The Dare to Run board consists of nonprofit professionals, campaign consultants, business leaders, activists, and local political leaders. 


Founder and President


Rachelle received her Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from the Milano School for Management and Urban Policy in New York City in 2017.  Prior to that, Ms. Suissa completed a Master of Arts degree in Political Science with a concentration in American Government from Brooklyn College in 2010.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in History and Women’s and Gender Studies from Pace University in New York City in 2008.  She was currently elected to her third year as President of the Board of Dare to Run, Inc.  She also currently sits on the Junior Advisory Board for the Leopold Schepp Scholarship Foundation Event Planning Committee. 


Rachelle has worked in the education, nonprofit, and government sector.  She taught as a Professor of American Government and Global Politics for three years at CUNY Brooklyn College.  She also worked as the Manager of the Quality of Life Innovations Program for Working in Support of Education, a research competition for NYC High School Students in which they select a quality of life issue, generate a research proposal and come up with an innovative solution to the proposed issue.  The finalists in the competition received scholarships to attend college.  In addition to her work in the education sector, Ms. Suissa has also worked with nonprofits such as the Henry Street Settlement and Project You, Inc in the capacity of program coordinator and outreach director to advance their mission of youth employment, education and adult literacy and training. 


Rachelle is committed to the mission of building the pipeline of female leaders across the country and believes in the power of women to change their communities through public service.   Prior to founding Dare to Run, Ms. Suissa served on the Board of the Brooklyn-Queens Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), both as President from 2006-2013 and as Vice President from 2005-2007.  She attend State and National NOW Chapter meetings and served as a delegate for the organization on behalf of her chapter; she also coordinated events to promote community engagement and built up the chapter's presence significantly on social media.  Ms. Suissa has also volunteered with organizations including NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the Young Women’s Leadership Network.  In addition, Ms. Suissa oversees the activities of the board of Dare to Run, the recruitment of volunteer instructors for the training program, recruitment of participants to complete the training program, as well as monthly events, board meetings and social media campaigns and visibility for the organization. 


Ms. Suissa currently resides in South Brooklyn where she has lived for the past 33 years. 


Josephine is a passionate health care advocate with over 10 years of community experience in the field of tobacco control. She has worked with youth, train-the-trainer women infant and children programs, and low socio-economic populations in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan. Prior to working in the nonprofit field, she utilized her marketing skills in various positions in corporate America such as The Economist and several large advertising agencies. Josephine actively participates in community service activities and is a member of several policy and leadership committees throughout New York City. Josephine is currently a candidate for a Masters degree in Human Services Leadership from St. Joseph's College. She enjoys taking on new challenges and learning sports, including bocce, and currently resides in Brooklyn with her family. 


Shannon Fritts-Penniman grew up in Ithaca, New York.  He earned a B.A. from St. Lawrence University in 2005 and a J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School in 2010.  He has studied and pursued a variety of interests, including immigration law, family law, environmental law, mediation, professional guiding for outdoor sports, swing dancing, and political campaigns and issue advocacy. 

His interest in improving democracy began during his first D.C. lobbying trip at the age of fifteen, and has involved volunteer and paid work for nonprofit groups including Democracy Matters, Move to Amend, New Era Colorado, and more recently Dare to Run.  He currently works as a Bilingual Immigration Attorney for the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Woodside, Queens.  His primary responsibility is to provide naturalization application assistance under the auspices of the USCIS Citizenship and Assimilation Grant.  He also provides legal assistance for a variety of other affirmative immigration benefits and gives public presentations to the community as needed.  He is a licensed attorney in both New York and Colorado.  Shannon joined the Board of Dare to Run in April 2020. 

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Nayma Silver-Matos is an older sister, a daughter of immigrants, and a first generation college graduate of Syracuse University. She brings with her 20 years of service in civics, education, and youth and community development in NYC. Nayma is co-founder of The Project Beauty Experience, a girls leadership program molding the next generation of Black & Brown leaders from Washington Heights, Inwood, and The Bronx. 


Fun facts: She loves karaoke, dancing bachata, and dodgeball is her favorite sport! Nayma is grateful to be of service and looks forward to uplifting other women in politics through her new role as Board Member of Dare To Run, Inc.


Jen Gilbert brings to Dare to Run, 25+ years experience from both non-profit {US Government} and for profit {AT&T and Cisco Systems} in telecommunications, cyber and information technology. While she has led teams of over 100, she has also volunteered for Make A Wish, the Red Cross and been candy striper at a local hospital while working full time as she believes strongly is “giving back” to her community and helping others.  Jen also is very passionate about animal rescue, and been involved in animal rescue over the past 30 years. Currently Jen lives in the greater Washington DC area and currently has 5 rescue German Shepherds. She joins the Board of Dare to Run in June 2022.