LEADING US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Carlos Lejnieks - President and Chief Executive Officer
Carlos Lejnieks is CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties (Newark, NJ) and immediate-past Chairman of Big Brothers Big Sisters of NJ. Lejnieks took over an atrophied BBBS agency in 2008 and, within four years, went from serving approximately 100 youth to serving over 1,100. Under his leadership, BBBS has received numerous awards including a formal recognition by President Obama. In 2018, he rang the Closing Bell at the NY Stock Exchange in honor of this 10th anniversary at BBBS. Prior to joining BBBS, Lejnieks was an administrator and Leadership Team member of North Star Academy, a Blue Ribbon school based in Newark. Prior to that, Lejnieks held positions as Vice President of CN Communications International and Goldman Sachs.
Lejnieks serves on the Brown University Alumni Association Board of Governors where he is Chairman of its First Generation Committee, creating policy to better support first generation college students at Brown. He also serves on the Board of Regents for Saint Peter’s University, is Chair Emeritus of the NJ Charter Schools Association and was appointed to the Community Advisory Board for NJTV (NJ public television, a WNET family company).
Lejnieks is a Trustee for Jersey City Medical Center (a RWJ/Barnabas Health Hospital) and serves as Trustee for RWJ/Barnabas Health’s Diversity & Inclusion Sub-Committee of the Board. Lejnieks is co-Founder and Vice Chair of Democracy Prep Public Schools, a $175M school system based in Harlem serving 6,500 students in five states. Lejnieks won Democracy Prep’s “Change the World” award in 2006 for helping create the school. Lejnieks has served on President Obama’s Regional Finance Committee, Governor Chris Christie’s Education Transition Team, Governor Phil Murphy’s Transition Team and Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s Transition Team. In 2019, Lejnieks was a Gubernatorial appointee to the NJ Real Estate Commission as well as the inaugural NJ Task Force for the “Continued Transformation of Youth Justice”.
An Aspen Fellow, Lejnieks was selected as one of twelve people in Aspen’s “Emerging Leaders” cohort in 2012 and, in 2011, he graduated from the American Express Leadership Academy. In 2018, he won the top social sector leader award from American Express at their global alumni summit which came with a $25,000 donation to BBBS in Lejnieks’ honor. In 2018, he spoke alongside Sen. Cory Booker at the Nexus Global Youth Summit on “why mentoring matters”. Lejnieks has guest lectured at Brown University, Columbia Law School, NYU, Saint Peter’s University, Rutgers University and Seton Hall Law School on the topics of social entrepreneurialism, education, corporate social responsibility, diversity & inclusion, among other themes.
Lejnieks has a B.A. degree in International Relations and Commerce from Brown University and an M.Sc. degree from the London School of Economics. In 2011, he was given an Honorary Doctorate from Saint Peter’s University, where he delivered its commencement address. In 2014, he was given the inaugural Presidential Medallion from New Jersey City University (NJCU), where he also delivered its commencement address.
Board of Trustees
President & CEO
Leslie Quick III, Chair
Founding Partner, Massey Quick Simon
CEO (ret.), Pershing/BNYMellon
Philanthropist and Retired Teacher
Senior Partner, Genova Burns
*Former or Current Big
Chairman, Welcome Parking, LLC
Founder, Cornerstone Montclair
CEO (ret.), Mauser North America
VP, (office of CIO/COO), Goldman Sachs
*NJ Big Brother of the Year, 2010
EVP (ret.), RWJ Barnabas Health
Governor Thomas H. Kean
Dr. Joel S. Bloom, Ed. D.
Vice President Philanthropy, American Express
Dr. Nancy Cantor
Chancellor, Rutgers - Newark
Former Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Education
Dr. Susan A. Cole
President, Montclair State University
Eugene Cornacchia, Ph. D.
President, Saint Peter's University
CEO, Investors Bank
Dr. Dawood Farahi
President (ret.), Kean University
Senator William H. Frist
Former US Senate Majority Leader
Sue Henderson, Ph. D.*
President, New Jersey City University
*Former or current Big
Rev. David Jefferson, Jr.
Metropolitan Baptist Church
Rabbi Clifford Kulwin
Temple B'nai Abraham
Kerri Berson Levine
Fidelco Realty Group
Chief Diversity Officer (ret.), ADP
CEO, RWJBarnabas Health
Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, AMC
Chief Investment Officer, BlackRock
President & CEO, NJPAC
Anchor, NBC News
CHRO, Valley National Bank
Ted & Nina Wells
Honorary Chairman, ADP
Our Leadership Team
Cerigwyn (Kur-IG-wen) is passionate about supporting leaders as they invest in and serve their local communities. She is a huge supporter in the power of mentoring. Cerigwyn is also a Gold Star Speaker for Communication Across Barriers - an agency fighting the crisis of poverty.
Crystaliz is has been an advocate her entire career supporting others through mental health interventions and advocacy. Crystal earned her Master of the Science in Higher Education and a certificate in Cognitive behavioral Therapy. She is
Deborah graduated from Rutgers University. She believes our children deserve to be the best version of themselves and mentoring helps them achieve that. She loves working out and eating healthy.