Executive Leadership Team
Safe Horizon is managed by fiercely dedicated individuals who bring expertise, compassion and thought leadership to our work.
Ariel Zwang has been the CEO of Safe Horizon since 2008. Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading provider of services to victims of crime and abuse. Each year it provides support to hundreds of thousands of people who have endured domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, and many other forms of violence. Ariel was previously the executive director of New York Cares, which, under her leadership, became the city’s largest volunteer organization, deploying 40,000 volunteers annually. She was appointed a White House Fellow from 1999-2000 by President Bill Clinton. Ariel’s 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. Ariel began her career at Morgan Stanley and the Boston Consulting Group. She is a board member of the Human Services Council of New York and a former board member of the Points of Light Foundation. Ariel received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College.
Liz Roberts joined Safe Horizon in 2010. Liz 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. She also 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 have witnessed violence. At the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Liz trained more than a thousand health care providers to identify and respond to intimate partner violence. She received an MSW from Salem State College and a BA in Social Anthropology from Harvard/Radcliffe.
Juan joined Safe Horizon in 2016. Juan is responsible for all human resources strategic, operational, and administrative goals, policies, and practices, including overseeing employee relations, staffing, compensation, benefits, training, and staff development. He previously served as the Associate Director, Human Resources at the Rockefeller Foundation a respected one hundred and two-year-old global philanthropic organization, whose mission is to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world via building resilience and advancing inclusive economies. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Juan was the Director of Human Resources at the Foundation Center, the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. He is also the president of the Human Resources Professional Association of Nonprofit Organizations (better known as HR PANO), which is dedicated to advancing proficiency in the human resources field for its members and their organizations within the nonprofit community. Juan received his BBA degree from Baruch College.
Greg Brooks joined Safe Horizon in 2014. Greg was previously the associate executive director for finance and administration at the 92nd Street Y. He has held positions in New York City government, including deputy comptroller for policy, audit, accountancy, and contracts and executive assistant/chief of staff to the Brooklyn Borough President. Greg was also the Brooklyn member of the New York City Board of Education and a member of the Board of the Directors of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. He received an MPA from New York University's Graduate School of Public Administration, an MA in English from Hunter College and a BA from SUNY Plattsburgh.
Vagnes De La Rosa joined Safe Horizon in 2014. Vagnes has over a decade of management experience in the non-profit sector, specializing in youth development and leadership programs. Vagnes was previously a deputy director of the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, where he was responsible for 24 college readiness programs. He has also worked as a management consultant, trainer and motivational speaker. Vagnes is passionate about working with the community, especially for those who sometimes need a little extra support. He received a MPA in Non-Profit Management from Baruch College's School of Public Affairs and a BA in Psychology from the University of Rochester.
Lisa O’Connor joined Safe Horizon 2013. Dr. O’Connor was previously the vice president for children and family services at the New York Foundling where 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. Dr. O’Connor was also 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 experience with child welfare, juvenile justice, substance abuse, and social policy. Dr. O’Connor received a Ph.D. from Columbia University and a BA in Psychology from Smith College.
Eddie Pelto joined Safe Horizon in 2013. Eddie previously served as Vice President for Development at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation where he oversaw a comprehensive multi-channel fundraising program. He has also served as vice president for development at the National Hemophilia Foundation. Eddie has held progressive leadership roles in development at Barnard College, the NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, and Physicians for Reproductive Health. He received a BA in Fine Arts from Hofstra University.
Erin White joined Safe Horizon in 2018. Erin is responsible for nationally expanding awareness about the organization, driving its advocacy agenda and advancing understanding of how to prevent violence and empower victims of violence to move from crisis to confidence. She formerly served as Deputy Communications Director for Mayor Bill de Blasio and led communications for First Lady Chirlane McCray. Erin has a background in national advocacy, nonprofit communications, and government relations, as well as experience in reporting and media relations. Prior to serving in the de Blasio administration, Erin served as a senior communications strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union and a communications consultant for a variety of national nonprofits, leading national advocacy campaigns, communications strategy for Supreme Court cases, providing crisis management support and more. Her work has won national industry awards for multicultural campaigns and campaigns on a shoestring budget. Erin received a BA degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Michael H. Williams joined Safe Horizon in 2007. Michael 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. Michael previously served as deputy general counsel of Phoenix House Foundation and as assistant corporation counsel for the New York City Law Department. He also serves as chair of the board of New York Peace Institute, a spin-off of Safe Horizon. Michael is admitted to practice in the State of New York. He received a JD from Brooklyn Law School and a BA in Sociology from Tufts University.