EXECUTIVE BOARD of directors

 Girmay Zahilay

Girmay Zahilay


Girmay is an organizer at heart and loves bringing people together around common causes. One of the most important causes, in his mind, is helping underserved youth achieve their potential. He co-founded Rising Leaders with this mission in mind and it would make his dream come true if you become a mentor!

When I was a kid: my mom shaved my head bald because I wanted to look like Michael Jordan. My friends in first grade made fun of me so much that I ran away from school and got lost downtown. Today, I am lost no more and rock a bald head with no shame! #Growth


Director of Strategy

Harya is an advocate dedicated to trying to level the playing field and breaking the poverty cycle in the United States and worldwide. Finding so much joy in helping youth grow and achieve, she always finds a way to mentor kids whether it's dancing with them in Juvenile Hall or playing superheroes in pre-K! 

When I was a kid: I skipped nap time and secretly ate the class plant instead.


Mondaire Jones

Director of Strategy

Mentoring comes second nature to Mondaire.  He would not be where he is today were if not for the gracious people who helped guide him from a troubled childhood to academic and professional success.  His mission in co-founding Rising Leaders is to do the same for other young people.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, particularly Leonardo.  I threw a temper tantrum when my mother brought Donatello to my sixth birthday party instead.  My mother did not deserve that.



Obinna emenike

Director of Finance

Obinna is an entrepreneur at his core and big believer in taking risks and following your dreams. He recognizes that youth from some communities do not have equal opportunity to define their path. He joined Rising Leaders to help make it possible for students to follow their dreams.

When I was a kid: I was a huge fan of wrestling. I set a goal to be a 6'7" 290 lb wrestler... I've since changed my goals.


sADIE Miller

Director of Communications

Sadie is a social media strategist with a background in marketing. She joined the board after participating as a mentor for Rising Leaders and witnessing first-hand the amazing impact the program has on the young Leaders. A transplant from Seattle, she has lived in NYC for over 10 years and has eaten her way through each borough (even Staten Island!). 

When I was a kid: I used to blame my siblings for everything. I’m the oldest and usually got away with it. They still bring it up.