December 23, 2021

AFJ Hosts a Career Panel

Avenues for Justice (AFJ) hosted a Career Panel this past December to inspire and activate our participants. The professionals featured on the panel included a retired Supreme Court judge, a music producer, an athletics business owner, a popular Manhattan dog groomer, a barber, a renowned Harlem chef, and a dentist.

Panelists delved into their educational and professional journeys, shared tips with our participants on how to navigate through employment challenges and setbacks, and offered meaningful insights on their career trajectories.

The career panel was a great way to conclude AFJ’s Hire Up programming for the year. Our Hire Up program features job training, life skills and educational workshops, a mental health wellness series, including psychotherapist-led individual and group therapy—all of which impact our Participants' employability and personal growth.

If you are interested in sharing your career/professional experience with our participants, or have employment opportunities for our young adults, please reach out to the Manager of Court Advocacy & Outreach, Gamal Willis at

Nicholas Koury: Specializes in group fitness, as well as, personal training. He has played a part in hundreds of success stories during his time in the fitness industry. Nick has worked with a range of clients, from individuals who have never exercised before to professional athletes, tailoring each program to his client’s specific needs. Nick is devoted to his craft and gives his clients his best to ensure they develop the ability to make health and fitness a lifestyle, well beyond their time spent in the gym. On his spare time, Nick helps mentor and educate kids on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the benefits of exercise as an outlet to overcoming anxiety and stress.

Ryan Burvick: an MC, Producer, Creative director and graduate of Hunter College who leads a music production program at Rikers Island called “Beats, Rhymes and Justice.” The Beats, Rhymes and Justice program, one of many attempts to reform the jail. Ryan and the team from Columbia University use hip hop to take the inmates out of their cells and their immediate surroundings, to encourage self-expression and to give them hope.

Judge Eduardo Padro: Eduardo Padro is a former justice for the New York County Supreme Court, Criminal Term in the 1st Judicial District of New York, which he served from 2002–2015. Judge Padro received his B.A. from Yale University in 1975 and his J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 1980.

Dr. Michael Gayle: of Luxury Dental arts,has a passion for helping others which led him down the path of medicine into a career that allows him to provide his patients with high quality healthcare. He is a graduate of Binghamton University, and completed Dental School at Howard University. Dr. Gayle’s motto is "Giving excellent service to the community at large for a fraction of the cost".

Quie Slobert: the Chief Operating Officer of Charles Pan-Fried Chicken, an industry veteran and Harlem native who has worked everywhere from Raoul’s to Dave & Buster’s, to run the day-to-day. This past summer Quie, joined the AFJ family and was set to partner for our first ever Summer Youth Employment Program, giving clients at AFJ opportunities to join the culinary community.

Brian Taylor: Brian Taylor, a.k.a. The Dogfather of Harlem, is the founder of the Harlem Doggie Day Spa. Taylor discovered his passion for dog grooming while working as a banker, when he noticed that there were no pet care facilities in Harlem. Seeing an opportunity to serve his community, Taylor founded Harlem Doggie Day Spa, dedicated to providing cage-free boarding, daycare, and grooming services.

Lionel Kearse: is a master barber and manager of all Levels Barbershops. His clients include ESPN personalities, Ryan Clark and Sam Acho.


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