As Associate Vice President for Planning and Community Affairs , Victoria Mason-Ailey is responsible for interfacing with area residents and stakeholders on matters of urban planning, land use, and community affairs. Victoria is the liaison to civic groups that include the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Morningside Area Alliance, and the 125th Street Business Improvement District. She also responds to matters that arise at the Department of City Planning, the Department of Transportation, the Parks Department, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Victoria has a B.A. from Brown University and a M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation.
Tricia Shimamura is the Director of Government Relations in the Office of Government and Community Affairs. She also serves as the liaison to the University Trustees Committee on Public Affairs. She works to support GCA’s engagement efforts with federal, state, and city government. Tricia received her BA from Kenyon College and her MSW from NYU. She previously worked as Deputy Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
Shailagh Murray was appointed Executive Vice President for Public Affairs in September 2018. She oversees the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and the Office of Government and Community Affairs. She spent nearly six years shaping communications strategy inside the Obama White House, most recently serving as Senior Advisor to President Obama from 2015 to 2017. Previously, she was Vice President Biden’s deputy chief of staff and communications director. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. She has a BA in humanities from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University.
Shaba Keys is Associate Vice President for Government & Community Affairs. Prior to joining GCA, Shaba was a consultant to nonprofits on strategic planning and organizational development. She previously worked at LISC leading strategic assessments of program expansions and at The Surdna Foundation where she evaluated industry practices for integrative approaches for community development programs. Shaba holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Catholic University, The Columbus School of Law.
A proud Harlem native, Phoebe-Sade Arnold is the Director of Community Affairs. Phoebe's responsibilities include project tracking, constituency outreach, and oversight of special projects and programs that relate to matters of urban planning, land use, and community affairs. She also sits on the Morningside Area Alliance Board. Phoebe’s portfolio also includes managing the University’s portion of the West Harlem Development Corporation in-kind space process. Phoebe received her Bachelors in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, and her Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College.
Nathan serves as Assistant Vice President for Government Relations in the Office of Government and Community Affairs. In this role he focuses on federal and state policy, advocating on a variety of priorities for the university including federal support for scientific research and student financial aid. Prior to his work at Columbia Nathan served as a political analyst at the Japanese Consulate in New York. Nathan received his BA and MA from the University of Chicago.
Matt Orama is the Assistant Director for Government Relations in the Office of Government and Community Affairs. He works with other senior staff in GCA to manage a portfolio of local community projects and issues, serves as liaison with various government offices, and contributes to creating effective outreach strategies with elected officials, city agencies, and other local leaders. Prior to joining Columbia, he served as Assistant District Manager for Community Board 8 Manhattan, and as Special Projects Manager for former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Matt earned his B.A. from Ithaca College and his M.U.P. from Hunter College
As Project Assistant, Maggie provides research support for a variety of GCA projects, ensuring that staffers have comprehensive information on topics such as neighborhood history and local and university outreach programs. She also contributes to the GCA newsletter and helps manage the website. Maggie has a BA in Psychology and Sociology from the University of North Carolina.
Loftin Flowers is the Associate Vice President for Government Relations and leads the University’s engagement and advocacy efforts with federal, state and city government. Loftin holds a B.A. in History from Haverford College and an M.P.A. from Columbia University. Prior to his role at Columbia, Loftin worked in Washington, DC at the national offices of the Children's Defense Fund, the Democratic National Committee, and John Kerry’s 2004 campaign for President.
Junior manages all activities in the accounts payable function, including all travel and business expense reports, and coordination of the Department’s financial support for community organizations. Additionally, he is responsible for coordinating the University’s campus-wide engagement efforts in, among others, blood, bone marrow, and skin cancer screening initiatives, and the volunteer lunchtime reading program. Junior holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Baruch College (’01), and graduate degrees in HRM / Public Administration from John Jay College (’04) and Learning & Leadership from Columbia University (’12). Junior is a SHRM Certified Professional, a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR), and a duly sworn and commissioned Notary Public Officer of the State of New York.
Joan Griffith Lee has been with Columbia University for close to 30 years. She completed her BA at the School of General Studies, MPA at the School of International and Public Affairs and a Masters in Non-Profit Management at the School of Professional Studies. As Director of Columbia Community Service (CCS), she works to expand the scope of the CCS Annual Appeal, which solicits employees and retirees of Columbia University, Barnard College and Teachers College for contributions. The on-campus campaign raises money to help fund over 60 local community organizations with grants allocated for specific projects. The campaign also includes a food, clothing and back to school drive.
As Director of Youth Initiatives, Henry is responsible for oversight of the efforts made by GCA to engage local youth and young adults. Among these efforts is the Connecting Youth Initiative which provides outreach and supportive services to local youth and young adults who have yet to graduate high school and are not working, as well as high school graduates looking to enter the workforce. Additionally, Henry manages a workforce development grant administered by GCA that supports efforts to provide workforce training to local youth and young adults. Henry is a New York State licensed Social Worker with nearly a decade's worth of experience related to education and youth development. He holds a MSW in Social work and a BA in Sociology from Stony Brook University.
Flores A. Forbes is an associate vice president for Community Affairs with a focus on urban planning, economic development, entrepreneurship, community development and criminal justice change. Flores is our office’s liaison to Columbia Business School and The Center for Justice. He works closely with the Columbia Harlem Small Business Development Center, The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, and The Center for Justice specifically on the University’s Justice in Education agenda.
As the Administrative Coordinator for GCA, Erica acts as a liaison between departments, outside vendors and staff members. She provides staffers with support in organizing their schedules, assisting with projects, and aiding the department in purchasing supplies, working with facilities management, and securing maintenance for equipment.
Christa Hill joined Columbia Community Service (CCS) in August 2018. She promotes the CCS Campaign by marketing and communications through written and graphic materials, social media platforms, inquiries from the public and university administrators. In addition, she edits and maintains content of the CCS website, works closely with agency grantees to build their presence on the website, takes part in outreach efforts/events, public presentations and coordinates activities for the ambassadors.
Cassandra Nathan is the Administrative Coordinator for Columbia Community Service (CCS). She conducts site visits, manages all charitable gifts, and donor acknowledgements. She supports each annual campaign with donor engagement, database security and design, and event planning. Cassandra is the primary contact for CCS current and prospective donors across the Columbia University, Barnard College and Teachers College campuses. Previously, she was the Community Center Administrator for Houston Area Urban League. Cassandra received her BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work.
Bashar coordinates communications and manages all things digital for the Office of Government and Community Affairs. Bashar is the Editorial Coordinator of The Columbia Newsletter...News for our Neighbors, and maintains the GCA Website, Social Media accounts, and other digital assets. Bashar also supports the Columbia Community Scholars Program.
A member of the GCA staff for over ten years, Annette Ralph is the primary contact for the coordination of select GCA meetings and special events often serving as a GCA liaison to University Events Management, catering and other related departments. Annette is a go-to for assistance with many GCA community outreach initiatives along with providing oversight for the communications and queries (both internal and external) received by GCA.