Leadership

  • Joon Bang

    Joon Bang

    Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

    With more than 12 years of nonprofit leadership experience, Joon Bang is a recognized expert in the field of aging services, with a commitment to serving diverse and vulnerable populations. A graduate of Biola University, Joon began his nonprofit career with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Prior to joining Iona, he served as President and CEO of the Seattle-based National Asian Pacific Center on Aging and Executive Director of the Korean American Coalition (KAC) in Los Angeles. That city’s leaders honored Bang as a 2018 Impact-Maker to Watch, recognizing his skill “building consensus and coalitions to ensure the rights we all fight for regardless of ethnicity, faith, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.” In addition, under his leadership, KAC was selected as a 2017 California Nonprofit of the Year. In his spare time, Joon enjoys surfing, hiking, and hanging out with his rescue dog, Addie.

  • Nina Austin

    Nina Austin

    Director of Administration

    Nina joined Iona’s team in 2009, working on our Resource Guide publication and then as an Executive and Communications Assistant. She has been Director of Administration since 2011. In this role, Nina is responsible for human resources, technology, building operations, and security. She also supervises administrative staff, including our friendly front desk receptionists. Nina has more than 15 years of business management, retail, and administration experience, including eight years managing her own interior decorating and custom design business. Nina is also an avid volunteer, and has more than 30 years of service and advocacy in the community with PTA and children’s reading programs. Nina holds a BA in psychology from Denison University. Outside of Iona, Nina enjoys reading, sewing, gardening, and vacationing at the beach with her family.

  • Aida Čavalić

    Aida Čavalić

    Senior Director of Initiatives and Operations

    Aida joined Iona in July 2021. She brings two decades of Finance and Operations experience to her role, both in the nonprofit and corporate sectors. She previously served as the Director of Finance and Administration at FairVote, where she led an overhaul of Accounting and HR systems and was in charge of management, oversight, and strategic analysis of finance, operations, and HR. Prior to that, Aida held senior roles at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Brookings Institution’s Economic Studies Program. She has an MS in Economics of European Integration and Development from the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, an MA in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University in Budapest, and a BA in Economics from Wellesley College. Aida is passionate about Iona’s mission and very excited to be a part of the team.

  • Jafar Hussaini, EMBA

    Jafar Hussaini, EMBA

    Director of Finance and Accounting

    Jafar joined Iona in July 2020, bringing 10 years of experience in accounting and finance to the organization. Prior to working at Iona, he lived in New York City and served as Controller for Commonpoint Queens (formerly known as the Samuel Field Y and Central Queens Y), one of the largest nonprofit organizations in that borough. Jafar holds a degree in Political Science from the City University of New York and an Executive MBA from The George Washington University School of Business. He is also a Microsoft Certified Database Developer and Database Administrator. Besides being a numbers person, Jafar enjoys reading Eastern and Greek philosophy. His hobbies include playing soccer on the weekends (go FC Barcelona!), volleyball, and hiking and camping with friends.

  • Deborah Rubenstein, PhD, LICSW

    Deborah Rubenstein, PhD, LICSW

    Senior Director of Programs

    Deb has been on staff at Iona for more than 25 years. She has worked as a care manager, psychotherapist, and support group facilitator, and became the Director of Iona’s Consultation, Care Management, and Counseling Services in 2005. In 2021, she became Senior Director of Programs. In this role, Deb oversees a staff of social workers and nurses who provide direct support to older adults and their families, works with Iona’s Nutrition team, and leads Iona’s data and performance management initiatives. Deb also co-created and developed our online Aging Solo workshop series. A former attorney, Deb holds both an MSW and PhD from the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America.

  • Jennie Smith-Peers, MA

    Jennie Smith-Peers, MA

    Director of Development & Communications

    Jennie combines her management experience and leadership as a fundraising professional with a passion for the arts and aging. Prior to joining Iona’s staff in 2018, Jennie was the Executive Director of the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), leading the nation in supporting capacity building and arts advocacy for older adults. Prior to her tenure at NCCA, Jennie served as Executive Director of Elders Share the Arts in New York. Her love of working with older adults began during her time as an AmeriCorps member, which focused on supporting the health and well-being of older adults in Tennessee. Subsequently, this led Jennie to lead parallel careers as a professional actress and an administrator in aging. Jennie holds a BFA from Emerson College; is a graduate of Antonio Fava’s Stage Internazionale di Commedia dell’Arte in Reggio-Emilia, Italy; and earned a Masters in Drama Therapy from NYU, with a focus on geriatric mental health. Outside of Iona, Jennie enjoys perfecting growing tomatoes, back-country backpacking, participating in book clubs, going to Woolly Mammoth theater, and playing a mean bass-line on her tuba.