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 2021 - Mar 2022)


  • Chairperson: Soraya King

  • Co-chairperson:  Susanne Schwarz

  • Treasurer: Shyam Sharma

  • Welcome Coordinator: Jeannette Throp

  • Career Support Coordinator: Ana Danchevska 

  • Communication Coordinator:  Sandhya Subramanian

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: Susanne Schwarz

I am from Germany; it’s my second time in New York. I live in Scarsdale, Westchester County since September 2020 with my husband, a police officer, and my two teenage daughters. My son is at law school in Germany. I am an economist and worked as accountant in Germany; here I have the chance to do something entirely different: I work as a bookseller in a small, independent bookstore.

I joined NYLESA in December 2020 and participated in some of the various member activities since then. It was so wonderful to be able to attend coffee gatherings in person in spring 2021; at the same time, it was very convenient to join informative webinars without even leaving the house.

I would be thrilled to work as a Steering Committee member. I love to be part of organizing, planning, and creating – be it events or administrative tasks. I could help with the administrative part of NYLESA, e.g. managing statistic information on memberships and forward this information to the working group; helping with the organization of Steering Committee meetings, taking the minutes, filing them and passing them on to the committee members.

Treasurer: Shyam Sharma

I am a physician and a public health specialist, and I come from India. I have worked at various levels, in clinical settings, from primary care centers to tertiary care hospitals. Currently, I provide consultancy to various international organizations and NGOs. I connect with people and enjoy it when people around me are happy (and healthy!).

I joined my wife in New York in 2018 and enrolled with NYLESA to learn, interact, and meet new friends. NYLESA gatherings helped me in navigating the first few months in the Big Apple, and the insights shared by the other members eased my settling down.

I have been volunteering for the NYLESA as a cocktail gathering coordinator, and also supporting members on health insurance, housing, and other matters.

I have enjoyed being a part of NYLESA and would like to continue to support this tremendous community.

I want to offer my time and services as a treasurer in maintaining accounts and transparency in financial transactions, in a timely manner. I will continue to sustain the good work done by the previous treasurers and hope that NYLESA’s coffers have abundance. 

Welcome Group Coordinator: Jeannette Throp

I was born and raised in El Salvador. My family and I moved to New York city in November 2020 for my husband work with UNOCHA. We are planning to stay in New York City until 2025.

My main work experience has been in Early Years’ Childhood Development including working with children with special needs. I am also a life coach and have started founded businesses in El Salvador, Ethiopia and am hoping that one day I can start my own business in the USA.

I have been involved in social projects including charities that support with women and children, the homeless and people with addiction. As well as running my own business and helping charity organizations in Ethiopia, I helped friends and people who were new to the country find resources and connect with social groups as they began their new lives in Ethiopia. I would do so in ways such as organizing events to help bring people together, as well as showing them around the city and giving them useful information to help them adjust.

I am very aware of the difficulties presented when it comes to moving to a new town, city or country, and I understand the importance of feeling welcomed and settling in well. Being part of the Welcome group, I will put in my best effort to make sure that new-comers don’t feel lost and can adjust to the change at a good pace. I am also very grateful that NYLESA exists, as I very much support the mission and want to be involved in achieving it.

Career Support Group Coordinator: Ana Danchevska 

I come from the beautiful town of Skopje in North Macedonia and have lived in New York for almost 2 and a half years with my partner who works for UNICEF.  Prior to coming here, I worked in arts, education and the commercial sector in a wide range of roles. Now I work as a marketing consultant in the real estate.

NYLESA has been my support network in settling into New York. This has included navigating the complex aspects of life here from getting a driving license, work permit or understanding tax systems to collaborating on special events and the Newsletter. NYLESA is about being together in both empathy and diversity and uplifting each other so we, and our families, get the best out of our time here.

As Career Group Coordinator, I would like to help members find pathways to work by understanding the range of opportunities and the modalities. I would strive to contribute to events, sessions and workshops for our membership to share information, learning and networking for employment. This would also support efforts to understand obtaining a work permit, the different types of work available and the tax implications. The ultimate goal would be to help some of our members secure rewarding and gainful employment.

Communication Group Coordinator: Sandhya Subramanian 

I moved to New York from Oman in September 2021 as my husband was offered a job at UNICEF. I’m originally from India, where I spent the better part of three decades. Professionally, I am a Communications Manager and was working with one of India’s leading conglomerates, The Murugappa Group until 2019. I was responsible for internal and external communications, public and media relations and social media campaigns. From 2019 to 2021 I was a freelance content writer working primarily with OHI Leo Burnett, a Full-service communications agency in Oman.

To me NYLESA offers a much-needed support system for spouses who are far away from home. A new city and country can be intimidating at times and NYLESA provides us with the opportunity to make friends and develop lasting relationships which help us navigate through this sea of change. 


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 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