Meet our Board of Directors
Pam Elam worked in various capacities for New York City government and its elected officials from 1980 to 2008. She has extensive experience in policy, legislative, administrative, and management operations.
Her positions have included: Legislative Aide to the New York City Council; Assistant NYC Comptroller and Director of Community Relations; Associate Commissioner of the NYC Department of Employment; Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Human Resources Administration; Coordinator at the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs; Chief of Staff to a NYS Senator; and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Manhattan Borough President.
Pam retired from government service and is now a consultant working pro bono for non-profit women’s organizations.
Pam made her first public speech in support of Women’s Rights when she was 13 years old and has been organizing for women ever since, first in her home state of Kentucky and then in New York. She has organized and managed countless programs, conferences, hearings, and projects over the years including the first ever Presidential candidates debate on Women’s Issues in NYC in 1988 and over one hundred public hearings on Women’s Issues for the New York City Council from 1980-1989.
In addition, Pam led the effort to get the New York City Council to approve legislation in 2004 naming “Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Corner” near the site where Anthony and Stanton wrote their newspaper The Revolution; co-organized the “Freedom on Our Terms Conference” in NYC in 2007 to honor the 30th Anniversary of the National Women’s Conference (to which she was a Delegate from Kentucky in 1977); and created “Women’s Rights, Historic Sites: A Manhattan Map Of Milestones” in 2008, to cite a few examples. She has also served as Vice President of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites.
In addition to a Master’s Degree in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College, Pam has a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law and a B.A. Degree in Political Science from the University of Kentucky.
Vice President for Operations
Namita Luthra is a women’s rights advocate. She serves on the President’s Council of the New York Hall of Science that reaches the most diverse audience of any science museum in the country. Through the Council, Ms. Luthra advises on public initiatives that promote STEM learning for young women and girls and on groundbreaking exhibitions and science education.
Ms. Luthra served on the Board of Directors for Sakhi for South Asian Women, a nonprofit organization that works to end violence against women and in its nearly thirty-year history has served 10,000 South Asian women in the New York area. Ms. Luthra was a senior staff attorney at the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. There, she spearheaded a wide range of litigation, advocacy, and public education efforts to advance the rights of women and girls, including co-authoring a book called The Rights of Women and successfully litigating gender discrimination jury trials in federal court.
Prior to joining the Women’s Rights Project, Ms. Luthra was a staff attorney at the Office of the Appellate Defender, New York City’s longest-standing provider of appellate representation to indigent persons convicted of felonies. Before that, she served as the Karpatkin Fellow at the National Legal Department of the American Civil Liberties Union. Ms. Luthra is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Vice President for Programs
Brenda Berkman retired as a Captain in the New York City Fire Department after serving the City for twenty-five years. She was assigned to firehouses in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Brenda began her career in the fire service after winning the federal sex discrimination lawsuit she initiated that resulted in the hiring of New York City’s first women firefighters. The documentary Taking the Heat, which chronicles Berkman’s struggle to integrate women into the FDNY, aired on PBS in 2006. She has also been profiled in other documentaries, several books and numerous articles. In 1996-97, Brenda served as a White House Fellow, the first professional firefighter to be awarded this prestigious leadership development fellowship in the history of the program. She has led both local and national women firefighters’ organizations, and served on boards of several nonprofits. She is experienced at testifying before government organizations and conducting media and organizational briefings. Brenda also has a Juris Doctor Degree as well as a Masters Degree in History.
Since retirement from the FDNY, Brenda’s interests have shifted to printmaking and volunteer work. She volunteers as a walking tour guide at the 9-11 Memorial in New York City to honor her friends and colleagues who were lost on 9-11, and to help educate visitors.
Brenda also volunteers in support of many groups working for women’s equality.
Ariel Deutsch is a lifelong New Yorker and senior at Wesleyan University majoring in the College of Social Studies and Italian. Prior to joining the Board in 2018, Ariel worked with Monumental Women as a high-school student organizer. At age 16, she rallied her classmates to help “bring women of history out of the dark and into the park.” Since then, Ariel has continued to help communities mobilize around social justice issues. At Wesleyan, she served on the Student Assembly where she fought for college affordability by initiating a successful campus-wide textbook exchange program. Currently, Ariel serves as a preceptor in the College of Social Studies, works as an Academic Peer Advisor and research assistant in the Government Department, and helps manage the Deans’ Peer Tutoring Program. Previously, Ariel has interned with WNET New York Public Media, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Sussman & Associates where she assisted on federal employment discrimination cases. Passionate about issues of access to civil justice, she plans to attend law school to pursue a career in civil rights litigation. Outside of work, Ariel enjoys painting, playing tennis, and challenging friends to a good game of Scrabble.
David provides personalized service to individuals and businesses in tax consulting, tax compliance and controversy, business advisory, and tax planning. In addition, he offers detailed retirement planning services for individuals and families. Over a decade ago, David launched a specialized practice group, the Domestic Partners Network – through the advisory and services of a select group of multi-disciplinary professionals, the DPN offers a comprehensive approach to advising unmarried and same-sex couples, as well as non-traditional families, in the areas of tax compliance, estate and investment planning, insurance and healthcare, immigration and family planning.
Mr. Spaulding holds a BA from Binghamton University (NY) and an MFA from Temple University (PA). With thirty years’ experience in accounting and taxation, David is an Enrolled Agent, licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service and more recently holds certifications as an Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor (ADPA) and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC). He is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, the Financial Planning Association and the New York State Society of CPAs.
David has had the privilege of serving a number of non-profit and charitable organizations over the years, among them; Common Cause New York where he was the NY State Treasurer and member of the Executive Board for nearly twenty-five years and more recently as the Treasurer, then Managing Director, of Luna Stage Company (NJ) helming their reorganization in 2017-2018. David continues to serve as Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Small Voices (MA) and Peridance Contemporary Dance Company (NY).
Judaline Cassidy was born on the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago and started her career as one of the first three women selected to learn plumbing at the John Donaldson Technical Institute of Trinidad (now known as the University of Trinidad and Tobago). After immigrating to the US, she worked as a nanny and housekeeper until she was accepted into the New York City plumbers union’s five-year apprenticeship program. Judaline has been a proud member of Plumbers Local No. 1 New York City, for the past twenty years. Being a qualified plumber has drastically changed her life, and also the lifestyle of her family. Financially it has afforded her and her family upward mobility in society. She was one of the very first women accepted into Plumbers Local 371 Staten Island, NY, and the first woman elected to the Examining Board of Plumbers Local No. 1. She ushered in the first Women’s Committee within her Union and became the Committee’s first President. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Women’s Building NYC.
In June 2017, Judaline established the non-profit Tools & Tiaras Inc. The primary goals of this organization are to expose, inspire and mentor young girls and women about trades that are “non-traditional” for women such as construction, firefighting, stagehands, etc. Getting young girls excited about working with tools fuels Judaline. She is a dynamic speaker on the importance of girls and women having opportunities in every sphere. Her many speaking engagements have included being a featured speaker at the 2017 Makers Conference, appearing on the Today Show’s “Megan Kelly ‘She Made It’” segment and on the BBC’s “The Conversation.” Among her many accolades are recognition from City and State magazine as one of their 2017 Responsible 100 awards for her leadership in making transformative change, being named by the Women Builders Council as one of their 2018 Outstanding Women and being the recipient of the 92nd Street Y’s Extraordinary Women 2018 Rising Star Award.
Judaline has a broad knowledge of women’s history and constantly strives not only to inspire the next generation but also to acknowledge the past struggles of women and men to achieve greater social justice and opportunity for all.
For more information about Judaline, please check out her interviews on:
The Today Show “She Made It” segment”
The Women’s Media Center Robin Morgan interview
Her website is: judaline.com
For more information about Tools & Tiaras Inc.: toolsandtiaras.org
Women You Should Know
Gary Ferdman, Statue Fund Co-Founder and Secretary and Treasurer until 2017, recently retired from Common Cause after almost ten years. In addition to serving as National Director of Major Gifts, he co-coordinated Common Cause’s conference on the 40th anniversary of Watergate, and the first major demonstration against the Koch brothers.
He served as Executive Director and Membership and Development Coordinator of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities/TrueMajority, which he founded with Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s in 1996. The organization worked to reduce wasteful Pentagon spending and move those resources to health care, education and environmental protection.
His professional career in not-for-profits spans four
Mr. Ferdman curated an exhibit about Marc Chagall in High Falls, NY, where the artist lived from 1946 to 1948. The exhibit was featured in a New York Times article. He also advised the Jewish Museum on their major Chagall exhibit.
Now residing in San Diego, he is working with a founder of the Women’s Museum of California to catalyze and coordinate suffrage centennial celebrations, using a presentation on local women’s history to reach women’s organizations and the general public.
Mr. Ferdman holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Rhode Island. Trained as a grassroots organizer, he holds a Masters Degree in Social Work in Community Organization and Planning from Rutgers University. He holds an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance from the New York University School of Business.
Great great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Coline Jenkins is a legislator, author and television producer. Through the years, she has used her talents to inspire both awareness and pride in women’s history. Coline is co-founder and president of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust, a collection of 3,000 objects of women’s suffrage memorabilia that has been lent to museum exhibits, book publishers, documentary film producers, presidential libraries, popular magazines, television programs (both domestic and international) and Congressional testimony. The Trust’s lending practice fulfills its mission: To preserve the history of the women’s right movement, to educate the public on this history, and to promote the advancement of women’s rights. Ms. Jenkins is a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, where for twenty years she has served as a municipal legislator.
She co-authored a book, 33 Things Every Girl Should Know about Women’s History, and produced the television documentary, An American Revolution: Women Take Their Place. Her 2009 testimony before the U.S. Senate contributed to the passage of federal legislation creating a national trail of historic sites, coordinated by Women’s Rights National Historical Park.
Ms. Jenkins comes from a long line of women activists. Her great grandmother Harriot Stanton Blatch, worked as a major organizer of New York State woman’s suffrage during the Militant Period of 1913-1915. Jenkins’ mother was born one month prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution in 1920. Jenkins grew up in an atmosphere of suffrage and women’s right campaigning. She firmly believes equality is attainable.
Serina Liu is a visual designer born and raised in New York City. She mainly works in areas of print, branding, art direction and seeing how visual systems can be elevated through tangible experiences. In her own practice, she is passionate about using design, humor and emotional storytelling to drive conversations about taboo topics and making the uncomfortable a little less. When not working her day job as a graphic designer or doing freelance work, you can find her perusing through Trader Joe’s, using her digital library card and making stamps.
Serina is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design and holds a BDes in Communication Design and a minor in Business Administration.
You can see more of her design work here: https://serina.design
Eileen Macdonald is a proud member of Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), New York City Stagehands, formed in 1886. She works on Broadway as a sound engineer and is the second woman ever elected as Trustee to the Executive Board of Local One. Eileen is the founder and Co-Chair of the Local One Sisters Committee which began in 2011 and has created several assemblies within her union including a U.S. Constitution study group. Eileen serves as a Delegate to the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and teaches workshops for the United Association of Labor Educators Union Women Summer Schools which encourages rank and file women to strive for leadership positions. She continues to advocate for all women to reach their full potential, even when they think they can’t!
Eileen has a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from San Diego State University, a Certificate in Labor Studies from the Cornell/CUNY Murphy Institute, and is currently enrolled in the Masters Program at The School of Labor and Urban Studies at City University of New York. She has been a member of the Audio Engineering Society for over thirty years and also belongs to the Coalition of Labor Union Women. She is the proud stepmother of two spirited young women and lives with her jazz bassist husband, Steve LaSpina, and their two cats.
Meridith Maskara is Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. In this role, she leads an enthusiastic and committed 60-person team as work to realize a clear vision: a New York City in which every girl feels empowered to lead in her community, the workplace, and the world.
Prior to serving in her current position, Meridith has been a part of the Girl Scout movement in many ways: as a girl member in Maine, a troop leader in Queens, and staff member at the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, serving as VP, Product Programs and COO from 2015-2017, and now CEO. As a third generation Girl Scout, a mom raising five incredible girls in Queens, and a Girl Scout troop leader for more than ten years, Meridith has seen firsthand that no other organization or institution in a girl’s life can offer the same opportunities, or the same community, as Girl Scouts.
In her time at the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Meridith oversaw the launch of Troop 6000, a Girl Scout troop specially designed to serve girls living in the New York City shelter system. She also founded the Cookie Executive Committee: a program provides special professional development opportunities and seeks input from top cookie sellers. Under her leadership girl membership in NYC has increased to serve over 31,000 girls.
Since assuming her post as Chief Executive Officer Meridith has received a New York City Council Citation for the Queens Impact Award, and also received a New York City Council St. Pats for All Community Leadership Award Citation for her work with youth in her community. She was honored by Congressman Crowley with the 2018 Community Impact Award; was included on Brown Brothers Harriman’s ‘18 Women to Watch in 2018’ list, and recently was named the 2018 SPOKEies Award winner for the Non-profit and Youth category.
Prior to turning her passion for Girl Scouting into a career, Meridith graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Her love for theatre combined with her operational and business sense led her to a highly successful corporate career in theatrical/entertainment and event merchandising and branding where she spent 17 years as a Vice President in the industry’s leading company, Max Merchandising.
Meridith, her husband Dan, and their five daughters, Dorothy, Vivien, Veronica, Natalie and Marlene, are happiest traveling the country in their camper and are known in their community for their elaborate Halloween display. Other family interests include musical theater, ballet, dinosaurs, horror movies, and community activism.
Dr. Myriam Miedzian
Myriam Miedzian is co-founder with her husband Gary Ferdman, of The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund, now Monumental Women.
The Statue Fund grew out of their March 2013 Huffington Post blog , Time to “Remember the Ladies” — in Central Park. 23 statues honored men, not one honored a woman! Myriam and Gary identified a highly diverse group of women as worthy or more worthy than many of the men, to be honored , among them Stanton and Anthony.
Because of their fifty year commitment to fighting arduously and tirelessly for the rights of women and their many successes, especially in New York State, Stanton and Anthony were judged most deserving of the first statue. Hopefully many more will follow.
Miedzian holds a Columbia Ph.D.and Hunter College Masters in Social Work and has served on the faculties of Barnard College and Rutgers University.
She writes frequently on contemporary social, political, and cultural issues, and is the author of three books:
Generations: A Century of Women Speak about Their Lives, ( Atlantic Monthly Press,1997, Kindle 2013), co-authored with
Boys Will be Boys: Breaking the Link between Masculinity and Violence (Doubleday 1991,
He Walked Through Walls: A Twentieth Century Tale of Survival (Lantern Books. Sept. 2009). The story of how her father survived three 20th century European wars.
Her writings have appeared in many publications in print and online including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Tmes, The Baltimore Sun, Dissent, Social Research, They are also included in many anthologies on gender and violence.
She has lectured widely including ar Duke, Harvard; the California Attorney General and Department of Education Conference; and the Barcelona II International Citizens Meeting.
She has advised the Clinton Administration’s Violence Prevention Task Force, and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families.
She is a founding director of Prepare Tomorrow’s Parents, a non-profit organization which grew out of recommendations made in Boys Will be Boys.
Heather Nesle is president of the New York Life Foundation, the charitable foundation created by New York Life Insurance Company. In addition to her Foundation duties, she is vice president of New York Life’s Corporate Responsibility Department.
The New York Life Foundation devotes the majority of its funding each year to programs that help children in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. Since its founding in 1979, the Foundation has made nearly $250 million in contributions to New York and U.S.-based non-profit organizations. New York Life Corporate Responsibility initiatives include the award-winning Volunteers for Good program, which helps New York Life employees and agents nationwide volunteer within their communities.
Ms. Nesle most recently served as vice president, corporate sustainability at HSBC Bank USA. Prior to that, she served in various roles at Fannie Mae, most recently as senior capital markets manager, as well as senior communications manager, and information architect.
Ms. Nesle was the recipient of the 2018 “Charlie Award” from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), which is given to a corporate affairs professional who demonstrates perseverance in the pursuit of societal advancement. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund and the Afterschool Alliance and is a member of the Philanthropy New York CEO Forum. Ms. Nesle has also served on the Board of Directors of the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association.
Ms. Nesle earned a Masters of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and human services from George Washington University. She currently resides in New York, NY with her husband, Steve, son, Benjamin, and daughter, Paige.