Our People

Guided by our Jewish values and history, we bring more than a century of expertise to our work with refugees.

Leadership

Mark Hetfield

President & CEO

Mark Hetfield

Mark Hetfield

President & CEO

Mark Hetfield first joined HIAS in 1989 as a caseworker in Rome, Italy. He has worked for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a large law firm as an immigration attorney, and has held multiple roles at HIAS over the years. Since being named HIAS’ President and CEO in 2013, Mark has led the transformation of HIAS from helping refugees because they were Jewish to helping refugees because we are Jewish.

Mark is proud of HIAS’ role in assisting and resettling refugees of all faiths and ethnicities and as a major implementing partner of the United Nations Refugee Agency and the U.S. Department of State. He is a frequent commentator and writer on refugee issues on television, radio, newspapers, and other media outlets. Mark holds both a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University.

Frank Boccovi

Associate Vice President, Accounting & Finance

Frank Boccovi

Frank Boccovi

Associate Vice President, Accounting & Finance

Frank Boccovi leads the accounting team at HIAS. He oversees the investment portfolio as well as preparing the consolidated financial statements and global audits. He has had a long career dedicated to managing financial and accounting operations in the international development area and has served in many senior finance roles in nonprofit sectors. Frank has managed multicultural teams in domestic and international settings with experience in internal control, auditing and reporting.

Prior to joining HIAS, Frank served as a Senior Accountant with AIHEC American Higher Education Consortium and Search for Common Ground. He worked as Senior Finance Leader with CECAV, a non-profit organization providing support to women in collaboration with UNICEF in Togo.

Frank earned his MBA at the University of District of Columbia and a Master’s in Economics at University of Benin.  Frank is also a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor.

Mark Cohen

General Counsel

Mark Cohen

Mark Cohen

General Counsel

Mark Cohen joined HIAS in 2019 and serves as general counsel. Prior to HIAS, Mark served at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel as the principal deputy; executive director of the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection NGO (where he still serves on the Board); and the National Association of Attorneys General (advising state Attorneys General). He also worked for UNHCR as a senior legal consultant in Geneva, Switzerland, and in Malaysia, and as an assistant professor of Communications at Antioch College. He is a former news director of NPR affiliate WYSO in Ohio, and the executive producer and host of the award-winning, syndicated cable access TV program, The Coffee House. Mark earned an LLM from Georgetown in international and comparative law, his law degree from Antioch, and his undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh.

Smita Dazzo

Senior Director, Legal & Asylum

Smita Dazzo

Smita Dazzo

Senior Director, Legal & Asylum

Smita Dazzo is Senior Director, of Legal and Asylum at HIAS. With over a decade of experience in working with forcibly displaced persons, she oversees HIAS’ Direct Immigration Legal Services, the Pro Bono and Partnerships team, programming strategy along the U.S./Mexico border, and HIAS’ newest Direct Social Services team. Prior to joining HIAS, Smita provided direct immigration legal services in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.  She also worked in Protection with the UNHCR in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She received her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and a M.A. in International Politics at American University, School of International Service.

Miriam Feffer

Vice President, Development

Miriam Feffer

Miriam Feffer

Vice President, Development

Miriam Feffer joined HIAS in 2017 as Vice President for Development, where she oversees an advancement team dedicated to sustaining HIAS’ essential work helping displaced people find safety, freedom, and opportunity. Her 20 years of experience in fundraising includes leadership roles at the oldest and largest synagogue in Washington, a progressive strategy center, a national network of women environmental philanthropists, and a D.C.-area independent school. Prior to joining the nonprofit world in search of mission-driven work, she conducted market research for a broad base of clients.

An anthropologist by training with a focus on youth, bodies, and gender, Miriam completed studies toward a doctorate in Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Chicago and earned a BA in Anthropology and American Studies from Brandeis University. She is the proud parent of an opinionated teenager and affectionate labradoodle. As the daughter of a refugee from Hitler’s Europe, Miriam understands only too well how a whole family can be saved by individuals and countries acting with integrity. She is grateful for the opportunity to connect HIAS supporters with meaningful opportunities to act on their values.

Cristina Garcia

Regional Director, Latin America & Caribbean

Cristina Garcia

Cristina Garcia

Regional Director, Latin America & Caribbean

Cristina Garcia is the Regional Director for HIAS in Latin America and the Caribbean supporting, overseeing and connecting HIAS regional response to the displacement situation in 11 Latin American Countries where HIAS has more than 1,000 staff and around 60 field offices.

Cristina is a humanitarian professional with more than 18 years of experience in both humanitarian response and development work in America, Africa and Asia. During that time she has led and managed programs in various contexts. She has managed in displacement settings such as the Sahrawi refugee camps in Western Sahara and the Venezuelan displacement crisis. As well as heading peace building and human rights strengthening programs in the Philippines and Colombia, Cristina has successfully worked with UNHCR and other UN agencies, donors such as Spanish Aid-AECID, and international NGOs including MSF Switzerland and TGH-France.

Specifically trained to provide general protection as well as the prevention of gender-based violence in emergency situations, Cristina has led in a number of emergency humanitarian interventions including those responding to the 2003 Algerian Earthquake, Guatemala’s Hurricane Stan disaster in 2005 and Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines in 2013.

Cristina is a passionate advocate for refugees and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Rights with a specialization in International Refugee Law from the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), a Diploma in Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation from Bioforce in Lyons and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from The University of Alcalá.

Muluemebet Hunegnaw

Vice President, Strategy & Measurement

Muluemebet Hunegnaw

Muluemebet Hunegnaw

Vice President, Strategy & Measurement

Muluemebet Hunegnaw serves as HIAS’ Vice President for Strategy and Measurement. In this role, she provides leadership in setting the organization-wide strategic framework and alignment across the broader HIAS organization. She works with the Executive Leadership Team to institute a culture of measurement to track organizational performance as well as promote evidence-based programs and policies to help forcibly displaced people.

Mulu has previously served in various senior leadership roles, including as Save the Children USA’s Africa Regional Director, as Country Director in multiple countries, and as a global advisor for planning and impact evaluation. She has also served as the mission’s monitoring and evaluation advisor at the United States Agency for International Development, and as a senior Energy expert with the Ethiopian Energy Authority.

She holds an MA in Development Economics from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, and a BA in Economics from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. She is a Yale World Fellow.

Rachel Levitan

Vice President, International Policy & Relations

Rachel Levitan

Rachel Levitan

Vice President, International Policy & Relations

Rachel is Vice President, International Policy and Relations, leading HIAS’s advocacy on refugee rights internationally, communicating HIAS’s international impact, policy recommendations, and thought leadership. She also oversees engagement with international Jewish communities and builds HIAS’s partnerships with the US State Department, USAID, Congress, UNHCR and other UN bodies, the private sector, and international, national, and local NGOs.

Rachel previously served as HIAS’ VP, International Programs, where she led HIAS’ growth in four core program areas (legal protection, gender-based violence prevention and risk reduction, mental health and psychosocial support, and economic inclusion), more than tripling the department’s budget, and significantly growing its geographic footprint. In previous positions, Rachel launched international refugee legal programs, led research on LGBTQ refugee protection, and coordinated multifaith refugee welcome campaigns.

Prior to working with HIAS, Rachel lived in Istanbul, where she co-founded and directed Turkey’s first legal clinic for refugees. Before that, she litigated race and gender discrimination claims in federal and state court in New York City. She has published numerous journal articles and reports on international refugee protection issues. Rachel received her BA from McGill University and a law degree from the University of British Columbia.

Rui Lopes

Chief Information Officer

Rui Lopes

Rui Lopes

Chief Information Officer

Rui Lopes, Chief Information Officer, aligns HIAS’ technology vision with our business strategy through the integration of appropriate technologies.

Previously, he served in senior IT leadership roles with The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Save the Children to name a few.

His 30 plus years of experience encompass all aspects of managing information technology and telecommunications, including staff management, operations, implementation and customer service. He has been published and quoted in several trade magazines and newspapers because of his work with international telecommunications and emergency response projects.

Sabrina Lustgarten

Executive Vice President

Sabrina Lustgarten

Sabrina Lustgarten

Executive Vice President

Sabrina Lustgarten is Executive Vice President at HIAS. In this role, she promotes organizational growth and the alignment of international operations to HIAS’ global goals. Prior to assuming this position, Sabrina worked for over 18 years as Country Director in Ecuador where she led a team of over 400 staff to serve thousands of refugees annually. Within the Latin America & Caribbean region, she also supported the opening of HIAS operations in Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Panama.

Sabrina is a strong advocate for human and refugee rights. She helped to pioneer the implementation of Psychosocial Support and Economic Inclusion Programs for refugees in Ecuador. Additionally, Sabrina has participated in activities to promote the inclusion of refugee populations in host countries in Latin America, such as the Brazil Plan of Action and the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. To respond to the Venezuela refugee crisis, Sabrina coordinated HIAS’ interventions with the Ecuadorian Government, other civil society organizations, and international partners, providing humanitarian assistance to the families who needed it most.

Sabrina holds an undergraduate degree from Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, and a master’s degree in Management for Social Development from the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, Ecuador. She is married, with two daughters and two granddaughters, and is very close to her family.

 

Raphael Marcus

Senior Vice President, Programs

Raphael Marcus

Senior Vice President, Programs

Raphael Marcus joined HIAS in 2018 as SVP Programs and to oversee Global Programs, Emergency Programs and the Humanitarian Partnerships, Policy and Practice departments. As part of the Executive Leadership Team, he helps drive HIAS’ mission to protect refugees, support host communities and help forcibly displaced populations to access their rights so they can rebuild their lives.

Formerly, Raphael served as Director of International Operations for Humedica, a global humanitarian NGO, focusing on medical rapid-response aid mechanisms and complex emergencies. Raphael has led emergency humanitarian operations during disasters such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2013), Liberia’s Ebola outbreak (2014), and the Nepali earthquake (2015) as well as in protracted displacement crises such as the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa and the civil unrest in the Central African Republic.

Raphael was born in Switzerland, grew up in Israel and holds an MPH in Emergency and Disaster Management from Tel Aviv University.

Lara Moninghoff

Chief Financial Officer

Lara Moninghoff

Lara Moninghoff

Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer at HIAS, Lara Moninghoff manages all financial aspects of the organization, including HIAS’ investments and audit activities. She is responsible for overseeing all accounting, budget, grants management, and fiscal compliance functions for HIAS’ domestic and international programs, as well as the recently implemented Enterprise Resource Planning system, a global financial system that links all financial, payroll and fundraising data across all of HIAS’ offices. As the CFO, she ensures efficient management of resources, works collaboratively with colleagues across the organization and leads communication on all financial issues for HIAS.

Lara joined HIAS in 2018 and has more than twenty years of experience working in non-profit Finance, including ten years as the CFO at the Society for Neuroscience. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University.

Jessica Reese

Vice President, Institutional Development

Jessica Reese

Jessica Reese

Vice President, Institutional Development

Jessica Reese serves as HIAS’ Vice President for Institutional Development, leading agency-wide institutional public and private fundraising, and new business development. Jessica also has a very personal connection to HIAS, which helped resettle her grandparents after the Holocaust.

Jessica has worked in humanitarian assistance, early recovery, and emergency response for two decades, working with numerous UN agencies and international NGOs. She has direct field experience in the Balkans, Central and East Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. She served on IRC’s emergency response team for five years as their first-ever Emergency Monitoring, Evaluation, and Grants Coordinator and led humanitarian response programs in Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Indonesia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Ethiopia.

She also has extensive experience in the design, monitoring, and evaluation of programs, and led external evaluations for large-scale development projects for multi-donor UN funds in Iraq and Palestine. Jessica holds an MSc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics, with a focus on ethnic conflict and nationalization, and BA in Political Science from Rutgers University.

Naomi Steinberg

Vice President, U.S. Policy & Advocacy

Naomi Steinberg

Vice President, U.S. Policy & Advocacy

Naomi Steinberg joined HIAS as Vice President, Policy and Advocacy in September, 2017.

Previously, Naomi was the Director of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA), a coalition dedicated to refugee protection, welcome and excellence in the U.S. refugee resettlement program. In this position, she led the overall work of the Council, including facilitating partnerships between RCUSA and other nongovernmental organizations, as well as fostering strong communications between international, federal and state partners. Prior to her work with RCUSA, Naomi was the Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). At SEARAC, she focused on building the capacity of community-based, refugee-led organizations.

Naomi has an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from Cornell University and a B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College.

Bill Swersey

Vice President, Communications

Bill Swersey

Bill Swersey

Vice President, Communications

Bill Swersey has been VP, Communications for HIAS since 2014, overseeing the agency’s external communications, website, storytelling, video production as well as digital fundraising and marketing. 

Prior to joining HIAS, Bill worked for non-profits, Asia Society and New York Public Radio. Bill also had an earlier career as a journalist, covering news, entertainment, presidential campaigns, the Olympics and World Cup soccer among other events for The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and others. He was based in Moscow, Russia from 1991-1996, documenting the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union.

Bill has a Masters in Digital Media from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program and a BS in Journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication.

Enrique Torrella Raymond

Regional Director, Africa & Eurasia

Enrique Torrella Raymond

Enrique Torrella Raymond

Regional Director, Africa & Eurasia

Enrique Torrella Raymond is Regional Director for Africa and Eurasia region, supporting HIAS’ regional response to the Ukrainian situation, as well fostering the organization’s growth in Africa and in the Mediterranean.

A sociologist with a Masters in International Cooperation and Management of NGOs, he has more than twenty years of experience from development in India to conflict and post-conflict in the Balkans and Latin-America, as well as emergencies from natural disasters in Bangladesh and Morocco, where most of the operations have been related to refugees or displaced.

He has worked with international NGOs MPDL-Movement for Peace, Project Counselling Service and others, with multilateral organizations such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the NRC-Norwegian Refugee Council.

Alicia Wrenn

Senior Director, Resettlement & Integration

Alicia Wrenn

Alicia Wrenn

Senior Director, Resettlement & Integration

Alicia joined HIAS as the Senior Director for Resettlement and Integration in 2019. Alicia leads U.S. Programs: supporting refugees and asylees from their initial arrival to their long-term integration. This portfolio includes resettlement and livelihoods programming such as employment and micro-enterprise development as well as financial literacy programming. She also oversees the holistic social integration programs aimed to support the most vulnerable through intensive case management, community group programming, access to medical and mental health services, and activities that promote belonging. By testing new volunteer, sponsorship, and partner models, Alicia oversees a team working to create welcoming host communities that are receptive to refugees. The HIAS network includes 27 partners spanning 18 states. Prior to joining HIAS, at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Alicia launched their integration programming in their 38-site network. Before her refugee resettlement focus, she was the Executive Director of Kenya Connect, an NGO improving the school experience and options for skilling up for students and teachers in 54 schools in Machakos County, Kenya. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

Merrill Zack

Vice President, Community Engagement

Merrill Zack

Vice President, Community Engagement

Merrill Zack is the Vice President for Community Engagement at HIAS. She and her team educate, organize and mobilize the American Jewish community to act in support of refugees and asylum seekers. For more than two decades, Merrill has worked at the intersection of Jewish values and action for a more just world, at organizations such as American Jewish World Service, the National Council of Jewish Women and the New Israel Fund. She holds a BA in religion and anthropology from Kenyon College and an MPA in nonprofit management and public policy from New York University.

Board

Mark Hetfield

President & CEO

Mark Hetfield

Mark Hetfield

President & CEO

Mark Hetfield first joined HIAS in 1989 as a caseworker in Rome, Italy. He has worked for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a large law firm as an immigration attorney, and has held multiple roles at HIAS over the years. Since being named HIAS’ President and CEO in 2013, Mark has led the transformation of HIAS from helping refugees because they were Jewish to helping refugees because we are Jewish.

Mark is proud of HIAS’ role in assisting and resettling refugees of all faiths and ethnicities and as a major implementing partner of the United Nations Refugee Agency and the U.S. Department of State. He is a frequent commentator and writer on refugee issues on television, radio, newspapers, and other media outlets. Mark holds both a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University.

Jeff Blattner

Board Chair & Chair, Executive Committee

Jeff Blattner

Board Chair & Chair, Executive Committee

Jeff Blattner is a special assistant attorney general with the Colorado Department of Justice, a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado Law School, and a senior fellow at the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship of the University of Colorado. During his long legal career, Jeff has served as deputy assistant attorney general and special counsel for information technology in the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and as chief counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee staff of Senator Edward Kennedy.  A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, summa cum laude, and Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, Jeff was a law clerk to Potter Stewart, former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served on the presidential transition teams of Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. His op-eds have appeared in The Washington Post.

A HIAS local staff member meets with an Ethiopian family seeking asylum. He helps make sure that the needs of the family are met as they wait.  (Glenna Gordon for HIAS)

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A HIAS local staff member meets with an Ethiopian family seeking asylum. He helps make sure that the needs of the family are met as they wait.  (Glenna Gordon for HIAS)

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