Producer, Musician, Songwriter and Co-Founder/Chairman, We Are Family Foundation
Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multiple GRAMMY-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist by constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music. As the co-founder of CHIC and the newly elected Chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Rodgers pioneered a musical language that generated chart-topping hits like “Le Freak,” (the biggest selling single in the history of Atlantic Records!) and sparked the advent of hip-hop with “Good Times”. Nile Rodgers transcends all styles of music across every generation with a body of work that’s garnered him inductions into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2017) and the Songwriters Hall of Fame (2016).
Most recently, he was appointed as the first ever Chief Creative Advisor for the legendary Abbey Road Studios to cap off a year that has included “festival best” performances at both Glastonbury and Coachella that resulted in the BBC nominating the band for the BBC Music Awards as “Best Live Performance Of 2017” and the LA Times stating “Nile Rodgers influence stretches all over Coachella, beaming the sound of a better future”.
His work in the CHIC Organization and his productions for artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Madonna have sold over 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide while his innovative, trendsetting collaborations with Daft Punk, Avicii, Sigala, Disclosure, and Sam Smith reflect the vanguard of contemporary music. Nile Rodgers & CHIC recently released their first new studio album, “It’s About Time” in over 26 years to critical acclaim and a Top 10 position in the UK album charts.
Attorney, Miller Barondess, LLP
A lawyer for more than 26 years, Mark Barondess has earned a reputation as an aggressive civil advocate in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, CA. Barondess is a founding partner of the firm Miller Barondess, LLP located in Los Angeles. His clients have included a former presidential candidate, a Grammy Award winner, an Academy Award winner, two Emmy Award winners, various sports legends including two Olympic gold medalists, corporate leaders as well as members of the Congress and the Federal Executive Branch at senior levels. Until his retirement, he acted as general counsel for the former CNN broadcasting giant Larry King and his affiliated companies. Barondess serves on the Board of Directors of the Larry King Cardiac Foundation and as General Counsel for the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Ambassadors of Project Restore at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center.
Co-Founder/President, We Are Family Foundation
Nancy Hunt is a co-founder of We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) and has served as President since its inception in 2002. As President, Nancy is responsible for developing WAFF’s educational programs including its acclaimed global teen leader and mentor program, Three Dot Dash; forging strategic partnerships and spearheading fundraising initiatives. Directly after 9/11 Nancy was Executive Producer of the We Are Family Project, which brought over 200 celebrities together to re-record "We Are Family" as a start of the healing process. She was also Executive Producer of the "We Are Family" children's music video PSA which brought together over 100 children's television characters for the first time in history to promote diversity and multiculturalism. Prior to the Foundation, Nancy co-founded Smock Media Inc., an art-based media company in 1999, and Notorious Entertainment, an upscale urban brand with media icon Sean "Puffy" Combs in 1996. During her tenure as Partner and Executive Vice President of both media companies, Nancy oversaw joint ventures, the publishing of Smock and Notorious magazines and the extensions of each brand. She is an award-winning photographer and earned her Master's degree in clinical psychology at The American University.
Irene Cervellera Micheli
CEO, Newton and Angel Investor
Irene is currently the General Manager of an Italian TV production company and has started her activity as “angel” investor a couple of years ago when she moved from Milan to London. She holds a degree in Business Administration and a number of post-graduate diplomas (including diplomas from UCLA, Financial Times and Intheboardroom). Irene spent the first six years of her career (1989-1995) at Chase Manhattan Bank working between London and Milan where she finished as co-head of Corporate Finance in charge of new business development and structuring of transactions. She then moved to financial communication and joined Dewe Rogerson (the London-based Financial PR agency, European privatisation and IPO market leader) from 1995 to 1999 as a Director, advising directly the former Italian Treasury Minister (Mr. Mario Draghi) on main Italian privatisations (Telecom Italia, ENI 1, 2 and 3, Banca di Roma, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, etc.). Eventually, she moved back to Italy as Head of Investor Relations at Parmalat (1999 -2004) where she worked for the Company until its delisting. Afterwards, she worked as Head of IR and CSR for the insurance company Alleanza Assicurazioni- Generali Group (2006 – 2007). In 2008, Irene joined as General Manager of SIF “Società Italiana di Filantropia,” the first Italian venture philanthropy association of charities and philanthropists working to increase effectiveness of philanthropy in Italy. Her responsibilities included the launch and coordination of the SIF chair in “Social Entrepreneurship” at Bocconi University (Milan).
She is a supporter of a number of Italian and UK charities. She is a member of the board of the foundation “Oliver Twist” (founded and supported mainly by Kairos partners – the leading Italian asset management company), a charity committed to support the growth and the education of disadvantaged children in Italy and abroad. Irene currently serves on the board of MusiXmatch ( the World's Largest Lyrics Catalog available on line with +30 million users) and on the board of CharityStar (an internet company that raises funds for non-profit organizations through online charity auctions - experiences include music, entertainment, business, politics, sports, art, fashion and other industries - with celebrities and brands).
She is married to Carlo Micheli with two children. She used to play tennis professionally when she was a teenager.
Denzyl is a 40 year music industry pioneer and digital disruptor. He started his career as a pro musician, worked on the Paul Simon Graceland record and tour, started a successful management company (Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Gypsy Kings, Johnny Clegg, Luther VanDross, Kenny Loggins) and in 1997 launched the first ever pureplay digital music label - AWAL. In 2001 Denzyl started an advisory role to Steve Jobs, launched iTunes in 2003 and has been advising Apple ever since - Launching iTunes globally, producing the 30-day iTunes Festival (10 years) and working on Apple’s music initiatives - Apple Music, Beats1 etc…. In 2016, Denzyl founded and launched PLATOON an accelerator and investment incubator for emerging talent. The company works with some of the world’s most exceptional new artists - Jorja Smith Mr Eazi Stefflon Don, Billie Eilish Rex OC and many others.
Sustainability Strategy Consultant
David Saddington is a climate change & sustainability influencer. Since experiencing extreme flooding as a teenager he has communicated the importance of climate change action to millions, pioneered innovative policy change and worked with business on bold sustainability strategies. David’s first intervention was heading up a high profile public awareness campaign featuring BBC, Sky, ITV and working with then UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to implement climate change on the school curriculum. As a 2008 WAFF Global Teen Leader, David has spread climate education to other countries and his work to re-energise climate change communication has been featured by United Nations as an example of best practice. To compliment his education work David has established a social enterprise to transform unused urban sites into eco-gardens. At Durham University he studied Geography with a focus on glaciers and a Masters majoring on business risk & opportunity from sustainability.
David has shared the stage with heads of state and CEO’s and talked at venues from the Hong Kong Science Museum toconscious festival in Ibiza. His TEDxTeen talk ‘Why I Don’t Care about Climate Change’ is one of the most watched climate talks on Youtube and he is a blogger for Huffington Post and Musings. David now works on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and continually seeks out transformative new ideas to achieve a 2oC world. In 2017 David was named by WWF as an Earth Hour Hero for his now 12 years of continued work as an environmental change maker.
Partner, Goodwin ProctoR
Mark Soundy is a partner in the London office of Goodwin Procter, one of the world's leading international law firms.Mark is a senior partner in Goodwin's Private Equity Group. He focuses his practice on UK and international M&A work, particularly private equity and complex restructuring work. With over 30 years' experience in M&A, Mark has advised a number of leading institutional investors, international businesses and senior management teams. He is also experienced in growth and development capital work. Over the years he has developed particular experience in the business services, consumer and retail, financial services, manufacturing and telecoms, media and technology sectors.
Prior to joining Goodwin, Mark was Global Co-head of Private Equity and Global Head of Private Capital at Shearman & Sterling, and was previously a partner at Weil Gotshal and Travers Smith.
Mark is a former member of the Legal & Technical Committee of the British Venture Capital Association. A consultant editor of A Practitioner's Guide to Private Equity, he speaks and writes regularly on issues relating to international M&A and private equity.
He is Chairman of the Maclaren Foundation for Summer Fields School Oxford, a member of the Foundation for Radley College Oxford, the former founding Chairman of the Alumni Advisory Board for Trinity College Cambridge and a trustee for both The Hawn Foundation and The We Are Family Foundation in the UK.