Alumni in Conversation: Working in Nonprofit will feature three GS alumni speaking about their experiences working in the nonprofit sector. Panelists will share their backgrounds, what brought them to GS, and the work they do currently in their respective nonprofit organizations.
Ken Barnes '08GS - President & Chief Executive Officer, Options for All
Ken has served as the President and CEO of Options For All since February 2020. Ken is no stranger to OFA, as he gave his time as volunteer in several capacities since 2014, including service on the finance committee, programs committee, and the board of directors. For his outstanding efforts, he was named the 2019 “Volunteer of the Year” by the organization. Prior to committing himself to the nonprofit space, Ken owned and operated a public affairs and business development firm, specializing in issues management, strategic planning, and business turnaround services. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations from Columbia and an MBA from Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
Ioanna Paraskevopoulos '04GS- Executive Director & Co-Founder, Action Tank USA
Ioanna co-founded Action Tank in January 2019 as a way to provide free policy research and technical assistance to Cincinnatians, especially community and neighborhood groups, advocating on behalf of their neighbors. She observed the need for an organization like Action Tank while serving as Chief of Staff to Cincinnati City Council Member David Mann for three and a half years. Under her leadership, the Council Member's office introduced and passed signature legislation to help reframe conversations surrounding development in Cincinnati, including calling for a community benefits agreement in connection with the FC Cincinnati MLS soccer stadium; an ordinance to regulate short term rentals like Airbnb in the city; an ordinance creating an affordable housing trust fund; and a motion to create an energy efficiency benchmarking program in Cincinnati to reduce utility and housing costs. From 2010 - 2016, she worked at the U.S. Department of State, where she was the Senior Human Rights and Congressional Affairs Officer for the Middle East Bureau. In that role, she prepared principals to testify before Congress on critical issues such as the U.S. response to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Iran's influence in the region, embassy security, and the Department budget. She also served as bureau coordinator for the UN General Assembly, and served as the bureau lead on LGBT issues, trafficking in persons, human rights reports, international religious freedom reports, child soldiers, and the atrocity prevention board. She has a B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University and a J.D. from Northern Kentucky University.
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes '14GS- Executive Director, Dance NYC
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes is an immigrant, activist, artist, producer, and educator. With more than 10 years of production and stage management experience in theatre and dance, she has toured nationally and internationally with Zaccho Dance Theatre, Bandaloop, Dancing in The Streets, The Foundry Theatre, and Columbia University School of the Arts, among others. As a teaching artist, Ms. Duque Cifuentes taught children and adults of all ages how to express themselves through theatre and movement practice in over 100 New York City public schools and through community theatre programs. In 2011 she founded Theatre That Transcends, which taught local, underserved communities how to express themselves and address community issues through the art of theatre. As an activist, she plays an integral part in advancing a more equitable arts and cultural ecology by working on measures to increase access, justice, equity, and inclusion within dance for disabled artists, immigrant artists, and artists of color in the five boroughs of New York City. Ms. Duque Cifuentes is a member of the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, Women of Color in the Arts, the Children Museum of Manhattan's Dance Portal Advisory Board, and Eva Yaa Asantewaa's Curatorial Advisory Team at Gibney, and she is an advisor for the Latinx Artists Retreat, an annual convening for Latinx cultural producers across all artistic disciplines and fields. She was born in Medellín, Colombia, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from Columbia University School of General Studies.