Believe in Syracuse Board of Directors

Believe in Syracuse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is governed by its Board of Directors. 


paul.jpgPaul Colabufo - President of the Board

Paul is the President of the Board of Directors of Believe in Syracuse. Paul also chairs the Neighborhood committee of Believe in Syracuse. Paul has a Bachelors degree from SUNY Fredonia and his Juris Doctor from the SUNY Buffalo Law School. Paul is the commissioner of Turbo Bocce, a recreational Bocce League in Syracuse. He also works for Advocates Inc. as a mentor. Paul is a graduate of Liverpool High School.



Esther Zorn - Sergeant at Arms

Esther is the Sergeant at Arms of Believe in Syracuse's Board of Directors. Esther is the chair of the nominating committee which considers and nominates applicants interested in joining the Board of Directors. Esther is an Associate Broker at Keller Williams Realty in East Syracuse. Esther grew up in Upstate NY and currently resides in the Meadowbrook Neighborhood in the City of Syracuse. Esther got her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and International Relations from Syracuse University. Esther previously worked in Public Relations and is a past president of the WBOC of Syracuse (Women Business Owners Connection).



Yvonne Scott-Younis - Vice President

Yvonne is our Vice President and Chair of the Special Events Committee. She holds an M.B.A. from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. More recently she earned a Certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University. Yvonne is the Director of Development for the Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society, located in downtown Syracuse. Her background includes marketing HVAC products for Carrier Corporation in Syracuse and product portfolio management for surgical medical devices with ConMed Corporation in Utica, NY. Yvonne and her husband Michael (a senior attorney at Hiscock Legal Aid, but you may know him as the “S.U. Towel Guy”) are both native Syracusans. They have always called Syracuse home with the exception of a five-year stint with the U.S. Army, living in such great places at Monterey Bay, CA, Birkenfeld, Germany, and Hampton, VA. They are avid SU sports fans and reside in Liverpool.


rosalyn.jpgRosalyn Peterson - Board Member

Rosalyn is a member of the Board of Directors of Believe in Syracuse. Rosalyn studied Marketing at Nichols College and received a degree in Communications and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University. She was employed as a Senior Administrator at Syracuse University. Rosalyn is the owner of a catering business called Comfort Foods and a Grocery Delivery business called The Basics. Rosalyn lives in the Salt Springs neighborhood in the City of Syracuse.

Mery Liranzo Nieves - Board Member

Mery is a 3 year resident of Syracuse, originally from South Jersey. She has a B.S. from Stockton University in NJ in Business Management. Mery is currently employed with the Social Security Administration.  She lives in Eastwood with her significant other and her 2 boys/kitties. She has always loved volunteering and giving a helping hand.  Mery is excited to call Syracuse her home and loves everything that the wonderful city has to offer. 


Matthew McArdle, CPA - Treasurer

Matthew is a member of the Board of Directors of Believe in Syracuse. Matthew graduated from Westhill High School and received a Bachelors of Science from Syracuse University where he studied accounting and finance. Matthew is a Certified Public Accountant and a Manager at DiMarco, Abiusi, & Pascarella CPA.



MarkAvery Claridge - Board Member

MarkAvery was born and raised in the Syracuse Area. He is a Navy veteran and returned to Syracuse to complete his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience at Syracuse University. He is pursuing a Masters of Arts in Public Relations online while working as a stay at home dad. He also is developing City Connect, a business that promotes small business, community, and growth in the Syracuse area. MarkAvery is happy to be part of Believe in Syracuse and honored to be part of the Board and Chair of the Membership & Marketing Committee.


Jessica_Bumpus.jpgJessica Bumpus - Board Member

Jessica Bumpus has been a resident of the Syracuse area since 2004, moving from central Texas to pursue a Bachelor’s degree at SUNY ESF. After having her son in 2007, she decided to settle in the area. She currently works at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo as the Gift Shop Manager and Buyer, the Chair of the Conservation Committee, and member of the Education Committee. She is the Treasurer for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo chapter of American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) and former Executive Board member of GreeningUSA. She recently moved to Lyncourt, has one son (aged 9), a wonderful husband, and a personal zoo (3 cats, 2 dogs, 1 guinea pig). In her spare time she enjoys reading, hiking, and running (both competitively and for fun). She is very interested in sustainability, civic engagement, and community organizing.


Kim Parker - Secretary

Kim Parker is the Founder of the AP Professionals Syracuse, NY office, a professional staffing firm which opened in May 2014 and is the newest office of the firm which was founded in 1993 in Buffalo and has offices in Rochester and Scottsdale, AZ. Leveraging 25+ years of management experience in Fortune 500 companies as well as community-based organizations, Kim’s focus is on placement of finance, accounting, human resources and administrative professionals on a direct hire, temporary and temporary-to-hire basis in the greater Syracuse community. She loves helping people get the job they want with the employer they want and everybody wins! Kim resides in Cazenovia and her pride and joy are her two sons, a 23-year-old who is a U.S. Marine Corps Officer and a 12-year-old who is in 7th grade and an avid hockey player. Kim is excited and honored to be a part of Believe in Syracuse and to be a member of the Board.

Sally_Photo.jpgSally Sayles-Hannon - Board Member

Sally is a diversity educator and active community organizer/advocate in Central New York. She has been an instructor at five U.S. universities and colleges. Currently, she holds an instructor position at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, New York in the School of Social Sciences and Education. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Grand Valley State University, an M.A. in Women’s Studies from Texas Woman’s University, and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University. Sally is presently the Chair of the Community Service Committee. 

Sally moved to Syracuse in August of 2008 from Dallas, Texas. Her love of Greater Syracuse, especially the community, has since made Syracuse her home. When she has the opportunity, she enjoys visiting family in Michigan, spending a good weekend in the outdoors, and listening to live music. She resides in Clay, New York with her significant other and two cats, Otto and Ollie.

Believe in Syracuse Staff


john.jpgJohn DeSantis - Executive Director

As Executive Director, John is responsible for day to day operations of the organization. John is the founder of Believe in Syracuse. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Syracuse University in 2008. From 2009 until 2012 John was employed by the Obama Campaign working in grassroots field organizing, first as a Field Organizer and then as Regional Field Director. John grew up in DeWitt and is a graduate of Jamesville-DeWitt High School. John and his wife Abby live in Eastwood.

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