A new talent strategy for NYC

Given the diversity and magnitude of New York City’s young untapped talent, its role as a global leader of industry and commerce, and the tremendous energy rallying to close the education-to-employment gap, Braven launched in partnership with the City University of New York at Lehman College in January 2020.

Big Opportunity in the Big Apple

In New York City only 1 in 4 local students from underrepresented backgrounds enrolled in a 4 year college graduate with a strong job. It’s imperative for our city’s success that students from humble beginnings leave college with a strong first job and a path to economic choice and mobility. Braven is proving that the American Dream is possible within semesters, showing that our rising talent can and must hail from all communities, including some of our lowest-income ones.

An Innovative University Partnership

CUNY is the nation’s largest public higher education system and often recognized for its student diversity and commitment to socio-economic mobility. Specifically, Lehman College was ranked 4th in the Top 10 colleges nationwide with the highest mobility rate by The National Bureau of Economic Research. Over half of the CUNY undergrads receive Pell Grants, 41% are first-generation, and over half are students of color.

With a shared focus on student success, opportunity, and innovation, Lehman College will be Braven’s founding university partner in January 2020. Together Braven and Lehman College are committed to empowering students from humble beginnings on the path to the American Dream.

Employers Fueling a New Generation of Local Leaders

New York City is a global center of innovation and industry. It is home to the highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the United States, many of which are looking for ways to recruit diverse untapped talent, build their employees’ leadership skills, and positively impact their community.

Braven offers these local companies opportunities to do all three seamlessly, enriching both the company and the NYC community. To learn more about our various partnership opportunities click here.

Braven is proud to be joining partners across New York City to build a vibrant, homegrown, and diverse workforce to power the local economy on a global scale.

NYC Employer Partners

Our employer partners encourage their employees to participate in Braven’s professional development and engagement opportunities, sponsor events and learning experiences, provide access to externship, internship and full-time opportunities, and offer critical financial support.

Lead Partners

Anchor Partners

Keystone Partners

Innovation Partners

Impact Partners

NYC Supporters

We are incredibly thankful for the generosity of our NYC supporters, who are launching Braven in our region. For a complete list of national Braven supporters, please go to our national supporters page.

$150,000 – $249,999


$100,000 – $149,000

Richard Braddock

Ruth Stanton Foundation

$50,000 – $99,999


$20,000 – $49,999

$5,000 – $19,999

Trimble Foundation



Our NYC Team

Angie Brice Thomas

Angie Brice Thomas

  • Director, Program Operations and Partnerships
  • New York, NY

Annie Biggs

Annie Biggs

Program Operations Manager

Annie designs, leads, and ensures smooth operations and quality execution of the Accelerator course across regions.


Headshot of employee Danielle Hayman

Danielle Hayman

Headshot of employee Danielle Hayman

Danielle Hayman

  • Site Director, NYC
  • New York, NY

Danielle oversees Braven program implementation at Lehman College. Danielle ensures the successful execution of the Accelerator course, recruits and trains volunteers, and builds and supports partnerships with the university, employer partners, and other stakeholders.


Kilsys Payamps-Roure

Kilsys Payamps-Roure

  • Executive Director, New York City
  • New York, NY

Kilsys Payamps-Roure is the founding Executive Director for Braven in New York City where she leads strategy and management; builds and supports university, employer, and key stakeholder partnerships; and is responsible for brand awareness and fundraising. Most recently Kilsys served as Chief of Staff to the General Manager and Chief Operating Officer at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). At NYCHA, she set organizational strategy and helped to lead the day-to- day operations of an agency serving over 600,000 residents with nearly 11,000 employees. Prior to NYCHA, Kilsys was the Operations Manager for Enterprise Community Partners in New York City overseeing administrative, facility, and IT related directives. While at Enterprise, she established a formal internship program that served as a pipeline for underrepresented students. Before that, Kilsys founded an online stationery and invitation company to fill the void for culturally relevant images. Earlier in her career, Kilsys spent 12 years in the financial services industry serving in various finance and accounting roles. Kilsys graduated with a B.B.A  in Accounting from Hofstra University and resides in New York with her husband and two children.


Nia Blessitt

Nia Blessitt

  • Program Manager Recruitment & Workforce Strategy, New York City
  • New York, NY

Nia oversees all student recruitment at Lehman College as well as managing Post-Accelerator Fellow workforce strategies.

Niurca Louis

Niurca Louis

Director, Program Operations

Niurca Louis, is a wife and mother of two amazing teens. She’s a 20 year veteran in program operations and implementation. She is a champion for equity and diverse leadership throughout US companies and organizations. She serves as Vice President on the board of A Future With Hope, a non-partisan organization that seeks to heal communities. She earned a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, and an MTS from Drew University.


Contact the NYC Team

c/o Teach For America
25 Broadway, 12 Fl.
New York, NY 10004


Braven Accelerator: Fall 2021

Lehman College


Sophomores, juniors, and first-year transfer students are preferred, but the course is open to all full-time undergraduate students in all majors who are:

  • In good academic standing and able to register for a 3-credit elective course during the semester
  • Able to meet once a week on weeknight evenings during the semester
  • Able to commit an average of 4-5 hours a week to this course

Course Description

This course prepares students for the increasingly competitive, globalized job marketplace. Through online and peer learning, interactive experiences, and reflection, students will build meaningful networks, discover their innate leadership, and cultivate the “hard” and “soft” skills and habits of mind needed to thrive in twenty-first-century workplaces. This course will require your commitment. Nothing good comes easy, but this course will be equally rewarding as it is challenging.

Course Section

The Braven Accelerator is a 3-credit elective course that meets weekday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The course is listed as Cooperative Education:

  • CED 100

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Exercise habits to persist through and thrive beyond college
  • Know and demonstrate the skills and mindsets employers hire for
  • Navigate the workplace
  • Build a record of achievement and apply skills to land a career-accelerating internship or research opportunity
  • Expand personal and professional networks
  • Lead with their assets and values


The course takes place virtually.

Enroll Now

Volunteer in New York

We are looking for professionals from all fields who are willing to share their career experience, personal stories, and unique talents with our diverse and driven Fellows.

All volunteer opportunities will be virtual while social distancing orders are in effect. To receive alerts about upcoming volunteer opportunities:


Please contact danielle@bebraven.org with questions.