Board of Directors
We are actively recruiting two new board members for 2016. If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague, click here. We are seeking candidates with experience in fundraising, marketing and human resources.
Sue Atkins is a Managing Director at JPMorgan, specializing in Corporate Restructuring. She has a degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA in Finance from the University of Minnesota. In addition to serving on LitWorld's Executive Board, she volunteers for the Big Brother Big Sister program and the Parents Advisory Committee at Kenyon College. Sue lives with her husband, Eben Shapiro, and her two children in New York City.
A renowned youth advocate for global education, a girl champion and former refugee from Sierra Leone, Chernor is an Associate at the Population Council. Prior to that, Chernor was the Youth Engagement Coordinator for A World at School - a leading digital mobilization and campaign organization for education He is the youth representative on the High-Level Steering committee for the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative and Chair of its Youth Advocacy Group. He founded and led the Children’s Forum Network, Sierra Leone’s Children’s Parliament and was Junior Executive Producer for the United Nations Voice of Children radio Project. Chernor has worked with young people and other marginalized groups in Liberia, Lebanon, Haiti, Ethiopia, the Philippines and other emergency and non-emergency settings, leading efforts to strengthen their voices in development, political and policy processes in a credible way. In 2014, Chernor received the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Voice of Courage Award for his global efforts on behalf of children and youth affected by conflict.
Lauren Blum is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Butler Child Advocacy Center and with Central Avenue Pediatrics in the Bronx, NY. Lauren has been a longtime volunteer with the Books for Boys program at The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she serves on the Community Advisory Committee. Lauren also volunteers with Hands up for Haiti, joining teams of health care professionals on medical missions in Northern Haiti. Lauren holds a B.Sc. in Nursing from Emory University, Atlanta and a M.Sc. in Nursing from Columbia University, New York. Lauren lives with her husband Paul and son Nathan in Westchester, NY, where they also raised their two daughters, Liana and Eliza.
Christine J. Chao
Christine J. Chao is currently General Counsel of the Foremost Group, an international shipping company. Christine has extensive corporate and commercial law experience having worked in senior legal positions for three Fortune 100 companies: GE, Federal Express, and Ultramar Corporation. Christine began her legal career upon graduation from Columbia Law School with the Wall Street law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf focusing on M&A, US securities, leasing and project finance. Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University and currently serves as a Trustee for her alma mater as well as the Foremost Foundation, which strives to help young people access higher education and greater opportunities generally, and her younger son's school, Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT. After living abroad in Hong Kong,China and London, England, Christine now resides in Greenwich, CT with her husband Jos Shaver and their two sons.
Sabrina Conyers is a Senior Manager at Ernst & Young, LLP, specializing in partnership tax planning. Sabrina has an LLM in Taxation from NYU Law School (2010). She received her JD from Columbia Law School (2004) and her BA from Morgan State University (1999). Prior to joining EY, Sabrina practiced corporate, real estate and tax law at the law firms of Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in New York City. In the nonprofit sector, Sabrina assists clients with the formation of nonprofit corporations and securing exemption from federal income taxation. She also provides general corporate counseling advice to nonprofit organizations advising them on a broad range of operating issues including corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, structuring subsidiaries, grants management, program related investments and other tax issues. Sabrina has been a frequent lecturer on the legal issues facing nonprofit organizations for various nonprofit organizations throughout New York City. Sabrina lives with her husband, Justin Conyers and their two children in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Jeff DaPuzzo is a former advertising executive turned educator. He was part of the NYC Teaching Fellows program in 2003 after an 18-year corporate career in marketing and advertising. He has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Denver, and a MS in Education from Mercy College. He has been a Big Brother mentor, served as a volunteer teacher with the New York Civil Rights Coalition, and created a Books For Children project, which generated over 700 books for the St. Aloysius School in Harlem in 1999. Jeff is now a freelance photographer and lives with his husband and daughter in New York City.
Ellen Fredericks (Chair)
Ellen Fredericks is an executive coach and founder of Partners in Possibility, a consulting company focusing on executive and leadership development. Prior to starting her own business, Ellen held executive positions in marketing and product management in the telecommunications industry. She is one of several hundred coaches worldwide awarded the designation of Master Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Ellen holds a certificate in coaching, a BS in Computer Science and an MS in Management. She attended Executive Management Training Programs at Duke University and Arizona State University. Ellen is a contributing author to the ASTD published book, “Coaching for Extraordinary Results” and the co-author of three books on executive development. Ellen is also on the faculty for the Certified Professional Coach Program at the University of Miami. She resides in Warren NJ with her husband Tom and 4 English Cocker Spaniels.
Julie Hirschfeld is an ardent supporter of work advancing educational and economic opportunity, women's empowerment, and global health. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from New York University and trained in marital and family therapy at New York’s Ackerman Institute. She also holds degrees from Oxford University and Bryn Mawr College and has lived, studied, and traveled widely abroad. Areas of professional interest include religious, cultural, and institutional influences on family life, human development, and physical and emotional health. With husband Tom Hirschfeld she co-authored Business Dad: How Good Businessmen Can Make Great Fathers and Vice Versa (Little, Brown, 1999), which has been translated into seven languages. Her work as advisor to the Lit! Solar Lantern Project (a youth-run initiative founded in 2010 to support LitWorld students with a clean, safe light source for their studies) progressed to membership on the 50-member LitWorld Advisory Council. As Chair of the Council from 2013 to early 2015, she created procedures that improved its communications, cohesion, and effectiveness in supporting LitWorld's growth and mission.
Dr. Ernest Morrell
Dr. Ernest Morrell is the Macy professor of English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, a class of 2014 Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and the Past-President of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). He is also the Director of Teachers College’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME). Prior to this, Dr. Morrell was an award-winning high school English teacher in Northern California, and he continues to work with teachers, schools and adolescents across the country to infuse multicultural literature, youth popular culture and media production into standards-based literacy curricula and after school programs. Dr. Morrell received his Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of California at Berkeley where he received the Outstanding Dissertation Award. He is an award-winning published author, and his books include Critical Media Pedagogy: Teaching for Achievement in City Schools and New Directions in Teaching English. In his spare time he coaches youth sports and writes poems and plays.
Nicole Nakashian is the Chief Information Officer at Conifer Financial Services. She has been leading technology teams within the finance industry for over 10 years. Nicole earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from SUNY Albany, a MBA from Long Island University, is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and holds Series 7 and 63 licenses. Nicole lives with her partner in New York City and is the proud mother of twin girls, Madeline and Avery.
Donna Duskin Stein
Donna Duskin Stein is a senior financial and operations officer, who has served in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Since 2007, she has been the chief financial officer of the Union for Reform Judaism, the congregational arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in North America. Immediately prior to joining the Union, Donna had served as Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration, of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia since 2003. She had held a similar position at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 2001-2003. From 1978-2000, she held a number of increasingly responsible positions with Sunoco, Inc., serving finally as Director of Finance and Planning. She also served as a member of the Form 990 Reform Advisory Committee to a US Congressional Committee; founder of the Alliance of Nonprofit Financial Officers, Southeast Pennsylvania; member of the Greater Philadelphia United Way Allocation Committee; Trustee and Treasurer, Bucks County Family Service Association; President, Philadelphia Finance Association; and Treasurer/Vice President of two synagogues. Donna graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Buffalo. She received an M.A. in social studies education from Columbia University Teachers College, and her M.B.A. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where she was awarded the Adam Averill Ross Prize in Accounting.