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YWCA Union County Board of Directors

Aretha Johnson, President

Aretha Castillo Johnson is a Customer Experience & Employee Engagement Strategist with over 25 years experience at a Fortune 500, increasing brand awareness, sales, and loyalty with a proven track record of designing and implementing customer-centric programs. Aretha’s mission is to develop strong women and strong girls as they uncover their inner strength, worth, and purpose in life.

Public speaking and cultivating relationships are leadership qualities that support her mission. Additionally, Aretha facilitates Racial Dialogues sessions as part of her Social Justice efforts.  This has helped her navigate and guide sensitive and tough conversations and discussions.

A faithful member of Fountain Baptist Church in Summit, NJ, Aretha serves on several ministries with specific outreach to women in prison and the youth in her church. In her leisure time, Aretha loves creating memories with her family, her husband of 20+ years, and her two daughters. Aretha’s standard social media hashtag,  #knowyourworth, channels Byron Katie’s quote, “Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.”

Laura Johnson, Vice President

Laura Johnson is an Assistant Professor at the Temple University School of Social Work. The goal of her research is to support the mental and physical health of survivors of interpersonal violence, as well as their safety and economic security. Prior to joining Temple, Laura worked at the Center on Violence Against Women and Children (now the Center for Research on Ending Violence) for over eight years, where she served on the senior leadership team and conducted research and evaluation related to the prevention and intervention of violence against women.

Laura sits on the New Jersey Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board Central Regional Team. She holds her PhD and MSW in Social Work from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Bachelor of Arts degree from Lehigh University. She enjoys spending time with her dog and loves to travel.

Nancy L. Sheridan, Secretary

Nancy Sheridan is an Independent Marketing and Advertising Professional. Most recently, Ms. Sheridan served as the Associate Director, Communications and Advertising at Dun & Bradstreet Information Services where she managed a staff of promotional writers responsible for developing and producing sales materials across 24 product areas. Previously, she worked for Crum & Forster Corporation and Prudential Insurance Company. Active in her community, Ms. Sheridan chairs the Clark Democratic Committee, and is a member of the Clark Planning Board and the Clark Environmental Commission. She is a graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University.


Charlinda Gales

Charlinda Brown-Gales is a finance professional at a large pharmaceutical company with over 30 years of experience in finance. She has a proven track record of successfully forecasting and managing mega million-dollar budgets, implementing audit principles and creating long range financial plans in both the pharma, and telecommunications industries.

As a current member of Fountain Baptist Church in Summit, NJ, Charlinda serves on the Manna House Food pantry ministry as well as the FBC Scholarship Committee ministry. Charlinda is also a member of The Finance Network where she aids in creating collaborating events for newly employed Finance individuals joining the company. Charlinda loves spending time with her family, and is committed to “Helping as many people here on earth, while I am here on earth”

Marilyn Cintron

Marilyn Rivera-Cintron was born in Jersey City. She attended Rutgers University where she matriculated at Douglass College (New Brunswick, NJ). Currently finishing her MPA/MPH studies at Farleigh Dickinson University. Completed UCLA’s Anderson School of Business training for Healthcare Executives in 2004. Ms. Cintron’s first professional posting upon graduation was as a Risk Reduction Specialist and Substance Abuse Counselor at St. Francis Hospital. She served as counselor, community advocate, and program developer in various capacities with several community organizations throughout New Jersey until 1999, when she joined Horizon Health Center, now Doing Business as Alliance Community Healthcare Inc. (ACH), as its Social Services Program Director and continued to move up in the organization with the Board of Trustees electing her to become the Chief Executive Officer in January of 2005.

Ms. Cintron has been with the ACH organization for over twenty-eight years. She has served on many levels within the organization and for the past sixteen years as Leader/CEO and visionary for the constantly evolving role of ACH in the Hudson County Community. Keeping her eye on Quality, Ms. Cintron has built a leadership team that continues to keep ACH’s true to its mission of access to high quality health care for all with acquiring and maintaining Joint Commission Primary Care Medical Home and NCQA designation. She is a fellow of UCLA’s Health Care Executive Program and a fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute sponsored by the Women’s Fund of New Jersey. Ms. Cintron continues her efforts to maintain a strong voice for women’s reproductive justice. Ms. Cintron is currently serves on several boards: Vice Chair of the New Jersey Primary Care Association, Treasurer of the Partnership for Maternal & Child Health of Northern New Jersey, Vice Chair of the Providers Committee for New Jersey Family Planning League, Board Member of the Carepoint Health System, Steering Committee Member of Inclusive Health Communities for Hudson County, Vice Chair of Task Force of Ending the Epidemic Task Force, Vice Chair of the Reproductive Health group of the NJ Governor’s Maternal Care Quality Collaborative and Vice Chair of NJ Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force on Racial and Health Disparities.

She has won several awards such as Healthcare Hero for South Hudson Coalition, Recognition for Faith Based Leadership during COVID, Hispanic Leaders in Healthcare, Community Healthcare Leader, Outstanding Service Award for Youth Services and Outstanding Service Award for Women and AIDS.

Rachel Dikovics

Bio to come.

La’tesha Elaine Sampson

Dr. La’tesha Sampson, a Roselle native, has been serving disenfranchised individuals and communities for over two decades and believes in helping others transform their thinking to change their lives. She is the President and Founder of Great Joy Counseling and Consulting Services where she and her team of therapists provide innovative, therapeutic psychotherapy & life coaching services to thousands of individuals, couples, families, and groups each year.  She is also the Executive Director of Great Joy Community Development Corporation, a NJ based nonprofit, aimed at promoting great joy, health and wellness and improved quality of life for disenfranchised people globally.

Dr. La’tesha is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, author, grant -writer corporate and non profit trainer, and program facilitator. She loves to teach students and train them to be change agents in their communities. She is currently a professor at the Kean University Department of Social Work and has previously taught at Master of Social Work departments at the University of New England, Rutgers University, and the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Dr. La’tesha community service includes a national NASW- PACE Committee Board membership position, a Training and Curriculum Chair position at NJ Association of Black Social Workers, and a membership position of the Morris County Chapter of the Links, Inc. She previously held a Board Chair position at Rz the Flags, a Global Outreach Initiative focused on HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, human trafficking, and a Director of Business Development position at Women Operating in Opulence, a nonprofit financial literacy organization for women of color.

Dr. La’tesha earned a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, a Master’s of Public Administration degree from Metropolitan College of New York, a Master’s of Social Work from Kean University, and a Ph.D in Christian Counseling and Psychology from Northwestern Seminary. She is also the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Social Work and is pursuing her Doctorate of Social Work at Simmons University.

Shahrzad (Sherry) Heidary

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Sherry Heidary, began working at Union County College in July 2007. During the last 12 years, she has held several leadership positions at the college. She has served as the Chair of Chemistry Department, and Faculty Advisor to the Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, and American Honors Council. She is currently a commissioner to the Union County Commission on Status of Women, YWCA Union County Board member, and a Trustee on Union County College Foundation Board.

She is the first recipient of the prestigious Fiat Lux Award in 2017, and two times recipient of the Dr. Richard and Barbara Neblett Prize Award for Educational Excellence in Teaching and Learning in 2013 and 2017. In 2015, she was awarded the NISOD Excellence Award – National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development – Excellence Award in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership at Community and Technical Colleges.

She holds a BS in Polymer Engineering, and a MS in Polymer Science from Penn State University. Her interest in the STEM field was nurtured by her chemistry high school teacher. She finds STEM courses interesting, challenging and very exciting. She is an avid ballroom dancer and loves to travel.

Ann Janson

Ann works at the Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery in Linden, New Jersey as the HR Manager and is a member of the Refinery Leadership Team.  She is a strategic partner to the site leaders, supporting business goal achievement and building a high performing organization.  Ann has over 25 years’ experience in HR leadership, including employee & labor relations, talent development, and talent management.  Throughout her career, she has worked in multiple locations across the US and also in the middle east.  She has a passion for inclusion and diversity, and feeds this passion with her love for travel.  In her quest to visit 100 countries in her life, she has had adventures and experienced local cultures in over 60 countries, spanning all seven continents.

Jemia Kinsey Singleton

Jemia Kinsey Singleton is a communications professional with more than 19 years of experience in developing and implementing communications strategies and tactics that get results. She is the president of Kinsey Communications, a communications firm that specializes in public relations, community outreach, strategic marketing, and diversity and inclusion consulting. Jemia has provided communications counsel and support for a variety of clients in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has also worked in fund development and is able to combine her communications skills and development experience to benefit non-profit organizations.

In addition to the YWCA Union County, Jemia serves as a board member and chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Public Relations Society of America (NJ Chapter). She also serves on the board of the Hope Chest Scholarship Foundation and volunteers with various local non-profit organizations. Jemia, who is married and has one son, holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Emory University and a certificate in Executive Philanthropy and Resource Development from the Fairleigh Dickinson Center for Excellence.