President and Chief Executive Officer
Lavinia Limón has more than 30 years of experience working on behalf of refugees and immigrants. Prior to joining USCRI in August of 2001, Ms. Limón was Director of the Center for the New American Community, a project of the National Immigration Forum. During the Clinton Administration, Ms. Limón served as the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services, designing and implementing programs to assist newly arriving refugees in achieving economic and social self-sufficiency. She served simultaneously as the Director of the Office of Family Assistance for four years, helping to devise policies and strategies for implementing national welfare reform. Ms. Limón was previously the Executive Director of the International Institute of Los Angeles.
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Lee Williams joined USCRI as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in August 2009. Prior to joining, he was the Executive Director of the International Institute of Akron (Ohio), a USCRI partner agency, for two years. Mr. Williams’ early career was in client services and international banking. He was Vice President of the Morgan Stanley Trust Company, Vice President of Deutsche Bank Global Institutional Services, and Managing Principal of Capco – a capital markets company. Mr. Williams holds a Graduate Certificate of Non-Profit Management from Case Western Reserve University, a Master's degree in International Management from The Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Bs.L from Georgetown University in Arabic.
Director of Government and Community Relations
Stacie Blake has responsibility for building and maintaining strong and positive relationships with government, elected and community supporters. From 2002-2005 she led the USCRI Vermont field office welcoming hundreds of newly arrived refugees and their families. She was recognized by the Vermont Legislature with a Joint Resolution of Appreciation for her work with refugees and immigrants across the state. She led the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture for three years and developed and launched the National Partnership for Community Training-a research based collaborative to share best practices for communities with limited resources for torture survivors. Prior to rejoining USCRI she was the Executive Director of Community Tampa Bay promoting a vision of ending discrimination. Ms. Blake holds two degrees from the University of Vermont and was elected twice as a member of the Mount Mansfield Union School District. She is a graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute and Leadership Florida.
Director of Raleigh Field Office
Kevin began working with people who are displaced in 1979 when thousands of refugees fled Vietnam by boat. Initially, he worked for the American Council for Nationalities Service (ACNS) in Indonesia and then for the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) in the Philippines and in Japan. Subsequently, Kevin worked as ICMC's Joint Voluntary Agency Representative in the Sudan where he processed applicants for U.S. resettlement from Ethiopia and Eritrea. Kevin next joined for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Thailand and then served as IRC's first Representative to Costa Rica where he assisted people who were displaced from Nicaragua. Upon returning from overseas, Kevin worked for nearly three decades with people who are displaced from their homes in the United States, initially in Yonkers and New Rochelle, NY and then in his native Massachusetts where he directed two non-profit agencies - one in Springfield and another in Amherst. In 2010, Kevin served briefly as a consultant to USCRI in Haiti, and in 2014 began directing USCRI's NC Field Office in Raleigh. He also speaks Spanish.
Mohammed Al Sulttani
Mohammed AlSulttani graduated from the University of Technology in Iraq, after graduation he joined the US Agency for International Development in Iraq and became their Admin and IT Assistant. Four years later, he was promoted to be the Program Manager for Community Action Program, one of the biggest US mission development programs at that time. After that and due to some security issues in Iraq, Mohammed planned to move out of country. He was lucky that a Special Immigrant Program was available for those who supported the US Mission in Iraq. In 2010 he was granted the US permanent resident and started his new life in the United States. In a different country, culture, environment, and everything; he planned to start all over again just to put himself in the system as quick as possible and so he though to start with an entry level job. He started his first job as a pizza delivery driver in Texas and moved for a better job in DC with the Islamic Relief USA and became their Donor Care Coordinator. He then moved to North Carolina in Oct 2011 and applied for a part time job with the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and now he is a full time Case Manager.
Megan joined USCRI NC full time in January 2014 after working as an intern and ESL instructor since May 2012. Before coming to USCRI, she previously worked as with FEMA in New York City on international programs and as a congressional intern. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Western Carolina University, during which time she completed a cultural and linguistic exchange to Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, and a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University with a focus on international security and Asia Regional Studies. Megan’s passions include helping refugee women and children and furthering access to education for newly arrived families.
IDA Coordinator and MG Assistant
Originally from Blacksburg, Virginia, Grace is the IDA program coordinator and the Match Grant assistant. Grace graduated from Duke University in May 2014, where she earned a B.A. in public policy and ethics with a concentration on refugee and migration studies. In 2011, Grace co-founded and directed a tutoring and mentorship program for refugee youth in Durham that continues to serve over 60 students weekly. She has worked locally and internationally with diverse refugee populations, including Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. Grace also studied in Cusco, Peru and Granada, Spain in order to improve her Spanish. At Duke, Grace received high distinction for her thesis concerning refugee experiences of resettlement and conceptions of self-sufficiency.
Case Manager - Post Release Services
Nicole Chinnici joined USCRI in November 2013, working with the Immigrant Children’s Case Management Program as a case manager. Nicole graduated in May 2013 with her MSW from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL and moved to the Raleigh area. Nicole’s previous experiences includes working with refugee and immigrant families. She has worked with individuals and facilitated groups addressing issues of mental health, legal status, and adjustment to their new home. Nicole’s passion includes helping vulnerable immigrant families by educating them on their rights and advocating on their behalf to ensure their safety and best interest is met. Nicole speaks fluent Spanish as well.
Feven Fessehaye as an Eritrean refugee resettled through USCRI, North Carolina in the later part of 2009. Coming as a refugee, Feven’s passion is working with new arrivals and to better understand refugees’ experiences. Feven's prior experiences include work as an interpreter and administrative assistant with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya from 2007 to 2009 and as an interpreter with United Nations Mission Between Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE). Feven plans on pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Social Work. Feven is fluent im Tigrinya and Amharic.
Shatarra Gibson joined USCRI NC in December 2013 as Program Coordinator for the Refugee Saving and Development Program also referred to as the IDA program. Within a year, the IDA program used all available space for participants and continues to provide financial literacy education and asset acquisition assistance to over 200 participants. Shatarra has now accepted the positon of Program Coordinator for the Refugee Childcare Microenterprise Program in which she will continue provide financial literacy and entrepreneurial training to refugee women and assist them in becoming licensed to operate home-based child care facilities. Shatarra holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies, focusing in global political studies and social and economic justice. During her studies, she traveled abroad to Jordan and participated in an exchange program in Malmö, Sweden, where she studied International Conflict and Resolution. In 2009, she became an AmeriCorps*VISTA, working with various at-risk populations in New Orleans, Louisiana including at-risk youth, homeless, mentally ill, and incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons and their families. In 2010, she was promoted to Program Coordinator of a civic justice program that provided rehabilitative services to formerly incarcerated persons though AmeriCorps service opportunities and confronted barriers to employment, education, housing, and public assistance.
Program Assistant - Post Release Services
Mr. Lenin Izaguirre joined USCRI as a Case Aide for the Cuban-Haitian program in July 2013. In November 2013, Lenin accepted a Program Assistant position with the Post Release Services team. After graduating from Mount Olive College with Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, he worked at North Carolina State University, providing support to migrant students and helping them to develop skills that meet their assessed educational needs. Lenin is originally from Honduras and he arrived in the United States in 1994. He is fluent in Spanish.
Originally from Burma, Chin and her family came to United States as immigrants in 2004. Chin received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from University of North Carolina Charlotte. After graduation she interned with USCRI NC as an accounting intern, she was later hired as a Program Assistant and implemented use of financial software. Chin also worked and owned businesses in the hospitality industry and has worked in various accounting and management positions, including Data Analyst. She is fluent in Burmese and Chin.
Abdikadir "Abdi" Mohamed
Abdi Mohamed serves as a Case Manager for the Reception and Placement Program. As a onetime refugee, Abdi takes pleasure in serving newly-arrived refugees. Abdi previously worked for IBM in the Research Triangle Park for seven years. Abdi is from Somalia and graduated from Somalia National University in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Saida Mohamed is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia. As a onetime refugee herself, Saida enjoys the opportunity to serve newly-arrived refugees. At USCRI NC, Saida helps newly-arrived refugees find employment. Prior to joining USCRI NC, Saida served the Somali Ministry of Education as a teacher in Somalia High Schools. She then worked as an Administrative Assistant to a graduate program at Somali Institute of Development Administration and Management in collaboration with California State University, Fresno. She has also worked for a number of American oil companies including Shell, Chevron, and Pecton and for IBM at the Research Triangle Park. Saida graduated from the Somalia National University, College of Education.
Cuban Haitian Program Coordinator
Prior to joining USCRI, Dawn worked as a Program Supervisor for the Guardian ad Litem Program in Cumberland County, NC, as a court appointed child advocate for abused and neglected children in the Foster Care System. She has served as the US Associate Peace Corps Director in St. Lucia, her home country, responsible for the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of all Peace Corps projects and as the direct supervisor for all Peace Corps volunteers on the island. During her 20 year career as an educator, she co-founded a private high school and learning center in St. Lucia. Dawn is fluent in Creole (French patois), has a strong knowledge of French, and is familiar with Spanish. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor in Laws (LLB) degree from the University of London distance program and anticipates graduating in June, 2015. Her Bachelor of Science Degree is in Psychology and she is a graduate of Duke University Paralegal Program in Durham, NC. Dawn is currently a member of the Justice for Immigrants Committee at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh, NC.
Case Manager: Post Release Services
Kim Phistry joined USCRI in November 2014 as a Post Release Services Case Manager serving unaccompanied immigrant children. Prior to working with USCRI, she assisted families facing foreclosure in Chicago, IL as a housing counselor. She developed a passion for refugee and immigration work while completing her undergraduate degrees in International Studies and Sociology at DePaul University in Chicago and working at a refugee resettlement agency helping individuals and families to access services and transition to their new home. Kim is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Originally from Canada, Nicole has many years’ experience working with children, resettled refugee communities, and economically disadvantaged people. Nicole received her B.A. in French from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and her M.S. in Global Affairs and Human Rights from New York University. Prior to joining USCRI, Nicole worked as Program Administrator and Grant Writer with the Kramden Institute in Durham, NC. Her nonprofit work began while an undergraduate student when she worked with economically disadvantaged single mothers with the YWCA of Asheville. Nicole lived in New York for four years. She taught ESL as a teacher’s assistant in one of New York City’s public schools; and worked for the Institute of International Education issuing Fulbright Scholarships to African students wishing to attend US universities. Nicole’s first passion is working with refugees, her thesis was on Education in Refugee camps and she was employed at Art for Refugees in Transition as its US Program Manager developing its programs, donor database, and volunteer program. Additionally, she resettled refugee youth with the IRC in New York.
Program Officer - Post Release Services
Amy Schafer is a Program Officer for Post Release Services with USCRI’s Immigrant Services Division. She started with USCRI in 2011 as a Post Release Case Manager with the USCRI, providing services to vulnerable unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States. Prior to joining USCRI, she worked for the State of North Carolina in the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Wake County 4-H Youth Development, and a local nonprofit Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Wake County. Ms Schafer’s work has focused primarily on serving high risk, high need latino families. She worked in under served communities providing workshops to families, informing them of resources to support families, and creating opportunities for the youth to become proactive, productive members of their communities. She has served on the Wake County Gang Prevention Partnership, MentorWake, and Alianza Latina Pro-Educacion en Salud. She has also worked overseas in the Dominican Republic focusing on community health, nutrition, and education. She also speaks Spanish.
Interpreter Services Representative
Mustafa received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from AL-Mustansyriah University in Baghdad, Iraq. He has worked as an Interpreter for the US Armed Forces, Department of Defense and General Dynamics working on land system in Iraq. Additionally his duties included helping the local Iraqi’s and training the Iraqi army on the use of heavy duty combat machines. Mustafa later worked as a Field Engineer for General Dynamics performing advanced maintenance training for the Iraqi army. Mustafa came to United States through the SIV program and was resettled by USCRI NC. Mustafa worked as an on call Interpreter working with refugee new arrivals who speak Arabic. Mustafa will begin working full time as the Language Services Representative in the Interpreter program. Mustafa has a wide knowledge in sales, small businesses developments and marketing.
Marielena "Lena" White
Case Manager - Post Release Services
Lena White is a Post Release Services Case Manager serving unaccompanied immigrant children and their families. Before her work with USCRI, she worked in Memphis, Tennessee teaching Pre-Algebra to urban eighth graders while being a member of Teach for America’s teaching corps. While completing her undergraduate degree in Sociology and International Studies at Butler University in Indianapolis, Lena worked in the state grant program of a refugee resettlement agency. She first became interested in refugee and immigration work through teaching ESL to Indianapolis residents and is pleased to continue advocating for immigrant children. Lena is bilingual in English and Spanish.