May 9, 2022

Samantha Morales, Director of ELDD
New York – Downstate

samantha morales.JPGSamantha Morales is an Organization Development and Training professional who specializes in transformation. A healthcare veteran with over 20 years of experience, her passion is working with and improving the lives of working-class families like hers and the ones she was raised with in Brooklyn, NY.

Her career began as a Medicaid Interviewer at Beth Israel Medical Center, where she became an 1199 member. She progressed through the ranks, becoming a union delegate, then an organizer. During this time Samantha deepened her knowledge and passion for union activism. Her mom was a member of the United Federation of Teachers, and her dad was a member and leader with District Council of Carpenters Local 1536. Her brother is also the Director of Industry Advancement at I.U.O.E. Local 14-14B.

As a union organizer, she was shaped by the influences of union leaders such as John Reid and George Gresham. It was John who brought Samantha onto his team, coaching, and mentoring her as an organizer. Samantha was known in her institution as a supportive and inspirational organizer; She understood the value of creating environments where delegates and members were empowered to act.

In 1997, 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds launched a new initiative called the Labor Management Project (LMP). Samantha joined LMP in this year as one of the original Labor Management Consultants. As a consultant, Samantha helped union members and their management counterparts identify their shared interests and jointly address problems concerning their institutions. Her expertise and ability to develop relationships with both union and management clients provided her the opportunity to lead numerous projects, skill building sessions and performance improvement initiatives where she facilitated difficult conversations, created joint teams, improved processes, and built trust within teams. An avid learner, Samantha continually developed her professional skills, which led to her promotion into the role of LMP’s first Development Manager.

Through hard work and dedication, she built the department from scratch. Under her tenure, hundreds of union and management clients enhanced their skills in communication, facilitating meetings and leadership. Samantha not only led the development of all the curriculum for the development classes, but she also taught them. She developed and facilitated retreats and strategic planning sessions to help union and management identify their mutual organizational goals and develop action steps to meet them.

In 2019, Samantha was honored to accept the opportunity to return home to her roots. In July 2019, she accepted the position as Director with our union’s Education and Leadership Development Department (ELDD). In her leadership role, Samantha continues to work passionately and tirelessly with the ELDD team to develop programs for our delegates, activists, and staff.

Samantha holds a master’s degree in Organization Development from American University in Washington D.C. Still a Brooklynite, most of her weekends are spent with her two adult sons, she affectionately refers to as “her boys”. One of her favorite quotes is: “Believe in yourself, learn, and never stop wanting to build a better world” – Mary Mcleod Bethune.

Donald Hemmings
New York – Downstate

donald hemmings.JPGDonald Hemmings is the newest member of the Education and Leadership Development team.

Donald comes to the organization with a wealth of knowledge in workforce development, adult education, curriculum development, and education counseling. In his previous position at the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund, he served as a Field Coordinator where he worked closely with Union organizing staff to serve HHC members. He also participated in the development and implementation of training programs and initiatives including DSRIP and WIO. Donald has a master’s degree in Education-Counselling from Alfred University, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica West Indies. He is very passionate about social and economic justice and the role of education in social change.

Kerline Cornet
New York – Downstate

“When we see our members not only understand their power, but walk in it, then we know we’ve done our part.”- KC

Kerline joined 1199SEIU in 2000, her connection with the Union came in the form of her mother, who worked as a home health aide for more than two decades. Watching her mother struggle to make ends meet with less than ten dollars an hour fueled her to level the playing field as much as she could and push past those barriers. What started as a temporary position within 1199SEIU became a permanent home for the last Twenty years.

As the Sr. Administrative Coordinator, she aims to provide valuable and informative information to our members. Her passion for connecting with people shines through in her day-to-day conversations with the members. Obtaining her master’s degree in Social Work helps her to stay grounded and continue pushing forward. Understanding that knowledge is the key foundation to leveraging the landscape, her goal is and always has been to work with members on a human level, creating a space to share their stories, and see their strength.

Tamika Stewart
New York – Downstate

tamika stewart.JPGTamika E. Stewart is a strong advocate for worker rights and understands the importance of empowering union leaders. A graduate from Fordham University Tamika brings a social work perspective to the education team. As a licensed social worker, she offers a level of expertise in human behavior, nonprofit management, and self-development. Tamika loves training and the opportunity to build confidence in the leaders of the organization.

“The power is within you. More people would find it if they weren’t scared to look within.” - Tamika S.

Lawrence Brooks
New York – Upstate

Lawrence Brooks is an Education Coordinator with 1199SEIU from the Upstate/WNY region. He’s originally from Brooklyn, NY, but now resides in Syracuse, NY. He graduated from Anthony A. Henninger Highschool in Syracuse then attended Oswego State University and Bryant and Stratton College. His goals are to continue to identify and educate members and staff in Union education and Leadership development. His hobbies consist of cooking and music.

Fun Fact: Lawrence is the First African American Education Coordinator from the Upstate/WNY Division.

Clara Smith
Florida Region

Clara is a native of Alabama and started her education at Tuskegee Institute. She later completed her education at Emery Riddle University in Germany. Her career in the labor movement began as an organizer/educator with experience in all three sectors of labor (private, federal, and public).

Clara transitioned in August 2015 from SEIU International, to work with 1199SEIU Education Department. Since joining 1199 SEIU Florida, she has made significant contributions through restructuring, as well as increased member education through savvy internal organizing strategies.

Clara’s illustrious career has many highlights but none greater than raising her five children who are equally as passionate about the rights of workers as she is.

Adeyemi Bandele
Maryland/DC Region

Adeyemi Bandele is the Regional Education Coordinator for the Maryland and District of Columbia region. He began his service in May of 2018. Adeyemi comes from a background of community and international activism. As a founding member of the National Black United Front, Adeyemi served as the Vice Chairman for International Affairs. Adeyemi’s connection to 1199SEIU came about as a result of his work with former Assemblyman Roger Green and through his mother Rose Marson who was a delegate at Franklin Nursing Home in Queens New York. In his early years he was a student activist as Chairman of the African American Students Association. He went on to help found the EAST Cultural and Educational Center in Brooklyn New York which continues today as the International African Arts Festival. Adeyemi’s education background began as an instructor in the Uhuru Sasa School, a Brooklyn based independent school. He received his Master of Human Services from Lincoln University as was an adjunct instructor and recruiter. Adeyemi is the father of seven children and grandfather of nine.

Marlon Washington

Marlon is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana. He served four years in the United States Marine Corps. Marlon then went on to receive his Bachelor of History and Social Studies Education from the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, MN. He has been working in community organizing and labor organizing since 2006 and joined 1199SEIU in 2016 as an administrative organizer. Marlon started his current position as Education Coordinator for the MA division of 1199SEIU in April of 2021. He currently lives in Taunton MA with his wife Carol and their four children, two girls who are almost six and seven, and twin four-year-old boys.