About Us.

Photo by Fadi Dahabrah from Pexels

AsylumConnect provides the world's first tech resource platform for those fleeing persecution due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

AsylumConnect co-founders Sy and Katie Sgarro met as college students at the University of Pennsylvania. As Sy shared his personal experience seeking LGBTQ+ asylum in the U.S. and explained the persecution that LGBTQ+ people continue to face on a global scale, Katie realized that they had failed to speak out about their own LGBTQ+ identity in a country where they at least had that choice. Katie and Sy co-founded AsylumConnect to extend a comprehensive digital lifeline to other persecuted and marginalized LGBTQ+ people.

At AsylumConnect, we believe there should never be a time when someone does not know where it is safe to go for help due to their LGBTQ+ identity or immigration status.

Need Help?

Visit our resource catalog today to search for verified LGBTQ- and immigrant-friendly services near you!

Join Our Team

Join our team and help LGBTQ+ asylum seekers find the help they need! We need volunteers in all depts.

OUR TEAM, BOARD & ADVISORS

Learn more about our staff, volunteers, interns, Board of Directors, Junior Board, and Advisory Council.  

Staff

Our staff members lead our operations and collaborate with our volunteers to connect persecuted LGBTQ+ people with safety.

Katie Sgarro Co-Founder & President
Chloe Moore Programs Manager (Part-Time)
F.J. Genus Tech Lead (Part-Time)
Abby Davies Resource Coordinator (Part-Time)
Carissa Chantiles Resource Coordinator (Part-Time)

Volunteers

Our volunteers are invaluable to the continued growth of our organization. We are proud to have volunteers from a diversity of immigration statuses, races/ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. Learn more about our volunteers below. 

Volunteer Directors

Our volunteer directors support our staff and help to lead AsylumConnect.

Hans How Vice President
Jordyn Mathis Director of Human Resources
Maher Darwiche Junior Board Program Liaison
Douglas Santeramo Director of Corporate Partnerships & Engagement
Li-Jay Chu Director of Marketing & PR
Tuqa Youssef Director of Partnerships

Volunteer Associates

Our volunteer associates leverage their skills to advance AsylumConnect.

Rebecca Jones Policy & Advocacy Manager
Chris Aguilar Data Manager
Angela Lair Designer
Shoshana Weinstein Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Swati Nikumb UX Researcher
Sarah Jayne Dimmick HR & Recruitment Manager
Pamela Vazquez Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Claire Bonzani Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Manuel Martínez Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Stevie Blankenmeyer Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Jasmin Diab Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Joshua Lokken Web Developer
Marie Esther-Buh Team Coordinator
TeAnna Stamps Designer
Ceren Ozgul UX Research Lead
Lyndi Castrejon Web Developer
Nina Rosenblatt Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Caroline Leeolou Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Jesus Galvan Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Ash Shetty Web Developer
Shaine Stuhlmuller Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Gabriel Friedin Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Jeffrey Lam Web Developer
Lilah Greenberg Research & Policy Analyst
Sara-Ann Rosen Policy & Research Associate (U.S.)
Yosheel Bangaroo Policy & Research Associate (Canada)
Rubina Sidhu Policy & Research Associate (Canada)
Christine Brydges UX Researcher
Camilla Menin Lead UX Designer
Wei Li UX Designer
Nathan Hartman Web Developer
Taylor Holmes Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Ellie Safran Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Katelyn Egan Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Shannon Wu Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Bowie Cao Web Developer
Miroslav Damyanov UX Researcher
Chelsey Copps Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Soo Kim Web Developer
Peggy Lu UX Designer
Julia Fest Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Hannah Kreisberg Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Sophia Zephir Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Babette Smith Data Entry & Outreach Coordinator
Nora Nyi Myint Corporate Partnerships & Engagement Coordinator
Kate Davila Social Media Coordinator

Interns

Our interns join us for the summer or a semester to develop their skills while supporting LGBTQ+ asylum seekers’ safe resettlement.

Douglas Van Renen Marketing Intern
Jayna Jung Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Chase Hoffman Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Sylvia Hensley Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Ella Seltzer Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Malaika Tiglao Marketing Intern
Emma Sammons Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Melissa Navarro Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Diandra Sarr Program Recruitment & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Sydney Whitcombe Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Andrea Corilloclla Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Alexis Cino Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Amber Hanke Program Recruitment & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Sophie Lampl Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Camila Frohlich Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
James Wilson Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Grace Cannell Social Services & Outreach Coordinator Intern
Alya Pruiz Recruiting Intern

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body for AsylumConnect. Our board plays a pivotal role in developing AsylumConnect’s strategic plan, providing oversight and guidance. Ultimately, our board works to steer AsylumConnect towards a bright and sustainable future.

Katie Sgarro Co-Founder & President at AsylumConnect
Julian Sanjivan Co-President at InterPride
Sean Buckley Director of Operations at Kupanda Capital
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen Deputy Executive Director for Policy & Advocacy at the National Center for Transgender Equality
Wesley Bizzell Sr. Asst. Gen. Counsel at Altria Group & Pres. Natl. LGBT Bar Assoc.
Justin Becker Associate at Sidley Austin LLP
Keeley Hanlon Vice President at With Honor

NYC Junior Board

In 2020, we launched our inaugural AsylumConnect Junior Board for young professionals. The AsylumConnect Junior Board is a group of young professionals committed to supporting AsylumConnect’s critical work through fundraising, networking and marketing.

Click here to apply to join our 2021 Junior Board program. 

Ryan Eakin Twitter; Technical Recruiter, Cortex
Lauren Gerken INEE, Consultant: Gender & Education in Emergencies
Stephen Rice Google, Software Engineer
Glenn R. McGillivray Jones Day, Associate (Securities Litigation and SEC Enforcement)
Aimée Hernandez-Meza Freelance Graphic Designer
Michael Stewart-Evans UN Women, Policy Analyst - Gender and Migration
Chasen Richards, 2020 Co-Chair McKinsey & Company, Business Analyst
Michael Leonetti University of Oxford, Postgraduate
Ivana Bolfarini PwC, Assurance Associate
Erica Riley Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, Graduate Student
Nehal Gupta, 2020 Co-Chair Novantas, Senior Analyst
Mary (MO) Swinson The Mount Sinai Hospital, Volunteer Program Coordinator
Jimmy Zhang McKinsey & Company and Stanford, Alumni
Caylyn Perry Hogan Lovells, Law Clerk
Megan Druss Point72, Intelligence Associate
Michael Lupton Blank Rome, Associate
Nina Seminara Ipsos, Research Analyst
Julie Hendrickson, Jones Day, Associate in the Financial Markets Practice Group

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council is a diverse group of LGBTQ+ advocates, asylees, refugees, nonprofit leaders, and human rights defenders. Members generously lend their areas of expertise, personal experiences, and networks to help AsylumConnect reach its full potential.

Jacque Larrainzar
Maikel Nabil Sanad
Grace Liu
Fernando Chang-Muy, M.A., J.D.
Raina Fox, M.A.
Priscilla F. Aybar
Micheal Ighodaro
Francisco Tenorio-Hernández
Danielle Madeja
Mike Iskandaryan
Emma Biegacki