Founder and Executive Director
Claudia Espinosa has been working with young Latinas for the past eleven years. Her work with this population has enabled her to learn directly from these young women the needs that must be addressed to ensure that they can reach their full potential. An immigrant herself, she understands the challenges that must be overcome in order to succeed in a foreign country. Claudia knows that resilience, determination, commitment and hard work, along with self-confidence are crucial to mastering challenges such as learning a new language, adapting to a new culture and separating from one’s family. Her success in each of these areas gives her the credibility to be a role model to show, guide and support young Latinas and other young women in attaining their most ambitious goals.
Claudia received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Forensic Psychology with magna cum laude honors from the City University of New York. She earned her second M.A. degree in Public Administration from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Claudia also holds an Ed.M. degree in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Claudia is currently pursuing her doctorate degree at NYU Steinhardt.
Michelle Garzon is a recent graduate from Queens College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Urban Studies. She is passionate about cultures and social relations. Growing up in a multiethnic neighborhood in Queens, NY exposed Michelle to a diverse environment while also allowing her to maintain her Colombian roots. As a Latina, Michelle hopes to see the Latinx community progress and prosper against the systemic issues its people endure. Her goal is to bring awareness to the various inequalities Latinas of all ages experience. More specifically, in ending the stigma against mental health within the Latinx community. Michelle is inspired by the mission of the L.O.V.E. Mentoring Program and its goal to support and empower young women throughout the city and is delighted to be part of the team.
Stephanie Cruz is a recent graduate of Queens College and she will continue her education to receive her Master of Science in Education in Literacy Technology from Birth-Grade 6. She is also in an internship program called the Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) at Queens College where she is being trained to address the needs of diverse learners in Southeastern Queens schools through professional development. Stephanie is grateful to be a part of the L.O.V.E. team and has learned so much from the staff and the girls in the L.O.V.E. program. Stephanie has a passion for teaching and wants to educate young women in the area of mental health and support them through their college process.
Lev moved to New York in 2001 from Lithuania. He started building websites in high school and received a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from NYU. Lev is driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for developing beautiful and efficient software. After several years freelancing as a web developer and working on early stage startups, he began working as a software engineer at later stage startups in New York City.
With over 20 years experience in nonprofit leadership, Wendy Reynoso has a proven track record in management, leadership coaching, fundraising, strategic planning, and program development. In addition, she has extensive experience in creating, facilitating, and leading training sessions. Wendy has served as Head of School/Executive Director for Storefront Academy Harlem (formerly the Children's Storefront) and Executive Director of The GO Project.
Wendy holds a C.A.S. in Educational Administration from Steinhardt School of Education, New York University; an Ed. M. in Sociology of Education, with a concentration in Educational Policy, from Teachers College, Columbia University; an M.A. in Elementary/Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a B.A. from Oberlin College.
Wendy is a founding board member of Storefront Academy Charter School-South Bronx and Summer Steps. She also serves on the boards of Schools That Can, Yspaniola, L.O.V.E and she is Co-Chair of the New York City Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board.
Anjanette is a skilled trial lawyer with vast experience representing Fortune 500 and other clients in various industries against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and denial of employee benefits before federal and state courts and administrative agencies in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Ohio. She has successfully tried employment cases to verdict, negotiated settlements, and briefed and argued appeals before the Third Circuit, and New York and New Jersey state appellate courts. Given her litigation experience, clients regularly call on her for advice on compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws, as well as to conduct sensitive workplace investigations.
Prior to her employment law practice, Anjanette was a New York State Prosecutor where she tried narcotics and domestic violence cases. Anjanette also drafted and argued appeals before the Second Department. Anjanette also clerked for the Honorable Shelby Highsmith in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.
Michelle is a Principal in Ernst & Young’s Advisory Services practice. She has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry advising global financial institutions in risk management, regulatory and finance initiatives. She directs multi-disciplinary teams in large-scale, high visibility projects, managing client interaction and bridging communication across areas to drive results. She is also the Financial Services Advisory Diversity and Inclusiveness (D&I) Leader. Michelle works with EY leadership to define and execute EY’s D&I strategy and priorities and ensure equity in the processes. Michelle has a B.S. in Finance/Business Administration from Stonehill College. She is from Brazil and is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English.
Danna M. DeBlasio, a Vice President at CMW, is a seasoned professional with a proven track record of delivering for her clients, guiding them through the intricate workings of New York City and New York State government. For the last eight years, she worked for a prominent New York government relations firm, most recently running its New York City office.
From 2011 to 2012, Danna spent a year in Panama overseeing client relations and special projects. While in Panama City, she played a vital role in coordinating ground logistics for Sports Illustrated as well as the ABC television series, “The Bachelor.”
Danna earned her MBA from Florida International University’s Chapman Graduate School of Business and her Bachelor’s from Union College, where she double majored in psychology and political science, graduating with honors.
In 2014, Danna was recognized as one of the “40 Under 40 New York City Rising Stars” by City & State Magazine and in 2018 she was recognized as one of 'Queens Stars Under 40' by Schneps Communications. Danna is active with several NYC based organizations and is a member of ABNY’s Young Professionals Steering Committee.
Diana Gasperoni, LCSW a psycotherapist and founder of BeHER a group practice in NYC, dedicated to the mental health of women. She has a Masters in Social Work from NYU, a Bachelors in Psychology from Salem State University, post graduate work 1 yr program certificate from the Center for Modern Psychoanalysis, 1 year certificate program from the Center for Group Studies.
A former mentor during the Latinas On the Verge of Excellence Program’s inception in 2012, Damely Tineo rejoins the L.O.V.E. program, this time as a member of its Junior Board. As a Latina herself, Damely understands the hardships and many obstacles that are often faced by Latinas in this country. She sees herself in the girls L.O.V.E. serves which is why she so proudly supports its mission. Having benefited from mentorship opportunities in high school, Damely understands the utmost importance of having guidance throughout one’s educational and personal journey.
During her spare time, in addition to helping coordinate fundraising/networking events for L.O.V.E., Damely co-facilitates coding lessons through Girls Who Code to girls in grades 3 to 5. Her desire to see more women in STEM careers, specifically in the technology sector, derives from her own journey transitioning careers into software engineering. A recent graduate of Flatiron, with a B.A. from New York University and M.S. from the Villanova School of Business, alongside L.O.V.E., Damely hopes to continue encouraging other young women to pursue their interests and always dream big.
Vamos girls! ¡Si se puede!
Stephanie Perez was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from CUNY Hunter College in 2016 and has since gained professional experience at a public accounting firm providing assurance services to not-for-profit clients, including community development financial institutions and social service agencies. Stephanie has been volunteering as a financial consultant for the L.O.V.E organization since 2017 and is a co-founder of the L.O.V.E Junior Board as of 2019. What drew her into partnering with the organization is her belief that there is a pool of unrealized talent in the Hispanic/Latinx community that can be unlocked through opportunities in education. As a Summer 2020 mentor participant for the i L.O.V.E Mentoring pilot program, she has witnessed first-hand the positive effects of the program in providing young girls with the tools and self-confidence to accomplish their goals.
Megan Abron is a recent graduate of Birkbeck, University of London where she earned a Master's degree in the Politics of Population, Migration and Ecology. Previously, she worked in the immigration field in New York. Megan moved to NYC from Texas in 2011 when she began studying at NYU for a Bachelor's degree in Global Studies. It was during this time when she became involved with L.O.V.E. assisting as a Development intern, and has been dedicated to the mission ever since!