Meet our staff and board. We are honored to work with and on behalf of our clients who are fighting for dignity in their work.
Alex joined WJCNY in 2023. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work with a minor in Sociology from SUNY Brockport. She prevoiusly worked at the Migrant Education Program where she served a migrant educator for out of school youth and in-school students. Being a first-generation Peruvian American has pushed Alex to accomplish her goals and make the reason why her mother came to America worth it. She loves to spend my free time watching Bob's Burgers with her cat Sunshine. She can be reached at aleonaro(at)wjcny.org.
Cristina Brito, Esq., Staff Attorney (she/her/ella)
Cristina joined WJCNY in 2021 as a staff attorney. Cristina represents both individuals and groups in state and federal court actions involving claims of wage and hour, discrimination, and other labor-related violations. Prior to joining WJCNY, Cristina worked as a labor and employment law paralegal for 9 years at a private firm in Manhattan, primarily working with low-wage immigrant workers in wage theft and discrimination cases. While working full-time, Cristina received her J.D. in 2021 from CUNY School of Law where she was a Senior Staff Editor for the City University of New York Law Review and research assistant to Professor Chaumtoli Huq. During her time in law school, Cristina worked in the Community and Economic Development Clinic collaborating with and counseling grassroots community groups fighting for economic change and social justice. Cristina has interned with Catholic Migration Services’ Workers Rights Program and served as a Judicial Intern to U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom in the Eastern District of New York. Cristina enjoys yoga, hiking, and spending time with her family and dog. She can be reached at (845) 331-6615 ext. 1009 or cbrito(at)wjcny.org.
Cecilia Cortina, Survivor Services Advocate (she/her/ella)
Cecilia joined WJCNY in 2018 she started as the Human Trafficking Specialist after volunteering with the organization. In her role, she assisted victims of human trafficking, organized two task forces in the North Country and Capital Region of New York State as well as gave training on Human Trafficking to law enforcement, services providers, and the community. Currently Cecilia has taken the position of the Survivor Services Advocate. As a case manager she refers assistance to survivors in navigating the complex system of social supports, including housing, counseling, mental health and substance abuse supports needed to rebuild their lives. Previously, Cecilia worked as an outreach specialist in Mexico with government and nonprofit organizations focused on social development and environmental justice. A native of Mexico, Cecilia enjoys yoga, running, hiking and yes, movement! You can reach her at (845) 331-6615 x 1012 or ccortina(at)wjcny.org.
David, bilingual Senior Immigration Attorney, joined WJCNY in 2010. He files various visa applications and provides representation in removal proceedings, primarily for victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault. David has represented agricultural and other low-wage workers in Federal Court and administrative proceedings for cases involving human trafficking, employment discrimination, and wage theft. He graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2005, after earning a Master’s degree in Education, and a BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. With almost 16 years of legal experience, David previously worked at the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, NY and clerked at the Appellate Court of Connecticut. He has taught ESOL in Spain and New York City, where he also worked as caseworker for children in foster care. He can be reached at (585) 325-3050 x 2008 or dirving(at)wjcny.org.
Emma Kreyche, Director of Advocacy, Outreach & Education (she/her/they/them/elle/ella)
Emma brings two decades of experience as a social justice organizer, advocate, and educator. Since joining WJCNY in 2012, her work has focused on community outreach, know-your-rights education, and advocacy to combat abuses in low-wage industries and advance the rights of immigrant workers in New York State, particularly farmworkers. Emma has been involved in several successful local and statewide legislative campaigns. In 2019, she served as statewide coordinator of the Green Light NY Coalition and led a successful grassroots campaign to restore driver’s license access for immigrant New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. She currently serves on the steering committee of the Fund Excluded Workers Coalition, which won $2.1 billion in pandemic relief for excluded workers in 2021 and is currently fighting to permanently repair the holes in New York’s unemployment social safety net. Emma received her Bachelor of Arts from Bard College and her Master in Philosophy in American Studies from New York University. She can be reached at (845) 331-6615 x 1006 or ekreyche(at)wjcny.org.
Erin Young, Director of Labor Relations (she/her/ella)
Erin joined WJCNY in 2022 as the Director of Labor Relations. Erin was the former Executive Director for the Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, and Union Business Representative for Workers United Rochester Regional Joint Board. With her understanding of the plight of the American Worker, she is familiar with the struggles of defending human rights in our community. With a degree in Communication from the State University at Buffalo and training through Cornell ILR, working with Organized Labor was the course of action to accomplish the many goals for economic and social development. The Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation encompasses 11 counties, 4 Central Labor Councils and two Building and Construction Trades Councils, of which Erin has worked with over the course of several years. The focus on legislative action to ensure appropriate protections are in place for our communities’ workers, along with addressing areas identified with high concentrations of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, have been her priorities, leading her to work with State and Federal Legislators on workplace policy and legislation affecting the workforce. Erin has been a panelist on Women in the Workplace conferences hosted by the Workforce Development Institute, and has conducted educational programs on the disenfranchised workers in several industries. She is honored to be a part of our team and could not be more proud to work with such incredible people who are passionate about the work they do for others. Erin can be reached at eyoung(at)wjcny.org.
Gloribell Figueroa, Worker Rights Advocate (she/her/ella)
Gloribell joined WJCNY in February of 2023 as Worker Rights Advocate, based in our Rochester office. In this role, she is involved with various aspects community outreach, legal rights education, and client advocacy. Prior to joining our team, Gloribell spent 11 years as a migrant educator with the Northwest Regional Migrant Education and Tutorial Support Services Program Center at the SUNY Brockport. She Holds a BA in Education from Turabo University of Puerto Rico. Gloribell can be reached at gfigueroa(at)wjcny.org.
Jarim Virgen Rivera, Outreach Coordinator (he/him/él)
Born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, Jarim came to the US when he was 16 years old, leaving his entire family behind as he was seeking for a better future for him and his loved ones. Since he came to the US, he felt solidarity with the Hispanic community as he knew the struggle that his father and others had to endure to cross the border. During his college year, he joined social justice and leadership building organizations such as Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson (Currently For the Many) and ADELANTE Student Voices, offering a fresh and strong enthusiasm on immigration justice. After graduating from SUNY ORANGE Community College with a degree in Liberal Arts, he kept moving forward in the fight for immigration justice by co-founding Las Mejores Huellas de los Inmigrantes in the Hudson Valley region. Later, he joined WJCNY in 2021 as a Project Coordinator for the Excluded Workers Fund program. As a Christian, what moves him the most is his love for God, his family, and the people who suffer for injustice. He likes the Bible, videogames, sports, movies, music, animals, humble people, and the sea. Jarim can be reached at [email protected] or (845) 331-6615 x 2003.
Julie Dragonetti, Campaign Organizer (she/her/ella)
Julie joined WJCNY in 2022 as a Campaign Organizer. In this role, Julie works on statewide legislative campaigns to advance workers’ and immigrants’ rights. This work is collaborative by nature, and Julie is part of various coalitions of organizations across the state fighting for justice. Julie has a background in case management and earned her Bachelor of Science in Counseling & Human Services from the University of Scranton. Julie has previously organized with the Syracuse Immigrant & Refugee Defense Network and volunteered with the Workers’ Center of Central New York. You can reach her at (585) 325-3050 x 2010 or jdragonetti (at) wjcny.org.
Kathleen Olds, Legal Fellow (she/her/they/them/elle/ella)
Kathleen joined WJCNY in August 2022 as a legal fellow. Her project focuses on labor, housing, and immigration rights for farmworkers. She graduated from Yale Law School in May 2022, where she was a student director of the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic. She is committed to fighting for worker, immigrant, and climate justice both in her work as a lawyer and outside of it. In her spare time, she loves to skateboard, hike, and bike around New York.
Laura Revercomb, Esq., Labor & Employment Attorney (she/her/ella)
Laura joined WJCNY in 2016 as a staff attorney. Laura represents both individuals and groups - including survivors of labor trafficking - in state and federal court actions involving claims of worker exploitation, wage theft, discrimination, and related labor violations. A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Denver, College of Law, Laura has over 15 years of legal practice experience, including over a decade of experience dedicated to labor law and civil rights. Laura has significant experience handling discrimination cases based on race, sex, gender and national origin, including sexual harassment and sexual violence within the workplace. Laura works out of the Kingston office and is a member of the Capital Region Anti-Trafficking Task Force in Albany and serves as a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Kingston. Laura can be reached at (845) 331-6615 ext. 1008 or lrevercomb(at)wjcny.org.
Lesly Mejia, Paralegal (she, her, ella)
Lesly can be reach at lmejia(at)wjcny.org.
Lewis Papenfuse, Interim Executive Director (he/him/él)
Lew began his work with what was then Farmworker Legal Services of NY in 1993 as a paralegal/outreach worker. Since 1993, Lew has coordinated and implemented several civil rights and workplace safety projects, served as Supervising Paralegal for five years and was President of the Farmworker Legal Service Workers Union, NOLSW/2320 UAW for seven years. He has been a member of several state-wide coalitions, including the Governor’s Task Force on Exploited Workers and has been a speaker/presenter at multiple conferences about the rights of workers. He is especially proud of his collaboration with Renan Salgado, James Schmidt and Margaret Billyard in creating and then supporting a nationally respected Anti-Human Trafficking Project that is on the forefront of the battle against labor exploitation and victimization. He became Co-Director in 2004 and upon the retirement in 2006 of the longtime Executive Director, James F. Schmidt, Lew was appointed Executive Director. He remained in that position until his retirement in December, 2018. Never saying never, Lew has returned in 2023 to serve as the Interim Executive Director. He can be reached at lewis.papenfuse(at)wjcny.org.
Mary McConnell, Development and Grants Coordinator (she/her/ella)
Mary joind WJCNY as a Development and Grants Coordinator in 2023. Born and raised in an agricultural region of northern Maine, Mary moved to New York to attend Rochester Institute of Technology. After receiving her degree in graphic design and working for various design firms, she spent many years as a freelance designer before transitioning to grant writing. Prior to joining WJCNY, Mary worked as a grant writer for YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County for seven years. While there, she worked on securing funds for housing, domestic violence, and racial equity issues. She spends her free time cooking, knitting, and walking; and enjoys going to yard sales and flea markets to add to her collection of vintage textiles. You can reach her at mmcconnell(at)wjcny.org.
Maureen Hussain, Esq., Legal Director (she/her/ella)
Maureen joined WJCNY in 2018 as a staff attorney and has served as its legal director since 2021. She is humbled to represent hard-working people who are standing up for their rights against discrimination, sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions, subminimum wages, and other forms of labor exploitation, and to collaborate with community leaders to try to make our laws and our society more just. She was part of the WJCNY trial team that won one of the top 100 labor and employment verdicts in the U.S. in 2019, on behalf of three construction workers who had worked off-the-clock and had been denied overtime pay. Prior to joining WJCNY, Maureen worked on employment, immigration, housing, access to education, and local governance matters at Catholic Migration Services in Queens and the Hudson Valley Justice Center in Westchester County, and served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Debra Freeman, Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is a graduate of Duke University, where she received degrees in computer science and comparative area studies, and Harvard Law School, where she participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. She can be reached at (845) 331-6615 ext 1011 or mhussain(at)wjcny.org.
Olivia Post Rich, Esq., Labor & Employment Attorney (any pronouns/cualquier pronombre)
Olivia joined the WJCNY team in 2021 as a Staff Attorney at our Rochester office and is honored to represent workers in federal and state court on matters of exploitation, wage theft, discrimination, and other violations of labor and employment law. Olivia received a bachelor’s in public policy and a law degree from New York University. While at NYU, Olivia was involved in organizing on racial justice and environmental justice issues and believes strongly in the power of communities to disrupt injustice and create systemic change. Olivia gained experience in employment, immigration, and civil rights law through various internships and clinics, and graduated from NYU Law as a Pro Bono Scholar, spending their last semester working full-time at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Prior to joining WJCNY, Olivia was a law clerk to the Honorable Carl E. Stewart on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Olivia loves being outdoors, meditating, and spending time with friends, family, and their two dogs. Olivia can be reached at opostrich(at)wjcny.org.
Pablo Leon, Worker Rights Advocate (he/him/él)
Pablo joined WJCNY in 2022 as a Worker Rights Advocate. He knows first-hand the issues immigrant workers face in this country as his parents are immigrants from Hidalgo, Mexico. Pablo received his B.A in Public Relations from SUNY Oswego and is now dedicated to pursuing justice for those who are denied human rights. Previously he has interned at For the Many, a social justice group looking to transform New York so it works for all people, as well as volunteered with the Saint Baldricks Foundation raising money for childhood cancer research. Pablo enjoys spending time with his cats, playing video games, and watching YouTube movie reviews. You can reach him at pleon(at)WJCNY.org.
Renán Salgado, Anti-Human Trafficking Director (he/him/él)
Renán, WJCNY's Anti-Human Trafficking Director, has over 20 years experience in the identification, extraction, and assisting of labor trafficking survivors. Through his work, he has trained local, state, national and international law enforcement and service providers, including the Honduran, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and do Mexican National Prosecution teams, Judges, Investigators, and service providers, as well as INTERPOL. He has assisted in the founding of multiple task forces throughout NY State and has provided technical assistance to various human trafficking task forces throughout the United States. Through his work and life experience with at-risk populations, Renán has developed innovative techniques to investigate potential cases of labor trafficking among isolated and difficult to access populations and is a consultant for the Office of Victims of Crime and the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center. You can reach him at (585) 325-3050 x 2006 or rsalgado(at)wjcny.org.
Sonia Rivera, Administrative Assistant (she/her/ella)
Sonia joined WJCNY in 2018 as our Administrative Assistant. For 20 years Sonia worked in administration for the Municipal Government in Cidra, Puerto Rico. In 2014, she moved to Rochester with her family in search of better opportunities. Sonia received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Ana G. Mendez University in Gurabo, Puerto Rico and a secretarial course from Northwestern Business College. Prior to joining WJCNY, Sonia worked as a MIS/Data Specialist for the Migrant Education Program. She enjoys spending time with her family, salsa dancing, shopping, and watching Netflix. You can reach her at (585) 325-3050 or srivera(at)wjcny.org.
Todd joined WJCNY in 2023 after serving as a finance consultant for WJCNY through Conlon and Company, CPAs, PLLC. After graduating from SUNY Albany, he worked for a local CPA firm where he obtained his CPA license. Todd has experience in accounting and finance with several nonprofit organizations in Western NY. He has served on several volunteer boards of Rochester-area nonprofits and participated in the Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) Program of the NYSSCPA. Todd is a Buffalo Bills fan and enjoys fishing. He can be reached at thumphrey(at)wjcny.org.
Wendy Mejia-Ochoa, Paralegal (she/her/ella)
Wendy joined WJCNY in 2022 as a Paralegal. Originally from Acatlán, Puebla, Mexico, she was brought to the United States when she was 2 years old and was raised in Newburgh, NY. Growing up, she saw a lot of inequality when it came to the (Latinx/Latino) community, from lack of language assistance to unsafe working conditions. Wendy received her Bachelor of Arts in Politics from New York University. Previously, she worked at TD Bank and gained knowledge in the banking industry. Her goal in life is to help others and break through generational barriers. She is glad to have found an organization with similar values, where we can both keep growing together. You can reach her at WMejia-Ochoa(at)wjcny.org.
William Torres, Administrative Assistant (he/him/él)
Will joined WJCNY as an Administrative Assistant in 2022. A veteran of the United States Marines, he has worked as a Program Specialist for Arc of Ulster-Green, supporting people with mental disabilities in living their fullest lives. He also has five years of experience as an Office Manager at a personal injury law firm. He also has experience in the retail industry. Will enjoys hiking with his fiancée, daughter, and two dogs. He enjoys watching “B” rated movies. You can reach him at wtorres(at)wjcny.org.
VOLUNTEER EMERITUS ATTORNEYS
Douglas Kramer, Esq.
Honorable Josanna Berkow, Esq.
Yolanda Villa, Esq.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Peter Rosenblum, Esq.
Erin Casey, Esq.
Sandra Cuellar Oxford
Milan Bhatt, Esq.