Board Members


Nilsa Orama, Board Chair
Xavier Santiago, Vice-Chair
Alex Kohen, Secretary
Judith Febbraro, Assistant Secretary
Marissa Mack, Treasurer
Candy Vives-Vasquez, Assistant Treasurer


The membership of CB11 is made up of as many as fifty individuals appointed by the Manhattan Borough President, half of them at the recommendation of our local City Council members. Our members are your neighbors – people who live, work, own a business or have some other significant interest in East Harlem (aka Community District 11). Below is a listing of the current members of CB11. Click on their names and get to know them better:

Adem Brija was first appointed to CB11 in 2014. East Harlem-born, Adem has lived in the neighborhood for over half his life. He is the owner of Patsy’s Pizzeria an East Harlem staple since 1933.

Adem is a voting member of the Arturo Schomburg Democratic Club in East Harlem.

His hobbies include playing sports, especially football and golf, as well as writing music and poetry. He is also a very interested and seasoned real estate investor.

“My knowledge of real estate qualifies me for the land use committee. Which I currently serve on. My knowledge of running a restaurant qualifies me for the Licenses and Permits committee which I currently chair.”

Reverend Yolanda D. Brown, a Minister of Economic Development, and the Senior Pastor of a Christian Fellowship, Center of Destiny, was appointed to CB11 by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer in 2016. A native New Yorker, and an East Harlem resident of 15 years, Rev. Brown serves on both the Youth & Education and Public Safety & Transportation committees. A Prophetic Voice of Justice, Rev Brown has affiliation with FPWA as a Faith and Justice Fellow, Faith in New York as an Organization Affiliate, an IEDC standing member of 12 years, and the Chair of CTD, a FB Workforce Development Initiative. Rev. Brown’s call and mandate as a faith leader it to seek the welfare of the city, and that translates into seeking the well-being of its people, especially the most vulnerable, for this reason she is equipped to serve the community. And to balance it all out, Rev. Brown enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, dancing, traveling, and encourage others to live life from a higher place of greater possibilities.

Judith Febbraro has been a member of CB11 since 2005 and has resides in East Harlem since 2002. Though retired Judith keep active as a member of the Community Council of the 25th Precinct and the Community Advisory Board of the Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital as Chair of Patient Care. Her interests include quality of life, public safety, growing the economy. Judith has lifelong passion for dogs, enjoys architecture and design, especially Art Deco. Skills: it varies to what I’m doing at the time, I acclimate to whatever needs to be done. During her working career she was a paralegal at a law firm and in earlier days worked in merchandising in the Garment Center. Judith’s priority issue is making the community better community for all and supports the idea of establishing a Business Improvement District n East Harlem. She believes in spending money within the community instead of elsewhere and having the services and entertainment that would bring people to our community. “I would love to see a diverse restaurant row as they have on the West Side. Basically to have a community that people want to come to and have a reason to come to. I live in this community and I want to see it grow, not stagnate”.

Alex Kohen has been a member of CB11 since 2015 and has lived in New York City his whole life, including East Harlem since 2013. He works as an attorney at Deutsche Bank. Alex is a graduate of Hunter College High School and Hunter College, where he studied Political Science, Urban Affairs, and Latin American & Caribbean Studies. He is currently a Trustee of the Hunter College Foundation and a member of the Hunter College Pre-Law Advisory Board. In his free time, enjoys spending time with his family and friends, attending local concerts and is a fan of the New York Yankees.

Adriane Mack is a Southern California native who has called Harlem home for over 15 years. Ms. Mack has over 10 years of experience in human services and is a strong voice in the upper Manhattan community as Director of External Relations at STRIVE International.

Adriane is a James Beard Chairman’s Circle member and serves on their Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. She also serves as an advisory board member with the Salvation Army Manhattan Citadel Community; the YMCA Housing Advisory Board; the East Harlem Community Alliance Hire East Harlem Committee and Promote East Harlem Committee; NAACP Mid-Manhattan Chapter; the New York Urban League Young Professionals; and has served on the 126th Street Bus Depot Taskforce and WeACT Northern Manhattan Steering Committee.

A mother to her daughter Anastasia who shares her passion for the fine arts and cooking. They both love sports and being competitive.

Marissa Y. Mack grew up in West Harlem but moved on up to the East Side in 2010. Shortly after settling into the community, she became President of her Building’s Co-op Board and soon after, joined Community Board 11 in 2014.

Marissa works as a Portfolio Manager at Sterling National Bank with a focus on Non-Profit and Healthcare Organizations throughout NY and Westchester County. She credits this position, her work within the neighborhood and her service on Community Board 11 as catapults to continue her education.

In 2016, Marissa started on the path to obtaining her Master’s from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, where she is currently anticipating a May 2018 graduation. At Wagner, Marissa serves as the Director of Innovation for the Students for Criminal Justice Reform Board and was selected as an NYU 2018 Social Sector Leadership & Diversity Fellow.

Outside of school, Marissa mentors through the organization iMentor and when she finds time to twiddle her thumbs, she loves DIY projects and international traveling.

Frances Mastrota, Ph.D. was appointed to CB11 by then-Councilmember Phil Reed in 1997. She has lived in East Harlem since 1959 raising her children in what she calls ” The Pleasant Village Neighborhood” (111th to 120th Street, Pleasant to First Avenue).

Born in the Yorkville (83rd Street and East End Avenue) neighborhood, she developed a love of learning and completed her Undergraduate studies in Canada (1958), Masters (1960), NYS & Ph.D. (NYC) that has served her well.

As a retired Research Scientist, she currently thinks of herself as an Environment and Public Garden/Park advocate. Certified in Street Tree Care (Trees NY), Certified Feral Cat (TNR) Team Member (ASPCA), Certified Master Gardener (Cornell Ext.), Certified Rosarian (Brooklyn Botanical Garden). NYC Beekeeper (Dadant).

Frances is busy reporting to the Sierra Club, Adirondack Division, and other environmental advocates.  All of the natural world enchants her, as her knitting, crochet, embroidery projects show. A confirmed bibliophile, with a significant interest in the history of Manhattan Island, East Harlem, Randall & Ward’s Island. She is most fortunate to have been along with Rose Gardella, and eight others in 1976 a founding member of the Pleasant Village Community Garden (118th to 119th Street on Pleasant Avenue).

Nilsa Orama is the Director of the East Harlem Multi-Service Center.

She is the current Chair of Manhattan Community Board 11. As a board member, she has chaired the 2015 Nominating Committee, is the former Vice Chair of the Housing, Bylaws and Youth and Education Committees and has served on the Parks Committee as well as the East Harlem Rezoning Taskforce.

As a lifelong resident of East Harlem, Nilsa is very invested in her community. She has served as a parent volunteer in various schools in the district as well as in the Ice Hockey in Harlem Program. She has participated in Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) provided by the NYC Office of Emergency Management.
In April 2016, Nilsa was selected by the East and Central Harlem District Public Health office as a panelist for the East Harlem Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative. The panel awarded 9 awards to community-based projects that enhance neighborhood health as outlined in goals stated in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan.

In May 2016, as a board member of the East Harlem/El Barrio Land Trust, Nilsa was elected to the position of Board Secretary. She is very excited to be part of an initiative that will ensure affordable housing and a land resource for residents for the years to come.

Before being promoted to Director, Nilsa was the Assistant Director for the Multi-Service Center. She has also worked as a job developer for the East Harlem Council for Community Improvement, Inc. adult training programs and held the position of Director of Youth Services where she worked with citywide youth in various youth programs including the Summer Youth Employment Program, In School Youth Employment Program and PAVE and Escalera Programs.

Nilsa currently holds a Master of Business Administration degree and is a licensed notary public. She is a member of Prospanica (formerly known as the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s).

She is the proud wife of Tomas and the mother of two boys, Chris and Matt.

Robert Perkins has been a member of CB11 since 2016 and has lived in East Harlem for 25 years.  Mr. Perkins is a retired New York City Department of Education Teacher.  He is president of the Harlem Neighborhood Block Association (HNBA).
Mr. Perkins spends most of his free time with his grandson, and enjoys bike riding and chess.

Mahfuzur Rahman is the first and youngest Bangladeshi member to ever be appointed to CB11 at 16 years old and has been a member since 2015. He is born and raised in East Harlem and is now continuing his education at The City College of New York. Having worked with CAAAV, the Bronx Defenders, CitiBike, as well Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez’s office, Mahfuzur brings a grassroots perspective in marketing and advocating the needs of his community on policy. Mahfuzur serves as the Chair of the Health, Human Services, Immigration & Seniors Committee. He also serves on the Youth & Education Committee. He is a proponent of criminal and civil justice reform as well as equity in social services. In his free time, he is biking in Central Park, experiencing all that New York offers and spending time with friends and family and his cat, Bellu.

With roots extending five generations back and spanning between East Harlem and the South Bronx, Xavier A Santiago is a dedicated Community Board 11 resident. A staunch supporter of the local economy, his film production company has hired and filmed within the district and surrounding NYC areas. Previous leadership roles include: Treasurer, Chair of the Housing Committee and Economic Development Committee. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of Community Board 11 and Chairs the Statement of District Needs & Budget Committee

Ryan Sheffield has been a member of CB11 since 2017 and has lived in East Harlem since 2016. He currently works at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald and formerly served as a Captain in the U.S. Army with tours in Iraq (2011) and Afghanistan (2012-2013). Ryan is the Vice Chair of the Environment, Open Space & Parks Committee and a member of the Licenses & Permits Committee. Ryan is also a staunch advocate for LGBTQ rights and equality. In his free time, Ryan enjoys walking the East River Esplanade, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends.

Chandra Smith has been a member of CB11 since 2015 and has lived in East Harlem since 2013. She works at Grant Associates, where she serves as an advocate for youth and young adults. In this role, she works across New York City to engage employers and students interested in workforce and economic development. Chandra is a proponent of college and career success and believes, “if given the opportunity all NYC children can achieve college and/or career success. “ Chandra serves on the board of directors for Harlem’s The Royalty Project, Inc. In her free time, she volunteers with Girls Write Now to help high school students develop a love for writing, identify scholarship opportunities, and complete their college applications.

Shantal Sparks has been a member of CB11 since 2016 and has lived in East Harlem for nearly 15 years. Shantal is a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and currently serves as Chair of the Office Oversight Committee of CB11.  She is an active member of several bar associations, including the Dominican Bar Association (DBA) and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) where she serves on the Board of Directors. In addition to her various roles, Shantal also mentors high school students with Legal Outreach, Inc. and mentors law students through Practicing Attorneys for Law Students, Inc. (PALS). In her free time, Shantal enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.