Our Team

Governance Structure

Our ultimate goal for Havenly is to cultivate individual and collective leadership among refugee and immigrant women and create opportunities for them to transform their communities. We recognize this with how we distribute power within our own organization. That is why we've created a structure for our organization that puts decision making power and leadership positions in the hands of women from the community we serve. Primarily, our fellows.

Havenly is a member-based organization. Members are alumni of the fellowship that have elected to take on a leadership role in the organization, and have the power to vote the chief staff and Board Members in and out of the organization.

Havenly's staff is directed by three co-directors, not one. They make strategic decisions together and oversee different aspects of the organization.

Havenly is governed by a Board of Directors and four committees, who together advise and supervise the staff.


In three years, we aim for 51% of all committee member seats to be filled by refugee and immigrant women from low-income backgrounds, so that the organization is meaningfully directed by people who come from the community that Havenly was created for.

Leadership

Victor Ko

Caterina Passoni

Co-Executive Director, Development

Caterina is from Trieste, Italy, and has worked in refugee resettlement and researched the experience of Muslim female refugees in the US and Europe. She speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and has worked for Human Rights Watch Amman and in refugee education in Morocco. Caterina was an entrepreneur fellow with Collab and the Tsai Center for Innovation at Yale.
K.a Joben

Nieda Abbas

Co-Executive Director, Operations

Nieda is from Iraq, Baghdad, and an entrepreneur by nature. In Baghdad, she owned three restaurants with a degree in business management. In 2005, Nieda was displaced to Syria, then to Turkey, and then resettled to New Haven in 2014. She is a chef with a passion to share culture, health, and love through food. Nieda was an entrepreneur fellow with Collab.
Richard Bauer

Camila Güiza-Chavez

Co-Executive Director, Mission

Camila majored in Ethnicity, Race and Migration at Yale. She gained a passion for organizing with others against injustice by watching the work of her parents and learning from the rich political history of her home, the Bay Area. In New Haven she spent years working with organizers at the Semilla Collective, a community that fights for immigrant justice. She plans to dedicate herself to organizing for many years to come.  
Marin Julia

Jad Maayah

Marketing Director

Jad is a graduate of Harvard College, where he studied political science and economics. Originally from Jordan, Jad has volunteered at the Zaatari refugee camp and worked directly with Syrian refugees, specializing in aid programs. His passions lie in immigration reform and he hopes to become a public and legal advocate for refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants in the US.

Board of Directors

Marin Julia

Jodie Ousley

Chair

Jodie L. Ousley is a founding Partner of d’Arcambal, Ousley & Cuyler Burk LLP (“DO&CB”), a women-owned litigation firm with offices in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She is committed to the advancement of women and persons of color in the field of law and to ensuring that all women are provided with flexible, workable opportunities and ways to have their voices heard and needs addressed.
Victor Ko

Samra Ali

Treasurer

Samra is a lifelong student, educator, and non-profit management professional. She began her formal career in a MomPreneur venture that grew to be a multi-brand year-round design house. Samra grew one of the most Islamic private schools in North Texas, and now works at the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation. Samra remains focused on community driven and centered projects, incorporating her faith, arts, and education backgrounds.
K.a Joben

Barbara Bettigole

Secretary

Barbara fell in love with Havenly after becoming a volunteer with the team. She has years of experience in public elementary education in New Haven and has built a community in the city since graduating from Yale. Her ongoing sustainability efforts allow her to contribute energy, strategic planning, and understanding of community spirit to the board’s functions.
Marin Julia

Kris Oser

Director

Kris has been a business journalist for 20 years, focusing on digital marketing, before changing direction and becoming an ESL teacher for adults. In addition to teaching, she volunteers full-time son behalf of refugees and immigrants to the U.S. She is the parent of five adult children and lives with her husband in Milford, Conn.
Richard Bauer

Aziza Mohammad

Director

Aziza Mohammad, MA is a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She previously worked with refugee communities in North Carolina at a refugee resettlement agency and founded a tutoring program for former refugee children. Her passion to work with underrepresented minorities drives her desire to pursue a career in medicine.
Marin Julia

Stacy Downer

Director

Stacy is a community activist, entrepreneur, and counselor passionate about helping people, and especially women, build financial power and wealth. She works as a Financial Counselor at the Connecticut Association for Human Services and as a Research Technician at the Yale School of Medicine. Stacy is currently doing a Masters in Leadership at Albertus Magnus, and building Bathe in Blessings, a personal care business dedicated to creating nontoxic health products for self-care and wellness.

Committee Members

Victor Ko

Dr. Ivette Ruiz

Fellowship Committee

Dr. Ivette Ruiz, Ph.D. MHS, HS-BCP, has over three decades of professional experience working in the Health and Human Services field as an executive and clinician. She has volunteered for dozens of grass-root efforts impacting disadvantaged communities from the National Council of La Raza to FEMA, NAACP, USDA, and many others. As the founder of Healing by providing a healing and learning environment in nature with Latinx immigrant/migrant farm workers, disabled communities and other marginalized groups.
Marin Julia

Qusay Omran

Fellowship Committee

Qusay is a medical student at Stanford University, and has been a volunteer with Havenly since its very beginning. His dream is to work on refugee and immigrant healthcare in the United States, inspired by his and his family’s experience as asylees from Bahrain. Qusay joined the Havenly team to develop the fellowship curriculum while he was a student at Yale.
Marin Julia

Kobra Rohoma

Fellowship Committee

After graduating from the Havenly Fellowship, Kobra developed a passion for education and political engagement and joined the Fellowship Committee. She is especially interested in English language acquisition among migrants and equal rights for Muslim communities in the United States.
Marin Julia

Maria Torres

Food Business Committee

After graduating from the Havenly Fellowship, Maria joined the Havenly team as a Kitchen Manager, and then started her own food truck, Alegria Cafe. She is still involved with Havenly as a food business committee member, bringing her attention to detail, operational efficiency, and team happiness to the team.
Richard Bauer

Juan Dominguez

Food Business Committee

Juan is a leader in dining services in New Haven, with a long track record of fostering inclusion and diversity both within the team and among students. He is the General Manager of Sodexo Dining Services at the University of New Haven, and the first person to employ a Havenly fellow in New Haven. He has also worked at several local restaurants in New Haven. Juan is originally Chilean and a first-generation immigrant to the United States.
K.a Joben

Keren Salim

Organizing Committee

Keren is a community lawyer at New Haven Legal Assistance Association, where she assists low-income, primarily people of color, with labor and employment issues as well as housing related matters. She graduated from Northeastern University School of Law. Keren is from a working class immigrant community in North Carolina and has organized around issues affecting BIPOC communities and racial justice broadly. She aspires to be a movement lawyer, and continues to center anti-racist and organizing principles in her work.
Marin Julia

Hala Ghali

Organizing Committee

After graduating from the Havenly Fellowship, Hala co-founded the Sisters in Diaspora Collective to advocate for housing justice for herself and her community. She is a passionate organizer and has a keen ability to gather women and community members around her.
Marin Julia

Siham Osman

Organizing Committee

After graduating from the Havenly fellowship, Siham decided to join the organizing committee to lead and advise the efforts of the Sisters in Diaspora Collective, of which she is a founding member. Siham is a leader in her Sudanese community in New Haven, and passionate about equal rights for all, but especially Black and migrant communities in the United States.
Marin Julia

Sherif Sakr

Finance Committee

Sherif is a Deloitte & Touche LLP partner providing C-Suite advisory and consulting services related to accounting, financial reporting, and risk management. He is one of Deloitte’s global experts on areas of financial instruments, but also a passionate supporter of marginalized communities in his country of origin, Egypt, and across the Middle East.
Marin Julia

Jenny Cornejo

Finance Committee

After graduating from the Havenly Fellowship, Jenny joined the finance committee to share her experience in accounting, tax preparation, and business planning with the team. She has taken a small business course at Cornell University and a cooperative business course with Prospera, in addition to her degree in accounting from her home country of Ecuador.