Staff

Peter H. Kostmayer

Chief Executive Officer

Peter was a member of the US Congress for seven terms from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and served in the first Clinton administration as a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency, overseeing the agency in five middle Atlantic states and the District of Columbia. After leaving government, he became President of Population Connection in Washington, D.C., working on the environmental aspects of population growth and toward universal family planning for all women. Peter is a graduate of Columbia University and lives in the West Village.

Arif Ullah

Director of Programs

Arif was born in Bangladesh and raised in Queens. He manages Citizens Committee's programs, including grants, workshops, and project planning. He is on the board of Farm School NYC. Prior to Citizens Committee, Arif worked as an immigrants rights community organizer with American Friends Service Committee. He is committed to various issues of social and environmental justice.

Lori Lichtman

Director of Development

Lori works with our dedicated boards and generous individual, corporate, and foundation partners, who are committed to improving quality of life in New York City's low-income neighborhoods. She oversees Citizens Committee's fundraising strategy, manages our special events, and oversees our Love Your City corporate volunteer program. Prior to Citizens Committee, Lori worked in project management in Israel, in advertising, and in outdoor education. Lori has been involved with environmental and youth causes. As a student studying International Relations and Child Development at Tufts University, Lori coordinated a tutoring program and worked to increase environmentalism on campus. She is very excited to contribute to Citizens Committee’s mission.

Saleen Shah

Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Saleen leads the implementation of a strategic communications plan and builds and develops relations with politicians, governments, city agencies and other stakeholders. He also seeks to raise media visibility and to transform the organization into a top-tier ally of the City of New York. In addition, Saleen leads advocacy projects, handles public relations and executes development strategies. He is a graduate of Hunter College School of Social Work and the State University of New York at Albany. He resides in Chelsea with his wife and a rescued greyhound. 

Andrew Rohrberger

Development and Volunteer Coordinator

Andrew works in the development department and organizes volunteer days. Prior to joining Citizens Committee, he staffed state and federal political campaigns in his home state of New Jersey, concentrating on fundraising and grassroots organization. Andrew graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Political Science. While there, he created and taught a class for freshmen, whom he mentored through the transition to college. He lives on the Upper West Side.

Katie Grassle

Program Coordinator

Katie works with the programs team supporting grassroots community
groups through project planning assistance, workshops, and grant
management. Katie originally served with Citizens Committee as an NYC
Civic Corps member, and is excited to rejoin the team after leaving to
complete a master's in Conservation Medicine at the Cummings School of
Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Her thesis focused on the
mutual benefits of community gardens for human health and butterfly
conservation in four South Bronx gardens. She also earned a bachelor's
degree in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College. Katie is passionate
about environmental justice, and hopes to continue using a local,
grassroots approach to addressing human health issues as a result of
disproportionate environmental degradation.

Shawn Whitehorn

Program Coordinator

Shawn Whitehorn works in the programs department supporting New York City-based grassroots groups. Prior to joining Citizens Committee, Shawn worked as an architectural designer for large and small architectural practices and as a community organizer for a Brooklyn based community development corporation. Shawn graduated from Florida A&M University with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies and also from the California College of Arts with a master's degree in architecture. Shawn is committed to social justice and advocacy for marginalized communities. 

Marina Gonzalez Flores

Program Coordinator

Marina works with the programs department team and supports grantees. Prior to Citizens Committee, Marina worked at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. Marina graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Latin American and Latino Studies and from Columbia University with a master’s degree in Human Rights Studies.  Marina is committed to localizing rights in her community and is particularly interested in Indigenous Peoples rights and reproductive rights.

Thelma Leemans

Executive Assistant

Thelma joined Citizens Committee in July 2004. She functions as Executive Assistant to the CEO, and additionally handles HR and accounting issues. Prior to coming to Citizens Committee, Thelma worked in the music industry in Los Angeles, London, and New York.

David Proskin

Budget Director

David serves as the Budget Director for Citizens Committee and is responsible for all aspects of the finance function for the organization. David is a Certified Public Accountant with over 25 years of experience serving a broad range of clients. Prior to joining Citizens Committee, he spent over 20 years in the financial services industry servicing securities broker-dealers and hedge funds. He is a graduate of CUNY Baruch College where he majored in Accounting. He grew up in the Bronx and currently resides in Westchester with his wife and two children.

Suha Khandker

Development Intern

Suha recently joined as a development intern at Citizens Committee. She is currently  a senior at Hofstra University finishing up degrees in political science and global studies. In her free time she enjoys watching television, drinking coffee, and going to art museums. Her favorite pastime is discussing issues of social justice and politics.

Swathi Mettela

CUNY Service Corps Intern - Programs

Swathi joined Citizens Committee as an intern in the Programs Department. She works on the Stories Project, documenting the livelihoods of people and projects spanning the city. She is currently studying anthropology at the City College of New York in hopes of pursuing a career in medicine. When she’s not in class or interning, Swathi enjoys doing yoga, flossing, and sipping on tea. Having grown up in Queens as a first generation immigrant, she is a strong advocate for cultural literacy.

Viktoria Pashtriku

Development Intern

Viktoria is a Development Intern at Citizens Committee. Born and raised in NY, she has spent her summers growing up visiting family in Kosovo. It was visiting this developing, war torn country that has motivated her to pursue a career in nonprofits and human rights advocacy. A recent graduate from Hunter College with a B.A in English and Philosophy, she plans on gaining a M.P.A to further her education. On her free time, Viktoria is on a mission to visit every bookstore in New York City.

Laura Velazquez Perea

CUNY Service Corps - Programs Intern

Laura recently started working as an intern with Citizens Committee in the Programs Department. She transferred to City College last year and is working towards completing her Bachelors in Biology. She was born in Mexico, but has lived the majority of her life in NYC and she enjoys visiting different parks throughout the five boroughs.  She also looks forward to learning more about the different neighborhoods in NYC through her job here at Citizens Committee.

Eleysha Sajous

CUNY Service Corps - Development Intern

Eleysha works as a Development intern at Citizens Committee. She is in the process of wrapping up her final year studying economics at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Prior to interning at Citizens Committee, Eleysha worked as a "Summer of Service" project leader intern at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development. In addition to being a promoter of economic justice, Eleysha also enjoys drawing, and watching Korean dramas in her spare time. She currently lives on the Upper West Side.