Executive Leadership Team
Chief Executive Officer
Ariel Zwang has been the CEO of Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading provider of services to victims of crime and abuse, since July 2008. Each year, Safe Horizon provides support to hundreds of thousands of people who have endured domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, and many other forms of victimization. She was previously the Executive Director of New York Cares, which, under her leadership, became the city’s largest volunteering organization, deploying 40,000 volunteers annually. President Bill Clinton appointed Ms. Zwang as a White House Fellow during 1999-2000. Her previous experience includes serving as a Vice President of the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation in the South Bronx, and as Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the New York City Board of Education. She began her career at Morgan Stanley and the Boston Consulting Group. Ms. Zwang is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.
Deputy CEO & Chief Program Officer
Liz Roberts joined Safe Horizon as Chief Program Officer in November 2010. Ms. Roberts was previously with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, as Director of Domestic Violence Policy and Planning, Assistant Commissioner for Child and Family Health, and Deputy Commissioner for Family Support Services. Prior to joining the ACS, Ms. Roberts worked as a clinician and trainer for the Child Witness to Violence Project at Boston Medical Center, a nationally recognized clinical program for young children who had witnessed violence. At the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Ms. Roberts trained more than a thousand health care providers to identify and respond to intimate partner violence. Ms. Roberts received a BA in Social Anthropology from Harvard/Radcliffe and a MSW from Salem State College.
Vagnes De La Rosa
Chief of Staff
Vagnes De La Rosa, joined Safe Horizon as the Chief of Staff in 2014. Vagnes comes to Safe Horizon with over a decade of management experience in the non-profit sector, specializing in youth development and leadership programs. Most recently, Vagnes was the Deputy Director of the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, where he was responsible for 24 college readiness programs. In addition to his non-profit experience, Vagnes has worked as a management consultant, trainer and motivational speaker. He holds a Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management from Baruch College's School of Public Affairs. Vagnes is passionate about working with the community, especially for those who sometimes need a little extra support.
María de los Ángeles Corral
Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications
María de los Ángeles Corral joined Safe Horizon as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications in 2013. In her previous role at the College Board, Ms. Corral served as the associate director of Latino communications, working to increase the college-going rates of Latinos. She has deep experience in engaging media, managing crisis communications and influencing and leading change across an enterprise. Corral has been a leading spokeswoman for many organizations, including the College Board. Corral spent eight years with the American Red Cross where she shaped policies around multicultural crisis communications. Early in her career, she spearheaded Walgreen’s first brand campaign for Latino consumers.
Chief Development Officer
Eddie Pelto started working as Safe Horizon’s Chief Development Officer in 2013. Mr. Pelto previously served as Vice President for Development at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, where he oversaw a comprehensive multi-channel fundraising program. Prior to this, he served as Vice President for Development at the National Hemophilia Foundation, and has also held progressive leadership roles in development at Barnard College, the NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, and Physicians for Reproductive Health. Mr. Pelto graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from Hofstra University.
Michael Williams joined Safe Horizon as General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of the Board of Directors in 2007. As General Counsel, Mr. Williams represents the legal interests of Safe Horizon, including contractual, real estate, policy, litigation, regulatory, employment, not-for-profit governance, and tax-related matters. He also manages the organization’s relationships with outside counsel. Prior to joining Safe Horizon, Mr. Williams served as Deputy General Counsel of Phoenix House Foundation and as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the New York City Law Department. Mr. Williams is admitted to practice in the State of New York and is a graduate of Tufts University and Brooklyn Law School.
Senior Leadership Team
Vice President of Child, Adolescent and Mental Health Treatment Services
Nancy Arnow joined Safe Horizon in 1988, working in various programs and in a variety of leadership positions over the past twenty-five years. Nancy oversees Safe Horizon’s four - soon to be five - Child Advocacy Centers, the Child Advocacy Resource and Consultation Center, and the Safe Horizon Counseling Center. She is also Safe Horizon’s Compliance Officer. Nancy has devoted much of her professional career to developing programs and enhancing services to child and adult victims of crime, abuse and trauma. Nancy serves on the Board of the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies. She received her MSW from Columbia University.
Vice President, Domestic Violence Shelters
Cindy Colter joined Safe Horizon in November 2012, bringing experience and vision to Safe Horizon's domestic violence shelters by continuing the mission of providing thousands of individuals and families with the critical support they need to reclaim their lives. Ms. Colter was previously the Assistant Commissioner at the Department of Youth and Community Development, where she oversaw New York City’s Community Action Program, a citywide community development initiative that supported programs in low-income neighborhoods. Prior to that, she managed residential facilities with support services for formerly homeless adults, provided technical assistance to tenant groups developing housing cooperatives, and spearheaded neighborhood revitalization programs in the Bronx. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Barnard College of Columbia University and a Master’s degree in Urban Sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Associate Vice President, Criminal Justice Programs
Maureen Curtis is responsible for the development and oversight of Safe Horizon’s Criminal Justice Programs, overseeing staff of more than 100 in 25 locations citywide. Ms. Curtis has worked for more than 25 years in the field of victimization. Her work with senior level staff in the NYPD and the New York City Housing Authority has led to changes in policies that impact victims citywide. Ms. Curtis has designed and provided training for law enforcement and community members on the topics of victim safety, offender accountability, housing options, and the criminal justice response to domestic violence. She has been instrumental in creating and introducing new practices for Safe Horizon staff in their work with clients, including training for supervisors in the implementation of client-centered practice, and providing support and guidance to help staff develop their skills and enhance their knowledge. Ms. Curtis is a licensed social worker and also holds a Masters in Public Health.
Vice President, Institutional and Government Support
Jim Deadwyler rejoined Safe Horizon in August 2013, having previously served in a similar position at the agency a decade earlier. In his role, Mr. Deadwyler leads Safe Horizon’s partnerships with foundations and government funding agencies, which comprise a majority of the organizational budget. With nearly 20 years of experience as a professional fundraiser, Mr. Deadwyler served as a Vice President of Development at Points of Light, as Director of Development for Grants at United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, and as an independent fundraising consultant prior to returning Safe Horizon. Mr. Deadwyler is a graduate of Emory University.
Vice President, Real Estate and Facilities
Barry Gendelman has been with Safe Horizon since 2012, and is responsible for the management of more than 50 agency facilities, including nine residential shelters, over 30 individual residential units, and multiple office sites. Mr. Gendelman negotiates and administers lease agreements and manages capital projects for the construction and renovation of office space and residential shelter facilities. Prior to joining Safe Horizon, Mr. Gendelman worked for 11 years as Assistant Commissioner for Property Management and Leasing and Asset Management at the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services. He also served as Senior Director for Real Estate in the Office of Facilities Development for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Mr. Gendelman earned his master’s degree in City Planning from San Diego State University.
Denise Hagley joined Safe Horizon in December 2000. In her role as Finance Controler, Ms. Hagley oversees the agency’s accounting, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and grants management operations. She is responsible for the day to day financial activities of the organization, including the production of periodic financial reports, maintaining the accounting records system, and a comprehensive set of controls and budgets designed to reduce risk, enhance the accuracy of the agency's reported financial results, and ensure that the reported results comply with accepted accounting principles. Before joining Safe Horizon, Ms. Hagley filled a similar role at the College of Insurance (now St. John’s University) and Power of Attorney. She graduated from Bernard Baruch College and the New York City College of Technology.
Vice President, Human Resources
Ronald Moore joined Safe Horizon in August 2009 and is responsible for staffing, compensation and benefits, training and development, and employee relations. Mr. Moore spent 26 years in Human Resources at Hewlett Packard and most recently was the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Kimberly-Clark Company based in Atlanta, where he managed relations with several national diversity organizations. He has served as a member of the board of directors for over 10 non-profit organizations, including the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Out and Equal. He received a BA in Communications, an MA in Counseling, and an MLIR (Labor and Industrial Relations), all from Michigan State University.
Deputy Program Officer
Lisa O’Connor joined Safe Horizon September of 2013. Dr. O’Connor most recently served as the Vice President for Children and Family Services at the New York Foundling. In this capacity, she held executive responsibility for specialized preventive services, residential placement and support functions of the organization including staff and foster parent training, youth development, home finding, family team conferencing, intake, adoption and legal services, records management and information, and parent advocacy. Prior to joining the Foundling, Dr. O’Connor was an Assistant Commissioner for Program Analysis and Development at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, where she was responsible for contract management, program analysis and reporting, and program development. Dr. O’Connor has devoted most of her career to program development, research and evaluation, and policy development on behalf of vulnerable populations. She brings a experience with child welfare, juvenile justice, substance abuse, and social policy. Dr. O’Connor received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and her Bachelor of Arts from Smith College.
Vice President, Government Affairs
Michael is responsible for directing the agency's legislative and budget advocacy on both the state and local levels. He also oversees Safe Horizon’s legal services programs, including the Domestic Violence Law Project and the Immigration Law Project, which together provide expert legal assistance to many hundreds of crime victims each year. Michael draws on his twenty years of advocacy work in New York to ensure that our laws explicitly help victims of crime find safety and begin to heal. He also fights for millions of dollars in public funding to sustain programs helping victims of child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault. Michael's connections in and out of government increase Safe Horizon's profile and raise public awareness of the needs of crime victims. Michael has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin/Madison.
Vice President, Information Systems and Technology
Rafail Portnoy is responsible for all aspects of Information Technology at Safe Horizon, overseeing project management, application development, and IT infrastructure support teams. Rafail has over 18 years of technology experience, and spent over 10 years of managing complex IT environments. Prior to joining Safe Horizon, Rafail was a founding Chief Information Officer at The Levin Institute and held a variety of technical and management positions at IBM Corporation. He holds a BBA degree from Pace University and a MS from Polytechnic University.
Associate Vice President, Youth and Anti-Trafficking Programs
Carolyn Strudwick oversees Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project for homeless youth as well as Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program. Ms. Strudwick began her career in social services at Safe Horizon in 1993 as an outreach worker and case manager at Streetwork. She has worked with street-involved youth in many capacities, including group facilitation, clinical case management, and shelter supervision. Ms. Strudwick is a seasoned and leading expert among youth providers in New York City. She received her master’s degree in Social Work from the Hunter College School of Social Work at the City University of New York.
Associate Vice President, Anti Trafficking Program, Community Programs and Hotlines
Juanito Vargas is responsible for the overall management of Safe Horizon's Anti-trafficking Program, Community Programs, and Hotlines. Juanito is a New York State licensed social worker with 20 years’ experience in the social service field. His career encompasses a wide range of experiences including working with adults with chronic mental health issues and survivors of childhood sexual abuse to call centers, substance abuse and mental health clinics as well as psychiatric mobile crisis teams and in behavioral health managed care. Juanito holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Lehman College, City University of New York and a Master’s degree from the Fordham University School of Social Service.