Welcoming New Board Members to NCJW|LA

By Samantha Ossip, NCJW|LA Volunteer

NCJW|LA is very excited to welcome our new board members: Nancy Kless, Johanna Arias-Bhatia, and Rosalind Helfand. They are all passionate advocates for justice who have already helped NCJW|LA with an array of projects and programs as volunteers. Here’s a little bit about Nancy, Johanna, and Rosalind and their journeys to joining our board this year.


Nancy Kless is thrilled to be a part of the Board and get fully involved in NCJW|LA. As a retired social worker, Nancy has a long background in the mental health field. She previously worked at the LA County Department of Mental Health as a manager and supervisor. After retiring, Nancy wanted to continue helping others and her community. Her daughter was part of the JOIN for Justice Fellow program and encouraged Nancy to take their webinar on community organizing. Through the webinar and in-person meetings, Nancy met people from NCJW|LA like Maya Paley, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement, and Cipra Nemeth, Board Member, who were working on NCJW|LA’s Human Trafficking Outreach Project. Nancy started volunteering with the Human Trafficking Outreach Project as a Team Leader and is now an Executive Committee Member. Nancy is very passionate about the fight to end human trafficking and wanted to get more involved. NCJW|LA’s values and advocacy issues, like women’s rights and accessible healthcare, also resonated with Nancy and inspired her to join the Board. Nancy hopes to learn even more about NCJW|LA’s programs and to use her background in counseling to help where she can. She is also an avid shopper at Council Thrift Shops and is excited to get involved and support the Thrift Shops as best she can.


Johanna Arias-Bhatia had always been interested in advocacy and human rights, but was inspired to get involved with NCJW|LA after participating in our Advocacy Training Project. She wanted to use the skills she learned from the training and thought NCJW|LA would be the perfect fit. Johanna quickly became involved with the Human Trafficking Outreach Project, as a team leader and is now an Executive Committee Member. Johanna is passionate about affordable healthcare and housing, immigrant rights, criminal justice, and environmental justice. She works as a Public Participation Specialist at the LA County Department of Toxic Substance Control where she is working on the Exide Project. This project is helping to clean up the soil that the Exide Technology Battery Recycling Plant has contaminated. Johanna has enjoyed being a part of NCJW|LA’s team and being able to connect with like-minded people in the community. She hopes to bring her time and dedication to the Board and to help NCJW|LA remain a strong and influential force in Los Angeles.


Rosalind Helfand has a strong background in non-profit and advocacy work, which she hopes to utilize in her new role on the Board. She works as a freelance advisor for non-profit and government organizations where she works with clients on outreach, policy, and programs for human rights and the arts. Her most recent projects included the Advocacy Training Programs for the City of West Hollywood’s Women’s Leadership Conference and directing the Pasadena Literary Festival. She became involved with NCJW|LA as a volunteer with the Advocacy Committee on reproductive rights and justice. Upon getting involved, Rosalind proved herself to be a leader as she took on the production of our annual Roe v. Wade anniversary event for the last three years, including our big Rally to Save Roe in January of 2017. Rosalind loves working with NCJW|LA because she gets to collaborate with other talented and passionate volunteers and staff and she finds NCJW|LA to be focused on a lot of issues that are important to her. Rosalind is passionate about environmental justice and sustainability, women’s rights, reproductive justice, healthcare, education, and international cooperation. Rosalind hopes to bring her expertise in non-profit work and development to NCJW|LA’s board to help them grow and expand their wonderful mission.

NCJW|LA is proud to have such passionate and dedicated new Board Members!