Who We Are

Learn more about the leadership and board members of Creshendo!

Board of Directors

Luz is a first-generation immigrant born in Mexico who immigrated to the U.S. at the young age of seven. She earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University’s School of Social Work and has dedicated her career to serving immigrant and less privileged communities. With over a decade of experience, Luz has worked as a mentor, therapist, and school social worker.

In her previous role as a therapist for unaccompanied immigrant children and youth, Luz supported immigrant families throughout the reunification process, providing essential therapy and social work services. Luz specialized in providing assistance to immigrant youth who have experienced various levels of trauma, including victims or survivors of trafficking, abuse, gang affiliation, or violence in their countries of origin. She also focused on facilitating the transition of immigrant children and youth into the U.S. while bridging the cultural gaps between traditional beliefs and U.S. culture through a culturally humble approach.  After serving as a school social worker for the past two years, Luz has ventured into private practice.  Currently, she is dedicated to the establishment of her own private practice where she will continue her purpose of serving immigrant communities, less privileged communities, and communities impacted by oppression. 

Luz’s professional experience and personal connection with immigrant communities have greatly influenced her work in helping immigrant children, youth, and families heal. She approaches her clinical practice with a trauma-informed perspective, integrating social justice, anti-oppression, and anti-racism principles. Luz is a passionate advocate for justice, honor, respect, and emotional well-being, ensuring the safety and empowerment of those she serves.

Board of Directors

Jeffrey Caesar is a first-generation American with roots in Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He is familiar with the struggles that migrant families face and is passionate about helping families seek a better life. Jeffrey’s academic journey took him to Virginia Commonwealth University, where he studied Political Science, with a focus on International Relations, and earned minor degrees in Urban Planning and Environmental Science. His dedication was recognized with the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman Award from the United States Department of State.
Venturing into sustainable development and social change, Jeffrey conducted field research in Kathmandu, Nepal. He continued to make an impact, from the Virginia governor’s office to Vermont Law’s Institute of Energy and Environment, delving into diplomacy and environmental policy. Jeffrey’s versatile career approach encompasses academic research, grassroots community organizing, and high-level government work, including positions at the United States Senate and the United Nations International Organization for Migration.


Having lived, studied, and worked in diverse countries such as Nepal, Egypt, South Africa, Switzerland, and the UK, Jeffrey brings a unique cross-cultural perspective to his work. His ability to connect with people from various backgrounds fosters community cohesion and forges powerful networks. With his extensive global experiences, Jeffrey is well-equipped to tackle complex challenges and help Creshendo achieve its objectives with unparalleled success.

Board of Directors

Maryam Panjeh-Shahi is a highly accomplished and driven professional with a profound passion for developing communities and fostering women’s prosperity while striving to enhance the overall quality of life. Armed with a Master’s degree in Systems Engineering from George Washington University, and a Certificate in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania,  she possesses a deep understanding of complex adaptive systems (CAS), particularly in relation to human dynamics in open and closed systems.

With her specialized focus on CAS, Maryam has developed a unique perspective on the intricate workings of communities and their potential for growth and transformation. Her academic pursuits have equipped her with a comprehensive knowledge base, enabling her to identify and address the multifaceted challenges faced by societies and individuals alike.

Driven by a genuine desire to create positive change, Maryam has dedicated her career to shaping communities and empowering women in Iran and in the US. She has collaborated with diverse stakeholders, including government organizations, non-profits, and educational institutions, to design and implement innovative strategies for community development. She firmly believes that by amplifying women’s voices and ensuring their access to resources and opportunities, communities as a whole can flourish. With an unwavering commitment to gender equality, she strives to champion initiatives that promote women’s empowerment, ultimately leading to a more equitable society.

Hossein A. Hamed, Ph.D., is a highly accomplished Medical Science Liaison with a distinguished career in the field of oncology, immunology, genomics, and computational biology. As a first-generation American, Hossein’s deep connection to his Iranian heritage, instilled by his parents, has shaped his perspective on the importance of cultural integration and support for newcomers to foreign lands.

Growing up in a household that served as the initial refuge for numerous relatives seeking to start anew in the U.S., Hossein gained firsthand experience in the challenges faced by immigrants. He supported them with critical tasks such as translating at the DMV and assisting with essential paperwork. Today, as a provider for his own family, Hossein recognizes the vital role that community support plays in the lives of those embarking on new beginnings.

Hossein brings to Creshendo a slew of diverse contributions: successful fundraising skills that raised thousands of dollars for underserved families; 43+ peer-reviewed journal articles as a recognized authority in his field; CEO of a consulting company; certification as a Jay Shetty Life Coach; trained actor and fan of all humans; and, his personal commitment to social causes.

Hossein’s dedication to community support, philanthropy, and creating a welcoming environment for newcomers makes him a valuable addition to Creshendo’s board. His network and experience in fundraising will further enhance Creshendo’s capacity to support forcibly displaced populations.


New York, United States