Meet The Team
The NYC Fair Trade Coalition is a grassroots organization that promotes fair trade businesses and retailers in New York City and educates consumers on the importance of fair trade.
Grace Alignay is a U.S. Army veteran with 15 years of accounting experience in non-profit, fashion, and tech organizations. She is a Fair Trade Advocate with a passion for all things ethical and small business and loves supporting her Meetup community of Fashion Rebels. She is also an ambassador and participant of the Custom Collaborative program, a business member of the New York Fair Trade Coalition.
Natalia Pereira Cerqueira
Natalia is from Brazil and back there she created and owned an online thrift/vintage shop that was born from her personal solution to deal with fashion. Reusing and being creative started with her very own personal life and wardrobe and she extended it, turning it into a business. She put her business on hold when she moved to NYC and here she got to know NYCFTC and all its actions regarding how we as a society, as business owners, as consumers can take better steps and make better choices for everyone involved in the chain. She's currently a FIT Image Consultant student and willing to learn as much as she can about reuse, sustainability, better consumption, new habits and make them happen in other people's lives.
Fernanda is a design consultant for the leather goods industry with more than 15 years of experience in the field. She advocates for Sustainable and Ethical Fashion and has testified on how creative ways to manufacture products ethically can help to bring development to impoverished communities and/or individuals.
Fernanda is the founder of Volta Atelier, a brand of upcycled leather accessories hand-stitched by Haitian refugee women living in Brazil. She strongly believes that businesses and consumers have the power to create a brighter future.
Manpreet Kaur Kalra
Manpreet Kalra is a digital marketing expert, social activist, and speaker. She is an advocate for fostering cultural humility in fair trade through inclusive brand narratives. As a speaker, Manpreet is a thought leader in impact communication and has spoken at multiple conferences and trade shows, including the World Fair Trade Summit, Annual Fair Trade Federation Conference, and NY NOW. She launched Art of Citizenry to coach conscious businesses on how to maximize their impact through business development, branding, and strategic marketing. With a background in venture capital and startups, Manpreet uses her knowledge to help businesses think of creative ways to grow and expand their influence. She also brings a wealth of experience from her work with fair trade and impact-driven businesses globally. She currently serves as a board member of Dasvandh Network, a crowdfunding platform established to inspire giving through social activism.
Andrea Reyes is a fair trade advocate, educator, and small business owner. She is the Chair of the NYC Fair Trade Coalition, a network of small ethical business owners and advocates. She is also the founder of A. Bernadette, a fair trade fashion brand in Uganda which hosts educational study abroad programs. Lastly, she teaches fashion marketing, international trade, and business development classes at Baruch College, LIM College, and the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Lea Freni is an NYC-based apparel designer with 5+ years of experience designing womenswear for American sportswear brands. She received a B.S. in Fiber Science and Apparel Design from Cornell University.
As a Fair Trade Advocate, Lea enjoys connecting with other NYC FTC members to discuss and promote ethical supply chains and explore creative approaches to sustainable design.
Carla Farina is the owner of eddys brand, a children's wear company focused on sustainability through reuse and take back. eddys makes tiny sweaters with a big impact! After creating her own promo video on iMovie, she started editing the videos from all of the NYC Fair Trade Coalition virtual events.
Before starting eddys, Carla studied Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in her home town of New York City. She worked in design, product development, and manufacturing for ten years for small contemporary companies followed by larger private label companies where she designed for large retailers.