Our Board of Directors

Brenda Diana


Brenda is a partner of Ropes & Gray, in the firm’s Private Client Group. She serves as trustee of numerous trusts, represents fiduciaries in the settlement of estates, and prepares estate plans for individuals. Brenda works with multiple generations of families with accumulated wealth, entrepreneurs, private and public company executives and shareholders, and professional public personalities, and other high net worth clients. Her practice involves the administration of client estates and trusts, including post-mortem tax planning and giving advice regarding fiduciary responsibilities. Brenda serves as executor for estates of varying size and complexity, helping clients through diverse personal transitions and providing advice on risk management, fiduciary investments and efficient tax alternatives to avoid potential issues or disputes. In addition, she coordinates the proper disposition of individual and family assets including art, antiques, real estate, and other valuables and works with well-known auction houses and advisors when appropriate. Brenda’s practice also involves estate planning, including advising clients on various charitable and philanthropic endeavors. She works closely with financial planners and philanthropic advisors to develop comprehensive plans to meet the unique needs of her clients. Brenda has a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from Cornell University.

Sameer Ahmed

Vice Chair

Sameer Ahmed is a Clinical Instructor in Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, where he supervises students on strategic litigation and advocacy projects.  He was previously a law professor at Northeastern University School of Law.

Prior to that, Sameer served as a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, where he specialized in immigrants’ rights litigation and policy advocacy. His work included challenging federal immigration national security policies that discriminate against Muslim immigrants, ensuring mentally ill immigrants have access to counsel in removal proceedings, protecting the rights of DACA recipients and immigrants in the military, and advocating on behalf of immigrants in Orange County, California. During that time, Sameer served on the board of the Orange County Justice Fund and the City of Santa Ana’s Sanctuary Policy Advisory Group.

Sameer has also served as a senior litigation associate at WilmerHale and as a Skadden Fellow at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). He has taught as an adjunct professor in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and at the University of Maine School of Law. He clerked for Judge Kermit V. Lipez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Master’s Degree in Legal Research from Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar), and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Stanford University.

Sameer lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and daughter. He is the son of naturalized U.S. citizens from India, and his wife is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Canada with Iranian and Iraqi heritage.

Milton Manousaridis


Milton is V.P. Relationship Manager of Commercial and Business Banking at Wellesley Bank. He acquires, develops, and maintains a successful portfolio of relationships, while offering unparalleled banking service at all levels. He prides himself in providing banking service along with value to businesses, private clients as well as non-profit verticals.

Milton received his B.A. in Industrial Psychology/Organizational Behavior from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Even though he calls Boston and the Metrowest his home, he does not forget his Hellenic roots and what it means to be an immigrant. This is one of the driving reasons he has joined Project Citizenship.

In addition to multiple networking groups, he is member of USA500 Boston Seaport and serves on the Wellesley Bank Charitable Foundation Board of Directors, where he has the opportunity to give back to the communities which he serves.

Alicia Rubio-Spring


Alicia is an associate in Goodwin Procter’s Business Litigation Group. She represents clients in a variety of complex litigation matters in both federal and state court, including general commercial litigation, post-closing disputes, and consumer financial services litigation. Alicia also dedicates a significant portion of her practice to pro bono immigration services, devoting particular attention to unaccompanied minors and asylum-seekers. Ms. Rubio received her B.A. from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Boston College Law School. She was thrilled to join the Project Citizenship board in 2016.

Jim McGarry

Chair Emeritus

Jim is a partner in Goodwin Procter’s Consumer Financial Services Litigation Group who specializes in complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on the defense of financial institutions in consumer class actions, enforcement actions and complex business litigation. As a member of this practice, Jim has defended against state and nationwide class actions and multi-district class actions around the country. His work has covered a wide variety of consumer class actions and government investigations facing the financial services industry, including banks and mortgage servicers in a host of challenges to mortgage servicing, fair lending and predatory lending practices and auto lenders in loan origination and servicing matters.  Jim is a member of the American, Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations, and has written and spoken on a variety of topics pertaining to financial services and class action litigation. He attended Seton Hall University where he obtained his B.A. in 1985 magna cum laude. He graduated from Rutgers School of Law in 1993 magna cum laude. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. Jim is married with two teenage daughters, both of whom have also volunteered for Project Citizenship.

Ed Boyajian

Ed is president and CEO of EDB, and drives the development and execution of EDB’s strategic vision and growth strategy in the database industry. He joined EDB in 2008 after six years at Red Hat, where he rose to Vice President and General Manager of North America. Ed played a central leadership role in the development of the modern business model for bringing open source to enterprises. Before that, he was Vice President of Red Hat’s global OEM business, responsible for all partnerships, including the early Linux adoption by HP, IBM, and Dell. As a 15-year veteran of the open source software movement, Ed is a seasoned enterprise software executive who emphasizes that EDB must be a technology-first business in order to lead the open source data management ecosystem. He is adamant that great technology above all else drives market leadership. Ed believes strongly in the importance of investing in partnerships across the open source and commercial software and hardware ecosystem. Ed served as a Captain in the U.S. Army and trained as an Airborne Ranger. Within EDB, he coaches and encourages each employee to hone leadership skills. Ed is known for his passion, relentless energy, and strategic leadership. Ed earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from Boston University.

Deva Hirsch

Deva Hirsch is an accomplished philanthropic and nonprofit professional with local, national and international leadership experience. Deva is the Executive Director of the Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation which is focused on bringing entrepreneurial vision and resources to support transformational change in communities.  She previously served as Executive Director of the Abraham & Phyllis Katz Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia; and as Vice President for Program at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.  Deva is the Founder and President Emeritus of Hands on Tokyo, a cross-cultural clearinghouse matching corporate and volunteer interests with community needs. She also serves on the Advisory Committees for the U.S.-Japan Council, GreenLight Fund Boston and on the JVS Client Services Committee. Deva has an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Nonprofit Management from Tufts University and a BA in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

Natalia Ivanytsky

Natalia is a Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, a global network of firms delivering assurance, tax, and consulting services for businesses. Natalia primarily focuses on asset and wealth management clients in the company’s assurance practice, and she manages a number of audit teams in the practice.  She is a CPA and member of the AICPA.  Natalia is a graduate of Boston College with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a minor in International Studies. Natalia was born in Lviv, Ukraine and emigrated to the United States with her parents in 1993. She studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and was on a secondment to Melbourne, Australia with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP for three years. Natalia lives in Charlestown with her fiancé, Ryan, and their adopted dog Kali, who was rescued from a shelter in Little Rock, Arkansas. Natalia previously volunteered with the immigration department at the International Rescue Committee office in Boston, MA and has volunteered her time on various small consulting-type projects while at PricewaterhouseCoopers with different not for profit organizations.

Teresa Maynard

Teresa is the owner and operator of Sweet Teez Bakery in Dorchester, MA that specialize in custom cakes, cupcakes, pies, brownies with classic flavors and creative designs since February 2016. Prior to her current position, Teresa worked at Harvard University as the Assistant Director of Fundraiser and User Support where she acquired experience in supporting senior management, data management, and organizing fundraisers. During this time, she also worked closely with the research department to develop prospect lists for peer reviews. Teresa received her B.A. and Masters in Communications from The College of New Rochelle

Mitch Montgomery

Mitch is an Associate Attorney at Chin & Curtis, LLP, one of the largest specialty immigration law firms in New England.  Mitch’s practice primarily focuses on corporate and business immigration, where he helps companies—from multinational corporations to local business—hire and retain foreign born talent.  He also advises clients in naturalization, family-based immigration, and humanitarian relief.  He is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  Prior to joining Chin & Curtis, Mitch served as an AmeriCorps Legal Advocates of Massachusetts attorney for Project Citizenship from 2017-2018, and remains a frequent pro bono volunteer for Project Citizenship.  Mitch has also held clerkships for the Hon. Louis A. Bledsoe, III and the Hon. Michael L. Robinson on the North Carolina Business Court, a specialized state trial court for complex business cases.  Mitch is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and graduated magna cum laude from Elon University School of Law, where he served as Articles Editor of the Elon Law Review. Mitch lives in Somerville with his wife, Frankie, who is a Filipina immigrant, and their dog and two cats, Emma, Mittens, and Nermal.

Ben Opara

Benjamin Tyndale Opara was born in Owerri, Imo State of Nigeria to Moses and Agnes Opara. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering (1985), with a minor in Biochemistry. Upon moving to the United States in 1988, he attended the University of Massachusetts, Lowell for graduate studies in Civil and Structural Engineering.

He currently owns Duziem Labs, (makers of BumpPro) and American Media Ventures, both on Stedman Street in Lowell.  He has served on the boards of several non-profits in and around the City of Lowell including the Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership and Ministry-At-Large. He is also currently on the board of the African Cultural Association—the twentieth-year organizers of the African Festival where he is currently the vice president.  He was appointed to the City of Lowell Immigration Commission and subsequently the chairman by then City manager.

He currently serves on the School Building Committee and is an adviser to the Parker Foundation.

He is a thirty-year resident of Lowell with his wife Valerie and their three children—Ukachukwu, Adarema, and Chikere.

Peter Torrebiarte

Peter is Starbucks’ Director of Coffee Sustainability and general manager of the Starbucks Coffee Agronomy Company. He is responsible for this multinational’s coffee sustainability programs including its Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices and other third party coffee certification schemes, including Fair Trade. Peter serves as the company’s lead representative in Central America and is a global senior spokesperson on topics of Starbucks, sustainability, economic challenges in developing countries, farmer equity, and environmental health, as well as chief advisory on matters within origin countries. He leverages strong networks of influence including relationships with suppliers, governments, NGOs and key employees of Starbucks.  Peter joined Starbucks Coffee Company thirteen years ago and has held a myriad of posts within the coffee department including global coffee trading, buying and analytics. Peter’s career is coffee based including work in exports, trading, purchasing and selling, as well as time spent at the Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange. Peter received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the Universidad Rafael Landivar, been an advisor to the Guatemala’s Minister of Interior and has served on the board of directors of two major Guatemalan companies.

Next Citizenship Workshop

December 2020
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