Union Settlement Welcomes New Board Members To Continue Work In East Harlem

Union Settlement, the oldest and largest social service provider in East Harlem, today announced the election of five new members to its Board of Directors. The new board members are Jo-Ann Barrett (Owner of Aromas Boutique Bakery), Erika Donovan Estades (COO & General Counsel of The East Harlem Council for Human Services), Brad A. Green (Partner at Proskauer Rose LLP), Katia Pedraza (Supervisor at Mellow Yellow) and Ariana Younai (Head of LinkedIn for Nonprofits).

“We are thrilled to welcome these five tremendous individuals who will ensure Union Settlement continues to be a vital resource for East Harlem residents of all ages,” said David Nocenti, Executive Director. “The personal and professional experience of these new board members will provide valuable insight and input in Union Settlement’s direction, especially as we continue to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on the community.”

“We are excited about welcoming these new board members to the organization and especially grateful for their wide range of professional and personal expertise,”

“We are excited about welcoming these new board members to the organization and especially grateful for their wide range of professional and personal expertise,” said Amy Sherman, Chair of Union Settlement’s Board of Directors.

Jo-Ann Barett has been the Owner and Lead Cake Designer at East Harlem’s Aromas Boutique Bakery since 2012, where her business has been recognized by The Knot Magazine and Best of Weddings. She has worked in the culinary field since 2004 and has significant experience in operations, project management, event management, and design.

Additionally, Ms. Barett holds a BA in Child Development from Tufts University. “As a proud native East Harlem resident, I have personally seen the impact that Union Settlement has had in the lives of my family, friends, and colleagues,” said Ms. Barett. “I look forward to making a difference as a board member,” said Ms. Barett.

Erika Donovan Estades serves as the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of the East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc. She has extensive experience in health and social services, previously serving at The William P. Ryan Community Health Center. Ms. Estades is an active member of the East Harlem community and currently volunteers with the East Harlem Community Health Committee, Cielo Arts, and the Latino Leadership Institute.

She holds a BA from Middlebury College, an MS in Nonprofit Management from the New School, and a JD from Rutgers University. “Union Settlement has a long and distinguished history of providing critically needed community-based services to our community,” said Ms. Estades. “I am particularly pleased and honored to have been asked to join the Board of Directors at this time when Union Settlement is uniquely situated to support the community-wide response to meet the diverse needs of our neighbors.”

Brad A. Green is a Partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, and a member of the Registered Funds Group. Mr. Green’s practice focuses on counseling investment management clients in connection with the structuring, registration and operation of publicly-offered and privately-placed investment vehicles. Additionally, Mr. Green serves as counsel to investment companies and their independent board members, as well as investment advisers and sponsors, and advises them on a broad range of transactional and ongoing regulatory and compliance matters.


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He also has represented investment management clients in connection with SEC examinations, investigations and enforcement proceedings, and private litigation. “I am honored to be joining the Board of Directors of Union Settlement. As a native New Yorker, I am keenly aware of the importance of our collective sense of community, and the need to serve, support, and strengthen our communities from within,” said Mr. Green. “I am in awe of Union Settlement, its storied history, and the comprehensive services and programs it provides, and I very much look forward to serving the organization and community.”

Katia Pedraza is a proud East Harlem resident and is a Supervisor at Mellow Yellow café. She has many years of supervisory experience in the foodservice and hospitality industry. Ms. Pedraza also studied at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and holds several Early Childhood Education certificates. Ms. Pedraza first became involved with Union Settlement when her child was enrolled in one of our programs.

Related: Union Settlement’s David Nocenti talks politics, East Harlem and more on The Danny Tisdale Show.

She served as secretary, then chair of the Union Settlement Delegate Agency Policy Committee. “I joined the board to be able to invest myself more in the community and help parents who may feel they have no voice,” said Ms. Pedraza. “Serving on the board means being the voice that my mom didn’t have when I was growing up because of language barriers and not knowing exactly what to do.”

Ariana Younai has worked with LinkedIn since 2011, where she is currently the Head of LinkedIn for Nonprofits. Ms. Younai built LinkedIn’s nonprofit program from the ground up, growing from two staff members to an organization of over 50 employees. She previously served as Vice-Chair of the LinkedIn philanthropic board to help lead employee impact and giving programs. “As a first-generation child of immigrants, it was important to me to dedicate time and resources to an organization supporting underserved populations,” said Ms. Younai. “Union Settlement is constantly responding to the East Harlem community’s most critical needs as quickly as possible.”

Union Settlement is an on-the-ground resource for East Harlem residents of all ages and a passionate advocate for the needs of underserved communities. Since opening our doors in 1895, we have brought education, wellness, and community-building programs to our neighborhood, empowering New Yorkers with opportunities to better their lives.

With a staff of more than 450 and services that impact 10,000 people, Union Settlement is building the vitality and success of East Harlem.

With a staff of more than 450 and services that impact 10,000 people, Union Settlement is building the vitality and success of East Harlem. Get more information at www.unionsettlement.org

Photo credit: Union Settlement street naming with elected officials, residents, organizations, and others in East Harlem.

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