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, Susanne Schwarz and Shyam Sharma; bottom row: Jeannette Throp, Ana Danchevska and Sandhya Subramanian)

SC Members (Mar 2023- Mar 2024)


  • Chairperson:  Jeannette Throp 

  • Co-chairperson:  Ana Mishkovska

  • Treasurer: Ashma Firoza Khanun (Lal)

  • Welcome Coordinator: Linh Nguyen

  • Career Support Coordinator: Khushbu Patel

  • Communication Coordinator:  Juan Carlos Briceño

Bios of the Steering Committee Members 

Chairperson: Soraya King

A proud Zimbabwean with substantial international experience of being an accompanying spouse, Soraya King has held several volunteer positions in different organizations at different levels. She moved to New York in September 2019, accompanying her spouse, who is with UNICEF. Her purpose behind joining NYLESA is to be part of a community, make friends and help other UN spouses and families moving to New York.

Co-Chairperson: Susanne Schwarz

Susanne is from Germany and it’s her second time in New York. She lives in Scarsdale with her husband and two girls, while her son goes to University in Germany. An Economist by profession, she rekindled her love for books and currently works at a local bookstore. Susanne joined NYLESA in December 2020 and was excited to participate in the various NYLESA activities and initiatives both during and post pandemic. Her love for organizing, planning, and creating – be it events or administrative tasks made her an ideal candidate for the position of Co-Chair.

Treasurer: Shyam Sharma

A physician and a public health specialist, Shyam hails from India. Previously he worked in a clinical setting, now he provides consultancy services to various international organizations, and NGOs He loves meeting new people and connecting with them. Shyam moved to New York in 2018 and joined NYLESA to interact with other UN spouses and make new friends. He vouches that NYLESA gatherings helped him navigate the first few months in the Big Apple. Shyam is a true believer of NYLESA being a strong pillar of support to all UN spouses.

Welcome Group Coordinator: Jeannette Throp

Born and raised in El Salvador, Jeannette and her family moved to New York in November 2020. Her core work experience has been in Early Years’ Childhood Development including working with children with special needs. As someone who is aware of the difficulties of moving into a new city or country, Jeannette understands the importance of feeling welcomed and comfortable, which was made easy for her by NYLESA. A passionate worker, Jeannette dons many hats as a successful entrepreneur, social advocate, mother, grandmother, and wife.

Career Support Group Coordinator: Ana Danchevska 

Ana comes from the beautiful town of Skopje in North Macedonia and has lived in New York since 2019 with her partner who works for UNICEF. For Ana, NYLESA has been her biggest support system while settling down in New York helping her navigate several aspects of life here. She believes NYLESA is about coming together as a community and uplifting and helping each other navigate through life in New York. Ana currently works in UNICEF and recently welcomed a baby boy Noah into her family.

Communication Group Coordinator: Sandhya Subramanian 

Sandhya spent the better half of three decades in India before moving to Oman in 2019. She and her spouse shifted to New York in September 2021. With a background in communications, Sandhya has worked in branding and marketing roles in India and Oman. After moving to NYC, she found a much-needed support system through NYLESA which helped her navigate the changes and challenges of moving to a new country. An avid animal and art lover, Sandhya spends her free time with her pet cat and creating art.


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.

SC Members (Mar 2022 - Mar 2023)

Chairperson: Soraya King

Co-chairperson: Susanne Schwarz

Treasurer: Shyam Sharma

Welcome Coordinator: Jeannette Throp

Career Support Coordinator: Ana Danchevska

Communication Coordinator: Sandhya Subramanian



SC Members (Mar 2021 - Mar 2022)

Chairperson: Soraya King

Co-chairperson: Natalia Chernysh

Treasurer: Jooyoung Kim

Welcome Coordinator: Gift N Lwamba

Career Support Coordinator: Amelia Poveda Irles

Communication Coordinator: Ana Danchevska

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