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Foundation Rwanda Advisory Board

Jules Shell (co-founder & executive director)

Jules is a co-founder and the executive director of Foundation Rwanda. She worked as creative director at the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies and Reboot, a non-profit looking at generational shifts in identity and community before leaving to help start Foundation Rwanda in 2007. She is the co-author of Bar Mitzvah Disco(Crown, November 2005), a collection of photographs and essays on the evolution of meaning, style, ritual, and music as told through bar and bat mitzvah photographs of the 70's & 80's and Camp Camp (Crown, June, 2008) a collection of photographs and essays about coming of age at summer camp in America. Jules shot the video for Foundation Rwanda's short Emmy nominated Intended Consequences film. In her spare time, she collects old family business logos and stories at www.projectbrandnew.com.

Jonathan Torgovnik (co-founder & president)

Born in Israel, Jonathan arrived to New York in 1992 and graduated with a BFA degree from the School of Visual Arts. His photographs from various projects and assignments have been published in numerous International publications including Newsweek, GEO, The Sunday Times Magazine, Stern, Smithsonian, and Paris Match among others. Torgovnik's award-winning photographs have been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the US and Europe and are in the permanent collections of museums such as The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Bibliotheque National De France in Paris. Torgovnik’s book “Bollywood Dreams” – an exploration of the motion picture industry and its culture in India, was published by Phaidon Press in 2003. He has been a contract photographer for Newsweek magazine since 2005, and is on the faculty of the International Center of Photography School in New York. Jonathan is currently based in South Africa.

Elisabeth Biondi - Visual’s Editor, The New Yorker

Elisabeth joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1996, shortly after photography was introduced to the magazine and as it began to play a more prominent editorial role. As Visuals Editor she has helped shape the look of the publication by establishing a group of staff photographers, commissioning both ‘Masters’ and emerging talent, and utilizing portrait, fine art, and documentary photography. Born and educated in Germany, Ms. Biondi started working with photography at GEO Magazine, subsequently, she moved to VANITY FAIR, which soon began to grow into the highly successful magazine it is today. After seven years at Vanity Fair, Ms. Biondi returned to Germany to work for STERN, one of Germany’s largest news weeklies. As head of the Photography Department, she explored the fast-paced world of news and reportage photography, and worked with photographers around the world. After five years, she returned to New York, where she has since worked as Visuals Editor of The New Yorker.

Nancy Brady - Pfizer Inc.

Nancy has worked with Pfizer since July, 2003 and currently resides in Boston, MA. During the last ten years, she has worked in various sales capacities for the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. In addition, Nancy brings fourteen years of philanthropic experience in several not for profit organizations primarily focused on AIDS services, child assault prevention, homelessness, Rwandan rape survivors and their families, micro-enterprise in the developing world, and global poverty. In 2007, she traveled with the ONE organization and her brother, New England quarterback Tom Brady to Ghana and Uganda where they visited local health clinics, schools, government agencies and NGOs addressing the direct impact of poverty on healthcare, education and development. Most recently, Nancy was awarded a fellowship at Pfizer and worked as a Global Health Fellow in Kampala, Uganda for a Ugandan based NGO called the Infectious Diseases Institute whose primary aim is to build healthcare capacity in Africa as well as to offer HIV care and services to nearly 9500 HIV positive patients.

Geoffrey Cowley - New York City Department of Health

Geoff has spent two decades promoting health for all as a journalist and, more recently, a public-health administrator. As Newsweek magazine’s health and medicine editor (1988-2006), he wrote extensively about the health consequences of poverty and inequality. He also covered all aspects of the AIDS pandemic, from laboratory science to social policy, and profiled many leaders in the effort to control it. His last project for Newsweek – a special issue commemorating 25 years of HIV/AIDS – was nominated for the National Magazine Award. In 2006, Geoff left journalism to work more directly in public health. As an associate commissioner at New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, he has helped launch the phase-out of trans fat in New York City restaurants, the mass distribution of nicotine replacement therapy for smokers, and the successful rollout of the now-iconic New York City Condom. Raised in Salt Lake City, Geoff earned a B.A. in English from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and an M.A. in English from the University of Washington. Geoff lives in New York City with his wife, Susan Pelzer, and son, Colin.

KELLY DANE - GLOBAL ACCOUNT MANAGER, KPMG

Kelly carries a young-at-heart curiosity and has an old soul focused on rebuilding communion through face-to-face connection. With an entire career in the life sciences sector spanning communications, sales and consulting roles, she has extensive experience developing strong client relationships and a personal sensibility to create a better world built on the strength of community. In addition to her current day-job as a Global Account Manager in the Healthcare and Life Sciences practice at KPMG in New York, Kelly is the co-founder of Camp Do Good (CDG), a NYC-based forum that hosts a salon series. Her global background, from a childhood spent in Brussels, university studies in Paris, and several years working in London, lends her global perspectives and sensibilities. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of The GoodBrain Project.org and an Advisor to Catchafire.org.

Dr. Yael Danieli

Dr. Danieli is a clinical psychologist in private practice, a victimologist, traumatologist, and the Director of the Group Project for Holocaust Survivors and their Children, which she co-founded in 1975 in the New York City area. She has done extensive psychotherapeutic work with survivors and children of survivors on individual, family, group and community bases and has studied in depth post-war responses and attitudes toward them, and the impact these and the Holocaust had on their lives. She has also lectured and published worldwide in numerous books and journals and recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). She is the consultant to the International Criminal Court on issues related to victims and staff care and has served as consultant to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Rwanda government on reparations for victims, and has led an ongoing Project (Promoting a Dialogue: "Democracy Cannot Be Built with the Hands of Broken Souls") in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in northern Ireland. Dr. Danieli is also Founding Co-President of the International network of Holocaust and Genocide Survivors and their Friends.

Jeremy Goldberg - [212]MEDIA

Jeremy is the President of [212]THINK, the new strategy arm of [212]MEDIA, which owns and operates a portfolio of media & entertainment ventures in partnership with the world's most respected media companies. Jeremy also works across [212]MEDIA’s portfolio companies to source strategic investment capital and to develop business development and marketing relationships with major media and technology companies, the entertainment and sports industry, and government and non-profit sectors, with particular emphasis in South Asia and the Middle East. Jeremy is active in politics, serving as the national co-chair of Generation44, the young professional arm of the Democratic National Committee, and having served on the Middle East Advisory Team for the Obama campaign. Jeremy's also a former director at Seeds of Peace, and a board member of Soliya and Reboot.

DAN KUSNETZ , SCHULTE ROTH & ZABEL LLP

Dan Kusnetz is a partner in the New York office of the law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP.  Dan's practice concentrates on tax planning for complex transactions, including mergers & acquisitions, private equity, bankruptcy, corporate restructuring, distressed asset investing and real estate.  Dan is extensively involved in the delivery of pro-bono legal services to nonprofit organizations, having served as principal outside counsel to Habitat for Humanity - NYC as well as numerous other organizations.  Dan assisted with the initial formation of Foundation Rwanda and, since securing its tax-exempt status from the IRS, has helped to coordinate Foundation Rwanda's legal representation on an ongoing basis.  He received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Tulane University and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University. 

DR. JONATHAN B. LEVINE

Dr. Jonathan B. Levine is a world-renowned aesthetic dentist, with a private practice in NYC. The emphasis at the practice is on the link between oral health and overall health, producing beautiful smiles.  Jonathan is an author, active philanthropist, entrepreneur and inventor.  As a key opinion leader in oral health, he has appeared on national television networks, and print, including Dr. OZ, CNN, Good Morning America, The View. He believes strongly in guiding the next generation of dentists, and is the Director of the New York University CE Advanced Aesthetics Program in Dentistry. With current patents, and patent pendings, Jonathan is committed to bringing innovative dental technologies to the consumer to make things safer faster and more effective, and is credited with modernizing and bringing great change to the oral care industry. His latest consumer product company, GLO Science will radically change the teeth whitening world, and he is committed to helping Foundation Rwanda through this business venture.  As an active member of the Deans Board at Boston University Goldman School of Dentistry, Jonathan has added to their global oral health initiatives by providing a scholarship for students attending Boston University Dental School to teach in Rwanda. Jonathan is involved in other organizations such as Help USA, and on the advisory board for Health Core.

STACEY LEVINE - GLO SCIENCE

Stacey Levine started her career as a merchant in a family owned prestige gift and jewelry business. She is an entrepreneur and active philanthropist. An active member of her community and charitable organizations across the globe, Stacey’s passion is to be involved in progress and make a difference in the lives of others. For the last 10 + years her specialty is in start up businesses. With experience in sales and marketing, Stacey enjoys taking a brand from concept to reality and has helped many new brands launch. In collaboration with her husband, Dr Jonathan B. Levine they will launch a new company- GLO Science.

MICHAL LEVISON - CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MICHAL DAGAN DESIGNS

Michal Levison is the Creative Director of Michal Dagan Designs, a production design company with a wide range of clients, including BMW, The Pope, Deutsche Bank, 92nd Street Y, JCPenney, Brookfield Properties, NBC Universal, UJA Federation and many more. Michal created and writes a modern-day parenting blog called Bump to Bean. For over 15 years, Michal has worked at non-profits and as a fundraising consultant, and actively seeks to make a positive impact in the world. She is committed to the arts as well as organizations that help women and children around the world. Michal sits on the board of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and is a member of the Whitney Museum Artists Council. Michal was born in Israel and currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters.

Lisa Leyba - Electronic Arts

Lisa is a senior product manager at Electronic Arts Inc., the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Leyba specializes in children’s marketing and entertainment. Previously Leyba worked for Sony Online Entertainment and Oscar Mayer Foods. Prior to her marketing career, Leyba also worked for the Fresh Air Fund, a non-profit agency that provides free summer vacations to New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Leyba graduated from the University of Colorado in 1999 with a BS in Business Administration and Marketing.

Sondra Myers - University of Scranton

Sondra is a Senior Fellow for International, Civic and Cultural Projects at the University of Scranton and Director of its Schemel Forum, a not-for-credit enrichment learning program. She is co-editor of The Pluralist Paradigm: Democracy and Religion in the 21st Century (2006), The Interdependence Handbook (2004), and editor of The Democracy Reader (2002) and the Democracy is a Discussion handbooks. Myers served as a senior associate at the University of Maryland's Democracy Collaborative, organizing and coordinating meetings of The Democracy Collaborative’s International Roundtables in Washington and Berlin. She is co-founder of Interdependence Day and the Interdependence Project.

Geoffrey Ngiruwonsansanga - ADRA, Kigali Rwanda

Geoffrey works with ADRA as project manager for The Uniformed Personnel and Prisoners' HIV prevention project. Previously he was the program manager for Survivors Fund (SURF) overseeing the DFID funded Care and Treatment for genocide widows infected by HIV/AIDS, planning, implementation and managing all the projects that SURF implemented in Rwanda through Partner NGOs such as AVEGA, AOCM, Solace Ministries etc. As Child Prediction and Development Manager at Word Vision Rwanda Program, he launched a comprehensive initiative promoting the welfare of the child, opposing and addressing all forms of child exploitation. Geoffrey lives in Kigali, Rwanda with his wife and five children.

Sheri Schultz- Schultz Family Foundation

Sheri is the President of the Schultz Family Foundation and an active board member of numerous charities and projects with a goal of helping undeserved youth in our community. Organizations that Sheri is currently active with include Youthcare, a Seattle organization that offers full services to homeless youth, Treehouse, a private agency that helps children in fostercare, and The Mockingbird Society, an agency working to change our fractured foster care system. She is also working with Seattle University's masters teaching program to help foster care children in the public schools. Her start as a dedicated board member began with the Pillchuck glass school founded by Dale Chiluly and John Hauberg and led her to projects with Jane Goodall protecting chimpanzees in Tanzania and providing services and school for an orphanage in Dar Salem. Her commitment is to help make positive change for youth in the world.

swan sit - Estée lauder companies

Swan Sit is the Executive Director of Online Strategy & Planning for the Estée Lauder Companies, whose portfolio includes 30 prestige beauty brands with hundreds of sites around the world. She is responsible for defining the Online division’s global strategic direction and guides implementation of digital initiatives and operations across the company, with a focus on e/m-commerce and new business development. Travel is one of her passions, at 45+ countries (notably Mt. Everest, Rwanda, Antarctica and roaming with nomads in Mongolia) and she can often be found playing volleyball or chasing restaurant openings around NYC.

Jody sowa, stanton & company

Jody is currently the Public Relations Director at Stanton & Company, a full service marketing and public relations agency in Los Angeles, California.  She has over 12 years of public relations experience with a focus on sports, fitness, entertainment and lifestyle.  Prior to joining Stanton & Company she worked at M&C Saatchi PR in New York City where she was responsible for the agencies high-profile sports & lifestyle clients. She also  led projects for non- profit organizations such as Beyond Sport United and Healthy Women, Healthy Children: Investing in our Common Future. Previous to M&C Saatchi PR, Jody worked for Madison Square Garden, where she handled all facets of publicity for the New York Rangers and she assisted in the day-to-day PR efforts for the New York Knicks and New York Liberty as well as MSG Entertainment and the Garden of Dreams Foundation.  She recently participated in Foundation Rwanda's Bike To a Better Future Campaign and traveled to Rwanda to help bring education and bicycles to Foundation Rwanda students in rural areas.

Sara Solfanelli - MEDIACOM

Sara is the HR & Talent Director at MediaCom Worldwide, based in the London, UK headquarters.  Prior to joining MediaCom, Solfanelli was an attorney in the Employment & Employee Benefits Group at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, New York City.  In addition to providing general counsel to corporate clients on employment matters, Solfanelli offered pro bono assistance to several clients, including Foundation Rwanda, Partners In Health, Care for the Homeless and Sanctuary for Families.  Solfanelli previously practiced law in Boston at Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, where she provided pro bono legal services to indigent clients through the Pine Street Inn and the American Civil Liberties Union.  Prior to practicing law, Solfanelli served as a director for Women's Campaign International, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women in emerging democracies.

Brian Storm - MediaStorm

Brian is president of MediaStorm (http://mediastorm.org), a multimedia production studio whose principal aim is to usher in the next generation of multimedia storytelling by publishing social documentary projects incorporating photojournalism and audio reporting across multiple media. Storm's served as vice president of News, Multimedia and Assignment Services for Corbis, where he developed a global strategy for production, packaging and distribution as well as assignment services emphasizing in-depth multimedia reporting. From 1995 to 2002 Storm was director of multimedia at MSNBC.com, a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC News, where he was responsible for the audio, photography and video elements of the site. He received his master's degree in photojournalism in 1995 from the University of Missouri where he ran the School of Journalism's New Media Lab and currently lives in New York.

Aidan Sullivan - Getty Images

Aidan started his career as a staff photographer for a local newspaper in the U.K. He then freelanced as a news photographer covering events and conflicts in Afghanistan, Beirut, Northern Ireland and India amongst others. In 1986, he joined The Sunday Times of London as deputy picture editor, soon becoming the youngest photo editor during a critical time when the paper was completely overhauled and then promoted to director of photography. While at the The Sunday Times of London, Sullivan and two of his colleagues founded image.net, a leading distributor of high resolution publicity materials for major entertainment companies. Image.net reinvented how entertainment giants distribute their materials, by using a digital asset transfer system that Sullivan and his co-founders created. Getty Images acquired image.net in 2004 where Sullivan is now Vice President of Photo Assignments North America. Sullivan is also Director and Founder of The Ian Parry Scholarship, Member of the World Press Photo International Jury for the Master class, Member of the International Judging panel for the Visa D’Or in Perpignan, France, and is the author of two books, War in the Gulf, and Eyes Wide Open.

Laura Varma - Starbucks Coffee Company

Laura is currently the Director of Content & Online for Starbucks Coffee Company. She leads a team of interactive designers and writers in the development of compelling online experiences for www.starbucks.com and related channels, such as the entertainment team, who deliver the best in music, books and entertainment. Prior to this position, she held a variety of marketing and public relations positions for technology companies and served as a consultant for public relations firms, internet start-ups and radio and television channels. She resides in Seattle, Washington with her husband Vivek.

Gabo Wilson - National Coordinator, Survivors Fund (SURF), Rwanda

Gabo has worked as the National Coordinator for Survivors Fund (SURF)for over a decade to help give dignity to the survivors of the Tutsi genocide. Under his leadership, Surf collaborates and works to grow the capacities of local survivor organizations (Avega, Ibuka, Kanyarwanda, Solace Minsitries) and to help create sustainable holistic support programs including education into employment and care & treatment programs aimed to help build survivors confidence and to let them trust humanity again. Gabo has been instrumental in launching Foundation Rwanda's education initiative in Rwanda. His work also involves advocacy for survivors in different forums so as to tell the world what happened in Rwanda should never happen again.

John Yamn - CEO, La Brea Bakery

John Yamin, a 30-year veteran of the food and beverage industry, became Chief Executive Officer of La Brea Bakery in 2002. Under his leadership, a strategic global plan was executed to expand the La Brea Bakery brand into the international marketplace. La Brea Bakery products are now available in 10 countries and all 50 states in the United States.  An experienced chef, Mr. Yamin was previously the vice president of food for Starbucks Coffee Company, where he was responsible for all food and food-related platforms for both domestic and international locations. Mr. Yamin spent many years in his early career with the Marriott Corporation managing multiple four-star restaurants, and implementing managerial training for the Marriott group nationwide. A native to upstate New York, Mr. Yamin is an alumnus of Skidmore College. He is actively involved with Foundation Rwanda. Mr. Yamin resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife Catherine, and enjoys reading and exercising in his free time.  He agrees wit Calivn Coolidge that  “Persistence and Determination are Omnipotent.” 


© 2012 Foundation Rwanda, All Rights Reserved - All photographs by Jonathan Torgovnik © Foundation Rwanda ©