Board of Directors

  • Lyn Pentecost, PhD

    Executive Director

    Lyn Pentecost is a community leader dedicated to improving the lives of low-income youth and their families. Dr. Pentecost co-founded The Lower Eastside Girls Club in 1996 to fill a dearth of options available to the girls in our community and led a successful campaign to build The Lower Eastside Girls Club Center for Community, New York City’s first and only Girls Club facility. She holds a BFA degree from The Cooper Union School of Art and received her doctorate in Anthropology from Temple University.

  • Gael Towey

    Board Chair

    Gael Towey spent 22 years at the creative helm of Martha Stewart Living and is currently a Producer and Director of “Portraits in Creativity,” a series of short-form documentary videos that captures the Creative process and the bravery of artists and artisans. She is the mother of two children in their 20’s.

  • Jen Gatien

    Board Vice Chair

    Jen Gatien is a producer and writer of narrative and documentary features. Raised in New York, she is committed to working alongside The Lower Eastside Girls Club in providing opportunities for girls to pursue their dreams. She lives in NoHo with her beloved dog Dharma and is a graduate of Columbia University.

  • Ian Blumenstein, Esq.

    Board Treasurer

    Ian Blumenstein is an attorney with extensive experience representing financing sources and companies in a wide variety of industries in securities offerings, other capital market transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate matters. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School.

  • De’Ara Balenger

    Board of Directors

    De’Ara Balenger is a lawyer and creative strategist. She is the Co-founder of Canopy, a social impact group dedicated to delivering cultural connections and civic action on behalf of brands, movements and organizations.​ Before co-founding Canopy, De’Ara was the Director of Engagement for Hillary for America, where she assisted Hillary Clinton in managing longtime friends and supporters and cultivated new relationships with creatives and influencers to amplify Hillary’s platform.  De’Ara has a BA in Black Studies from Macalester College and JD from Texas Southern University. De’Ara was also a National Organizer for the Women’s March on Washington.

  • Julia Cheiffetz

    Board of Directors

    Julia Cheiffetz is an Executive Editor at HarperCollins Publishers. Her books include the Putlizer Prize winner Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King, Forward by Abby Wambach, and Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik. She is the Co-Chair of The Lower Eastside Girls Club Women’s Network.

  • Rosario Dawson

    Board of Directors

    Rosario Dawson is an actress, activist, and advocate from Coney Island with deep roots in the Lower East Side. She co-founded Voto Latino in 2004, received the President’s Volunteer Award in 2011 and is a co-founder and designer of Ghana based fashion house Studio One Eighty Nine.

  • Tricia Donegan

    Board of Directors

    Tricia Donegan, Founder and President of Bikram Yoga Lower East Side, is a private yoga and wellness coach who inspires people to work harder than they ever have through the supportive, compassionate inspirational – and hot! – environment she has created. She resides on the Lower East Side with her daughter, Lula.

  • Carter Emmart

    Board of Directors

    Carter Emmart is the Director of Astrovisualization at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City where he directs space show productions based on immersive data visualization for the Hayden Planetarium within the Rose Center. Carter oversees software development for interactive use of the 3D universe atlas known as the Digital Universe, which can now be networked between planetariums and classrooms worldwide.

  • Kimberley Hatchett

    Board of Directors

    Kimberley Hatchett is an Executive Director within Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Management Division where she manages more than $2 billion in assets. Her tenacity and dedication has earned her accolades such as, Barron’s “Top 100 Women Financial Advisors” and “Top 1000 Advisors” lists. Originally from Lawrenceville, NJ, Ms. Hatchett currently resides in New York City with her husband and 12-year-old daughter.

  • Anil Dash

    Board of Directors

    Anil Dash is an activist and entrepreneur focused on making technology and the tech industry more humane and ethical. His writing and advocacy primarily focuses on ensuring tech’s effects on the world help those who most need support, though he also tends to take some fun detours into pop culture, policy, urbanism and general geeking out.

  • Judith Helfand

    Board of Directors

    Judith Helfand is a Filmmaker and the Co-Founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures, a non-profit film fund dedicated to supporting women documentary filmmakers with strategic grants matched by timely creative “hands-with” mentorship.

  • Angie Klein

    Board of Directors

    Angie Klein is Vice President of Consumer Sales Strategy & Distribution at Verizon, where she leads digital search, retail & MDU operations and 3rd party agent sales for the Fios division of the telecom giant. Klein has been honored as a Nebraska Alumni Master and in 2015 was presented with the This Woman Means Business award at the annual M2W Conference. Angie is also co-chair of The Lower Eastside Girls Club Women’s Network.

  • Natalie Kates

    Board of Directors

    Natalie Kates is a curator, art advisor and event producer who has raised over a million dollars for various charities. An early supporter of urban art, Natalie has established herself as a leader in discovering and promoting emerging artists.  She has curated numerous exhibitions and site-specific art installations, developed close relations with artists, galleries and museums and produced art events for both corporate and non-profit clients

  • Lisa Laukitis, Esq.

    Board of Directors

    Lisa Laukitis is a Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and focuses her practice on the representation of corporations in out-of-court restructurings and Chapter 11 bankruptcies. Lisa is also a Co-Chair of The Lower Eastside Girls Club’s Women’s Network.

  • Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis

    Board of Directors

    Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis is the Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village of New York City and the Executive Director of The Middle Project, Inc. an institute that prepares ethical leaders for a more just society. She is an activist, preacher, and fierce advocate for racial equality, economic justice, and LGBTQ equality.

  • Kevin McHugh

    Board of Directors

    Kevin McHugh managed the careers of influential DJs and music producers for 20 years and recently embarked on his own artistic journey. His sculptures of endangered marine life have found homes in collections around the world and his conservation efforts have garnered an official partnership with Oceana. He was born in Yonkers and is a long time East Village resident.

  • Susan McPherson

    Board of Directors

    Susan McPherson is a serial connector, cause marketer, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert. She is the founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focusing on the intersection between brands and social good, providing storytelling, partnership creation and visibility to corporations, NGOs and social enterprises. She’s a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Triple Pundit and Forbes and has 25+ years experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications.

  • Amy Rosi


    With a distinguished, 30-year career as an expert in strategic brand marketing and communications, Amy Rosi founded her own company, Aros Communications, in 1999. Prior to starting her own firm, Amy Rosi worked corporately in the luxury sector as Vice President of Marketing for David Yurman and Vice President of Corporate Communications for Escada.