Our team

Soca Lovers Doing Little Bits Of Good.

 
 
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natasha a. atkins, MSW, ma
founder

Flag: Barbados
Soca Song That Best Describes Me: ‘Lucy’
Artiste: Destra Garcia

Natasha was born in beautiful Barbados. She spent her early years on the island before moving to New York City with her mother. She has over 10 years of experience in non-profit management and youth development and is deeply committed to reducing distributional  inequities for marginalized groups. Natasha loves hiking, travelling, and Barbados' annual Crop Over festival where she is an avid participant in Grand Kadooment - a colorful masquerade celebration of Caribbean culture. Natasha earned her MSW from New York University and MA from Columbia University.

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janeen ettienne, msw
president

Flag: Trinidad and Tobago
Soca Song That Best Describes Me: ‘Cheers to Life’ 
Artiste: Voice

Janeen was born and raised on the twin isle Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and has over 10 years of experience in non-profit management, civic engagement, and youth development. She earned her MSW in Organizational Management and Leadership from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College; and earned her bachelor's degree in Political Science from York College, City University of New York. Janeen is a firm believer in transformational leadership and uses her social science background to empower others. She enjoys sharing elements of her culture with others and hopes to masquerade in the carnivals of the world. 

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karlisle honore
vice president

Flag: Haiti
Soca Song That Best Describes Me: ‘Faluma/Makele’
Artiste: Alison Hinds/Square One

Karlisle is a native New Yorker with Haitian roots. She was born in Brooklyn, NY and spent most of her childhood there before her family moved to Long Island. Karlisle holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and an M.S. degree in Urban Studies from Hunter College in New York City. She has always had an interest in the non-profit field, and became involved in working with youth, education, and non-profit organizations through her work with Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc., New York Cares, Inc., and Groundwork, Inc. All of these organizations spoke to her interest in service, youth development, and education outside of the traditional school setting. Karlisle currently serves as Director of College Success at the “I Have A Dream” Foundation - NY. Her personal hobbies include spending time with friends and family, outdoor activities, learning about other cultures and foreign languages, and working on becoming multi-lingual.

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denNese grell-burke,BBA
treasure

Flag: Dominica
Soca Song That Best Describes Me: ‘Phenomenal’
Artiste: Benjai

Dennese is from the beautiful nature island of Dominica. She graduated from Baruch College, City University of New York with a BBA in Accounting. Dennese has over 17 years’ experience in accounting working with manufacturing companies. Her experience includes budgeting, forecasting and preparing financial statements. During her spare time she works with her husband in the family business, Burkerson Tax and Accounting. Dennese also served 4 years on the Board of her children's school as Treasurer. Her passion is giving back to the community in whatever way she can. She loves travelling, tennis, and listening to soca music.
 

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ericka medina
secretary / director of special events

Flags: USA & Puerto Rico
Soca Song That Best Describes Me: ‘Like Ah A Boss’
Artiste: Machel Montano

Ericka was born in Brooklyn, New York and is of Puerto Rican descent. Ericka is the Director of Adolescent Programs at the Red Hook Initiative -a community-based youth development organization. In her current role she leads her team in building academic and enrichment programming that empowers youth to become agents of social change. Ericka recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and believes that with consistency, dedication, and persistence, one can overcome and conquer anything. Ericka is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta where she received BA in Psychology.

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trezure empire
director of communications & public relations

Flags: Bahamas & Puerto Rico
Soca Song That Best Describes Me: ‘Far From Finished’
Artiste: Voice

TreZure Empire is a multi-lingual vocals and music producer. An avid masquerader, she created the network MASQUERADERS WORLDWIDE to highlight the sophistication of carnival culture internationally. A proud West Indian, TreZure uses her art  to convey pride in our Diaspora connections. TreZure studied Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Oberlin College.

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shafcat kassim
director of special events

Flags: USA & Nigeria
Soca Song That Best Describes Me: ‘Dollar Wine’
Artiste: Colin Lucas

Shafcat is a native New Yorker with Nigerian roots. She has extensive event planning experience in both the non-profit and corporate sectors working with organizations like 92 Y, Row New York and the 488 Hospitality Group. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and travelling. A self-described Baj-gerian (a Nigerian who loves Barbados), Shafcat considers Barbados her adopted home. Shafcat is a graduate of SUNY Empire State College where she received her BS in Public Administration.