Staff, Advisory Board and Board of Directors

highschoolNGOconnect Staff


STEVEN MINTZ: Founder, Executive Director & Board Chair

  • Active in the nonprofit sector since 1993 when he formed the William T. Gardner Theatre Internship Fund, Steven is a seasoned financial author and journalist who helped write The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report. He spent eight years in leadership in the Content Solutions Division of Time Incorporated. He is the author of Five Eminent Contrarians and co-wrote the WNET TV series Beyond Wall Street: The Art of Investing. While an editor at CFO Magazine, Steven invited economist John Kenneth Galbraith to share an opinion on the future of finance. Galbraith replied, “I cannot speak charitably to the rich.” The terse response spurred Steven to seek robust returns on philanthropic investment, a path that led ultimately to highschoolNGOconnect where academic enrichment meets global citizenship. In 2011, Steven earned a Certificate in Fundraising from New York University by completing a series of professional courses in philanthropy and fundraising.


LIANDRA PIRES, Communications Director

  • Liandra brings to highschoolNGOconnect communications skills geared to social activism in the nonprofit sector. A former Marketing and Communications Specialist at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palisades (UUCP), she is currently chair of their Racial & Social Justice Team. She is a member of the board of trustees of UU FaithAction NJ, the political lobbying arm of Unitarian Universalist congregations in New Jersey. She was Event Coordinator and Communications Lead for the Student Global Ambassador Program. Liandra earned her Master of Arts in Media and Professional Communication from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey.

highschoolngoconnect Advisory Board


  • Ms Attipoe is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana and a prominent advocate for the rights and responsibilities of children in deprived communities. As the legal and advocacy manager at Youth Bridge Foundation, she coordinates the Access to Justice Project and supervises the popular “Puzzled” television series that translates policies and laws into youth-friendly format. She assists Ghanaians living with disability by advocating for their inclusion in decision making processes. Ms Attipoe is the Committee chair on Rule of law, Peace, Justice and Security at the African Youth and Governance Convergence a mentorship and leadership grooming platform for young people globally. She is a research fellow with Children and Youth in Broadcasting on women’s sexual and reproductive health. She is a private legal practitioner specializing in family law, law of taxation, contract law, tort law, litigation as well as arbitration and mediation. She has worked with Centre for Public interest law a nongovernmental organization providing free legal services for the less privileged in society. She holds a professional practicing certificate from the Ghana school of law, a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Ghana.


  • Named a champion of change by President Obama in 2011, Ms Ellis has served in leadership positions in nonprofit organizations including Director of Operations at NJ LEEP, a college-bound program in Newark; Assistant Dean for Public Service at NYU Law School; and legal director at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund and the ACLU of New Jersey. She is a social justice activist and teacher who concentrates now on environmental issues, pay equity for women, and mentoring youth. Ms Ellis founded and is a leader of the Essex Co. chapter of the New Jersey Native Plant Society, teaches salary negotiation to women’s groups, and is an active member of her Unitarian Universalist congregation.

TONY JOY, Founder & Executive Director, Durian (Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria)

  • Tony started her prominent career in social development by organizing a clean-up exercise across more than eight Nigerian states in February 2015. She discovered a love for rescuing waste. Success led her to Imafon, a rural community where she decided to assist poor and marginalized people who need attention and incomes. Durian empowers them to make art, jewelry and building materials from waste and abundant bamboo. Tony also supervised Nigerian students who collaborated with students at Uplift Academy in Newark on a pair of Animodule peace sculptures that reflect both communities, initiated by highschoolNGOconnect in partnership the Newark-based Barat Foundation.

SIKANDAR KHAN, Founder & Executive Director, Global Emergency Response & Assistance (GERA)

  • Paterson, New Jersey-based GERA provides children in war-torn areas with humanitarian relief and educational opportunities, and of protecting them from radicalizing forces. This honors slain relief worker Peter Kassig’s humanitarian efforts in Syria, and seeks to continue his legacy of helping displaced people rebuild their lives. Sikandar served in the US Army in Afghanistan in 2014, and experienced the horrors of conflict and crisis firsthand. He conducted GERA’s first humanitarian mission on the Turkey-Syria border in March of 2016. The urgent needs of Syrian refugees in New Jersey led Sikandar to refocus GERA’s work to provide emergency relief and advocate for refugee families in the United States. Sikandar’s grassroots presence has won him the support of refugee families, interfaith groups, and local leaders in New Jersey. He leads the development and scale up of NJ ReBuild at GERA. Sikandar holds a Bachelors in International Relations and Diplomacy from Seton Hall University in New Jersey, is an elected ward leader for Paterson, NJ with deep roots in the community, is an Assistant Coordinator for Youth Programs at the One Stop Career Center in Paterson, and has won recognitions and awards for his humanitarian work. He speaks English, Pashto, and Urdu, and is currently studying Arabic and Farsi.


  • Ellen Lambert is an innovative leader in the philanthropic sector where business strategies and nonprofit goals converge. At Public Service Electric & Gas (PSEG), Ellen championed many initiatives as the President of PSEG Foundation and Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship and Culture. Prior to PSEG, she led the Merck Foundation and its Office of Corporate Giving. She created employee engagement programs that advanced professional development by assisting nonprofit organizations. She also oversaw the Merck Institute for Science Education and the Merck Childhood Asthma Network. Ms Lambert was the Executive Director of the ROCHE Foundation and Director of Corporate Relations and Contributions at ROCHE. In 2017, she joined Mothers Monument as Chief Diversity Officer. Until 2012, she served as a member of the advisory boards of Every Woman Every Child (UN), and the Global Water Coalition and Women for Water. She is currently on the board of the Matheny School and Hospital and Secretary of the Women’s Association of NJPAC board.

JIMOH OLUWATOBI SEGUN, Founder & Executive Director, Media For Community Change (Abuja, Nigeria)

  • Formed in 2017, MFCC explores and unveils urgent social challenges in global communities. Equipped with state-of-the-art new media tools and techniques, MFCC assembles investigators, photographers, columnists, news editors and new media designers who go where they find important stories. Balanced, informative and compelling reporting gives a voice to impoverished or marginalized populations, a purpose Jimoh also fulfills as the host of NGO Podcast that features interviews with global leaders in the NGO sector. He is the recipient of multiple awards and commendations. His interests span Media, Technology and Big data.

ANGELA SHEELY-MOORE, Associate Professor, Montclair State University

  • Dr. Angela I. Sheely-Moore is an Associate Professor at Montclair State University. For 11 years, she has taught (and continues to teach) master's and doctoral level counseling students at MSU. With over 10 years experience counseling children and families from diverse populations in school and agency setting, Dr. Sheely-Moore specializes in the area of rending and researching play based services to low-income racial and ethnic minority children and their families. She has published in the areas of multicultural competencies and culturally responsive counseling services in schools and community settings.

SANDRA SIROTA, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut

  • Sandra conducts research and teaches courses on human rights, social justice, and education. She earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University Teachers College through the Department of International and Transcultural Studies, with a concentration in peace and human rights education. Her current research focuses on teacher education in human rights and the role of human rights education in deterring discrimination. Recent and forthcoming publications appear in Comparative Education Review, the Journal of Human Rights, and Prospects. Ms Sirota has taught courses at Columbia University and consulted for non-profit organizations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She served on the founding steering committee of the human rights education network, Human Rights Educators USA, from 2012 to 2014 and is currently on the steering committee of the University and College Consortium for Human Rights Education. She co-founded the Advocacy Lab, a nonprofit organization providing human rights education to high school students in New York City in 2006. She earned her Master’s degree in international human rights from the University of Denver Korbel School of International Studies and her Bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Cornell University. Sandra is a seasoned curriculum developer and the principal writer of the highschoolNGOconnect curriculum, Levels One and Two.

highschoolNGOconnect Board of Directors


  • A seasoned business executive and entrepreneur, George has run businesses and crafted financial transactions since his early thirties. Currently, he chairs Unifoil Corporation, a specialty laminating company since negotiating its leveraged buyout. An engineer by training, Mr. Barenholtz is the former chairman and CEO of Merocel Corporation, a manufacturer and marketer of specialty surgical sponges. Prior to that role, he co-founded an exclusive distributor of advanced products for treating difficult bone fractures and arranged for the sale of the parent company to Pfizer Corporation. He has taught evening graduate and undergraduate classes in marketing management, industrial marketing, and strategic marketing. He is a trustee and former president of the Institute of General Semantics, an organization that applies modern scientific thinking to personal and professional challenges.


  • Lou spent a long career in education helping high school students chart challenging academic and career paths. For 37 years as a guidance counselor at High Tech High School in North Bergen, New Jersey, until he retired in 2016, Lou guided students individually and in groups through pivotal decisions and personal crises that accompany adolescence. He connected with teenagers as a student council advisor, a moderator for the school’s council on diversity and as an assistant basketball coach. He developed and supervised in-school internship programs that matched students with mentors in chosen fields. Lou taught theology and philosophy at Hudson Catholic High School. An ardent fan of rock music luminaries from the Beatles to Frank Zappa, Lou has devoted time to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair, New Jersey, on its Board of Trustees and as a member of the settled minister search committee. Parents of two grown sons, and now grandparents, Lou and his wife, Arlene, live in Fanwood, New Jersey.


  • Ken and his wife, Wendy, formed and run Grad Life Choices, a preeminent nonprofit program that matches unemployed or underemployed college graduates with experienced career coaches and mentors. Ken’s distinguished career began by teaching students in a disadvantaged area of New York City. He later served as Executive Director of the Queens County Mental Health Society and the Lower East Side Family Union before joining municipal government. In the administration of Mayor Edward I. Koch, Ken served as Commissioner for Economic Development of New York City. Afterwards, he entered the private sector as a vice president for corporate finance in one of the nation’s largest investment banking firms and formed a successful real estate development company. Since 2004, he has been a career and life coach. Ken and Wendy live in West Orange, New Jersey.


  • Dan Silver is the vice president of Panasonic Life Solutions, a unit of Panasonic USA. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Amherst College and a Master’s Degree from John’s Hopkins in International Relations. Dan studied and taught in Japan and is fluent in Japanese. He has two grown children and resides in Essex County, NJ with his wife, a dog, and a cat.