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Board of Directors

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Marcien Pierre
Chairman

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Marcien Pierre is a practicing optometrist in the borough of Brooklyn, New York. Before he left Haiti in 1975, he resided in Gonaives and attended the “College Immaculée Conception des Gonaives” (CIC). He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY). Then he went on to earn a doctorate in Optometry from the State University of New York (SUNY). With the indispensable help of his wife, Marlene, he raised two children: Marcy and Matthew.

Dr. Pierre is a Philanthropist who understands the importance of reinvesting in the community. He served as president of the “Association des Anciens du College Immaculée Conception (AACIC). A non-profit organization founded in 1989 whose sole purpose is to ensure the survival of the institution and safeguard the excellence of the quality of the education that is dispensed from the school. Presently, he vows to dedicate more of his time and resources to the betterment of the communities which have, so positively, influenced his growth and success.

He currently chairs the Resource Group and serves as an advisor on the Board of Aquin Development Foundation (ADF).

http://twitter.com/marcienpierre

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Katleen Félix, M.Sc.
President

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President, Haitian Hometown Associations Resource group – www.haitiresourcegroup.org Consultant – Finance, microfinance and remittance product design.

Ms. Katleen Félix has more than a dozen years of experience in corporate finance and more than 20 years experience in community leadership. For 7 years she was the Director of Projects and the Liaison Officer at Fonkoze, the largest microfinance institution in Haiti. She is a founding member of the program and website named Zafèn (www.zafen.org), offering the Haitian Diaspora the opportunity to finance online SMEs and social projects in Haiti.

She has also researched Haitian Hometown Associations (HHTAs) and has put together a database of almost 350 HHTAs and support groups in the USA, Canada, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Under the Fonkoze Remittance project she organized capacity building and informational and networking activities for the HHTAs in NY, Miami and Boston. She also identified Best Practices for development, with the goal of replicating them with the HHTAs.

Over the years, Ms. Felix has developed skills and experience in project management, business development and strategic alliances, all of which enable her to navigate in the emerging field of capacity building of Small Growing Businesses and Microfinance.

Prior to joining the economic development world, Ms. Felix worked as a Senior Financial Consultant at CGI, a leading worldwide IT and business process services provider in Montréal, where she worked mostly with Bell Canada & Desjardins. In 2005, she joined the Wall Street office of CGI for Proponix (an outsourcing product which provides banks with letter of credit support and business solutions). Prior to CGI, Ms. Felix was a Financial Analyst in Corporate Planning and Analysis at Air Canada.

Ms. Felix is the President and co-founder of Haitian Hometown Associations Resource group – www.hhtarg.org, participates in a variety of committees, and is therefore well integrated in the Haitian Diaspora community. In 2006 she was awarded the Young Professional Excellence Award from HEC Montréal for her accomplishments and community involvement. On February 28th, 2009 Ms. Felix was awarded twice for her accomplishments, receiving the Young Professional of the Year Award and the special People’s Choice Award by the Young Chamber of Commerce from Montréal. On March 16th, 2009 she received the Community Leadership Award from HABNET and a Citation from the President of the Brooklyn Borough Hall. She is laureate 2013 of the Black History Month of Montreal.

Ms. Felix holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Finance & International Business from HEC Montréal, the business school of the University of Montréal (www.hec.ca). Ms. Félix speaks French, English, Creole, Portuguese and some basic Spanish. She is married and raising two young boys.

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Marie-Jose L. Montrose
Executive Director

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One of the founding members of the HHTARG, Marie-Jose L. Montrose is also the Executive Director. She brings a unique combination of cross functional skills including project management, script writing, marketing and PR, event planning, community and government relations, training and development. A human rights, education and healthcare advocate; she is passionate about the role and impact of the Diaspora and the contribution of the RG to the economic development of Haiti. She serves on several local boards dedicated to improving people lives. She holds degrees in Business and Public Administration from Long Island University and is pursuing a Certificate in Corporate Citizenship from the Boston College Carroll School of Management. Ms. Montrose has received leadership awards from the US House of Representatives, New York State Senate, New York City Council and other civic groups.  Her preferred title is “mom” to her teenage daughter Sarah.
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Maybelle Jadotte
Board Member

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Bio Pending.

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Jackson Rockingster
Board Member

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Mr. Jackson Rockingster is President and CEO of HABNET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. He is also a Community Activist, a Financial Professional and an Educator. He is one of the founding members of the Haitian-American Association for Political Action (HAAPA), currently known as HAAPA-PAC, a political action committee dedicated to promoting civic engagement and supporting candidates sensitive to the interests of our community. From 2004 to early 2009, Mr. Rockingster served as Chairman of HAAPA-PAC, the longest existing Haitian-American PAC in New York State. As a Financial Professional, Mr. Rockingster holds the designation of Registered Representative having attained the NASD Series 7 and 63 Licenses as well as the New York State Insurance Broker License. As an Educator he holds the professional designation of New York State Certified Teacher, School Administrator and Supervisor (SAS) and School District Administrator (SDA).

Mr. Rockingster attained a B.B.A. in Finance and Investments in 1991, and a B.A. in History in 1993 from Baruch College. As an undergraduate student, he served as Vice-President of the Evening Session Student Assembly, was a member of Baruch College Men’s Varsity Fencing Team, in which he earned the 1990 Best First Year Fencer Award, and was placed on the Dean’s List for Academic Excellence. Mr. Rockingster attained a triple graduate degree in History and Social Science Education and in Educational Administration from New York University. Mr. Rockingster has written several papers on Wealth Building, Black Unemployment and U.S. Educational Policy. Mr. Rockingster is the Editor of HABNET’s weekly Blog on small business and entrepreneurship. Mr. Rockingster’s broad interests and experience enable him to be engaged in a variety of endeavors ranging from business, investments, pedagogy, and academic writing to music composition.

From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Rockingster served as President of the L.E.E.F.T. Investment Club, associated with the National Association of Investors Corporation. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the Flatbush Nostrand Junction Business Improvement District; Vice Chair of HAAPA-PAC; He serves on the board of the Flatbush YMCA, the NY-Haitian Leadership Fellowship, the Haitian Hometown Associations Resource Group (HHTARG) and he is an advisor to the International Humanitarian Outreach Ministries (IHOM). He also serves as a County Committee Member for the 42nd Assembly District. He resides in New York with his wife and four children. Mr. Rockingster is driven by a simple life philosophy, which is to dedicate one’s life to personal and professional growth while having a positive impact on the lives of others through leadership and service. His vision is to have strong, sustainable economic and civic institutions in traditionally underrepresented, underserved communities.

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Pierre Labaze
Board Member

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Pierre Labaze has been living in the United States since 1995 and  his commitment to help Haiti has not wavered.

He is an advocate of the power of both professional and practical education. Pierre holds degrees in Biology, Nursing, and has served the community at large with numerous financial service licenses. As a progressive leader, Pierre has an innate ability to combine all his expertise to find solutions that better the plight of those around him and his homeland: Haiti. With innovation and foresight, Pierre always takes an enlightened approach to helping others find out of the box solutions that enrich all aspects of their lives.

As a founding member of Haiti au Zenith, a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve as a catalyst for long lasting positive change in communities in Haiti and the diaspora, Pierre has developed several programs designed to improve social, economic, and environmental conditions. Additionally, for the past 2 years he has chaired Corpus Novum Mundi (CNM). CNM is a network of trust groups who share a united purpose and common positive values thus enabling them to achieve their goals though the power of community resourcefulness and social currency. Pierre currently provides technical assistance and counsel to 40 plus groups throughout Haiti, to help them develop their businesses. Lastly, Pierre is a principal of Aydev S. A., a social investment firm that promotes sustainable local industries in Haiti.

With insight and creativity, Pierre Labaze has proven his commitment to the improvement of others in Haiti and abroad. As a leader in social, economic, and environmental change, Pierre will continue moving forward, positively impacting the lives of those in the Haitian community at large towards the betterment of all. If the past 14 years of service to others serves as an indication of future success, the best is yet to come from this rising leader.
Pierre Labaze
http://twitter.com/plabaze

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Tara Arthur
Board Member

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Tara Arthur is the International Coordinator and Technical Advisor for the Haitian Sports Foundation. She has over 25 year’s of experience in martial arts and is a former varsity collegiate athlete. She holds an M.A in international development and both works and volunteers in the sector. She also serves as a member of the Haitian Hometown Associations Resource Group Board. Tara’s work has received diverse recognition, including being previously named one of Loudoun Businesses‘ top 30 Young Professionals under 30.
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Alexandra Arshed
Treasurer

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Alexandra Arshed, MBA received a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business and Finance from Nova Southeastern University and is currently working as an Accounting, Finance/IT Consultant at Office Depot, Inc. A strong advocate for business development to fight poverty and the development of struggling economies in third world countries, she involves herself in volunteering activities within the Haitian Diaspora Community in South Florida and local Internal Revenue Services (IRS) organizations. Her professional interests focus on International Business and the Development of Struggling Economies, and her current projects include soliciting International Investors to seek interest in Haiti, with the intent and focus on participating in the re-development of Haiti’s Economy. In addition, she serves as Treasurer for the Haitian Home Town Association Resource Group (HHTARG).

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Melissa Pierre-Sossoyan
Board Member

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Charles Plaisimond
Board Member

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Charles is director of development for FATEM a Boston-based non-profit focused on bringing quality education and economic development to remote rural schools in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Founder and CEO of Civic Hire, a social enterprise focused on developing leadership in youth and creating opportunities for talent to scale and modernize existing small and medium sized businesses in Haiti. Prior, Charles was a financial assistant in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab responsible for supporting principal investigators in budgeting and monitoring proposals and grants. An organizer of multiple MIT Global Startup Workshops Charles is a firm proponent of developing entrepreneurial ecosystems across the globe. Charles holds a BA in political science with a concentration in leadership studies from Williams College, and an MBA candidate at Babson.
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