Meet the dedicated employees of West Harlem Development Corporation.
Zead Ramadan’s experience includes over twenty years in community leadership, advocacy, nonprofit governance and development, community outreach and organization, policy development and implementation, small business planning and management. His passion is working with other stakeholders to widen the scale of prosperity across all sectors including Affordable Housing, the Arts, Economic and Workforce Development, Older Adults and Youth Services, Education, and Job Creation and Training in Northern Manhattan while utilizing collaborative and creative cross sector strategies. His community service includes sitting on the boards of UMEZ, Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, CB12M, ARC XVI Senior Center, CAIR-NY, and WHDC.
Director of Programs
Joanna E. Castro is a native New Yorker with over fifteen years of nonprofit executive experience working and consulting with Northern Manhattan community stakeholders to fortify their organizations, community spaces, and access to public resources. As Executive Director of NoMAA (Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance), Joanna expanded the reach, visibility, and funding to one of New York’s leading arts service orgs by raising the profile of Uptown arts orgs and artists, as well as local businesses by forging alliances, grants opportunities, and cultivating public engagement around issues affecting the Northern Manhattan community. She also developed and implemented innovative year-around technical assistance workshops and annual Institute addressing community-wide needs.
Joanna earned a B.A. in Spanish and International Studies cum laude from Dickinson College. She lived and worked in Spain for seven years receiving her M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management from the Universidad Carlos III (Madrid). Joanna has received fellowships from Coro/Neighborhood Leadership, Hispanic Federation, among others. She is an Advisor for the Emerging Leaders Program at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).
Chief Compliance Officer and Information Technology Director
Born and raised in Upper Manhattan, John leads overall information technology strategy and compliance. Working with companies and not-for-profits for over 40 years, John focuses on ensuring that information technology serves the needs of all stakeholders while meeting regulatory and other compliance requirements.John is a graduate of Hunter College High School and Princeton and a former member of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Board. He is a certified Sun Microsystems Software Architect.
Erika has served as the WHDC Office Manager providing both administrative and organizational support for WHDC programs and initiatives including research, translations as well being the initial point of contact for the West Harlem community. Formerly an administrative assistant for WHDC’s Skills Training Center after being certified as a Professional Administrative Assistant at the Grace Institute (NY), she has been with WHDC since 2019.
Erika has also worked with several photographers, directors and graphic designers as a Production Assistant in New York, and in her native Venezuela at the state Meridian News channel. She earned a B.A. in Audiovisual Journalism.