Aaron Lackman

Aaron Lackman

Manager of Refugee Program, Loan officer

Aaron Lackman is a Loan Officer for BCNA's Microenterprise Development Program for Refugees and instructor of BCNA's How to Establish Good Credit workshops.

Aaron joined the Business Center for New Americans in 2005 as a business counselor and now serves as a loan officer in the Business Center's Refugee Program. As a descendent of a refugee parent and two grandparents, he is proud to help improve the lives of new refugees arriving in New York City. 

Aaron is responsible for the assessment of potential borrowers and the underwriting and packaging of loans to refugee business owners. In addition he teaches a workshop and provides one-on-one assistance to clients on how to build and repair credit history. He holds an MBA in Small Business Management from Baruch College in New York City and a BA in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Albany. Outside of the office, Aaron manages a yoga studio and volunteers at the 6th Street Community Center/CSA. 

Asisat Adebola

Asisat Adebola

Manager of Finance & Administration

Asisat Adebola plays a key role in supporting BCNA's mission by monitoring all financial activity for the organization, ensuring that BCNA is a good steward of grant funds, contracts, and individual donations. She provides daily support for BCNA's programs by working with the Finance Committee, Consultant CFO, and management staff to prepare and manage the annual operating budget, monitor expenditures, manage payroll, as well as issue microloan checks and receive loan payments for more than 600 active loan clients.

Asisat joined the Business Center for New Americans in 2015. She immigrated to the United States in 1995 with her father, sharing the same dream as many of BCNA's clients – "to build a better life for herself and her family." As an immigrant, she understands the vital mission of BCNA and is excited to be part of the team. Asisat is fascinated by the constant development of technology to make financial and office management more seamless and dynamic. She is taking a leadership role in moving BCNA towards a paperless operation by using innovative technology.

Asisat received a Bachelor's Degree in Finance and Marketing from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. Prior to joining BCNA, Asisat worked with nonprofits serving developmentally disabled individuals for eight years and continues to do volunteer work in this area in her free time.  She considers it her passion to serve people and meet their needs.

Francess Smith

Francess Smith

Manager of IDA Program

Languages: English, French and Creole

Francess Smith has worked at BCNA as a Program Specialist for the Individual Development Account (IDA) Program since 2000 and for the First Home Program since 2002. She uses her technical expertise to provide clients with an acculturation to the American financial system. An immigrant who understands the challenges of starting a new life in the US, she is enthusiastic about advocating effectively for clients and guiding them in the right direction whether it is to opening a bank account or buying their first home.

Before joining BCNA, she spent six years working as a Program Specialist for the Fellowship Program at the Open Society Institute. She is certified as a Home Ownership Counselor by NeighborWorks.

Ms. Smith has a BA in French and Communication from Hunter College of the City University of New York. She is a native of Haiti who has lived in France and completed a certificate in linguistics from Nanterre University in Paris. A parent and an active member of her local PTA club, she enjoys traveling and shares a passion for soccer with her husband, a former professional soccer player in Europe.

Jessica Martin

Jessica Martin

Portfolio Manager

Jessica Martin serves as Portfolio Manager for BCNA.  Before joining BCNA in 2016, she worked at VGIF, a New York-based international women's fund that provides grants to grassroots women's groups focusing on a range of issues from economic development to human rights.  Prior to VGIF, Ms. Martin served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand from 2012-2014 and as an Americorps Volunteer in Boston from 2010-2011.

As Portfolio Manager, Jessica works closely with Loan Officers and the Director of Lending to manage loan application documentation,  disbursements, and repayment. She is responsible for maintaining accuracy of BCNA's loan data and provides ongoing analysis on the performance of BCNA's loan portfolio.

Ms. Martin holds a Bachelor's degree in Politics from Bates College. She is passionate about working for an organization that provides not only the monetary resources but also the training and support necessary to help small businesses grow and flourish.

Leonid Ostrovsky

Leonid Ostrovsky

Director of Lending

Languages:  English and Russian

Leonid Ostrovsky is BCNA's Director of Lending and has been with BCNA since 1998. He enjoys working with clients from various ethnic backgrounds, but what excites him the most is using technology to provide seamless lending services to entrepreneurs and help clients who have the ability to grow their businesses to develop their capacity and skills to take their business to the next level.

Leonid finds it very rewarding to see BCNA clients achieve success. When he drives through his community in Brooklyn with his wife and friends, it gives him a great deal of satisfaction to point out which businesses are owned by his clients.

Mr. Ostrovsky graduated from the Kiev College of Music and the Syrit Computer School in Brooklyn. He came to the US from the FSU in 1988. His passion is music and most of his free time is spent in a  home recording studio, writing and producing music.

Maria Paulino

Maria Paulino

Loan Officer, Training Coordinator

Languages: English and Spanish

Maria Paulino began her career at BCNA in 2004. She is a Loan Officer who works primarily with women and Hispanic entrepreneurs to access credit from the Center's Microloan Fund. She works closely with clients to create detailed business plans, develop marketing materials, and choose technology that suits each client's needs. In addition to her main responsibility as Loan Officer, she also oversees the technology and eCommerce training at the Center.

When BCNA was selected in 2005
by the eBay Foundation as one of four microenterprise programs chosen to take part in a national pilot technology program, she led an initiative to develop and administer the program at BCNA. Because the program was so successful, it was extended until 2008.

Maria finds the opportunity to provide information and direction to fellow immigrant entrepreneurs immensely satisfying. She received help and guidance from the community when she came to the United States and believes in paying it forward.

Ms. Paulino holds a Bachelor's degree in Financial Economics from Binghamton University. Her passion is educating immigrant entrepreneurs on the benefits of using technology to manage and grow their businesses.

Meghan McAllister

Meghan McAllister

Development Associate

Meghan serves as the Development Associate at the Business Center for New Americans supporting the Manager of Development & Communications, Lauren Danzig, and the Portfolio Manager, Jessica Martin. Meghan is responsible for facilitating coordination and collaboration between the different divisions at BCNA. She contributes to loan portfolio data, grant tracking, and customer relationship management. Meghan also helps facilitate other projects relating to communications, marketing, and business development.

Before joining BCNA, Meghan worked at The Idea Village, a nonprofit that supports economic self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship in New Orleans. She also has experience from her time at the management consulting firm, Simmons & White LLC, where she gained experience with general business advisory and capital access services. 

Meghan graduated from Tulane University in 2016 through the Altman Program in International Studies & Business. She holds a BSM in Management from the A.B. Freeman School of Business and a BA in Economics from the School of Liberal Arts. She hopes to use her multidisciplinary coursework and experience to help develop BCNA's core functions. She is passionate about supporting economic empowerment and financial stability for all. 

Tshering Gurung

Tshering Gurung

Manager of Business Development

Languages: English, Nepali, Hindi, Nyeshang, and Tibetan

Tshering is the Manager of Business Development at BCNA. She is responsible for developing and implementing the strategy for BCNA's growing microloan program with the expansion of services in Queens.

Tshering came to the United States from Nepal in 2010. As an immigrant, Tshering experienced various challenges and struggles firsthand and is immensely grateful to the immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations that helped her accomplish her dream of continuing her career in United States. She feels very connected with BCNA's mission and is passionate about creating economic development opportunities for immigrants so they can fulfill their American dream of creating better lives for themselves and their families.

Prior to joining BCNA in 2016, Tshering worked with Chhaya CDC as an Asset Building Counselor and helped immigrants from South Asian communities through various asset building programs. She also volunteered at Adhikaar and IRC helping refugees through a workforce development program. In Nepal, she worked on various education projects for marginalized communities in rural areas. 

She received her Masters in Business Administration from Kathmandu University, Nepal and Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Pune, India. Tshering is an active member in her community and is currently serving as Vice President of Manang Samaj of New York - her ethnic community group. As a new mom, she prefers spending all her free time with her baby boy.

Vish Dasma

Vish Dasma

Senior Loan Officer

Languages: English, Hindi, and Kannada

Vish Dasma has worked at BCNA as a Senior Loan Officer since 2011, targeting immigrant and refugee small business entrepreneurs to provide microloans that help them achieve their business goals.

 Before joining BCNA, he was a Personal Banker at Astoria Federal Savings; a Business Banking Specialist at HSBC, where he was the recipient of an award for top sales regionally; and a Small Business Specialist at Bank of America, where he received an Award of Excellence and was recognized as one of the top 5 nationally for sales in Manhattan. 

Mr. Dasma has a Life Insurance License from New York State as well as a Notary Public License. He received his Bachelor of Law in Banking and Contract Law and a Bachelor of Commerce from Karnatak University in Dharwad, India.

Yanki Tshering

Yanki Tshering

Executive Director

Languages: English, Tibetan, and Nepali

Yanki Tshering founded the Business Center for New Americans as a department of the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) in 1997. Her leadership was key as BCNA transitioned, from 2009 through 2010, into a new and independent entity.

She has over eighteen years of experience in developing and implementing economic development programs in New York City. Her responsibilities center around supporting the long-term sustainability of the organization and include setting BCNA's vision and strategic direction, fundraising, fiscal oversight, fiscal management, and working closely with the Board of Directors to assist in board development.

Her passion for economic development stems from her belief that with the appropriate support, immigrants and refugees can start new lives and contribute to the mainstream economy. In 2012, Ms. Tshering was honored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the American Dreamer Award in the Business Leader category for her contribution to improving the lives of newcomers to the city through services at BCNA. In 2016, Ms Tshering was honored by the Lawyers Alliance for New York for her leadership in community service.  

Ms. Tshering lived for many years in Tibetan refugee communities in India and Nepal before coming to the United States in 1986. She has a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University with a functional specialization in Economic Development and a regional specialization in South Asian Studies. She is a board member of Credit Builders Alliance (CBA), a national organization that develops innovative ways for low to moderate income individuals to build credit and obtain financial access in order to build personal assets. Ms. Tshering is also a founding board member of the NY State CDFI Coalition, that is dedicated to improving the lives of undeserved communities in New York State.

Zacharaiah Logan

Zacharaiah Logan

Loan Officer

Languages: English and the African dialects of Liberian Coloqua, Bassa, and Kru.

Zachariah Logan joined BCNA in 2003 to assist in the development of an effective outreach strategy which targeted refugees from Africa. He currently serves as a Loan Officer in the Business Center's Refugee Program. He works closely with refugees who are starting businesses in New York City for the first time or are trying to expand businesses with limited resources.

Mr. Logan came to the United States from Liberia in 1996 as a serious contender to Ben Johnson for the 100 meter race but was unfortunately eliminated by Liberia's United States based team. After the Olympic Games, he could not return to Liberia due to the civil war. He worked odd jobs before finding employment at Lutheran Social Services of Metropolitan New York as a medical case manager and finally came to work at BCNA.

Mr. Logan has a BSC in biology from the University of Liberia and a Master's in Community Health from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. He is an active member of the Liberian community on Staten Island and can be seen at community events with his wife and six children.