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Caroline Gates Anderson, Founder & President

Kate Selengia, Executive Director

AJ Jonakait, Director of Operations


Sally Demo, Director of Outreach​​​

Elaine Diaz, Community Workshops Manager

Emily Hsiao, Weddings & Events Coordinator

Kumudha Ramanathan, NEW YORK CARES Team Leader

Board of Directors

Caroline Gates Anderson

Caroline founded BloomAgainBklyn in 2014. She spent over 20 years in children’s book publishing as the director of photo research for Grolier/Hachette and SLP/Scholastic. Previously, she founded Gates & Tripp, one of first vintage photography galleries in the country, located in Boston and Newport, RI. Caroline has served on the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society and was the executive director of the Cambridge Art Association.


Donna Whiteford

Donna spent her professional career as a global marketing executive in the pharmaceutical industry at Merck, Inc., Elan Biopharmaceutical Company and in the pharmacy benefits management industry with Medco. Currently she serves as Chair of the board of directors for Mercy Home for Children, is a volunteer at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, volunteers in the NYC public school system at Brooklyn Leaders, and she serves as secretary/treasurer for the coop in which she lives. Donna is also Chair of the Parish Pastoral Council at St Charles Borromeo Church. Donna was formerly a board member of the Brooklyn Chapter of the American Red Cross in NYC. Donna is a co-founding principal of BloomAgain and has been on the board since its inception.


Richard L. Anderson

Rick Anderson is a marketing communications and public relations professional and currently heads R.L. Anderson & Associates, a public relations consultancy. Formerly, he was the co-director of the financial services practice at Fleishman-Hillard and co-founder of the Global Consulting Group, now a part of Thomson Reuters. Rick began his career with Textron and later served as Ombudsman and Assistant Secretary of Economic Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Rick serves on the Board of Directors of Heights and Hills and was chairman of the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy at its inception for five years, helping launch this award-winning youth chorus. Rick has been a BloomAgain board member since inception and serves as chief marketing officer.


Judith Keefer

Judy Keefer has spent the greater part of her career in the NGO sector where she was the former chief operating officer and chief financial officer the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for more than 24 years. Judy had served in the finance office of the NYC government in the financial area for over 10 years as a Deputy Commissioner and in the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. Judy has been on the board of directors of the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society for 10 years serving as chairperson for four years until 2016. She is on the board of directors of the Friends of Clermont and serves as treasurer. Judy is a core volunteer with BloomAgain and has been on the board since 2016.

Jamie Friedman

Jamie is an Associate at TPG Rise Climate, an impact investment fund focused on decarbonization solutions. Prior to joining TPG, Jamie served as an Investment Banking Analyst at Credit Suisse in the Global Industrials Group. She is also involved with the Highwind Impact Fund, an organization that provides impactful project-based grants to grassroots nonprofits, through which she was introduced to BloomAgainBklyn. Jamie is from Boulder, CO, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Tulane University with degrees in Finance and Political Science. She joined the BloomAgain board in July 2023.

Shimonah Israel

Shimonah joined the BloomAgain board in the fall of 2021. A long-time community activist in Brooklyn, she  recently became Vice President for Community Relations for Citi overseeing the bank's Community Reinvestment Act program in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Previously, Shimonah had been senior program officer for Local Initiatives Support Corp (LISC). ince 2017, she had been Director of Care Coordination at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp overseeing all outreach, intake, enrollment, service delivery for 8000 community residents. She is an adjunct professor at Touro College where she teaches human services management and gerontology.  A graduate of Medgar Evers College, Shimonah has an MBA and advanced degree of Gerontology from Long Island University and is in the Developing Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals  program at Columbia University.

​Rachel Jones Bellas

Rachel Jones Bellas has costumed film, theater, and dance in New York City since 2007. Film credits include Reed Morano’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Puzzle, and The Glass Castle. Theater and dance credits include productions with Bluemouth Inc., Colleen Thomas Dance, and Bill Young. She has worked as a tailor and re-purposer of vintage garments.  She holds a BFA in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and studied theater at Atlantic Acting School. Rachel is a member of USA 829. A resident of Brooklyn Heights with her husband and two young children, she has been a BloomAgain board member since the Spring of 2020.

Ali Wasserstein Schippers

Ali is an independent film producer whose body of work encompasses a wide range of films and projects for major brands, leading advertising firms, and public television. She has produced films and advertising for companies such as Google, HomeGoods, Hershey’s, Frito-Lay, AARP, Crocs and other well-known brands over an 19-year career. Ali has also served as a judge for The Academy of Independent Content Producers. 


A mother of two young children, Ali lives in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn with her husband Jonathan.  She grew up in San Rafael, CA and is a graduate of the School of Communications at Boston University, where she also ran Track and Field. 


Ali is active within the Brooklyn Community, volunteering at her children’s school and with various local organizations. She joined the BloomAgainBklyn board of directors in November 2022.

Susan Kramer

A long-time resident of Brooklyn Heights, Susan began her career as a corporate tax attorney at Shearman and Sterling but left the law to get a Ph.D. in medieval history at Columbia University.  She has taught undergraduates and graduate students in and around New York City and has been affiliated as a researcher with Fordham University and the Institute for Advanced Study. Having published with a number of academic presses, Susan is now looking at the intersection of religion and punishment in medieval and modern jurisprudence. Susan is the secretary of PS21: Performance Space for the 21st Century, a non-profit organization devoted to bringing high-quality, innovative arts-programming to upstate New York.  She formerly served on the board of Legal Information for Families Today, a non-profit dedicated to enhancing access to justice for children and families. She has also served on several committees at The Medieval Academy of America, an organization which seeks to promote excellence in the study and teaching of medieval culture.  

Kumudha Ramanathan

Kumudha has had a career in the medical field as a radiologist and as the head of a freestanding, imaging center in Brooklyn Heights which she oversaw for 25 years. She grew up in Madras, India, and came to the U.S. in 1977 where she obtained her medical degree in radiology from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1982. Kumudha has been a dedicated and energetic, core volunteer for BloomAgain, and serves on the Advisory Board Member of Heart and Hand for the Handicap (HHH), a non-profit organization that aids disabled children in India.

Caroline Koster

Caroline is a senior legal counsel and Corporate Secretary of two Nasdaq-traded public companies, BGC Partners, Inc. (financial services) and Newmark Group, Inc. (real estate services), affiliates of Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. Ms. Koster joined Cantor in 2002 and also serves as its Managing Director & Associate General Counsel. Ms. Koster also serves as Counsel and Secretary for the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, a non-profit founded to support victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. She is a former council member and President of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights and one of the founders of the Underground Thrift Store, which sells gently used items to benefit anti-human trafficking organizations. Caroline joined the BloomAgain board in 2019.

Mary Ellen Ross

Mary Ellen began her career as a city planner; transitioned to become an owner of a children’s clothing company; and then for the last few decades served as senior executive with one of New York City‘s largest, private social services provider and housing developer—CAMBA. MaryEllen recently retired from CAMBA where she served as staff supervisor for the Refugee Services and Workforce Development Department and Program Director for recruitment and hiring for their Human Resources Department. Her past board experience includes serving as a member of the Board, Secretary and Vice President of Friends of Clermont; member of the Board of the T. Schreiber Studio, a not-for-profit acting studio in Manhattan. She had also been president of the Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Branch Library. Currently she serves on the Board of the Hudson Opera House, aka Hudson Hall in Hudson, New York, which is a community arts center and theatre.

Elizabeth Cusick

Elizabeth is an Investment Associate at GIC, sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, covering North American Funds and Co-Investments. Previously she worked as an investment banker covering Media & Telecom at Credit Suisse, where she was initially exposed to BloomAgainBklyn through her leadership of several CSR workshops. She sees the CSR workshops as an ideal way for corporate employees to become engaged in a meaningful project while giving back to their communities.  Elizabeth is from Cincinnati, OH, and graduated from the University of Alabama with degrees in Finance and Economics.  She joined the BloomAgain board in July 2023. 

Lisa Oberholzer-Gee
A California native, Lisa has literally planted new roots on the East Coast. She moved from Switzerland, where her passion for flower design began, back to the US to found KoolBloom, a floral design studio in Cambridge, MA. When she re-located to New York City, she worked as a floral designer at L’Olivier Floral Atelier, a company that helped bring European floral design to the United States.

Lisa taught at the New York Botanical Garden where she introduced a course on European-style floral techniques. She is on the roster of lecturers for the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and travels to other states to teach floral design. A graduate of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, Lisa is a valuable BloomAgain volunteer and floral designer, and has become a regular presenter on the BloomAgain ZoomConnect network.

Alexandra McGinley

Alex has had a career in law and legal reporting. She served as a legal reporter for Bloomberg after spending several years with Credit Suisse Securities as vice president and counsel. Previously she had been an associate with Sidley Austin Brown and Wood. Alex joined the BloomAgain board in 2017.

Erica Schlaug

Erica has had a career in financial services and accounting sectors for over 20 years most recently as a vice president with Goldman Sachs in global finance, a position she held for 16 years. Previously she was a senior associate with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in the investment management area. She has been a member of the BloomAgain board since 2016 and coordinates the organization’s weekly volunteer program.

Trustee Emeritus

Elaine Sloan

Elaine served as Vice President and University Librarian of Columbia University. Prior to moving to New York, she worked in the Libraries of Indiana University, University of California at Berkeley and the Smithsonian Institution. After retiring from Columbia University, Elaine spent several years at the Atlanta University Center’s Woodruff Library. Elaine has served on various university and professional boards including the Executive Service Corp and UpStage Lung Cancer. Elaine has been a board member of BloomAgain since 2016.

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