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Patrick Masoya

President & CEO

Patrick Masoya came to Arizona more than 20 years ago as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has proudly made Arizona his home ever since. As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, he is the embodiment of the American dream in action. Patrick is a graduate of Western International University with a Bachelor of Science in Business, holds an MBA in finance from Grand Canyon University, and a Master of Science in Taxation from the University of Colorado Denver. He has a solid background in Finance, Taxation, Accounting, and business that our community and organization needs. Having worked as a Senior processor for a Scottsdale insurance company before serving as a revenue auditor for the Arizona Department of Insurance. He is currently a partner at a tax and accounting firm and a Board Council member at the national small business association(NSBA). Patrick’s community engagement and servant leadership have spanned his lifetime. It is this personal pledge to servant leadership that has fueled his philanthropic ventures.

ABDELGABAR MOHAMDIEN

Vice Chairman & Vice President

Abdel Mohamdian came to the United States from Sudan. He is one of the founders of RICE. He has been active in helping with center activities. In 2010, he created the Sudanese American Association in Phoenix (SAA) where he was elected President. The SAA helped translate doctor appointments and job interviews helped refugees with disabilities and organized social events for the community. Before coming to the U.S. Abdel studied in Iraq receiving a Bachelor of Science from the University of Bagdad. He also received his Evaluation of International Educational Credentials, Technician Diploma in Store Management – Institute of Technology Mosul, Iraq, and Teaching Certificate from UNICEF. In 2003 he taught primary Education in a refugee camp for K-12. In Phoenix, AZ he worked at PetSmart Distribution Center as an Auditor-Inventory Control.

Samah Alhabal

Board Member/ Officer

Samah Alhbal graduated from Damascus University with a degree in Education. She came to the United States from Syria with her husband and two boys. In San Diego, CA she worked in the Health and Human Services Agency developing resettlement and self-sufficiency plans for clients. In 2016 she started volunteering at Arizona All Nation Refugee Recourse Center providing refugee clients basic tools necessary to meet their goals of becoming self-sufficient in their new community. In October 2017 she was asked to join the board of directors of Refugees and Immigrants Community for Empowerment (RICE) as the Treasurer. Since then she has been active in helping with center projects.

Bianka Emerson, JD

Corporate legal Officer/ Board Secretary

Bianka is a Campaign Strategist and has spent most of her professional career in electoral politics and the public & non- profit sector. She worked on serveal poltical campagins presiedntal and gubernatorial. She was the Coalition Director for biden harris campagin in Colorado, hosting the highest number of events for Mid Western region . Due to the pandemic, ninety perecnt of events were held virtually, which was a historic undertaking. Bianka was the Deputy political Director for colorado Governor Jared Polis’ Campaign and Campaign coordinator for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. She worked as a graduate fello for the Democratic National Convention committee in Denver, Colorado, which led to her work on president Barack Obama’s 2007 campaign as a filed organizer. Bianka was the program Manager for the colorado civic engagement round table, where her role was to provide resources and organizational development for progressive non-profit organizations throughout Colorado. She provides strategy regarding legislation in healthcare public options, financial equity, and education services in her consulting capacity. Bianka has a master’s in social science and a law degree. Recently appointed by Gobernor Poils to the Environment Justice Advisory Board, she serves on several community and civic boards, including, Blue Flower, an organization that raises money for women running for public office, and Colorado Black Women for Political Action as Vice President.

Peter W. Reiss II

Public Relation/ Outreach Coordinator

Peter Reiss is a business leader with more than 22 years of sales and senior management experience in the Internet, Technology & Healthcare industries. Prior to his role as Managing Partner with AppSmart eight years ago, Peter served as General Manager at Level 3 Communications where he managed sales and support in the Southwest Region. Under his leadership, the Southwest was the Number One performing GM Region within all of Level 3 for four consecutive years. He holds a B.A. in Communication with a Business Minor in Marketing from Arizona State University. After graduating, Peter spent over 15 years with Level 3 Communications where he was consistently recognized as a top performer within any of the sales and sales leadership roles he held. Peter has had the distinct honor of achieving President’s Club a record-setting 14 consecutive years while with Level 3 while being recognized as the most successful General Manager in Company history. He is also a Founding Partner in N-95 Shield as well as Founder of C 3 Partners, LLC and resides in the Phoenix metro area.

Lisa Soto

Executive Assistant and Admin

Lisa Soto is a dedicated Executive Assistant and Administrator with a proven track record of providing comprehensive support to senior executives and managing administrative tasks efficiently and professionally. With a keen eye for detail and strong organizational skills, Lisa excels in managing complex calendars, coordinating meetings, and handling confidential information with discretion. She possesses excellent communication and interpersonal skills, facilitating effective internal and external communication. With a proactive and resourceful approach, Lisa consistently ensures smooth operations and contributes to the organization’s success.

Sheila Nakanjako

Human Resources officer and Operation Manager

Sheila Nakanjako is an invaluable member of our Human Resources team, dedicated to nurturing talent and fostering a positive workplace culture. With a focus on employee development, Sheila provides comprehensive career growth opportunities, guiding employees on their professional journey within our organization. She meticulously maintains employee records, ensuring accuracy and compliance with regulatory standards. Sheila takes the lead in organizing and facilitating training and development programs, equipping our team members with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles. Additionally, Sheila plays a pivotal role in updating and designing company policies, ensuring that our organization remains adaptive and responsive to evolving needs and regulations.

Legrand Amisi

Admin/ Payroll Specialist and Account Payable.

Legrand Amisi serves as our esteemed Managing Member, providing strategic direction and leadership to our organization. With a focus on transportation management, Legrand ensures our services’ smooth and efficient delivery to clients. He oversees our team of dedicated employees, guiding them with integrity and professionalism. Legrand also takes on the responsibility of managing our financial operations, ensuring that our resources are allocated effectively to support our business objectives. In addition, Legrand actively seeks out passive investors to support our growth initiatives, forging strategic partnerships to drive our organization forward. With his visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence, Legrand plays a vital role in our organization’s success.

Staff Members

Tecian Musafiri

Dental Assistant lead instructor

Tecian Musafiri is a highly skilled Dentist and Instructor dedicated to excellence in dental education and patient care. With years of experience in the dental field, Tecian brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our team. In addition to providing exceptional dental care to our patients, Tecian plays a pivotal role in training and mentoring entry-level dental assistants. He conducts engaging lectures, administers tests, and develops comprehensive lesson plans to ensure our dental education programs meet the highest standards. Tecian also takes the time to educate patients on oral care practices, empowering them to maintain optimal dental health. With a passion for education and a commitment to delivering exceptional patient care, Tecian is an invaluable asset to our team.

Salama Lupanda

Senior Citizen Community Navigator and Empowerment coach

Salama Lupanda is a compassionate and dedicated Senior Citizen Community Navigator and Empowerment Coach, committed to supporting and empowering older adults in our community. With a background in social work and community outreach, Salama possesses a deep understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by senior citizens. She works tirelessly to connect them with essential resources, services, and support networks, enabling them to lead fulfilling and independent lives. Through her coaching and advocacy efforts, Salama empowers seniors to access opportunities for personal growth, social engagement, and community involvement. Her unwavering dedication to the well-being and empowerment of older adults makes her an invaluable asset to our team.

Khushbo Amiri

Lead Community Navigator

Khushbo Amiry is a dedicated Community Navigator with a diverse background and a passion for service. With experience in psychology, administration, and logistics, Khushbo plays a vital role in bridging communities and fostering inclusivity. Fluent in Dari, English, and Pashto languages, she effortlessly navigates cultural landscapes, facilitating communication and understanding. From her role as a Recreation Instructor in Phoenix to her impactful work as a Social Worker, Khushbo’s commitment to empowerment shines through. Her educational journey includes a Bachelor of Psychology from Kabul University, underscoring her dedication to personal and professional growth. With a belief in the power of compassion to effect positive change, Khushbo strives to make a tangible difference in the lives of those she serves.

Shamila Amiri

Community Navigator / Child Care Attendant

Shamila Amiri brings her expertise in childcare and a dedication to community service to her role as a Community Navigator. With hands-on experience in providing nurturing care to children, Shamila plays a pivotal role in supporting families and fostering a safe environment for young ones to thrive. Fluent in Dari and Pashto, Shamila effectively communicates and connects with community members, ensuring inclusivity and understanding. From her experience in childcare to her commitment to community engagement, Shamila demonstrates a strong passion for making a positive impact. With her educational background and dedication to service, Shamila embodies the values of empowerment and compassion, driving her efforts to create meaningful change within communities.

Michelle Sutherland

Grants writer and Consultant

Michelle is a native of Arizona and received her BA in Composition & Theater from Stanford University and my MFA in Theater Directing from Carnegie Mellon University. She has a true passion for teaching and has been developing learning programs and establishing communities for students of all ages in the educational landscape for 15 years. Her goal is to create academically engaging learning experiences by creating an environment that fosters creativity, curiosity, and kindness.

Saleha Safa

Community Navigator/ Child Care Attendant

Saleha worked as a high school educator for over 26 years in Afghanistan. She taught social study, culture, and languages. As an educator she always felt the need to look after the future generations and was dedicated to the success of her students. Now, as an Afghan refugee she is motivated to ensure the success of the immigrant and refugee community as a RICE community navigator. Saleha is an excellent cook and enjoys providing others with delicious Afghan cuisine. An avid hiker, Saleha enjoys exploring the many walking trails in Arizona.

Chris Amisi

Employment Coach and Student Recruiter/ Navigator

Chris Amisi serves as our dedicated Educational Specialist, bringing a wealth of expertise to our team. With a focus on maintaining the highest education standards, Chris plays a crucial role in conducting quality and documentation audits to ensure compliance with educational regulations and standards. In addition, Chris oversees our employment directory, meticulously managing employee information and facilitating efficient communication within our educational programs. Furthermore, Chris is responsible for creating and monitoring individualized education plans for each learner, tailoring educational experiences to meet their unique needs and goals. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for educational excellence, Chris is committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all.

Mohammad Haidar Amiry

Empowerment Coach and Photographer Instructor

Mohammad Haidar Amiry is a talented photographer and editor with a keen eye for detail and a passion for visual storytelling. With over 3 years of experience in journalism and media production, Mohammad has a proven track record of capturing high-quality photographic and video content for publication across various media platforms. He excels in conducting in-depth research to create accurate and newsworthy content while demonstrating proficiency in editing and modifying digital media using advanced software tools. Mohammad’s dedication to producing top-notch visual content has earned him recognition for his creativity and professionalism.

Sadaf Amiri

Website Designer and Computer Literacy Instructor

Sadat Amiri is an aspiring website designer with a passion for creativity and innovation. With a strong foundation in administration, mathematics, and learning strategies, Sadaf brings a unique perspective to her design work. Fluent in English, Dari, and Pashto, she excels in communication and collaboration, ensuring effective project management and client satisfaction. With experience in interpretation and customer service roles, Sadaf possesses strong attention to detail and problem-solving skills. Sadaf is committed to honing her skills and making a positive impact in the field of website design.

Thelma Shepherd

Lead Instructor and Empowerment Coach

Thelma Shepherd is an English teacher whose approach to education is rooted in the belief that every student can excel with the right support and guidance. She cultivates a dynamic and inclusive learning environment where students are encouraged to ask questions, express their ideas, and engage in collaborative discussions. Thelma prioritizes the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, designing lessons that challenge students to think analytically and apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. Embracing diversity and individual learning styles, she provides a variety of instructional strategies to accommodate the needs of each student. Beyond academic achievement, Thelma fosters a supportive classroom community where students feel valued and empowered to reach their full potential. Her dedication to student success and her passion for teaching make her an invaluable asset to our school community, inspiring a love for learning and equipping students with the skills they need to succeed academically and beyond.

Sangar Haidari

Community Navigator / Case Manager

Sangar Haidari serves as a Community Navigator and Case Manager, leveraging his background in Chemical Engineering to aid refugees in securing employment opportunities. His multifaceted approach blends analytical thinking with compassionate support, ensuring tailored solutions for each individual. Sangar’s dedication to empowering refugees is reflected in his innovative strategies and unwavering commitment to their success. As a pivotal team member, Sangar embodies the spirit of positive change, striving to make a lasting impact in the lives of those he serves.

Kelcy Kindred

Empowerment Coach and Instructor

Kelsie Kindred, an English teacher, embodies a teaching philosophy grounded in the belief that every student possesses the potential to thrive with the right guidance and encouragement. She cultivates an interactive and inclusive classroom atmosphere where students are empowered to express themselves, collaborate with peers, and delve into new ideas. Kelsie’s commitment to fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills is evident in her engaging lessons, designed to challenge students to think creatively and apply their knowledge effectively. Tailoring her approach to accommodate diverse learning styles, Kelsie utilizes a range of teaching strategies to ensure all students can succeed. Beyond academics, she prioritizes building a positive and supportive classroom community where students feel valued and inspired to reach their full potential. Kelsie’s unwavering dedication to student success and her passion for teaching make her an indispensable asset to our school community, igniting a passion for learning and equipping students with the skills they need to excel in English and beyond.

Baba Jan Sighani

 Community Navigator

Baba Jan Sighani, born in 1973 in Afghanistan, holds a Master’s degree and has a distinguished career in the legal and academic fields. He has served as Chief Judge in Bamyan and Daikundi provinces and has been a university professor, defense lawyer, and legal advisor for organizations such as PAE, AUIC, and NRC. His dedication to human rights is reflected in his collaborations with UNAMA and the Human Rights Commission, and his memberships in the Afghan Lawyers Association, Afghan Jurists Association in Europe, HRDC, AELSO, among other organizations. An active member of Afghan civil society, Sighani has authored hundreds of articles and several books on civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, and children’s rights. His academic endeavors have taken him to Europe, Africa, and Asia, and he has received medals and commendations from the President of Afghanistan and various academic institutions for his contributions.

Dr. Zabihullah Rahimi

Health Educator

Dr. Zabihullah Rahimi, born in 1967, is a distinguished medical professional with a robust career in pediatrics. He graduated from Amani High School in 1984 and earned his medical degree from Kabul Medical University in 1998.

Dr. Rahimi began his medical career at Atatürk Children’s Hospital, where he worked as a physician for two years. He then specialized in pediatrics, dedicating ten years to serving at Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital. Following this, he continued his pediatric practice for seven years at the 102-bed Khairkhana Hospital. His expertise also led him to a role as a Drug Management Officer at the MSH office, where he served for four years.

Committed to continuous professional development, Dr. Rahimi participated in a 20-day training program titled “Prompting Access Medicine” in Switzerland and completed a one-month on-the-job training program in India. His extensive experience and dedication to pediatrics underscore his commitment to advancing medical care for children.

Fatema Afshar

Lead Community Navigator 

Fatema Afshar is a dedicated community engagement professional currently serving as the Navigator Community Specialist at Refugees and Immigrants Community for Empowerment (RICE) in Phoenix, AZ. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies and Public Administration from Arizona State University, with credits transferred from the American University of Beirut. Fatema’s expertise includes developing and implementing outreach programs, coordinating volunteer efforts, and conducting needs assessments to support community integration. Previously, she excelled as an Activity Coordinator at AIESEC Lebanon and contributed significantly to research projects at the Asfari Institute for Citizenship and Civil Society. With a background in administrative support and event management at the American University of Beirut, Fatema is skilled in project coordination, and cross-cultural communication. Her proficiency in English, Farsi/Dari, and Pashto enhances her ability to engage diverse communities effectively.