Speaker Bios

Social Enterprise Symposium: Transforming Business for the Global Good

5 – 9 p.m. Thursday, March 25
Frank Auditorium, 1524 Van Munching Hall

 

Shari Aaron

Shari Aaron

Shari brings 25 years experience in business, marketing and sustainability. She excels at helping clients to uncover driving consumer forces, identify changing marketplace dynamics and translate sustainability into successful business decisions.  Shari is an experienced speaker and thought leader on sustainability. 
 
Her recent book, Climb the Green Ladder: Make Your Company and Career More Sustainable, Wiley, includes extensive research among hundreds, including sustainability leaders and employees from Fortune 500 companies such as Campbell Soup Company, HP, IKEA, Microsoft, Office Depot, United States Post Office and Walmart. The research targets those who have brought effective sustainability programs to their workplaces.
 
She co-wrote Climb the Green Ladder because she understands that 'more sustainable' also means 'more successful' ‐ both for a company and its employees.  Through her work, she provides the tools and motivation to help transition companies (and employees) towards a more successful, more sustainable future. Her work showcases the 6 key themes that underpin effective sustainability strategies and highlights real‐life case studies to ensure employees apply sustainability principles at their workplaces.
 
Shari is passionate about fostering collaborative relationships between consumers, companies, non-profits and the media, to ensure all voices have a role in improving the impact of business on society and society on business. 
 
As a former Partner at Yankelovich, Supervisor of Account Planning at Ogilvy & Mather and Founder of Fresh Marketing (www.freshmarketing.com), Shari has worked with many distinguished clients including ClimateCounts.org, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Liz Claiborne, Ogilvy & Mather/OgilvyEarth, StartingBloc, P&G, The Princeton Review, The Toy Industry Association, Red Cross, UNICEF and Uncommon Schools.
 
Shari is spearheading a corporate sustainability-training program called Emerging Sustainability Leaders program with New York Women Social Entrepreneurs.  Her work leading panel discussions, programs and other events has helped to grow this organization from six women to now over 800.
 
Shari lives in Weston, CT with her husband Steve and her sons, Jake and Michael.

Joseph Bailey

Joseph Bailey

Dr. Bailey is a research associate professor of decision and information technologies and the director of the Center for Electronic Markets and Enterprises (CEME) at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. His research and teaching interest span issues in telecommunications, economics, and public policy with an emphasis on the economics of the Internet, particularly technologies and market opportunities that promote the benefits of interoperability. He is currently studying issues related to the economics of electronic commerce and how the Internet changes competition and supply chain management. He earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Anne Mai Bertelsen

Anne Mai Bertelsen

Anne Mai Bertelsen is the Founder and President of MAi Strategies, an analytics driven marketing and digital strategy consulting firm. The firm helps companies develop and launch new products, services and programs. Her clients include American Express, the United Nations’ Office of Humanitarian Assistance, and the Radio Advertising Bureau. She is also a principal at CauseShift, a consultancy that re-thinks and re-imagines cause marketing. She is a regular columnist for MediaPost and Digiday:Daily where she writes on marketing and social media trends and a blogger at Huffington Post where she writes on politics and social issues. She is a member of the American Marketing Association, Social Media Club and the Online Community Research Forum.

Prior to starting her own firm, Anne held marketing positions at American Express and the Port Authority of NY & NJ; was a media strategist and pollster at Dresner, Sykes, Jordan & Townsend (DSJT), a national public image and political consulting firm; and Assistant Producer at CBS News’ Election and Survey Unit.

Tony Ciochetti

Tony Ciochetti

Tony Ciochetti is the Thomas G. Eastman Chair and Chairman and Academic Director of the MIT Center for Real Estate.  His primary responsibilities at MIT are to enhance the Center’s mission of improving the global built environment through industry relevant research and to promote more informed professional practice.  He is also involved in teaching topics in real estate finance and development.  Prior to his appointment at MIT, Dr. Ciochetti was the Director of the Center for Real Estate Development and a Professor of Finance at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  Dr. Ciochetti is also a visiting Professor in the Department of Land Economy at Cambridge University in England.  Professor Ciochetti’s teaching areas of expertise include Commercial Real Estate Development and Real Estate Finance.  He has created or taught courses in these areas at MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  Dr. Ciochetti also teaches executive courses on such topics as real estate development, portfolio and asset management, and asset securitization for both industry and academic organizations.

Dr. Ciochetti’s research interests lie in two broad areas: commercial mortgage credit risk and the role of real estate within pension plan portfolios.  His work has appeared in leading scholarly journals, including Real Estate Economics, the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and the Journal of Real Estate Research.  Tony is currently the President of the Real Estate Research Institute, where he is also an academic fellow, and serves on the Board of Directors of Real Estate Economics.  He also serves on the editorial and advisory boards of Real Estate Finance and CMBS World.  He regularly consults on behalf of investment banks, rating agencies, institutional clients and development companies.  Prior to his academic career, Dr. Ciochetti spent 12 years in the private sector in the areas of commercial real estate development and consulting. 

Dr. Ciochetti received his B.A. in Finance from the University of Oregon, and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Michael Danzansky

Michael Danzansky

Michael is CEO of The World Benefits, a company which helps its clients create more productive and profitable work places by re-envisioning Corporate Social Responsibility as an Employee Benefit.   He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy with a concentration in global ecology from the California Institute for Integral Studies. Michael has over 17 years of experience in the financial service and benefit industry and has several industry designations including Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter, and Registered Health Underwriter.   His expertise is in employee benefits and Michael has been written for and been quoted in several local and national publications including Time Magazine.   

Michael is a native Washingtonian and has served on numerous non-profit boards, including Greater DC Cares, The National Capital Food Bank, and The Signature Theater in Arlington, VA.  Michael was also founder and President of Washington Aware, a non- profit organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children in the DC Metro Area, and received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Montgomery County division of the American Heart Association.

Tom Dawkins

Tom Dawkins

Tom has moved to Washington, D.C. from Sydney Australia last year. He was previously CEO of Vibewire Youth Inc., which he founded in 2000 whilst at university in order to create citizenship opportunities for younger Australians. In 2005 Vibewire was awarded the UN’s World Summit Youth Award for Community Engagement. Tom has received a YouthActionNet Fellowship from the International Youth Foundation, a Future Summit Leadership Award and is a board member of the International Institute for Communications Australia. He has worked on a wide range of media projects and events, has spoken at numerous conferences internationally and does a spot of freelance writing and DJing.

Follow him on Twitter at @tomjd and check out his blog for more information.

Sona Gandhi 

Sona Gandhi

Sona Gandhi is Deputy to the President and CEO of FINCA International. In this capacity, Sona leads FINCA's strategy and planning activities, directs internal policy development, and focuses on initiatives of high priority to FINCA's strategic plan. Prior to joining FINCA in 2005, Sona worked in investment banking in New York and management consulting in Washington, DC. She began her microfinance career in Gujarat, India and Blantyre, Malawi. Sona is a frequent guest lecturer on microfinance, and a past Chair of the Washington, DC chapter of ‘Women Advancing Microfinance’. Sona holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS from the University of Maryland at College Park. Sona speaks fluent Gujarati (dialect of Hindi) and conversational French and Spanish.

Casey Golden

Casey Golden

Casey is a lifetime entrepreneur, starting his career by getting two patents and starting his first business when he was ripe age of 11 (a bio-degradable golf tee to save more than 40,000 trees per year).  Since then, he's traveled the world speaking about entrepreneurship and has started many successful companies including the most recent, a local SaaS CRM software company, Parature, which grew to over 120 employees.  His current venture, Small Act Network, merges the worlds of social media and philanthropy, helping nonprofits use this new communications platform for fundraising, awareness and advocacy.

He has published the chapter “Technology with a Heart”, featured in Business Week’s Best Seller, Do Your Giving While You Are Living – providing Internet resources for potential donors, nonprofits, and charitable communities.   He has recently won the 35 under 35 award for top entrepreneurs in Greater DC and was honored as part of Greater DC Cares’ Class of 2009, honoring leaders for social change.
Casey is a frequent speaker at national events including the National Press Club’s book party, the US Treasury, DC Chamber of Commerce and Georgetown’s Entrepreneurship Program.

Casey doesn’t just focus his business to help nonprofits and further philanthropy, but donates an extensive amount of personal time to serve pro-bono to various organizations’s advisory and action committees, especially locally.  This list includes:  NFTE, Safe America Foundation, Kidsave International, TigerLily Foundation, National Coalition of Cancer Survivors (Courage Unmasked), Wokai, Andrew Sobel River of Life Foundation, and Hire a Hero.

Casey lives in Northern Virginia with is wife, Beverley, and two year old twins, Tristan and Lilyrose.

Sherri Haas

Sherri Haas is a program specialist with the IRIS Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, and has recently returned from three months of field research in Kenya.   She is currently involved in a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of the community effects of M-PESA, a mobile phone money transfer system in Kenya.  The study uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to gather in-depth information on effects at the community level.

Ms. Haas also has experience in international development project management.  She was responsible for managing multiple projects for the IRIS Center with funding by several development donor organizations.  Ms. Haas graduated summa cum laude from Illinois Wesleyan University with research honors in economics as well as a second major in political science.  In both areas her work focused heavily on quantitative analysis and the role of women in international economics and politics.

Scott Henderson

Scott Henderson

During his professional career, Scott has been a major gift fundraiser, foundation executive, magazine editor, marketing consultant, and president of a capital campaign firm. He cut his teeth during a major university capital campaign, later oversaw multiple fundraising campaigns as a consultant, and most recently served as cause marketing director for an interactive agency.

Today, he is a principal at CauseShift, a strategic consultancy focused on shifting how people think about, innovate, and solve the world's most intractable issues. What makes him unique in the marketplace is that he has gone into the living rooms, kitchens, and front porches of influential people to obtain their financial and social support of cause initiatives. From these experiences, he understands how cause-oriented endeavors succeed and fail.

Last year, he created and launched pledgetoendhunger.com, which helped Tyson Foods deliver 560,000 meals to four different cities for children in need, raised $28,000 for Share Our Strength, and assembled an army of nearly 5,000 childhood hunger awareness champions. Current clients and projects include Procter & Gamble, Boomer Esiason Foundation, and wecanendthis.com, a yearlong, multi-partner initiative to spark innovation and engage more people in the cause of ending hunger in America.

Scott is most famous for being married to Jennifer, wife of eleven years, and father to Ethan, his eight-year-old son.

Kelly Howard

Kelly Howard

Kelly currently serves as the Director of Firmwide Public Relations for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.  Kelly is responsible for representing the firm before major business media, advising other PwC executives in their dealings with the news media and creating unique communications programs that differentiate the PwC brand.
 
He leads several strategic initiatives, including development of the firm's social media recruiting strategy and support for the firm's corporate responsibility, sustainability and climate change and recruiting efforts.  
 
Prior to joining PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Kelly served as the Executive Vice President at ABI, a global public relations firm with offices in New York, London and Singapore.  Kelly was responsible for managing all agency services and operations in the New York, London and Singapore offices.  Under his leadership, ABI was twice recognized as one of the Top 50 public relations firms in the United States by BtoB Magazine.  
 
Kelly has spent considerable time as a strategic adviser for chief executives and senior executives in a range of industries, including professional services, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, graphic communications and technology.  He has extensive experience designing and managing public relations campaigns, creating branding programs, managing new product and service launches and developing global communications programs.
 
Before his career in business, Kelly served as the field coordinator in southern New Jersey for the '96 Clinton/Gore presidential campaign.  During the campaign, he was a surrogate speaker for Congressman Torricelli and President Clinton, directed countywide teams of volunteers and managed the phone bank operation which placed the largest number of GOTV (Get Out The Vote) phone calls in New Jersey. 
 
Kelly graduated from The Richard Stockton College of NJ.  He is happily married to Tracy and has three young boys, Robert, Connor and Cian.

Denise Keyes

Denise Keyes

Denise Keyes is the associate dean of the Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communication at Georgetown University. In addition to her responsibilities as dean, Ms. Keyes serves as the director of CSIC. She also teaches at Georgetown's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership and serves as a fellow for the Center for Social Justice. 

Prior to joining Georgetown, Ms. Keyes was a senior counselor at Fleishman-Hillard where she managed a portfolio of corporate, nonprofit and foundation clients in the social marketing practice including Gatorade, ESPN, American Red Cross and the MacArthur Foundation. During this time she was awarded a Silver Anvil for a campaign helping people with disabilities transition to employment.

Amber Kuchar

Amber Kuchar

Amber Kuchar is a Junior Investment Officer at Calvert Foundation in Bethesda, MD. She is responsible for managing Calvert Foundation’s social enterprise portfolio. She also focuses on investments in community development finance institutions, green sector, fair-trade organizations, and affordable housing development. Ms. Kuchar came to Calvert Foundation from NCB Capital Impact, where she was an Underwriter responsible for analyzing charter schools, health care clinics, and affordable housing projects, specifically focusing on facility financing and cash flow loans. Additionally, Ms. Kuchar worked as a Senior Consumer Lending Loan officer at Bay Federal Credit Union. Ms. Kuchar has a B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles, in International Development Studies, and Masters of Public Policy from Duke University.

Mari Kuraishi

Mari Kuraishi

Mari heads up the internal operations of GlobalGiving, which she co-founded with Dennis Whittle. Before GlobalGiving, she worked at the World Bank where she managed and created some of the Bank's most innovative projects including the first ever Innovation and Development Marketplaces, and the first series of strategic forums with the World Bank's president and senior management. Mari also designed a range of investment projects in the Russia reform program, including a residential energy efficiency project, structural adjustment loans, and legal reform project. In addition to her native Japanese, Mari also speaks Russian, Italian, and French. She has an undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University and did graduate work in Russian and Japanese history and politics at Harvard and Georgetown Universities. Mari also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

David Lovell

David Lovell

David J. Lovell received his B.A. degree in mathematics from Portland State University in 1990, his M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993, and his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1997. He has been teaching at the University of Maryland since 1997. His research interests include transportation facility design, vehicle technology, sensors, and air traffic management. He held a visiting appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the 2006-07 academic year.

Matthew Mahan

Matt Mahan

Matthew Mahan directs nonprofit relations and business development at Causes, which provides organizing tools for individuals and nonprofit organizations. One of the largest applications on Facebook, Causes supports over 100 million users, 400,000 user-created cause communities, and 13,000 official nonprofit partners. Causes users have raised over $22 million dollars for nonprofits in its three years of existence.  Over the past year and a half, Matthew has spearheaded the development of new communication, advocacy, and fundraising tools for nonprofits.

Matthew joined Causes after teaching middle school through Teach for America and building irrigation systems in Bolivia through a Rockefeller Fellowship. Matthew graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he served as student body president and wrote a senior thesis on the state of liberal arts education. He is a native of Watsonville, a farming town on California’s Central Coast.

Dan Morrison

Dan Morrison

Dan Morrison is the founder and CEO of Citizen Effect. Citizen Effect empowers anyone to be a Citizen Philanthropist and be the change they want to see in the world. In 2006, Dan was independent consultant working in Middle East policy and economic development issues, but then he was invited to India by the Self Employed Women's Association. There, he toured the rural villages of Gujarat, and spoke with the women about their struggle for survival. Woman from one community were walking four hours a day for water. So Dan went home, brought his friends and family together and raised $5,000 and sent it to SEWA to build a well in their village. The village now has accessible, clean water and the women have begun to start small businesses. Since then, Dan and Citizen Effect have built an innovative fundraising platform that  empowers students, young professionals, retirees, and all types of citizens to partner directly with communities in need to build life changing projects. Prior to Citizen Effect, Dan was a innovation and brand strategy consultant with Prophet and Kucamarski & Associates, working with brands in the United States, Europe and Tokyo. Dan holds a masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago and is an honors graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

Kevin Moss

Kevin Moss

Kevin has responsibility for implementation of BT’s Corporate Responsibility strategy for BT in North America. The role covers a broad scope of sustainability issues including environment and climate change impact, community investment and business ethics.

Previously Kevin held roles in product management, marketing and corporate strategy at BT, at Concert and at  MCI.

Kevin sits on the Corporate Advisory Council of the American Red Cross and is a member of the Global Leadership Network of AccountAbility and the CRO Association’s Board of Governors where he chairs the committee for professional development. From 2007-2009 he was founding chairperson of the Energy and Environment Committee of the British American Business Association in Washington DC.  Kevin was a recipient of the 2009 PR News; CSR Executive of the Year Award.

Born in the UK,  Kevin has been settled in the USA for fourteen years with his wife and two young children.

Kevin is the author of a white paper ‘The Four Dimensions of Sustainability’. He shares his thoughts about the intersection between Information Communication Technology (ICT) services, business and sustainability on his blog “CSR Perspective,” which is found at www.csrperspective.com and tweets@KevinIMoss

Rajan Patel

Rajan Patel

Rajan graduated with a BS in Biomechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He has both coursework and work experience in the medical device field as well as in international development. As a Product Manager at Embrace, Rajan has been able to combine his passions of medical device design and social development in an exciting start-up environment.

Lucille Pilling

Lucille Pilling

Dr. Lucille Pilling teaches graduate courses in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Pilling’s book, Global Health Alliance: Lessons Learned was published in February 2007. Her current research is on the metrics of CSR. She published an article and conducted a webinar on her research on the integration of brand and social responsibility in December 2009; a webinar on the integration of CSR and corporate philanthropy was held in June 2009.
 
Dr. Pilling is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategist with expertise in global public health, sustainability, and public private partnerships. Her firm, Pilling and Associates, collaborates with corporations, non-profits, and environmental organizations to develop and implement CSR business, marketing and communication strategies. Recent clients include: Corporate Council on Africa, Griffin Health Services Corporation, Association for Corporate Contribution Professionals, Africare, LIMRA, Henry Schein Inc., Tunnell Consulting Government Services, The Green Standard, Business Council for International Understanding, John Snow Inc. and JHPIEGO at Johns Hopkins.
 
Pilling’s involvement with corporate social responsibility began on the nonprofit side developing public private partnerships. She served as vice president for International Programs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and as senior program officer at Columbia University where she supervised a $50 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative.
 
Pilling has over 20 years experience in global public health. She managed primary health care programs in Africa and Latin America for 13 years (Ghana, Kenya, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Zimbabwe) and provided short-term technical assistance in Liberia, Thailand, the Philippines, Romania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Haiti. Her contracts were with Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), John Snow Inc., Johns Hopkins University, Aga Khan Foundation, ILO, USAID in Ghana, Kenya, Bolivia and Costa Rica, and US Peace Corps in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
 
Before moving to Africa, Pilling worked in the private sector, in pharmaceutical advertising for Kallir, Philips, Ross and in international marketing for Avon, Inc.
 
Pilling earned both an EdD in Organization and Leadership and a MPH from Columbia University. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania with a BS in nursing.

Don Riley

Dr. Riley is Professor, Decision, Operations and Information Technologies. In the Robert H. Smith School of Business and Affiliate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park,. From 1998 to 2003, Dr. Riley served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) and member of the President's Cabinet charged with overseeing information technology planning and coordination, and the central I.T. infrastructure: all major central computing, telecommunications and networking infrastructure and services, including academic, student and administrative computer services and instructional technology, with an annual operating budget of over $30 million.

He currently chairs the Board of Directors of the Internet Educational Equal Access Foundation, co-chairs the IEEAF Committee of APAN (Asia-Pacific Advanced Network). Dr. Riley is founder and co-chair of the annual Chinese American Network Sympoisum and was recognized in 2000 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences as “Senior Technical Advisor to China Science and Technology Network.” He also serves as I.T. Fellow for the Southeastern University Research Association (SURA), Washington , DC , and serves on the Board of Directors of the Multi-Sector Crisis Management Consortium, Washington , D.C.

Dr. Riley is active at the national level: one of the founding members of the national Internet2 initiative, serves on the Network Planning and Policy Advisory Council (NPPAC); EDUCAUSE Board of Trustees (1998-2001, inaugural chair); founding member of EDUCAUSE National Learning Infrastructure Initiative and past member of Steering Committee; co-chaired the launch of the EDUCAUSE Task Force on Systems Security. Dr. Riley is one of the founding principals in the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX) regional networking consortium, one of the largest Internet2 regional gigapops, and hosts the NGIX-DC (Next Generation Internet Exchange) for the federal agency NGI R&D networks at the University of Maryland . He also served on the State of Maryland Task Force on High Speed Network Infrastructure and the E-commerce Committee of the State I.T. Board.

Prior to coming to the University of Maryland , Dr. Riley was the first CIO at the University of Minnesota (1992-1998), and was on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Mechanical Engineering Department from 1976 to 1998. Research and teaching interests included applications of interactive computer graphics to CAD-CAM; knowledge-based systems for design and manufacturing; computer-aided mechanism analysis and design; application of CAD/CAM techniques to biomechanical and bioengineering problems; and product development process. Dr. Riley is an ASME Fellow, and participated in the founding and leadership of the Computers in Engineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and was 1990-91 Chair of its Executive Committee; numerous seminars, invited lectures and presentations, panel sessions, short courses and tutorials at the local, national, and international level. He has published over 100 refereed technical papers and several copyrighted software packages for computer aided design; he has graduated 27 M.S. and 13 Ph.D. students; he has been responsible as principal or co-principal investigator for over $9 million in grants.

Cliff Rossi

Cliff Rossi

Cliff Rossi is joining the business school as a Tyser Teaching Fellow and Managing Director of the Center on Financial Policy and Corporate Governance.  Cliff has nearly 25 years experience in banking and government, having held senior executive roles in risk management at several of the largest financial services companies. 

His most recent position was Chief Risk Officer for Consumer Lending at Citigroup where he was intimately involved in TARP funding and stress tests performed on Citi.  Cliff also helped start a statistical arbitrage unit at Citi and helped integrate market and credit risk analytics across Citi's mortgage portfolios. While there he was responsible for overseeing a $200B global mortgage portfolio with 700 employees under his direction.  He  also served as Chief Credit Officer at Washington Mutual (WaMu) and as Chief Risk Officer at Countrywide Bank. 

Previous to these assignments, Cliff held senior positions at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and worked for a number of years at the Treasury Department and Office of Thrift Supervision working on key policy issues affecting depositories.  Cliff also was an adjunct professor in the Finance Department at the Robert H. Smith School of Business for 8 years and has a number of publications on banking industry topics.  He holds a PhD in financial economics from Cornell University.

Oliver Schlake

Oliver Schlake

Dr. Oliver Schlake is a Tyser Teaching Fellow at Robert H. Smith School of Business, a senior business consultant, entrepreneur and researcher. His publications and research on scenario-based strategic planning and innovation strategy have been featured in leading academic and practitioner journals worldwide. Oliver has been an international management consultant and strategic advisor for leading companies and government agencies in Europe and North-America. Prior to joining the Smith School he was Assistant Professor for E-Business at National University, San Diego and CEO for German based consulting firm Scenario Management International (ScMI AG).

Rita Shankel

Rita Shankel

As the Americas Community Engagement Leader for Ernst & Young, LLP, Rita is responsible for ensuring that the firm's "3Es" corporate responsibility strategy (Education, Entrepreneurship and Environmental Sustainability) is carried out through its community engagement activities in the U.S., Canada and Central and South America. She accomplishes this by working closely with leadership teams in the firm's 11 sub-Areas to align Americas charitable donations, volunteer programs, stakeholder relationships and communications with those activities, programs and organizations that make education more accessible for under-served youth, promote entrepreneurship and sustain the environment.

Rita is committed to not only improving existing community conditions, but driving the kind of social change that helps Ernst & Young's people, clients and communities achieve their full potential. In addition to her Americas leadership role, Rita also serves as the Americas representative on the firm's Global Corporate Responsibility Advisory Committee. She is a frequent speaker at corporate responsibility conferences, and serves as a media spokesperson on community engagement-related topics.

An avid volunteer, Rita organized her first community fundraiser at the age of six, and has been going strong ever since! She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, and is a "Big Sister" in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. She also participates in the United Way's Destination Graduation program at Kimball High School in Dallas. Rita is a former board member of, or volunteer for, the following organizations: Altrusa International, Inc., American Heart Association, Dallas Children's Advocacy Center, Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association and The Family Place.

Prior to October of 2008, Rita served as Ernst & Young's Director of Communications and Marketing for the Southwest sub-Area for eight years. In that role, she coordinated all internal and external communication, which included employee and partner communications and meetings, alumni relations, client relations, public relations/media relations, community relations and firm-sponsored events.

Rita has 20 years of communications, marketing, fund raising and community relations experience -- almost all in the professional services arena. Other positions have included public relations agency work, collegiate alumni relations and capital campaign fund-raising, healthcare marketing and accounting firm marketing/business development.

A 1990 graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, Rita earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. She has also a Master of Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in Communication from the same university.

Rita lives in Dallas, Texas, and has a five-year-old son, Luke. She enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures, amateur photography, physical fitness, outdoor activities and, of course -- volunteering!

Susan Strayer

Susan Strayer

Susan D. Strayer, SPHR is the Director of Global Employer Brand and Marketing for Marriott International. She has over 12 years of human resources experience in areas such as talent acquisition, learning, HR consulting and social media for HR. Prior to her current role at Marriott, Susan served as Corporate Director of Talent Acquisition for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., part of the Marriott family. Her prior work experience includes time at The Home Depot, Corporate Executive Board, Arthur Andersen and with her own career coaching firm. She has an MBA from Vanderbilt University, an MA in Human Resource Development from The George Washington University and a BA in Communications from Virginia Tech. She is known for her coaching and career development expertise, as well as her knowledge of the social media landscape and has been quoted in such publications as The Washington Post, BNET, Fast Company and The New York Times. She is the author of two books including The Right Job Right Now: The Complete Toolkit For Finding Your Perfect Career (St. Martin’s Press). Read Susan’s blog at www.susanstrayer.com and follow her on Twitter via@dailycareertips.

Joseph Suarez

Joe Suarez

Joseph T.N. Suarez, CFRE, serves as Director of Community Partnerships & Philanthropy for the global management and technology firm, Booz Allen Hamilton. In this capacity, Mr. Suarez oversees the firm’s philanthropic and employee volunteer programs worldwide.

Prior to joining Booz Allen, Mr. Suarez spent over 26 years in the nonprofit community in management and senior development positions responsible for raising over a billion dollars for a range of nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining Booz Allen, Mr. Suarez served as Director of The National Air and Space Society and Deputy Director of Development for the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution where he managed and coordinated the Museum’s donor society and directed a $311 million dollar capital campaign.

A specialist in direct marketing and major gift fundraising, Mr. Suarez served as Acting General Manager for Donor Marketing for the American National Red Cross where he managed the organization’s national direct marketing programs, overseeing a multimillion dollar budget. Prior to joining the staff of the Red Cross, Joe served as Director of the American University’s major gift program, “The President Circle.” He began his career as a political consultant raising money for presidential campaigns, Political Action Committees, state parties and numerous Congressional and Senatorial candidates.

The recipient of four DMAW MAXI Awards for Outstanding National Direct Response Campaigns, ten region, state and one International ADDY, Mr. Suarez has been active in the professional community as a guest lecturer for various industry-wide conferences, including the AFP, DMA, PBS, and the Mutual Concerns Conference sponsored by the American Association of Museum. Joe is the recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Washington D.C. Diversity Award; the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Award of Excellence, The American Red Cross Tiffany Manager’s Award, and was awarded the Order of Malta in recognition of his work for the American Red Cross’ disaster relief efforts.

Mr. Suarez, serves as a Trustee of The National Aviation Hall of Fame, is on the Development Advisory Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association, serves on the Board of the Business Civic Leadership Center of the US Chamber of Commerce and is a Board member of the Washington Board of Trade and a member of the Board of National History Day.

Deron Triff

Deron Triff

Deron is an international business development executive and new media expert who combines Internet start-up experience with a 15+ year successful track record in driving revenue and winning digital market share for major media brands.   Deron serves as CEO of Changents.com, the leading social media platform that connects people who are changing the world with those who help them.   Hundreds of Change Agents working across six continents – artists, adventurers, social entrepreneurs, inventors, musicians, first responders, athletes, engineers, activists, photographers, etc. – are using the Changents service to tell their ongoing stories, connect with supporters and rally assistance around the world.   
 
He is also a principal in DAC Media Ventures, a boutique media consulting practice that develops new digital businesses on behalf of socially-conscious media companies and organizations. DAC’s clients include the Sundance Institute/Sundance Film Festival, the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) and SnagFilms.com.  On behalf of DAC’s clients, Deron has negotiated successful partnerships with Hulu, TV.com (CBS), iTunes, Crackle (Sony), Audible, among others.  
 
Deron previously served as Vice President of Business Development for Scholastic Entertainment, where he architected the joint venture with NBC Universal to launch Qubo.  And as Vice President of Digital Ventures for PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), he spearheaded the network’s participation in the preschool digital cable network and video on demand service, PBS Kids Sprout – a joint venture with Comcast Corporation, HIT Entertainment and Sesame Workshop.   
 
Deron attended Mcgill University in Montreal, Canada for his MBA and holds a BA in journalism from the Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Georgia in Athens. Drop Deron a line at deron@changents.com.

Charles Tsai

Charles Tsai

Charles Tsai is Director of Global Media Strategy and Virtual Program for Ashoka Youth Venture.  He comes to Ashoka after working as a journalist and documentary producer for CNN and PBS.  As producer and on-air reporter for CNN, Charles specialized in educational news programming targeted at CNN's youth audience.  He also produced PBS GlobalTribe, a travel show that took viewers on a rare journey to meet changemakers (including Ashoka fellows) around the world. Inspired by the social entrepreneurs he profiled, Charles founded Global Youth Fund, a Vancouver-based charity that supports young people in creating change through a bottom-up democratic process.

Greg Van Kirk

Greg Van Kirk

Greg Van Kirk, recently honored as an Ashoka Fellow, is the cofounder of Community Enterprise Solutions as well as Social Entrepreneur Corps and Ayudasoft LLC. These are all ventures whose mission is to design and implement innovative responses to longstanding development challenges. Greg began working in rural small business development as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2001. Greg has served as an economic development consultant for organizations such as USAID, Chemonics, Vision Spring, Soros Foundation, Church World Service, OneRoof, Fundacion Solar, Fundacion Paraguaya and Water4People. Greg worked in investment banking for five years before arriving in Guatemala. Two deals he led at UBS during this time won "Deal of the Year" honors from "Structured Finance International" magazine. Greg currently splits time between Antigua, Guatemala and New York City.

Michael Wenger

Mike Wenger

In 2006, Mike volunteered for three months at an orphanage in rural Kenya. He spent his time learning about the community before investing $5,000 of fundraising money into several initiatives including a 10,000-liter rain harvesting project.

He returned to the US and co-founded the organization Rural Reading Centers-Africa which has successfully sent five shipping containers filled with books and computers to libraries throughout Kenya.

In 2007, Mike was awarded a 100 Projects for Peace development grant to work in the Western Province of Zambia. He worked with the organization ProjectEducate and used the $10,000 to build several libraries and computer labs.

Mike learned about the fundraising side of the nonprofit sector while working at the global headquarters of Orphans International and E+Co.

His experiences revealed that connectivity between aid providers, donors, and local stakeholders is a constant challenge and he began to look for technology solutions to bridge the gaps.

Trevor Young

Trevor Young

Trevor Young, originally from Sierra Leone, is the founder of Tseai Energy Unlimited. In 2002, immediately after the end of a decade long conflict in Sierra Leone, Young returned to his native country, and in the subsequent three years he was actively involved with numerous on the ground development projects. 

In 2008, he created a sustainable business model that allows underdeveloped communities to leverage agriculture to produce clean, reliable and renewable energy, and promote economic development. This is done by installing small scale agricultural processing mills in selected rural communities, thereby localizing the production of high margin products from local crops. Each mill is complimented with a low cost biomass digester which anaerobically decomposes mill waste to produce biogas. The biogas is used as renewable fuel for cooking and to generate electricity; the digested waste that remains is used as a nutrient rich fertilizer. 

Young is currently a student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland at College Park, with a concentration in Environmental Economics. He is also a member of the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program, an innovative educational initiative that offers leadership training, intense mentoring, and promotes social entrepreneurship.