EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR &
The Change Maker
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.
Mrs. Yolanda Johnson-Peterkin joined the Housing Authority in 2015, her current role is Chief of Housing Community Activities. This position has afforded her the opportunity to implement systemic change by reunifying formerly incarcerated people with their families. This unique program has been replicated and is the lead for duplication across the country. Prior to her current role Mrs. Johnson-Peterkin was the Director of Operations for Re-Entry at the Women's Prison Association for ten years, a service and advocacy organization committed to helping women with criminal justice histories realize new possibilities for themselves and their families. Mrs. Johnson Peterkin and her peers published an article in the Race/Ethnicity Journal Titled Life Capacity Beyond Reentry: A Critical Examination of Racism and Prisoner Reentry Reform in the US.
Yolanda Johnson-Peterkin holds certification in various training from Orbis Partners,
Inc. (Ottawa, Ontario) and the National Institute of Corrections. These certifications
provide evidence-based approaches for people with criminal justice involvement and
working with challenged populations. Orbis projects and philosophy of core practices
are to engage, assess, enhance motivation, and implement evidence–based practices.
The model’s goal is to change the way we work with people, using proven approaches.
Mrs. Johnson-Peterkin received her Master’s degree in social work from Hunter College.
She has received honors from the Correctional Association of New York, Citizens
Against Recidivism, and the NAACP. Mrs. Johnson-Peterkin is an active alumna and
Board Member of the College and Community Fellowship program where the mission is
to help formerly incarcerated women achieve their goals through higher education. She
is also the Board Chair of Purelegacee where the mission is to be a haven of healing for
young girls who have experienced trauma. Yet, she is most proud of watching the
journey of young women including the Founder and Executive Director conquer their
freedom! Yolanda Johnson-Peterkin has been described as the “Ambassador of
Yolanda johnson - Peterkin
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.
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.