Board of Directors
Raybblin Vargas has a strong background organizing in grassroots, nonprofits, and labor. As a grassroots organizer, she has worked on local and national social justice campaigns that include immigration, education, and criminal justice reform. Her nonprofit work includes grant writing, research and policy analysis, and capacity building. As a union organizer, she has led legislative and political campaigns for 1199 SEIU/Healthcare Education Project and TWU Local 100. She is a graduate of the Green Worker Co-op Academy and has launched Bits and Bites Tech Café in 2015. Currently, she serves on the Board of Green Workers Cooperative and is the Communications Coordinator, while she and her team work on growing Bits and Bites Tech Café.
Zara Serabian-Arthur is a non-fiction filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. In both her independent and commissioned work, she is committed to helping others tell their stories and using media strategically as a means to shift narratives and support social justice movements.
Zara is a co-writer/co-director of the collective’s award-winning feature documentaries, Stages and Brasslands, as well as many independent documentary shorts, including Consensus and Into the Streets. She has also directed, produced and edited dozens of commissioned short films, collaborating closely with non-profits, foundations and grassroots organizations, including the Tenement Museum, the Participatory Budgeting Project, Ford Foundation, Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung and Make the Road New York among many others. Alongside her filmmaking work, Zara worked as a teaching artist and arts program administrator in schools and community centers across New York City for over ten years. She has been a member of Meerkat Media Collective since 2006.
Rachel is a Brooklynite, social worker and cooperative developer at the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park. Rachel brings a feminist and trauma lens to the cultivation of worker leadership and anti-exploitative work opportunities through direct work with coops and training community organizations to develop coops in their communities. Rachel has been organizing for over a decade at the intersection of gender, labor, and sexuality, including around sex work, gender-based violence, LGBTQ homelessness, transgender migrant workers, and immigrant-led worker cooperatives.
Jose Paulino is a founding member of New Deal Home Improvement and graduate of Green Workers Coop Academy. He came to New Deal with a strong background in sales and property management. As a digital native, he brings the capacity of tech platforms to the company. He has worked with subcontractors and customers to communicate with and through online tools. In real time he has forged practices that help small companies and co-op’s comply with industry regulations, streamline invoicing, collaborate on estimates and structure job scheduling. Jose spent his summers in the Dominican Republic helping with the family rice distribution company where he acquired a fundamental awareness of small business practices. He applies that with bi-cultural and bi-lingual skills when working with colleagues and other contractors and customers. After three years of working with the New Deal and NYCNoWC, Jose is dedicated to furthering the mission of equity and access through cooperative economics
Shilpa Nandwani is a queer community chef who believes that communities deserve access to healthy, nutritious, and culturally relevant food. Through her four years of experience as an educator of mathematics, she is able to spread her enthusiasm and cooking skills around healthy eating to youth and grown-ups, alike, in a strategic and empowering way. She uses her involvement as a grassroots organizer to fight for justice against fascism and capitalism, in every part of her life. Shilpa serves as the regional coordinator for the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, is a 4.0 Essentials & Tiny Fellow, Green Worker Cooperative Academy Graduate, and is a holder of a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Elementary Education. Shilpa is also founding member of Khao’na Kitchen, LLC worker cooperative.
Saduf Syal, Coordinating Director, NYC NOWC
Saduf has worked within various community-based organizations throughout New York City for over a decade as a community organizer, direct service provider, and cooperative developer. Prior to joining NYC NOWC, she focused on building competent workforce development services that aimed to address the needs of immigrants through integrating workers’ rights and occupational health and safety training, narrowing the gap between communities and other workforce organizations, government agencies, unions, and academic institutions, and finally, through working with community members for the development of worker cooperatives that seek to create quality jobs with living wages.
In her current role at NYC NoWC, she hopes to contribute to building a strong network and movement of worker cooperatives in the city. Saduf holds a BA from New York University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University where she focused on Latin American, Caribbean and South Asian studies, economic and political development, and global labor issues. She is Pakistani-American and a strong believer in worker control and workplace democracy.
Tamara Shapiro, Director of Programs
Tamara Shapiro is co-creator of the InterOccupy network, which has facilitated democratic, interactive conference calls that have led to regional and national actions, conferences and multi-city events. Later, Tammy helped initiate Occupy Sandy and now works on two projects that grew out of that network: Rockaway Wildfire, and Worker-Owned Rockaway Cooperatives (WORCs) a worker-owned coop incubation project with residents hit by the hurricane. She also works for the Murphy Institute for Labor Studies.
Andrea Jácome, Communications Manager
Andrea Jácome is an herbalist, writer, cultural organizer/educator, and descendant of farmers, weavers & hustlers from the coasts and mountains of so-called Colombia and Ecuador. Coming from a background in cultural organizing as the former Creative Director at Girls Rock Philly and other art/educational projects in Philly and Colombia — she comes to NYC NOWC with an interest in narrative, strategic communications & design as a means of stewarding a culture shift guided by cooperation over competition, collectivism over individualism, eco over ego. She carries a BA in History & Latin American Studies from Swarthmore College. She is also the creator behind Cocarosa Apothecary.
Sadé Swift, Interim Advocacy Coordinator
Sade Swift (she/they) is a queer Black Dominican freedom fighter who has been organizing for the last 10 years. A graduate of The New School, she founded the Generation Citizen New School chapter and seminar class called Becoming Generation Citizen, which trains college students to work in middle school and high school classrooms to find solutions for community issues. She believes that in order to create real systemic change and dismantle the systems of oppression that we are working under, we must first start with young people. Sade has received many awards for her social justice work on and off campus. One that she is particularly proud about is the Gural Scholars Scholarship that has allowed her to travel to Colombia, twice to work with Afro-Colombian communities around the Peace Process, displacement, and ancestral land preservation. While in Colombia, she facilitated multiple conversations around gentrification, women inequalities within institutions, microaggressions in universities, gun violence, mass incarceration and those are just to name a few. She was involved with Sadie Nash since the summer of 2011, participating in six programs and as a mentor for two programs. Sade was also a member of Girls Write Now and served on the Youth Board for four years. In the Fall of 2016, she joined the Green Party as the campaign manager for the Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, making her one of the youngest campaign managers in U.S. history. Sade’s latest work includes developing two worker-owned cooperative business, Cards by De, a handmade greeting card cooperative and Rebellious Root , a consulting cooperative working towards justice and social change through training, curriculum design and intentional conversations.