DANCEWAVE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Saundra Thomas, Chair Emeritus
Ms. Thomas, former Vice-President of Community Affairs at WABC-TV is a media, community affairs and board consultant with more than 30 years experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors.
Ms. Thomas has held several roles as member and board chair of non-profit organizations throughout the tri-state and was a recent candidate for City Council in Brooklyn.
Ms. Thomas holds a BA in Journalism from Rutgers University and an MA in Media Studies from the New School and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from St, Francis College.
She is a proud resident of Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, where she lives with her family.
Grace R. Freedman, PhD, Board Chair
Dr. Freedman is a long-time Brooklyn resident and community advocate, committed to improving arts, dance, educational opportunities for Brooklyn’s youth. Her family has been part of Dancewave for over ten years, her older daughter recently graduated from Dancewave Company I and her younger daughter currently dances in Dancewave Company III and Young Performers Ballet Ensemble. Dr. Freedman serves as Board Chair, on the Development, Audit and Capital Campaign Committees, and has been Gala Chair/Co-Chair in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Her professional background includes work in public health research and grant-writing at Columbia University and the New York Academy of Medicine, adjunct professor in public policy at New York University, and project management and sales support at Thinkmap (a data visualization software company). She is currently Director of Development at Beam Center in Brooklyn and is co-chair of Forth on Fourth Avenue, a committee of the Park Slope Civic Council.
Dr. Freedman has a BA from New College in Biology and Social Sciences, and holds an MA and PhD from Columbia University in Sociomedical Sciences (Political Science/Public Health).
Sabrina LeBlanc, Vice-Chair
Ms. LeBlanc spent more than 14 years helping millions of people lose weight at Weight Watchers. She was part of the team that founded WeightWatchers.com, establishing one of the Internet's first and most successful subscription-model businesses. She was also a driving force behind many new products and services that combined the latest scientific research with consumer insights.
Prior to Weight Watchers, she worked in equity research. She currently sits on the board of Justice in Motion, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that protects workers rights across borders and advises several wellness start-up companies.
She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Grace Protos, Treasurer
Grace Cosachov Protos is the Executive Director for the Office of Work Life at New York University, where she is launching a department that will help NYU become an employer of choice. Her role will include creating supportive resources and programs for faculty and staff and being a strategic partner to advance policy changes that affect work and life for NYU employees.
Prior to joining NYU she was the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau where she oversaw a large part of the country. In her role, she worked on programs, advocacy and research devoted exclusively to promoting the advancement of working women. Her focus included developing strong relationships with community-based organizations, federal, state and local government agencies and companies in order to work collaboratively on various initiatives related to women’s advancement in the labor force. As part of the management team, she was responsible for long and short-term planning of goals and the development of employees.
Before joining the Women’s Bureau, she was a senior vice president at MacKenzie Partners, Inc., a corporate advisory services firm, where she worked on corporate mergers, acquisitions and stakeholder identification and communications for clients who were Fortune 500 companies.
Ms. Protos has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work where she has taught graduate school courses on human resource management and board development.
She has a Master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her family.
Stacie Sherer, Secretary
Ms. Sherer is Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Weight Watchers International, Inc. where she leads internal and external communications in service of the Company's purpose to inspire healthy habits for real life; for people, family, communities, the world, for everyone.
Prior to joining Weight Watchers, she was a Managing Director with leading global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller. Over her 15-year career with the agency, she advised clients across different industries on public relations, marketing communications, public affairs and issues management.
Ms. Sherer earned a BS in Business Administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She has lived in Brooklyn since 2007 and moved to Prospect Heights in 2012.
She believes in the potential of the arts to unleash the full expression and potential of each individual, and was inspired to join the Dancewave Board after witnessing the energy and passion of the staff, supporters and students.
Shenique Coston, Member
Ms. Coston is a multi-faceted business consultant and an award-winning marketer, specializing in brand management, experiential strategy, event production and operations/ project management for nearly 15 years.
She is currently dedicated to helping mission-driven organizations translate vision and big ideas into actionable and achievable plans. Shenique has spent most of her career using consumer insights to build innovative and disruptive business building ideas and curate brand experiences for category leading companies such as Samsung Electronics America, Procter & Gamble Co., and Nickelodeon/ MTV Networks. Her passion for technology, culture & arts, and diversity coupled with business expertise makes her well positioned to assist emerging to established leaders across varying arenas.
Shenique received her BA in Economics from Boston University and her MBA with emphases in Marketing and Strategy from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She is a native New Yorker currently residing in Newark, NJ. Shenique is very active in her community and devotes time to a number of professional and charitable organizations, including Dancewave.
Christiana Lazo, Member
Christiana Lazo is currently Counsel at Ropes & Gray. Her practice consists of representing ultra-high net worth individuals, their family offices, and closely held businesses in developing and implementing sophisticated domestic and international tax and estate plans.
She has significant experience counseling global clients on inbound and outbound planning, particularly advising families with members in multiple jurisdictions on wealth transfers and on tax-efficient investment and business ownership structures.
Christiana is an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law and a frequent speaker and author on estate planning topics.
Heather White, Member
Heather White serves as Genpact’s General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, overseeing all legal, compliance, and corporate governance functions for the company. As a Genpact executive officer, she brings more than 20 years of broad legal experience to the role.
Heather joined Genpact in 2005 and served as Genpact’s Deputy General Counsel until April of 2018. She has played a key leadership role in many strategic transactions at Genpact, including the company’s IPO, acquisitions, large deals, and treasury matters. Prior to joining Genpact, Heather was a member of the corporate department at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, working in both their New York and London offices.
Based in New York City, Heather holds a JD from New York University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in English from Cornell University.