Who We Are
Wojciech Zolnowski, Executive Director
Director Zolnowski immigrated to the United States in 1996 from Poland. He has been the Executive Director of IIMD since 2005. Mr. Zolnowski has demonstrated he has both the personal and professional experience needed to carry out IIMD’s mission.
Mr. Zolnowski became a naturalized citizen in 2014. He is well known and trusted throughout Detroit’s immigrant communities. He received his MBA in 2001 from University of Detroit Mercy [UDM] and has twenty years of experience providing organizational management, program development, evaluation and finance.
His work has been paramount to integration efforts in the City of Detroit. As a founding member of the city’s first immigration task force, Mr. Zolnowski helped to devise the initial strategic plan which led to outcomes such as creating the Mayoral Office of Immigrant Affairs, Municipal ID program, branding of Banglatown, and expansion of the city’s language access program. He also was instrumental in designing the city’s first refugee resettlement program, which was implemented in 2016.
Additionally, Mr. Zolnowski and his community partner, Sufian Nabhan at the Islamic Center of Detroit, implemented the first equitable and integrated community driven development plan in Warrendale, the Warrendale Community Integration Plan [WCIP].
Lastly, Mr. Zolonwski has expansive experience successfully administering multiple federal, state and private grant funded programs. His portfolio includes CDBG/NOF, USCIS Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program, Center for Working Families [CWF], Food Assistance Employment and Training Plus Program [FAE&T Plus]; WIOA Title II AEFLA; and the Immigrant—Literacy and Employment Program [I-LEP] funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. He also manages a leadership team of fifteen individuals and is committed to hiring immigrants and native-born Detroiters as 50% of his staff are native Detroiters and 50% are immigrants.
Yumana Dubaisi, Director of Immigration Legal Department
Yumana E. Dubaisi is an attorney licensed by the State Bar of Michigan who specializes in the practice of immigration law. Yumana has been working for the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, a nonprofit organization, for over 15 years and currently serves as the Director of the Immigration Legal Department. She directly assists a diverse client base helping them achieve their legal goals. Yumana specializes in family based immigration, naturalization matters and humanitarian relief. Yumana completed her Law Degree in the Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela where she practiced law extensively before moving to the United States. Here in the United States, she attended Wayne State University and completed a Master of Law, LLM, with a major in Corporate and Finance Law.
Anne Roth, Director of Grants Administration
Anne Roth, IIMD’s Director of Grants Administration, began working for IIMD in 2017. She has been a resident of the City of Detroit for 34 years and has engaged in social justice issues since 1998. She has an extensive background in Detroit-based, non-profit and community organization management, including consultation; program design and development; research; grant writing; grant compliance; data analysis; evaluation; strategic planning; project management and oversight; and marketing and communications.
Anne received an MSW from Wayne State’s School of Social Work in 2012. Prior to joining IIMD’s team, was Chief of Staff/Senior Policy Analyst for Detroit City Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López from 2013 to 2017. In so doing, she worked closely with Council Member Castañeda-López, Council Member André Spivey and leaders from Detroit’s immigrant community to form the city’s Immigration Task Force. Through her guidance and established relationships, Anne brought diverse stakeholders together to produce outcomes such as the Mayoral Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Municipal ID ordinance and program, and Language Access Plan.
As a strategic and results oriented grant writer, her experience guides an instinctive ability to understand the needs of the populations served by IIMD and to address those needs in designing innovative and sustainable programs.
Nene Tesija Pocedic, DOJ Accredited Representative
Nene Tesija Pocedic is an accredited representative by the Department for Justice. She started her work with refugees and immigrants more than 40 years ago in February 1980, when as newly accredited Representative she assisted them not only with the legal immigrant issues but with the challenges facing all the new arrivals to this country. Over the years Nene has represented clients before the USCIS (INS), Asylum Office as well as the Immigration Court. This gave her an opportunity to work in the wide range of immigration law, including asylum, family reunification, consular processing and citizenship. She earned by BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan-Flint and her Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University. She puts emphasis with her clients since she too came to this country as an immigrant and can respect the challenges they need to overcome. She is fluent in Croatian language.
Kaity Nicastri, DOJ Accredited Representative
Kaity Nicastri, LMSW, DOJ Accredited Representative has been the paralegal for the Immigration Legal Department at IIMD since October 2018. She speaks and reads/writes Spanish fluently, and can understand basic Portuguese and Italian when spoken quite slowly or written down. She enjoys working at IIMD because of the interactions with people from around the world that have settled in Michigan and the ever-fascinating confluence of law and social work. Her lifelong dream is to travel to all the continents at least once, and has three to go: Africa, Oceania/Australia, and Antarctica.
Donna Beauregard, Immigration & Legal Volunteer
After graduating from the University of Detroit School of Law (now UDM), Donna worked at Legal Services of Eastern Michigan in Flint, MI for six years where she specialized in family law for abused women and children and public benefits. Following many years as a stay home parent, in 2012, she began volunteering at IIMD in the immigration legal department. Donna was born in Montreal, Quebec and became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1986. Raised in a racially and ethnically mixed neighborhood of Detroit, Donna developed a love for culturally diverse populations that continues to find fulfillment in her work with immigrant clients, staff, and friends at IIMD.
Jamie Yeats, Immigration & Legal Volunteer
McGill University, History, 1974-1976, Wayne State University, B.S. Criminal Justice, 1978, University of Michigan, M.P.P. 1982.
After retiring in 2011, I needed something to keep me busy and thinking or I'd drive my wife crazy. At that time WDET had a database app that listed open nonprofit volunteer opportunities in Detroit. I selected the International Institute because it was the only opportunity that interested me that had free employee/ volunteer parking.
In the subsequent 9 years working with immigration clients, have found rewards far exceeding free Midtown parking, including the successful citizenship client that years later will appear with bags of tamales form her shop.
Louise Ashwell, MSW Intern
Louise Ashwell has been an intern at IIMD since January 2020. She is pursuing her Masters in Social Work (MSW) at the University of Michigan, specializing in Social Policy & Evaluation, and is originally from the UK. At IIMD, she provides support with grant-writing; project management and oversight; marketing and communications; and evaluation. She enjoys working with remarkable, hardworking colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds and witnessing the difference that IIMD can help make in their lives.
Prior to her MSW, she worked as a frontline advocate, trainer and technological abuse adviser at a UK nonprofit supporting survivors of intimate partner violence. She has also worked abroad in Palestine supporting program development at the intersection between global health and capacity-building around gender-based violence. She is half-French and speaks, reads and writes French fluently; she can read and understand Spanish and is working on improving her spoken Spanish skills. Outside of work, she loves traveling and visiting new places and cooking dishes from across the world.
Mary Heinemann, MSW Intern
Mary also began her MSW internship at IIMD in early 2020 within the Legal Immigration team. She identifies as a fierce, passionate, wandering soul who is always learning how to be a more inclusive, anti-oppressive social worker after living abroad for most of the last 7 years in Tanzania where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Throughout her time with IIMD she has used her interests and skills towards projects like modernizing online platforms, marketing, blogs, communications, and general support of the team. She is currently working on outreach for future projects and workshops related to Naturalization. She believes that by uniting, learning from each other, and sharing space we can attempt to heal and dismantle the systems that oppress us all. She loves practicer her Swahili skills and paddleboading on Bell Isle.
Robert E. Sullivan Jr., General Counsel
Robert E. Sullivan, Jr. serves as the General Counsel and Director of Career Development for the International Institute. As part of his IIMD duties, he also has recently served as Vice President and President of Hamtramck United Social Services, assisting Michigan’s most ethnically and culturally diverse city, and he also provides professional services to the United Community Family Services (Chaldean American Ladies of Charity), in Troy. The grandson of Irish-Canadian immigrants, he first started at IIMD as a volunteer as a young child, and later served from 1993–2011 as a member of the IIMD Board of Directors and Advisory Council. In preparing for his career as both a city planner and attorney, he obtained a B.A. in political science and a B.A. in sociology from Monteith College (part of Wayne State University), a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, and a Juris Doctor (law) degree from the University of Detroit. He is licensed to practice law in Michigan (since 1984), the District of Columbia (since 1985), and in various federal courts up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court. He practiced as a litigation attorney for 23 years, as a partner with the Detroit law firm of Sullivan, Ward & Bone. He is a nationally certified city planner (AICP), served as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Detroit, and served as an Adjunct Professor of History at Macomb College. He has worked at the federal, state and local levels of government. He has authored many publications, lectured extensively on various topics of the law, city planning and Detroit history, and has traveled to many countries, particularly to Europe, Russia, China, and Asia. In 2018, he was honored for being a charter member and 40 year member of the American Planning Association. In 2020, he was awarded the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.