WE ARE FAMILY FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
NILE RODGERS, Chairman
Producer, Musician, Songwriter
Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multiple GRAMMY-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist by traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music. As the co-founder of CHIC, Rodgers pioneered a musical language that generated chart-topping hits like “Le Freak,” sparked the advent of hip-hop with “Good Times,” and won CHIC 11 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations. Nile 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). His work in the CHIC Organization and his productions for artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross and Madonna have sold over 300 million albums and 50 million singles worldwide while his innovative collaborations with Daft Punk, Avicii, Sigala, Disclosure and Sam Smith reflect the vanguard of contemporary music. Fueling four decades of pop anthems with more than 200 production credits to his name, the scope of Nile Rodgers' peerless influence is undeniable.
MARK BARONDESS, vice chairman
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.
NANCY HUNT, President
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.
STEVEN MUSUMECI, Vice PRESIDENT
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Center Pond Management, L.P.
Prior to forming Center Pond, Mr. Musumeci was the Chief Operating Officer of HealthCor Management, L.P., an investment advisory firm focused principally on the global healthcare and life sciences sectors, from May 2005 until the end of 2013. Prior to helping establish HealthCor in 2005, Mr. Musumeci was a Senior Counsel at Meister Seelig & Fein, LLP for several years where he focused his practice on hedge funds and corporate transactions. From 2000 until 2001, Mr. Musumeci was an investment banker at Robertson Stephens International in London where he helped establish an investment banking group focused on the communications industry. Prior to joining Robertson Stephens, he worked at BNP Paribas in the International Finance and Legal Group from 1997 until 2000. From 1991 until 1997, Mr. Musumeci was an associate in the corporate department of Rogers & Wells. Mr. Musumeci received a B.A. in Economics from Boston College in 1988 and a J.D. from Georgetown University in 1991.
MICHAEL LEVINE, Ph.D., Treasurer
Executive Director, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
Michael Levine is the founding director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, an action research and innovation hub devoted to harnessing the potential of digital media to advance young children's learning and healthy development. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Levine served as Vice President of New Media and Executive Director of Education for Asia Society, managing the global nonprofit's interactive media and educational initiatives to promote understanding of Asia and other world regions, languages and cultures. Previously, Dr. Levine oversaw Carnegie Corporation of New York's groundbreaking work in early childhood development, educational media and primary grades reform, and was a senior advisor to the New York City Schools Chancellor, where he directed dropout prevention, afterschool, and early childhood initiatives. Dr. Levine often serves as an adviser to government and public media organizations such as the US Department of Education, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and writes for policy groups such as the National Governors Association, Democracy Journal and Education Week. He serves on numerous nonprofit boards and advisory councils, including for the Forum for Youth Investment, Teach For America, the US Department of Agriculture's Healthy Apps Challenge, and Talaris Institute.
DANIEL CROWN, Secretary
Co-founder Red Crown Productions
Coming from a family with a tradition of philanthropy, Daniel, along with his wife Ellen, continues that legacy with honor. He serves on the Board of a number of worthy and prestigious organizations, including Lincoln Center, Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan Eye Ear & Throat Hospital, The Jerusalem Foundation, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's Greater New York Chapter, the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network and the Mount Sinai Children's Center Foundation. A native of Chicago, Daniel has been a resident of New York for more than 20 years.
Ayna Agarwal is the Co-Founder of she++, a global movement that aims to increase diversity in the technology sector through college-focused programs, fellowships, and conferences. Through she++, she has recruited a global team of volunteers and produced an award-winning documentary that was screened globally with the State Department. She began her career in the Silicon Valley, where she worked with various start-ups and growth-stage technology firms. Most recently she was at Palantir Technologies, where she led government innovations related to homelessness, disease outbreaks, and criminal justice, and Sidewalk Labs, where she helped spin out a start-up, CityBlock Health, that focuses on social care delivery to low-income populations. Ayna is a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion, women's workplace empowerment, and social justice. She is a professional dancer and enjoys animals and painting. Ayna graduated with her Bachelors from Stanford University, and is currently interrogating how to deploy innovation and technology for our public sector in a Master's degree at Harvard's Kennedy School.
Film Producer and Investor
Kim Brizzolara is a film producer, and private investor; and serves as advisor to several non-profit organizations. She is Executive Vice Chair of the Hampton's International Film Festival, where in 1999, she co-founded the signature program "Films of Conflict & Resolution", which she continues to oversee, Ms. Brizzolara is a Trustee of Glascow Caledonian University/NYC, which focuses on sustainable business practices, and serves on the boards of Creative Visions, Blade of Grass, The Sunny Center in Ireland for exonerees, and the Women's Leadership Board at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
She started her career as a journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, and later worked with Kerry Kennedy at the Robert Kennedy Center for Human Rights, where she began to focus on the area of international conflict resolution. She then served as a grants maker for the Threshold Foundation, where she designated funds to nonprofit organizations that focus on peace and national security issues; as acting director of the Coexistence Center at Baruch College School of Public Affairs, which focused on conflict resolution, race relations, ethnic diversity, and equity in the academic environment and in the community; and worked in fund-raising and wrote position papers for various political campaigns.
Partner, Managing Director, and Head of Music, Creative Artists Agency
Rob Light is Head of the Music department, a Partner, and Managing Director of leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Under Light’s leadership, CAA’s Music department represents many of the world’s most accomplished and talented musical artists and comedians. Light oversees all of CAA’s music agents, providing strategic counsel on concert tours and event bookings worldwide, as well as advising clients on their overall career development.
Respected throughout the industry for his innovative deal structures and his ability to foresee and adapt to changes in the business environment, Light has led CAA’s music department to new heights by implementing an integrated services model that leverages CAA’s expansive and deep resources within the department and across the agency. This inter-departmental approach has taken clients into soundtracks, theater, features films, television, documentaries, sponsorship, endorsement and licensing.
Light is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communication with a degree in Film and Television. Married, with five children, he serves on the Board of Trustees for Syracuse University and is a board member for The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Communities in Schools, and The Tiger Woods Foundation.
Entertainment Industry Executive
One of the most respected executives in the music business, Michael Ostin began his career at Warner Bros., where he both signed and recorded some of the greatest artists in music history, including The B-52's, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Paul Simon, Prince, Seal, Greenday, and Quincy Jones. He then served as the President of DreamWorks Records from its inception until its sale to the Universal Music Group. He continues to consult with DreamWorks as well as other clients and is currently producing television and film projects.
Former US Special Representative to Muslim Communities
Farah Pandith is a diplomatic entrepreneur, foreign policy strategist and author. She is a world-leading expert and pioneer on how tohalt extremist recruitment of Muslim youth. Her forthcoming book is How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat.
She served as a political appointee in the George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack H. Obama administrations at the National Security Council, US Agency for International Development and US Department of State. Since leaving government in 2014, Ms. Pandith has been advising governments and building innovative global programs and organizations dedicated to mobilizing youth against extremist ideologies. She is a frequent media commentator and public speaker.
Ms. Pandith is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She served on the Homeland Security Advisory Council from 2015-2017, co-chairing the CVE Task Force. She was a Senior Advisor and Commissioner for the Center for Strategic International Studies 2016 CVE Commission Report, Turning Point. Together with the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, she is re-imaging the power of communities, private sector and government to stop recruitment.
She is the recipient of many awards including the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Honor Award, the European Academy of Science and Art’s Ring of Tolerance, the Smith College Medal, and the Tufts University Distinguished Achievement Award. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She serves in leadership positions on several boards with a focus on international affairs, women’s empowerment, education and cultural diplomacy. She is a key architect of the Women in Public Service Project.
Ms. Pandith received a master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and an A.B. from Smith College, where she was president of the student body. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Documentary Filmmaker, Jewelry Designer and Avid Conservationist
Susan Rockefeller is a documentary filmmaker, jewelry designer and avid conservationist. Deeply committed to nurturing our planet, Susan is a board member of Oceana, and the Stone Barns Center for Sustainable Agriculture as well as a partner at Louverture Films. Susan is married to David Rockefeller, Jr.
SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, AmeriCares
As SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of AmeriCares, Jed is charged with providing both strategic leadership and hands-on tactical execution of the organization's brand management, marketing and communications efforts. Jed has nearly 20 years of senior marketing and strategy experience, including work with some of the world’s most recognizable brands.
Prior to joining AmeriCares, Jed served as a Vice President at iHeartMedia, a mass media company that specializes in radio broadcasting and producing live events where he oversaw iHeartMedia's strategic brand partnerships with companies like American Express, AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Johnson & Johnson. Prior to iHeartMedia, Jed spent 10 years at The Coca-Cola Company, starting in brand management before ultimately overseeing Coca-Cola’s entertainment marketing department, including management of key industry relationships and partnerships with properties like American Idol, the Academy Awards, American Music Awards and celebrity relationships with Ryan Seacrest and Heidi Klum, amongst others.
Jed earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Delaware and a M.B.A in marketing from Emory University. He lives in Stamford, Connecticut.
The Voice of "We Are Family"
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Kathy Sledge is the youngest of five girls from parents Edwin and Florez Sledge. By age 6 she was singing with her sisters in perfect harmony. Who would have guessed that just 10 years later, she would record a song that would literally touch the hearts of millions around the world.
As lead vocalist of Sister Sledge, the group signed their first record deal with Atco Records, and recorded “Mama Never Told Me” which soon reached No. 1 on the UK charts. After meeting Kathy and her sisters, hit song writers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards wrote and produced “We Are Family” to reflect the sisters’ actual family. The song and the album went No. 1 on every imaginable chart and earned a Grammy nomination. Soon after, Kathy recorded and released her first solo album on Epic Records, “Heart”, which contained the No. 1 dance record ‘Take Me Back to Love Again’.
The start of the millennium was a monumental time for the group. In addition to a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination, Sister Sledge was voted by VH1 as one of the most successful girl groups of all time, second only to the Supremes. In 2001 ‘We Are Family’ was voted the No. 2 biggest record of all time. In 2011, Kathy and her sisters were invited as Oprah’s favorite "Women Who Rock" group with the most requested hit of all time!
In recognition of her outstanding musical achievements, Kathy Sledge received an Honorary Doctorate from the Metropolitan College of New York Doctor of Humane Letters. She has become Honorary Spokesperson for the “1,000 Women for 1,000 Girls” mentorship campaign and was named Goodwill Ambassador for Antigua & Barbuda because of her "Love Will" project to raise money for libraries and schools.
Kathy’s voice will continue to be remembered and admired. Stevie Wonder described her voice in one word...'Sexysweet'. But, perhaps Nile Rodgers put it best, "Kathy has one of the most original and unique voices in pop music. Always has and always will!" Kathy’s latest single “Keep It Movin” climbed to #2 on Billboards Dance Chart last November and is currently charting in the UK on the commercial dance chart.
President & CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF
CARYL M. STERN is an activist, author, executive and public speaker who has dedicated her career to helping others. Since 2007, she has served as President and CEO of UNICEF USA, an organization that supports UNICEF’s lifesaving work to put children first. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of children and philanthropy, anti-bullying and international development. Prior to joining the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Caryl served as the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Associate National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, the founding Director of the Anti-Defamation League's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute and the Dean of Students at Polytechnic University.She has served as a board member for organizations that include the We Are Family Foundation, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation, the United Nations International School, Chime for Change and the Advisory Board to the WNBA. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of The Container Store. A recipient of numerous awards, Caryl been named one of “25 Women Changing the World” by PEOPLE Magazine; one of “25 Moms We Love” by WORKING MOTHER Magazine and “Ten Women to Watch” by Jewish Women International. Caryl lives is married to Donald LaRosa, has three sons (Brian, Lee and James LaRosa) and two grandchildren (Annabelle and Shane LaRosa).
Founder & CEO, Amplo
Sheel is the Founder & CEO of Amplo, a global venture capital firm that helps build companies that matter. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Andela, most recently named the #1 most innovative company in Africa by Fast Company. He previously was the co-head of the seed practice at NEA, the world's largest venture capital firm. As an angel investor, Sheel has invested in the seed or Series A of Casper, Flutterwave, Mark43, Robinhood, and others.
Sheel graduated from Stanford University in three years, at the age of 19. He is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and was on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2013. He holds a JD from Harvard Law School. In 2016, upon invitation of the White House, Sheel was part of the US delegation with President Obama on his historic visit to Cuba.