With over 18 years of successful experience in program evaluation and development, motivational management, people focus & outcomes oriented leadership and cello teaching, Biana Kovic is an exceptional fit as the Executive Director of the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation.
Biana holds Master of Science in Education Psychology and Methodology from SUNY Albany, NY and Bachelor of Arts in Music, Cello Performance from University of Musical Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.
As a classically trained cellist, former protégée and a cello teacher, Biana has been featured in New York Times, Good Morning America and Chappaqua Public Television among many other publications. A winner of many awards, Biana has extensively performed throughout Europe and at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, Cami Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.
Combining both her passion for music, program development and leadership, Biana founded “It’s Never 2 Late Inc.” in 2004, an organization that offered cello and violin lessons and group classes to adult students. Inspired by many successes of It’s Never 2 Late Inc’s students, in 2006, Biana has produced 2 times award winning documentary film “Virtuoso” that documented a musical journey of an 89 year- old New York City woman with no prior musical background. The film was hailed as one of the short brilliant films, that packed more inspirational punch than many full-length features, and it had showings at five international film festivals and its own opening at the Sunshine Cinemas in NYC.
After working with It’s Never 2 Late for almost seven years, Biana was invited to join the Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services education unit. Under her leadership, the after-school department grew in revenue and in services (from 3 after school sites to 10), and had high improvement rates in service deliverables and people management & retention.
Throughout her extensive career, Biana has exemplified the tenacity and creativity required to be a catalyst for change. As the Executive Director of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Biana’s goal is to spread foundation’s mission and create an impact on a global scale.
Financial Analyst and Accounts Manager
Yan Yu Li joined Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc in 2008. Yan Yu is Friendship Ambassadors Foundation’s Financial Analyst and Accounts Manager. She has overseen the development and facilitation for several major projects at the Foundation: The Rhythms of One World, Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations, Emerging Global Leaders Seminar (Fairleigh Dickinson University), and is the financial advisor of the Executive Director on most financial issues and, especially, on all development issues relating to China (which is a major area of development for the foundation from 2008 to the present). She also reports financial status of the foundation to the Board of Directors on a regular level. Ms. Li works with Mr. Izquierdo to lead FAF’s large intern population each year. Yan Yu has been working in finance for several years since she received her M.B.A. with concentration in accounting and finance from the University of Bridgeport.
Project Manager & Intern Coordinator
Since 2009, Greenwich resident Victor Izquierdo has grown from an intern to holding a management position within Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. Mr. Izquierdo is currently Project Manager and Intern Coordinator. Victor has helped to develop FAF’s Service Ambassadors Program and assists in organizing FAF projects including global cultural exchanges and the Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations. He is FAF’s Project Coordinator for the Ecuador Service Project. Prior to joining FAF, Victor worked as a customer banker at Commerce Bank. Victor Izquierdo holds a B.A. in International Studies from Fairfield University and a Professional Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Jeanina Casusi graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines. Her involvement with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation started with an internship during the Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations in 2014. Towards the end of 2014, she began working for the foundation as its Communications Coordinator, managing content generation, design, and brand consistency in all electronic and print communications. She believes that effective communication can serve as a catalyst for change, especially in pursuit of a more sustainable development.
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