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. 

 2023-2024 Steering Committee
(Left to right, top row: Jeannette Throp, Ana Fahrni and Ashma Khanun (Lal); bottom row: Linh Nguyen, Khushbu Patel and Juan Carlos Briceño)

SC Members (Mar 2023- Mar 2024)

  • Chairperson:  Jeannette Throp 

  • Co-chairperson:  Ana Fahrni

  • 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: 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.

Co-Chairperson: Ana Farhni

Ana, an experienced communications and media professional, recently moved to NYC from Macedonia, bringing a multicultural background from her time in Macedonia, Serbia, and the Netherlands. With expertise in project management, she has supported international development institutions in communication, marketing, trade facilitation, education, and digital innovation. Beyond work, Ana enjoys exploring global cuisines, writing, and attending visual arts exhibitions. She found a community in NYLESA, where she’s excited to contribute and receive support within the UN community in New York.

Treasurer: Ashma Firoza Khanun (Lal)

Ashma, a fourth-generation Indian born and raised in Fiji, currently residing in New York City since 2015 with her UNDP-employed spouse and two sons, brings over a decade of experience in the private sector and a government statutory authority to her role as Finance Business Partner for her family business in Fiji, holding qualifications including an MBA, Post Graduate Diplomas in Human Resources and Business Administration, as well as Diplomas in Management Studies and Business Studies (Applied Computing); as a dedicated NYLESA member for over seven years, Ashma, who previously volunteered with the Welcome Group from 2017-2019, views NYLESA as a supportive family where spouses can collectively address challenges, particularly in her role as Treasurer, where she pledges to handle financial matters transparently and accountably, formulate and manage budgets, maintain audit-ready records, facilitate effective communication within the Steering Committee, oversee bank reconciliation, manage the UNFCU relationship, and implement internal controls to safeguard members’ interests and funds.

Welcome Group Coordinator: Linh Nguyen

Hailing from Vietnam, Linh arrived in New York in September 2021. A notable highlight in her life has been serving as the Welcome Coordinator for NYLESA, an experience she finds immensely rewarding within a community built on mutual support and camaraderie. Through NYLESA, Linh has not only broadened her circle of friends but has also collaborated with like-minded individuals to spread positivity. Joining NYLESA has been a decision she holds dear, recognizing that not doing so could have meant missing out on significant opportunities.

Career Support Group Coordinator: Khushbu Patel 

Khush, originally from Toronto, Canada, moved to New York in June 2021 with her husband’s role at UN Women. Currently a Program Manager at the Wildlife Conservation Society, she focuses on global projects to preserve wild areas. With past experience at Plan International Canada in gender equality programs, Khush values NYLESA as a vital community for those adjusting to a new city. She aims to utilize her experience securing employment in the U.S. with a G-4 visa to assist others, utilizing her strong management and communication skills to support members in job searches and connect individuals with employment opportunities in New York.

Communication Group Coordinator: Juan Carlos Briceño  

Juan Carlos, originally from Panama City, Panama, has dedicated a significant portion of his life to exploring the intricacies of science, particularly its impact on our daily lives. With a background in tropical hydrology and land use effects, he worked with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Panama Canal watershed. Progressing from a technical investigator to a research assistant, Juan Carlos completed a master’s in Civil Engineering and Water Resources at the University of Wyoming. In September 2022, he arrived in NYC with his wife, who was relocated to the UN headquarters. Seeing NYLESA as an invaluable opportunity, Juan Carlos, as a UN staff spouse, aims to foster connections within an intercultural context, exchange experiences, address challenges, and share work and study opportunities to cultivate a positive well-being network within the UN community and families.


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