Center for the Integration & Advancement of New Americans

Board of Directors

Honorary Directors

  • Gita Surie, PhD
  • Jyoti P. Srivastava, MS, DDS
  • Bryan R. Pu-Folkes, Esq.
  • Harvey S. Mars, Esq.
  • Hon. Una S.T. Clarke, C.D., DLitt

Gabriella Huddart
Gabriella Huddart is a 2013 graduate of Tufts University with a degree in Spanish and Russian and East European Studies and a minor in History. Immediately after graduating, she started work as an Account Manager at a global language services firm in Boston. She currently serves as a Research Associate at Corporate Insight, a financial services consulting company in Manhattan.

Born in England, Gabriella is a dual citizen of the US and the UK. She has has had the fortune to travel to over 50 countries and has volunteered at two orphanages in Malawi, taught English in Argentina, interned at a software company in Bulgaria, and studied Russian language and culture in Russia. Gabriella speaks fluent Spanish, proficient Russian, and has basic knowledge of Mandarin, Italian and French.

In addition to serving as a board member, Gabriella currently teaches an evening ESL class at CIANA.

Robert Rdzak
Robert Rdzak has more than seven years’ experience within finance and has worked at some of the world’s most prominent hedge funds and investment banks, such as Deutsche Bank, Citadel Investment Group and Amundi Alternative Investments. He joined Global Potential in 2014 to leverage his previous experience to help raise funds for Global Potentials expanding initiatives. Prior to joining Global Potential, Robert served as committee member and project leader for DePaul’s Young Alumni Association. He also was a member of the Round Table Society (“RTS”), a non-for-profit formed to strengthen the Romanian-American community in the Chicago area. Robert received his Bachelor in Finance with Highest Honors from DePaul University. He also received his Master’s in Business Administration from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. In addition to English Robert is fluent in Romanian and conversant in German. He is also a passionate backcountry skier as well as avid patron of post-war and contemporary art.

Belinda Roman
Currently a member of the NYC Toastmaster’s Club, Belinda is committed to lifelong learning and personal development. Belinda majored in Business Administration, minored in Finance, and has worked in the financial field for over 8 years.  Prior to her current role as a Financial Analyst at NYU Student Health Center, she worked as a Job Accountant for RR Donnelley and Sons. She holds a professional certificate in Global Affairs from New York University as well as a certificate in Comprehensive Cultural Competency from the NYU ACT Institute.  She is fluent in Spanish and has basic knowledge in French.

She has traveled extensively over the years and credits her zeal for global affairs and international development to her experience in People-to-People exchange programs in Cuba. Belinda blends her strong passion for dance with her love for immersion in foreign cultures locally by partaking in West African and Afro-Cuban dance classes at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She is on a co-ed softball team and enjoys spending her free time exploring the culinary diversity of NYC.

Ali Hassanii
Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Tehran, Ali moved to the U.S. in 2009 to pursue graduate studies in the field of Financial Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. After graduating with honors, Ali joined Jefferies as an associate in the Rotational Training Program where he built Fixed Income derivatives risk and valuation models, project managed implementation of a new trading platform, and re-classified Investment Banking expenses to increase accuracy. He has recently joined Capco, a leading financial services consulting firm, in the Business Intelligence Reporting group.

Originally from Iran, he is fluent in English and Farsi, and has a basic knowledge of Turkish and Arabic. He is a member of Rotary Club of Wall Street and New York Cares and has been volunteering in a number of charities including Bowery Mission and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Karen N. Gentile
Karen N. Gentile is the Jamaican-American co-founder and CEO of DAS, Inc, a leading direct market access provider. Born in Jamaica, and having attended the globally renowned Wolmer’s Girls’ School, Gentile completed her studies in New York at Pace University. As a young entrepreneur, Gentile played a pivotal role in the formation of Stock USA Execution services, currently one of the premier brokerages for high frequency and day-traders. After seeing the demand for smarter low latency technology, Gentile founded DAS, Inc with partner and head developer Tom Liu. In 2013, Gentile rang the closing bell at Nasdaq in celebration of the tenth anniversary of DAS, Inc’s flagship product, the DAS Trader Pro trading platform. Also in 2013, under Gentile’s guidance, DAS, Inc. became the highest level NYSE Power Partner, a prestigious addition to its status as a NasdaqOMX Preferred Partner and Nasdaq Totalview platinum partner. Currently, under Gentile’s leadership, DAS, Inc. is the only service bureau to hold all three distinctions.  

Heather Finn
Heather Finn has been working with adult immigrants and refugees in the New York City area since 2002. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Developmental Skills at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, where she teaches ESL writing and academic reading courses.  Heather has also taught at Kingsborough Community College, John Jay College, and New York University, where she received her Ph.D. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Her research focuses on the sociocultural factors which influence adult immigrants' English literacy learning, and she has conducted projects with a wide range of populations in New York including West African and Chinese immigrants.  Her current focus is on students’ perceptions of reading and writing connections in community college classes. Prior to her Ph.D., Heather received her M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her B.A. in English from Cornell University. She has volunteered as a student advisor in Santiago, Chile, taught Spanish and English literacy in the Dominican Republic, and worked as a kindergarten teacher in Japan.

Emira Habiby Browne - Founder and CEO
Emira has over 25 years of experience in social services, with expertise in family and children services, immigrant integration, and cultural competency. In 1993, Emira founded the first Arabic-speaking social services organization in New York City to address the needs of the Arabic-speaking immigrant community. Building on her extensive experience serving a highly traditional immigrant community, Emira founded the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans, CIANA, in 2006. A wider and more inclusive organization, CIANA serves new immigrants from the highly traditional societies of the greater Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. 

Emira has served on several advisory boards and task forces on immigrant issues, including Mayor Guiliani’s Task Force on NYC Police/Community Relations, the Mayor’s Immigration Coalition, NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s Immigration Advisory Council, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden’s Ethnic Affairs Council, and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Immigrant Advisory Committee. Emira was also a former Board Member of the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Greater Southern Brooklyn Health Coalition.

In recognition of her contributions to the immigrant community and her commitment to the service of others, Emira has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards.  In 1997, she received the Women’s History Month Award by the Brooklyn District Attorney, and the Woman of Achievement Pacesetter Award by the NYC Council. In 1998, Emira received the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Brooklyn Borough President.  In 2000, and again in 2004, Emira received the Outstanding Citizen Award by the NYC Council.  In 2001, she received the prestigious Union Square Award by the Fund for the City of New York, and in 2002, she was the recipient of the Vision in America Award by the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, the Dedication to the Empowerment of Families Award by the Riverside Church, and the Distinguished Service Award from the International Channel Networks.  In 2003, Emira received a Lifetime Achievement Award by her alma mater, Emma Willard School.

In 2007, and again in 2009, Emira was chosen as a Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures for founding two successful immigrant organizations late in her professional career.

In 2004, 2006, and 2011, Emira was selected by the USDOS Bureau of International Information Programs to present her immigrant integration model, and her work with very traditional immigrant communities, to government interlocutors and community leaders in several cities in Spain, Italy, Poland, and Germany. In September and October 2011, Emira was invited to travel to 8 German cities to speak about immigrant integration post 9/11, and how to manage ethnic diversity and multiculturalism ten years after.

Emira holds a Master of Arts Degree in Sociology from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She has pursued Doctoral studies at the London School of Economics/University of London, and at the Hunter College School of Social Work/CUNY.  Emira is a Palestinian-American who was born and raised in the Middle East, speaks Arabic fluently, has traveled extensively, and lived in several countries in Europe and the Middle East.