Board of Directors

AAFSC Board of Directors provide critical philanthropic, partnership-building, and advisory support for our free programming.

Rawaa Nancy Albilal

President & CEO

Rawaa Nancy Albilal is the President and CEO of the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC). She joined AAFSC in March of 2017. She brings to AAFSC her vast executive experience in organizational development, strategic planning, and in building community stakeholder collaboration initiatives. Prior to joining AAFSC, Nancy served as the Vice President for Development at the Foundation Center. She was responsible for leading the charge in cultivating relationships with donors, and persuading grantmakers to join Foundation Center in its effort to strengthen under-resourced nonprofits. Prior to her work at Foundation Center, Nancy served as director of social services at the Department of Child and Family Well-Being for the City of Newark, where she was responsible for strategic planning, resource development, and evaluation. She led the areas of health planning, research, evaluation, and funding for lead-free safe housing; and oversaw grantmaking for housing, community development, HIV/AIDS, environmental health, childcare, and nutrition. Ms. Albilal served as the department’s lead contributor to the recommendations and the plan articulation strategies behind the Children’s Bill of Rights. Previously, she was vice president for knowledge management, COO, and executive vice president for community impact for the United Way, serving mainly in New Jersey for 10 years. Ms. Albilal served as a consultant and lecturer for Rutgers University teaching cultural diversity and inclusion. She is published in refereed journals, and has deep knowledge on issues of diversity, grantmaking, resource development, impact measures, and program design. She is a graduate of Rutgers and Princeton.

Naseem Haffar

Chair, Private Investor

Naseem Haffar is a retired Managing Director with over 30 years experience in investment banking and real estate finance. Haffar started his career in the early 1980s at Irving Trust Company (now BNY Mellon), and then joined JP Morgan’s Loan Trading desk where he subsequently became Head of Sales and represented JPM on the board of Directors of the Loan Syndications & Trading Association. He later joined Societe Generale, where he built the Loan Sales & Trading desk.

Haffar was a member of the Whitney Museum photography acquisition committee. He is on the board of directors of the Arab American Democratic Action Fund and Noor Theater. He has an MBA in Finance from Columbia University School of Business and a BS in Business and International Relations from the University of Minnesota. He’s fluent in English, Arabic, and conversational in French.

Assad Jebara

Treasurer, Zana Di

Assad Jebara is President and CEO of Zana-Di Jeans/Alpha Garment, Inc. Jebara was born in Aleppo, Syria to a family of textile manufacturers. He attended university in France before immigrating the United States and establishing a wholesale apparel business. In 1985, he opened Alpha Garment, Inc. in New York City. As President and CEO, he directed the design, manufacturing, and distribution of sportswear to major department stores across the United States. Alpha Garment has won major awards from retailers across the country.
Jebara also serves as a board member of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He was formerly a member of the Board of Governors of the Arab-American Institute.

In retirement from the garment industry, Jebara created the Hanan Foundation servicing Syrian refugees in Istanbul. He is working with several Syrian American groups to support the cause for democracy in Syria.

Christine Moore Vassallo

Secretary, Soprano and Educator

Christine Moore Vassallo is a soprano and educator whose opera career has spanned over two decades both domestically and internationally in such places as the Leipzig Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, and as a recitalist in Spain, Germany, Scotland, England, the Middle East and in North America. She has been active in New York City's Arab-American community for the last 15 years, mostly through her work as AAFSC Board Secretary, and as a former board member of ADC-NY and former music co-curator at Alwan for the Arts. She is dedicated to the empowerment of immigrants.

Rita Gail Johnson

Consultant

Rita Gail Johnson has been a management consultant for most of her career, specializing in strategic planning and merger integration. She was a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she led merger integration assignments in the US, Europe and the Middle East, and has held business development positions at the political risk consultancies Eurasia Group and Oxford Analytica. For the past several years Rita has been actively involved with nonprofit organizations in the arts, education, human rights and social services as a program director, pro bono consultant and Board member. Rita has an AB from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Tony Kutayli

The Olayan Group

Tony Kutayli is the Manager of Corporate Communications at The Olayan Group.
Before joining Olayan in 2009, Kutayli worked as the Communications Coordinator at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) conducting interviews, writing press releases, monitoring the media for Arab and Muslim stereotypes, and organizing community outreach events.
He was also the coordinator the Anthony Shadid Intern Program at ADC, creating and administering a summer long program for up to 20 interns from across the United States.

Kutayli holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Creighton University.

Susan Peters

Twelve Letter Films

Susan Peters (CASA ’98) is a co-founder and producer at Twelve Letter Films. She has a long history in nonprofit management, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She is a senior advisor to and former president of ABANA, an association for finance professionals with interest in the MENA region, and was executive director to the board of King’s Academy, where she led strategic planning, development and policy for a new co-ed boarding school outside of Amman, Jordan.

She has lived in Egypt and Jordan, as well as in Morocco, where she was assistant director of the Arabic Language Institute in Fez from 1994 to 1997. Susan was a founding board member and president of ArteEast, a New York-based nonprofit that promotes the contemporary arts of the Middle East, and is on the advisory committees of Noor Theatre and The Welfare Association. She is a partner at Terratron, a real estate and hospitality company.

In 2017, Twelve Letter Films, co-founded with her husband Jim Cricchi, released its first documentary, Los Lecheros, about undocumented workers in Wisconsin dairy farms. Susan holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has completed language studies at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, Middlebury College and the Arabic Language Institute in Fez.

David Pollak

Reverence Capital Partners

David Pollak is Director of Capital Partnering at Reverence Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm focused on thematic investing in middle-market financial services companies. From 2006-2008, Pollak served as Co-Chairman of the New York State Democratic Party. In 2008, he was the New York State Director for the Obama for America Campaign. Pollak has lectured internationally about US politics, economics and financial policy. He is a guest lecturer on Asset Management at the Fordham School of Business in New York and has lectured at Columbia University, McGill University, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Pollak received his Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University, and his BA in Economics and Politics from the Colorado College.