The Gem Project Announces (5) New Appointments to Board of Directors

NEWARK, N.J., Dec. 5, 2023 — The Gem Project, Inc., a pioneering organization dedicated to empowering youth and young adults through impactful initiatives, proudly announces the appointment of five outstanding individuals to its esteemed Board of Directors for the December 1, 2023- December 1, 2025 term.

Our new cohort 2023-2025 includes:

  • Sandra Florent, Sr. Social Media Manager at SHI International

  • Alanna Garavaglia, Fund Development Manager at Branch Brook Park Alliance

  • Dr. Traymanesha Lamy, President and CEO at NextUp RVA

  • Lana Molina, VP of Community Outreach at Lakeland Bank

  • Adele Taylor, Digital Programs and Partnerships Manager (Youth) at Thorn

“We are thrilled to announce the appointment of 5 new board members at The Gem Project. With our unwavering commitment to empowering youth and young adults, we are poised to spearhead transformative initiatives that will uplift, inspire, and create meaningful impact within our community,” continuing, “Together, we’ll embark on a journey of innovation, collaboration, and empowerment, shaping a brighter future for all involved. Join us in celebrating this pivotal moment as we embark on a new chapter of growth, learning, and service!,” said in a statement,  Amanda Ebokosia, Founder and CEO at The Gem Project, Inc.

The newly appointed 2023-2025 cohort joins an illustrious group of trailblazers in education, advocacy, health, justice, philanthropy, and more with:

  • Dr. Timothy K. Eatman; social scientist and Inaugural Dean, Honors Living Learning Community at Rutgers University – Newark
  • Brandon Fletcher, Program Analyst at Vera Social Justice Institute
  • Dr. Quintus Jett, Researcher and Consultant
  • Atiya Jaha-Rashidi, Chief Equity Officer and VP of Community Relations at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

Meet the new Board of Directors below:

Sandra Florent, Sr. Social Media Manager at SHI International

Sandra Florent is a Haitian-American seasoned digital marketing and social media strategist, with a rich background encompassing over 10 years of comprehensive experience in management, agency work, and in-house expertise.

Currently serving as the Senior Social Media Manager at SHI International Corp., a formidable $14 billion IT company, Sandra spearheads the development of the company’s robust social media strategy.

Beyond her corporate role, Sandra is the principal and founder of Solo Dove Consulting, a thriving firm focusing on Social Media Marketing, Crisis Communications, Strategic Communications, Digital Marketing, and Communication services tailored for small to midsize businesses. Her consultancy thrives on delivering tailored strategies that resonate with evolving digital landscapes.

Throughout her career, Sandra has demonstrated her prowess by launching digital divisions, creating influential brand ambassador programs, devising robust data reporting systems, curating diverse content, managing online communities, and orchestrating large-scale events across multiple states. Her commitment to bringing innovative practices and fresh ideas defines her approach in every role she undertakes.

Alanna Garavaglia, Fund Development Manager at Branch Brook Park Alliance

Alanna Garavaglia, Fund Development Manager at Branch Brook Park Alliance, brings over 12 years of nonprofit management, consulting, and development experience. Graduating from Drexel University with a focus on Nonprofit Management and Museum Leadership, Alanna is dedicated to enhancing Essex County’s Branch Brook Park, ensuring equitable access for underserved communities and people of color.

In her role, Alanna spearheads fundraising initiatives, including major gifts, planned giving, sponsorships, and grant writing. Her goal is to positively impact the community’s well-being while leveraging the park as a vital economic driver with over one million annual visitors.

Previously, as an Arts Administration consultant, Alanna excelled in grant research, writing, public relations, and project development. Her tenure as a grant manager for Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes showcased her expertise in proposal writing, managing grants, and strategizing funding opportunities.

Alanna excels in synthesizing stakeholder information, executing creative strategies, and continually improving engagement methodologies. Her collaborative approach and commitment to Branch Brook Park Alliance’s mission position her as a key driver in advancing the park’s significance and community impact.

Dr. Traymanesha Lamy, President and CEO at NextUp RVA

Dr. Traymanesha Lamy, President and CEO of NextUp RVA, embodies visionary leadership, igniting change and empowering youth. Her tenure as Senior Director of Programs and Advocacy at Community Catalyst showcased her unwavering dedication to program integration and strategic advocacy alignment.

With over two decades devoted to youth and community development, Dr. Lamy champions cross-sector collaborations, uniting stakeholders for collective impact across local, state, and national levels. Her leadership fosters unity and progress, leaving an indelible mark on every initiative.

Before her pivotal role at NextUp RVA, she was instrumental in expanding educational resources for underserved youth and families as United Way’s director of education. Her founding of Newark Thrives! and co-chairing of the Newark STEAM Coalition exemplify her commitment to enhancing educational opportunities reaching over 25,000 of Newark’s youth.

Academically astute, Dr. Lamy’s journey, from a psychology degree at Rutgers University to a PhD in educational policy at Michigan State University, echoes her dedication to scholarly excellence. She embodies the spirit of a research practitioner, valuing continuous learning as a catalyst for community transformation.

Dr. Traymanesha Lamy’s narrative resonates as an inspirational anthem—an embodiment of tireless dedication to inclusive, innovative, and community-centered programs. Her legacy as a trailblazer in social advocacy and youth empowerment beckons collaborative action, education, and heartfelt community engagement, paving the way toward a brighter, more empowered future.

Lana Molina, VP of Community Outreach at Lakeland Bank

Svetlana “Lana” serves as Vice President and Community Outreach Liaison at Lakeland Bank’s Hackensack, N.J. office, equipped with an extensive 30-year career in the financial industry. Her primary objective centers on fortifying consumer lending in underprivileged areas, intending to escalate loan application volumes and forge strategic alliances with community entities and real estate professionals.

Lana brings a wealth of experience, having held pivotal positions at prestigious institutions like PNC Bank in Paterson, N.J., where she served as a Business Banking Relationship Manager and Branch Manager. Her tenure as a Business Development Officer at Spencer Savings Bank in Elmwood Park, N.J., further solidified her proficiency in navigating intricate financial landscapes.

Residing in Wayne, N.J., Lana’s dedication to community engagement mirrors the bank’s commitment to serving local areas. The bank boasts an expansive branch network spanning New Jersey and Highland Mills, N.Y., offering a comprehensive suite of banking products and services.

Lana Molina’s professional accolades are aligned with Lakeland Bank’s esteemed recognition, including being named New Jersey’s #1 Best-In-State Bank by Forbes and Statista. Her commitment echoes the bank’s ethos, promising a collaborative and impactful approach to outreach and service.

Adele Taylor, Digital Programs and Partnerships Manager (Youth) at Thorn

Adele Ann Taylor, a dedicated philanthropist and Thorn’s Youth Digital Programs and Partnerships Manager, is committed to empowering youth in literacy and online safety through her leadership of Thorn’s NoFiltr youth brand.

At 13, she founded Adele’s Literacy Library (A.L.L.), impacting over 35,000 globally, and co-founded the Greystone Learning Center in Kenya, contributing 5,000 books. In 2017, Adele launched ‘GlobalCurlz,’ a platform spotlighting the international natural hair movement’s diaspora, fostering education, empowerment, and equality.

Beyond her role, Adele held the title of Miss Monmouth 2020-2021, championing her Social Impact Initiative: One Book At A Time. She collaborated with organizations, delivered keynotes for esteemed events, and inspired change while celebrating impactful initiatives.

A Spelman College graduate with a BA in International Studies, Adele earned a Master’s in International Peace Studies from Trinity College, Dublin. Her diverse educational background includes studying post-conflict resources for youth in five countries. As a former Campaigns Manager for , she led partnership campaigns for Fortune 500 companies.

In her leisure time, this Jersey Girl indulges in global travel, freediving, and beachside reading, guided by the motto: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Adele’s journey underscores her unwavering commitment to youth empowerment, online safety, and global literacy.

About The Gem Project, Inc.

Founded in 2006, The Gem Project serves to boost high school to college student engagement through youth organizing, employment, peer mentoring, and service-learning initiatives that take on a social justice approach. The Gem Project has been featured in Forbes Magazine,, Black Enterprise, and highlighted by the Barack Obama Administration on the White House Blog, for promising youth-run initiatives.