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New Leaders Council

2016 Institute Faculty

2016 Institute Trainers and Guest Speakers

Weekend of January 9th & 10th


Rob Houston

Rob works as a Senior Program Officer at the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), a nationally recognized nonprofit health policy consulting firm that specializes in Medicaid reform.  At CHCS, he is involved in a number of payment and delivery system reform projects, including a number of initiatives guiding the development of Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) nationwide.  He has authored several publications and spoken at conferences that have helped state Medicaid agencies, managed care organizations, and health care providers modify their payment and care delivery systems to deliver better health outcomes at a lower cost.  

Rob is also President of Houston Consulting Partnership (HCP), a consulting company that offers marketing, business planning, and thought partnership services to small businesses and nonprofit organizations.  Rob is also the Innovation Chair of New Leaders Council – New Jersey's Board of Director and is charged with building the NLC brand statewide through the development of new initiatives to engage fellows, alumni, and other progressive individuals and organizations.  He was an NLC-NJ Fellow in 2013.

Rob has been described as “Jersey for Life” and holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) with a concentration in Health Policy from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing from Rutgers Business School.  He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers University - New Brunswick.



 Rajvir Goomer

Born and raised in West London, England, Rajvir Goomer was 10 years old when he moved to the United States where he lived in Texas, California and New Jersey during his childhood.  Rajvir is a practicing attorney at Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas, LLP in New Brunswick, NJ as part of the firm’s Transactional Law Department focusing on municipal law, corporate/commercial transactions and litigation, real estate, and intellectual property.

He has been an active volunteer for the firm’s after school tutoring program with the local Lord Stirling School since he began working there in 2006.  Rajvir has presented at Churchill Junior High School for a number of years on topics such as Sikh awareness, discrimination, stereotypes and bullying.  He is currently focusing on expanding his presentations to other local school districts.  Rajvir has also been appointed as Middlesex County Co-Director for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee South Asian American Caucus and has focused on activating the South Asian community in support of local democratic races in Middlesex County.  A 2013 NLC-NJ Alumni, Rajvir is currently the NLC-NJ Bylaws Committee Chairman as well as a Life Entrepreneurship Trainer.  In his spare time, Rajvir loves to watch and play soccer, hike, cycle and read.






Jacqualine Lombardo

Jacqualine Lombardo is a licensed attorney, case manager, business owner and yoga instructor. Born and raised in the Capital Region, Jacqualine returned to the area to practice law. Pending bar results, she and two longtime friends cultivated the idea of starting a giving company and Twill was born.  Twill is a social awareness company that provides warmth and inspiration through a blanket. When one is purchased a customer has the opportunity to choose a local nonprofit to donate another to.

Jacqualine is the liaison between the nonprofit and the customer, ensuring blankets get into the hands of those who may need a helping hand through tough times. Since its organization in 2013, Twill has had the opportunity to donate over 1,800 blankets through its customers, community partnerships and corporate awareness programs. Although she can wear multiple hats, the common thread of her commitment to the community is based on connections, sharing and leaving people better than they were before they met her.  Based on these characteristics, she was noted by Women@Work as "A Top 10 Millennial to Watch." 


Lesley_Adeyemi_headshot.jpgLesley Adewumni

Yemi is the co-founder and product designer of Civic Eagle, a civic technology startup company which she helped launch in 2014.  After studying political science at the University of Pittsburgh (2010), receiving an MPA from Rockefeller College (2014), and working as a policy analyst for the New York State Assembly for a few years, she was ignited with a desire to impact civic engagement and public policy through more innovative and creative means.  The opportunity to create Civic Eagle - whose mission is to disrupt civic engagement through the use of integrated technology tools - introduced her to the world of product design. At Civic Eagle, she is the lead designer, coming up with all branding, marketing, and web design, as well as the design of Eagle App, which is the company's mobile application that connects users to civic information. Civic Eagle is an early stage startup that's been featured in publications including The Huffington Post, TechCocktail, and Ebony Magazine, and was the finalist in the 2015 Minnesota Cup competition.

Yemi is also a New Leaders Council CDNY Fellowship Alum (2015) and credits her participation in the fellowship for helping her become a true "life entrepreneur." The NLC Fellows Institute and the final Capstone project helped her formulate her goals and lay out a plan for achieving them. During Institute, she made the leap of transitioning careers, relocated to New York City where she now resides, and pursuing her career as a full-time designer. In addition to working for Civic Eagle, she's also a user experience designer at a digital design agency in NYC, and a freelance graphic designer and photographer working on branding projects for clients.



 Barbara Smith

Barbara Smith is an author, activist, and independent scholar who has played a groundbreaking role in opening up a national cultural and political dialogue about the intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender.  She was among the first to define an African American women’s literary tradition and to build Black women’s studies and Black feminism in the United States.  She has been politically active in many movements for social justice since the 1960s.

She has edited three major collections about Black women: Conditions: Five, The Black Women’s Issue (with Lorraine Bethel, 1979); All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies (with Gloria T. Hull and Patricia Bell Scott, 1982); and Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, 1983.  She is also the co-author with Elly Bulkin and Minnie Bruce Pratt of Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism, 1984.  She is the general editor of The Reader’s Companion to U. S. Women’s History with Wilma Mankiller, Gwendolyn Mink, Marysa Navarro, and Gloria Steinem, 1998.  A collection of her essays, The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom was published by Rutgers University Press in 1998.  Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith, edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks with Barbara Smith was published by SUNY Press in November, 2014.

She was cofounder and publisher until 1995 of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the first U. S. publisher for women of color.  She resides in Albany, New York and served two terms as a member of the Albany Common Council from 2006 to 2013.


  • 2015 – Doctor of Letters, Honorary degree awarded by the University at Albany
  • 2015 – Lambda Literary Award for Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
  • 2015 – Publishing Triangle Award for Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
  • 2015--Women of Excellence Award for Distinguished Career, Women’s Business Council, Capital Region Chamber of Commerce
  • 2015--Literary Legends Award, Albany Public Library Foundation
  • 2012 – “Makers: Women Who Make America” AOL—PBS
  • 2010 -- Capitaland Quarterly Dozen Who Make a Difference
  • 2009 -- Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College Achievement Award
  • 2005 -- Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
  • 2000 -- Church Women United Human Rights Award
  • 2000 -- Essence Magazine, Profiled in lead feature article honoring Black women leaders for the special thirtieth anniversary issue
  • 1999 -- Albany Chapter National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Arts Award
  • 1998 -- The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom, Honorable Mention, Gustavus Myers Human Rights Book Award
  • 1996-1997 -- Fellow, Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College
  • 1995-1996 -- Scholar-in-Residence, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • 1987 -- Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association Sesquicentennial Award


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