Founding Members: (left to right) back row: Kysseline Jean-Mary Cherestal, Thamar Harrigan, Karen Andre, Ariel Dominique, Fendy Mesy, A.D. Rachel Pierre; front row: Syncia Sabain Louis-Charles, Phara Georges Rodrigue, Nadine Duplessy Kearns, Theola Debose.
HLN STEERING COMMITTEE
Nadine Duplessy Kearns, Chair
Director, DC Partnerships & Strategy, Meyer Foundation
Nadine moved from Boston to the Washington, DC area in 2000 and soon thereafter began hosting an annual Haitian Ladies Brunch with friends in the area. In collaboration with Cleve Mesidor and other co-hostesses, she led the expansion from a Sunday brunch to a full weekend in 2016. Nadine credits the amazing sisterhood of co-founders who came together in 2017 to build the Haitian Ladies Network. Born in Port-au-Prince, with roots in Leogane and Les Cayes, Nadine grew up in Boston. She earned a B.A. from Harvard College and a M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University with a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She has 20 years of professional experience in management consulting, economic development in Africa, and has held senior leadership roles in the social sector in Washington DC, where she lives with her husband and two sons.
Karen Andre, Emerita
Karen Andre has dedicated her life to public service and advocacy. In 2020 Karen joined the Biden Presidential Campaign as Senior Advisor for Florida & Senior Advisor for National Faith Outreach. She has also served as a Senior Advisor to Andrew Gillum, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor of Florida. From 2014 to 2017, she served as a Presidential appointee in the Obama administration as the White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has worked to organize Haitian and African-American communities nation-wide on immigration and social justice issues. She is a sought after, political strategist, speaker, host, lecturer and commentator.
Theola DeBose uses storytelling and technology to help professionals reach their goals. She is the Founder of JSkills, a technology platform that helps professionals launch new careers by reframing their skills. She was an award-winning journalist at The Washington Post, and a White-House appointed communications director in the Obama administration. Born and raised in New York City to parents from Port-au-Prince and La Vallée-de-Jacmel, she attended the first-ever Haitian Ladies Brunch. On the steering committee she brings her planning expertise to the logistics team.
Public Engagement Strategist/Creative Consultant
Ariel Dominique is a public engagement strategist and creative consultant born and raised in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. She has worked for grammy award-winning artists and producers and has led independent record labels. She was a fundraiser and Victory Trustee for President Obama's second presidential campaign, as well as former consultant, Minister Counselor for the Embassy of Haiti in D.C. She has curated events at the United States White House as well as the Embassy of Haiti. In 2012, she attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch and brought the idea to the Embassy of Haiti where she spearheaded the event on behalf of the institution for 5 consecutive years (2013-2017). She co-leads HLN's External and Cultural Affairs and Sponsorship Committee. She plays a pivotal role in connecting HLN to Haiti and to women based in the country.
Kysseline Jean-Mary Cherestal
Kysseline Jean-Mary Cherestal is an attorney with 20 years of experience in law and development. Kysseline's life passion lies in working alongside communities, particularly the marginalized, seeking to secure their rights to the resources upon which they depend. She was born in the US and raised in Haiti. Kysseline had long admired the Haitian Ladies brunch from afar, and attended for the first time in 2017. She also joined the Steering Committee that same year and now is co-leading the development and formalization of the governance framework of HLN. When she is not working or traveling, she is loving her husband, husband, family and friends, and otherwise seeking to do good in her global community
Syncia Sabain Louis-Charles
Syncia Sabain is a clinical researcher and the chief of treatment and community service. She moved to Washington, DC in 2016 and attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch at the Embassy of Haiti. It was at The Haitian Ladies Brunch in 2016 she met the Nadine Duplessy Kearns, founder of Haitian Ladies Network who invited her to join the Haitian Ladies Committee. Syncia serves on the logistics committee.
Thamar Harrigan, Emerita
International Trade Attorney
Thamar Harrigan is an international trade attorney and former staffer of the Obama Administration and the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, DC. Her first Haitian Ladies Brunch was in 2012, when it was held at Smith Commons with about 50 women in attendance. She worked on the Brunch while at the Embassy, but officially joined the steering committee in 2016. Thamar serves the committee in many capacities, but is a member of the communications team.
Emergency Medicine Physician
Nashley Harrigan is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician and Assistant Professor in New York City, New York. She was born and raised in Miami to parents from Jean-Rabel, Haiti. She received her medical degree from the University of Miami and completed her residency at Jacobi/Montefiore Hospital. Her passion is in global health, health equity and bridging the gap in health disparities. She has volunteered with multiple organizations including Hopital Universitaire de Mirebalais/Partners in Health in Haiti as a Recurrent Faculty Attending in Emergency Medicine. She attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch in 2016. She is the newest steering committee member, joining in 2019 and serves on the communications and finance teams.
A.D Rachel Pierre
International Nonprofit Executive
Rachel is an experienced public servant, who started her career in Nonprofits in Washington DC. She currently serves as the Family Services Administrator at the Department of Human Services for the Government of the District of Columbia. Rachel is also an adjunct professor at Catholic University. Rachel’s first Brunch attendance was in 2010 and she joined the Brunch host committee in 2014 at the Embassy of Haiti. Rachel now co-leads the Business Development Committee of the Haitian Ladies Network.Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Rachel moved to Washington DC with her family as a teenager. Rachel has a Bachelor's degree in Finance from James Madison University, a Master in Social Work from Howard University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of MD Smith School of Business.
Fendy Mesy, Emerita
Fendy is an experienced Account Director at AKQA, a leading global design and innovation agency where she leads digital products and services with leading brands. As an advocate for user-centric products, Fendy is passionate about personalized solutions for users/audiences that simultaneously meet her clients' business goals. Fendy is also the founder of Culinaria, an early-stage mobile app and bootstrap startup. Culinaria is a searchable marketplace of experiences for foodies and culinary enthusiasts. The beta launch is in late 2021.
Fendy attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch in 2012 and joined the host committee in 2016. Shortly thereafter, and following the official founding of the Haitian Ladies Network, Fendy transitioned into the steering committee. Serving until 2019, Fendy remains a loyal HLN advocate and provides occasional ad hoc support to her steering committee sisters.