Leadership

Leadership

Raul Russi, President & Chief Executive Officer

Raul Russi is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Acacia Network, Inc., the largest Puerto Rican-founded organization in the nation. Serving more than 170,000 people each year in the areas of Primary and Behavioral Healthcare, Economic Development, Housing, Education, and Cultural Arts. Acacia Network offers a unique array of fully integrated services throughout New York State, including New York City, Albany and Buffalo, as well as Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, and Puerto Rico.

Raul was born in Patillas, Puerto Rico and migrated to Buffalo, New York with his family as a child. His professional career began in 1971, when he joined the Buffalo Police Department and became Buffalo’s first Hispanic police officer. During his fifteen year career as a police officer, he excelled as a dedicated and conscientious officer and arrested and convicted more violent offenders than any other officer in the department’s history. He retired after he was shot in the line of duty in 1985. He was awarded the Department’s Purple Heart. He then joined the State Commission of Correction’s Citizens Policy and Complaint Review Council. In 1986, he became Superintendent of the Erie County New York Correctional Facility. Three years later, he was appointed Chairman of the New York State Parole Board and CEO of the Division of Parole by Governor Mario Cuomo. In 1995, he became the first Puerto Rican/Latino Sheriff of the City of New York. As Sheriff, he led an agency of 346 personnel and managed the collection of approximately $100 million in outstanding judgment debts on behalf of the City of New York and private sector clients.

Raul also built an impressive record of accomplishment in the human service arena beginning in the early seventies. In 1973, he created the Consortium of Spanish Speaking Organizations, the first full service agency headed by a Puerto Rican/Latino in Buffalo, followed by the founding of the Western New York Hispanic and Friends Civic Association. He provided the leadership and spearheaded the creation of Western New York’s first residential substance abuse treatment program, Horizon Village, then incorporated and chaired the board of La Alternativa, Buffalo’s first Hispanic based substance abuse prevention program. He then merged La Alternativa with two other organizations to create Buffalo’s largest Hispanic Organization, Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo, which joined Acacia Network as an affiliate in 2011.

In 1996, Raul was appointed Commissioner for the New York City Department of Probation, the nation’s second largest Probation Department. Additionally, he has held positions as the Executive Vice President of America Works, where he developed a program that focused on training and securing employment opportunities for individuals affected by the criminal justice system. In 2001, he became the Executive Director of Basics, Inc. and led Basics until 2009 when it affiliated with Promesa and established the network he now leads, Acacia Network, Inc.

Today, through his vision, commitment, and leadership, the Network has preserved over sixty affiliate entities. His unique leadership style has injected a new energy into these organizations which has resulted in a dynamic and new non-profit management approach which has been proven to be highly successful and applauded by many stakeholders at the Federal, State, and City level.

Lymaris Albors, Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff to the CEO

Lymaris Albors is an exceptional, proactive, hands-on C-level executive with nearly 20 years of experience in the non-profit arena, with a rich mix of healthcare, housing, business development, and operations experience. Her strong commitment to quality, extensive managerial background, and dedication to lean processes has been asset to Acacia Network since she joined the organization in 2012. . Her experience managing overall program organization budgets, low income tax credits, project based section 8, pre development and construction experience are all assets to the Acacia mission.

Currently, Ms. Albors serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff to the CEO of Acacia Network, working hand in hand with the organization’s top executive in running the day to day operations of one of the premiere Hispanic non-profits in the nation. In this role, Ms. Albors oversees the Senior Leadership Team in guiding the direction and future of the organization. She counsels, enlightens, and anchors the key decision makers in the organization to ensure alignment with Acacia’s long term strategic vision. Ms. Albors has spent the last two and a half years serving as a major change agent in the organization, working directly on the organizational restructuring of Acacia. She has led the organization’s Business Development division, spearheading all new ventures and joint ventures of Acacia’s for-profit entities, ensuring their growth, revenue, and sustainability. Her passion for the last 12 months has been the AYUDA Puerto Rico Relief Fund of Acacia Network that has generated nearly $2 million in new revenue, as well as the tremendous growth of the Acacia presence on the Island. All this, while also managing the entire organization’s marketing, communications, and fund development.

Ms. Albors earned a Master’s Degree in Public Communications from Fordham University and her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico. She also holds an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Business School and an Executive Leadership Certificate from the Center for Creative Leadership.

Jose A. Rodriguez, Esq., Chief Legal Officer

José Antonio Rodríguez has been in the private practice of law during most of his 40-year career as a lawyer, including running his own law firm, Rodríguez & Fuentes, P.C., which grew to be recognized by the New York Law Journal as being among the largest Minority-Owned Law Firms in New York. He handled matters involving corporate law, representing both business and non-profit corporations, among other areas of law. Mr. Rodríguez received his B.A. Degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, where he majored in Community Relations and Organization. He graduated Cum Laude in 1974 and was awarded the Leonard E. Reisman Medal for Scholarship and Service, at the time, one of the most prestigious awards given at graduation. He began his career in the law in 1973 as a Uniformed Court Officer followed by a promotion to Court Clerk in the Bronx Criminal Court. While working full-time in the Bronx Criminal Court night shift, he attended Seton Hall School of Law and graduated in 1978 with his Juris Doctorate Degree. Upon admission to the NYS Bar in 1978, he worked for one year as a Staff Attorney with Bronx Legal Services. Upon leaving, he founded Rodríguez & Leid, P.C. and remained a partner with Mr. Leid for 23 years. In addition to his admission to practice in the State of New York, he is also admitted to practice in all four Federal District Courts. He has argued appeals before the Appellate Division and has appeared in many different trial courts throughout New York State. He also taught several years, as an Adjunct Professor, at CUNY’s Bronx Community College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Mr. Rodríguez has been very involved in the community over the years. He represented BASICS, Inc. since 1994, and when BASICS, Inc. and Promesa Systems, Inc. were joined in 2009, he became the Board Attorney for the newly formed and branded Acacia Network organization. In January 2016, Mr. Rodríguez was asked to direct Acacia’s corporate restructure efforts. The task was completed and the Corporate Restructure was officially adopted at the Acacia Annual Meeting and Retreat in September 2016. Mr. Rodríguez began phasing out his private practice in January 2017 and came to work at Acacia as Executive Vice President/Special Counsel where he worked with the Real Estate and Asset Management Division, the Administration Division, and the Business Development Division. In July 2018, he became the Chief Legal Officer of the Office of Legal Affairs, where he and a team of three lawyers and a risk manager manage all of the legal work, corporate compliance, and risk management for the entire Network. Mr. Rodríguez lives with his wife of 37 years, Madalin Figueroa Rodríguez, a retired Yonkers public school teacher. He has two children, Alisa and Daniel, and two grandchildren, Victoria and Brandon.

Milton A. DeRienzo, CPA, Chief Financial Officer

Milton A. DeRienzo serves as Acacia Network’s Chief Financial Officer, overseeing all aspects of Acacia’s financial operations. He brings more than 30 years of experience in financial and operational management to support the mission and values of Acacia. Prior to joining Acacia, he served for over 6 years as Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services (formerly Episcopal Social Services) overseeing all financial and operational functions and guiding the organization’s revenue growth of this human services agency from $36 to $80 million. Mr. DeRienzo’s experience includes serving as Executive Director for Business and Financial Management at New York City College of Technology, a component of the City University of New York (CUNY). During his thirteen-year tenure, he was responsible for formulating and implementing budgetary policy, as well as managing the business, operational and financial affairs of the college and its various affiliated entities. He has also held a senior finance role as the Chief Accountant and Director of Operations for the $6 billion NYC Fire Department Retirement System, where he served for 14 years. Mr. DeRienzo is a Certified Public Accountant with a BS in Accounting and Information Systems and Economics. He earned a Master of Science degree in Accounting from Queens College (CUNY). He is also a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation holder. Mr. DeRienzo was awarded the Leon Lowenstein Award for Administrative Accomplishments at FDNY, and a certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers’ Association. He maintains memberships in a number of professional organizations including the NYS Society of CPA’s (NYSSCPA) and the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA).

David C. Collymore, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. David C. Collymore is the Chief Medical Officer of Acacia Network. He is a native New Yorker, born in the South Bronx and raised in Jamaica, Queens. Dr. Collymore is a proud alumnus of Howard University and a product of Howard’s B.S. – M.D. Accelerated Medical Program. He was awarded a National Health Service Corps Scholarship and a W.K. Kellogg Community Medicine Fellowship while in medical school, and in May of 2000, at the age of 23, Dr. Collymore earned his medical degree. Dr. Collymore also earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration with a Focus in Health Care from George Washington University. In March of 2011 Dr. Collymore became the Chief Medical Officer of the Acacia Network. In this role, Dr. Collymore provides clinical leadership to this dynamic multi-faceted organization that offers primary and specialty healthcare services, substance abuse services, mental health services, housing, day care, and economic development to communities throughout New York City. Dr. Collymore has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including commendations from the New York State Senate and the Comptroller of New York City, serving as the keynote speaker for the National Health Services Corp, being named one of America’s Top Pediatricians, and being named as a Top 40 Under Forty Achiever by The Network Journal. He is also a member of the Clinical Committee of the Community Health Care Association of New York State, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Affinity Health Plan.

Giamara M. Rosado, Esq., Executive Deputy Counsel

Ms. Giamara M. Rosado, Esq. is the Executive Deputy Counsel of Acacia Network, Inc. and its affiliates. Giamara received her B.A. from The Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Communication Arts and Sciences, with a concentration in Spanish and International Studies. She is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and was a participant in the Community and Economic Development Clinic, where she gained practical legal experience regarding the management, the operational structure, and the distinct needs of not-for-profit organizations. Giamara was a Fellow at the Center for Latino and Latina Rights and Equality (CLORE), working closely with now Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, The Honorable Jenny Rivera. With CLORE, Ms. Rosado helped promote law reform scholarship, public education, litigation in support of expanded civil rights, and focused on issues impacting the Latino community in the United States.

Giamara joined Acacia Network in 2012. She is currently the second in command to the EVP/Chief Legal Officer and is closely involved with projects stemming from the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice Presidents regarding new affiliations, corporate restructuring, and regional transactions. Giamara has the lead responsibility in the Office of Legal Affairs to support Acacia's affordable, transitional, and supportive housing programs. She is tasked with handling a broad range of Acacia’s transactional legal work, including corporate responsibility to state and city agencies, as well as review of letters of understanding, contracts, and leases.

Giamara is a proud product of the Bronx, where she was born and raised.  She currently lives in the northeast Bronx with her husband and two daughters.

Ronald Rosado Abad

Mr. Ronald Rosado Abad is a dynamic leader with a personal mission and passion to strengthen individuals and families and move them from poverty to self-sufficiency. He has over twenty-five years of executive level leadership in government and non-profit organizations in the fields of homeless shelters, supportive housing, and community-based health care. As Acacia Network Housing Senior Vice President for Transitional Housing, Ron oversees the management and operation of all programs in the Transitional Housing portfolio. He is a key Acacia team leader collaborating with peers and departments, and responsible for the oversight of contractual, fiscal, and service delivery obligations of the transitional housing portfolio. As an Executive Team leader, Mr. Abad provides expert knowledge of the regulations and funder priorities to all of Acacia’s leadership and is a resource to the entire Network.

Immediately before joining Acacia, Mr. Abad was the Chief Operating Officer of Urban Pathways, providing street outreach, safe havens and supportive housing to homeless individuals. He also served as the Assistant Commissioner for Capacity Planning and Development for Families with Children shelters for the New York City Department of Homeless Services. Previously, he was also Assistant Commissioner for Budget, Procurement and Administration; Vice President of Operations for Housing Works; and Executive Director of the Housing Works 9th Street Residence, a national model of co-located health care and supportive housing services.

Ron holds a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School and a Bachelor’s Degree from Howard University. He has completed Executive Education and certificate programs at the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation for Senior Executives, the John F. Kennedy School of Government on Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations, and New York University’s Real Estate Institute for Real Estate Development. Mr. Abad, born and raised in the Bronx, is a father of three daughters and five grandchildren. He enjoys sports, particularly Yankees baseball and playing golf, working on house projects, and reading biographies and history.

Robert Gonzalez

Robert Gonzalez is a committed leader with more than 15 years of professional experience in the non-profit sector. Robert currently serves as Vice President for Transitional Housing at Acacia where he oversees the day-to-day operations of all DHS contracts, with a total annual revenue of approximately $130,000,000.

Robert has managed the development and expansion of the Transitional Housing Division which started with 10-unit buildings in 2003 and has expanded to over 150 units. When Robert started with Acacia, there were 125 units of shelter which have expanded to nearly 3,000 during his tenure. He has the ability to seamlessly open new sites and produce immediate operational results for Acacia Network Housing, Inc.

Recognized for serving on various leadership teams and committees within Acacia Network, Robert has received several leadership awards. Throughout his career, he has created systems that have been adopted by DHS to monitor and track program performance throughout the shelter system city-wide. Robert obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the Empire State University in 2011. Robert enjoys nurturing and developing new talent, as well as forging strong partnerships for the betterment and growth of the organization.

Tara Colton

Tara Colton is Executive Director of Seedco, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1987 that operates workforce development and work support programs in six states (New York, Tennessee, Maryland, Arkansas, Connecticut, and Georgia), and is an affiliate of Acacia Network. Tara was appointed Seedco’s Executive Director in January 2017, after joining Seedco as Senior Vice President of Programs in 2015. She has more than 15 years of leadership experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, focused on developing and advancing innovative programs and services for workers, families, and businesses. She held multiple leadership positions in New York City government during Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration, including Executive Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Adult Education; Managing Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Human Capital Development, and Director of Strategy and Partnerships at the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Adult and Continuing Education. Her nonprofit leadership roles include Associate Vice President for Program Development and Planning at FEGS Health & Human Services and Deputy Director at the Center for an Urban Future.

Tara received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Wesleyan University, and completed the Coro Leadership New York Program. She was selected as one of New York Nonprofit Media’s inaugural “40 Under 40 Rising Stars,” received the Statewide Leadership Award from the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), and is a board member of the NYC Employment and Training Coalition. She lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband, son, and daughter.

Maria Del Carmen Arroyo

Maria del Carmen Arroyo is an administrator with over 27 years of experience in public and non-profit management. Currently, Maria serves as Vice President of Administration, Cultural & Fund Development for Acacia Network. In this role, she is responsible for the Administrative oversight of the Human Resources, Information Technology, and Facilities Management Divisions, as well management of the Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly (IPR/HE), Loisaida, and the East Harlem Council for Community Improvement (EHCCI). Higher education has always been one of Maria del Carmen's priorities. She plays an important role in ensuring that those who work with her pursue academic preparation and ultimately, advanced degrees.

Prior to joining Acacia, Maria del Carmen served as a Member of the New York City Council (2005-2015), representing the 17th District in the Bronx. In this role, she participated in monitoring the operation and performance of city agencies, made land use decisions, and approved the city's budget. She also worked to coordinate efforts to create funding opportunities for various programs and initiatives designed to address the health and human services needs of New York City residents, and improve employment, housing and education opportunities for district residents. Prior to her City Council service, Maria del Carmen held various managerial positions in local community based health and human services organizations.

She holds a Master’s in Public Administration, Not-for-Profit Management from New York University, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School; Bachelors of Science in Health Services (Cum Laude) from Herbert Lehman College; and an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College.