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leadership

Building on more than 100 years of successful programs, the dedicated employees of the International Institute of New England support thousands of refugees and immigrants as they pursue their goals and dreams every year.

Our leadership team brings wide-ranging expertise in education, social work, workforce development, program design, and community advocacy. Our Board of Directors and Leadership Council include corporate and community leaders from across New England.

IINE Leadership

Board of Directors

Sam Épée-Bounya

Managing Director at Wellington Management 

Sam Épée-Bounya is a partner at Wellington Management, and a member of the company’s Emerging Markets Debt Team. A native of Côte d’Ivoire, Sam spent much of his youth and childhood in Montreal, Canada. Prior to his work at Wellington Management, Sam was a Director of Global Capital Management at Columbia Management Advisors, the asset management division of Bank of America. He previously worked in various roles including high yield analyst, M&A, and manager of corporate strategy & development. In addition to his service on IINE’s Board of Directors, Sam serves on the MIT Sloan School of Business Alumni Association and as an Overseer of the Boston Museum of Science. Sam earned a MS. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland, an MBA, Finance from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He and his wife Alex, who is a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, have established a scholarship fund at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Zoltan Csimma

Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (Retired) at Genzyme Corporation

Zoltan Csimma has more than 45 years of senior leadership experience in technology, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Genzyme Corporation (now Sanofi), a global biotechnology company that employed more than 14,000 employees in 46 countries. He was a member of the Company’s Executive Committee and responsible for the development and implementation of worldwide Human Resource strategies and programs.

Prior to joining Genzyme in 2000, Mr. Csimma served concurrently as Vice President, Human Resources of Wyeth Research and Site Head for Genetics Institute (GI); he was Vice President, Human Resources and Operations at Genetics Institute, Inc. from 1988 through 1996. Earlier in his career, Zoltan led the Human Resources functions at various California high tech companies, beginning his career at General Electric Co.’s Nuclear Power Division.

Zoltan currently serves on the Board of Harvard Biomedical Science Careers Program (BSCP) and has recently rejoined the Internaitonal Institute of New England’s (IINE) Board of Directors after having served from 2003 to 2021 (Chair of the Board and of the Nominating Committee from 2016-2021). He is also a member of the Board of Advisors for Life Science Cares. Previously, Zoltan co-chaired the Human Capital Task Force that advised the Massachusetts Life Science Talent Initiative, alongside Gary Gottlieb, MD, CEO of Partners HealthCare.

A native of Hungary, Zoltan and his family lived in Germany as refugees (Displaced Persons, or DPs), and arrived in the United States as refugees (DPs) through Ellis Island, NYC. He is proud of his wife Cristina, his family, his heritage, his service as a Captain in the US Army, and his U.S. Citizenship.

Zoltan currently consults with biotechnology company CEOs on human resource related issues, actively continues his activities on not-for-profit boards of directors, and mentors’ individuals in the Life Sciences sector.

Scott Fitzgerald

Managing Partner (Retired) of the Boston, Massachusetts office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP

Scott is the retired Managing Partner of the Boston, Massachusetts office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP, and a retired Managing Director of Fragomen Immigration Services India Pvt., Ltd. He practiced exclusively in the field of corporate immigration and nationality law with Fragomen for over 30 years. Scott is a current Board Member of the American Immigration Council, the International Institute of New England, the Fordham Law School Alumni Association, and the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences. He was also a founding member of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs and the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition. Scott is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Fordham University School of Law.

Richard Golob

Tuan Ha-Ngoc

President and CEO (Retired) of AVEO Oncology

Tuan Ha-Ngoc has more than 40 years of senior leadership experience in the healthcare and biotech industry. From September 2015 to November 2018, he served as executive chairman of KEW, Inc. a molecular profiling company utilizing Next Generation Sequencing technology with a mission of bringing Precision Medicine to All.  Mr. Ha-Ngoc was the chairman of the Board of AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel cancer medicines, having been its president and CEO. He was co-founder, president and chief executive officer of deNovis, Inc., an enterprise-scale software development company for the automation of healthcare administrative functions. Mr. Ha-Ngoc was corporate vice president of strategic development for Wyeth, following Wyeth’s acquisition of Genetics Institute, where Mr. Ha-Ngoc served as executive vice president with responsibility for corporate development, commercial operations, and European and Japanese operations. He served in various management capacities with Baxter HealthCare. Mr. Ha-Ngoc is the recipient of the 2007 Ernst & Young New England Entrepreneur of the Year. He has served on the boards of various academic and nonprofit organizations including the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the Tufts School of Medicine, the Belmont Hill School, and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. He currently serves on the boards of the International Institute of Boston, and Harvard Medical School’s Biomedical Science Careers Program. Mr. Ha-Ngoc was born and grew up in Vietnam, became a refugee when Vietnam fell to the communists, and immigrated to the US in 1978. He is now happily retired to spend time with his family, including five grandchildren. 

Belinda Juran

Partner (Retired) at WilmerHale

Chair of the Program Committee

The daughter of an immigrant from Austria and Yugoslavia, Belinda Juran is actively involved in many non-profit organizations in Lowell. She joined the Board of IINE because of the Institute’s critical role in serving immigrant populations in Lowell. Belinda served as a partner at WilmerHale, a global law firm where she co-chaired both the technology transactions and licensing practice group and the life sciences practice group. She helped biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, high technology, and service companies achieve their strategic goals by advising them on all phases of their product development and commercialization relationships. Ms. Juran also provided general corporate advice to public and private companies and has represented companies in venture capital financings, initial public offerings, and mergers and acquisitions. She worked closely with WilmerHale’s IP litigation team, negotiating settlement and license agreements to settle ANDA and other litigation matters. Ms. Juran provided her clients with practical insights by combining her experience and education in technology, business, and law.  Prior to practicing law, Ms. Juran worked in the high technology industry for several years, where she developed sophisticated computer-aided engineering software, then managed engineering departments. She has also been a consultant to several high technology companies. Belinda has a BS in Mathematics from the University of Scranton, an MBA from Boston University, and a JD from Harvard Law School. In addition to serving on IINE’s Board of Directors, she is a member of the board of directors of UTEC, the United Teen Equality Center, a non-profit supporting proven-risk youth aged 17 to 25 in gateway cities of the Merrimack Valley of MA with wrap-around social services to help them achieve social and economic success. She also chairs the board of the Pollard Memorial Library Foundation, which raises funds to support major projects at the City of Lowell (MA) public library. 

Avak Kahvejian, PhD, Chair

General Partner at Flagship Pioneering

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chair of the Compensation and Nominating Committees

Born in Lebanon and raised in Canada, Avak Kahvejian, Ph.D., is a life science investor, entrepreneur, and Chief Executive Officer. He is of Armenian descent and involved in programs that support Armenian culture. Since 2011, he has been a partner at Flagship Pioneering, where he leads a team to invent and launch new therapeutic platforms. His work has led to the creation of multiple high-value public and private companies, including Seres Therapeutics; the first microbiome therapy platform; Rubius Therapeutics developing Red Cell Therapeutics, engineered red blood cells capable of providing potent and prolonged therapy for rare diseases, cancer, and autoimmunity; and Codiak BioSciences (developing engineered exosome therapeutics as cancer treatments). At Rubius, Avak served as founding President and CEO from 2013 to 2017 and then as Chief Information Officer until the end of 2018. He established the Rubius Erythrocyte Design (RED)™ platform and conceived and developed dozens of Red Cell Therapeutics (RCTs)™ spanning a range of therapeutic modalities including enzyme therapies, immuno-oncology, and oncology therapies, and tolerogenic drugs. Avak served as founding CEO of Ring Therapeutics, Cellarity, and Laronde, as co-CEO of Generate, and serves on the boards of these companies, including as the Chairman of Ring. Prior to Flagship, Avak was Vice President of Business Development at Helicos BioSciences. In this role, he developed and commercialized the world’s first single-molecule DNA sequencer. In addition to being the current Chair of IINE’s Board of Directors, Avak served on the board of the Canadian Entrepreneurs of New England, an organization dedicated to assisting Canadian entrepreneurs build ties with the Boston life sciences and technology ecosystems. Avak earned his Ph.D. and B.Sc. in Biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

William Krause

Senior Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager and Wealth Management at Northern Trust

Chair of the Investment Committee

Will joined Northern Trust in 2018 and is a member of a client services team that provides comprehensive wealth advice to institutions and high-net-worth individuals. He works closely with an array of expert planners, bankers, and trust and estate lawyers. Prior to joining Northern Trust, Will was a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Moody, Lynn & Lierberson, LLC and an investment advisor at Ballentine Partners. Early in his career he was an equities analyst at AH Lisanti Capital Growth LLC, a mutual fund headquartered in New York City. His is a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) and holds a BS in Government from Harvard University. Will is an active member of the Boston Security Analysts Society, serving on the Task Force of the BSAS Financial Literacy Initiative, a BSAS effort to improve the financial awareness, and thus financial standing, of the greater Boston area. He also serves as an Advisory Board member of the Institute of Contemporary Arts of Boston. Will is an avid cyclist and organizes an annual bike ride that raises funds for IINE’s programs and services. 

Shari Loessberg

Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management  

 Chair of the Development Committee

Shari Loessberg is an experienced entrepreneur in established and emerging markets with particular experience in emerging market venture capital fund formation, entrepreneurship in emerging economies, and the evolving issues and standards of corporate governance in the United States and abroad.  In the US, Loessberg founded and runs Big World, a strategy firm focused on new ventures in new markets. She also co-founded Zeta Networks, an optical networking firm built on technology developed at MIT. In addition, Loessberg spent five years in Moscow, where she was a partner, director, and general counsel of Brunswick (now Brunswick UBS), a startup investment firm in the brutally entrepreneurial Russian equity market. Shari is a director-designate of Parkhead Group Ltd., a startup investment firm in the Vietnamese equity market; a director of National Financial Partners; a director at the International Institute of New England; and chairman of the board of overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Shari holds a BA from Georgetown University, and a JD from the University of Texas.

Bopha Malone

Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell

Bopha Malone is currently the Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell, an organization that focuses on inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Prior to this role, Bopha was a Vice President and Regional Business Advisor at Enterprise Bank, where she supported business development and sales efforts for the Bank. She immigrated to the United States at the age of nine as a Cambodian refugee and credits caring mentors for helping her get to where she is today. As a first-generation Cambodian-American who benefited from the support of others, her passion is to seek to help others as she was helped.

Bopha has over 20 years of experience in serving the community and non-profit organizations. Bopha is a trustee of Circle Health (Lowell General Hospital), Lesley University (her alma mater), Middlesex Community College, and is President of the Women Working Wonders Fund. In 2018, Bopha was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Massachusetts’ 3rd district. She became the first Cambodian-American woman elected to public office in Massachusetts in 2020 as a member of Bedford’s Select Board. She is the first person of color to serve on Bedford’s Select Board.

In addition to serving on IINE’s Board of Directors, Bopha also serves as a board member of Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ) and the Bedford, MA Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club.

Libby May

Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Communications at Southern New Hampshire University

Libby May is a communications executive specializing in K-12 education and higher education issues. She currently serves as the Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Communications for Southern New Hampshire University, where her work includes internal and external communications, media relations, creative communications, events, community relations, and government affairs. A primary focus of Libby on our Board of Directors is to ensure that IINE’s Manchester office maintains and strengthens deep ties to the Greater Manchester community. Previously, Libby worked at The Hatcher Group, a communications firm specializing in non-profit communications. As Senior Director of Postsecondary Initiatives at The Hatcher Group, she was responsible for managing the daily and strategic communications and media relations needs of several higher education clients, including the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Lumina Foundation, and others.  Libby has also worked at a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C., where she managed the higher education portfolio, and at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), where she specialized in media relations, social media and issue advocacy. She also served as an Account Executive with Strauss Media Strategies, creating, producing and buying media spots and coordinating press tours. Libby holds a Bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. 

Theo Melas-Kyriazi

Advisor Partner at Flagship Pioneering
Chair of AFRC

Theo Melas-Kyriazi joined Flagship Pioneering as an Executive Partner in April 2019. Prior to joining the firm, Theo served as chief financial officer of Levitronix Technologies, a worldwide leader in magnetically levitated bearing less motor technology. Before Levitronix, Theo held a nearly two-decade career at Thermo Fisher Scientific, where he served in a variety of roles including Treasurer, CFO, and CEO of a publicly-traded Thermo subsidiary, where he increased revenues from $40M to $200M over 4 years. As Treasurer and then CFO, Theo was instrumental in raising $2B in equity and convertible debt; executing 5 IPOs of Thermo subsidiary companies; and executing a broad restructuring that transformed Thermo from $48 revenue diversified holding company into a $2B company focused on serving life science customers.  Over the last 20 years, Theo has served on the boards of multiple public and private healthcare and life science companies, including Moderna, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Thoratec Corporation, Helicos Biosciences, and Evelo Biosciences. He also served as an operating partner of a middle-market private equity firm from 2007 to 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from Harvard University.

Ann Merrifield

President and CEO (Retired) of PathoGenetix, Inc.

Ann serves as board director for a portfolio of public and private companies in the life sciences sector which include Flexion Therapeutics, Inc., InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp., and Veritas Genetics Inc. Previously, she spent an 18-year career at Genzyme Corporation, a diversified global biotechnology company. While at Genzyme, Ann serves as President, Genzyme Biosurgery, which she led global business strategy and operations across a portfolio of biologics and therapeutics devices She also served as President, Genzyme Genetics, playing a key role in developing this start-up genetic diagnostics business and bringing it to profitability. Following Genzyme from 2012-2014, she served as President, Chief Executive Officer and director of PathoGenetix Inc., a genomics company. Ms. Merrifield holds a B.A. in Zoology and a Master of Education from the University of Maine in addition to an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Wade Rubinstein

A. Caroline San Martin

Jeff Thielman

President and CEO of the International Institute of New England

Since becoming the President and CEO of the International Institute of New England in 2015, Jeff Thielman has been a leader in the effort to preserve the U.S. refugee resettlement program and to protect the rights of immigrants in New England. Under his direction, IINE has expanded services to more refugees and immigrants, reinstated its legal services program, and expanded career services to more cities and towns in the region.

Prior to joining IINE, he co-founded the national Cristo Rey Network and spent nearly two decades creating schools that today serve 13,000 low income and immigrant students in 24 U.S. states and boast of more than 21,000 graduates. Jeff oversaw the start-up of the first 24 Cristo Rey schools and served as President of Cristo Rey Boston High School.

Early in his professional career, Jeff was a trial attorney in Boston and worked in the financial services industry. Between college and law school, he served as a Jesuit International Volunteer in Tacna, Peru, where he was a teacher and founder of a program for street children called the Center for the Working Child, which has been replicated in several cities in Peru. He is co-author of Volunteer: With the Poor in Peru, holds undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College, and is fluent in Spanish.

Jeff lives with his wife and three children in Arlington, Massachusetts, where he serves on the town’s School Committee.

Fereshtah Thornberg

Executive Vice President, Head of Sales & Client Management, North America, at State Street

Fereshtah is responsible for managing some of State Street Bank’s top strategic relationships via global client strategy and alignment, thought leadership, and product delivery oversight spanning all of State Street’s business lines and geographic locations. Fereshtah was born in Afghanistan. In 1993, shortly after the Afghan Civil War began, she and her family fled Afghanistan; they first went to India and then moved to New York City. Fereshtah has more than 25 years of experience in international banking, finance, marketing, and risk management. Prior to joining State Street, she spent 13 years at JPMorgan Chase in a variety of roles including Global Sales and Relationship Management, Derivatives Electronic Execution/Clearing Sales and Corporate Treasury. Her experience also includes positions as a Global Relationship Manager at HSBC in the Financial Institutions Group covering large investment management clients, as a Foreign Exchange Controller at Deutsche Bank, and roles in risk and trade finance at DZ Bank and Tokai Bank. Fereshtah earned a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from St. John’s University. She also completed Executive Women’s Leadership training at Smith/Tuck and is credit trained across various segments (including S&P’s credit training for Asset Managers). 

Leadership Council

Örn Almarsson
Christina Bai
Carolyn Benedict-Drew
Jessica Bethoney
Lyndsay Byun
Tara Chynoweth
Denise DiCenso
Robert DiCenso
Michael Douvadjian
Deborah Dunsire
Jean Franchi
Margaret Gadon
Georges Gemayel
Ginger Gregory
Monica Grewal
Ernest Haddad
Taiess Haghighat
Tuan Ha-Ngoc, Chair
Kimya Harris
Magali Hickey
Amy Katz
Joseph Kennedy
York Lo
Shirley Lu
William Mason, M.D.
Charlotte McKee, M.D.
Irena Melnikova
Fredrick Millham
Bancroft Poor
Mahmoud Raya
Annmarie Sasdi
Gabriel Schmergel
Deborah Shufrin
Jane Steinmetz
Nia Tatsis, Ph.D.
Jessica Wu
Kay V. Zhytko

Leadership Team

Jeffrey Thielman

President and Chief Executive Officer

Alexandra Weber, LICSW

Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer

Nina Nova-Duran

Chief Human Resources Officer

Tali Friedman

Chief Operating Officer

Anca Moraru

Chief Program Officer

Celine Mukasine

Chief Financial Officer

Kelly Fleming

Senior Director, Giving and Engagement

Chiara St. Pierre

Senior Director, Immigration Legal Services

Henry Harris, MSW

Managing Director, Manchester

Maggie Nazarenus

Managing Director, Boston

Caroline Rowe

Managing Director, Lowell

Atanur Arapoglu

IT Director

Jessica Cirone

Director, Community Engagement

Danielle Gauthier

Marketing Director

William Gillett

Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

Jennifer Levine-Fried

Controller

Leilani Olson

Director, Corporate Giving & Engagement

Andrins Renaudin

Shelter Services Director

Sofie Suter

Director, Unaccompanied Children Program

Kubana Alexis

Associate Director, Workforce Development

Kristan Fitah

Associate Director, Boston ESOL Program

Joseph Gilbert

Associate Director, Manchester ESOL Program

Christian Ko

Associate Director, Research and Evaluation