Sherri-Ann P. Butterfield is Executive Vice Chancellor and Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University–Newark. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Yale University, and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan. Her scholarly interests are immigration, race and ethnic relations, sex and gender, identity development and culture, and urban education within the Afro-Caribbean diaspora. Butterfield’s research specifically explores how race, ethnicity, class, and gender impact Afro-Caribbean immigrants and their children within the metropolitan contexts of New York/New Jersey and London. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and edited volumes that include the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy and the Research in Urban Sociology Series. She has served in numerous academic and administrative capacities, including Visiting Academic Fellow in Nuffield College at Oxford University, Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Chancellor, Acting Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program, Associate Director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, American Council on Education Fellow at New York University, and former Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department.
Andrew Coombs, a Certified Public Accountant, began his career in public accounting at a Big Four accounting firm with a focus on corporations and partnerships tax. After sharpening his skills in tax, Andrew decided to broaden his knowledge base by switching to preparation and audits. His experiences in the corporate world, along with the CPA credential, have given Andrew the confidence to fulfill his lifelong dream of building his own firm in Newark. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Accounting from Loyola University of Chicago and his Master's degree in Taxation from Bentley University. Andrew is currently pursuing his MBA at Columbia Business School. He is a member of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the Urban League of Essex County. Andrew also sits on the Board of BAMS (Boston Arts and Music Soul) FEST as treasurer (bamsfest.org).
Michael Handler has been a successful Senior Project Manager in the construction industry for the past 25 years. Currently working for L & M Development in Newark on such important projects as the renovation of the iconic Hahne’s Building, Michael was project manager for St. Mary’s Hospital for Children and Alice Tully Hall and the Julliard School at Lincoln Center when he worked for Turner Construction. He was also project manager for the renovation of the Winter Garden and The World Financial Center after 9-11. Michael lives in Westchester County where actively involved with area non-profits as Board member of the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle and former Board Member of the New Rochelle Huguenot Children’s Library. He is an avid tennis player and horseback rider.
Karen Howell (currently on leave) is a staff attorney in the Essex County Office of the Public Defender. She began her career as a legal intern assisting with capital litigation appeals. She became a full-time staff attorney in the Essex Adult Trial region in 2003. After a brief stint as a Law Guardian, she moved to London, UK with her family in 2010 where she volunteered in various London Crown Courts as a Court Services Liaison for the Prisoners’ Family and Friends Service. Upon repatriation, Karen rejoined the Public Defenders’ Office and has held various positions throughout the agency. For the past five years she has been the lead Drug Court attorney for Essex County Drug Court, a program which seeks alternatives to incarceration for substance-abusing and co-occurring adults. Karen has attended numerous GlassRoots events over the past four years and has been deeply impressed with GlassRoots work within the Newark community. Karen holds a B.A. in psychology from the State University of New York, College at Geneseo and graduated from Rutgers Newark School of Law in 2001. She lives in Maplewood with her husband, two middle-school aged children and their anxiety-ridden dog.
Mary C. Jaffa, Treasurer holds the position of Vice President of Finance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). She is responsible for the overall administration of the Finance Department which includes financial reporting, analysis/forecasting, general management of payroll and administration. She collaborates with senior executives to develop and manage NJPAC’s annual operating budget. Prior to joining NJPAC in 2000, she was Director of Budget and Financial Reporting at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) national headquarters in New York City. While there, she was selected to travel to Israel on a mission with other professionals and was awarded ADL’s professional leadership award. Early in her career, she held a finance position at the Brooklyn Museum. Mary graduated from Pace University with a BBA in Finance. Early in her children’s school years, she held various volunteer-driven fundraising efforts. Mary and her husband, Brian, live in Randolph, NJ, with two sons attending college.
Currently the Director of External Affairs for the New Jersey Children's Foundation, Galen Johnson's professional experience has always centered around promoting the success of children. Galen has worked in foster care, coached high school and college cross country and track & field, and taught middle and high school physical education in the East Orange School District. Most recently, Galen was the Director of Youth Leadership Development at The North Ward Center, where he led numerous programs and activities for youth including a Little League Baseball program, and the largest youth basketball league in Newark. A graduate of The College of New Jersey and St. Mary’s College of California, Galen resides in Maplewood with his partner Mikaela and their two children.
Dena Lowenbach, Lifetime Trustee, began her relationship with Newark in 1964, when she worked as the Librarian for the N.J. Commission for the Blind. Changing course, she spent 12 years as as a residential realtor in suburban Essex County, where she was a member of the Million Dollar Club. But Newark called her back! In 1991 she was the first volunteer of “NJPAC project”, where she headed up the volunteer department as director for six years. Since 1996, Dena has been a trustee of the Women’s Association, chairing such events as the Annual Luncheon, Valentine Dinner, Volunteer Dinner, plus chairing the Cultural Legacy Committee. In fact, the annual volunteer of the year award is named in her honor. In 2001, Dena co-founded GlassRoots, and since has served as our president, secretary, a member of the Executive Board, and as chair of the Development and Governance Committees.
Filomena G. Machleder, Secretary, is the Senior Program Officer at The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the charitable giving arm of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Prior to The Horizon Foundation, Filomena was the Director of Institutional Partnerships at the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation in New York. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English Literature and Journalism from Rutgers University.
Ken Press is Chief Product Owner for the customer journey for Prudential’s individual life and annuities businesses. In that role, Ken leads teams who build intuitive, simple customer experiences that differentiate Prudential in the marketplace and increase sustainable profitability, turning our customers into lifelong advocates of Prudential. Ken joined Prudential from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he held positions within Sales Management, Retirement Marketing and Local Marketing, and was a key member of the team that launched Merrill Edge. Prior to that, Ken was Vice President of Wealth Management Marketing for UBS, and preceded that experience by serving as Vice President of Retirement Marketing Strategy for Merrill Lynch. Ken’s areas of expertise include retirement, financial planning, wealth management and digital campaigns. He is a Prudential alumnus: Ken started his career in the 401(k) space and led the launch of Prudential’s first plan participant and plan sponsor websites in the late 1990s A proud graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Ken holds his FINRA Series 7, 63 and 66 licenses, and is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor. Ken was recently Chair of the Board of Directors of the Financial Clinic, a national nonprofit whose mission is to help build financial security for the working poor.
William Simpson is a Senior Strategist at Equal Justice USA. Prior to joining EJ-USA, Will worked with My Brother’s Keeper Newark Initiative, where he served as Director of Collaborative Action. William attended Morehouse College where he majored in Political Science. He is a Leadership Newark Fellow, Victoria Emerging Leader, and was selected as a Congressional Black Caucus Emerging Leader. William has also consulted for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Political Boot Camp helping participants from around the country learn the dynamics of running and winning a political campaign. Born and raised in the City of Newark, William has a passion for creating and supporting the development of public policy and programs which focus on advancing life outcomes for minority and underserved populations.Will currently resides in Newark.
Roger C. Tucker III, Board President, is the director of Tucker Contemporary Art. TCA is a fine arts advisory firm that positions exceptional emerging and underrepresented artists in the national and global contemporary art world. TCA works with collectors and institutions interested in acquiring and exhibiting emerging African American and other underrepresented artists—academically trained or outside the mainstream. A recognized influencer in social media with extensive experience in art, business and education, Tucker advocates for a more inclusive art community that embraces the unique perspectives of diverse artists. Tucker received his BFA from Cooper Union, MS from Pratt Institute and Professional Certificate in Art Business from New York University.
(Affiliations provided for identification purposes only.)