Meet Our Team

Leadership

Caterina Passoni

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Caterina is from Trieste, Italy. She studied Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale, with a focus on experiences of resettlement of Muslim female refugees to the US. She speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and has worked for Human Rights Watch Amman and in refugee education in Morocco. Caterina has worked with IRIS, our local resettlement agency, for more than 6 years - as a cultural companion, in employment counseling, and with their girls’ youth group. She has been an entrepreneur fellow at Collab CT, Tsai City at Yale, and the Miller Center for Social Enterpreneurship. In her free time, Caterina LOVES to dance, read, and try and fail to cook, to the entertainment of everyone on the team.

Nieda Abbas

Head Chef, Trainer, and Co-Founder

Nieda owned 3 food businesses in Baghdad, Iraq. She has a degree in business management and has always been an entrepreneur. In 2005 when her restaurants were bombed, Nieda resettled to Syria, where she opened a laundromat and supermarket. After 9 years in in Turkey, where she ran an informal hair salon, Nieda finally resettled to New Haven in 2014 with seven children. She could only find informal work in a cigarette rolling factory, and was unemployed for five years after quitting the job due to labor rights abuses. She was a venture in the Collab CT Fall 2018 accelerator. Nieda has an incredible talent for teaching, mentoring, and rallying her community.

Camila Guiza-Chavez

Fellowship Director

Camila majored in Ethnicity, Race and Migration at Yale. She gained a passion for organizing with others against injustice by watching the work of her parents and learning from the rich political history of her home, the Bay Area. In New Haven she has spent years working with organizers at the Semilla Collective, a community that fights for immigrant justice. She plans to dedicate herself to organizing for many years to come.

Jad Maayah

Program Director

Jad Maayah is a recent graduate of Harvard College, where he studied political science and economics. Originally from Jordan, Jad has volunteered at the Zaatari refugee camp and worked directly with Syrian refugees, specializing in aid programs. His passions lie in immigration reform and he hopes to become a legal advocate for refugees and immigrants in the United States.

Board of Directors

Barbara Bettigole

After ordering her first box of baklava in November 2018, Barbara volunteered to deliver Havenly treats by car. She became well acquainted with the Havenly team and its operations on the ground and joined the board with whole-hearted admiration for the people and the mission of Havenly Treats. Her connection to New Haven, years of experience in elementary education, editing, and outreach in sustainability efforts allow her to contribute energy, strategic planning, and understanding of community spirit to the board’s functions.

Aziza Mohamad

Aziza Mohammad, MA is a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She previously worked with refugee communities in North Carolina at a refugee resettlement agency and founded a tutoring program for former refugee children. Her passion to work with underrepresented minorities drives her desire to pursue a career in medicine.

Jodie Ousley

Jodie is a commercial litigator by day and an activist by night. Jodie founded a women-owned law firm with offices in NY, NJ and PA. Her practice involves commercial litigation with a specialization in fraud litigation. Jodie is heavily involved with the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms ("NAMWOLF"), has worked closely with the Department of Labor on recruiting and retaining women employees, and also founded a volunteer group focused on providing aid and assistance in the NYC area for refugees and immigrants, focusing on care and assistance for unaccompanied minors.