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2024 Champion Award Honorees


Sonia Sande

Americas Consulting Talent Leader, EY

Sonia Sande joined the Board of Directors of Safe Horizon in 2015. Sonia is a management consultant, currently serving as the Americas Consulting Talent Leader at Ernst & Young, and is a member of the firms Inclusiveness Advisory Council. She was recognized with a ‘Women Leaders in Consulting’ achievement award from Consulting Magazine in 2018. Sonia was born in India, grew up in the UK and studied in the UK and Canada. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from the University of Cambridge. She moved to New York City in 2007 where she lives with her husband Simon and daughter Isabel.

Catalina Cruz


Catalina Cruz has the privilege of representing New York State Assembly District 39, one of the most diverse districts in the nation, encompassing the neighborhoods of Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, as well as parts of Middle Village and Rego Park.

Catalina was born in Colombia and came to Queens at the age of 9. She grew up as a DREAMer, living in the United States for more than 10 years as an undocumented American. Catalina was raised by a single mother who, like many immigrants, had to work multiple and menial jobs to support her family. As a single mother of four children, she worked long hours during the week as a nanny, cleaned offices at night and sold tamales and empanadas at the soccer fields on the weekends. Inspired by her mother’s perseverance, Catalina has committed her career to fighting for our community to ensure our workers, neighbors and families not only survive, but thrive.

Catalina is an experienced attorney and a leader for tenant protections, immigration reform and workers’ rights. Prior to becoming the Assemblywoman for the 39th District, she practiced housing law and served in various positions in city and state government, including Chief of Staff to former Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Counsel to the City Council’s Committee on Immigration and Director of the Governor’s Exploited Workers Task Force, among others. In these positions, she represented tenants in housing court, drafted legislation and implemented initiatives to support women, protect workers and champion small businesses.

Since taking office in 2019, Catalina has passed more than 20 new laws to combat food insecurity, curtail the high cost of healthcare, protect aging New Yorkers and so much more. Catalina helped secure billions of dollars for schools, hospitals and libraries within her district through historic state budgets. This funding helped with renovations and the purchase of equipment, as well as to provide services for seniors, families and children throughout her community. Catalina’s district office places a strong emphasis on constituent services. Her hardworking staff is proud to have helped thousands of constituents access legal services, small business support, obtain unemployment insurance, health insurance and pandemic assistance, as well as help with mortgage, rent and utility payments. In the community, Catalina and her team address quality of life issues such as garbage, graffiti and snow removal through close cooperation with community boards and city and state agencies. Catalina also conducts dozens of community events yearly, including back-to-school/backpack parties, community cleanups, health and legal clinics and so much more.

Catalina lives in Jackson Heights, Queens. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctor from the City University of New York’s School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in the State of New York.

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