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November 19, 2021

United Way Board of Directors Appoints Four New Members

United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Board of Directors announced the appointment of four community-minded professionals to its roster. Joining the 21 sitting board members are Christina Armentano, Executive Vice President, Paraco Gas Corporation; Marjorie De La Cruz, Senior Vice President, Global Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer, PepsiCo; Michelle A. Nicholas, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Community Development, PCSB Bank; and Bo Zhang, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Their term is for three years. 

“We are very fortunate to have a group of highly respected and well-connected individuals, who want to give back to their communities through the United Way of Westchester and Putnam,” said Board Chairman Bud Hammer, who is also the President of Atlantic Westchester, Inc. “Christina, Marjorie, Michelle, and Bo bring valued skillsets to the organization, and we look forward to working with them as new additions to the Board of Directors.” 

Armentano is the third generation of the family-run, Rye-headquartered Paraco Gas Corporation. As executive vice president, she provides leadership, direction, and resource stewardship to the organization’s sales, marketing, customer service, and business development functions. Armentano joined Paraco in 2014 after spending nearly a decade in leadership positions outside the family business at Cook Associates, Vistaprint, and Boyden. She received the 2018 LP Gas Rising Leader Award and was named the Business Council of Westchester New York Rising Star in 2016. Armentano holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from James Madison University and a Master of Business Administration from Babson College F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. She lives in Connecticut with her husband Sam and their children. 

De La Cruz resides in Bedford with her husband and twin boys. A PepsiCo employee since 2004 in various legal roles, she was appointed Senior Vice President, Global Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer of the company in 2021. She works directly with the Board of Directors and senior management to lead a global team of compliance and ethics professionals ensuring PepsiCo has an effective compliance program across its business operations in nearly 200 countries. De La​ Cruz was awarded the Fordham School of Law 25th Annual Corporate Counsel Award; Latino Justice 2019 Lucero Award and was featured in Hispanic Executive in March 2019. De La​ Cruz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Art in Communications from New York University, and a Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law. In addition to her commitment to United Way, she is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Jack and Jill of America, Inc. De La Cruz was born in New York City and is a first generation American from the Dominican Republic.   

Nicholas lives in Mount Vernon with her son. As Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Community Development at PCSB Bank, she is responsible for shaping the bank’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy and building relationships with key leaders, communities, and organizations throughout its lower Hudson Valley footprint. Before joining PCSB Bank, Nicholas served as Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Westchester County. Previously, she held leadership positions at Family Services of Westchester, Healthcare Chaplaincy Network, Samuel Waxman Cancer Research the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In the financial sector, her experience includes positions with JPMorgan Chase Bank and as the Co-chair of Recruitment and Development of the JPMorgan Employee Diversity group for African American Professionals – Ujima. Nicholas holds degrees in economics and social work from the University of Guyana and certifications in project management and diplomatic practices. In addition to volunteering with many Westchester organizations, Nicholas is the founder and president of Sexual Assault and Family Education (SAFE) Guyana Inc., a human services nonprofit. She has been recognized as one of Westchester Magazine’s 12 Black Leaders Changing Westchester, Business Council of Westchester’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars, United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Emerging Leader Rock Star, Face2Face Africa’s 30 Black Stars, and Caribbean Life’s Impact Award recipients. 

Zhang is a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Stamford, Conn. Previously he was a project manager and resource development associate at the United Way of Westchester and Putnam for seven years. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Tianjin University of Science and Technology and a Master’s in Public Administration from Pace University. In addition to his active participation with United Way, Zhang is also on the board of Greyston Foundation and the Organization of Chinese Americans. He lives in Connecticut with his wife.  

United Way of Westchester and Putnam supports education, financial stability, and health initiatives to help residents become self-sufficient and thrive. These include the 211 Helpline, essential goods for basic needs distributions, early literacy programming for preschoolers, support services for students, job skills training and financial empowerment for adults, and access to health services for all.