Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee

Mission Statement

To ensure that Volunteers of America-Greater New York welcomes diversity, advocates for equity, and achieves inclusion for all regardless of gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, ableness, race, culture/ethnicity, or religion.

Volunteers of America-Greater New York relentlessly strives to encourage, support, and celebrate the diverse voices of its employees. In doing so, we create a positive work environment where everyone feels and is valued, supported, and able to do their best work.



All VOA-GNY staff members who applied for the DEI Committee were asked to share why they wanted to join the committee and what they could uniquely bring to the experience. We had an enthusiastic response and thirteen individuals were ultimately selected to join the committee. The selection process was conducted by the committee co-chairs, facilitator, our VP of Human Resources, and President & CEO. Committee members were selected by evaluating the strength of their applications, diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, tenure at VOA-GNY, program sectors and positions. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Ericia Antoine

ASSISTANT VP, CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT & SPECIAL EVENTS

“As a minority, an immigrant, a woman and a young professional who has worked at both small and large nonprofit organizations, I can offer many perspectives. I am also relatively new to VOA-GNY, and would bring an outsider’s point of view, coupled with a passion for VOA-GNY’s mission and desire to see the organization succeed.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 2019

Dominique Bain

REAL ESTATE EXPEDITOR

“I would like to be a part of our organizations DEI initiative because it will present me with the opportunity to add the voice of not only a young black male but also a black immigrant. Additionally, being a member of the DEI group will allow me to learn from existing members of the group so that I am able to pass-on what I learn to those I have immediate contact with… My presence will offer the group a very authentic point of view of how diversity policies are interpreted. This is because I immigrated to NYC at a very young age and lived in many underprivileged neighborhoods that lacked any diversity and was predominantly dominated by African American and Latino populations. On the other hand for both my bachelors and masters degree’s I attended universities that were predominantly filled with middle class white American populations. Being in these situations taught me a lot about the human experience with diversity and how it feels to be ostracized and accepted from both perspectives.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 2020

Rudilania Gil

associate program director, schwartz assessment shelter

“I obtained my master’s degree in Criminal Justice at Monroe College… My experience working at Schwartz Assessment Shelter [has] allow[ed] me to [grow] as [an] individual. Also, [it has] helped me to have a bigger vision of people[’s] needs. I do not hesitate to help staff members go through the learning process. I am very interested in continuing [to work] with the agency at another level. I believe that my work experience in the Homeless Sector and passion, education, and outgoing personality, makes me a strong candidate for… the committee.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 2014

Anita Nance

associate program director, UNIVERSITY AVE FAMILY RESIDENCE

“I would like to be a part of the DEI committee for several reasons. One of the reasons is as an African American woman, I feel we are not represented positively in our society. In a society from my generation, most viewed the world of leaders, CEOs, and upper level managers as “white-male.” Over the past several years we have witnessed a multitude of changes, with the first African American President, an African American Vice President, and… the Senate confirming an African-American woman to the highest court in our nation. It can be said African American women are breaking the glass ceiling and we are trying to change the narrative of seeing us as angry and aggressive. Another would be to change how society views us by our names and automatically rejecting us based on that. We still have work to do to change the narrative and work to not be judged or discriminated against because of our names. It should be ok to have an ethnic sounding name. As someone who is currently learning about leadership and cultural competence I think its important to learn to be inclusive of other cultures, and value other’s worldviews. Helping other to learn about what is culturally appropriate is important.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 2011

Alvaro Salas

SECTOR DIRECTOR, NYC HOMELESS & COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES

“Diversity and inclusion should be part of our daily life. I’m a Latino multilingual person who [has] lived and worked in four different continents. I [have] worked with youth, seniors, immigrants, and LGBTQ communities which [have] provided me with an understanding of the need for inclusion and empathy for all.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 2011

Donna Stweart

Real Estate Expeditor

“As a millennial born on the cusp of tradition and innovation, I believe that my views, input, willingness to work, interpersonal skills and [desire] to see change, are qualities that are an asset to any team. For a company to not only exist but thrive in ever changing times, [it] must be able to adapt and change as well. I wish to see a change in some of the ‘not so positive’ culture present throughout VOA-GNY. I am passionate about ensuring that every client and employee feels represented… or, at the very least, feel[s] comfortable that all of their needs/rights… are met.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 2019

Jonita Wooten-Michel

Director of Social Workers/Client Care Coordinators 

Committee Co-Chairs & Facilitator

Vanessa Burton (Co-Chair)

SECTOR DIRECTOR, NYC HOMELESS AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES

“I’ve been an employee of VOA-GNY for 27 years and have held many positions within the organization. I’m currently the Sector Director for NYC Homeless and Community Support Services. Previously I was part of the NYC Emergency Housing and Shelter Services team, which serves hundreds of families experiencing homelessness each year. I’ve also been an agency trainer. I am currently a member of the NYC Department Homeless Services Social Worker Work Group, an initiative that helps phase in social workers into shelters.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 1993

Anddy Perdomo (Co-Chair)

ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT, VETERAN SERVICES & ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES

“I became the VOA-GNY Director of Specialized Housing and Veteran Initiatives in 2012, after joining the organization as an Associate Program Director at a homeless residence. I helped develop the Patriot House program—a first-of-its-kind temporary housing program for veterans left homeless after hospitalization—and in 2014, expanded the program to a second location. In 2016, I led the Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families (SSVF) program to obtain a three-year accreditation from The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). I have worked for some of the city’s premier social services agencies, and managed workforce development, vocational, and employment services for people with disabilities and on public assistance. Before that, I was a vocational counselor, an academic advisor, financial assistant specialist, and career counselor for my undergraduate alma mater. I’ve served on the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, Women Veteran Advisory Board. Currently I’m a member of Bronx Community Board 3 and Chairperson for their Health and Human Services Committee. I’m a CARF Surveyor, a minister for VOA-GNY and an alumna of We Are the Bronx Fellowship, an executive training program for managers.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 2011

Kelly Ashley (Facilitator)

DIRECTOR OF LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE

“I joined VOA as a Team Leader at Camp LaGuardia Men’s Shelter in Chester, NY and was promoted to Human Resource Manager in 2001. Six years later, following the closure of Camp LaGuardia, I became Associate Program Director of Grasslands Homeless Shelter in Valhalla, NY. I eventually returned to HR when I accepted the position of Human Resource Manager for Sector 4 in 2007. My current role as Director of Learning and Performance, which I began in 2017, gives me an opportunity to meet and welcome every new hire that joins VOA-GNY—something I enjoy. Part of my responsibility, and that of the department, is to ensure each employee has an understanding of the culture at VOA-GNY, including our Shared Values. Diversity has been one of our Shared Values since 1995, but now, we need to take a deeper look to ensure our policies, procedures and day to day operations are equal for all. I look forward to serving as a facilitator for the DEI Committee. VOA-GNY and the people that choose to be part of this organization are very special, and I want to be able to help create a culture that honors and values each one of them.”


Joined VOA-GNY in 1999

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