Board and Staff Teams

Supporting more than 130 years of service
Our Brooklyn Office Team

Steve Bates

Property Manager

Steve joined Trail Blazers in 2000 with a wealth of camping and property management experience. He worked as a counselor and instructor in CSB (scouting) programs. He managed the Milford Bible Church complex for 10 years, the Tuscarora Resource Center property in Mt. Bethel, PA as the Operations Manager, and owned/operated Marshalls Creek Painting for 13 years. He served 6 years in the US Army as a medical lab technician. Steve lives at Trail Blazers with his wife, Sue, and daughters, Sarah and Lindsey. He graduated from Philadelphia College of Bible with a Bachelors of Science in Youth Ministry and has extensive trade skills training at Monroe Vo-Tech.

Jennifer Bombardier

Director of Programs

Jennifer joined Trail Blazers in 2014 as an intern for Under One Sky and then as a Group Leader before assuming the role of Program Director in 2016. She brings experience gained as a preschool teacher and educator for multiple environmental education organizations in Virginia as well as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Education Department. She holds a B.A. in Integrative Studies with a Concentration in Elementary Education from George Mason University and an M.A. in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University.

Tiffany Caton

Director of Development and Communication

Tiffany joined Trail Blazers in 2011, transitioning to the nonprofit realm after 5 years of experience in experiential marketing. Tiffany holds a B.S. in Marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a Certificate in Fundraising from New York University’s School of Continuing Professional Studies.

Stephan Lendor

Recruitment and Registration

Stephan joined Trail Blazers in 2010 as a Group Leader in our Overnight Camp program. In 2011, he was the lead counselor for the biking program and in 2013 he was the Program Director for Montague Day Damp. In 2015, he led the inaugural year of Brooklyn Day Camp. Stephan currently manages Trail Blazers' enrollment and registration. When you call or visit the Trail Blazers office, more often than not the kind voice greeting you will be his!

Molly McCue

Director of Operations

Molly joined Trail Blazers in 2014, and she is now in her 11th summer working in camping. She was the overnight camp director from 2014 - 2018, and also served as the Director of Programs from 2016 - 2018. She is now the Director of Operations, working about 80% of the time from her new home in CT. Molly spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso promoting girls' education and empowerment and worked in a Kindergarten classroom upon her return. She holds a B.A. in Critical Social Thought from Mount Holyoke College.

Riel Peerbooms

Executive Director

Riel was appointed as Trail Blazers’ Executive Director in 2008. Prior, Riel worked as the Camp and Associate Director at Trade Winds Lake Camp, and worked for over 10 years in New York City high schools, teaching science and counseling students as a social worker and a guidance counselor. Riel holds a BA in Biology Secondary Education from The Teacher’s College of Utrecht, the Netherlands, as well as a MSW from Fordham University, specializing in Children and Families.

Nigeria Preston

School Site Director

Nigeria was born and raised in Brooklyn and has been working with children for over 10 years. For over seven of those years. Nigeria has been with Trail Blazers and absolutely loves being the Site Director of P.S. 316. Nigeria’s heart is filled with joy when she sees the big bright smiles of her campers and recognizes the positive changes she helps them develop each day at Trail Blazers Afterschool.

Callie Radday

Day Camp Director

Hi all! I’m Callie and I am very excited to join the Trail Blazers team as the Day Camp Director. As a lifelong camper, I have always been passionate about all things camp. Camp provides such a unique, yet important experience to our youth and I am excited to be a part of it. Outside of camp, I enjoy staying active and spending time outdoors. I’m looking forward to meeting you all soon!

Philip Robinson

Under One Sky After School Director

Philip joined Trail Blazers from the UK in 2016 as part of the Overnight Camp team. Philip has held various positions at our Overnight Camp, including Program Director and Assistant Director. Philip is excited to combine his love of summer camp, education, and the outdoor environment, gained from his years of camp and leadership in The UK Scout Association, to lead our Under One Sky Afterschool Program. Philip holds a B.A. in Education and Geography from Durham University (UK).

Christopher Thomasson

Director of Overnight Camps

Christopher is excited to join Trail Blazers as the Overnight Camp Director. He brings 19 years experience as Head Staff and Associate Director of Camp Ojibwa for Boys in northern Wisconsin. Christopher also founded the Camp History Project, an archival project aimed at preserving the legacy and impact of the summer camp experience. Additionally, Christopher spent 9 years working with Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group to help bring a magical Christmas experience to tens of thousands of NYC children each year. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Kentucky and an MFA in Directing from CUNY Brooklyn College.

Nicole McCormick

School Site Director

Nicole has been with Trail Blazers Under One Sky afterschool program since 2017. She has progressed through roles, including Group Leader and Team Supervisor, to now be the proud Site Director of P.S. 770. Along the way, Nicole worked at our Prospect Park Day Camp and enjoys the opportunities Trail Blazers affords her to tackle challenges and grow as a leader. She embraces her role to guide campers and staff through challenging moments and to encourage them to spend as much time in the great outdoors as possible. In addition to her work at Trail Blazers, Nicole is also pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice.

Kittisha Doyle Brens

School Site Director

Kitty is proud to be the Site Director at P.S. 241, having joined the program as a Group Leader in 2016. Kitty loves the opportunities Trail Blazers offers for campers to learn through outdoor play, helping them to develop team-building and self-management skills to carry into adulthood. Kitty can often be found unplugged from technology and enjoying exploring nature with her campers.

Erick Mejia

School Site Director

Erick is a proud son of Dominican parents and a Brooklyn local. He holds a B.A. in History from SUNY Old Westbury. Eric brings years of experience from voluntary community positions as an educator and role model and from being a Group Leader at Summer Camps. Erick loves camp and embraces the opportunities Trail Blazers affords him to make a difference in the lives of young people as the Site Director at P.S. 139.

Tia Linton

School Site Director

Tia hails from Portland, Oregon, where she completed her B.S. in Environmental Science. Tia is now happily based in Brooklyn as the Site Director of Brighter Choice Community School (BCCS). It’s here that she embraces her two greatest passions of working with young people and encouraging a lifelong love and understanding of the environment. It is something she looks forward to doing for the whole school year and beyond.

Shaye Whylie

School Site Director

This is Shaye’s second year leading her Trail Blazers team as Site Director at P.S. 705. Shaye first discovered her love of leading youth programs as a Junior Camp Counselor at just 16. Shaye’s hard work, dedication, and love of the Trail Blazers program have seen her work her way from Group Leader to being a Site Director, who can’t wait for the memories this school year will bring.

Our Board of Trustees

Marc Hyman

Co-Chairman of the Board

Bio coming soon

Hugh Babowal

Co-Chairman of the Board

Hugh Babowal began serving as Trail Blazer’s Co-Chairman of our Board of Trustees in January 2015 and has been a Trail Blazers Trustee since August 2011. Mr. Babowal heads Wells Fargo Securities’ Energy and Power M&A practice. Mr. Babowal serves on Wells Fargo Securities’ Fairness Opinion Committee and its Strategic Advisory Council. He received an MBA from the Western Business School at the University of Western Ontario and a BA in Economics from the University of Alberta.

Grace Kurdian

Secretary of the Board

Grace Kurdian began serving as a Trail Blazers Trustee in May of 2013 and has served as Secretary of the Board as of 2017. Grace is the Deputy General Counsel of Kindle Energy LLC, a portfolio company of the Blackstone Group. An attorney for over 20 years, Grace’s prior experience included service as a Deputy Attorney General in New Jersey as well as private practice as an associate and then partner at two law firms in New York.

Louis Milea

Treasurer of the Board

Bio coming soon

Nathaniel Drake

Board Member

Nate currently works for the Macquarie Group. Nate loves the outdoors so, of course, Trail Blazers is a great fit.

Ryan Goodman

Board Member

Ryan Goodman is the CEO of Scale Microgrid Solutions, a new microgrid and distributed energy company that is revolutionizing the energy infrastructure in the US. Ryan has over a decade of experience in the energy industry, with prior stints at GE Energy, the Boston Consulting Group, and ENER-G Rudox, a company he helped grow and sell in 2016. Today, Ryan lives in northern NJ with his wife, Anne, and three daughters. Ryan earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Bucknell University, and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. Outside of work, Ryan enjoys spending time with his family and friends, travel, NY Giants football, and any activities that gets him outside. He has always valued outdoor education, dating back to his days in the Boy Scouts, and is a true supporter of Trail Blazer’s mission and vision.

Helen Horsham-Bertels

Board Member

Helen is Principal at Bago Consulting, a Customer Service consulting firm located in New York and specializing in customer service program diagnostics, training and communications. Prior to founding Bago, she spent 16 years in the hospitality industry with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Her career spans several industries including Consumer Packaged Good, Direct Sales and Publishing. Throughout her career, she has focused on understanding the customer, delivering exceptional service through fully empowered employees and optimizing customer feedback to drive continuous improvement and process change. She has served as a Director and Chair of SOCAP, a dynamic and collaborative community of Customer Care professionals. Her desire to make a difference in the lives of young people led her to Trailblazers, where she hopes to leverage her background and passion to understand the needs of clients and support the goals of the organization.

John Howie

Board Member

John is currently a member of the investment team at Willett Advisors, Mayor Bloomberg’s family office. His previous experience includes investment management (JPMorgan, Carbon Capital), strategy consulting (Monitor, Palladium) and Private Equity (Treacy & Company). He also serves on the Advisory Board of RocketStar, developer of a reusable aerospike rocket engine for commercial space operations.

Eamonn Johnston

Board Member

Eamonn is a digital transformation and IT strategy leader. His areas of focus are digital strategy delivery and customer experience excellence, organizational transformation and optimization, and program and portfolio management. Eamonn lives in New York City with his wife, Alyson, daughter, Hannah, and Simon the Cockapoo. In his spare time Eamonn enjoys running and cycling and anything that involves adventures outdoors.<br />

Anna Krassy

Board Member

Retired. Anna's involvement with Trail Blazers spans six decades, starting with her time as a camper. Wanting to give other children the same opportunities she had as a camper, she became an active alumna, working as a Group Leader and then serving as a Board Member as well as volunteering in the office.

Erez Levin

Board Member

Erez has spent over a decade working in the online advertising industry in various sales & business development positions. In his current role at Google, he is focused on the advertising technology space and helping Fortune 500 advertisers & national web/TV publishers leverage data, technology, and partnerships to grow their businesses. He holds a B.S. in Marketing from Rutgers University, and currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Arielle. In his free time, Erez loves to travel to far-flung parts of the world (backpacker-style), listen to audiobooks while running (two birds, one stone!), and play tennis (preferably alongside and not against his wife).

Tom Nakashian

Board Member

Bio coming soon

Frank Nolan

Board Member

Frank is an attorney in the New York City office of Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP, where he is a member of the firm’s global litigation group. Frank defends class action lawsuits and complex business litigation matters in federal and state courts throughout the country, and advises financial services and insurance clients on issues affecting their core business practices. Frank also serves on the Board of the non-profit organization City Cottage, which facilitates educational programs between high school students in the United States and Malawi. In his free time, Frank enjoys outdoor activities, especially fishing and hunting. He lives in New York City with his wife, Lizzie, and their dog, Marbles.

Austin Park

Board Member

Austin Park is a Global Client Engagement Manager with over 13 years of experience at BlackRock servicing institutional clients using the Aladdin platform, BlackRock's proprietary technology for investment managers. Prior to his current role, he was a Risk Analytics Manager supporting many of the largest U.S. banks. Austin graduated from New York University and currently lives in Long Island, with his wife and two children. In his free time, Austin enjoys spending time with his family and friends and loves traveling and outdoor activities. His interests include golf, camping, football, baseball, biking, and hiking. He even finished a Tough Mudder!

Ronald Rasdall Jr.

Board Member

Bio coming soon

Colleen Sebra

Board Member

Colleen is a Partner at Ernst and Young LLP (EY). She focuses on Tax Technology and Transformation, leveraging her cross industry experience to identify and implement operational process improvements, data analytics, visualization, and automation. She specializes in automating State income tax reporting processes and is passionate about saving people time so they can focus their energy on value driving functions and personal priorities. Colleen graduated from the University of Georgia with a Masters in Accountancy and from the University of South Carolina Honors College with a double degree in International Business and Accounting. Colleen lives in Chatham, New Jersey with her husband, Mike, their two children and dog, Bailey

Christopher Sheaffer

Board Member

Chris is a Partner in the New York City office of Reed Smith LLP, an international law firm with offices around the world. Chris is a member of the firm’s Global Corporate Group concentrating his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, securities law compliance, corporate governance issues, and general corporate law. Chris was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine from 2013-2017 and is an active member of the Association for Corporate Growth where he serves on the membership committee. Chris is engaged in numerous charitable endeavors and, in addition to his work with Trail Blazers, serves on the Legal Committee of Global Potential, a New York based non-profit focused on empowering youth through international travel and social awareness. In his free time, Chris enjoys traveling as much as possible, running and other outdoor activities.

Eric Smith

Board Member

Eric J. Smith is Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel of PineBridge Investments. Prior to joining the PineBridge, Mr. Smith served as General Counsel to IREO Management, an India-focused real estate private equity fund manager. Between graduation from university and beginning law school, Mr. Smith spent two years teaching English at the junior high level in Ichikawa, Japan as a member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Mr. Smith received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

David Tcholakian

Board Member

Bio coming soon

Jim Torpey

Board Member

Jim is a professional with many years experience in the electric industry as an executive with utility companies and solar energy firms. He founded a solar industry consultancy and has worked on the East Coast and in Australia for SunPower Corporation. He has served on numerous boards, both for-profit and non-profit. Before his business career, he taught students and adults from kindergarten to college. Jim is also an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast!

Our Advisory Board

Jonathan Peris

Board Member

Jon is a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. He has 22 years of Capital Markets and Wealth Management Experience. Jon graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor's degree in Economics. Today, he lives in Mountainside, New Jersey with his wife, Sari, their three children and a new pup.Jon has proudly served for years as a mentor and on the Board of Trail Blazers.He is also on the board of the Animal Cancer Foundation. An advocate of protecting people's health and wealth, Jon encourages people to leave time for personal fitness and fulfillment. Away from work, Jon enjoys spending time with family and friends, fitness, music, travel, getting outside in nature, and the personal rewards of supporting various philanthropies.

Nihad Rahman

Board Member

Nihad Rahman is the head of Planning & Analysis for the Corporate Sector, leading the team responsible for the forecasting and financial analytics of the $10B of NIE in J.P.Morgan's Corporate Sector. He joined the firm in May 2015 after 11 years at GE, where he, most recently, led financial planning and analysis for the Commercial Lending & Leasing business within GE Capital. Nihad has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Haverford College and an MBA from Columbia University. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Lee Simonson

Board Member

Lee Simonson is the President of Simonson Associates, an advisory firm in New York that assists media companies and their executives in strategic planning. Lee spent 30 years of his career in the radio broadcasting industry culminating in positions as Vice President and General Manager of KISS-FM and WOR-AM in New York City and ownership of over 50-plus radio stations across the U.S. Lee earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a Certified Business Mentor for SCORE, a non-profit partner of the SBA, a Walking Guide in Central Park for the Central Park Conservancy, and a volunteer for Big Apple Greeters. He has been married to Nancy for 44 years with 2 adult children, Michael and Laura, and a grandson, Jonah.