Vanessa is a global public health professional with five years of experience providing high impact development, technical assistance, data evaluation, and program implementation services to nonprofit organizations working to improve the health and wellness of young adults, women and children. Her desire is to continue to contribute to the enhancement of the lives of people that lack access to healthcare and/or the proper resources or education to live healthy fulfilling lives. Vanessa also serves as the CEO/Founder of Africa’s Health Matters Foundation in a volunteer capacity. Vanessa started the "Africa’s Mental Health Matters" within the organization to bring awareness to mental health issues amongst the youth population in Africa and the diaspora. Vanessa is also the founder of a female-led initiative called "The Seasoned Woman," creating a collaborative space for women to share their experiences, provide resources and new perspectives. This initiative is built on preparing, building and encouraging a generation of women to love themselves, God, and people. Vanessa holds a BSc in Exercise Health Science from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in global public health from New York University.
Ruth is the Program and Training Assistant at World Connect. Prior to joining the team, she served as a CorpsAfrica volunteer in Salima District, Malawi for a year, where she used Asset Based Community Development approach and Human Centered Design in facilitating community projects. She is also a 2017 Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center alumna, an opportunity that accelerated her drive for community development and women inclusion in the development arena. Ruth holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry education, from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College.
Patrick Higdon is the Director of Programs at World Connect. In this role he is responsible for overall program quality and integrity and guides our program strategy, team, and key partnerships. He is also World Connect's representative in the United Kingdom. Prior to becoming Director of Programs, Patrick was Program Manager for 7 years and spent 2+ years as the Program Coordinator for World Connect's education program.
Rhoda Kanyesigye is the Country Director for World Connect Rwanda. Prior to joining the organization, she worked for Send a Cow/Ripple Effect in Rwanda and Burundi as the Programme Funding Manager, overseeing program business development and resource mobilization activities in both countries.
Prior to Send a cow/Ripple Effect, Rhoda spent six and a half years working with the US Peace Corps Rwanda managing their small grants program where she had her first interaction with managing World Connect-funded projects.
Earlier in her career, Rhoda worked for the Government of Rwanda in different organisations. She holds a master's Degree in Business Administration with specialisation in Project Management from Mount Kenya University and a Bachelors Degree in Development Economics from Makerere University.
Frank is a Certified Grants and Program Management professional with over thirteen years' experience in projects and grants management. Prior to joining the World Connect team, he spent six and half (6.5) years at U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi managing their small grants program. His experience spans from project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to project closeout. He is also highly experienced in organizational capacity building and development of monitoring and evaluation tools. Before to joining U.S. Embassy, he spent eight years working as Program Manager for the Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA). He holds an MSc in Transformative Community Development from Mzuzu University and a BSc in Rural and Community Development. Frank grew up in the village and was the first person in his village to go to University. His passion in community development is to lead a transformative change in his country. He is married to Susan and together, they have three children, two girls and one boy.
Christine Lackowski is the Chief Operating Officer at World Connect. Prior to joining the organization, she was the COO at Project Sunshine, a non-profit organization based in New York City, with programming across the United States and abroad. In addition, she has worked for multiple nonprofit agencies, while serving as a Client Manager at BTQ Financial, in the area of finance and accounting. Prior to entering the nonprofit sector, Christine worked in the financial services industry.
Christine holds an Masters of Public Administration degree from Baruch College, a Masters of Business Administration degree from Pace University, and a Business Administration degree from the University of Georgia.
Kathryn Murphy is the Development Director of World Connect. She joined World Connect in 2021 bringing with her over 15 years’ development experience. Prior to joining the organization, she was the Regional Director, Corporate Partnerships at the American Red Cross in Northern California where she oversaw a team of fundraisers focused on developing complex corporate and foundation partnerships in support of the Red Cross mission. Before joining the Red Cross, she was the Director of Philanthropy at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Director of Development and Strategic Engagement at United Way, Events Manager at St. Anthony Foundation, and Executive Director of The Voice Foundation. She is also a proud alumna of City Year, AmeriCorps.
Currently based in Lisbon, Portugal, she holds dual Bachelor Degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree from Temple University in Sociology.
Bernadette is the Field Officer for World Connect. Prior to joining the organization, she served with the Malawi Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and social welfare, in implementing interventions that respond to issues of gender-based violence, ending child marriage, and upholding the rights of children. Previously, she served as a Global Health Corps Fellow under the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation in Malawi as part of the Monitoring and Evaluation team overseeing the quality of interventions in ending mother to child HIV/AIDS transmission. Bernadette has also worked with Youth Net, PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), and Plan-International. She holds a Bachelor of Art Humanities Degree from University of Malawi.
Pamela Nathenson is the Executive Director of World Connect. Prior to joining the organization she was Director of Program and Resource Development at the Fund for Public Health in New York, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the work of the New York City Health Department. As its first hire, Pamela was integrally involved in all aspects of the Fund's start-up, development and growth.
She worked closely with leading scientists at the NYC Health Department to position innovative initiatives for funding, pursue new business opportunities, and develop relationship strategies and partnerships, while defining and implementing organizational policy decisions and directions. During her eight years with the Fund, she helped raise more than $250 million in public and private sector funds to support Health Department priorities. Prior to joining the Fund, Pamela was the Director of Programs at the REACH Community Health Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Northern Berkshire Health Systems in Massachusetts. Pamela earned her Bachelor's Degree in the Philosophy of Medicine from Boston University's University Professors Program and her Master's degree in Public Health with a concentration in International Health from Boston University's School of Public Health.
Natacha Scott-Weiss has been a Field Coordinator for World Connect since 2016. She is an expert on refugee issues and on development impact analysis with a special focus on gender.
From 1995 to 2000, she worked as an advocate for Refugees International in Africa, both West Africa and the Great Lakes. Natacha's work in Sierra Leone was credited in the New York Times and she was interviewed by CNN, ABC and Fox News. In 2001, she founded the US foundation "American Friends of the Bambi Homes Colombia" a foundation for abandoned children in Colombia. She was the President of the organization from 2001 to 2011. In 2007, Natacha helped form Surgeons Overseas (SOS), an organization assisting and developing surgical capacity in under-resourced countries, such as Sierra Leone. Her two decades of experience include missions throughout Africa and the Americas.
Born in Toronto, Canada and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, she holds a BA (Honors) in International Relations and Psychology with an emphasis on Refugees Studies from Webster University. She is fluent in English, French, Spanish and conversational in German.
Nina Watkins is the Project Coordinator for NYC Connect. Prior to joining the organization she spent ten years at the Open Society Foundation where she was a Program Officer in the International Children and Youth Department. She has also worked as a Development Coordinator for Esperanza, NY, an alternative to incarceration program for young people in New York City, as the Development Director for the International Debate Education Association and for the Housing Stabilization Fund at LISC. In addition to a career in non profit work, Nina is a working potter and has received grants from ChaShaMa to collaborate with other makers and artists to open temporary gallery spaces in NYC. Nina is a life long New Yorker who earned her Bachelor's degree in Sculpture at Bard College and her Master's degree in Urban Planning at Hunter College with a concentration in Housing and the Built Environment.
Board of Directors
Christoph Becker is the driving force behind the reinvention of business-to-business (B2B) marketing. As both CEO and CCO, he has grown gyro into one of the largest, most successful B2B agencies in the world.
Under Becker’s leadership, gyro was named 2019 Global B2B Agency of the Year by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) as well as B2B Marketing’s Top U.S. B2B Agency 2017-2018. gyro was also named Advertising Age’s 2016 Global B2B Agency of the Year. In 2018, Becker was inducted into the ANA’s prestigious B2B Hall of Fame.
Becker has spent nearly 30 years building brands and creative cultures around the globe. Before gyro, he served as Chairman and CCO of FCB New York for eight years, leading the agency’s creative output across the entire client portfolio. A true global citizen, he spent seven years in Mexico City as CCO of Bozell Latin America, where he guided the creative success of eight countries. Prior to Bozell, he worked at TAPSA Madrid and Ogilvy & Mather Madrid.
Becker has spoken at a number of high-profile events such as Cannes Lions, Fortune Brainstorm: Tech, Forbes CMO Summit and Advertising Week. Throughout the course of his career, he has judged nearly every major creative awards show including Cannes Lions, the Effie Awards, Spikes Asia and FIAP. Becker has also served as jury chair at Dubai Lynx.
For the past decade Christoph has been a board member of the International Rescue Committee (rescue.org), a global non-profit organization founded by Albert Einstein.
George Biddle is a humanitarian and development expert with over three decades of experience in crisis response, peace-building, and conflict mitigation. He is currently the chairman of World Connect.
From 2000 to 2015, Biddle was the executive vice president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a leading humanitarian organization that responds to conflict and natural disasters across the globe. He served as the IRC’s acting president from May to July 2002. Previously, he served as the vice president of the International Crisis Group. Biddle was also president of the Institute for Central American Studies, an organization he founded in 1989 to assist post-cold war Central America in its transition from violent conflict to peace and democracy.
Biddle has testified before Congress and presented at the UN Security Council and the European Parliament, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and currently serves as a board member of the IRC as well as several other nonprofits. He received his AB from Harvard and MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Clara Bingham is a journalist, author and documentary film producer whose work has focused on social justice and women's issues. Her most recent book is Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul (Random House, 2016). Previously, she produced a documentary that exposed the ravages of mountain top removal coal mining in Appalachia. Clara and Laura Leedy Gansler co-wrote Class Action: The Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law (Doubleday, 2002), which was adapted into the 2005 feature film North Country (Warner Bros).
Women on the Hill: Challenging the Culture of Congress (Times Books, 1997) chronicles the lives of four female members of the 103rd Congress following the 1992 "Year of the Woman" elections. As a Washington, D.C. correspondent for Newsweek from 1989 to 1993, Clara covered the George H. W. Bush White House leading up to and during the 1992 presidential election. She also worked as a press secretary on the Michael Dukakis 1988 Democratic presidential campaign.
Clara's freelance writing has appeared in publications including The Daily Beast, Ms., Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Talk, Glamour, The Washington Monthly and United Press International, the wire service for which she wrote as a stringer from Papua New Guinea. Clara graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. in History and Literature.
Stephanie Cabot is half French, half American and grew up in London, Paris and New England. She attended Harvard, where she studied History, and first worked in New York and London with JP Morgan. Her career as an agent began at WME in London, where she spent nine years and ran the office for the last five, before relocating to the US and to The Gernert Company in NYC, where she worked for fifteen years. Stephanie joined SLA in the Spring of 2020. Stephanie’s interests are a reflection of her own reading tastes which have always been wide and far ranging. She represents authors from all over the world and is drawn to the international narratives whether told in story, memoir or essays as well as literary fiction reflecting diverse, global voices, speculative fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, crime and thrillers.
Courtenay Cabot Venton is an international development economist. By demonstrating the relative returns of social and environmental interventions, she contributes to an evidence base for what works and what doesn't when it comes to reducing poverty worldwide. Courtenay's recent work demonstrates that, by responding proactively to some of the world's most pressing problems, we can not only avert human suffering, but we could also save billions of dollars – dollars that are critically needed to continue to support people's growth out of poverty.
Tamala Chirwa is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Credentialed Associate Certified Coach specializing in Executive Leadership and Group and Team Coaching. She is a Certified DISC Practitioner, Corporate Trainer/Leadership Consultant. She has an MBA from MANCOSA, ACCA Diploma in Financial Management and a Post-Graduate Management Certificate from University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. During her twenty-year corporate career, she held various positions in leading organizations in Malawi, South Africa and Kenya and excelled at delivering high- value solutions as a manager in the Finance, Administration and Human Resources Management functions. She is highly experienced in designing and delivering leadership development and coach- training program in organizations. She is a Vital Voices Leadership Fellow and a member of a Global Network of Women Leaders who improve lives in their communities. Apart from developing women in leadership, Tamala works with and supports leaders who intentionally seek to transform their leadership journeys for their own growth and the people they lead. She is also the Founder of Women’s Leadership Footprint (WLF), a Coaching Practice that supports women in leadership to be effective and impactful in their roles. She is currently the Director, Women in News – Africa.
John G. Coumantaros is the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN), the largest food and agro-allied concern in West Africa. An experienced and successful entrepreneur with interests around the globe, Mr Coumantaros was born in 1961 and graduated from Yale University with a B.A. Degree in History in 1984.
Mr. Coumantaros began his long relationship with FMN in 1984 and was appointed to FMN’s Board as a non-executive Director in 1990. He served as a Non-Executive Vice Chairman of the Company and its subsidiaries from 2012 until he was elected Chairman of FMN Board of Directors in 2014. He is also the Chairman & CEO of Southern Star Shipping CO. Inc. of New York, sits on the Board of the Oxbow Carbon LLC, a leading U.S. based international energy company, and is a Director of ELBISCO, a fast-moving consumer food business in Athens, Greece.
Mr. Coumantaros has over 30 years’ experience in international trade, logistics, manufacturing, and industry and is passionately dedicated to the industrial and agricultural development of Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa. The founder of the US Nigerian Business Council, he is also an active supporter of a number not-for-profit initiatives globally.
Glen Davis is Medical Director for Education & Training at the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS), a non-profit social services agency that provides psychiatric services to homeless and formerly homeless individuals in New York City. A physician and mental health professional, he provides clinical care through the Project for Psychiatric Outreach to the Homeless (PPOH) at CUCS and directs all medical education and professional development activities at the agency. He also leads the implementation of a New York State opioid overdose prevention initiative in 54 programs across New York City. Dr. Davis graduated from Hamilton College with a concentration in comparative literature and earned his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He completed residency and fellowship training in psychiatry at Cambridge Health Alliance, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York University Medical Center and Columbia University Medical Center, where he is an instructor in clinical psychiatry. Dr. Davis has been a co-investigator on NIH funded research studies, and he has authored peer-reviewed articles on the epidemiology of psychiatric and substance use disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to medical school, Dr. Davis served for three years as a community health education volunteer with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso (West Africa).
Julia Haney is a Co-Founder of World Connect and has been involved with our cause for eleven years, two of which she worked as the Director of Education and Outreach. Julia worked to expand the education program, support school and program partners, and empower students everywhere to believe that they can change the world.
Julia earned her bachelor degree cum laude in English at Harvard University.
Robert Hecht is a Managing Director at Results for Development. He manages a growing portfolio of projects analyzing policy barriers and solutions related to AIDS and health financing, and improving R&D and access to new health technologies in developing countries. Previously he spent four years as Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Prior to this, he enjoyed a 20 year tenure at the World Bank, where he occupied a number of senior posts.
His posts at the World Bank include Manager of the Bank's central unit for Health, Nutrition, and Population, Chief of Operations for the Human Development Network, and Principal Economist for the Latin America region. He was a lead author of the 1993 World Development Report, "Investing in Health,"" and from 1987 to 1996 he was responsible for World Bank sponsored studies and projects in health in Africa and Latin America, most notably in Zimbabwe and Argentina. Robert served as a director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) from 1998 to 2001, where he managed technical units based in South Africa, Cote d'Ivoire, and Thailand, as well as in Geneva. He led UNAIDS efforts to portray AIDS as a development and poverty issue impacting a wide range of social and economic goals, and published a number of papers advancing this view. Robert is the author of more than 30 articles and other publications. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale and his doctorate from Cambridge University.
James Hunt is a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Tocqueville Asset Management, where he serves as Chairman of the Investment Committee and lead portfolio manager for the firm's International and Global strategies.
Prior to Tocqueville, he spent 10 years as an executive in corporate finance at Lehman Brothers and Dillon Read, advising corporations and governments globally on privatizations, mergers and acquisitions and capital raising transactions. James also serves on the board of WaterAid America, a not for profit focused on clean water and sanitation. He earned a BA from Brown University and an MBA from Yale's School of Organization and Management.
Rehmah Kasule is a social innovator, a gender and youth development expert, and a prolific serial entrepreneur who started her first business, a Branding and Marketing firm at 26 years. In 2007, after successfully running her business for ten years, she shifted from building brands to shifting mindsets and founded CEDA International in Uganda. Through her visionary leadership and with funding from US State Department, United Nations Democracy Fund and MacArthur Foundation, Rehmah has successfully designed and implemented projects in girls education, youth development, mentorship, women’s leadership, human trafficking, preventing violent extremism, and active citizenship impacting over 168,000 youths and women on the African continent. Her work was recognized by President Barack Obama in 2010 and won several international awards including Fortune and Goldman Sachs Global Women’s Leadership Award 2014.
With more than 25 years proven track record, she has delivered expert consultancy in strategic planning, gender mainstreaming, trade and export promotions, policy analysis and management, financial inclusion and private sector development for African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, International Trade Center and United Nations. She engendered the Uganda’s National Export Strategy with cross-sector strategic plans that built resilient and sustainable frameworks for government ministries and trade agencies to develop inclusive growth that mainstreamed women in trade and increased their participation in male-dominated export sectors. She has also served twice as a Wise Head Judge for the MacArthur Foundation 100&Change, a $100 million competition to help solve a critical social problem.
Rehmah is a graduate of Peace, Conflict and International Development, an Aspen Leadership Fellow, Senior Synergos Fellow, VVLead Fellow and a Global Ambassador for Let Girls Learn, a Michelle Obama initiative. Her book “From Gomba to the White House” has equipped over 3 million young people with tools to discover who they are, dream big, design goals, develop key skills that lead them to rewarding destinies. As a senior Fellow of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University, she designed the PLUS+AFRICA Leadership and Employment Linkubator, a social venture that is focused on the Future of Work by creating employment pathways for youth in Africa.
Arum Lee Lansel is an experienced leader with two decades of experience in the nonprofit, philanthropy, international development, and venture capital sectors. Her vast breadth of leadership roles in these industries has allowed her to see what works in which context, and bring best practices across sectors.
She is currently the Vice President of Learning & Development at General Catalyst (GC), a leading venture capital firm with over $32 billion in assets under management. At GC she built learning programs and spearheaded the first-ever racial justice initiative and helped GC become a DEI leader within the VC industry.
Formerly Arum led operations at one of the largest philanthropic organizations, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which grants over $400 million every year to nonprofit and mission-driven organizations. She worked with nonprofits across the globe to support their organizational effectiveness and designed capacity building strategies. She also shaped the theory of change and led monitoring, evaluation, and learning efforts.
Arum has extensive international expertise, with a masters degree in International Development from American University’s School of International Service. She worked for Tetra Tech DPK, a USAID contractor, as a Senior Project Officer and managed multi-million dollar USAID-funded projects in several post-conflict countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, West Bank, and Jordan.
In addition to World Connect, she is also proud to sit on the Board of Choshen Farm, a nonprofit serving community needs in rural Zambia.
Dr Anatole Manzi serves as Deputy Chief Medical Officer in charge of Clinical Quality and Health Systems Strengthening at Partners In Health (PIH). He also serves as Director of Learning Collaborative aiming at strengthening COVID-19 contact tracing and expanded public health response through learning and exchange series targeted to expert implementers as part of the US Public Health Accompaniment Unit.
Previously, Dr. Manzi served as the Director of Clinical Practice and Quality Improvement and Director of Global Learning and Training at PIH. In these roles, he oversaw the organization-wide education and training strategy, including the development and standardization of guidelines and tools essential for PIH-supported countries to deliver high quality care.
Dr Manzi is assistant professor at University of Global Health Equity, adjunct professor of global health at Tufts University, and lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School. He also co-directs the Equity Approach to Pandemic Preparedness and Response, an online self-learning course which brings together public health experts leading national and global efforts to analyze challenges and strategic interventions through practical, interdisciplinary and equity-driven approach to address COVID-19 and other pandemics.
Dr. Manzi is the founder of Move Up Global, a Boston-based organization striving to improve access to better health and education in remote and resource-constrained communities. His research focuses on evaluating healthcare quality improvement and innovative interventions to eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in resource-limited settings.
Dr Manzi is an active member and advisor at various organizations and working groups including the World Health Organization and International Standards Organization. He is also a New Voices Senior Fellow at Aspen Institute.
Morag Mwenya Neill-Johnson has over 7 years of experience addressing social and economic advancement and systemic oppression across Africa through nonprofit and grant-making organizations. Originally from southern Africa, Mrs. Neill-Johnson integrates localization and applies a gender-prioritized lens to her work. Mrs. Neill-Johnson is a program officer with Results for Development's innovation practice team where she collaborates on the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA), and the Million Lives Club and Frontier Technologies projects. She also explores integrating systems innovation into the innovation practice. Mrs. Neill-Johnson’s diverse portfolio expands from refugee studies to reimagining international development’s funding landscape. She received her master's degree in human rights studies from Columbia University where she focused her academic career on the intersection of identity, inclusion and gender-based violence in African refugee settings. She was inducted into the class of 2018 Most Influential People of African Decent (Under 40) in recognition of the Decade for People of African Descent. Mrs. Neill-Johnson recently managed the Africa portfolio for World Connect, providing technical coaching to local development actors addressing health, education, economic opportunity and environmental projects in their communities. Prior to this, she spent a number of years working on integrating innovative solutions for water access across Africa. She has also worked with organizations addressing HIV/AIDs in Uganda and Botswana and child trafficking in the United States. Mrs. Neill-Johnson has an MA in human rights studies from Columbia University and a BA in anthropology from the College of Wooster.
Amédée Prouvost was the Chief Operational Risk Officer of the World Bank where he led the institution’s risk governance and non-financial risk practice, including operational risk management, business continuity and crisis management, enterprise risk management and corporate insurance. He also served as the Secretary of the Operational Risk, Enterprise Risk, and Financial Risk Committees.
During the last 18 months of his 37-year career with the World Bank Group (WBG), he was deeply involved in shaping the institution's emergency response to the COVID crisis and then designing its future "hybrid work model" with a view towards improving risk awareness, achieving better risk-informed decision-making, and leading to greater resilience at the individual, functional, and institutional levels.
In earlier stages of his career, Mr. Prouvost held positions across the WBG’s finance and risk functions, including CFO of MIGA (political risk insurance), Manager for Development Finance, and Financial Representative in Europe. He also served in a variety of roles in the treasury function and as Senior Adviser to three WBG CFOs. He began his professional career at Banque Paribas (now BNP Paribas) and served as a Reserve Officer with the French Navy.
Mr. Prouvost recently joined Chapelle (Risk Management Advisory, Training, Insights) as Senior Advisor. He looks forward to addressing the ERM/ORM needs of IFIs/MDBs and UN agencies globally and working with clients in the Americas.
He also serves as faculty member with the DCRO Risk Governance Institute, as President of the Board of Alliance Française of Washington DC (voted "Best Arts & Culture Non-Profit" in DC in both 2019 and 2020), as a member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Board of UNICEF USA, and as a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network.
Mr. Prouvost holds an MBA (with distinction) from the Wharton School, a Master’s degree in economics and statistics from ENSAE Paris (one of the French "grandes écoles"), and a Master of Advanced Studies in economics and finance from Paris Dauphine-PSL University.
JJ Ramberg is the host of MSNBC's Your Business, the only television show dedicated to issues affecting small business owners. She is also author of the book It's Your Business – 183 Essential Tips that Will Transform Your Small Business. With her brother, JJ co-founded GoodSearch.com, a company that transforms every day actions into opportunities to support a favorite cause. Her business career began after JJ received her MBA while she was the Director of Marketing and Business Development and one of the first employees at Los Angeles-based Cooking.com.
Before joining MSNBC, JJ was a reporter at CNN where she covered a wide range of topics, ranging from breaking news to profiles of the country's top business leaders. JJ has been awarded Self Magazine's "Women Doing Good" award, Jewish Women International's "Women to Watch," and the New York Enterprise Report's Small Business Advocate among other recognition. JJ graduated cum laude from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and received her MBA from Stanford Business School.
Sean Reilly is CEO of Lamar, which was founded by his great-grandfather. He served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988-96, succeeding his father, Kevin Patrick Reilly Sr., in the position. From 1999-2005, he served on the board of the Louisiana Community College and Technical College System. Gov. Bobby Jindal called on him to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Louisiana Innovation Council, a group which emphasizes technology and economic development statewide. In 2011, Jindal appointed him to the Post-secondary Education Governance Commission. Reilly is co-founder and board trustee of Blueprint Louisiana, a non-partisan effort to fundamentally improve Louisiana. Reilly and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. Reilly's affiliations include board service to the Volunteers of America, Reserve Telephone Company and Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. He is also co-chair of the Louisiana Flagship Coalition and a member of the Young Presidents Organization, Manship Board of Visitors, and Manship Campaign Advisory Board. Mr. Reilly is an alumnus of Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1984 and a juris doctorate in 1989.
Andrea Schwartzman is a partner at Latham & Watkins, LLC where she advises clients on the formation and ongoing operations of a broad range of private investment vehicles.
Nationally recognized as a leading investment funds lawyer, Ms. Schwartzman delivers practical and business-focused advice to private fund sponsors and asset managers at all stages and sizes, as well as institutional investors. She advises clients on various types of fund formation across a range of investment areas, including the buyout, energy and infrastructure, technology, and credit spaces.
Ms. Schwartzman's work encompasses a variety of matters in the private capital space, including: fund formation, GP-led secondary transactions, nternal sponsor economic arrangements, joint ventures, and strategic transactions, including the acquisition of investment managers.
Ms. Schwartzman also frequently provides pro bono counsel to various nonprofit organizations on general business matters.
Ms. Schwartzman regularly speaks and writes on key issues concerning the investment funds space, including for leading industry conferences and publications.
Ms. Schwartzman previously served as Global Vice Chair of the Associates Committee.
Jack Sullivan has served as Chief Executive Officer of Broadway Video Entertainment since 2002. Jack joined Broadway Video in 1994. Jack oversees all of Broadway Video's operations, including the New York based Digital Studios, Production Services, Digital Delivery, Licensing and Ventures divisions and the Los Angeles based Television, Film and Branding + Creative divisions. Jack began his career as a finance executive for USA Network in New York. He received his juris doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law and his undergraduate degree in business administration from Tulane University
Ayanna Wayner is an attorney and Managing Director of Fort Greene Partners LLC. She is responsible for the firm’s investments in multi-family real estate including market rate and affordable housing strategies. Ayanna is the Former Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development for the City of New Rochelle and Executive Director of the New Rochelle IDA, where she worked to usher-in a massive $6 billion downtown revitalization and redevelopment project. Ayanna has 15 years of experience in real estate and economic development having previously served as Associate General Counsel at Urban American, a $1 billion closely-held real estate investment company; the former Director of Programs for the Office of Preservation Services at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in the Banking & Institutional Investing group. Ayanna has worked on economic development internationally in Honduras with WorldTeach, the RARE Center for Conservation, and the Honduran Ministry of Tourism. Ayanna serves on the Board of World Connect and Westhab and graduated from Barnard College (BA) and Columbia Law School (JD).
Haney, Chairman Emeritus
An inventor and entrepreneur, Bill Haney started his first company as a college freshman, inventing and building air pollution control systems for power plants. Since then he has started or helped start more than a dozen technology companies.
Bill was a founding member of the national environmental advisory board for the US Environmental Protection Agency, the President's Circle for the National Academy of Sciences, has won a Humanitarian Award from Harvard Medical School, an Achievement Award from the ACLU and serves or has served on boards for Harvard, MIT, State and Federal Government agencies, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, and the NRDC.
Bill holds a BA from Harvard College and was a Kennedy School Fellow from 1997-2001.
Adams, Board Member Emeritus
John Adams co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970, serving as NRDC's executive director and later president from its inception until 2006 — a tenure unparalleled by the leader of any other environmental organization. As NRDC's founding director, Adams continues to play an active role in the organization on the local, national and international levels.
In February 2011, Adams received the U.S.'s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In presenting it, President Obama referenced Rolling Stone magazine’s description of the recipient: "If the planet has a lawyer, it's John Adams."
In 2010, Adams and his wife Patricia co-authored A Force for Nature, their memoir of 40 years of NRDC battles and victories. He currently chairs the board of the Open Space Institute and sits on the boards of numerous other environmental organizations. He has also served on governmental advisory committees, including President Clinton's Council for Sustainable Development. Prior to his work at NRDC, Adams served as Assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Duke University School of Law. Adams lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York, not far from the farm where he was raised.