Our National Team

Eugena Oh

President & CEO

Eugena Oh is the President & CEO of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, and is responsible for leading the national education nonprofit in setting and achieving its vision of college access and opportunity for all, regardless of the circumstances of one’s birth. She believes deeply in educational equity and is excited to be working with the passionate team at the national office, its volunteer leaders, and its affiliates and Dreamers, to create positive social change. 

As the child of Korean immigrants who were first-generation college graduates, and a first-generation American college graduate herself, Oh understands that education – and in particular higher education – is key to achieving ones professional and personal dreams. 

Since joining “I Have A Dream” in 2011, Oh has served in several roles including Chief Operating Officer, Interim President & CEO, Chief Governance Officer, Legal Counsel, and Director of Talent, Administration, and Special Projects. Prior to joining “I Have A Dream”, Oh practiced commercial and products liability law, and served in development, strategy, and operations roles within several non-profit organizations, including Teach For America – New York City, Rock The Vote, and Washington State Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Oh’s personal honors include being named to New York Non-Profit Media’s inaugural class of 40 Under 40 Rising Stars (2015) and receiving the University of Pennsylvania’s Asian Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumna Award (2008). She serves on the University of Pennsylvania’s Alumni Board of Directors, is a member of the Brooklyn Historical Society’s George Hannah Society, and enjoys spending down time with her partner and children.

LinkedIn

Lori Canova

Chief Growth Officer

As the Chief Growth Officer, Lori Canova is responsible for the development of a national growth and expansion strategy for the “I Have A Dream” Foundation affiliate Network. In this new role, Lori will work to retain and grow existing affiliates, provide high-touch support to affiliate leadership and boards, and identify and steward new potential “I Have A Dream” affiliate locations.

Before joining the national team in March of 2020, Lori Canova served as the President and CEO for the “I Have A Dream” Foundation of Boulder County Colorado for 23 years. Under her leadership, the organization grew by 300%, from two Dreamer cohorts to 23, serving over 1,100 students, making the Boulder County affiliate one of the largest in the country. 

Lori’s nonprofit career has always been focused on empowering youth from marginalized communities.  She has held positions at Big Brothers; Mental Health Association of Colorado; Jefferson Center for Mental Health; and Human Services.  

She has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver and is a graduate of the 50 for Colorado Leadership Program through the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business.  In 2010, Lori received the Woman of the Year Award from the Boulder Professional Women’s Group and in 2016 received the Women Who Light the Community Award from the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. 

Karlisle Honore

Director of Postsecondary Success

In my 15 years at “I Have A Dream”, I have served in several roles, including Program Director for the Ravenswood II Program in Queens, NY for over 10 years and Director of College and Career Success for IHDF-NY for 4 years. In those roles I provided a year-round program of academic and social support to school-aged youth and counseled students and families on the college application process. I also co-created the college-going and persistence program and managed IHDF-NY’s tuition assistance support for Dreamers.

In my current role as Director of Postsecondary Success, I support the postsecondary goals and efforts of the National IHDF Office, including hosting staff collaborative workshops and developing and managing education, employment, and enrichment opportunities for Dreamers across the network. My work is informed by cultural sensitivity, communication, strong sense of identity, community, empathy, and respect.

I am a native New Yorker who has lived and worked here my entire life. I am an avid reader, a plant mom, and a cake/pastry/bread fiend. I also love visiting state and national parks

My Current Theme Song: Electric Lady – Janelle Monae

LinkedIn

Melissa Hunte

Social Work Manager

As the Social Work Manager, I oversee Social Work Interns in the NY Affiliate, providing supervision, and implementing/ administering the Social Emotional Learning Curriculum in NY.

I have been dedicated to servicing underserved populations in NYC. Since graduating from Howard University with my MSW in 2015, I have worked with parolees- providing holistic trauma informed case management services. I then moved on to work with individuals who are part of the NYC Shelter system providing advocacy, medication, referrals, and trauma informed care services.

I am passionate about advocating for underserved individuals at all levels and enjoy providing one on one counseling.

My current theme song: I Smile by Kirk Franklin

Danny Morris

Director of National Programs

Danny Morris currently serves as Director of National Programs for the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. In this role he oversees the delivery of supports and services to the network of IDHF affiliates. 

Prior to joining the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, Danny served in different capacities at Children’s Aid (formerly The Children’s Aid Society), most recently as Community School Director at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx. There he led a team of youth development specialists who provided academic enrichment, social support, college and career readiness, and health services to students in grades 9 through 12. He was also Assistant Director for Children’s Aid’s Adolescence Division, developing and coordinating teen programming at affiliated community centers and schools. His initial position at Children’s AId was director of Hope Leadership Academy, a community center in East Harlem specifically designed to serve adolescents between the ages of 14 to 21. Using peer education as a programmatic model, Hope helps teens develop skills to succeed in school and beyond the walls of the classroom. Under Danny’s leadership, Hope participants increased their college readiness and earned a record number of scholarships.

Danny’s tenure at United Way of New York City (UWNYC) included serving as an Account Supervisor for the organization’s Attendance Improvement Dropout Prevention partnership with the NYC Department of Education. He provided program resources and technical assistance to CBO’s that were responsible for implementing in-school and after-school activities. Danny eventually became the Director of Educational Initiatives at UWNYC and was responsible for creating an arts initiative that included a citywide essay contest and annual talent showcase at the Public Theatre and world famous Apollo Theatre.

Danny began his career as an elementary school teacher in Inglewood, California. He was also a founding teacher and collaborative team member for Soaring Heights Charter School in Jersey City, New Jersey. The school is currently preparing to celebrate its 25th year of operation.

Danny is a graduate of Yale University, and holds an M.P.A. from the Baruch School of Public Affairs.

Richard Rivera

Chief Program Officer

As the Chief Program Officer, I am responsible for developing national initiatives and building strategic partnerships that support our 10 Affiliates, their staff and the thousands of Dreamers across the country. With over 30 years of education, I have spent half of my career creating and leading college access and retention programs founded on Excellence and Academic Development for our black and brown youth in New York City.

As a founding member at Bronx-based nonprofit HERE TO HERE, I created a platform that unites employers, educators, and community-based organizations to connect young people to family-sustaining careers and create a thriving and inclusive economy. Placing over 1,100 Bronx high school students in summer career exploration programs and internships. I am eager and thrilled to bring my expertise to a National initiative and expand our reach.

 

LinkedIn

Justine Rosenthal

National Director of Data and Reporting

As the National Director of Data and Reporting, I ensure staff members across our network have the information they need to guide programming and best support students. Before joining the national “I Have A Dream” Foundation team in 2017, I worked as a college counselor for high school students in New York City. My direct experience working with students inspires me to make certain all students get the resources and support they deserve. I strongly believe in the power of data as a tool for continuous improvement. I hold a B.A. in history and a minor in gender studies from Eugene Lang College, The New School and a master’s degree in public administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

In addition to my passion for Excel, I enjoy exploring different neighborhoods and eating all the amazing food New York City has to offer.

My Current Theme Song:

LinkedIn

Stephanie Rupay

Mentor Training & Technical Assistance Manager

As the Mentor Training and Technical Assistance Manager, I support Affiliates in the development and implementation of our Inspire The Dream Mentoring Program. Before joining the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation in January 2022, I provided COVID-19 related assistance to Domestic Violence coalitions in the state of Utah. I learned to love grant work while working on federal grants for the State of Georgia and recognized the power of partnerships, social justice, and program development. I hold a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work degree from Southern Adventist University, where I specialized in Trauma and Emergency Management.

When I am not learning about mentoring, I enjoy going on hikes with my partner, our four dogs, and then coming home to cuddle with our cat.

My Current Theme Song: Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G.

Nadira Saunders

Chief Operating Officer

As the Chief Operating Officer, I oversee the HR, Finance, IT and Evaluation functionn, work with the leadership team to create and refine effective organization strategies, and enrich office policies and procedures. I am driven to deliver results.

My partner, son, plants and bread bring me extreme joy.

My current theme song: Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield

LinkedIn

 

Raquelle Sewell

Administrative and Operations Associate

Julie Watson

Growth and Development Manager

In my role as Growth and Development Manager, I support existing and emerging affiliates and assist with the organization’s overall expansion plans. I have more than fifteen years of experience in nonprofit communications and development, with a special focus on education and media. I’ve held positions in fundraising and corporate sponsorship development for public radio, helped launch an online tutoring service for high school students, and coordinated a number of successful cause marketing partnerships for a broadcast cable company. Most recently, I served as the Director of Communications for an independent elementary school.

I have a degree in English with an emphasis in secondary education from Iowa State University. I hold a certificate in editing and spend much of my free time reading and writing. My work has appeared in The Saturday Evening PostWriter’s Digest, and elsewhere.

LinkedIn

Matthew Wright

Director of Alumni and Community Relations

In the role of Director of Alumni and Community Relations, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to connect with a diverse range of wonderful people who are part of the “I Have A Dream” family.  The heart of my experience with the “I Have A Dream” Foundation was serving as a Program Director from 2005 through 2016 for the Ravenswood II Program in Queens, NY.  After a stint filling in as Interim Executive Director for the New York affiliate in 2017 and 2018, I returned to “I Have A Dream” in 2020 and am excited to be a part of such an experienced, dedicated, and fun team!

I always feel like I want to be in 25 places all at the same time but I do my best to appreciate every moment wherever I end up.
My Current Theme Song: Power of Love – Huey Lewis