Board of Directors
Jadwiga Palade (President) a member since 1972, at the urging of Countess Dembinska, has served as a Director, Vice President and from 2006 as President. She graduated from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. Her talents became evident in the 1990s as she managed Polish Assistance’s three retirement homes in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Using her experience as a successful owner of an export company, Jadwiga is concentrating on running Polish Assistance as efficiently as possible and on fundraising to allow the organization to increase assistance to needy individuals. Since her retirement, she divides her time between homes in Florida, Poland and the Bahamas. Her daughter and grandson are active members of the organization.
Dr. Nina Thiessen (Vice President) has held a leadership position since she first attended the Bal Polonaise and in 1991 became a Board member. Dr. Thiessen was born in Warsaw and participated in the Warsaw Uprising. She came to the United States with a degree in medicine and specialization in internal medicine and pulmonology. In New York, she became a trained addiction specialist. She has the arduous task of being a member of the Grant Committee and is always challenging us to increase our fundraising efforts so that more assistance can be granted.
Marissa Goba (Secretary) has joined the Board of Directors in 2018 after many years of supporting various Polish culture organizations. Following in her family’s footsteps, she is passionate about giving back to the community and growing awareness of Polish Assistance through social media and digital communications. She graduated from Fairfield University and studied at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She is an active member of the New York Junior League and is a Young Fellow at the Morgan Library in NYC.
Eva Skibicki (Treasurer) recently retired as a Managing Director at Raymond James, a financial services company in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she managed fixed income trading. She has been an active fundraiser for several organizations and is also a Board Member and a Treasurer of the American Institute of Polish Culture, Tampa Bay. Her commitment to Polish Assistance stems from her strong belief in giving back, as well as, a strong desire to continue the multi-generational participation in the Polish Assistance of many of our members.
Ewa Meyerhoff (Director) joined the Board after many years of supporting Polish Assistance. She is a successful real estate entrepreneur and mother of two adult children. Originally from Chicago, where she was active in a number of organizations, Ewa moved to New York City. After a pause due to personal commitments, she has agreed to support our fundraising efforts so that more of the elderly in the Polish community can live out their lives in dignity. She is especially pleased that her daughter, Dr. Ava Sierecki is an active member of Polish Assistance and acted as a Co-Chair of the 2014 Bal Polonaise.
Lady Blanka A. Rosenstiel, Honorary Consul to the Republic of Poland, (Director) is a pillar of the Polish community through her leadership, sponsorship, and avid interest in the arts, dedication to helping young artists, and desire to promote Poland’s heritage. She established The American Institute of Polish Culture, Inc. in Miami and the Chopin Foundation of the United States. Mrs. Rosenstiel has been awarded many titles and honors including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Cavalier’s Cross of Polonia Restituta Order, Jose Marti Medal, and Polish Commander Cross of the Order of Merit.
Nina Mlodzinska de Rovira (Director) continues her tenure as a Board Member and her countless contributions have made it possible for Polish Assistance to carry on charitable works for so many years. Countess Dembinska invited her to join the Junior Committee in 1961 and since then, Nina has played a pivotal role as a Board member, Chairman of the Board as well as chair many of the previous balls. She is a Senior Vice President at the Cochran Group of Real Estate New York City and she commutes between her residences in New York and Florida.
Cesare L. Santeramo, Knight Commander of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, (Director) received the Amicus Poloniae Award as well as the White Eagle Award for his efforts to promote Polish causes. An active member since 1970, he served 12 times as Chairman and Co-Chair of the Bal Polonaise and recently has been a most gracious Master of Ceremonies. After giving up his operatic career, Cesare segued into charity work to assist young aspiring artists through The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and Opera Index among others, as well as, he has adjudicated vocal competitions. Due to Cesare’s special efforts, Prince Albert of Monaco was the Honorary Chairman of the 2011 Bal Polonaise and Princess Grace is an Honorary Board member of Polish Assistance.
Eryka Volker (Director) is a well-known activist in the Polish community and has been involved in charity work for over 25 years. Her work on behalf of the needy has been profiled in many newspaper articles as well as on local TV. Her professional career included work as an economist and researcher. She was an educator and currently works in the real estate business. She joined the Board and the Grant Committee to give her insight into the needs of the Polish community. In 2008, she received the distinction of Honorary Badge of Polish Red Cross and the Bronze Cross of Merit. She is a founder and coordinator for Homeless SOS, member of Children Smile Foundation and is active in many other organizations.
Founder – Maria Dembinski
President Emeritus – Teresa Sulimirski
Dr. Robert J. Campbell, K.C.S.J.,
Past Honorary Members:
Artur Rubinstein, H.S.H. Grace of Monaco, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jerzy Kosinski