RYAN KUONENEXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Ryan has been an activist for food, environmental, and social justice in NYC for 14 years. Ryan first discovered her passion for small-scale neighborhood activism as a tenant organizer for Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG). Working in the non-profit sector in North Brooklyn since 2008 in various community organizing roles and projects, Ryan has also been an active volunteer in environmental and food activism in her home base of Williamsburg, running a farm share – the Southside CSA, and participating in the New York City Street Memorials Project. She would rather be camping, prefers bike riding to other modes of transportation, and thinks all sidewalks should be transformed into urban gardens. Ryan has a B.A. from University of California, San Diego in Literature/Writing.
FELICE KIRBY SPECIAL PROJECTS DIRECTOR
Felice Kirby has been in Williamsburg for 4 decades. Originally hired as a professional community organizer to fight property & business abandonment, Felice eventually became co-owner of Teddy’s Bar & Grill, managing the popular community spot until its sale in 2015. Based on her community organizing experience in the South Bronx, Queens & North Brooklyn, Felice spent 15 years employed as a trainer & lecturer in collaborative problem-solving & community policing, training with the NYPD, Harvard Kennedy School Executive Sessions & 24 other municipal agencies. She is also involved locally, with cherished community organizations: NAG (Neighbors Allied for Good Growth), Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce, Brooklyn Allied Bars & Restaurants. Felice lives with her family on N. 8 St.
Reverend John Merz
John is the Vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Greenpoint Brooklyn where he has worked to focus the church toward the needs of the vulnerable. He has been involved in ministry and advocacy for those without housing; those living with AIDS; the LBTQ community and others. Before becoming Vicar at Ascension John was the Episcopal Chaplain to NYU and surrounding campuses. He lives in Greenpoint with Tara Anderson where they are raising their two children, Phaedra and Vito.
Joseph Occhiuto was raised in Williamsburg Brooklyn, later moving to Middle Village, Queens. Joseph was a Deacon for the Brooklyn Diocese for 10 years, serving at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Williamsburg where he taught adult religious education, ministered to the poor, and counseled those in need. Subsequently Joseph studied at the Mercer School of Theology and was received into The Episcopal Church. Afterwards Bishop Provenzano assigned him to the Church of the Ascension where his ministry includes the "Greenpoint Community Table" – a parish outreach that feeds 60-100 hungry people each Saturday at 11AM. Joseph is a product of New York City’s public school system, including Grover Cleveland High School and Hunter College. After college Joseph began his 25+ year career in advertising at Grey Global Group where he was a Director of Finance. Joseph is now semi-retired, focusing on his ministry and is a manager at Trader Joe’s in Queens. Joseph is married and has a large family including his parents, siblings and siblings-in-law, one adult son, and many nieces and nephews.
Neil Sheehan is a life-long North Brooklyn resident. He has spent over 45 years in a host of non-profit advocacy and service roles (volunteer & professional), addressing a wide variety of related needs. Hunger, addiction, affordable housing, senior services, employment trainings, and crime and land use, to name a few. In his spare time, he is a married, father of two boys, and a “struggling humorist”, who takes great joy in tasting, smelling, seeing, and participating in spontaneous brainstorming. Neil is hoping to “earn his wings” with this new project.
Co-founder of Pythia Public Affairs, a New York-based communications, government and political strategy firm. Prior to founding Pythia Public, Evan spent years in public service as a senior adviser in the New York City Council and at other government offices, and as a communications officer on political campaigns, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s successful campaign for attorney general. As a government aide, Evan developed and executed political and communications strategies to pass legislation, change land use, and influence the direction of public resources. During these fights, Evan built relationships in government and communities throughout New York and beyond, and developed a keen understanding of public process–keys to executing successful issue–based and business efforts.
Susan Wilcox, CSJ
Susan Wilcox, CSJ is a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood, NY. She has worked with homeless and formerly incarcerated women in Brooklyn as a core community member of Providence House and as a caseworker at Angel Guardian Children and Family services. For the last fifteen years she has served as the Director of Campus Ministry of St. Joseph's College, NY (Brooklyn Campus). In this role she strives to make connections for the college with marginalized communities. She is a founding member of HAB spirituality group which seeks to combine contemplative living and radical spirit-based activism. She has Masters Degrees in Education and Conscious Evolution and serves on her congregations Earth Matters and Justice committees.
If you are interested in applying to be a member of our board of directors, please send a letter of interest and resume to email@example.com.