MORE ABOUT NYLESA  | How we work


NYLESA is managed by a Steering Committee (SC) comprising of six members: Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, Treasurer and 3 working group Coordinators. 

All of these positions are democratically elected by the association members at the Annual General Meeting, and any regular member has the right to stand for election. 

SC members serve one-year term (April - March), on a volunteer basis. Inevitably, due to relocation or other reasons, active SC member(s) may withdraw from the postition. In this case, replacement will be arranged by additional election or in case of short remaining term, be appointed by the SC. 

 2020-2021 Steering Committee
(Left to right, top row: Soraya King, Natalia Chernysh and Jooyoung Kim; bottom row: Gift LwambaAmelia Poveda Irles and Ana Danchevska)

SC Members (Mar 2021 - Mar 2022)


Bios of the Steering Committee Members 

Chairperson: Soraya King

I am from Zimbabwe of multi-ethnic origin. My background is in sales, marketing, advertising, and HR. For the past 10 years I have worked at various levels including Chair/Director in different NGO and volunteer organizations in a number of African countries.

Having been in NYC since October 2019 and an SC member since March 2020, I found NYLESA is the family away from home. NYLESA has encouraged me to do more, be more; to be interactive, patient and listen, to develop new skills and push personal boundaries. You get out what you put in!

Co-Chairperson: Natalia Chernysh

I am from Russia. I have a Masters in French Language and Literature, and have lived and worked in Saint-Petersburg, and UN’s duty stations in Nairobi and Vienna.

I joined NYLESA right upon our arrival in New York and started volunteering for the membership team in 2018, after about a year of being a member of NYLESA.

Since one of my favorite sayings goes: “Do something! If it works, do more of it”, I have decided to run for the Co-Chair position one more time. This will give me the opportunity to use everything I have learnt over the past year for the best of NYLESA.

I believe that if we all as members contribute, even just a little, NYLESA will thrive on and keep helping UN spouses in their sometimes not so easy life in a foreign country.

Treasurer:  Jooyoung Kim

I am from Korea. I graduated with a BA in Polymer science and engineering from Kyungpook National University, South Korea, and a master of international business from the University of Melbourne, Australia. For about a decade, I worked as a businessperson in Korea and Japan.

I came to New York 2 years ago when my husband joined UNICEF as his first UN post. It was a difficult decision to leave all the relationships and career behind and follow him. But I accepted to go further beyond uncertainty.

As soon as we arrived, I joined NYLESA and became an active volunteer member. I have built new relationships and obtained useful life information through NYLESA. In parallel, I prepared my CPA career path. Currently, I am a U.S.CPA candidate (exam passed) and work as an accountant in a local CPA firm.

Welcome Group Coordinator: Gift Lwamba

I am a Zambian. I arrived in New York in October 2017 as a spouse to a UNICEF staff. I am currently a member of NYLESA, IDCN, IFG (NYLESA equivalent in Lesotho).

I have been a Business Office Specialist for 13 years+ in the financial and legal sectors in Zambia. I have a passion for people to self-advocate for themselves  as a community or team to improve their lives.

Against this backdrop, I would like to offer my services to contribute to improving the quality of life of expat spouses in settling down and be part of a bigger family.

NYLESA is a common ground for most spouses to socialize, connect, network and support each other to settle in NYC.


Career Support Group Coordinator: Amelia Poveda Irles

I am from Spain. My background is in communications, international affairs, education and culture management. I have several years of experience working for public administrations, private companies, and local and international NGOs. I love being part of a great team, helping organizations to create meaningful impact and engagement opportunities with their publics.

I arrived in New York in September 2020. Fortunately, adjusting to my new life was comparatively easy thanks to NYLESA. During a challenging time, all NYLESA resources, meetings and activities turn out vital to better integrate and understand my life in New York. For me, NYLESA is a crucial community and a relevant source to learn from each other's experiences and support one another.

Communication Group Coordinator: Ana Danchevska 

I was born in Croatia, raised in Macedonia. Arriving to New York at the end of 2019 for my partner’s job, I have been enjoying the life here ever since.

I have an Economic Science Degree, years of experience in administration, finance, HR, and arts management.

I became a member of NYLESA in March 2020 and joined the Steering Committee in May 2020.

To me NYLESA means support, connection, communication, growth, productivity and fun.

2020 has been a unique year, I spent it with an unforgettable team and precious membership.

Let’s create one more year of great accomplishments


Functions of the Steering Committee

  • to take all appropriate measures to further the Purpose and Objectives of NYLESA in accordance with the Bylaws, and with the NYLESA Regulations;

  • to implement decisions taken at Annual General Meetings and General Meetings;

  • to create and adopt and implement policies, guidelines, rules and regulations for the effective day-to-day management of the affairs of NYLESA;

  • to develop the NYLESA Annual Work Plan for approval at the Annual General Meeting;

  • to implement the activities of the Annual Work Plan;

  • to develop and present an Annual Report and a Financial Report for approval at the Annual General Meeting; and

  • to provide relevant information to the Membership on the activities of NYLESA via the NYLESA website, and to maintain this information updated;

Responsibilities of the Steering Committee Members


  • promote all affairs of the Association within the International Civil Service;

  • prepare, in consultation with the Steering Committee, agendas  for Annual General Meetings, Special General Meetings, General Meetings and Steering Committee Meetings;

  • chair Annual General Meetings, Special General Meetings, General Meetings and Steering Committee Meetings;

  • support, coordinate and enhance the work of Working Groups;

  • maintain relationships with the Global Expatriate Spouse Association (GESA), with contacts within the various International Civil Service entities in New York and other partners relevant to promoting and advocating the NYLESA’s Purpose and Objectives;

  • guide, in consultation with the Working Group Coordinators, the development and updating or revision of NYLESA’s Annual Work Plan;

  • draft the NYLESA’s Annual Report; and

  • report regularly to the Steering Committee on his/her activities.


  • support and/or deputize for the NYLESA Chairperson in his/her responsibilities;

  • disseminate all relevant information to NYLESA members;

  • maintain an accurate record of NYLESA Members

  • prepare and send out meeting invitations for NYLESA Annual General Meetings, Special General Meetings, General Meetings and Steering Committee Meetings;

  • draft, circulate and maintain a record of minutes of NYLESA Annual General Meetings, Special General Meetings, General Meetings and Steering Committee Meetings; and

  • report regularly to the Steering Committee on his/her activities.


  • manage monies and money transactions held by or on behalf of NYLESA;

  • maintain a detailed record of all income and expenditure; and

  • draft NYLESA’s annual Financial Report; and

  • report regularly to the Steering Committee on his/her activities.

Working Group Coordinators

  • further the Purpose and Objectives of NYLESA in accordance with the Working Group’s mandate;

  • report regularly to the Steering Committee on his/her activities, and those of the Working Group;

  • prepare written contributions on the activities of the Working Group for inclusion in the NYLESA Annual Report;

  • to provide information on the Working Group’s activities to the Members of NYLESA; and

  • participate in the management and guidance of NYLESA in the Steering Committee.

We wish to acknowledge the hard work and time spent by previous Steering Committees building our organization into the vibrant and active group it is today.

(CWG=Communication Working Group, CSWG=Career Support Working Group, WWG=Welcome Working Group)

SC Members (Jun 2020 - Mar 2021)

Chairperson: Yen Nguyen

Co-chairperson: Natalia Chernysh

Treasurer: Siham Bloch

Welcome Coordinator: Soraya King

Career Support Coordinator: Julien Soufflet

Communication Coordinator: Ana Danchevska 

Interim SC Members (Mar-Jun 2020)

Chairperson: Maija Tiippana

Co-chairperson: Natalia Chernysh

Treasurer: Siham Bloch

Welcome Coordinator: Soraya King

Career Support Coordinator: Julien Soufflet

Communication Coordinator: Yen Nguyen

2019 - 2020

Chairperson: Davina E. Solomon

Co-chairperson: Alejandro Torrealba

Treasurer: Siham Bloch 

Welcome Coordinator: Francine Afane

Career Support Coordinator:  Hong Xiao

Communication Coordinator: Gabriel Amsellem

2018 - 2019

Chairperson: Tuba Durrani

Co-chairperson: Paola Triolo (March - October) / Davina E. Solomon (November - March) 

Treasurer: Eric Pasqualli 

Welcome Coordinator: Pierre Tamer (March - October) / Francine Afane

Career Support Coordinator: Nessreen Bahaa Edin Abuzeid (March - May)/ Hong Xiao

Communication Coordinator: Shivani Berry (March - August) / Davina E. Solomon (Acting co-ordinator) / Zein Dudha  (November - March) 


Chairperson: Tuba Durrani

Co-chairperson: Paola Triolo

Treasurer: Eric Pasqualli

Welcome Coordinator: Odalea Freire

Career Support Coordinator: Nessreen Bahaa Edin Abuzeid

Communication Coordinator (external): Nina Eneroth / Yen Nguyen (Acting co-ordinator)

Communication Co-ordinator (internal): Fiorella Vitale (March - November) / Davina E. Solomon - Weekly Agenda (January - March)


Chair: Banu Chediek

Co-chair: Teresa Lago

Treasurer: Pascal Commovick

CWG: Rosalía Galan

CSWG: Saionara König-Reis

WWG: Nada Pottinger


Chair: Michelle Negreros

Co-chair: Florina Aldeas

Treasurer: Carlos Martinez

CWG: Clare Robertson

CSWG: Ruwanthika Geeganage

WWG: Annette Wolter/Nada Pottinger

Chair: Olivier Caudron
Co-chair: Michelle Negreros
Treasurer: Francesca De Cesare
CWG: Julia Tilinga
CSWG: Cristina Bertarelli
WWG: Florina Aldea

Chair: Olivier Caudron
Co-chair: Michelle Negreros
Treasurer: Teresa Sola
CWG: Paul Henderson
CSWG: Elizabeth Nash
WWG: Florina Aldea

Chair: Angela Bamblett
Co-chair: Teresa Sola
Treasurer: Francesse Bertrand
CWG: Sirkku Lakkonen
CSWG: Dorian Lacombe
WWG: Olivier Caudron

Chair: Mayank Jain
Co-chair: Lora Davis & Dorian Lacombe
Treasurer: Elsa Begne
CWG: Sirkku Lakkonen
CSWG: Ravi Kumar Gandham
WWG: Teresa Sola


NYLESA is functioned by member active contribution, we encourage members to participate voluntarily in one of our  working groups:

Welcome Working Group (WWG)

The Welcome Group organizes NYLESA's regular monthly social gatherings (coffee, cocktail etc) and other social events. It oversees the membership team, and also helps assist new members as they settle into New York.

Career Support Working Group (CSWG)

The Career Support Group works to support and promote our members' professional development and assists with networking and job-search information both within and outside the UN. It also hosts a variety of language practice tables and job-related seminars and workshops.

Communication Working Group (CWG)

The Communication Group provides the association with communication and marketing tools. This group creates, publishes, monitors and updates content for the website and social media platforms as well as creates newsletters, brochures and other promotional materials.

Membership Team

The Membership Team is the first point of contact for new members and provides them with support and information on signing up process and how to get the best of the membership. The team keeps track of members registration, renewal and supports internal outreach.


NYLESA is managed and functioned by volunteers and thus always welcomes any volunteer contribution. Whether you want to gain experience working in a non-profit association, or would like to share your expertise or time - for event-based, short or long term, do let us know by  write to us

  • Coffee Gathering Coordinator
  • Cocktail Gathering Coordinator
  • Special Events Coordinator: Lora Wiley
  • Support Group Coordinator
  • Buddy Program Coordinator 
  • NYLESA Connect Coordinator
  • Language and Culture Coordinators 
  • Monthly Career Seminar Lead 
  • Career Seminars
  • Roster Manager 
  • Linkedin Group Lead
  • Linkedin Manager



  • NYLESA Weekly Newsletter Team
  • Website
  • Branding Strategy
  • Social Media/Facebook Team (Business Page, Private Group and Marketplace)
  • Communication Platforms Admin and Manager (Website, Google Suite, Mailchimp)
  • NYLESA Photographers
  • Podcast Team