As Ossining Village Mayor
, Victoria has transformed the way the local government communicates with residents. She welcomes a diversity of voices in conversations about local issues as well as contentious and challenging topics beyond the scope of village government.
The Ossining Documentary & Discussion Series was her brainchild. In 2013 she co-founded the series with a small group of community members that share her passion for exploring issues related to the environment and social justice. Victoria has served as moderator since the series began, and now encourages the involvement of guest moderators to contribute to the programming.
Rodolfo Moran has worked in the non-profit field for over 12 years, assisting different agencies in New York and internationally in volunteerism, youth development, mentoring, and fundraising. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of Community and Donor Relations for the Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial.
Rodolfo became passionate about social issues and the environment while studying Political Science and International Relations while at SUNY Albany. He is an advocate of using film and other media, as well as the arts, to engage youth in social responsibility and civic duty.
Suzie Ross serves as Chair of Ossining’s community-based environmental resource organization, Green Ossining; is a Hudson Riverkeeper Ambassador; a member of ELLA (Environmental Leadership Learning Alliance – directed by Teatown Lake Reservation), and served as a member of the Town of Ossining’s Environmental Advisory Committee, a community and communications liaison for both the Energize Ossining (a community-based energy efficiency program funded through Department of Energy (DOE) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grants), and more recently Solarize Ossining.
Professionally, Suzie has over 25 years of experience in the field of advertising and marketing research. She held the title of Research Director at Fast Company magazine, served as Advertising & Research Manager for Juno Online Services, and Research Manager of the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA).
Suzie also worked at The Wall Street Journal where she was responsible for market research specializing in the financial, corporate, insurance, and energy-related categories. She began her career in media planning at advertising agency N.W. Ayer.
Suzie graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Ossining native Christina Picciano is a musician and audio engineer whose work has allowed her to tour the country. She is the founder of The Ossining LGBTQ Alliance and board member of the Hudson Valley Stonewall Democrats. Merging art and activism, Christina works to raise awareness on LGBTQ, social justice and environmental issues in the community.
Her love of art and nature was nourished at her alma mater, SUNY Purchase where she holds a bachelor’s degree in music.
Sondra is a Rhode Island School of Design Graduate, Art Instructor (40+ years) throughout Westchester County, and an Ossining Arts Council Board Member. She started her own foundation, Art for Heart Foundation in Ossining, New York (1996-2004) Founder / Contributing Artist, where she coordinating art shows, to support “Gift of Life,” a national organization of organ transplant recipients and their families with the goal of providing needed information and education to help people understand the importance of organ and tissue donation.
She was involved in the Ports of Art Program, which was created to provide opportunities for artists to display their work in an open venue to increase the general public’s awareness of the beauty and necessity of art, and, most importantly, to fund Foundation Aire Fresco activities and programs for children in Puerto Vallarta and around the world (Ports of Art www.artfaf.org – Puerto Vallarta and New York Administrator General (2008- Present)).
Sondra has also been involved in many arts education programs for school extension programs, senior centers, and recreation departments throughout Westchester County.
Back in 1981 Paul received a Bachelor’s with Honors in English and Theater from Brown. His goal was to learn to create cultural artifacts which would have a positive effects on people. His goals haven’t changed since. He’s a poet, playwright, non-fiction writer, and an event organizer. He runs a non-profit called Our Better Future whose mission is to increase the understanding and engagement of the citizens of Northern Westchester.Working to “bring our community together one film at a time” with the Ossining Documentary and Discussion series has been a great way to work toward those goals.
Diana Cristina Lopez
Diana Lopez is a public school Spanish teacher, working at the middle school level. She received a Bachelors degree in Spanish with a minor in Education from Lehman College, and she earned a Master’s Degree from Lehman College in Spanish literature.
Diana has a passion for social justice and cultural issues. She believes in transforming youth for a better future, and loves sharing time and ideas with like-minded people.
Larry Rich is a media producer, consultant, and writer involved in international projects. He served as Executive Producer of Maryknoll Productions for nearly 20 years. Prior to that, he served as the director of the video unit at a human rights center in Peru, where he worked from 1981 until 1993.
During his tenure at Maryknoll Productions, Larry oversaw the production of more than a dozen documentaries, including the 1995 Oscar-nominated School of Assassins, as well as two nationally aired TV series (The Field Afar and My Americas) and 19-part educational video series, Children of the Earth. He also supervised the production of two weekly radio programs, Voices of Our World and Voces de Nuestro Mundo.
Larry firmly believes in the power of media to transform our word for the better. It even can save lives, as he learned from his work in Peru. For that reason, he continues to be involved in international media efforts for justice, peace and the integrity of the planet. Closer to home, he’s happy to be part of the ODDS team, which harnesses the power of the documentary for the good of our community and beyond.
Committee Members Emeritus
Jen Benson is a 2014 graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo, where she completed a B.A. in English and minor in Environmental Studies. While at Geneseo, Jen coordinated Geneseo Environmental Organization and founded the Divest Geneseo campaign. Through this work, Jen discovered her passion for working with local communities to advocate for their local waterways.
In August 2014, Jen moved to the Hudson Valley to join the staff at Riverkeeper in a two-year position as an FAO Schwarz Family Foundation Fellow. In August 2017, Jen became a permanent member of staff as the Outreach Coordinator. In her position, Jen coordinates the Rivekeeper Sweep, supports campaigns, and manages the volunteer program.
After becoming involved with Green Ossining, Jen joined the Ossining Documentary & Discussion Series to help foster community-wide dialogue around issues impacting the Ossining community. Jen Benson served on the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series for 3-years from 2016-2019. In summer 2019 Jen relocated to Ulster College to pursue a Masters in Environmental Policy from Bard College.
Andrea Kimmich-Keyser has a background in Ethnographic Film and running a variety of Film Festivals. She is delighted to be working with this vibrant group of “neighbors” on this initiative, acknowledging that it’s as much about building and being in the community as it is about film.
She embraces both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth in all her work both in the USA and abroad, where she is called on as teacher trainer, project consultant and curriculum developer.
Her students have ranged in age from 3-93 and have been on many a path. Project Start-Ups are Andrea’s specialty and her focus is on the process at least as much as the outcome; she is happiest when a community of learners becomes a learning community.
In Ossining, she’s known for organizing related to invasives and tree stewardship and as a Master Composter & Recycler, has been involved in starting, working and advocating for community and school gardens. She’s a member of the Ossining Arts Council, the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club, Green Ossining and Transition.
She builds community too as an area realtor, and old-house specialist and restorer. Her latest restoration project is on the river’s shore in Cold Spring and serves as a B&B. Andrea lives with her husband on the Hudson River’s edge in Ossining where they moved from Manhattan 24 years ago to raise their son and enjoy the view.
Emily Loughlin is a recent graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where she studied Biology and Music. She went to the Ossining schools from kindergarten through her high school graduation in 2011, and now lives and works in Ossining. A firm believer in the Liberal Arts, she has been involved in many musical groups through her life, as both a vocalist and conductor.
She now works in the Office of Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, and spends much of her free time running, and enjoys baking bread and watching documentaries with her two pet rabbits.
Emma Lagle is a graduate from The State University of New York at New Paltz, from which she received a B.S. in History and Sociology. Through her studies and work as a Project Leader for the New York Public Interest Research Group, she discovered her passion surrounding a number of public and social issues. Those most important to her are environmental advocacy and protection, immigration, and higher education affordability.
Upon graduation, she joined the Ossining Documentary Discussion Series to aid in educating Westchester County community members on a number of these topics in a setting which fosters safe, open discussion.
Since then Riverkeeper has appointed Emma as Ambassador and has offered her an internship associated with their annual River Sweep.
A caring and energetic person, Emma works part-time as a paralegal’s assistant and hopes to one-day study Public Interest law. She is an avid music lover, film buff, and diehard fan of animals.
Gunnel Rydstrom moved to Ossining upon retirement, after working with various aspects of housing renovation and community lending in New York City for most of her adult life. Having grown up in rural Sweden and then lived in Manhattan for 45 years makes her say with confidence that Ossining is a better place to live! She enjoys exploring new places, hiking, eating out and following current events while spending time with friends.
Gunnel has been a big fan of ODDS from the beginning and is proud to be part of its planning committee. She thinks the motto, bringing our community together one film at a time, beautifully identifies the need for organized interaction and neighborliness in building bridges between diverse population groups.
Toro Adeyemi is a New York native and a graduate from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business where she received a B.S. in Business Administration (double major in Marketing & Entrepreneurship) and minored in Dramatic Arts, graduating with a Student Leadership Recognition Award in 2012.
She is the Founder and CEO of Toro Communications, a boutique New York based marketing a public relations agency, which works under a collaborative business model in order to achieve success. Her clients include non-profits, consumer brands, artists and the United Nations. Previously, Toro completed a training program at a global public relations agency which ranks as the second leading independent agency in New York, focusing on social media strategy and creating educational disease materials for journalists, patients and caregivers. Following her passion for all things start-up, entertainment and people oriented, she has recently been named the PR Executive for the newly formed production company, In the Basement Theater Company. She is a proud member of Green Ossining and the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series!
Brian Fridkin is a thoughtful person with a passion for the environment and education. Brian is currently a substitute teacher in the Ossining School District and a research coordinator for Smallholder Farmers Alliance, an NGO that works on sustainable development of small farms in Haiti. He has had the opportunity to travel to Haiti and to meet with President Bill Clinton to discuss issues in Haiti.
He is a member of the Green Ossining Committee and the Ossining Documentary and Discussion series. He feels very strongly about his community and enjoys bringing Ossining residents together for a common cause.
Alexsis Moore spent part of her childhood on a tropical island, and the other part of it on the other side of the Hudson River. When she met the love of her life, a lifetime resident of Westchester, she made the journey across the Tappan Zee bridge and never looked back. Eventually, along with her husband, Todd, she found a home in Ossining, NY. In this home they have put down solid roots and expanded their little family to include Margot, the Ossining Documentary & Discussion Series’ un-official baby mascot.
Sharon Rowe is the CEO and Founder of Eco-Bags Products, Inc., the “Original Reusable Bag Company™” The ECO-BAGS® brand is recognized as a category leader, since 1989. The company is known for their commitment to outstanding quality, socially responsible production and innovation,“cleaning up the planet one bag at a time.™” Eco-Bags is a certified Benefit Corp.
Sharon has been featured as an environmental pioneer in TIME Magazine, Glamour Magazine and in the award-winning documentary “Bag-It.” She is quoted regularly. Awards include the 2012 CBS Radio Women’s Achievement Award, 2012 Enterprising Woman Award, 2011 914-Inc Accomplished Woman in Business Award, 2010 Lillian Vernon Community Service Award and the 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Business Council of Westchester County, NY. Sharon is regularly invited to speak as an expert on Green Business, Green Entrepreneurism, Sustainable Supply Chain and Women in Business. Eco-Bags Products is a certified B corporation, member of the Westchester Business Council & Westchester Green Business, Organic Trade Association and Green America Business Network. Sharon is a member of the Women’s President’s Organization, Green Ossining and the Westchester Collaborative Theatre Company in Ossining.
Lauren Brois is the Assistant Director of Energize NY Residential Program, non-profit helping homeowners make their home’s energy efficient. Energize Ossining works closely with Green Ossining and Lauren found the wonderful ODDS group, through their partnership. As one of the biggest fans of the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series, she is excited to be a member of the committee!
Lauren graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2011 with a BS in Childhood Education and minors in Environmental Studies and Visual Arts. At SUNY New Paltz she was the Recycling Coordinator, working to educate students, staff, and faculty on proper recycling rules and the value of recycling through large scale events, consumption demonstrations, and interactive programs.
Before starting to work at Energize NY she enjoyed teaching a Kindergarten Enrichment class at Lissie’s Katonah Playschool. On the weekends she is a Naturalist at Teatown Nature Preserve and enjoys visiting museums, traveling, eating delicious food and taking photos.