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.
Mikaela Ringquist currently works in the field of international diplomacy and as a grant writing consultant. Prior, Mikaela directed the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, facilitating U.S. State Department programs while promoting research on Afghanistan and the rebuilding of Afghan academic and civil society institutions. She also served as assistant director for numerous BU institutes, managing programs to enhance an interdisciplinary study of the Islamic world.
Mikaela holds a Master's in Global Development Policy and Public Health from BU. She speaks four languages and is a lifelong dancer of ballet and the aerial arts.
Elizabeth is a freelance web designer, illustrator, and writer living in NYC. Her graphics, photography, and words have appeared on Buzzfeed, BeGood Clothes, Made in the USA Challenge, EF Magazine, Moral Fibres, the BF+DA blog, EcoGreenLove, and others.
In addition, she's the deputy editor at Selva Beat, an environmental lifestyle magazine based in Austin, TX.
Elizabeth wants to help you promote your conscious brand and share the value of your mission. She has worked with both small and large companies like SOKO, Matter Prints, Grow NYC, Artisan Connect, Greenvelope, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and ThredUp.