Veronica Di Fonzo , Secretary
Veronica is a creative professional with over 14 years of experience in production design. While formally trained as a dentist in her native Italy, Veronica decided to pursue her passion for design once she moved to New York. As Studio Manager for the Stefan Beckman Studio, Veronica has experience supporting set design for a wide range of projects, including high budget photo shoots and runway shows, retail interiors, and exhibitions. Having learned English as a second language in high school, Veronica is a firm believer in the power of learning a new language and has actively engaged her own child in learning Spanish as a second language at OWP. “Exposing young children to a second language and to the joys and responsibilities of living in a multicultural environment is a big part of OWP,” she says. “It’s a local force that is helping raise citizens of the world.” Veronica studied dentistry at University of Perugia.
Veronica currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and her son.
Maria Gea, Treasurer
Maria brings 15 years of project management experience in the fields of information management. She started her career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Madrid as a technology consultant. She also worked as an International Trade Associate at the Catalonian Trade commission, where she introduced more than 10 Spanish companies to the United States. In addition, Maria has worked with the United Nations Headquarters to lead website development and statistical analysis efforts. Maria is deeply committed to supporting multilingual families and is the Co-Founder and Moderator of Brooklynitos where she facilitates an active online community of 260 parents raising Spanish/English bilingual children in New York. With her own children enrolled at OWP, Maria has firsthand experience of the organization’s impact. “I see every day how the program develops environmental consciousness and open-mindedness in my children.” Maria holds an undergraduate degree in Mathematics from the University of Granada, Spain and a Master’s Degree in Information Systems from New York University.
Originally from Granada, Spain, Maria now lives in Brooklyn with her American husband and three bilingual children.
Leigh Pasqual, President
Leigh has spent more than a decade working on women’s rights issues as a writer, communications strategist, and gender advocate. She has worked with the United Nations and with nonprofit organizations in the United States and other countries on issues such as CEDAW, violence against women, gender and HIV/AIDS, reproductive rights, and effective communication in the development field. Leigh has long been inspired by the work of OWP’s Founder and Executive Director, Joanne Derwin, and is particularly drawn to the organization’s mission. “I love the emphasis on curiosity about and respect for other cultures,” she says. Leigh holds a degree in European Studies from the National University of Singapore and a Master Degree in European History from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. She continues to consult with organizations on a broad range of development issues, and is the founder of a non-profit organization - Good for Girls - dedicated to empowering girls and supporting their education.
Originally from Singapore, Leigh has been living in New York City for just over 10 years with her husband Jesse, her two little girls, Tessa and Ella, and their dog Otis.
Margarita is a creative professional with over 15 years of experience working for major corporate clients and smaller firms in the United States and Spain. Margarita holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Her love for graphic design soon landed her in New York where, while continuing her advertising and design work, she took the opportunity to enroll in workshops with some of the most outstanding professionals in the field, such as Milton Glaser and David Carson. Marga has participated in the creation of over 40 TV commercials, as well as many print and digital campaigns. Her work has garnered important awards, among them an Addy, an ANA Multicultural Award, and an Effie. Currently, she works as a Creative Director for an advertising agency specialized in wellness and health. Margarita was first drawn to OWP when searching for a school for her own son, Leo. In OWP she found “a great school where my son could learn Spanish without even noticing because he enjoyed school so much, a school that shares my values in education, community, and culture.”
Originally from Madrid, Spain, Marga now lives in New York City where she enjoys exploring her passions: her family, traveling, and constantly exploring new paths to knowledge and fresh ways of thinking and expressing herself.
A mother of two bilingual children and an experienced nonprofit manager, educator, and social justice advocate. Before initiating One World, Joanne worked at the Alliance for a Greater New York and Urban Agenda, organizations aimed at building a thriving, green, and just New York. Previously, Joanne worked at the Ford Foundation and helped manage three grantmaking initiatives with a combined annual budget of $12 million. Joanne has also done research for Partners of the Americas and the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership in Washington D.C. and spent two years working as an English teacher in Alicante and Barcelona, Spain. She is a graduate in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder and holds a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University.
Tami Aritomi has focused her professional life on policy research, specifically poverty and economic development, education, labor markets, and gender issues, with over 10 years in the field. She is currently a consultant for the World Bank developing studies that examine population aging and gender issues in Eastern European Countries. With a Ph.D. in Demography and Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University, Tami has extensive experience with data management and has applied her expertise to a wide range of organizations and companies including the American Institute of Research, the United Nations Development Program, and Development Research Strategies. Tami is drawn to OWP’s effort to provide “a safe and nurturing space where children can develop new cultural and social skills through language... This exposure will grant children and their communities the tools to naturally understand and to integrate different cultures into their daily lives.”
Originally from Peru, Tami is third generation Japanese, and lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her husband and two children.