the first book of the compelling life stories of Tanenbaum’s religiously driven Peacemakers in Action.

Internationally in demand, 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 and on religious peacebuilding and its value for diplomats. Ms. Dubensky has presented at the United Nations, the Alliance of Civilizations, the United States Institute of Peace, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Academy of Practical Theology, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, the American Academy of Religion, and Harvard University.

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, where she served as General Counsel for over a decade. 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, and has a Master’s degree in American History from Adelphi University.

Chloe Aldridge, Executive Office Coordinator

Chloe Aldridge is the Executive Office Coordinator at Tanenbaum. She received her MPhil in International Peace Studies (’18) from Trinity College Dublin and her BA in International Relations and Global Studies (’12) with a focus in the MENA region from The University of Texas at Austin. Chloe’s graduate school research centered on the use of mass surveillance by the U.S. government against Muslims and those of MENA heritage. Since 2012, Chloe has interned in various capacities at NGOs in three countries:  The Integration Centre (Ireland), Korean Sharing Movement (South Korea), and Lebanon Support (Lebanon). Most notably, she has contributed to support programs for refugees and asylees in Ireland, to the development of legislation for aid to North Korea following South Korean President Moon’s inauguration, and to Lebanon Support’s Conflict Analysis Mapping project and Civil Society Incubator program.

Stephanie Attias, Human Resources and Operations Associate

Stephanie received a BSBA in Finance and a BA in Political Science from Elon University. As part of her graduate capstone, she wrote a thesis on cybersecurity threats to critical assets in the United States. Previously she worked at The Borgen Project, a nonprofit focused on ending global poverty and hunger, where she assisted in running their internship program.

Lydia Baek, Manager of Institutional Giving

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.

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.

Nina Boe, Workplace Program Associate

Nina Boe is originally from Seattle with an undergraduate background in Political Science and East European Studies. She also has a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington. Nina served as a student consultant to a nonprofit organization that worked with religious minorities from Syria, helping craft a policy paper based on survey data. She also interned with Sahar Education, crafting an impact report of the organization’s programming in northern Afghanistan. Domestically, she has volunteered with organizations like the International Rescue Committee, Church World Service, and The ONE Campaign. She also served as a board member for the Young Professionals International Network and Kids4Peace. Internationally, Nina volunteered two years in Brazil with the Young Adult Service Corps, working on many communications and community based ecumenical projects. Before coming to Tanenbaum, she served as a Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer in North Macedonia working with Roma nonprofit organizations. She is excited to spend some time stateside and support the mission of Tanenbaum. Outside of work, she enjoys photography, writing, and learning new languages

Daniel del Nido, Education Program Associate

Daniel received his BA in Philosophy and Religion from Swarthmore College in 2010. He completed his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Columbia University in 2017His dissertation examined how theories of habit and habituation in modern French philosophy could increase scholarly understanding of the lived practice of religious ethics. While completing his doctorate, he served as a Rapporteur for the Columbia University Seminar for Comparative Philosophy, which sought to advance dialogue between Indian, Chinese, and Western philosophical traditions, and as a Preceptor for Columbia University’s Core Curriculum. Daniel continued to work with the Core Curriculum after completing his Ph.D. as the TOMS Core Faculty Fellow in Contemporary Civilization, a course introducing students to fundamental issues in understanding human communities and the values that define them.  

Janie Dumbleton, Conflict Resolution Senior 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.

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 peacebuilding 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.

Cameron Heon, Religious Affairs Associate

Cameron Heon attended Santa Clara University where he received a BA in Religious Studies and Japanese Language and Culture. While studying at Santa Clara, his strong interests in Comparative Theology and Interreligious Studies motivated his work in the classroom, leading to his achievement as both the Catherine Bell Award Recipient and Religious Studies Award winner for academic excellence. Outside of the classroom, he served as a board member for the Japanese Student Association, which eventually led him to study abroad in Tokyo, Japan. Currently, Cameron is continuing to explore his passion for Interreligious Studies by committing to a year of service through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, where he serves as the Religious Affairs Associate at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.

Élie Khoury, Peacemakers In Action Network Coordinator

Élie works in the Conflict Resolution program. Before joining Tanenbaum, he worked in communications at the French Institute: Alliance Française after obtaining his Masters in International Relations from the French Institute of International Relations and Strategy (IRIS’ Sup). His Master’s thesis focused on the geopolitical situation in the South China Sea, and an abridged version of his work was subsequently published by the French think tank IRIS. While conducting research, Élie worked at the U.S. Embassy in Paris and in private geopolitical consulting.

Ilana Lehmann, Health Care Program Associate

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 artist and jewelry designer. 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.

Maria McQuade, Senior 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.

Savannah Miller, Associate Media Researcher

Savannah earned her MA from New York University’s Center for Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement with concentrations in media anthropology, human rights, and representational ethics. Her graduate thesis examined the potential of self-representational media to contest generalizations within mainstream media, while instilling a critical consciousness of the ways those generalizations can influence our imagination of the ‘other’—religiously, politically, racially, culturally, and socially. She holds a B.S. in anthropology with a minor in religion from Florida State University. Building from the belief that knowledge is most powerful when all can contribute, she has translated her academic research into creative projects including interactive websites, social media campaigns, oral history projects, and ethnographic films. She believes deeply in the power of art and collective storytelling to inspire respect, empathy, and curiosity for human differences. Ask her about her cat, her 6 sisters, or her favorite gravy for biscuits.

Joseph Riccardelli, Assistant Director of Finance and Operations

Joseph is responsible for managing all operational aspects of Tanenbaum, mainly financial and technology. 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.

Nancy Wolfe, Assistant Director of Development

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.

Melinda Zalma, Manager of Programs

Rabbi Melinda Zalma previously served as Program Director at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY). In her work there, she brought together diverse people and organizations to build bridges and strengthen the community.  She developed the Women in Faith Fellowship, a powerful program for women of different faiths and spiritual practices to discover commonalities and accept differences. Through the programs, fellows learn skills in having difficult conversations while honoring the dignity of those who disagree with them. Also at JCRC-NY she created and managed Interfaith United-NYC, a network of interfaith and faith-based organizations.

Melinda is the highest-ranking Jewish Chaplain in the US Navy. She is proud to serve alongside chaplains of many different religious views and beliefs, and who work together without compromising their beliefs. As a Commander, Reserve Component, she currently serves with the Marine Corps Training and Education Command, developing resources on Spiritual Fitness. Since 1999, she has also served in the office of the Navy Chief of Chaplains and in Religious Affairs, Office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Navy has sent her to sea and around the world to serve Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen during the Jewish holidays.

Melinda was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary where she also received her Masters in Midrash (stories and interpretations of the Jewish Bible). She obtained her Bachelors of Science in electrical engineering from Northwestern University. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children.