Board of Directors
Liz Northcutt/ Executive Director & Founder
An LMSW who has worked in child welfare in different capacities for almost a decade. She obtained her B.S. in Psychology from UF and her MSW from NYU, working within the child welfare system while in school. Liz interned with NY Foundling, focusing on child welfare policy, and then became a caseworker for St. Vincent’s Services, where she worked with medically fragile children, trying to preserve families and prevent children from entering foster care. Liz joined CASA in 2010 as the Brooklyn Advocate Supervisor and became the Brooklyn Borough Coordinator in 2012. She also served for over 4 years on the board of igotITtoo, a nonprofit organization which works to bring technology to underserved populations. Despite taking time from her full-time work to start a family, Liz continues to work part time at Comprehensive Family Services, advocating for clients who are dealing with the Family Court System, many of whom are youths in Foster Care. Forming relationships with this population over the years, Liz has long worked unofficially to support youth aging out of Foster Care, coordinating friends and family to provide donations and assistance to former clients. In September 2015 Liz made her mission official, founding City Living NY as a not-for-profit organization with the vision of creating a stable home for young adults aging out of foster care.
Dorina Link/ President
Managing Director for DSL Associates in NYC, where she performs independent consultant work for social work programs with an emphasis on children, homelessness, health, legislative advocacy, program development and business planning. She is an LMSW and MBA Professional with extensive public sector and nonprofit experience, having obtained her B.S. in Biology and Economics from Carnegie-Mellon University, her MBA from University of Pittsburgh, and her Master of Social Work from Columbia University. Following a career in the private and public sector, she worked as the Brooklyn Advocate Supervisor at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), supervising volunteer advocates and graduate student social work interns. Dorina is also a board member of New Yorkers For Children (NYFC), a nonprofit which works in partnership with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to improve the lives of youth in foster care. She has previously served as a board member for the Joyce Theater Foundation (2007-2014), the Legal Aid Society (2008-2010), and the United Way of Greenwich (1999-2003), and also as board President of Gateway School in Greenwich, CT (1997-2000)
Mari Kent/ Vice President
Senior Director of Academic Operations for Kaplan Test Prep. Mari obtained her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, CT, and has work experience in management, human resources, and talent acquisition. She began teaching for Kaplan in 2008, and has taught test preparation courses for numerous standardized tests, including the MCAT, GRE, GMAT, SAT, and ACT. Mari taught for the Health Care Opportunity Programs (HCOP) at the UConn School of Medicine and Dental Medicine from 2009-2011, instructing students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in American health care professions in intensive preparation for the medical and dental school entrance exams. Through HCOP she also taught a weekend science class for underrepresented Hartford Public School System sophomores interested in pursuing the sciences. Mari has a certification in Leading Operational Excellence from completing an Executive Education Program with MIT Sloan School of Management.
Susan Bush/ Treasurer
A procurement professional with more than 25 years experience in both for profit and nonprofit organizations. She holds masters degrees in sociology and religious studies from Florida International University and an MBA from Western Carolina University. As an adjunct professor, Susan has provided instruction in sociology and college skills courses at Florida International University, Miami-Dade Community College, Brevard Community College, and North Carolina University-Asheville While living in North Carolina, she was a member of the Rotary Club and served as board member for SAFE, a domestic abuse shelter. Susan is currently the Director of Contracting and Procurement at JASA, a large nonprofit organization providing a continuum of services for aging New Yorkers.
Mary Billard, Esq./ Secretary
A freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to The New York Times for more than a decade. Her work has appeared regularly in both the Travel and Style sections, where she worked as an editor and wrote feature articles. Earlier in her career, Mary was a Senior Reporter for The American Lawyer magazine and a producer at Court TV. In addition to being a journalist, Mary graduated from Brooklyn Law School and was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York for her pro bono death penalty work for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1998. In 2002 Mary became a volunteer and later a staff advocate for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a unique volunteer organization that helps move children out of foster care into safe, permanent homes. She also serves on the Leadership Council of the Committee to Protect Journalist, which takes action whenever journalists are attacked worldwide.
Matt Bursic, CPA/ Board Member
Mr. Bursic is the controller of corporate finance at Apollo Global Management in New York, where he has responsibility for ensuring proper accounting treatment applied to over 140 management companies. Before joining Apollo, Mr. Bursic was an audit Manager in the Hedge Fund Practice at Ernst & Young LLP. Matthew received his Bachelors in Accounting from Marist College.
Samantha A. Fried, LCSW/ Board Member
Samantha has worked in child welfare for over seven years. She began her career as a therapeutic case planner in the Treatment Family Foster Care Department of New Alternatives For Children, a foster care agency in New York City that serves medically fragile children and those with other special needs. She then spent four years as a Forensic Social Worker at the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice, where she worked alongside attorneys to represent children in child protective and juvenile delinquency proceedings in Brooklyn Family Court. Samantha is currently a Project Coordinator at the Center for Court Innovation for a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime of the United States Department of Justice. This national project seeks to create a package of interactive support materials for children, teens, their caregivers and the justice system practitioners who work with them to facilitate the provision of effective, developmentally appropriate court support services to children involved in state, federal and tribal court settings in criminal and civil cases. Samantha is an Adjunct Instructor at the Fordham Graduate School of Social Service where she teaches Forensic Social Work Practice and Social Work and the Law, and in the Fall of 2018 she will also be an Adjunct Lecturer at Columbia University’s School of Social Work working as a student advisor. Samantha holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and an MSW with a minor in Law from Columbia University. Samantha is passionate about Child Welfare and Family Court reform, specifically an emphasis on an increased voice for children.
Geraldine Hansell/ Board Member
Associate Director at Apollo Global Management, a leading global alternative asset manager, where she focuses on strategic initiatives and profitability assessment for Apollo's Credit, Private Equity and Real Estate businesses. Previously, Geraldine held an analyst position at the global macro hedge fund Tudor Investment Corporation and also worked on the Institutional and Retail strategy teams at TD Ameritrade. Geraldine has extensive experience in financial analysis, investment management and strategic planning. Geraldine obtained her Bachelor's degree in Finance from Boston University's Questrom School of Business. She currently serves as a volunteer for the Robin Hood Foundation and is based in New York
Christina Holdrege/ Board Member
Adjunct lecturer at Columbia School of Social Work and a nonprofit consultant. She is a longtime member of the Coalition for Women Prisoners, and also chairs the Incarcerated Mothers Committee. Christina previously served as the Brooklyn Borough Coordinator at Court Appointed Special Advocates, NYC (CASA), which provides advocacy for children and youth in foster care, and as Program Supervisor at the Incarcerated Mothers Program of Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families, a preventive services program. She was also Program Director of COCOA House, which provides free after-school and enrichment programs for under served children in Schenectady, NY. Christina holds a Bachelors of Science in Social Welfare degree from the University at Albany and a Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University.
Charell Star/Board Member
Charell Star is a journalist and online media personality, contributor and featured lifestyle expert for on-air, on-camera and online video shows and segments. She has contributed to broadcast and digital media outlets such as Marie Claire, Fox 5 - Good Day New York, NBC 4 New York Live and Second Look TV. She is also the founder, publisher, and writer of “Not Just a Girl in a Dress”, a highly popular lifestyle blog which shares inspiring stories and trending news that help women readers define their own versions of success. In 2015, she was awarded Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Follow-Worthy Blogger of the Year, named to Quirky Brown Love’s list of “Most Amazing Bloggers,” and featured as “Hot Topic Blogger Host of the Day” on the Wendy Williams Show. Charell is also a former foster care youth, and knows first hand the challenges facing the foster care population. She has been passionate about partnering with organizations, advocates, and brands that provide foster youth needed services, support and encouragement over the years