Our Team

Elsa A. RĂ­os, MSW, JD
Project Co-Lead 
 

Elsa is the Founder and Principal of Strategies for Social Change (SSC), a woman of color owned consulting and leadership coaching firm dedicated to serving social change organizations and movements. She has more than 25 years of nonprofit experience in the areas of management, grant writing, program design, community organizing and public policy analysis and writing. She has led numerous community organizing and social change initiatives addressing gender violence, HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice and child welfare reform, among others.

During her public service career she held several executive level management positions and engaged in extensive fundraising, program and policy development. Her accomplishments include having served as the Founding Director of the Violence Intervention Program, Director of Education for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and Senior Policy Analyst for the NYC Mayor’s Office.  Elsa has also served as an adjunct professor teaching leadership and management courses at Baruch College. She holds a J.D. degree from New York University School of Law and a MSW from Columbia University.

Elisabeth (Lisa) Garrett Keiser
Project Co-Lead

Lisa is a skilled facilitator committed to social justice and movement building. She has provided capacity building, leadership development and coaching to leaderful organizations and coalitions for over 20 years. Her intergenerational, transformative approach supports systems change at all levels and engages multiple stakeholders to ensure that the results are sustained over time.

Lisa’s early years as an Indigenous human rights organizer, conflict mediator, and funder seeded her curiosity about how leaderful movements build power and create change. Years later, the result of many experiments, much nurturing, and a shared commitment to supporting fierce change makers has led to the launch of Leadership Reimagined alongside co-founder, Elsa Ríos.

Lisa received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and is a faculty member at the Institute for Life Coach Training, having co-designed the ICF certified course, Coaching for Social Action. Drawing from her experience as an accomplished martial artist and certified fearlessYOGA instructor, Lisa works with various practices to bring awareness to how change makers embody their commitments to change. As part of her vision to cultivate thriving leaders and organizations, she has offered yoga and reflective leadership practices by request at retreats and trained yoga teachers to mind power dynamics as a co-founder of Bending Towards Justice.

Sonya Kharas
Learning Community Consultant

Sonya Kharas is a facilitator, coach and trainer who draws on the practices of meditation, nonviolent communication and popular education to create collaborative and participatory processes for teams to explore their essential needs and create relationships, cultures, and organizational systems that are aligned with their collective values.

A perpetual student and learner, Sonya considers her co-facilitators and clients to be her greatest teachers, and is always testing out new ways to bring gratitude and curiosity into every aspect of her personal and professional life. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, is a proud aunt to two nibblings, and experiences true happiness at the beach.

Surei Quintana
Technology & Communications Manager

Surei loves to help people! She uses her investigative and creative problem-solving skills to help teams achieve their goals. A firm believer in the empowering potential of a quality education, she leveraged her science background to advance educational equity through teaching middle school science in NYC public schools. She has also been a part of the SSC team for over 10 years, as a “Jane-of-all-trades,” pitching in as needed in research and special projects.

Surei is responsible for our strategic communications work including overseeing our website and digital media, email campaigns, infographics, as well as researching and designing our educational and training materials.

Caroline Hotaling
Project Manager

Caroline is a self-professed nonprofit nerd with over 30 years of management experience in small community-based nonprofits and philanthropy.

Skilled in fundraising, board development, management, strategic planning, capacity building, program development and evaluation, Caroline provides timely and vital support to pivotal, visionary organizations and movements.

For almost a decade Caroline was a community organizer working on environmental advocacy and justice on the U.S.-Mexico border in rural Arizona and Sonora, where she became involved in philanthropy through a rural community foundation. She was also appointed by the President to the International Subcommittee of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the U.S. EPA.

She later moved to NYC and became the Manager of Strategy and Planning, and then the Program Officer for Capacity Building for the largest and oldest women’s fund in the U.S., the Ms. Foundation for Women. At Ms. she created the first immigration portfolio for the Foundation, and built a tailored capacity-building program focused on financial management and individual donor fundraising for community-based grantee partners across the U.S.

Caroline is passionate about the power of small, community-based nonprofits; among other organizations, she has run a rural housing trust in the mountains of NYS and served the first and only school of Tibetan Medicine in the U.S.

In her free time, Caroline works on preparation for climate change as a Senior Consultant with the Equitable Renewal Fund and is active on the program and finance committees of the International Dzogchen Community's center in NYC.

Community Faculty

Faith Bynoe, MDiv, RYT
Healing Justice Practitioner

Faith’s life mission is to creatively support the health of communities through self-care and mindful leadership. For over 20 years, she’s worked with diverse communities throughout the US and internationally. She’s worked in the field of philanthropy, doing program work and technical assistance. As an Integrative Chaplain, Faith does healing justice and systems work with patients, staff and organizations. Her focus is the intersection of integrative health and spiritual formation. Using this framework, Faith’s served thousands, doing individual spiritual care, conducting retreats with community based and national organizations, self-care workshops and healing circles; and as a public speaker staunchly advocating for health equity.  She’s worked with organizations like the NYC Department of Health’s Center for Health Equity, Annie E. Casey Foundation, NOVO Foundation, National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy, the Community Resource Exchange and Columbia University.

Faith is an alumnus of Howard University School of Divinity and educated in Psychology at Long Island University- Brooklyn Campus. She’s a licensed minister, certified RYT- 200hr Yoga teacher, essential oil and a Reiki I practitioner, certified in Medical Reiki, trained in Mind-Body Medicine and the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program. She is currently working at New York-Presbyterian Hospital towards chaplaincy board certification.

Marquita James
Conflict Resolution Practitioner

Marquita’s practice ranges from helping organizations design healthier dispute resolution systems to helping individuals navigate murky situations. Marquita provides impact-driven, equity-immersed consulting services as both an independent practitioner and founder of Lagniappe Consulting and in partnership with Strategies for Social Change, a woman of a color owned consulting firm committed to using innovative solutions to help social change organizations transform the world. Her work centers the learning, growth, and development of organizations and the individuals within them. Marquita delights in helping organizations embrace healthy, sustainable approaches to conflict resolution assessment and strategy, organizational change, leadership development, and deep, transformational equity work.

She has been facilitating difficult conversations and providing training and coaching since her time with the Harvard Mediation Program at Harvard Law School.

When Marquita is not elbows deep in the conflict resolution and consulting worlds, you’ll find her hunting for live music, attempting to dance bhangra, or pining for gumbo from her home state.

Maria Elena Pérez
Healing Justice and Org. Development Practitioner

Maria Elena Pérez is a bilingual, first-gen Latina that works with changemakers, leaders, caregivers and folks of service doing the most (you know, over-giving and over-functioning) to come back into right relationship with themselves. A self-proclaimed nervous system evangelist, Maria Elena worked for fifteen years in social and reproductive justice organizations before suffering a concussion and subsequent mysterious illnesses, which she healed through nervous system regulation and ancestral practices, after countless failed attempts with doctors and treatments. This journey led her deeper into eft/tapping, polyvagal theory, and somatic internal family systems, all while coming back home to herself and reclaiming her ancestral gifts. Her work is a mix of science and bruja.

A licensed master of social worker, Maria Elena is also a certified EFT/Tapping practitioner leading workshops and healing circles centering BIPOC folks. She holds an M.S.W from Hunter College, City University of New York and a B.S. from New York University.  She currently also serves as an organizational consultant to social justice organizations. Maria Elena lives in New York City with her multi-generational family and rescue named Magic and loves bachata.

Corita Brown, PhD
Organizational Development Consultant and Leadership Coach

Corita Brown has two decades of experience supporting organizational development and community change efforts. Her robust experience encompasses organizational development and learning, participatory research, design thinking, leadership development, and team building, and she is nationally recognized for her expertise supporting teams, organizations, networks and community groups to navigate generational differences and racial-generational divides. 

Corita is passionate about partnering with leaders and organizations who work to build values-based, equitable, inclusive environments. To help clients improve their effectiveness and growth, she works with them to strengthen collaboration, cultivate authentic communication, navigate power dynamics, and approach conflict as a positive catalyst for learning and transformation. Her work incorporates kinesthetic awareness, creativity, and mindfulness-based approaches, in addition to action research and more established organizational theories and models. She deeply believes in supporting leaders to deepen their relational intelligence and is often engaged to support white leaders with compassion and accountability along their racial justice learning journeys. 

Corita's educational background includes a Masters in Organizational Psychology and Adult Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a PhD in Urban Studies from Temple University. She holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University, and is a certified professional coach through ICF certified coaching school Leadership That Works.