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, Chief of Staff

Chloe Aldridge is the Chief of Staff 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.

Julia Arce, Communications Senior Associate

Starting her undergrad at the American University of Paris, Julia transferred to the New School where she received her B.A. in Politics with a focus on global studies. After spending some time in the Middle East, Julia was inspired to write her thesis on the history and present-day experiences of the Syrian and Palestinian refugee crisis in Lebanon, supported by testimonials from her friends and coworkers in South Lebanon. Most recently, Julia was given the opportunity to put her interest in environmental studies into practice working at a clean mobility startup. After interning at Tanenbaum in 2020, Julia rejoined Tanenbaum in Communications. Julia enjoys reading, painting, cooking intimate dinners with her friends and family, and growing from the people she continues to meet in life.

Brenna Artinger, Senior Workplace Program Associate

Brenna Artinger attended American University for their BA and graduated in 2020 from the University of Oxford with a Master of Philosophy in Buddhist Studies. Their Master’s thesis focused on the intersection of Buddhism and Queer Theory, specifically the alterity contained in Theravada Buddhist legal texts, and the ways in which textual reorientation can lead to trans* activism. They most recently worked as President with the Alliance for Bhikkhunis, an organization supporting fully-ordained Buddhist nuns, and has worked extensively in the customer service and non-profit spheres. In their free time, Brenna enjoys hiking, reading, and cuddling with their family’s two Saint Bernards.

Lydia Baek, Assistant Director of Institutional Giving

Lydia engages foundations, companies, and government entities in partnership with Tanenbaum. 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 education projects for high school students in Cambodia to promote dialogue and information about the Khmer Rouge genocide and supported a coalition of organizations working in the transitional justice field in South Africa. She holds 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.

Rev. Karen Bona, Senior Health Care Program Associate

Rev. Karen has always been an intensely curious person with a strong passion for helping others. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Cornell University, and has worked for over 20 years in health care/human services, for small and large health care facilities and organizations across upstate NY. Her experience includes patient care, program development & coordination, case management, as well as community outreach and education/training. She has built and led collaborative, interdepartmental teams that provide compassionate care to diverse groups including adults with various cognitive and/or physical needs and abilities, and youth in foster care. In 2020, Karen graduated from One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and was ordained as an Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister, which she quickly followed with a 200hr certification as a yoga instructor. She is committed to continually learning new things, and amplifying the voices of vulnerable, marginalized people and communities. 

Daniel del Nido, Assistant Director, Education Program

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, Assistant Director of Peacebuilding Program

Janie works in the 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.

Madeline Frankel, Senior Health Care Program Associate

Madeline Frankel works in Tanenbaum’s Health Care program. Madeline is a social worker whose practice is at the intersection of social welfare and health and aging outcomes. She received her MSW, with a specialization in Management and Policy and an emphasis on Health Equity with Aging Populations, from Rutgers University and her BASW from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional and academic interests focus on examining socio-structural health and aging indicators and advancing culturally competent care. Madeline brings experience from community-based and federal agency settings through field placements at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Repair the World: Pittsburgh.

Wendy Miller Gamer, Senior Education Program Associate

Wendy Miller Gamer is a social worker with a professional interest in anthropogeography and a field of practice focus on community building within and between diverse groups. Wendy’s work in Tanenbaum’s Education department supports inclusive, safe, and diverse spaces and diversity education in formal and informal learning environments. Wendy received a BA from Clark University, followed by an MS in Social Work from Columbia University and an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Prior to joining Tanenbaum, Wendy directed Religious Diversity Journeys, a program amplifying literacy regarding world religions and cross-cultural dialogue. At the start of the Pandemic Wendy, in partnership with Detroit Public Television, wrote and co-produced an interfaith-exploration documentary series to help extend diversity education beyond the walls of quarantine.

Ask Wendy about her family, her love of healthy smoothies, or the rock collection she has nurtured since childhood.

Dario Hunter, Workplace Program Associate

In his work, Rabbi Dario Hunter draws on his experience in the legal, educational, and spiritual fields. He has practiced international environmental law, as well as served as a high school teacher, a K-8 educational administrator, a paralegal instructor, and a member of the Youngstown, Ohio Board of Education.

A graduate of Princeton University (BA – History), Dario earned three subsequent law degrees in the US and Canada – a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Windsor (Windsor, Ontario), a Master of Laws in Labor and Employment Law from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan), and a Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit, Michigan).

Raised Muslim, Dario is considered the first Muslim-born person to become a rabbi. He has previously served as the rabbi of Congregation Ohev Tzedek – Shaarei Torah (Boardman, Ohio), and as the Coordinator for Jewish Life at the College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio). As a Black Jew, and a second-generation Iranian American, Dario has a particular professional interest in the intersectionality of religion, race, and culture.

Élie Khoury, Senior Peacemakers In Action Network Coordinator

Élie works in the Peacebuilding 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.

Hendrix King, Education Program Associate

A proud native of Houston, TX, Hendrix King earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Mass Communication with a focus in Public Relations from Stephen F. Austin State University. Hendrix then returned home and established herself as an esteemed education professional in Houston’s education ecosystem serving students who were both academically and socioeconomically at-risk. In her time in the classroom, she was designated as a state-recognized teacher and earned a myriad of accolades for her instructional excellence and positive impact on her students. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Hendrix roots her work in service to all mankind and an unshakable belief that education is integral to the success and perpetuity of our society. Drawn to Tanenbaum by her deep reverence for her own faith and that of others, Hendrix credits her commitment to community and passion for equity and justice to her upbringing in the culturally and historically rich neighborhood that is Houston’s Third Ward.

Megan Leverage, Senior Workplace Program Associate

Megan studied at Chaminade University of Honolulu, and graduated with a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Dayton. Additionally, she holds an M.A. in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University and Ph.D. in American Religious History from Florida State University. Her area of interest is Religion and DEI. Previously, Megan worked as a Lecturer in Religion at Northern Arizona University and Central Michigan University. At CMU, Megan taught “Religion, Race and Discrimination in America,” “Religion and Social Issues,” and “Death and Dying.” Currently, she lives in Oregon where she enjoys being outside in nature.

Nicole Margaretten, Assistant Director of Communications – 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 (graphite drawing and oil painting) and statement jewelry designer for her brand La Miré New York. 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. Nicole lives with many plants and a vast mineral collection.

Kennedy McCutchen, Workplace Program Assistant

After attending NC State University for her BA in Political Science, Kennedy earned her MA in Politics at the New School for Social Research. Inspired by her studies in planetary politics, her qualifying paper examined how emerging forms of more-than-human agency have come to reshape contemporary politics and open ontological possibilities for multiple eco-political subjectivities. During her studies, Kennedy worked at the New University in Exile Consortium, an organization committed to defending academic freedom and supporting endangered scholars, students, and artists. Kennedy now lives in northern Virginia where she enjoys weightlifting, reading, and crocheting.

Karla Posey, Finance and Operations Associate

Karla brings twelve years of finance and office management experience to her role at Tanenbaum. Her previous positions have helped facilitate in the growth and structure of several private, for-profit, companies. After wanting to shift focus to a humanitarian non-profit organization; she began her work for Tanenbaum to use her extensive financial and human resources knowledge to take on this new and fulfilling venture. She enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter and her past times include playing sports, reading, and painting.

Anne Rahmouni, Assistant Director of Finance and Operations

Anne Rahmouni is an accounting professional with experience in auditing, financial reporting, and management consulting in the United States and Europe. Her passion for women’s rights prompted her to move from a Big Four Accounting Firm to the nonprofit world. Before joining Tanenbaum, she worked in an early-stage not-for-profit organization advancing women’s rights and gender equality locally and globally. As an Assistant Director of Finance and Operations, Anne is responsible for Tanenbaum’s financial management, operations, HR, and technology. Outside of work, she serves as an advisory board member for the Kota Alliance and enjoys yoga, long walks, and spending time with her family.

Ian Schwalen, Senior Development Associate

Ian Schwalen received his B.A. in Anthropology, with a focus on archaeology, from the University at Albany. He participated in multiple archaeological excavations through the University at Albany and Hunter College’s North Atlantic Biocultural Organization (NABO) Field School. He assisted with the excavation of a Native American settlement in Schoharie, New York and the unearthing a largely undisturbed Neolithic tomb, Iron Age roundhouses, and Pictish buildings in Swandro, Scotland. Prior to joining Tanenbaum, Ian interned and worked at multiple nonprofit organizations including the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Read to Lead (formerly Classroom Inc.). Ian loves watching basketball games and is a die-hard New York Knicks fan. He also enjoys traveling.

Thomas Smith, Workplace Program Associate

Thomas received their BA in Sociology and BA in Religious Studies form North Central College, and the Master of Divinity from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. At Garrett, they took an interest in congregational resources for interfaith dialogue and made it their senior project. While they originally were planning to be a pastor, they fell in love with interfaith nonprofit work after spending a year in seminary working with Religions for Peace International.

When not working, Thomas can be found in Northern Illinois curled up with a book in hand, collaboratively creating stories with friends and family, or in community with their plant and animal neighbors.

Nancy Wolfe, 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.

Rabbi Melinda Zalma, Manager of Programs

Rabbi Melinda Zalma is the Manager of Programs at Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. Melinda provides support and direction for all of Tanenbaum’s programs including on content creation, evaluation, expansion, and growth. She has presented on topics of interreligious understanding to Mastercard, Hearst, Accenture’s Mental Health ERG, and MassMutual TriState’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, among others.

Melinda 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. Now at the rank of Captain, she has served as a chaplain in the US Navy Reserve Component for over 20 years. 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.