Amanda Andere, Funders Together to End Homelessness
Amanda has spent over fourteen years working in the nonprofit and public sector as a leader committed to addressing social justice, economic opportunity, and security through advocacy for systemic change.
Prior to joining Funders Together to End Homelessness, she served as President/CEO of Wider Opportunities for Women. A national organization focused on advocacy, research, and policy to build pathways to economic security and equality of opportunity for women, families and elders. She is also an adjunct professor at George Mason University teaching Nonprofit Management. Previously she served as the Executive Director of FACETS and Vice President of Cornerstones, formerly Reston Interfaith, who had similar missions of preventing and ending homelessness as well as breaking the cycle of poverty.
Amanda has served the community in the following capacities; Board Member of the National Council of Women's Organizations, Vice Chair of the Nonprofit Roundtable Board of Directors and James Madison Political Science Alumni Board. She is a graduate of the 2008 Leadership Fairfax Class and 2009 Nonprofit Roundtable Future Executive Director Fellowship. She most recently completed a three-year term as an elected member of the board of the largest community association in the United States, Reston Association.
Amanda is an ordained Deacon at Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church. In 2012, Amanda was honored by Northern Virginia Magazine as Northern Virginian of the Year and by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce as Emerging Influential of the Year. In 2013, she was honored as Best of Reston, Lady Fairfax, and the Smart CEO Brava Award.
She loves to kickbox, dance, and spend quality time with family and friends.
Charlotte Anheier, Southern California Grantmakers
Charlotte Anheier is the Online Community Manager at Southern California Grantmakers. Charlotte is responsible for leading the development, implementation, and support of SCG’s online technology, including the functionality, integration, and data quality of our website and database. She also leads strategy and execution for SCG’s social media.
A former SCG intern, Charlotte joined SCG in 2011. Prior to returning to joining the organization, Charlotte coordinated events and public relations at Muse Lifestyle Group. She serves on the Advisory Group for the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers’ Knowledge Management Project. Charlotte graduated from Pitzer College with a B.A. in Sociology and minor in English Literature.
Susan Taylor Batten, ABFE.
Susan Taylor Batten joined ABFE as President and CEO in January 2009. Prior to joining ABFE Ms. Batten was Senior Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Ms. Batten has more than twenty years of experience in directing, evaluating and advising both public and foundation-related efforts to improve outcomes for children, youth and families. At Casey, Ms. Batten served as staff in the Community Change Initiatives Unit which provides communities and other partners with information, resources and supports to help transform neighborhoods into family supportive environments. She also coordinated a portfolio on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In that role, she worked across the Foundation to strengthen its focus on addressing racial disparities in its grantmaking. Her duties also included assisting Casey in its efforts to build and employ equitable and inclusive management and administrative practices (workforce diversity, grantee diversity, vendor practices, etc.).
Prior to Casey, Ms. Batten served as Vice President at The Center for Assessment and Policy Development where she directed projects for national foundations in the areas of leadership development and supports for young parents and their children. While working with the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, she oversaw national evaluations of federal child nutrition programs and helped to increase access to food programs for the homeless population. Prior to USDA, Ms. Batten worked for several years for the Government of the District of Columbia on comprehensive children’s initiatives and, in particular, efforts to coordinate early childhood programs and policies across the city.
Ms. Batten is also a member of the inaugural Class (2005-2006) of ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellows, a program designed to foster the career development of emerging leaders in the field of philanthropy. She is a member of Hispanics in Philanthropy, serves as an Advisory Board Member to the Diversity in Philanthropy Project, and Co-Chair’s the Steering Committee for The Partnership for Prince George’s County, Maryland. Ms. Batten is a proud graduate of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from Fisk University, and her Masters of Social Work degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Marie Beason, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance
Marie Beason currently serves as Director of Professional Education and Special Initiatives for Indiana Philanthropy Alliance (IPA), an association supporting and connecting philanthropic organizations operating throughout Indiana. In this role, Marie executes a comprehensive curriculum of grantmaker education programs and is responsible for leading initiatives around issues such as developing age- and ability-friendly communities. Working at the intersection of grantmaker learning and community change, Marie helps Indiana funders connect their work to community goals while creating educational programs that inform and inspire.
Kelly has served as Director of Programs and Evaluation at Marguerite Casey Foundation, which invests up to $30 million annually in organizations working to strengthen the voice and capacity of low-income families and as Grants Director at the Vanguard Public Foundation where she designed, launched and managed three new grantmaking programs. She was Director of Marketing and Industry Relations at OpNet, an innovative nonprofit that created digital workforce opportunities for low-income young adults. She also served as Administrative Director for TransAfrica, a national foreign policy organization at the forefront of efforts to secure a peaceful transition to a multi-racial democracy in South Africa and helped coordinate Nelson Mandela’s inaugural visit to the United States.
Kelly has lived and studied in Nairobi, Kenya where she conducted outreach, due diligence and fundraising to build and expand Kenya Women Finance Trust, one of the continent’s first micro-loan funds for women. She has served on the Executive Committee and as Executive Director of Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy, on the board of the Funding Exchange and is currently on the board of the Center for Community Change. She has an M.B.A from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, a BA in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara and was a Sloan Foundation Fellow at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Chicago, researching the intersection between leadership, organizational networks and contemporary social movements.
Amanda Byrd, Southern California Grantmakers
Amanda Byrd joined Southern California Grantmakers in 2013 as the first-ever Director of Communications and Membership. In her current role, she is responsible for growing and maintaining a vibrant community of funders as SCG members, and securing resources to support excellent programs and services that meet members’ needs. She also manages SCG's overall communications strategy and the production of their print and online communications.
Previously, Amanda served for seven years as the Development and Communications Director at EARN, a California nonprofit that helps families save to break the cycle of poverty. Before that, she spent 10 years as the Director of Development for JobTrain, a nonprofit Bay Area job training and placement center. Prior to her career in nonprofit, Amanda worked in business litigation and consulting. She holds a B.A. with honors from Harvard College.
Chris Cardona, Ford Foundation
Christopher Cardona is part of the Philanthropy team at the Ford Foundation and has engaged with the philanthropic community on issues that affect the sector.
Before joining Ford in 2015, Chris led philanthropic services for TCC Group, specializing in strategy, capacity building, and evaluation for the social sector. Over eight years, he led projects for clie nts that included the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, St. David’s Foundation, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Echoing Green, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. Previously, Chris worked at Hispanics in Philanthropy, where he last served as program director for the Northeast, managing seven grant-making sites and developing and implementing fund-raising strategies.
Earlier, while pursuing doctoral studies, he co-managed the execution in Santiago, Chile, of a multicountry survey project, investigating the impact of changes in the world of work on citizen participation. Chris also served as a consultant to grant-maker affinity groups.
Chris earned a PhD and master's degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and his bachelor's degree in political science from Williams College. His dissertation examined the relationship between police, army, and politicians in Latin America in comparative and historical perspective, based on a case study of Colombia in the early and mid-20th century.
Tamara Lucas Copeland, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
As WRAG President, Tamara is the organization’s major thought leader, helping to envision and implement work that meets the needs of the sector and of the region. She joined WRAG with extensive experience in nonprofit management, policy and children’s issues having led Voices for America’s Children, the National Health & Education Consortium, and the Infant Mortality Initiative of Southern Governors’ Association and Southern Legislative Conference as well as having been Congressman Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) Legislative Director.
Jara Dean-Coffey, jdcPartnerships
Jara Dean-Coffey has strengthened the efforts of leaders in philanthropic, public, and social sector organizations by supporting the implementation of practices that integrate a rigorous outcomes framework in all aspects of strategy and operations for more than 20 years. Her approach reflects a commitment to equity and an understanding of the systematic and structural barriers her clients seek to address. Jara’s understanding of the nuances of politics and human dynamics influence decision-making and enable her to create safe environments where clients can acknowledge and explore their reality while moving forward, better aligned within their organization and more aware of where they fit within the larger ecosystem. She has created many of the processes and tools used by jdcPartenerships and is a frequent speaker at conferences.
Jara holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a BA in Communications and Political Science from Temple University, and a certificate in Organizational Development and Evaluation from Fielding Graduate University. She serves on the Advisory Body of the Center for Evaluation Innovation in Washington, DC.
Nick Deychakiwsky, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Nick Deychakiwsky is a Program Officer at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, Michigan) and manages the Foundation’s Civil Society—United States and Global Philanthropy and Nonprofit Sector program areas. Between 2000 and 2006 Nick was responsible for Mott’s Civil Society programming in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.
Nick currently serves on the Global Philanthropy Forum Steering Group, the Hudson Institute Center for Global Prosperity Advisory Board, the Council on Foundations Global Philanthropy Advisory Group, the Advisory Committee of the Community Foundation of Livingston County (Michigan), and the Independent Sector Public Policy Committee. In addition, between 2002 and 2006 Nick was first a board member and then chair of both the Russia Donors Forum and the Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum. In the United States he served as a board member of the National Council of Nonprofits between 2010 and 2012.
David Ehrlichman, Converge for Impact
David Ehrlichman catalyzes others to make their greatest contribution. Specializing in designing and leading networks that enable people and organizations to work together more effectively, Ehrlichman has helped build networks across the environmental, healthcare, education, economic, and civic systems.
David Emerson, Association of Charitable Foundations, UK
David is the Chief Executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), the UK-wide membership association for charitable trusts and grant making foundations.
With a first degree in geography and an M.Sc in landscape design and management, he worked initially in rural community development; and then as the Deputy Head of the Rural Department at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Subsequently he worked in professional theatre in the West End and internationally, as well as in TV, and then moved to run the professional membership association for regional theatre in the UK, before joining ACF in 2003.
With a membership of foundations established from the 11th Century onwards who mobilise funding, resources and expertise in the service of supporting others but who all embody the belief that things can be better, ACF sits at the intersection of private capital and public good. Over the last 25 years ACF has influenced key legislation, provided a showcase for independent funders to share good practice of all kinds, supported grant-makers in their practice, and placed itself uniquely to champion and represent the distinctive role of trusts and foundations.
Alongside his professional roles ACF David has co-authored four published books, including the first on ‘Only Children’; been the secretary of a trust promoting contemporary opera; and he currently is chair of Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and also of nitroBEAT, a contemporary professional music theatre group which reflects the stories of a multi-cultural Britain. He is married to Baroness Jill Pitkeathley OBE, and he was awarded the CBE in the January 2015 New Years Honours List.
Karen Freeman, Southern California Grantmakers
Karen Freeman is the Vice President of Operations and Government Relations at Southern California Grantmakers. Karen is responsible for SCG’s financial management, human resources, legal, facility, IT, and Board of Directors. She also works with the membership to pursue public policy issues of mutual concern. Karen has over 29 years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors, beginning her career as an aide to U.S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum (Ohio). She previously worked at Alzheimer’s Family Services Center in Orange County as Director of Operations, responsible for volunteer management, fiscal management, human resources, programming, and building maintenance. Karen also served as Associate Executive Director at the nonprofit 1736 Family Crisis Center and as Associate Executive Director of the LA County Bar Association Dispute Resolution Services. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from Saginaw Valley State University and an M.P.A. from the University of Toledo, and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources.
Rosa Gallego, Asociación Española de Fundaciones, Spain
Rosa Gallego studied Business Administration at Universidad Complutense in Madrid, with a semester of International Business Studies at the Hanzehogeschool in Groningen, The Netherlands. Her professional experience started at AFS (American Field Service) an international association in the field of education, leading a project to promote intercultural education in the Spanish educational system. Between 1999 and 2001 Ms. Gallego held the position of Secretary General of the International Young Naturefriends in Brussels, an international non profit youth organization with members in more than 19 European countries.The IYNF mission is to connect and inspire Young Naturefriends for living values of respect, solidarity, equality, sustainability, and love and care for nature.
Ms. Gallego is director of the Spanish Association of Foundations since 2001, a membership association with 1,000 members that represents and advocates for foundations in Spain. She is responsible for the international activities of the Association, as well as for the regional groups and finances. From June 2009 she has served as Chairperson of DAFNE (Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe) which gathers 25 associations of foundations and funders from across Europe, representing more than 7,000 foundations.
She is also member of the Wings board of Directors since 2015, Wings - The Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS) is a network of almost 100 philanthropy associations and support organizations in 38 countries around the world whose purpose is to strengthen, promote and provide leadership on the development of philanthropy and social investment.
Jack Hess, Institute for Coalition Building
Jack Hess serves as Executive Director of the Institute for Coalition Building. The Institute serves communities across the country, nurturing leaders collectively to solve their grand challenges. Led by a team of pragmatic practitioners, the Institute teaches and shares the lessons of community collaboration, creating a common language and a shared set of tools and frameworks that form the underlying foundation of the practice of stakeholder leadership. Prior to his work with the Institute, he was the President of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce where he set in place an aggressive strategy of building on the power of place, increasing member engagement, and promoting the principles of entrepreneurship and innovation. Within two years of implementing its new strategic plan, the Columbus Chamber was named the Indiana Chamber of the Year in 2008. One year later, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) presented the Columbus Chamber with the National Chamber of the Year Award. While at the Chamber, he helped to champion a number of collaborative projects including the state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, the formation of a regional learning system through Economic Opportunities 2015, an online training academy for entrepreneurs called SmallBizU, and the Indiana University Center for Art+Design.
Adena Hill, Southeastern Council of Foundations
Adena Hill guides the Southeastern Council of Foundations in their evaluation and involvement in public policy work, supporting initiatives to protect and enhance philanthropy in the South. Adena’s passion for building communities and effecting systemic change is evidenced by her employment, community involvement and academic path. Prior to joining SECF, Adena led the advocacy and public policy efforts of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Adena has also served as a Social Worker and legal intern in multiple settings including a shelter, a foster family agency and a behavioral center, and law firms and clinics. Adena is also committed to volunteerism and community service and currently serves on the board for iDream, Inc., a youth empowerment organization; as a mentor with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; and as a Fulton County Deputy Registrar. Adena has received several scholarships and awards, and was recently recognized as a 2014 Young Nonprofit Network (YNPN) Atlanta 30 under 30 awardee. Adena received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Spelman College, a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California, and a law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, CA.
Lyn Hunter, Philanthropy Northwest
As the go-to person for amplifying your philanthropy’s mission, Lyn helps build stronger connections between Philanthropy Northwest's partners, communities and region. Her work includes producing Philanthropy Northwest conferences and convenings of the Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho Funders Group, Alaska Funders Group and Pierce County Funders Group.
In her former life, Lyn worked in public relations and marketing in the wireless software and legal industries. Before joining Philanthropy Northwest’s team, she worked as a development officer at the United Way of King County and developed programming for conflict resolution trainings.
Lyn currently serves on the board of Sound Child Care Solutions, is an active member of the People of Color in Philanthropy Network (POCPN) and past co-chair of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) Puget Sound chapter. On weekends, she enjoys outdoor adventures with her husband and daughter in pursuit of their favorite “ings” – hiking, biking, camping and eating. Lyn is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Elisabeth Hyleck, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers
Elisabeth manages educational programs and special projects for ABAG and supports the affinity groups related to Basic Human Needs and Arts as well as ABAG's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She manages the consultants who work with various other ABAG affinity groups. Prior to joining ABAG in 2007, she worked at the Annie E. Casey Foundation as the Leadership Development Program Assistant and was the Administrative Coordinator for a residential treatment facility for chemically dependent women and their children. Elisabeth is passionate about best and promising practices, community engagement, and collaboration of all types.
With a master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University, Elisabeth has a great interest in the relationship between people and the natural and built environment and serves on the board of Blue Water Baltimore. She has a BA in English and French (and a minor in Women's and Minorities' Studies) from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and polished her fluency in French at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. When not at work, she can be found mothering Lillian and Theo, connecting dots, hiking, sewing, and attempting to "green" her life.
Anca Ilutiu, French Foundation Centre
Beeta Jahedi, San Diego Grantmakers
Beeta Jaheedi designs and implements San Diego Grantmakers' program strategy and member learning initiatives. In this role, she creates opportunities to innovate and collaborate on the issues that drive San Diego philanthropies, ensures that SDG continuously fosters a well-informed and connected community of grantmakers, and that programs offered contribute to members’ philanthropic effectiveness.
Prior to joining San Diego Grantmakers, Beeta was a senior program associate in the president’s office at The JPB Foundation, where she managed a $50M portfolio in poverty, effective philanthropy, and performing arts education. She was also the assistant director of learning services at Philanthropy New York (PNY) where she implemented PNY’s member learning strategy, launched and designed several collaborative projects and initiatives, such as the role of philanthropy in post-election America and best practices in disaster grantmaking after Hurricane Sandy, and increased the use of digital and social media at programs as a tool for funders to continue discussing best practices and engage with the wider philanthropic sector.
Beeta is a 2016 San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA) Fellow. She also serves on the Screening Committee for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. She was formerly Chair of the Girls Incorporated of New York City’s Junior Board, and a co-leader of the Alumni in Philanthropy Group of NYUWagner.
Beeta received her M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and received her B.A. in Gender Studies from Bard College at Simon's Rock, an early college.
Nancy Jamison, San Diego Grantmakers
Nancy Jamison has led San Diego Grantmakers since 2005, overseeing the organization's growth in membership and service offerings, particularly around learning and networking opportunities and the facilitation of funder collaboration. This has increased the organization's prominence in both local and national philanthropic communities, and Nancy often speaks to audiences about the power and practice of strategic philanthropy.
Prior to joining SDG, Nancy was a senior consultant for TrustWorks Group, a leading San Diego firm providing strategic planning, leadership and team development for nonprofits, associations and corporations. She was a co-creator of the TrustWorks training programs on how to build trust in the workplace, now marketed by the Ken Blanchard Companies and the basis for the book Trust Works! Four Keys to Building Lasting Relationships.
Nancy was a Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank, where she worked in a variety of positions over 10 years, including branch manager, marketing, advertising and employee training.
Nancy has served as a board member for the Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, National Charity League, San Dieguito Academy Foundation, and the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation, and on the Community Council for Young Nonprofit Professionals San Diego. She is currently a board member for the national Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and Chaired the 2015 Association of Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day Honorary Committee.
Nancy was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s 2014 Women Who Mean Business awards, and earned a B.A. with Honors in Psychology from Stanford University.
Kristen Scott Kennedy, GEO
Prior to joining GEO Kristen received her master of public administration from American University’s School of Public Affairs. During her time at SPA, Kristen focused on nonprofit management and conducted research related to nonprofit finance. Throughout graduate school, Kristen worked for the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council, a membership organization that promotes the use of cooperatives as a development paradigm.
Before she received her MPA, Kristen was managing director at The Bhutan Canada Foundation, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to improving education in the Kingdom of Bhutan. In this role, Kristen gained direct experience taking a nonprofit from “start up” mode to the early stages of growth. As managing director she was oversaw program development, strategic planning, board management, communications and fundraising.
Kristen began her career in communications and operations at The Unusual Suspects Theater Company in Los Angeles before working in fundraising at The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in Palo Alto, CA and Macmillan Cancer Support in London, UK.
Kristen is an alumna of the University of Southern California and a recipient of the Nonprofit Executive Scholarship at the Richard Ivey School of Business.
She currently serves as volunteer managing director for Lean & Hungry Theater, a Washington, DC based audio theater company.
Vu Le, writer behind the popular nonprofit humor blog nonprofitwithballs.com and Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps
Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle with the mission of developing and supporting leaders of color to strengthen the capacity of communities-of-color-led nonprofits and foster collaboration between diverse communities to effect systemic change.
Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.
Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at nonprofitwithballs.com. He is also the humor columnist for the awesome nonprofit online magazine, Blue Avocado.
Janine Lee, Southeastern Council of Foundations
Janine Lee is a veteran strategist and grantmaker in philanthropy, with more than 25 years of rich and diverse leadership with nonprofits and foundations. Janine is currently the President and CEO of the Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF), a membership association of grantmaking foundations serving 11 southeastern states with more than 330 member organizations. Under her leadership, SECF supports more than 1,500 staff and trustees managing philanthropic assets in excess of $50 billion in an effort to serve, connect, strengthen and champion philanthropy in the American South. Janine serves on the Board of Trustees with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Board of Trustees of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, the Steering Committee of the Georgia Grantmakers Alliance (GGA), the Advisory Committee for the Foundation Center in Atlanta, and the Mayor’s Advisory Board on Homelessness. She was the co-founder and former chair of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). She has presented at conferences for Independent Sector and the Council on Foundations. In 2015, she was named one of America’s Top 20 Women in Philanthropy and Civic Engagement by Michael Chatman, founder of the #WhyIGive Movement. Janine holds a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services education, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, a master’s degree in business administration, and is a co-author of, “Funding Effectiveness: Lessons in Building Nonprofit Capacity.” (Jossey-Bass, 2005).
Lindsay Louie, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Lindsay Austin Louie is a Program Officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for the Philanthropy Grantmaking Program, which sits within the Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group. In this role, Lindsay supports two grantmaking strategies that seek to increase and improve the effectiveness of all foundations: (1) Knowledge for Better Philanthropy, and (2) the Fund for Shared Insight.
Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2). At SV2, she worked closely with donors and grantees to help identify strong nonprofit organizations and then to strengthen those organizations with long-term funding and additional assistance in management, governance, and internal operations. Before leading SV2, Lindsay ran business development for Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties.
Lindsay holds an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business with a certificate in Public Management, as well as an M.A. in Education, M.A. in Sociology, and B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. She is the Board President of Counseling and Support Services for Youth (CASSY), a Bay Area nonprofit that provides school-based mental health services in over 30 local public schools.
James Magowan, Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE)
Dr. James Magowan has had a diverse career working in a range of disciplines, from agriculture, through European affairs, to philanthropy, in the private, public and not for profit sectors. James took up his position as Coordinating Director of DAFNE in January 2015. DAFNE is the European network of national associations of trusts and foundations which involves participation from 25 countries across Europe. He has also maintained a part-time role with the Association of Charitable Foundations in the UK as their Northern Ireland Development Officer.
Marissa Manlove, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance
Marissa Manlove is the President/CEO of Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, a nonprofit association of independent, family, community, public and corporate foundations and corporate giving programs and other grantmaking organizations throughout Indiana. Collectively IPA’s membership provides more than $700,000,000 in grants on an annual basis. IPA’s mission is to champion, support and connect its members as they transform Indiana through effective philanthropy, providing advocacy that promotes and protects the work and interests of grantmakers with state and federal government officials; creating high-quality grantmaker education that is convenient and cost effective; delivering Indiana-specific news, research and analysis; and members and key partners to create a knowledgeable, collaborative, sustainable philanthropic sector.
Prior to joining IPA in January 2007, Marissa spent 29 years at Noble, a nonprofit organization serving persons with intellectual and other disabilities. Beginning with direct clinical and diagnostic responsibilities, Marissa served in various senior program management roles while at Noble, including as Vice President of Consumer and External Relations. Marissa has been a government affairs specialist and registered Indiana lobbyist since 1998, and her tenure at Noble also included oversight of communications and marketing, special events, and development.
Marissa has extensive experience with nonprofit board service. A member of the Governmental Affairs Society of Indiana and the American Society of Association Executives, Marissa serves on the boards of numerous local, state and national nonprofit organizations, including The 24 Group; Noble; Indiana Society of Association Executives, and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.
Marissa’s national and local education and advocacy efforts on behalf of adolescents and young adults struggling with substance use disorders and addiction and their families has been recognized through multiple awards, including a prestigious Torchbearer award from the Indiana Commission for Women; the Circle of Hope Award from Fairbanks Hospital; the Salute to Families award from Family Services of Central Indiana; and the Parent Advocate award from Drug Free Marion County. Her passion for this issue was sparked by personal tragedy, following the 2001 death of her then 16 year old son David from a substance abuse-related drowning.
Marissa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Louis University and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from Indiana University. She has a lifetime license as a School Psychologist Level I in the state of Indiana and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE). She is married to Kim Manlove and has a son Josh and daughter-in-law Angela Manlove.
Jamie Merisotis, President & CEO of the Lumina Foundation and author of America Needs Talent
Jamie Merisotis is a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, higher education, and public policy. Since 2008, he has served as president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. and a driving force for increasing Americans’ success in higher education. He previously served as co-founder and president of the nonpartisan, Washington, DC-based Institute for Higher Education Policy, and as executive director of a bipartisan national commission on college affordability appointed by the President and Congressional leaders. Merisotis is the author of the highly-regarded 2015 book America Needs Talent, published by RosettaBooks.
He is frequently sought after as a media commentator and contributor. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, National Journal, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Washington Monthly, Huffington Post, Politico, Roll Call and other publications.
His work includes extensive global experience as an adviser and consultant in southern Africa, the former Soviet Union, Europe and other parts of the world. A respected analyst and innovator, Merisotis is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and holds honorary degrees from several colleges and universities. Merisotis commits his time and energies as trustee for a diverse array of organizations around the world, including his alma mater Bates College in Maine, the Council on Foundations in Washington, DC, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Anatolia College in Greece, and the London-based European Access Network. He lives with his wife Colleen O’Brien and their children Benjamin and Elizabeth in Indianapolis.
Brett Meyer, ThinkShout
Brett Meyer is Chief Strategy Officer at ThinkShout. As ThinkShout’s content strategist, Brett helps clients craft compelling messages and measure the success of their digital campaigns. He began his career as a dot-com software developer. He and his wife then spent two years in Mali with the Peace Corps, where he trained grassroots organizations in technology and media. Following this experience, Brett served as Communications Director at the Nonprofit Technology Network for six years, helping grow NTEN’s community from a few thousand to over 50,000 engaged participants. Having worked in the nonprofit sector for so long, he has a deep understanding of the communications and fundraising challenges that his clients face. Brett is uniquely positioned to help them build comprehensive multi-channel marketing plans.
Daranee Petsod, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees
Daranee Petsod has led Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) since 1999 and has worked on immigration and social and economic justice issues since 1987. As president of GCIR, she develops and leads new areas of work, in addition to providing programmatic, fiscal, and administrative oversight.
Prior to joining GCIR, Daranee was a program and communications consultant for foundations and nonprofits. She previously held leadership positions at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and was a program officer at the Field Foundation of Illinois, Inc. and the Sophia Fund, one of the first women’s funds in the United States. She has served on the boards of the Donors Forum and the Heartland Alliance, both in Chicago, the Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Washington, D.C.
Daranee has authored and co-authored numerous research reports on a range of immigration issues, as well as opinion pieces on the role of philanthropy in supporting immigration and immigrant integration issues. Daranee earned an M.A. in social policy from the University of Chicago and is a recipient of the 2014 Professional Development Fellowship from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation. When not immersed in immigration and philanthropy, she enjoys the great outdoors, savoring gourmet meals, and traveling the world with her family.
Brian Pickett, North Peak Solutions
Brian Pickett is the Founder and Senior Consultant at North Peak Solutions. North brings together two of Brian’s great passions: supporting nonprofits and operational excellence. Early in his career Brian worked at a CRM software company, for a CRM consulting firm and as a CRM administrator for an early cloud computing firm; all formative experiences that created a vision for how CRM tools can emblazon organizations to be more effective with their limited resources. Brian has spent the last 12 years working exclusively with nonprofits, helping them succeed through integrated technology solutions using website, CRM, email, advocacy, online donations, and other tools with Salesforce at the core. Brian lives in San Diego with his wife and children, and sneaks out to go surfing whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Doug Poe, American Indian Center of Indiana, Inc.
Doug Poe is the Executive Director/CEO of the American Indian Center of Indiana, Inc., a state wide not-for-profit organization serving Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the State of Indiana regarding workforce and employment issues. The AICI office is located in the John H. Boner Center. He is responsible for the overall operations of the Center. Prior to assuming the position of Executive Director of the Center, he was Chairman of the Board. Doug is a graduate of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., with a BS in Industrial Technology. He is of Cherokee descent.
Hilda Polanco, FMA
As Founder and CEO, Hilda has led FMA to become the go-to capacity builder foundation and nonprofit leaders seek to address nonprofit financial management issues.
A nationally recognized and sought after leader in the field, Hilda serves the sector in many ways. Hilda was a founding member of the selection committee of the New York Nonprofit Excellence Awards, established by the New York Times and the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee. Hilda has served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Department of Health Policy and Management and is on the faculty of Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Board Leadership Training Series as well as Annenberg Foundation’s Alchemy+ Board Development Training Series.
When not speaking publicly or leading FMA’s team, she provides direct capacity building, training and coaching services to foundations and nonprofits throughout the country.
Hilda served on the NYC Human Services Council’s special commission to study the closure of high-profile human services organizations. She also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the New York Better Business Bureau Foundation, as well as on the Board (as Audit Committee Chair) for Acelero Learning, an organization that works with local communities to support high quality Head Start programs.
Additionally, she serves on the National Advisory Board of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy and is Treasurer of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers.
Hilda’s other public service duties include being a frequent speaker at the New York State Society of CPA’s annual Nonprofit Conference. She previously presented at the AICPA National Not-for-Profit Conference as well as the AICPA Not-for-Profit Financial Executives Forum in San Francisco.
In 2016, Hilda was recognized as a Leap of Reason Ambassador for being a nonprofit thought leader and practitioner. Her previous honors include SmartCEO magazine’s New York Brava! award for Top Female CEO, the Social Entrepreneur Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners-New York City, an award from WHEDCO for outstanding leadership in the field of nonprofit finance, and the Latina Excellence Award in Community Service from HISPANIC Magazine.
Hilda graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Accounting. She holds the Certification in Control Self-Assessment from the Institute of Internal Auditors awarded to practitioners who can provide guidance on risk, controls, and business objectives. In addition, Hilda holds the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The CGMA demonstrates management accounting expertise, determination and commitment to achieving sustainable business success.
Phuong Quach, Northern California Grantmakers
Phuong Quach is the Director of Member Engagement at Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) where she manages both membership and programs, including NCG’s Annual Conference. Prior to NCG, Phuong was a consultant with Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) where she provided strategic and development support. She was the Membership & Communications Director with Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) for four years, working with ten local chapters across the country on programs to increase philanthropic support and advocacy to API communities.
Phuong is a co-founder of the Oakland-based “Hella Heart Giving Circle” The circle is focused on providing support to immigrant women and girls in Oakland. She also volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association. She previously served on the board of War Legacies Project, a nonprofit that provides support for families heavily affected by the long term impact of war in Southeast Asia.
Phuong received her BA in anthropology and urban studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and her MPA from City University of New York. She is a graduate of the National Urban Fellows program. In her free time, she enjoys a good happy hour deal with friends, a documentary film and a jog around Lake Merritt. She adores her baby daughter, Phoebe My-Linh.
Lorraine Ramirez, Neighborhood Funders Group
Lorraine Ramirez joined NFG in December of 2012, and has worked in social justice philanthropy for over a decade, in the areas of housing and the foreclosure crisis, LGBTQ rights, gender justice, and anti-violence organizing strategies. Lorraine has also served in fundraising roles with social justice community-based organizations dedicated to racial justice, economic justice, immigrant rights, workers' rights, and LGBTQ rights. Lorraine previously worked in US Programs at the Open Society Foundations, as a member of the Equality and Opportunity Fund team. Lorraine began her work in philanthropy with five years on the grantmaking team at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, across their international and US-based grant programs.
Lorraine has consulted and partnered with a number of grassroots organizations across the US, on fundraising strategies, organizational development, and coalition-building. Lorraine has served on the board of the Audre Lorde Project, Queers for Economic Justice, and the Justice Committee, a Latina/o-led organization dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in NYC. She is currently a board member of theGrassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT), Queer Trans Pueblo, and Resource Generation; she also serves on the grants panel for the Mobilize Power Fund of Third Wave Fund.
Lorraine manages the Working Group on Place-Based Community Change and Funders for Justice, an initiative focused on police accountability and racial justice, which launched in late 2014 in solidarity with the uprisings in Ferguson, MO.
David Sawyer, Converge for Impact
David Sawyer cultivates high intelligence in human systems. He is a strategy guy for a better world, specializing in networks, design, and systems thinking. He is active across all sectors and has played key roles in a variety of fields: education reform, national service, social entrepreneurship, women & girls, venture philanthropy, and environmental preservation.
Miriam Shark, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Miriam Shark manages the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s philanthropic engagement initiative, deepening and diversifying Casey’s relationships with philanthropies, philanthropists and philanthropic initiatives and networks. She also coordinates the Foundation’s exploration of Pay for Success strategies.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Shark was a director of the Massachusetts Rate Setting Commission. Prior to that, she served as the director of a community-based mental health center.
Shark holds an A.B. degree from Washington University; a Ph.D. in clinical child psychology from St. Louis University; and an M.P.A. from Harvard University.
Dave Sheldon, Southern California Grantmakers
Dave Sheldon is Vice President of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Southern California Grantmakers. Dave is responsible for leading Southern California Grantmakers’ program team that identifies, designs, and implements high-quality programs for SCG members. He also works on special projects related to efficiency and implementation of new directives.
Prior to joining SCG, Dave worked in operational, programmatic, and financial capacities with funders and grantees in a variety of ways. He spent 10 years in Washington, DC at a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization designing and delivering programs focused on civic engagement, government innovation, and leadership development. Since 2006, Dave worked at a strategic management consulting firm where he developed strategies, identified business solutions, and designed and implemented projects for government and nonprofit clients that maximized stakeholder buy-in, reduced institutional and cultural barriers, and delivered stronger results. He earned his M.P.P. at Duke University with a focus on public and nonprofit management issues. Dave completed his undergraduate education at the University of California, San Diego.
Erin Skene-Pratt, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers
Erin Skene-Pratt is an independent consultant with 15 years experience as a leader and catalyst for program design and implementation in the areas of advocacy, organizational development, and capacity building efforts. Erin provides a strategic outlook on work of the nonprofit sector, and a proven track record of results having assisted thousands of nonprofits to better serve their communities.
Erin is also an affiliate consultant with Public Policy Associates (PPA) providing facilitation services and working with PPA's clients on training, policy, and communication strategies. As an adjunct faculty member at Grand Valley State University, Erin teaches a graduate level course on nonprofit advocacy and pubic policy covering the roles of government and nonprofits in serving society and basic advocacy tactics.
Prior to forming Skene-Pratt Consulting in 2009, Erin served as Senior Director of Public Affairs at Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA). At MNA, Erin crafted curriculum and trained thousands of nonprofits on how to effectively advocate for public policy change and authored the first Michigan-specific how-to-guide on effective advocacy. Erin also successfully developed and implemented MNA’s first statewide public policy agenda for the nonprofit sector, built and mobilized a grassroots network of 2,000 nonprofits, successfully fundraised for MNA’s policy work, developed and staffed a committee to provide input to the Michigan attorney general on charitable matters, formed the first Michigan nonprofit legislative caucus, advocated on policy issues relevant to the nonprofit sector resulting in passage of legislation to enhance fundraising efforts of nonprofits and to increase nonprofit accountability in Michigan, and founded/staffed the Michigan Participation Project to enhance the voter engagement efforts of Michigan’s nonprofits.
Erin holds an MPA from Western University, BAs in Journalism and English from Michigan State University, and a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
As and independent consultant, Erin is the director of PolicyWorks for Philanthropy, a project of the Forum of Regional Associations Grantmakers (Forum). Erin develops curriculum, implements programming and provides coaching to 29 RAs across the country. The purpose of PolicyWorks is to prepare RAs for policy work at the local, state and federal levels. Other past and current Skene-Pratt Consulting clients include: Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, Iowa Council on Foundations, Michigan Nonprofit Association, Council of Michigan Foundations and Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest.
Erin holds an MPA from Western University, BAs in Journalism and English from Michigan State University, and a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from The
Bill Stanczykiewicz, The Fundraising School
Bill Stanczykiewicz serves as director of The Fund Raising School and as a senior lecturer in philanthropic studies for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Bill developed nationally-recognized expertise in nonprofit leadership and management, including fundraising, while serving for 17 years as President & CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute – a statewide nonprofit delivering responsive professional development and relevant data on children and youth to educators, youth workers, government officials and the media. Under Bill’s leadership, IYI’s fundraising increased significantly while becoming highly diversified, and IYI’s impact and success were cited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and by the Indiana Achievement Award.
Prior to leading IYI, Bill served in the public sector, first as a legislative aid to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families and then as the Policy Director for Community Renewal, a cabinet-level position in the Office of the Mayor in Indianapolis where the initiative he designed and implemented was cited as a best practice by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Additional public administration responsibilities have included serving on Indiana’s Education Roundtable, the State Workforce Innovation Council, the Employ Indy regional workforce board and as an elected member of his local public school board.
Bill’s professional career started as a radio sportscaster, and he was honored as the “Indiana Sportscaster of the Year.” His media skills continue to be utilized in his current leadership duties, including appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America and ESPN as well as through numerous newspaper op-eds and radio and television interviews across Indiana.
Other personal awards include being named a “Sagamore of the Wabash,” the highest honor bestowed by the Governor of Indiana on civic leaders. Bill also was recognized as a “Next Generation Leader” by the Rockefeller Foundation, listed in “Who’s Who in Education” by the Indianapolis Business Journal and named a “Friend of Education” by the Indiana State Teachers Association.
Bill’s statewide and community volunteer service has included serving on leadership committees associated with the NCAA Final Four and the Super Bowl. Bill also served on the board of an inner-city youth organization, co-chaired a successful capital campaign for his religious congregation, coached youth sports and served on the board of his local community foundation.
Bill earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in public administration (with a concentration in nonprofit management) from George Mason University and a post-graduate credential in executive leadership from Vanderbilt University. His fundraising skills were sharpened through courses offered by The Fund Raising School, and he serves as an adjunct faculty member at Purdue University.
Ana Tilton, Grantmakers for Education
Ana Tilton is the Executive Director of Grantmakers for Education. Ana has more than 30 years of experience across the education spectrum including work as an educator, administrator, and grantmaker. She has brought her voice to the most pressing issues in education locally, nationally and abroad. Ana has served public education from all angles in partnership with many organizations—public, private and foundations across the country – and through those partnerships has helped to develop several quality public and private school options for learners of all ages. She is committed to equity and diversity in education, driven by her own personal background as someone who has lived the life of the young people Grantmakers for Education (GFE) and its members are working so hard to impact.
Michael Twyman, OpportunINDY
Anne Wallestad, BoardSource
Anne was appointed by BoardSource’s board of directors in the summer of 2013, after having served as a key member of BoardSource’s leadership team for more than five years. Since taking the helm in 2013, she has overseen a period of significant growth and change for the organization, including the launch of several new leadership initiatives and the successful implementation of a more streamlined model of program delivery.
A seasoned nonprofit professional, Anne has held leadership positions with a number of local and national organizations. Prior to joining BoardSource’s leadership team in December 2008, she served as the vice president of development at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute, where she helped facilitate – from the staff perspective – a strategic restructuring of the groups’ boards of directors and leadership. Anne is an experienced trainer and facilitator and has worked with boards and volunteer networks to strengthen volunteer management, events management, and fundraising skills. She has held leadership posts at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa; the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network; and the Human Rights Campaign, where she was responsible for partnering with and training leaders in communities targeted for organizational expansion and growth.
Alfonso Wenker, Minnesota Council on Foundations
Alfonso Wenker is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF). He has a range of experience in the philanthropic sector spanning program design, training and facilitation, fundraising, and event planning. Most recently, Alfonso developed a philanthropic fellowship program at the Bush Foundation now housed at MCF.
Prior to his time at Bush Foundation, Alfonso held various staff roles at PFund Foundation, including as the foundation's first full-time program staff person, integrating racial equity frameworks across the organization, increasing volunteer participation and engaging new institutional funding partners.
His responsibilities at MCF include leading the MCF Philanthropy Fellows program and managing MCF's internal and external diversity, equity and inclusion work.
Anne serves on the board of Capital City Public Charter School and the regional advisory board for Drake University, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and English.
Kristina Wertz, Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Kristina joined Funders for LGBTQ Issues as the Director of Engagement in 2013. She has a deep commitment to social justice with over a decade of experience advocating for LGBTQ communities as an attorney and policy advocate. Kristina's track record includes litigating a number of groundbreaking transgender rights cases and expanding legislative protections for transgender and gender nonconforming people in California.
Most recently, as Director of Policy and Programs at the Transgender Law Center (TLC), Kristina lead multidisciplinary advocacy and movement building programs focused on healthcare access and economic justice. She also served as TLC's Legal Director, litigating cases regarding identity documents, employment discrimination, access to public institutions and student safety. Kristina has conducted countless law and policy trainings for LGBTQ community members, employers, attorneys, social service providers, healthcare providers and other audiences. Prior to her role at TLC, Kristina practiced as a civil rights litigator, focusing on employment discrimination and housing rights. Kristina was named a "Top Lawyer Under 40" by the National LGBT Bar Association in 2011. She is a graduate of New York University and Brooklyn Law School.
Kristina is a proud San Francisco native (and SF Giants fan) who also calls New York home. She lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn with her girlfriend, Kara Desiderio, an advocate for healthcare access, and their tiny dog Lionel.
Emily Wexler, GEO
Emily Wexler is a program manager on GEO’s program team. She previously served as a project specialist for the Scaling What Works initiative and has been with GEO since June 2011. In her current position Emily develops and delivers content for GEO peer learning, speaking engagements, publications and other programming.
Prior to joining GEO Emily received her master of public policy from Duke University’s Terry Sanford School of Public Policy. During her time at the Sanford School, Emily focused on the use of communities and research to design effective social policies and programs. In particular, she worked with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to provide strategy and analysis on building the capacity of North Carolina’s domestic violence and sexual assault agencies to successfully implement data collection tools.
Before she received her MPP, Emily worked as a community organizer and policy analyst in Vermont. In this role, she worked on issues ranging from childhood hunger to access to affordable health care. In particular, in her work with the People Improving Communities Through Organizing Network Emily collaborated with community leaders to conduct a public action to galvanize the state’s policymakers to protect critical components of the state’s social welfare program safety net.
Emily is an alumna of Princeton University’s Emerging Leaders Program and serves as a board volunteer with a housing first organization in Northeast Washington, D.C.
Joyce White, Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Joyce B. White is the executive director of GRANTMAKERS of Oregon and Southwest Washington. In 1999, she was asked by Oregon funders to start the regional association of grantmakers and manage the Oregon plan of the Northwest Giving Project, one of the many initiatives to grow philanthropy under the national New Ventures in Philanthropy. Prior to coming to GRANTMAKERS, Joyce spent nearly a decade developing heritage tourism projects on Oregon’s four national historic trails, working closely with Oregon’s economic development and tourism departments and Tribal communities. “Almost” an Oregon native, Joyce has served on many nonprofit boards focused on a broad range of interest areas: women and children; the arts; historic preservation; economic development and volunteerism. She was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Willamette Valley Development Officers.
Sarah Mann Willcox, North Carolina Network of Grantmakers
Sarah Mann Willcox is program director at the N.C. Network of Grantmakers. In her role she works with 114 different foundations that fund throughout the state on best practices and foundation operations. NCNG serves as the “connective tissue” for N.C.’s funding community helping them to get to know one another and work together. Before joining NCNG, Sarah served as the Director of Sustainability (code for “fundraiser”) at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits for six years. She has a master’s degree in public administration from N.C. State and has a B.S. from Appalachian State. Sarah is a classically trained violinist and has recently taking up tap dancing (true story).