Staff

Laura Colacurcio, Acting Executive Director

Laura Colacurcio is the Acting Executive Director of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY).  Laura is responsible for developing and executing ABNY's strategic direction, priorities, programming and agenda, overseeing ABNY's Young Professionals Network, and working with 300 member organizations on issue specific advocacy campaigns and policy proposals. Prior to ABNY, Laura worked as Director of Operations for fellow New York civic organization, Citizens Budget Commission (CBC), and was responsible for administration, oversight, board development and retention, and event planning for the organization.  She previously served as CBC’s Development Associate.  Before joining CBC, she worked as Senior Account Manager for the online auction firm Charity Folks.  Laura graduated magna cum laude from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a minor in economics.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 212-370-5802


 

Melva M. Miller, Executive Vice President

Melva M. Miller, Executive Vice President at the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), leads the organization’s Census 2020 initiative. Managing an inter-disciplinary team of urban planners, social workers and policy, public relations and communication professionals, Ms. Miller supports and supplements census efforts underway by the US Census Bureau, State and City of New York, and in coordination with community-based organizations in an effort to help New York City and State achieve the most accurate census count possible.

Most recently Melva has served as the Deputy Borough President of Queens, working with the Borough Presidents on moving Queens forward. Melva has been a passionate and dedicated community organizer since 1993. Her achievements include the creation of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a stakeholder-driven strategy to increase quality employment, economic diversity and financial security in downtown Jamaica, and she was also the lead organizer of the Western Queens Tech Strategic Plan, an initiative that produced a five-year blueprint for equitable growth of the Long Island City and Astoria tech ecosystem.
 
Melva has held several senior economic development roles throughout her career, including Director of Economic Development for her hometown borough and Executive Director for the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District. Melva holds a Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and recently received a second Master’s Degree in Philosophy from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Welfare program at CUNY's Graduate Center. 

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 646.381.3960


 

Sarah Samuels, Communications and Programs Manager

Sarah Samuels is the Communications and Programs Manager at Association for a Better New York. She creates and executes programming for ABNY’s Young Professional Network, a group of civically engaged professionals. She also manages ABNY’s social media and outreach efforts. Sarah previously worked as an Account Manager at Voray, a startup focused on creating events and networking opportunities for the business community in New York City. Sarah received her B.A in American History from the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 212-370-5805


 

Madeline McCormack, Membership and Events Manager

As the Membership and Events Manager, for the Association for a Better New York, Madeline manages all of ABNY’s memberships. She closely monitors membership dues for the 300 members. She is responsible for processing new member applications and adding new members to the ABNY website. Prior to working at ABNY, Madeline interned in the Alumni Relations department of Fordham University where she worked on the Reunion Events team. Additionally, she interned for Cancer Support Community where she served as a Program Intern, assisting with the Transportation Assistance Grant program. Madeline graduated with a degree in Communications concentrating in New Media, and Media, Culture, and Society from Fordham University.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 212.370.5803


 

 Ayofemi Kirby, Director of Communications, ABNY Census 2020

Ayofemi Kirby is the Director of Communications, ABNY Census 2020, where she leads the pop-up communications agency providing pro bono support to New York City community-based organizations working to get out the count in underserved communities. Ayofemi has led strategic communications campaigns and public engagement efforts across the public, private, and cultural sectors, including the NYC Office of the Mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative, the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill where she served as communications director, NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Sony Pictures.

Ayofemi earned her M.A. in Public Communication from American University, certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University, and her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from UNC Chapel Hill. She is currently enrolled in the Harvard Extension School’s Museum Studies graduate program, focusing her studies on the intersection of culture, commerce, and social change.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 212-843-8332


 

Aliya Bhatia, Census Manager

Aliya Bhatia is the Census Manager at the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) where supports the organization’s Census 2020 initiative for an accurate count. She works at the intersection of technology access, communication and digital strategy, and community outreach. Prior to working on the census, Aliya was a Technology Fellow at Columbia University’s Entrepreneurship & Policy Initiative where she supported a three year grant to promote scholarship around technology and policy. She also served as a research assistant at Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and conducted a graduate research project with New York Immigration Coalition on the state of sanctuary policy across the State. She comes to this work with four years of working as a political strategist in Toronto, Canada. Aliya received her B.A. in International Relations and Art History at the University of Toronto and her M.P.A. in Urban Policy and Technology at Columbia University.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 212-843-8335


 


John Napisa, Special Events Coordinator

John Napisa is the Special Events Coordinator at the Association for a Better New York. His responsibilities include volunteer coordination for all ABNY events, as well as background activities ensuring the smooth operation of events. John is currently attending Hunter College pursuing a dual-degree in BA Chemistry and BA German Language and Literature.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 212-370-5800