CFR Leadership


CFR’s founders set out to dramatically change outcomes for families who experience the child welfare and family court systems—what we refer to today as the Family Regulation system. To meet this ambitious goal, the agency began with seasoned professionals who knew from experience that the most important way to help at risk children was by advocating for and supporting their parents and families in the first instance, and with an interdisciplinary model that built on family strength and addressed the needs families identified. Since that time, CFR has expanded its model beyond family regulation to advocate for young people at risk of incarceration and to provide interdisciplinary defense for clients in criminal, civil and immigration matters.

Starting with just 2 employees in 2002, the organization now employs more than 112 people in Manhattan and Queens.

Executive Team

Michele Cortese, was named the Executive Director of the Center for Family Representation in New York City in January of 2016. She joined the organization as Deputy Director in 2002. Michele  supervised the development of interdisciplinary models of representation for parents in CFR’s family defense cases, that CFR has since expanded to juvenile, immigration and criminal defense, and civil legal services. Ms. Cortese has personally conducted more than 175 training sessions, and has presented or provided TA to practitioners from more than 15 states. In addition to representing parents, Ms. Cortese served as an Attorney for the Child (law guardian) for over a dozen years and has also represented foster care agencies in trial and appellate proceedings. She worked at the NYC Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice, as the Director of Professional Development, where she coordinated and conducted training citywide for attorney, social work, paralegal and management staff. She also served as the Attorney-In-Charge of JRP’s Manhattan trial office that represented 12,000 children annually in child protective, delinquency and PINS proceedings. Ms. Cortese has been a member of the faculty of the Practicing Law Institute, the New York State Judicial Institute and the Child Welfare League of America, and has written for the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law. In May of 2010, Ms. Cortese received the Kathryn A. McDonald award from the New York City Bar Association for Excellence in Service to the Family Courts. Ms. Cortese is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law and Colgate University.

Genevieve Christy, Chief Financial Officer, oversees CFR’s fiscal operations. Ms. Christy worked as a Management Consultant in finance and systems applications at Deutsch, Inc. and Zenith Media Services Inc. for 9 years, running projects with budgets of over $180 million. Prior to that, she worked in finance at Time Warner, Inc., and ultimately was Finance Manager of the Editorial Division of Time Magazine where she supervised with an annual budget of more than $100 million. Ms. Christy is responsible for CFR’s strategic fiscal planning, establishing budgets and forecasting income and expenses. She creates monthly cash flow reports for the General Management team and for CFR’s Board Finance Committee. Ms. Christy has a B.A. from Duke University and pursued postgraduate studies at University College in London.

Dr. Alicia Williams joined CFR in July 2021 as CFR’s first Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Williams oversees CFR’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging work, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Administration activities at CFR and also works closely with our CFO and Executive Director on strategic planning, facilities and operations issues. Dr. Williams has over 24 years of extensive HR experience including diversity, equity and inclusion, labor relations, change management, talent acquisition, and staff engagement. She comes with HR and operations experience in academic, telecommunications, manufacturing and non-profit settings. Dr. Williams most recently served as Managing Director of Human Resources at Food & Water Watch, a non-profit environmental organization. She oversaw the strategic direction of their Human Resources department, making sure the work was in alignment with the mission, goals and objectives of the organization. Before that, Dr. Williams was the Director of Human Resources, Operations and Training at the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences for 8 years. She oversaw the overall operational matters across the organization and was responsible for creating the Culture and Core Values (Supportive, Transparent, Accountable, Respectful) of the organization.

Dr. Williams earned her Doctor of Education degree at The George Washington University and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of San Diego and her MBA, with a Certification in Human Resources from Keller Graduate School. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with HRCI and a Certified Professional (CP) with SHRM. Alicia holds the position of Immediate Past President for the Washington, DC Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). Dr. Williams is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the President of the Board of Directors for the Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington D.C., an Adjunct Professor of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at The George Washington University and is also Co-Producer of a podcast entitled “RaceToday!”


  • Ari Chiarella, Social Work Supervisor/ Co-Director of Queens Family Defense Practice
  • Anne Conroy, Director of Development and Communications
  • Wendell Cruz, Director of Holistic Practice; Litigation Supervisor, Criminal Defense Practice
  • Wanjiro Gethaiga, Social Work Supervisor/ Co-Director of Manhattan Family Defense Practice
  • Gordon Hamm, Director of Information Technology
  • Maura Keating, Director of Litigation
  • Samantha Miele, Deputy CFO
  • Javon Robinson, Associate Director of Development
  • Julie Suh, Co-Director of Queens Family Defense Practice
  • Alexandra (Sandy) Rosin, Litigation Supervisor/ Co-Director of Manhattan Family Defense Practice


  • Danny Alicea, Litigation Supervisor, Immigration Practice
  • Malena Arnaud, Social Worker Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Charlotte Baughman,  Social Worker Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Christine Bruno, Litigation and Training Supervisor
  • Samantha Elliott, Deputy Chief Financial Officer
  • Jennifer Feinberg, Litigation Supervisor, Government Affairs and Policy
  • Amanda Franzen, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Teyora Graves, Parent Advocate Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Anna Ishii, Social Worker Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Sandeep Kandhari, Litigation Supervisor, Juvenile Justice Practice
  • Suzanne Leinwand, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Susannah Marsh, Litigation Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Lauren Mitchell, Litigation Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Ysmerlyn Murshed, Social Worker Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Maggie Nieves, Family Advocate Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Anastasia Rivera-Bonilla, Litigation Supervisor, Family and Civil Defense
  • Carol Siegel, Litigation Supervisor, Criminal Defense
  • Kenneth Sokol, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Ginelle Stephenson, Social Worker Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Christine Waer, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Emily Wall, Appeals and Litigation Supervisor
  • Pamela Weintraub, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Katherine Wojewoda, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice

Senior Staff & Managers

  • Christina Carroll, Senior Staff Attorney, Queens Practice
  • Ben Chan, Manager, Equity, Efficiency and Belonging, Queens Practice
  • Jeffrey Compton, Senior Housing Attorney, Family and Civil Defense Practice
  • Ashley Cookson, Senior Staff Attorney, Manhattan Practice
  • Diana Denza, Communications Manager, Manhattan Practice
  • Teresa Garcia, Senior Immigration Specialist, Immigration Practice
  • Melissa Kuldip, Senior Social Worker, Queens Practice
  • Shayne Larkin, Senior Social Worker, Queens Practice
  • Sara Lewis, Senior Staff Attorney, Queens Practice
  • Karena Lim-Peralta, Senior Social Worker, Queens Practice
  • Melissa Lombreglia, Senior Staff Attorney Advocate, Manhattan Practice
  • Ed Parker, Senior Family Advocate
  • Patricia Ramirez, Office Manager, Manhattan Practice
  • Norah Rexer, Senior Staff Attorney, Manhattan Practice
  • Cecile Schwartzman, Senior Social Worker, Queens Practice
  • Christina Secharan, Operations Manager, Queens Practice
  • Monique Stanley, Senior Parent Advocate, Manhattan Practice
  • Vasilios Stotis, Senior Staff Attorney, Queens Practice
  • Rachel Turetsky, Senior Staff Attorney, Manhattan Practice
  • Nikki Woods, Senior Staff Attorney, Youth Defense Practice