The Dare to Run board consists of nonprofit professionals, former campaign staff, 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.
Edda Santiago is passionate about serving her community, increasing women’s participation in the political process and empowering young people. As an attorney at the Legal Aid Society’s Harlem Community Law Office, she represents low income tenants facing eviction and delivers presentations to community to educate tenants about their rights.
Edda also serves on the New York Junior League's Advocates for Public Policy committee where shesupports the organization’s advocacy efforts to address homelessness in New York City. In 2019, she was awarded a Five Borough Future Fellowship, a six month fellowship launched by the Arena Summit for New York City's emerging civic leaders.
Edda believes in being politically involved. She was recently elected as a County Committee memberand MembershipSecretary of the Uptown Community Democrats. Previously, Edda worked for a U.. Senator, interned atthe US Department of State, and was active in the 2004 and 2008 Presidential Elections.
Edda is committed to increasing women’s participation in the political process. She serves as the Manhattan Borough Director for Amplify Her, NYC organization created to address women’s underrepresentation NYC’s elected office. She was the moderator and a panelist for the New York Junior League’s “Women in Politics: Where We Are and How We Got Here” held on November 11, 2019 which also featured Cat Almonte, Managing Director of the Broad Room and Yael Fisher, Communications Associate at Seneca Strategies. Edda is a proud member of Eleanor’s Legacy, Emily’s List and 21in’21.
Edda is a graduate from St. John’s Law School where she served as President of the Latin American Law Students Association and earned several awards including the Puerto Rican Bar Association Scholarship, the Arent Fox Diversity Scholarship, and the National Women Lawyers Association Award. In 2015, the Hispanic Coalition of New York named Edda as one of the 40 Under 40 Latino Rising Stars.
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.
Jhoanny Perez is an entrepreneur, civic leader, and community organizer. She was Selected as a NYS Department of Health Covid19 Tracer F/T Employee. She also serves on the Covid19 Research Committee on Mount Sinai to represent the Bronx & help distribute the study to affected Bronx Districts & help with Survey redesign, She served as a volunteer instructor for the Dare To Run Women’s Leadership Program, and was just recently added to the Board of Dare to Run.
Jhoanny worked as a Digital Organizer of Virtual Open Mics for community unity & healing. She was also the UnSpoken Smiles Fellow- Oral Health Education & training program for women in oral health. She is a Board Member in Bronx Community Board 5. Jhoanny founded Elevate Yaself, LLC, which is a platform where women are coached to create social impact projects and businesses. Two of her best clients are Sickle Cell Education Camp and 500 Shoes of the “Shoe that Grows” to be distributed to 500 families.
Jhoanny has worked as a Small Business owner for a family-owned restaurant/bar. She dedicated 6+ years to being a Volunteer Rape and Domestic Violence Counselor in the New York Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Room. As a Red Cross Employee she served educating 15,000 youth and adults about fire safety and hurricane preparedness by presenting the Pillowcase Project in NYC public schools for students in 3rd-5th grade, and installing more than 50,000 lifesaving smoke alarms with other volunteers in residents homes and educating 20,000 families & community groups in emergency preparedness. Her volunteer work has taken her all over the world, including Haiti and South Africa where she worked to fundraise $6,000 to rebuild an orphanage in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. During mission trips, she worked to bring aid to orphans and participated in medical/dental brigades and public health brigades in Honduras and Panama. She spent three weeks in rural Tamale, Ghana training women in solar energy and establishing a solar energy business center for them
She was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award in 2017 and 2018 for 3400 hours of national community service, and she was awarded the Americorps Segal Education Award in 2017 & 2018. She was appointed to the Department of the United Nations because of her work via AAI that brought food security to 160 orphans in South Africa. She has provided youth empowerment workshops, DJ classes and Fashion workshops to youth in Women and children shelters throughout NYC and Washington DC. Jhoanny won the Endo Hero Award in 2014 for her advocacy in helping coordinate the first ever in the city for endometriosis patients. She filmed a short documentary detailing the stories of three women who suffer from Endometriosis and helped lead the first ever World Women’s Endometriosis March, leading flash mobs.
Diana first became interested in politics when she was a student at New York University and became an AIDS activist. In 2004 she traveled to New Hampshire to bird-dog Presidential candidates, and was amazed by their mediocrity. When she finished college, she decided to focus her career on electing better people.
Over the past 15 years, Diana has worked on dozens of campaigns around the country as a Field Director, Finance Director, and Campaign Manager. She also served as the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Brooklyn. Frustrated by the lack of diversity in the world of political consulting, Diana launched a full service political consulting firm, Blue Tiger Strategies, which specializes in fundraising consulting, general consulting, messaging strategy, digital advertising, and direct mail.
Diana lives in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn. She is a member of the Analyst Institute, which conducts scientific experiments to improve the effectiveness of campaigns and makes the results available exclusively to members. Diana is also the Treasurer of the 44th Assembly District Democratic Committee, a member of the Kings County Democratic County Committee, a member of the Executive Committee of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, and a member of the American Association of Political Consultants.