Kofi A. Boateng, CPA, PhD
Executive Director

Kofi A. Boateng joined West Harlem Development Corporation as its first Executive Director in April 2012. He is a Certified Public Accountant and his doctorate dissertation was nominated for a Best Award. The topic was “Modeling External Capital Inflows and Economic Growth in Africa Utilizing Ordinal Logistic Regression.” An entrepreneur, he founded Traders International Inc. and Rising Sun Financial Services, Inc. Prior to WHDC, he was the COO and acting CEO of the World Trade Centers Association where he oversaw activities in 95 countries. He has served as COO of The Africa America Institute and as the Executive Director of National Puerto Rican Forum where he turned around the organization from insolvency with no program revenue and only a staff of 3 into a $35 million-funded project with 110 employees within five years. He had previously worked for Prudential Insurance Company and KPMG. He is a graduate of Yale, Northeastern and Walden Universities.

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Dean C. Morris

Dean C. Morris joined West Harlem Development Corporation as Director-Programs on August 15, 2012. Dean has worked in the non-profit arena for over a decade. His most recent employer was Ford Foundation where he worked for nearly six years.  At Ford, Dean coordinated grant-making and programmatic activities in the Freedom of Expression Unit with a focus on ethnic media. Dean also served as Program Officer for Education as a member of Ford Foundation’s Good Neighbor Committee that oversaw grants to organizations whose missions were to increase economic opportunities for underrepresented communities. In addition to grant-making, Dean has worked for community organizations that provided direct services such as the Liberty Partnerships Program at Fordham University, a mentorship program for at-risk youth, and Sequoia Community Initiatives, a transitional housing management organization. At Sequoia, he served as an Ombudsman and advocate for people coping with homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse. Dean has a certificate in Mediation and Conflict Resolution and a Master’s degree in Organizational Change Management from Milano – The New School for Management & Urban Policy in New York, NY.

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Marlene Naanes
Manager-Communication and Community Relations

Marlene Naanes, a long-time resident of Harlem and a graduate of Columbia University School of Journalism, joined West Harlem Development Corporation as Manager-Communication and Community Relations on October 9, 2012. Her most recent employment was with The (Bergen) Record as a staff writer. She has held earlier positions as a staff writer for amNew York, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La.  She also has been a freelance writer for Newsday and the New York Post.  In these positions, Marlene has taken photographs and filmed and edited video in addition to filing stories. She covered Hurricane Katrina for Newsday and has written several stories on Harlem. Marlene functions as WHDC’s webmaster in addition to community outreach and media relations. She holds a Master’s degree in journalism and earned a minor in Spanish at Louisiana State University with a major in environmental science. Marlene is married to Stephen Smith of, and they have a son and daughter.

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Natali Ramirez
Administrative Assistant

Natali started working for West Harlem Development Corporation on September 4, 2012 as the Administrative Assistant. She previously worked as a Teacher’s Assistant in Paterson, NJ. A life-time resident of West Harlem, Natali has held jobs with the Legal Language Interpreting Agency and US Department of Justice and Immigration Service. She holds an Associate degree in Liberal Arts from Borough of Manhattan Community College. Natali is mother to Kaylyne and Evan.

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West Harlem Development Corporation

423 West 127th Street, Ground Floor, Suite A.

New York, NY 10027

(646) 476-3394

(646) 476-5588 (Fax)

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