Our Team

Senior Leadership

Rehana Farrell

Executive Director

Rehana assumed the role of Executive Director of Youth INC in January 2015. Rehana joined Youth INC from Cain Hoy Enterprises, a private equity firm in New York City, which she helped form as Chief Operating Officer. Cain Hoy was comprised of investment professionals from Guggenheim Partners where Rehana worked as Chief Administrative Officer for Guggenheim Investments since 2012. Prior to that, Rehana spent 8 years at Merrill Lynch where she held a variety of global financial and operating roles. Before joining Merrill Lynch, Rehana worked at Smith Barney in Strategy and Finance, as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and at Prudential Financial where she began her career in a management training program.

Rehana holds an AB from Smith College and an MBA from Columbia University where she was President of Columbia Women in Business. She remains active with her alma maters and also works closely with numerous nonprofit organizations nationwide.

She lives in Princeton, NJ with her two children, Gordon and Mari. Her passion for children and making the world a better place for them – one where the playing field is more level and opportunities are not dictated by the randomness of birth – is what led her to leave the for-profit world to run Youth INC, which she hopes and plans to do for a very long time.


Angela Dorn

Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel

Angela Dorn, J.D., assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at Youth INC in August 2018. Angela joined Youth INC from Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit, that is dedicated to expanding access to the nation’s community colleges. As COO at Achieving the Dream, Angela was involved in the implementation of the organization’s strategic plan, and helped to strengthen the organization’s operational core. Prior to that, Angela served as Founding Member, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Single Stop USA, a national non-profit that has helped over one million low-income households avoid or move out of poverty. In her position at Single Stop, Angela managed a budget of $25 million+, helped the organization expand into 4 states, and grow from three employees to over 60. She was intimately involved in developing and driving Single Stop’s strategic plan and helped to sustain relationships with Philanthropic and Programmatic partners.

Prior to taking Single Stop national, Angela was a Managing Director and General Counsel for an asset management company; prior to that she worked as a lawyer at one of the largest law firms in Chicago, Illinois.

Angela was recognized by Essence magazine in August 2015 as a “Woman to Watch,” and by Time as an “American Voice.” She is a co-founder of BlackHer, a website dedicated to black women’s political, economic and personal engagement; a contributor to national publications, and serves on a number of boards, including the national board of directors of Public Allies and the NAACP Foundation.


Lauren Elicks McCort

Director of Programs

Lauren Elicks McCort joined Youth INC in September of 2012 and now serves as Director of Programs, overseeing the capacity-building content, coaching, capital and connections provided to Youth INC’s Partner Network of over 80 nonprofit organizations. In her previous role as Director of Impact Measurement, Lauren managed Youth INC’s Metrics Program which helps nonprofits explore and measure a core set of research-based social-emotional learning outcomes that are correlated with academic success, reduced risky behaviors, and increased thriving. Lauren also assessed Youth INC’s organizational metrics and KPIs related to our capacity-building work. Prior to joining Youth INC, Lauren was Associate Director of Development at Dancewave, an arts-education organization based in Brooklyn, NY. Lauren also worked for Harlem-based nonprofit Broadway Housing Communities, and has had the pleasure of providing consulting support for the Binghamton Philharmonic, Broome County Health Department, and The Handicapped Children’s Association.


Lauren received her Master in Public Administration and BA in English from Binghamton University, and a certificate in Principles and Practices in Organizational Psychology at Teachers College Columbia University.


Paul Irwin-Dudek

Chief Development Officer

Paul Irwin-Dudek joined Youth INC in May 2019 as our Chief Development Officer. Irwin-Dudek joined Youth INC from Genesys Works, a college access and workforce development organization, where he was the senior executive responsible for driving revenue growth in individual and major gifts, foundation & institutional support, as well as distinguished events to provide pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experience, and impactful relationships.


Irwin-Dudek has spent his entire professional career supporting non-profit organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation, Autism Speaks, Joyful Heart, American Cancer Society, and United Way. His background in staff and volunteer development; fundraising and marketing; strategy development and implementation; financial management and operations; community-outreach and board development has benefited these organizations, raising over $330 million dollars to support their valuable missions. His most accomplished moment is when he grew Autism Speaks single-day awareness event, Light It Up Blue, into a month-long revenue-driving campaign executed in over 100 countries on all seven continents, raising an additional $10M to support research and awareness of autism spectrum disorders.


He lives in New Jersey with his husband Christopher and their daughter Kensington Grace.


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Franklin Agyare

Office Manager

Franklin Agyare joined Youth INC in March of 2018 with the will to make a difference in raising our city. He is currently serving as the Office Manager and works directly with the Development team to ensure the office runs efficiently. He oversees all office management systems.

Franklin attained his Bachelors of Science from the State University of New York at Oswego. He is well known and respected by his alma mater as he was actively involved both on and off campus.


In his spare time, Franklin dedicates his time to his family and friends and loves all sports. To that end he plays and watches almost all major sports. He is a soccer, basketball, and football fanatic.


Beliansh Assefa

Executive Coordinator and Board Liaison

Beliansh Assefa joined Youth INC in July 2019 as its first Executive Coordinator and Board Liaison. In this role, she coordinates internally across the organization as well as with our key constituency of the Board.


Beliansh holds a B.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in Worcester, MA where she gained administrative experience as an intern for the Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies Department and Main South Community Development Corporation. Her concentration in African Diasporic Human Rights led her to the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies to complete her studies.  


Outside of work, Beliansh studies music and participates in multimedia art projects.


Soren Docken

Development Assistant

Soren Docken joined the Development team at Youth INC in July 2019. In his current role as Development Assistant, Soren supports the team in planning fundraising events and engaging with Youth INC's sponsors and donors. Before joining Youth INC, Soren worked as the Volunteer Coordinator for PowerMyLearning's New York City region.


Born and raised in the Midwest, Soren earned his BA in Mathematics and Music from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. When not at work, Soren enjoys travel, classical music, board games, and following his favorite sports teams.


Marc Fernandes

Senior Associate Director, Programs

Marc Fernandes joined Youth INC in April 2019 as a Senior Associate Director on the Programs Team. For twenty years, Marc has been deeply involved in the organizational, programmatic, policy, and advocacy sides of youth development and community engagement efforts across sectors. He has provided extensive positive youth development training and consultation to government jurisdictions, school districts, and community-based organizations. In this role, Marc oversees Youth INC’s Metrics Program.  He supports youth development nonprofits in the exploration of research-based evaluation tools, assists partners to better understand social-emotional learning outcomes, and provides positive youth development training and coaching to facilitate growth of quality youth programs, staff development, and organizational change.


Marc holds a Bachelor of Arts in Clinical Psychology and Multicultural Counseling from The Evergreen State College and a Master of Science in Urban Policy and Leadership from Hunter College. He is also a graduate of The School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, CO.


He lives in Queens with his wife Ivette and their children Luca and Johan. Outside of work, Marc enjoys road trips with his family, spending time with his grandmother, cooking, drinking wine, dancing, and making people laugh.


Tracie Gilstrap

Senior Associate Director, Programs

Tracie Gilstrap joined Youth INC in 2015 as Associate Director and is now Senior Associate Director of Celebration and BridgeFund programs. Tracie brings over 20 years of nonprofit experience in the youth development and organizing space as well as arts and culture. She has served as Program Officer at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, capacity-builder and an organizer when she served as Program Associate at the Ms. Foundation for Women. Tracie is Vice President of the governing board of New Hope for All Saints Lutheran church.

Tracie received her Bachelor’s degree at St. John’s University and is a candidate for a Master’s in Divinity at New York Theological Seminary.

Tracie is the mother of two beautiful girls who keep her active through soccer and in the performing and visual arts.


Jhanelle Gopie

Associate Director, Celebration and BridgeFund

Jhanelle Gopie joined Youth INC in January 2018 as the Program Associate for the Celebration and BridgeFund Programs. In this role, Jhanelle assists the Senior Associate Director of Programs in coaching the nonprofit leaders in our partner network through the year-long fundraising training program. She will also support the BridgeFund Program and its application process.

Prior to working with Youth INC, Jhanelle served as the Development Assistant/Receptionist at the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, where she assisted with the organization’s grant making and cultivation initiatives.

Jhanelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance with a minor in Government and Politics from St. John’s University. She also holds a Masters of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in Development from The New School.

Outside of work, Jhanelle enjoys cooking, doing Pilates, and taking in a healthy dose of bad reality television.


Paul Hoover

Development Assistant

Paul Hoover joined the Development team at Youth INC in July 2019. In his capacity as Development Assistant, he provides event planning and donor relations support to the team, with a special focus on Youth INC’s annual Celebration Gala.


Prior to joining Youth INC, Paul worked as the Development Assistant for The Play Company, a Manhattan-based nonprofit theater, where he coordinated the company’s individual and institutional giving efforts as well as logistics for fundraising events. He has also served as an Events Assistant at Harvard Law School, where he helped plan a series of major events surrounding the school’s Bicentennial.


Paul holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Emerson College and is pursuing a Masters in Legal Studies from Harvard Extension School. Outside of work, he is an avid fan of Broadway theatre, ramen noodles, and the New York Mets.


Jessica Horton

Development Assistant

Jessica Horton joined the Youth INC team as a Development Assistant in March 2019. In this role, Jessica assists with the Development Team’s signature events,  Chips for Change and RBC Race for the Kids. Prior to her role at Youth INC, Jessica worked as a Program Associate, International Support for the College Board as well as a Project Coordinator at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute.

Jessica holds a BA in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as a MS in Nonprofit Management with a concentration in Project Management from Northeastern University in Boston. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys trying new restaurants, the beach, and traveling to new parts of the world.


Rachel Lieberman

Business Manager

Rachel Lieberman joined Youth INC in April 2019 as its Business Manager. She is passionate about working with mission-driven organizations to strengthen their operations and expand their impact. Prior to her role at Youth INC, Rachel served as the Assistant Director at JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, where she expanded the organization’s programming and fundraising portfolio. Rachel has consulted for a range of organizations in the public sector through her work with FMA, Fiscal Management Associates, NYC Service, and Limmud NY. Rachel currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University.


Rachel Lieberman received her Master in Public Administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and her B.A. in Religion from Princeton University. She also completed a certificate program in Advanced Fundraising and Philanthropy at Yeshiva University.


Jerrod MacFarlane

Editorial Associate

Jerrod joined Youth INC in March 2019 as an Editorial Associate. In this role, he works with the Senior Associate Director of Marketing and Communications to hone Youth INC’s voice to the world and craft content that promotes its programs and impact. Prior to joining Youth INC, Jerrod served as the Content Editor for Animal Ventures. Before this, he also worked as an acquiring editor in politics and history at Skyhorse Publishing.


He holds a BSFS in International Politics with a concentration in Security Studies and a certificate in Jewish Civilization from Georgetown University.


Outside of work, Jerrod enjoys rock climbing, reading, drinking excessive amounts of tea, bingeing the latest Netflix offerings, and people watching around New York.


Vanessa Marquez

Senior Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

Vanessa joined Youth INC in August 2018 as Senior Associate Director of Marketing and Communications. 

Vanessa previously served as Director of Communications and Marketing at New Yorkers for Children, where she spearheaded marketing and fundraising efforts, managed corporate partnerships and public relations, and led the production of the organization's signature galas. Vanessa worked with brands like Chloe, Salvatore Ferragamo, and 3.1 Phillip Lim to develop engagement opportunities and fundraising events.

Prior to leading fundraising and marketing at New Yorkers for Children, Vanessa spent almost a decade fundraising at Single Stop, a non-profit start up spun out of the Robin Hood Foundation. Single Stop received two White House Social Innovation Fund awards and was named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies during her tenure.


Vanessa graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Queens College.


Ellie Reiter

Senior Associate Director, Programs

Ellie Reiter joined Youth INC in 2015 as an Associate Director on the Programs Team. In her current role as Senior Associate Director, her responsibilities include managing the Board Advancement Program, the Succession Planning Program, and other board related initiatives. Prior to Youth INC, Ellie applied her program design, development and management skills as a Program Strategist at TYTHEdesign, a design-thinking based social enterprise and as a Program Officer II at the Institute of International Education. Early in her career, Ellie taught English as a Foreign Language in Spain and China.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College where she was an All-American soccer player and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Bloustein School at Rutgers University where she earned the Outstanding Student Academic Achievement Award.

Her primary hobby is figuring out ways to make her toddler daughter laugh.


Emma Rippee

Senior Associate Director

Emma Rippee joined Youth INC’s Development team in April 2019. In her role as Senior Associate Director, Emma oversees the annual State of the Market Investor Conference, a signature Youth INC fundraising event that brings together business luminaries and market experts. 

Emma previously worked in development at the Guggenheim Museum, following four years in London working in the arts.

She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A in Letters and a minor in French from the University of Oklahoma, and an M.A in Art History from SMU.


Paul Vergara

Associate Director of Programs

Paul Vergara joined Youth INC in May 2018 as a Program Associate. In this role, Paul works closely with the Program Team to assist with the coordination and delivery of capacity-building services and support.

Prior to working at Youth INC, Paul served as a Senior Trainer & Program Coordinator at Global Kids, where he developed dynamic after-school programs throughout New York City that focused on youth leadership, international affairs, and activism. Additionally, Paul previously worked in South Africa with Grassroot Soccer, a sports-for-development organization that leveraged the power of soccer to educate about HIV.

Paul earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Globalization of Music & Dance Culture with minors in Anthropology and Public Health from the University of Rochester. He also holds an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Public Health from the CUNY School of Public Health.

In his spare time, Paul is a long-distance runner, traditional Indian folk dancer, and an international traveler.


Taylor Wright

Senior Associate Director of Development

Taylor Wright joined Youth INC in January 2018 with a passion for empowering youth to achieve their fullest potential. She currently serves as an Associate Director on the Development Team. In this role, Taylor supports fundraising efforts by managing several of Youth INC’s signature events, including RBC Race for the Kids. Prior to Youth INC, Taylor worked as the Community Engagement Coordinator at a youth-serving nonprofit in Colorado, where she led community outreach efforts, developed programming and events, and provided direct impact services.

She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Colorado College.

Outside of work, Taylor enjoys reading, traveling in Latin America, and exploring all that her new city has to offer.



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