Our Staff

Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of The HOPE Program

Jennifer Mitchell is the Executive Director of The HOPE Program, of which SSBx is a division. Jennifer joined HOPE in 2011 and has overseen an increase in New Yorkers served, implemented the organization’s five-year strategic plan, and facilitated the development of our staff. Under her passionate leadership, HOPE has developed core values, built its board of directors, and implemented cutting-edge strategies to empower our staff to provide the highest quality services through access to data, self-care techniques, motivational interviewing, and other techniques. She serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition and has brought many new partnerships to HOPE. Prior to joining HOPE, Jennifer led programs for The Doe Fund for over 12 years. She holds an MPA from Columbia University and a BA in Sociology from SUNY Binghamton.

Irene Branche, Chief Development Officer

Irene joined HOPE in 2011 and is responsible for managing all of HOPE’s and SSBx’s fundraising initiatives. She has led HOPE in the development of an annual fundraiser through which over 95% of revenues directly support HOPE operations and helped HOPE achieve Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builder® award. She also achieved support to expand HOPE’s development capacity. Irene serves on the Board of Directors of College and Community Fellowship. Before joining HOPE, Irene served as Senior Development Manager for Read Alliance. Irene holds an MPA from Baruch College and BA in French from Roanoke College.

Sandra Grayman, Administrative Assistant

Sandra Grayman joined SSBx in 2015. Prior to joining the team, she worked for the New York City Board of Education for ten years. Sandra attended an undergraduate program at New Rochelle College. As a lifelong New Yorker who has lived in the Bronx for many years (25 of which were in Hunts Point), Sandra is proud to be part of an organization that promotes the preservation of the Bronx and the City at large.

Tzlil Hertzberg, Employment Specialist/ Retention Associate

Tzlil Hertzberg has lived in New York for the past 4 years. She has her Mental Health Counseling Masters degree from Hunter College. During her studies, Tzlil worked as a program manager for New York University’s “World of Words”, an Astor grant funded program to promote improvement in early childhood vocabulary and literacy. She has experience with work readiness training from her time at The HOPE Program. There, she provided short term counseling, taught work wellness classes and assisted in the intake process. She has experience as a counselor, both in private practice and non profit organizations. Helping New Yorkers become work ready is an essential service to the community and she enjoys working will all types of people. Tzlil is excited to continue learning about and employing green practices and sustainability.

Rhonda James, Director of Finance & Operations, SmartRoofs & CoolRoofs

Rhonda James joined SSBx in 2013, after a decade working as an independent business consultant for small and mid-sized businesses. Prior to that, she spent nearly 20 years providing administrative assistance to companies in various industries, including investment banking and legal services. Rhonda has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Touro College, as well as an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science. A native of the Bronx, she learned about SSBx when she was looking to retrofit her two-family home to make it more energy efficient. She became a client of SSBx’s Bronx Energy Efficiency Program, and then an employee of SSBx. She’s been married for 22 years and has three children. In addition to retrofitting their home, Rhonda and her family recycle and minimize use of disposable plastics.

Robin Jenkins, Chief Financial & Operating Officer 

Robin Jenkins joined HOPE, the parent organization of Sustainable South Bronx, in 2015 and oversees all financial, contracting, human resources and administrative functions. She also spearheads the cross-departmental implementation of our five-year strategic plan. Prior to working at HOPE, Robin served as Director of Growth and Momentum at JustLeadershipUSA. She also has been a Project Manager for companies/organizations including Freelancers Union and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Robin holds a dual MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and University of Pittsburgh, an MA in Irish Studies from The Catholic University of America and a BA from Smith College.  She serves on the Board of Directors of Hour Children.

Barbara Kravitz, Acting Director, Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) Academy

After earning her BA from NYU, Barbara Kravitz taught English in both Jr. and Sr. High Schools in Brooklyn. She took a break from teaching to raise her three sons, who have since given her four grandsons.  Barbara has always had a passion for music and dancing but when she returned to work, she discovered a new but most powerful passion: helping others who struggle to find a pathway for living.  Over the past 15 years she has worked with the underserved populations of homeless and formerly incarcerated men supporting their efforts through education, training and work, to regain their dignity and place in society.

Alex Schneider, CoolRoofs Program Manager

Alex Schneider joined SSBx and The HOPE Program in September of 2015. He previously worked at The Fortune Society coordinating an evening education program for adults with histories of court involvement. Alex also volunteers with the People’s Education Initiative, providing education classes at a women’s correctional facility, and facilitating efforts to reduce recidivism through education. He has a Master’s of Nonprofit Management from The New School, and a B.A. from The University of Toronto. After work and on weekends you can find him rock climbing, playing ultimate frisbee, or just enjoying the city.

Migdalia Taveras, BEST Academy Director

Migdalia Taveras brings her energy and enthusiasm to the task of guiding BEST students and graduates through the process of finding employment. Prior to joining SSBx, she served as the Special Assistant to the President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, where she worked on economic development projects and community initiatives. Her years working in the Bronx have helped her develop relationships with community and business leaders, government representatives, and elected officials. She worked in the Office of Neighborhood Services in Washington D.C., where she successfully led and coordinated city agency resources for district residents.  Migdalia holds a Master’s degree in Public Management from the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College.  She enjoys working with the BEST team, “and connecting students to opportunities they normally would not have had.”