National Youth Employment Coalition
Home About NYEC Join/Get Involved Information Center Policy Projects

> About NYEC

>> Staff

NYEC Staff

About NYEC Home | Core Business | Members List | Contributing Members | Board of Directors | Staff | History | Employment Opportunities | Contact Us

  • Mala B. Thakur
    Executive Director

  • Kate O'Sullivan
    Director, Quality Initiatives

  • Nancy Martin
    Director, Capacity Building Initiatives

  • Daphne Edwin
    Financial Operations Manager

  • Le-Vadie Veney
    Office Coordinator

  • Eric Cline
    Member Services Coordinator

  • Jonathan Larsen
    Policy Associate

  • Christina Weeter
    Policy Associate

 NYEC Staff Biographies

Member Services Coordinator

Eric Cline has worked at NYEC since August 2003.  He moved to Washington, DC from Denver, CO where he worked as a Youth Opportunity case manager and Lead Coordinator at a drop-in urban youth center called The Spot, where he performed job coaching, tutoring, goal planning, and crisis and suicide intervention with youth ages 14 to 24. Eric is the editor of NYEC's monthly e-publication YouthNotes, and he manages NYEC's annual Members Forum. In addition to coordinating member services at NYEC, he helped design and currently trains professionals on PEPNet's Online Tools for Program Improvement and is currently managing NYEC's PEPNet Pilot Accreditation process for youth development, workforce development, and education programs.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theater Arts from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. Eric has worked for Denver's Rape Assistance and Awareness Program; helped found the Broomfield Summer Youth Players, a youth-for-youth theater company in Colorado; and assisted in launching a regular social and support group for GLBTQ youth living in central Iowa. Eric is interested in integrating the needs and assets of out-of-school youth and the organizations that serve them into the American Competitiveness and High School Reform discussions.

Financial Operations Manager

Daphne Edwin joined NYEC in 2003. Daphne's responsibilities include reporting to the Board and Executive Director, preparing the annual budget, managing the annual audit, and tracking the investments accounts and other assets of the organization. Before joining NYEC, Daphne worked for several audit firms and has almost 15 years of experience working in senior financial management positions for various nonprofit associations. She worked for Independent Insurance Agents of Americas as Director of Finance for six years and with SOS Children's Villages, to name a few. Daphne is an accounting graduate from India and also attended the University of Maryland. She holds a CPA from the Maryland Board of Accountancy and lives with her family in Virginia. Daphne also works for the Agricultural Retailers Association.

Policy Associate

Jonathan Larsen joined NYEC in January 2007.  Previously, Jonathan worked for U.S. Sena­tor Ben Nelson of Nebraska as a Staff Assistant and Case Manager.  His work included responding to constituent mail, arranging tours, and managing Medicare/Medicaid, VA benefits, immigration, and other federal casework for constituents in Senator Nelson's Omaha, Nebraska District Office.  Jonathan has worked in both national and local political campaigns in Iowa and Nebraska.  He also worked several years in accounting, both as a field accountant for AT&T and as a payroll accountant for Sitel Corporation. 

His great interest, however, is education and education policy.  After graduating from Cornell University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in History and Economics, he became a third and fifth grade teacher in Houston, TX and a member of Teach for America.  This opportunity led him to Wyatt-Edison Charter School in Denver, CO, where he worked as the Business Services Manager, learning the ins and outs of charter school management.  He managed vendor accounts and contracts, performed basic accounting and bookkeeping with the charter school's multiple accounts, acted as the human resources manager, managed the school facilities, including overseeing the custodial staff, and acted as the liaison between the charter school and Edison School's headquarters in New York, NY. 

In his current work at NYEC, Jonathan tracks federal policy, manages contacts and correspondence with Congress, assists in developing NYEC policy positions, and works with NYEC members on grassroots advocacy efforts.

Director, Capacity Building Initiatives

Nancy Martin, Director of Capacity Building Initiatives, oversees NYEC's education initiatives and other efforts to assist youth programs, policymakers, and other stakeholders in expanding education and employment training options for youth.

Prior to joining NYEC, Nancy was with the American Youth Policy Forum where she directed efforts documenting effective local and state models for serving vulnerable youth and co-authored Whatever It Takes: How Twelve Communities Are Reconnecting Out-of-School Youth. Nancy has also worked with the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, where she directed union involvement in the D.C. School-to-Careers Initiative, a workforce development and education reform program. In this post Nancy provided leadership in District-wide planning and implementation of the initiative and built union partnerships with government, business and school communities.

Nancy is a trained social scientist and has a background in high school and postsecondary teaching. She has extensive experience with workforce development, as a teacher, curriculum developer and program designer, and has taught in both the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University and the Boston Public Schools. Nancy received a B.A. from Oberlin College in 1989 and an M.A. from Brandeis University in 1995.

Director, Quality Initiatives

Kate O'Sullivan, Director, Quality Initiatives, oversees a number of NYEC's projects and services, including PEPNet (the Promising and Effective Practices Network), an international effort to develop standards and tools on what works in youth employment programming. She also works with NYEC's Board Development Committee. She is an experienced presenter and has edited a number of publications. Kate joined NYEC in 1995. Previously, Kate worked on Capitol Hill, for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and for the House Education and Labor Committee. 

Kate is a member of the Montgomery County, MD Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth council. She serves on the Friends Board of the Montgomery County Conservation Corps, a service, employment and education program for youth. She is President of the Board of her homeowners association. She coordinated a monthly volunteer event at a short-term shelter for teenagers for four years. A native of California, Kate received a B.A. from Harvard University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. She received an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University.

Executive Director

Mala B. Thakur leads the National Youth Employment Coalition's 250+ membership network in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Mala oversees a professional staff of 7 as well as NYEC's efforts focused on policy, quality standards, professional development, education, member services, and research. Prior to her appointment as Executive Director, Mala served as the Deputy Director of NYEC.


For over 15 years, Mala has worked extensively in the areas of urban education and workforce development for youth and adult populations. Mala spearheaded the creation of NYEC's education portfolio and has led national and state technical assistance efforts for workforce development, school-to-work, and juvenile justice initiatives. Mala frequently delivers presentations and workshops at national conferences on workforce development, education, and youth development policy and practice.

Before joining NYEC in 1999, Mala served as Director of Workforce Development at the New York Citywide School to Work Alliance where she provided technical assistance to School to Work partnerships and tracked federal and state legislation on education and workforce development. Before working at the School to Work Alliance, Mala directed policy, research, and advocacy efforts at the National Puerto Rican Forum pertaining to education, employment, and training issues for Latinos and other underserved populations in New York City. Mala has also worked in dropout prevention programs in the New York City public school system and taught English as a Second Language at the New York Association for New Americans.

Today, Mala serves on the Board of Directors of Advocates for Children in New York and the Steering Committees of the National High School Alliance and the Youth Policy Action Center in Washington, DC. Mala also serves on the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education Independent Advisory Panel, mandated by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006. She holds an M.A. in Education from New York University and a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in French from the University of California, Berkeley

Office Coordinator

Le-Vadie Veney has worked at NYEC since 2002. She provides overall administrative support for the organization. Among her many responsibilities, she assists in managing NYEC's financial matters and office operations; produces and distributes publications; communicates with members and other stakeholders; and helps coordinate events, including the annual NYEC Members Forum.

Policy Associate

Christina Weeter joined NYEC in October 2007. Prior to joining NYEC, Christina was Research and Curriculum Design Associate at Early Childhood Associates (ECA), Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts where she conducted local and state program evaluations of Even Start Family Literacy programs and contributed to the development of Steps to Success, a multi-media professional development package for the Head Start community that focuses on mentor-coaching as a tool for developing language and literacy skills in young children--as well as providing research, training, and management support to other ECA projects for the education community. 

Christina started her professional career working with abused and neglected children age birth to 10 at a shelter and treatment program before moving to community-based work with children and youth who had severe emotional and behavior disorders. After working directly with youth, Christina moved to Boston to attend Boston University where she earned Master's degrees in Education Administration and Social Work, with a focus on program planning, evaluation, policy, and community organizing. She holds a B.A. in psychology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Kentucky

Having worked, studied, and volunteered in seven different countries in Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean, Christina brings a unique blend of culturally sensitive research methods and training skills to her work, which at present is focused on state policies supporting expanding and financing education options for struggling students and out of school youth. 

About NYEC