SAMANTHA E. ERSKINE
Founder and President, Imelda Foundation
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York — the product of two Central American immigrants of West Indian descent — Samantha has always wanted to make the world a better place for girls of color from inner city neighborhoods. The idea for Imelda was born in 2012, as Samantha was exploring ways to become a philanthropist beyond writing checks, and became solidified while she pursued a second master’s degree. Imelda was Samantha’s final thesis in December 2014, and in 2016, Samantha incorporated the organization and turned it from a vision into reality.
Samantha E. Erskine is the Founder and President of the Imelda Foundation, a leadership development organization for girls of color.
A proud Afro-Latina, Samantha’s life mission is to champion women and people of color. As a Certified Professional Coach, she empowers leaders find their passion, leverage their strengths, and navigate difficult transitions.
Prior to founding The Imelda Consulting Group, LLC and Imelda Foundation, Samantha was the Senior Director of Development at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. She was previously the Director of Development at the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP), which works to seek racial, ethnic, and gender parity in the highest leadership positions in finance, law, media & entertainment, technology, and the public sector. Prior to CUP, Samantha held increasingly senior roles at other leading New York City-based organizations, including the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the Applied Research Center (a racial justice think tank recently re-branded as Race Forward), and Legal Momentum (formerly the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund). In addition, she served on the Board of Directors of Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), which helps girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.
Prior to a career in fundraising, Samantha was an international Latin dance instructor and performer. She trained in ballet, jazz, Latin, and Afro-Diasporic dances, has a deep commitment to — and passion for — the performing arts, and has performed all over the world. One of Samantha’s most fond performance memories was opening for El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico while on a salsa cruise to the Bahamas.
- PhD Student, Organizational Behavior, Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve
- Certified Professional Coach (CPC) | Certified Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP), Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)
- Master of Science, Nonprofit Management, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School
- Certificate, Leadership and Change, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School
- Master of Arts, Women’s History, Sarah Lawrence College
- Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park
- Bachelor of Arts, Women’s Studies, University of Maryland, College Park
- Certificate, Spanish Language and Cultures, University of Maryland, College Park