PureLegacee Board Biographies
Who We Are
Founder & Executive Director
Naquasia Pollard is an advocate, activist and direct service provider. She was incarcerated for 15 years in a Women’s Correctional Facility at the age of 19. After being released in 2017, she worked at the Ladies of Hope Ministries where she utilized her BA in Sociology, earned in prison, to support women impacted by incarceration.
A self-motivated, dynamic professional with a diverse background in direct services and people-centered advocacy for systems change. Motivated leader with strong organizational and leadership skills, as well as extensive professional experience in social justice advocacy and client-centered crisis management strategies.
Directly impacted by the criminal justice system and deeply committed to transforming it into a more just and equitable system for women and girls.
Gouri Sadhwani is Executive Director of the Akanksha Education Fund in the U.S.
She joined the Fund in 2013 and has led their efforts in grant making and raising public and private support for the Fund’s focus areas. These include direct service, advocacy and new initiatives aimed at providing quality education for children in low-income communities in India.
She has over 20 years of leadership in social justice at the local, national and global levels. Her work has specialized on civic engagement & participation, human rights, labor rights, women’s rights, community organizing, racial justice, education, LGBTQ issues and environmental rights.
Prior to joining Akanksha, she served as Deputy Executive Director at Amnesty International USA. She oversaw AIUSA's largest department and led Amnesty’s human rights campaigns and activism work in the U.S. with its membership and supporter base of over 500,000 activists in the US.
She has also served as Special Assistant to the President of the Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ, the largest building service local in the US, where she led the union's work on grant making, social justice, membership engagement and strategic partnerships.
Her prior experience includes five years as Executive Director of the New York Civic Participation Project, which brings together labor unions and community partners to promote and protect immigrant rights.
As Executive Director of the Hague Appeal for Peace she worked with a coalition of over 100 international organizations and UN agencies on peace and justice campaigns.
She serves on several boards and is founder and President of the board of the Friends of Watsessing Park Conservancy in Essex County, NJ.
Ms. Sadhwani is an Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY). She teaches at the graduate and undergraduate levels on nonprofits, labor and immigrant issues. She has also taught at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
She speaks regularly on topics of human rights, labor rights and social justice. She also does selective consulting and coaching with organizations and leaders on team building and organizational development.
Ms. Sadhwani is a graduate of the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University where she earned a Master’s in Public Administration. Her B.A. in Political Science is from Montclair State University.
She was born and in part raised in India and currently resides in Glen Ridge, NJ with her family and two unruly dogs.
Topeka K. Sam
Topeka K. Sam is the Founder and Executive Director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries – The LOHM, President and CEO of TKS Ventures LLC and Faces & Voices Inc. She serves on the board of directors for Coalition for Public Safety, The Marshall Project, Operation Restoration, and United Justice Coalition.
Since her release from federal prison on May 5, 2015, Topeka has served as a 2015 Beyond the Bars Fellow and a 2016 Justice-In-Education Scholar both from Columbia University, 2017 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow, 2018 Unlocked Futures Inaugural Cohort Member, 2018 Opportunity Agenda Communications Institute Fellow, Director of #Dignity Campaign for #cut50 where she led the bipartisan national effort to pass 20 pieces of legislation restoring the Dignity for Incarcerated Women, Senior Advisor of New Yorkers United for Justice. In 2020, the United Nations appointed Topeka
as the Goodwill Ambassador for Social Justice (Incarceration Reform) of the Global Festival of Creative Economy. She is the host of “The Topeka K. Sam Show” on SiriusXM UrbanView Channel 126 Sundays 9 am EDT, and is now developing scripted and unscripted series as an Executive Producer for TV & Film, inspired by her fight to change the many problems that plague female incarceration with 44 Blue Productions.
Topeka has been featured in Vogue, Essence, SalonTV, Vice, New York Times, TheCut, Rolling Stone and Variety Magazine. She has shared her expertise on The Tamron Hall Show, CNN, MSNBC and The Today Show. Additionally, has been featured in Glamour Magazine and Black Enterprise for being “The Black Woman behind the video that led to the Trump Clemency of Alice Johnson.” She has spoken at the 2018 United States of the Woman Conference, 2018 Women in the World Conference, 2018 White House Prison Reform Summit, is a TedxMidAtlantic Superheros Presenter and has received many awards for her contributions transforming the lives of women and girls impacted by the criminal legal system.
She has worked and continues to work selflessly and relentlessly in her fight for the dignity, decriminalization, and decarceration of women and girls.
Lanetta Hill is the CEO of Hill Consultant Services, LLC. , an agency that specializes in housing and provides referrals and assistance to individuals in our communities to obtain low income housing placements. Lanetta engages with a range of organizations and diverse populations to promote change in society. As an advocate and motivational speaker for the injustices of the criminal justice system , Lanetta strives to promote change. Lanetta has achieved a Bachelor’s Degree and is currently a Supervisor in a DHS shelter servicing clients who have experienced homelessness, incarceration, mental illness, and/or substance abuse. Lanetta is the secretary of the board for Pure Legacee and is proud to be affiliated with this non-profit organization that provides mentorship and resources to young girls who have been impacted by the criminal justice system and/or foster care. Lanetta is also on the Circles of Support Advisory Board for JC Flowers and is committed to showing women and men that no matter what social injustices or challenges they may be facing, they can overcome them and rebuild their lives, just as she herself did. Lanetta is involved with Hour Children, an organization that supports formerly incarcerated women and their children. With a trademark empathy, Lanetta strives to be a beacon of hope and compassion for all of the individuals that she works with.