Who We Are
Precious Dreams Foundation was founded in 2012 by Nicole Russell and Angie Medina and supports the wellbeing of children in foster care and homeless shelters by using bedtime comfort tools and positive reinforcement to empower children to self-comfort and focus on their dreams.
Meet the Board
Joseph W. Belluck is a founding partner of Belluck & Fox with substantial experience in the firm’s asbestos and mesothelioma cases. He is a dedicated, compassionate attorney who has spent his entire legal career representing injured consumers and workers. Prior to founding Belluck & Fox in 2002, Joe represented asbestos victims at another law firm. He served as a judicial law clerk for Justice Lloyd Doggett of the Texas Supreme Court and as a staff attorney and consumer lobbyist for Public Citizen in Washington, D.C. Joe also worked for Trial Lawyers Care, a volunteer legal organization to help victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Joe lives in New York City and Woodstock, New York with his wife and two children.
Bernadette Catalana is an attorney at Lavin, O’Neil, Cedrone and DiSipio, currently splitting her time between upstate New York and New York City. She is an active mentor, working with many young lawyers to develop their skills and, ultimately, their careers. Her love of mentoring has inspired her Mentoring Moment posts on LinkedIn, each addressing a specific nuance of practicing law. She co-authored Candid Talk – Women at the Bar with longtime friend and colleague, Kelly Odorisi. Their program is designed to educate and support women pursuing legal careers, encouraging them to “opt in” to the practice of law. Presentations are ongoing and they are now working on a Candid Talk Women book.
Ms. Catalana received her Bachelor of Science in business administration from Binghamton University. She earned her juris doctor, cum laude, at the University at Buffalo Law School, State University of New York. She was a member of the Buffalo Law Review and authored “The Battle for Baby Jessica: a Conflict of Best Interests” (43 Buff. L. Rev. 583 1995), which has been cited by numerous legal writings, including a brief filed with the US Supreme Court. She was also awarded the Robert Connolly Oral Advocacy Award.
Ms. Catalana has been repeatedly recognized for community service. She is immediate past Board Chair of BOA Editions, Ltd., a nationally recognized non-profit poetry publisher; she is currently transitioning to BOA’s national board. She is a former board member of the Rochester chapters of the American Heart Association and American Red Cross, former trustee of the Evan Cummings Trust and inaugural Chair of the Our Lady of Mercy Gala. In December 2014, she and her daughters founded daughterlessons.com, a website dedicated to raising daughters into strong women. Since its launch, daughterlessons.comhas had more than 50,000 page views, visitors from across the United States and the world, including 120 foreign countries; daughterlessons has over 11,000 Instagram followers.
Angelica Alam is a corporate professional, author, philanthropist and public speaker. With over eleven years of experience in business, Angelica has traversed a dynamic career spanning strategy, operations, business development and marketing at blue chip organizations across the media and financial services industries. In her current role, Angelica is the Head of Global Client Engagement at J.P. Morgan Chase, focused on managing a large portfolio of global clients for one of the first blockchain technology-based platforms in the financial services industry. She is a results-driven and resourceful leader with exceptional EQ. Known for her strength in collaborating cross-functionally and cross-regionally to develop and expand client participation and to achieve revenue growth.
Additionally, Angelica is the Founder and President of The PowHER Circle, a community of women focused on their own and collective journeys to remove doubt, elevate confidence, and embrace their unapologetic PowHER in the pursuit of personal and professional goals. The community features a 6-week program designed to empower the confidence and expand the vision for what women can achieve. Together, the women set personal and career goals, discuss and overcome fears and anxiety around career goals and hear from dynamic speakers across various industries.
As a public speaker, Angelica uses her experiences as a woman and a person of color who is breaking the mold in the corporate world to inspire, motivate and encourage audiences of all ages, genders and backgrounds. As part of her motivational work, Angelica authored “Turn Your Goals Into Action: A Simple Guide to Tracking Your Success,” a self-empowerment tool that helps readers identify and reach personal and professional goals. The journal was released in April of 2018 to positive reviews and continues to garner acclaim.
Angelica earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California – Riverside and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia – Darden School of Business.
The Reverend Steven Eugene Carter serves as the Senior Pastor of the Mount Ararat Church in Brooklyn, New York, which is the church he was raised in since his early youth. Pastor Carter is the only child, by way of adoption, of Mr. Eugene and Mrs. Mary Carter. In Brooklyn, he received his elementary education at Thelma J. Hamilton School and secondary education at Thomas Jefferson High School of East New York. He further received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and the Master of Divinity Degree in Theology from Duke University School of Divinity in Durham, North Carolina.
Since Pastor Carter has assumed the position of the Senior Pastor of Mount Ararat, the church has experienced the presence of God in many ways. Membership has increased in excess of 1800 new members since July 2004. Many new ministries have been established, in particular, youth ministries have been established to reach the youth in the community.
Reverend Carter gifts have afforded him the opportunity to be the keynote speaker for the 95th NAACP National Conference and the National African-American Medical Student Conference, both of which took place in Houston, Texas. In addition to preaching in Churches, he has lectured, participated in panel discussions and delivered commencement speeches. He is also the author of the book Resurrection from Rejection: Healing from 7 Areas of Rejection in Your Life. He is also the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. Lastly, he is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.
Julie Evans is a retired equity partner from the national law firm of Wilson Elser. During her 30-year
tenure at Wilson Elser, Julie built a significant and consistent litigation practice that was growing and
approaching eight figures at the time of her retirement. Julie served as Managing Partner of the firm’s flagship New York office and Chair of a thriving national practice group. Julie served on the firm’s policy making Executive Committee, as well as the six-person Operations Group which handled the day-to-day
operations of the firm. She also served on the firm’s compensation and partnership committees.
While actively developing her own book of business and being a full-time litigator, as well as firm
manager and leader, Julie pursued another passion she found herself skilled at—mentoring and coaching
others. Julie was the driving force and inspiration behind professional development programs at the firm.
She developed its education programs and founded peer and family mentor programs. Julie also founded
and facilitated a Women’s Professional Development Group, focused on marketing and business
development. Julie coached many attorneys to enhance their executive presence, build presentation
skills and to overcome personal barriers to success and create work-life balance.
Given Julie’s experience and passion for assisting others to succeed professionally, coaching, mentoring
and team building became a natural transition after retiring from the practice of law. Today, Julie works as a leadership and business development coach and consultant. Using her intuitive questioning, listening
and facilitation capabilities Julie creates psychologically safe environments for team members and/or lawyers to grow and develop.
Ryan Grant is a former American football running back in the National Football League (NFL). He was originally signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2005 but was traded to the Green Bay Packers shortly before the 2007 season in exchange for a future sixth-round draft pick. He played college football at Notre Dame, under head coaches Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham, where he rushed for over 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Grant had a successful first season with the Packers, rushing for almost 1,000 yards, including five 100+ yard games, in 10 starts. He set franchise records with 201 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in the Packers’ divisional playoff game win against the Seattle Seahawks as they went on to reach the NFC Championship Game. He has also been a member of the Washington Redskins. Ryan is the co-owner of AP cafe in Brooklyn, NY. He is an active board member who regularly acts as a guest speaker for Precious Dreams Foundation Comfort Drops, sharing his personal story and motivational words with foster and homeless youth.
Ryan lives in New Jersey with his daughter Steele.
Ken Halperin is a partner at the law firm of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin. This is a boutique civil litigation firm in New York City. He is in charge of the firm’s complex litigation and construction cases, and as a trial attorney, handles a wide variety of cases in the areas of general negligence, automobile liability and construction law. He is responsible not only for the litigation aspects of the case but also the day to day management of the cases in which he is involved. His primary goal, and that of the firm is to work closely with all of our clients on their cases from inception through settlement or trial.
Ken also takes an active role in the community and in organizations that are important to our practice. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association, and The New York State Trial Lawyers Institute, where he is a member of the Labor Law Committee. He is also an Officer in the Jewish Lawyers Guild where he serves as a director and was formerly a member of the Kings County Judicial Screening Committee which is charged with the responsibility of screening Judicial candidates who are running for election. Ken has also been selected as a Super Lawyer, an honor which represents true recognition of accomplishment in the field by one’s peers.
Ken takes great pride in performing pro bono legal work on behalf of the community as well. In the past, he has provided pro bono services for an organization that assists indigent women in need of free legal representation. He is also part of the City Bar Association Cancer Advocacy Program, which provides free legal services to cancer patients involved in disputes with their insurance companies.
Eunice began her creative career when she received a Wacom tablet and Corel Painter for her birthday and decided to launch her own graphic design business — in high school. After interning at Tiger Beat and Teen Beat magazines and later designing at Penguin Books, she landed in healthcare advertising. For the past decade, she has called the FCB Health network her home, launching and leading an array of professional and consumer brands as an Associate Creative Director. Her work has been awarded a Bronze Clio and a DTC Perspectives Gold, she has been a finalist for the Global Awards and the Creative Floor Awards, and she was short-listed for Cannes Lions Health.
Eunice is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University with a BS in Visual and Environmental Studies with a concentration in painting. Selected highlights include having her work featured at the Tampa Museum of Art and being selected for the Congressional Art Competition in Washington, DC as well as exhibiting her work in solo shows. Outside of the office, when not DJing an agency happy hour or teaching hip-hop classes, she can be found in Lower Manhattan spending time with her husband and endlessly insta-storying the fabulous life of her two daughters.
Susan graduated from Goucher College with a BA in Education. She then obtained her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from NOVA University. Her passion has always been to educate and nurture children so they can grow up to have productive lives. She taught elementary school for 15 years. Volunteering has become a part of Susan’s life.
From babysitting at a young age to working at day camps and eventually teaching, children have always been the focus for Susan.
Over the last 20 years, Susan has been very involved with her synagogue. She served on the board as a secretary, membership chair, Vice President and eventually President. She has been very involved in her temple’s Mitzvah Day of giving back to the community. Over 500 people come together to assist more than 25 agencies in South Florida.
After reading about Nicole and her mission last November, Susan reached out to Nicole recognizing the need for a Precious Dreams foundation in South Florida. In June 2018, Susan launched a new chapter for the organization in Broward Country, FL. Susan looks forward to expanding Precious Dreams and helping as many children as possible. Volunteering makes for a healthy community that connects us all. She keeps this quote on her desk and tries to live by it, “The purpose of a life is a life of purpose.”
Judy is a founding partner of Darger Errante Yavitz & Blau LLP. Previously, Judy was a partner at a large international law firm. She also managed litigation and product liability departments at another top New York law firm.
Judy has extensive experience in complex product liability, mass tort and class action litigation involving asbestos, pharmaceuticals, mold, petroleum products, and machinery. She has been recognized repeatedly by Super Lawyers® and Best Lawyers® in the areas of mass tort and class action litigation. Judy has been involved in asbestos litigation for more than 25 years as national, regional and local counsel for several Fortune 500 companies. Judy serves as court-appointed defense liaison counsel in the New York City Asbestos Litigation where she is responsible for coordinating and defending thousands of asbestos cases. Judy has jury trial experience and substantial experience with medical and other expert testimony and evaluation, as well as extensive experience with depositions and all aspects of discovery, motion practice, and settling thousands of significant cases.
Meet Our Staff
Desi Lopez, President