Board of Directors

Zahira Perez

Zahira Perez,

Consultant, Accenture
Zahira Perez is a Dominican woman and resident of the Bronx whose purpose is to empower her community through financial and creative education. She has been part of the People Theatre’s Project since its founding; she has grown alongside the organization having been part of several of its programs, an assistant teacher, and a part of fundraising efforts. She is a Posse Scholar and MLT fellow who recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Babson College where she founded the Women of Color Alliance and led the Latin American Student Organization amongst others. Zahira begins her full-time job as a consultant at Accenture this fall where she will continue to advocate and create opportunities for her community.

Kevin Thurman,

General Counsel, Lemle & Wolff Companies

Kevin Thurman is a principal at the Lemle & Wolff Companies. Since 2011, Kevin has provided legal assistance related to property management, construction and development, and he serves as General Counsel.

Prior to joining the Lemle & Wolff Companies, Kevin was an associate at the law firms Goldson, Nolan, Connolly, P.C. and Nadel & Associates, P.C. and represented clients in a wide array of matters related to real estate and construction. He also worked at Enterprise Community Partners, where he assisted in project management and loan administration services related to affordable housing projects.

Kevin has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Bucknell University, a Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law, and a Master of Science in urban planning from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a member of the New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the American Planning Association.

Hiram Arnold

Hiram Miguel Arnaud,

Financial Advisor, Strategies for Wealth

Hiram Miguel Arnaud is a financial analyst and holistic wealth advisor with Strategies for Wealth. Hiram works with individuals and families, and always considers the entire financial portfolio of his clients within the context of their ultimate goals and desired lifestyles. More importantly, he helps them understand the importance of making strategic and educated choices, by focusing on the power of cash flow, strong savings, planning beyond retirement, and making consistent progress. Completely transparent in his process, Hiram aims to see beyond the financial picture to the desired outcome for the assets he’s managing, embracing the mentality that every financial plan has a purpose. This helps clients reframe and better understand their relationship with their money, and leverage this to help enhance security and accumulate wealth.
Hiram has been a recipient of The lives Leader Aware for three consecutive years, is a recipient of The Client Builder Award, and a consistent Leader’s Club qualifier. He has also been inducted into Who’s who in Latin America for his performance in financial services, as well as into the Continental Who’s Who, as a Pinnacle Professional in the field of finance.

Through his upbringing and experience, Hiram has learned to prioritized the personal relationships he builds with clients above all else, enabling an awareness of his clients’ goals beyond what they represent financially. His unique ability to communicate with clients is reflected through his involvements outside his profession. Hiram balances his experience in wealth management with participation in several outreach programs, including NY Cares and Dominicans on Wall Street (DOWS), where he has held office as President of the Public Relations and Fundraising Committee from 2006 and 2008. Hiram was also a New York City Chapter Inroads Scholar, which is a competitive leadership program for students.

Prior to joining Strategies for Wealth, Hiram was an Associate Director at UBS Americas Inc., where he served as a credit analyst responsible for underwriting various warehouse credit facilities for the Asset Backed Securities (ABS) lending portfolio. He was also a Senior Associate for the Financial Institution Group (FIG) at Moody’s Investors Service, where he researched and analyzed quantitative and qualitative information for issuer credit analysis, covering commercial finance, consumer finance, credit cards, and auto captive sectors. Hiram’s experience in complex transactions has been enhanced by multiple professional training programs throughout his career, including Cash Flow, Debt Capacity and transaction Structuring at Pimley & Pimley Inc.; Structured Finance training at Moody’s; and Securitization and ABS training at Fitch. Additionally, Hiram is Bloomberg Certified by Bloomberg University.

Hiram holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance with a concentration in Economics from Manhattanville College in New York, where he was the recipient of the Manhattanville College Board of Trustees Scholarship from 1996 to 2000.


Deborah Katznelson,

Geriatric Social Work Consultant
Coming Soon
Maria Batlle

Maria Batlle

Founder & CEO, Maria Batlle Foundation

In 2013, as a multimedia artist in residence at the Altos de Chavón School of Design, affiliated with Parsons School of Design, I started exploring the benefits of music in education together with Deaf students in a little school of La Romana, located in the East of the Dominican Republic. Because of the initiatives I was creating for Deaf students I was admitted for a program called Arts and the Passion-Driven Learning taught by virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble at Harvard University. I kept working on creative and innovative activities for the Deaf students and the word kept spreading around. I was invited to present lectures about the work I was doing at Columbia University, Yale, Tesla Motors and Sir Richard Branson’s private island. In 2018, I was granted the honor of being a Harvard University Project Zero Fellow and in 2019, Georgetown University Global Competitiveness Leadership Fellow. Considering I am self-taught and didn’t have a formal education, I call this the wisdom of not knowing. The work I’ve done with my foundation has been published over the years by The New York Times, Forbes, El País, among others. The work I’ve done as a public servant, since 2021, has been included and highlighted in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Annual Report, 2021 and 2022. In 2022, Coldplay included, as part of their global tour, the initiatives I started with the Deaf students back in 2013. It’s the first inclusive tour in history.

Tanya Birl-Torres

Tanya Birl-Torres

Creative Director, Choreographer, Movement Director, Systems Change Facilitator

Tanya is a New York City based Creative Director/ Choreographer, Movement Director, Systems Change facilitator and Mother who has worked on productions such as: How I Learned What I Learned (OSF), Twelfth Night (The Public Theater), The Red Letter Plays (The Signature Theater), Comedy of Errors (Classic Stage company), As You Like It (The Guthrie Theater) and Peter and the Starcatcher (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). She has performed on Broadway in The Lion King, Memphis the Musical, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and On The Town, as well as many off-Broadway and touring productions including the Wiz, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin and West Side Story. As a Systems Change facilitator, she has worked closely with the Illuminate Network and Systems Sanctuary through her own company SoHumanity to bring embodied practice into the world of social innovation, bridging conversations across differences. She has created workshops with World renowned Educator, Chris Emdin on Reality Pedagogy as Presencing and leads retreats on ‘Reclaiming the Rights of the Body’ and ‘Embodying Change’. Tanya is currently in residency in collaboration with Hi-Arts and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for her original choreo-play titled ‘A Play in 3 Movements’ where she creates a communal theatrical experience around the healing of intergenerational trauma and its links to auto-immunity in women. She is a 2022/23 MAP Fund Grantee and a 2022 NoMAA grant recipient. She currently serves as Associate Creative Director at Bloomberg Philanthropies where she has collaborated and brought a creative spark to global policy initiatives such as the C40 Bloomberg Awards in Chicago, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires and Cape Town, South Africa. She is the Artistic Director of the Washington Heights Womanist Arts Festival whose mission is to bridge everyBody to liberation led by the example of Black and Latinx women. The Festival is the recipient of the 2023 CitizensNYC grant and NewYorker4NY honoree featured as ‘Women breaking glass ceilings & exercising their voice in NYC and beyond’. Tanya is excited to serve, learn and lead while being a part of ushering PTP into this next new phase of institutional and creative growth and development. @sohumanity


Cindy Caplan

Chief Legal Council, The Jewish Museum
Cindy Caplan is an attorney and Museum professional with over 20 years of experience. She currently serves as Chief Legal Counsel of the Jewish Museum, where she oversees all legal matters related to the Museum and is a member of the Museum’s senior leadership team. Previously, Cindy served as in-house labor and employment counsel for Conde Nast magazines and for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cindy served as a Trustee of her synagogue, Congregation Beth Elohim, for six year, and has done extensive pro bono work for several organizations, including refugee and immigration petitions. Originally from Canada, Cindy now lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters, Noa and Kaya.
Monica Hidalgo Headshot

Monica Hidalgo

Corporate Director of Community Affairs, NewYork-Presbyterian

Monica Hidalgo (pronouns she, hers, ella) has dedicated her career to education and public health. After college, she taught Science and Anthropology to children ages 3-7 and their caregivers in the Science and Nature Program of the American Museum of Natural History. As part of the Museum’s outreach work, she also taught science essons in Spanish at the Goddard Riverside Headstart program and led professional development trainings on Science and Museum Education for teachers. She is grateful that she learned how to teach and become an inquisitive learner by studying in the halls of the AMNH.

In 2002, she was hired at Bard High School Early College – a collaboration between Bard College and the New York City Department of Education that allows students to earn their Regents high school diploma and Associate’s Degree in four years. Her last charge at BHSEC was as director of the Admissions Department. In this role she led the school’s admissions process, including recruitment, to select a 9th grade cohort that represented the socioeconomic diversity of New York City. During her tenure at BHSEC,
she assisted with the creation and implementation of the BHSEC Early College Academy – an academic enrichment program that prepared public middle school Students from District 1 for admissions to the Early College.

Ms. Hidalgo joined NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) in 2009 as program manager of the Lang Youth Medical Program (Lang Youth), which was started by the late philanthropist Eugene Lang. Lang Youth is a medical pipeline youth development program that recruits students in the 6th grade from public middle schools in Washington Heights and Inwood who have an interest in the health sciences. It was at NYP that Monica was introduced to public health, and she commenced a new professional trajectory. After four years overseeing Lang Youth, she became program director in the Division of Community and Population Health. In this position she developed, oversaw, and grew a diverse portfolio of evidenced-based community programs that leveraged the hospital’s resources to improve the health outcomes of the communities it serves. She has extensive experience not only in program development, implementation, and sustainability, but also in leadership and hospital operations.

In her current role as Corporate Director of Community Affairs, Ms. Hidalgo is responsible for standardizing and implementing the community relations and engagement strategy across NYP’s 10 campuses. She cultivates, maintains, and supports the Hospital’s relationships with community-based organizations, elected officials, and community leaders in New York City and Westchester County. She develops strategies to help improve the health and well-being of the communities surrounding NYP’s campuses and advises on internal policies related to Government and Community Affairs. Monica also co-chairs NYP’s LGBTQ+ Task Force, which was established to ensure this community receives comprehensive and equitable treatment.

Ms. Hidalgo holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from New York University and a master’s degree in Policy and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and immigrated to the United States at the age of four with her mother, later followed by her father and brothers. She was raised in Washington Heights, where she proudly resides with her two children.

Jose Morales

Jose Morales

Entrepreneur Creative

Born and raised in New York City's Washington-Heights/Inwood, Jose Morales is an entrepreneur who promotes cultural growth and empowerment. Since 2000, I have founded various ventures within my community that have had a lasting impact, including
Illustrious Entertainment, Soundbox 78, La Sala 78, APT78, and Bodega Pizza.

In addition to my business ventures, in 2013, I founded APT.78, a marketing agency with a strong focus on activating, creating, and amplifying Latino culture. Through this agency, my team and I work tirelessly to empower the community by highlighting its rich heritage and contributions.

With a deep-rooted commitment to my community's well-being, my journey as an entrepreneur and advocate continues as I strive to create spaces and opportunities that celebrate diversity, uplift the community, and drive positive change.

Melanie Wuong Photo

Melanie Wuong

Vice President, Data Science - Quantium

Melanie’s core mission is to combine her technical acumen, passion for empowerment and leadership skills to drive thoughtful application of data science for positive change in her communities. She was awarded the 2022 Women Leading Tech winner in the data science category, a recognition of her impact in the STEM field and wider community. Melanie currently works as VP of Data Science in an analytics consulting company, where she builds data-driven solutions while supporting the continued success of the company’s US practice. As an immigrant WOC, Melanie knows her presence in rooms where decisions get made is both a statement and responsibility, neither which she takes lightly. Her goal is to continue using her platform to advocate for the under-represented and mentor aspiring data scientists.

Complementing Melanie’s love for data is her love for theatre and the creative arts. Although she discovered its beauty only later in life, she hasn’t looked back since and considers it a monumental life milestone. As a Malaysian who has lived abroad for most of her life, immersing in live theatre and music remains a constant source of joy and means of expression for her experiences when she can’t find the words. Melanie joins PTP with the aim of giving back to the community that has given her so much. She believes in a world where the powers of both data science and the creative arts come together for the better and intends to be a driving force in this space. When away from code, you can typically find her scavenging in craft markets, pursuing National Park trails, blissfully exploring Prospect Park or in a theater seat next to you.

We are seeking candidates for our board of directors who reflect the community we serve, are passionate about the work, and are committed to leveraging their resources to support the organization’s development.
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