Our Board of Directors

Paula Mahayosnand (President) and Board Trustee for the Friends of Boyd McGuiness Park and advocate for pocket-park LaPointe Park (between DeKalb Ave & Stuyvesant Ave).  A JCPC President since 2020, in prior years she served as the JCPC Secretary and a Board Member. Paula represents Ward B  on the Jersey City Open Space Trust Fund Committee and recently appointed to the Liberty State Park Design Task Force in August 2021.  In 2020, Paula received the Jersey City Women of Action Award. Paula and her family are Little Free Library Stewards (Charter #45556) in their West Side neighborhood.  An active West Side resident since 2004, Paula serves on several boards including the Learning Community Charter school and their Sustainability, Finance & Policy committees, and President of the Marymount Alumnae Association of Fordham University. She has spent the last 24 years in the financial services industry in retail banking, investments and IT systems. In 2021 she became the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation UNIQUE Events & Committee Co-chair, an ERG for individuals with disabilities and a Diversity & Inclusion executive steering committee member. She is a founding member of the SMBC Women and Inclusion Network (WIN) and a member of the Financial Woman’s Association Financial Backpack committee which develops financial literacy programs for NYC high school and middle school students.  Learn more about the Friends of Boyd-McGuiness Park visit:  https://www.facebook.com/fobmp/

Charlene Burke (Vice-President) is a local civic leader in the West Side community that envisioned in 2007 the expansion of the small Boyd-McGuiness park and convinced the City that the community should re-design it – today’s half-acre park has a stage, a toddler play and spray ground and raised garden beds for senior citizen participation. The establishment of the West Bergen-East Lincoln Park Historic District began with Charlene writing the grant pro-bono for the City – as of July 2015, it is listed on the Jersey City Municipal Register and the NJ State Register of Historic Places. And in 2011, Charlene described to the Coalition an idea called the “BIG DIG” that with lots of support from Sponsors and the City, hard work from all the members and the public, it won a National Make a Difference Day award including a $10,000 prize its first year. She is is the 1st Vice President of the West Side Community Alliance affiliated with Lincoln Park and founding member of the Friends of Boyd-McGuiness Park.  Follow Westside Community Alliance Instagram @jcwsca for park updates & more.

Marc Wesson(Treasurer) is a 37-year Jersey City resident, having moved his commercial photography business from Manhattan to Communipaw Avenue in 1985. He has been involved in the transformation of Van Vorst Park (VVP) for 23 years and is the President of Friends of Van Vorst Park, Inc., a volunteer non-profit conservancy dedicated to the improvement and maintenance of this historic public park. “Friends” has raised or donated more than $425,000 to Van Vorst Park’s evolution. Marc is the current treasurer of the Jersey City Parks Coalition, which is an umbrella non-profit that encompasses 29 Jersey City parks and historic cemeteries. Marc has a degree in business, psychology, and has been formally trained as a Master Gardener. By being a past member of the Environmental Commission he hopes to help residents of Jersey City become aware of the opportunities they have to make their city healthier, safer, and sustainable. Marc serves on the Jersey City Shade Tree Committee and the Open Space Trust Fund Committee.  Follow Friends of Van Vorst Park Instagram @vanvorstparkjc for park updates & more.

Irina Shalaeva (Secretary).  Irina is the Founder and President of Bergen Hill Park Association.  The BHPA goal is to preserve and extend parks and green open areas in Jersey City. Irina is dedicated to bringing the quality of life to their neighborhood and all residents from all walks of life. The BHPA welcome all to enjoy Bergen Hill Park. The BHPA continuously work with the City of Jersey City to extend the Bergen Hill Park and restore the historic features of the park. Irina is a senior project architect, AIA LEED AP, NCARB at IBI Group in NYC with diverse experience in residential, mixed use and residential projects.  Follow Bergen Hill Park JC Instagram  @bergenhillparkjc for park updates & more.

Laura Skolar (Board member & Former President) is a lifelong resident of Jersey City and a well respected community activist. Laura became the Broker/Owner of CENTURY 21 Plaza Realty in 2006 after 25 years of dedicated service to the Company. She has been recognized as a Jersey City Woman of Action for her community service and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Hudson County/Jersey City Workforce Development Board. As an advocate for the City’s parks and public spaces, Laura believes that her strong community ties are the foundation of her success.  She is also a Board Trustee and former President of the Pershing Field Garden Friends, a Board member of the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance and serves on the  Open Space Trust Fund Committee. Follow Pershing Field Garden Friends Instagram   @pershing_field_garden_friends for park updates & more.

Roger Heitmann (Board member) is a retired manager from a major international bank. Specialized in branch operations and compliance. Serving as Treasurer on the board of the Riverview Neighborhood Association since 2000. He is a volunteer at Riverview-Fisk Park and Janet Moore Park; and serves on the  Open Space Trust Fund Committee.
Florence Holmes is also a Board member.  Florence is a Board Trustee for the Friends of Arlington Park and Board Trustee for the Historic Jersey City Harsimus Cemetery. Florence is the Assistant Director of Programming at the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center.  Since April 2020, Florence also manages the center’s COVID-19 testing site.  In 2017, Florence received Jersey City Rotary Rotarian of the Year. Follow Friends of Arlington Park Instagram @friendsofarlingtonpark for park updates & more.
Chris Perez is also a Board member. Chris is the founder & President Bayside Park Neighborhood Association, Board Trustee for the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy and community activist |Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition.  Follow Bayside Park Jersey City  Instagram @baysideparkjc for park updates & more.
Michele Egar is also a Board member. Michele La-Monica Egar was born and raised in Jersey City and resides in her Downtown Jersey City home with her wonderful family. Michele is extremely community-oriented and serves on as Landscape Director and Board Director for the Historic Jersey City & Harsimus Cemetery. For several years, Michele has organized the Keep Jersey City Beautiful initiative, a city-wide community clean up initiative affiliated with Keep America Beautiful.  Follow Jersey City Cemetery Instagram  @jerseycitycemetery for park updates & more.
Patrick Ambrossi is also a Board member. Patrick is the founder & President of Leonard Gordon Park Conservancy.  The Leonard Gordon Park Conservancy advocates  for the upkeep, maintenance and renovations of Leonard Gordon Park and have worked to create a master plan for it.  He also iscal analystHudson County Division of Housing & Community Development; which is the office that manages the federal grants such as CDBG, Home COC and other homeless shelter related grants. Follow Leonard Gordon Park Instagram @lgpconservancy for park updates & more.
Dawn Giambalvo is also a Board member.  Dawn is the founder & President of Canco Park Conservancy and serves as Board Advisor for GreenerJC.  Dawn is one of three founders of the newly formed Native Plant Society Hudson County Chapter. Dawn is an advocate for community building, wildlife habitat restoration, green education, and connect between Jersey City’s green spaces. She focuses on green infrastructure and sustainability practices leading to increased resiliency for a stronger Jersey City.  Follow Canco Park Conservancy Instagram @cancopark for park updates & more.
Former Board members include:
Mira Prinz Arey (Former Board member) is Vice President of Flying Cranes Antiques, LTD. in Manhattan. She has over 20 years experience in sales, marketing and event planning in the fine arts & music industries. She represents the Jersey City Parks Coalition for the Jersey City Health Alliance; A Partnership for a Healthier JC, and is active in organizations on the West Side of Jersey City. She is also Vice President of Friends of Audubon Park and a Trustee of the West Side Community Alliance
Mory Thomas (Former Vice-President) has a passion for community engagement and place making. He strongly believes parks can be a catalyst to bring about change. When residents stake their claims on a park and vow to care for it a community transforms. Mory’s day job is culinary related in nature, having worked for Jean Georges Vongerichten at JOJO, publishing for Martha Stewart Living and Food and Wine Magazines and (most recently) in media for Food Network and Cooking Channel for 14 years. Mory is opening Square 1 in the Journal Square area in the fall of 2016, a farm-to-table cafe and restaurant near Mana Contemporary. He founded Washington Park Association of Hudson County, Inc. in 2007 and was president for three years, and is currently a trustee for the WPA.
Hunt Ethridge (former JCPC Board member and Trustee for the Friends of Arlington Park.