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Educate a child

Board of Directors

Kim Clark
Board Secretary

Kim Clark is an experienced education attorney/consultant and human rights advocate. Over the past twenty years, Ms. Clark has worked in the private sector for several large international law firms, in the non-profit sector as a legal aid lawyer, and the government sector as general counsel for a large public school district. Ms. Clark has also served as a management consultant to numerous school districts and State departments of education around the United States. Ms. Clark now devotes most of her time to philanthropic causes, including human rights advocacy on behalf of unaccompanied minors who have entered the United States to escape physical and/or sexual abuse. Ms. Clark holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian language from the University of Arizona and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

In her own words, "Access to education is a fundamental right that is critical to the progress of human civilization. As a school lawyer and feminist, I am deeply committed to this idea, particularly as it relates to girls. I like the Mona Foundation's strategic, results-driven approach to selecting projects that truly make a difference in the lives of the students they serve, and their communities. More than anything, though, I support the Mona Foundation because of the passion and commitment of the community of people behind the mission. Together we can do anything."

I support Mona Foundation because of the passion and commitment of the community of people behind the mission. Together we can do anything.
Duy-Loan Le
Board of Directors

Duy-Loan came to America with nothing at the age of 12. She graduated as Valedictorian at 16 and from the University of Texas with BSEE Magna Cum Laude at 19. Duy-Loan received her MBA in 1989. In 2002, Duy-Loan became the first Asian-American and first woman at Texas Instruments (TI) to be elected Senior Fellow (equivalent to Senior VP) and remains the only woman in TI’s history to get elected to this title to this date. She holds 24 patents.

In 2002, Duy-Loan was elected to the Board of Directors at National Instruments Inc. and chairs its Compensation Committee. In 2012, she was elected to the Board of Directors at eSilicon Corp. in silicon valley and chairs its Technology Committee. Duy-Loan's service to the global community is extensive, but her deepest love is with Sunflower Mission and Mona Foundation, two non-profit organizations supporting education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) world wide. She is married with 2 sons and lives in Texas.

My purpose of doing well in life is to do good ... and giving a child the gift of education enables goodness in perpetuity.
Mahnaz Aflatooni Javid
President

Mahnaz has a doctorate in Educational Leadership. She has taught as an adjunct faculty at the University of Washington Computer and software systems, worked at Microsoft for several years, and more recently at Avanade, a high tech consultancy in Seattle, as the Sr. Vice President of Talent Acquisition . In September of 2017 and after 20 years in Academia and high tech industry, Mahnaz left Avanade to commit herself full time to the critical mission of Mona Foundation as its CEO and President.

Mahnaz is one of the founding members of Mona Foundation, passionate about social justice and access to education for all, particularly for women and girls, and has been involved in learning about social and economic development projects around the world since 1990's.

Philanthropy speaks to the core of our humanity. It defines and shapes us to be the best we can be.
Nikki Meshkin
Chairperson and Vice President

Nikki Meshkin has been a Technical Advisor and Business Operations Manager at Intel Corporation Technology & Manufacturing Group for 25 years with responsibilities in strategic planning, marketing and business operations. She previously held senior positions at Merrill Lynch and other financial institutions. Nikki currently serves on the Andisheh Center Board of Directors, celebrating and promoting Iranian culture, heritage, and the arts. She is also engaged in a global process of learning with the aim of enhancing the capacity of individuals and communities to serve humanity. Nikki holds an M.B.A. and B.A. in Finance & Management and lives in Portland, Oregon with her family.

In Nikki's own words, "...to educate girls is to reduce poverty”…What is close to my heart is Mona’s focus on the projects that provide girls a real chance at a better life for themselves, their families and their communities.

What is close to my heart is Mona’s focus on the projects that provide girls a real chance at a better life...
Sima Mobini
Board of Directors

Sima has a Master's Degree in Structural Engineering from UCLA. She has worked in both private industry and public organizations for fifteen years and in 1997 stepped out to spend more time with her three children, with the ultimate hope of getting involved with meaningful projects that serve humanity. She learned about Mona Foundation in 2003 and has been volunteering ever since. Since her involvement with Mona Foundation she has traveled to some of the projects and these experiences have taught her the value of social and economic development and have enhanced her life. The site visits have proven to her that there are truly gems inside every individual regardless of their race, gender, or nationality and that what is needed is to recognize and discover these gems.

Education, both academic and character, is the best remedy for the current ills of the world.
Ali Javid
Board of Directors

Ali is a social entrepreneur and simply believes that educating girls is the most powerful and effective way to reduce global poverty. He has been honored to volunteer as a member of the Board of Directors of the Mona Foundation for the last few years and in various means over the foundation's 16 year history. Ali is also the VP of Business Development at Body Labs a leading technology startup and aims to have a coherent life of service supporting projects in his local community and around the world.

There is really no giving. I always receive more than I give.
Diane Samandi
Board of Directors

In 1980 Diane founded Jonquil, a romantic sleepwear collection evoking the glamour of old Hollywood. A favorite with brides, in 2007 Diane created a new collection with more whimsy and named it In Bloom by Jonquil. It soon became the most sought after bridal sleepwear around the world. Designing for nearly 40 years, her dedication to making a woman feel beautiful is still her inspiration.

Diane has served on the board of directors of the Mona Foundation as a volunteer for fourteen years. In Diane’s words ”supporting initiatives that begin with a few working together to create schools in their own village or region changes lives and transform communities. Education ensures the equal rights of all children to be part of building a better future. This is the emerging model of development philanthropy that I am very excited to be part of."

Education ensures the equal rights of all children to be a part of building a better future.
David Wood
Board Treasurer

David Wood is the CEO of Human Touch, originally hired to develop a turnaround and growth strategy for this 35-year old health and Wellness Company. An innovative and driven business professional, he managed a restructuring which led to debt retirement and strong annual growth and profitability. David’s expertise led to successful market and product strategies that drove product innovation in such companies as GN Netcom/Jabra and Bose Corporation. While at Bose, David pioneered and developed an extensive leadership development program for high performing colleagues and has been a frequent presenter for both internal and external learning programs. David engaged his undergraduate education in Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, has general management certificates from Harvard Business School and an MBA from Boston University.

It is my core and conscious mission and privilege to engage my own strengths and virtues for the benefit of others.
Peter Neumann
Board of Directors

Peter Neumann is an International Partner with the PRC law firm of Broad & Bright in their Los Angeles office. Previously, Peter’s 20+ years in China and Shanghai included corporate counsel and managing roles with the Celanese Corporation, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Faegre & Benson LLP, and Deacons Graham & James. His law practice has focused on foreign direct investment, M&A, general commercial, and IP/technology matters, as well as strategic counseling on market entry and expansion.

His civic contributions include membership on the Pacific Counsel on International Policy, and as former member of the Shanghai American Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors. Peter is fluent in spoken and written Chinese.

In his own words, "There is a saying in China, 'women hold up half the sky'; this is only possible if girls can achieve their full potential through universal education."

There is a saying in China, 'women hold up half the sky'; this is only possible if girls can achieve their full potential through universal education.
Tammy Randall Wood
Board of Directors

Tammy Randall Wood, ASID is the founder and principal of Interior Archaeology, a comprehensive interior design firm specializing in interior architectural design and curated furnishings. Tammy has designed award winning projects all over the US and has been featured in numerous magazines.

Tammy’s goal in designing homes is to create what she calls Noble Spaces; spaces with the power to support you in the life you creating and the person you are striving to be.

Tammy studied Television and Film in Los Angeles and went on to study Interior Design at Parsons in NY, eventually earning her NCIDQ Certificate (one of the highest accreditations in the field) as well as Professional Membership in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Throughout my adult life I’ve searched for ways to unite my individual efforts with larger efforts that have the highest capacity for making a difference in the world. I have never found an organization that satisfies this ends more thoroughly than Mona Foundation.
David Khorram
Member, Board of Directors

David Khorram is a physician, writer, and educator with extensive experience in grassroots development and capacity building. He has served on and chaired boards of both non-profit and for-profit organizations.

After completing his training in eye surgery in the United States, he spent 22 years in the South Pacific developing eye care in the Mariana Islands. In addition to co-founding Marianas Eye Institute, he helped establish programs to build capacity in health care and administration among island residents. Dr. Khorram has participated in and led eye-care projects across the continents. He has been listed in Guide to America’s Top Ophthalmologists and has been a Unite for Sight Global Impact Fellow. David and his wife, Mara, are the co-founders of Brilliant Star School, a non-profit school on the island of Saipan.

In more recent years, David has served as the Head of Communications at Townshend International School in the Czech Republic, where he also designed and taught courses in Ethics, Biology, and Baha’i Studies. Since returning to the US in 2017, he has travelled to countries in Central and Eastern Europe to assist boards responsible for community development and capacity building to advance their own financial capabilities.

He is the author of the books, “World Peace, a Blind Wife, and Gecko Tails,” and “Diabetic Eye Disease.”

We all want to have impact. The Mona Foundation makes it easy for each of us to have an incredible life-changing impact on the life of a child.

Staff

Keith Gehrig
Office and Database Manager

Keith Gehrig joined Mona Foundation in October of 2015 as the Office and Database Manager. He has a BA from San Jose State University and recently received his Masters Degree from Seattle University. Keith has worked and volunteered in the non-profit sector for the last 30+ years. He has served on boards in many capacities starting in 1985 including one where he over-saw a grant program. He is thrilled to be at Mona Foundation, helping to make a difference in the world. He was recently appointed to the Snohomish County Arts Commission representing District 4.

Giving to others is probably the most selfless thing one human can do.
Melina Rajaei
Senior Program Officer

Melina has a degree in Museum Collections Management and Care and recently joined the dedicated team at the Mona Foundation. She lives in the Hawaiian Islands and travels throughout the South Pacific learning about how quantitative and qualitative data help community building endeavors become more systematic. Of particular interest is the fundamental role education plays at empowering local inhabitants in becoming agents of change.

Understanding is in itself the greatest of all motivators. There is a longing in every human heart for meaning; there is a natural craving for knowledge of the outer and inner realities of creation.
Laura Baerwolf

Laura is a skilled administrator with a Master’s degree in Public Health/Health Services Administration and over 20 years of management and organizational experience. She previously worked as a Director for a major healthcare company with operational oversight of a multi-department, 200 employee division and has more recently provided project management and executive support for the Northwest Regional Bahá'í Council with a small office of mainly volunteer staff. In her current role as Regional Coordinator for the Northwest Regional Training Institute, Laura participates in the development of a global educational system for children, youth and adults that builds their capacity to contribute to the transformation of society.

Education and capacity building are key to empowering individuals and communities to create a just and peaceful world.
Zanele Sibanda
Monitoring and Evaluation and Grantmaking Lead

Zanele has been working at the intersection of community development, child and youth development, both in the United States (urban communities) and in southern and eastern Africa (rural communities). Over the last twenty years she has provided leadership in program development, grantmaking, capacity building, learning and evaluation, as well as and advocacy to catalyze systems change.

Zanele developed her experience working with the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago United, Rural Craft Cottage Industries in Zimbabwe, and the Firelight Foundation. As the Director of Programs for Firelight Foundation, where she led a seven-member team in identifying, funding, and building the capacity of grassroots organizations in southern and eastern Africa. Zanele transformed the foundation’s funding model by defining a long-term to partnership model, capacity building strategy, and learning and evaluation approach.

Most recently Zanele has been working as a philanthropic adviser with private foundations and public charities, bringing in her expertise in strategy development, grantmaking, monitoring and evaluation, as well as capacity building and design of collective impact initiatives.

Zanele received her undergraduate degree from Grinnell College and completed graduate studies in social policy at the University of Chicago.

Education is the instrument of peace and prosperity.

Volunteers

Audrey Alexander
Master Technical Lead

Audrey has been a dedicated supporter of Mona Foundation since learning about the organization in 2003 while a student at UW Bothell where she heard about the Mona Foundation. Last year, she approached Mona Foundation about volunteering, and found a great opportunity to put her technical skills to good use. Audrey is helping Mona Foundation identify and implement collaboration and communication technologies, including migration to Office 365 and Cloud to assist staff and volunteers in the important work they do. As the first in her family to earn a Master’s degree, Audrey is a firm believer in the power of education, and embraces Mona Foundation’s approach to support grassroots educational initiatives that provide education to all children and increase opportunities for women and girls.

There has never been a better time to support the mission of Mona Foundation.
Audrey Akots
Intern

Audrey Akots is a second-year student at Seattle University where she studies International Studies and Economics. She is excited to be a part of the Mona Foundation team and to be one small piece of the Foundation and its commitment to global gender equality. She is interested in pursuing a future career in diplomacy and international aid in francophone countries.

Gender equality is key
Lucas Christensen
Intern

Lucas Christensen was born and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He is currently a junior at Seattle University majoring in International Studies and Political Science and minoring in Arabic Language. Lucas is passionate about the importance of Mona’s mission to promote education for all people, especially its emphasis on long-term relationships with the schools it works with. He is interested in human rights and development and hopes to pursue a career promoting human rights in the Arab world.

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Annan

Advisory Board

Kit Bigelow
Board of Advisors

Kit Bigelow was director of external affairs for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the U.S. for twenty-five years with overall responsibility for the Office of External Affairs and the Office of the U.S. Bahá’í Representative to the UN, among other duties. Her work focused on human rights issues, including protection of religious freedom and the rights of women. Her collaborations on these issues were at high levels of US government and concerned international bodies. She continues her human rights work through various working groups, UN commissions and nonprofits, as adviser and consultant. In her own words, "every child is potentially the light of the world and at the same time its darkness...Give them the advantage of every useful kind of knowledge.' 'Abdu'l-Bahá.'

Every child is potentially the light of the world...
Urvashi Sahni
Board of Advisors

Urvashi Sahni is a social entrepreneur and educationist of 29 years standing, founder of the Study Hall Educational Foundation which runs educational programs in India. Urvashi leveraged digital technology to create flexible teaching methods to address challenges in under-resourced schools and was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010 for her work with Digital Study Hall (DHS). DSH is now capitalizing on the widespread mobile and internet network, using mobile phones and tablets as a medium to distribute their content. Urvashi is using DSH technology as the framework for her new initiative of girl empowerment, currently reaching around 10,000 adolescent girls from underserved areas. Dr. Sahni is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution and a member of Hillary Clinton’s CHARGE commitment to ensure that more girls complete secondary education around the world.

In her own words, "Mona provides continuous communication, trust, and involvement. They don’t tell us what to do. The say, ‘Tell us your problems and how we can help.’ Then they work alongside us. Because of their long-term commitment and thoughtful funding, our work has reached more than 40,000 students and teachers. This has happened only because of Mona’s support.

In her own words, "an empowering education can help girls recognize themselves as important persons worthy of respect. I want to educate as many girls as I can so that we have a generation of empowered girls. "

An empowering education can help girls recognize themselves as important persons worthy of respect.
Rainn Wilson
Board of Advisors

Rainn holds an MFA from New York University's Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. He has had a successful acting career, and co-founded SoulPancake, a multimedia platform to "chew on life's big questions." Rainn became involved with the Mona Foundation in 2007 and since then he and his wife, Holiday, have visited schools that the Mona Foundation supports in Haiti and India. In 2013 they started an initiative called LIDE, a non-profit organization, which empowers impoverished adolescent girls in Haiti through artistic educational programs. In 2014 Rainn joined the Mona board of directors and served as a dintinguised member for the past 4 years. .

Going forward, Rainn will continue with his support of Mona Foundation and its many activities as a member of Board of Advisors. In Rainn's words, "the best part of being a human being is giving back, being of service, and using one’s God-given talents to uplift the world. Education is the key to social change."

The best part of being a human being is giving back, being of service, and using one's God-given talents to uplift the world
Janet Zabeti
Board of Advisors

Janet has extensive experience in banking and investment. She started her banking career in retail banking at Bank of America in Southern California in 1981 and worked in variety of different capacities including as Business Development Officer involved with marketing plans to achieve revenue goals. In 1993, she moved to Portland, Oregon with her family and continued her career in Wells Fargo bank. She worked in Wells Fargo Private Client Services and Wealth Management as a VP Senior Financial Consultant / Relationship Manager. There, she held a Securities License as well as an Insurance License and worked with high net worth clients helping them with their investment planning, setting their financial goals and managing their investments. Janet retired in 2011 and since then has focused on her philanthropic activities .

In her own words, "it is an absolute pleasure and honor to be part of this organization and to be working towards making a difference in children's lives."

It is an absolute pleasure and honor to be working with Mona towards making a difference in the lives of children.
Jalal Hatami
Mona Advisory at Large

Jalal is an operations executive with 20 years of leadership experience in the United States and abroad. He began his career with General Electric Capital where he held positions of increasing responsibility where he developed and led global programs and cross-functional teams focused on business strategy, M&A integrations, operations re engineering, lean deployments, and new product introduction.

In 2005 he moved with his family to Haifa, Israel to serve as the Director of the Office of Social Economic Development at the Baha’i World Center where he accompanied and guided the capacity development of 50 organizations focused on education, community banking, and health and youth empowerment. For the past seven years he held the post of Deputy-Secretary General of the Baha’i International Community, an international non-governmental organization. In this this capacity he fostered and maintained relations with the governmental, academic, religious, and civil society sectors within the State of Israel. In his own words: “Social and Economic Development is about capacity building. As human beings we not only have the responsibility to give to those in need but how we give is no less important.”

Social and economic development is about capacity building. As human beings we...have the responsibility to give
Roy Steiner
Board of Advisors

Dr. Roy Steiner is a highly experienced senior global agriculture and global development leader. He has demonstrated ability to strategize, consult, and manage professionals for development initiatives for an array of countries across Africa, Asia and Europe. He is well respected in the agricultural and international development field for his expertise in designing innovative and impactful solutions through the use of technology.

Dr. Steiner is currently Director of Learning and Impact at the Omidyar Network where he works across strategic initiatives and with the board to build a best in class learning organization. Previously, he served for nearly a decade at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, culminating in a position as Deputy Director and Founding Member of the Agricultural Development Initiative at the foundation’s Global Development Program. As Deputy Director, Dr. Steiner managed a professional team responsible for a $400M grant portfolio in the area of sustainable farmer productivity that included irrigation and water management, seed systems, agronomy, farmer organizations, gender, human capital and Information Communication Technology initiatives.

Prior to the foundation, Dr. Steiner was Founder and CEO of Cyberplex Africa, one of the largest web development companies in southern Africa. Focused on developing and delivering web-based solutions and knowledge management systems, Dr. Steiner rapidly developed a team of 45 professionals with offices in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. Among his projects include founding one of the first online payment system platforms in Africa (QuickPay), and serving as Lead Developer of HIV/AIDS program management for the Centers on Disease Control.

Education is at the core of every positive social change
Geraldine Guilfoyle
Board of Advisors

Geraldine is a writer and a retired health and animal science educator. Working with youth and families in rural settings, she became an avid proponent of the principle of universal education as a means of unlocking the inherent potential of humanity. She has traveled widely in the Caribbean. While in Haiti she visited Anis Zunuzi School and became aware of the work of Mona Foundation. In her own words, “Mona’s commitment to long-term partnership with promising local educational initiatives is the type of work I want to support. Material progress can be so easily be reversed in unstable environments but the benefits of intellectual and spiritual education endure and continue to contribute to the progress of the individual and the community.”

Universal education unlocks the potential of humanity.
Chloe Rastegar
Board of Advisors

I am a junior attending Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. I play soccer and enjoy working with younger children and animals. Service has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother always made it a point in my life to be grateful for what God has given me and to give to those who are not as fortunate as I am. This has always stuck with me. Quite recently, I founded the Palos Verdes Peninsula Global Citizens Club at my high school to bring together students who want to serve globally in affiliation with the Mona Foundation. I support Mona because of its unique and personal approach to service. The foundation supports grassroots initiatives and is built upon the idea that one should develop long-term relationships with organizations and interact with those you serve to have lasting impact.

Service has been a part of my life for as long as I can re- member
Elham Rouhani
Board of Advisors

Elham Rouhani was born and educated in Dubai, U.A.E. After completing her primary studies, she attended college in the U.K, then later transferred to West Virginia University in the U.S.A. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Resource Management SUMMA CUM LAUDE and a Master of Science degree in Economics in 1988.

Rouhani has worked with a Fortune 500 company in Dubai in the field of Human Resource Management. Her professional work enabled her to gain experience with managing people in different countries and support job placements of students from Higher Colleges of Technology at Citibank N.A. branches in U.A.E. In addition, Rouhani has served as an international Business Consultant working with both small and medium sized businesses, and an entrepreneur. Today, as an educator Rouhani teaches Economics at Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia and also serves as the discipline program director.

In her own words, "I give to Mona Foundation because I believe in what they do and the lives they change. What we do for others remains and is immortal. This journey helps me find myself as I serve others."

I give to Mona Foundation because I believe in what they do and the lives they change.
Kathryn Adams
Board of Advisors

Dr. Kathryn Janene Adams is the executive director of Lidè, a foundation co-founded by writer Holiday Reinhorn, actor Rainn Wilson and Dr. Adams.

Dr. Adams is a specialist in the psychology of teaching and learning, especially in crisis and conflict zones, working in those contexts worldwide, training educators and relief professionals, as well as co-creating a video training series on the effects of trauma on learning which has been used within conflict zones that are inaccessible to outside NGOs.

Prior to directing Lidè, Dr. Adams was a tenured professor and coordinator of the Writing Center and Teaching and Learning Center at Moorpark College where she was awarded “professor of the Year”; she also taught educational psychology in the counseling and education graduate programs at California Lutheran University. Dr. Adams has worked as a therapist with children in foster care and their families, counseled children in elementary school settings, directed an academic support center, and facilitated therapeutic writing groups for veterans and for survivors of sexual trauma. She coordinated and co-facilitated Girls United: Haiti (2011), a UN Foundation supported short-term project, and has conducted trainings in for Lidè in Jordan and Lebanon, and as a part of the founding members of HST (Health Support Team) in Jordan and Haiti. She is also a member of an international working group for Global Citizenship Education.

Kathryn Janene Adams holds a M.A. in Writing, a M.A. in Clinical Psychology, and a Doctorate in Education, specializing in the psychology of teaching and learning.

Mona recognizes and supports the innate wisdom of the local community in doing what is right for the future of their children and thus the future of our shared global community.
Caroline Khazei
Board of Advisors

Caroline spends her time between work as a post-secondary educator at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and a busy mother of three daughters. She appreciates the limitless potential her students and daughters have, as well as the ample opportunities provided by our society. Caroline identifies with Mona Foundation since both believe in the necessity of encouraging and empowering young people to achieve their potential through education and thereby improve conditions in the world. Caroline supports Mona foundation because the education of girls and women serves as an effective means to ending poverty, improving living conditions, and allowing all people to be self-actualizing forces in achieving their goals and dreams. Without these prerequisites, lasting peace among the nations will not be possible.

The education of girls and women serves as an effective means to ending poverty.
Nava Ghalili
Board of Advisors

Nava Ghalili was one of the youngest news anchors in the history of American television. The Emmy-nominated journalist is a youth radicalisation and countering violent extremism analyst, consultant to multi-media agencies worldwide and an activist for education and human rights. Of Iranian heritage, Nava was born in America and also raised in Australia. Her international upbringing has led her to active involvement in efforts pertaining to social transformation. She has advocated for issues ranging from moral education to gender equality and is currently developing educational curricula aimed at empowering youth.

Nava has formal education in Commerce (Curtin University) in Australia and Journalism (Harvard University). She also holds a Master of Science in Comparative Politics (Middle East Conflict) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Nava’s research both introduces and tests her new theories on a relationship between existing levels of human insecurity and subsequent acts of (what has been identified as) radical political Islamic terrorism.

Nava serves as a consultant in the restructuring of international media organizations that aim to empower the voice of underrepresented populations.

The prosperity of our future will depend on the moral empowerment and education of children, as they are the future champions of justice.
Dr. Nooshin Darvish
Board of Advisors

Dr. Nooshin K. Darvish is the Medical Director and founder of Holistique Medical Center. A Washington State board licensed naturopathic physician and a Fellow in Integrative Cancer Therapies, Dr. Darvish is a physician, writer, lecturer and educator in the field of naturopathic, integrative and anti-aging medicine. She is a candidate for a fellowship in anti-aging medicine. Dr. Darvish is Washington State’s only certified IPT (Insulin potentiation therapy) physician. Furthermore, she is a lyme-literate physician providing effective non-antibiotic based therapies for those suffering with chronic infections.

As a holistic clinician, she integrates western, eastern medicine, naturopathic and bio-energy medical systems, combining the care of the mind, body and spirit to address chronic illness, cancer, women’s and men’s health, allergies and physical pain. She practices medicine like a dance, delicately integrating the qualities of the human being with the attributes of the universe to diagnose, find the root cause of illness and treat to reverse the disease and aging processes.

A 1995 graduate and former chief resident and faculty member of Bastyr University, she has trained with medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, chiropractors and holistic practitioners across North America and Europe. Dr. Darvish is an approved CNME (Council for Naturopathic Medical Education) medical director involved in the training of naturopathic resident physicians across North America.

Thank you for inviting me to be part of this amazing global endeavor. I am humbled and honored to be part of the advisory board of Mona.
Jahan Tavangar, Ph.D., P.E.
Board of Advisors

Dr. Tavangar is an environmental engineer and a social entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of TotalFacility, an outsourcing platform for the facilities management industry. Dr. Tavangar is also the founder of Coffee for Water (www.coffeeforwater.com), a social enterprise with the mission of providing safe drinking water in coffee-growing communities around the world.

Among the projects that Coffee for Water has implemented are the installations of water purification systems at two schools in Haiti, both of which are supported by Mona Foundation. Dr. Tavangar’s interests and expertise are in the areas of water resources management, sustainable agricultural practices, social entrepreneurship, and strategic planning.

Mona Foundation is changing lives and communities around the world, and I feel honored to be a part of it.
Payam Akhavan
Board of Advisory

Payam Akhavan LLM, SJD (Harvard) is Professor of International Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and a former UN war crimes prosecutor at The Hague. His prior academic appointments include Yale Law School, Oxford University, University of Paris, and the European University Institute in Florence. He has published extensively on international law and human rights in leading scholarly journals, including "Beyond Impunity" in the American Journal of International Law (2001) selected by selected by the International Library of Law and Legal Theory as one of “the most significant published journal essays in contemporary legal studies.” His books include the bestselling In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey, comprising the 2017 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Massey Lectures, and Reducing Genocide to Law: Definition, Meaning, and The Ultimate Crime, published by Cambridge University Press (2012).

He has worked with the UN in Bosnia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Timor Leste, and served as counsel in leading cases before the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States. His human rights career has been featured in the New York Times, BBC HardTalk, CBC Ideas, TV Ontario, Toronto Star, Maclean's magazine, and the Montreal Gazette. He is co-producer of Genos.Cide: The Great Challenge, and has featured in documentary films including The Green Wave, Those Who Said No, and Iranian Revolutionary Justice. In 2005, he was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.

Mona's life and ultimate sacrifice changed my life. My support of Mona Foundation is my way of realizing her bequest to all of us to serve humanity and stand for social justice and freedom.
Dr. Marjan Davoudi
Board of Advisory

Dr. Marjan Davoudi is the Clinical Director of the Behavioral Mental Health P.C. in two locations, San Diego and La Jolla California. She is a clinical psychologist, Board certified in three states, California, Illinois and Arizona. Her research concertation is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the areas of her clinical expertise are mood disorders (Anxiety and Depression) personality disorders, adjustment to medical conditions and transitional stages of life, loss and grief, family therapy with wide range of relationship problems.

Dr. Davoudi has been also a faculty member of the Baha'i institute of Higher Education (BIHE) for the past 13 years teaching psychopathology and serving at several committees for the development of master level programs at BIHE.

The BIHE was created 38 years ago after the Iranian government systematically withheld the right to education and official employment to Baha’is in Iran. The volunteer services that the Global faculty proudly provide for this unique institution is the only avenue of higher education available to members of the Baha'i faith in Iran, (its largest religious minority) and the only means with which the students can pursue and ultimately hope to achieve their educational goals.

Dr. Davoudi has also been a part time Faculty at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, has lectured internationally, and participated in significant number of television programs focused on different psychological topics.

Education is one of the most powerful tools to transform this world. This is why I have fallen in love with what the Mona foundation has been doing around the world and its incredible mission. Working with the foundation has brought immense joy and meaning to my life.
Neda Moeini
Board of Advisory

Neda Moeini received her degree in Software Engineering from York University’s Computer Science Department and went on to build a successful technology company with her husband and life partner, Ata Moeini. Together they built GL | Group of Gold Line, a group of companies specializing in using technology to erase borders and connect the diaspora back home. Most notable among their products is their first product, the prepaid long distance calling card that revolutionized the long distance calling market in Canada, and their IPTV streaming product GLWiZ, which is today known as the largest streamer of multicultural television and entertainment content in the world – colloquially known as the global, multicultural Netflix!

Mrs. Moeini’s true passion is philanthropy and she has over the years contributed to great organizations in Medicine, and the Arts and Education. Her support of Medical research includes the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, the Breast Cancer Society of Canada and Sick Kids Hospital. She is also a longtime patron of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Her contributions to Education includes her own charity, Borani Global Education; a not-for-profit association dedicated to the principle of education for all, which matches deserving students to fully online university degree programs, allowing them to be empowered through education despite the social, political, religious and monetary boundaries they face. Mrs. Moeini also initiated a bursary at the University of Toronto’s Law School and the establishment the GL | Group of Gold Line International Human Rights Internships, which allows law students to work on human rights issues in foreign countries.

Mrs. Neda Moeini was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal on September 8th, 2012 by the Governor General of Canada for her distinguished contributions to the field of education being characterized as an effective community leader whose work has enriched the lives of many throughout the world.

"I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy."- Kahlil Gibran. I relate so much to this quote. I love Mona because it is a total act of selflessness benefiting little helpless gems.
Nikoo Mahboubian
Board of Advisors

Ms. Nikoo Mahboubian worked for the Baha'i International Community, a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the UN from 1994 to 2002. As an Alternate Representative to the United Nations for this organization, she worked with UN officials, UN diplomats and other NGOs to advance human rights agendas, especially in the area of freedom of religion or belief. She also participated in many sessions of the United Nations General Assembly Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee, the Commission on Sustainable Development, and the sessions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council Commission on the Status of Women. She was the President of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief for two terms leading the committee to coordinate the NGO activities in support of protecting the rights of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; communicating with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, other relevant UN Offices, and UN member states. Ms. Mahboubian was also a member of the NGO Committee on the Family assisting to advocate for the inclusion of the family in decisions and policies at the United Nations. As part of the Baha'i International Community’s campaign on human rights education, Ms. Mahboubian organized, coordinated and facilitated meetings with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Permanent Representatives of the United Nations Missions to promote human rights education. Ms. Mahboubian holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Business from the University of San Diego. She also has a certificate of French language from the Sorbonne University in Paris.

The experience of seeing ADCAM in Brazil was transforming and has added to my resolve all I can in support of Mona.
Désirée Akhavan
Board of Advisory

Désirée is an attorney and entrepreneur in New York. She is a Co-Founder at Lazeez, a paleo baking company with a mission to empower women and build healthy communities through food. Previously, she was Deputy General Counsel and Head of Legal and Compliance for North America at Third Bridge, a primary research provider to the global investment community. Désirée holds a B.C.L and L.L.B. from McGill University Faculty of Law and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University.

Désirée has held international speaking engagements with Ethical Business Building the Future on themes of Corporate Social Responsibility and Capacity Building, and worked on projects for the International Labor Organization and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. She creates spaces for women to engage in meaningful conversations, and works to raise awareness about menstrual inequity through her professional and personal endeavors.

Désirée seeks to empower women and girls and create opportunities for their economic and spiritual advancement. She says, "women and girls across the globe face systemic inequities that prevent them from becoming full and active participants in all spheres of society, and in order to advance civilization as a whole, we must address these inequities and build capacity through education.”

Women and girls across the globe face systemic inequities. To advance our civilization, we must address these inequities and build capacity through education.”

Mona Canada

Afshin Khazei
Board of Directors, Mona Foundation, Canada

Afshin Khazei is an Emergency Physician at Vancouver General Hospital and Simulation Education Director in the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine. He has served as a volunteer with medical service delivery and medical education programs in Honduras, Vanuatu, China, and Nepal. Through these experiences, he became convinced that the most effective and sustainable way to improve the health of a population is through education. In 2008 Afshin learned about the needs of the Anis Zunuzi School in Haiti. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, the school had a pressing need for infrastructure improvements that would allow them to serve more students. Afshin was impressed with Mona Foundation’s ability to oversee the project with transparency and accountability and finish on time and on budget, which is a remarkable accomplishment in Haiti.

Educate women and their community will prosper. Deny them education and the world will suffer
Caroline Khazei
Board of Directors, Mona Foundation, Canada

Caroline spends her time between work as a post-secondary educator at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and a busy mother of three daughters. She appreciates the limitless potential her students and daughters have, as well as the ample opportunities provided by our society. Caroline identifies with Mona Foundation since both believe in the necessity of encouraging and empowering young people to achieve their potential through education and thereby improve conditions in the world.Caroline supports Mona foundation because the education of girls and women serves as an effective means to ending poverty, improving living conditions, and allowing all people to be self-actualizing forces in achieving their goals and dreams. Without these prerequisites, lasting peace among the nations will not be possible.

The education of girls and women serves as an effective means to ending poverty.
Geraldine Guilfoyle
Board of Directors, Mona Foundation, Canada

Geraldine is a writer and a retired health and animal science educator. Working with youth and families in rural settings, she became an avid proponent of the principle of universal education as a means of unlocking the inherent potential of humanity. She has traveled widely in the Caribbean. While in Haiti she visited Anis Zunuzi School and became aware of the work of Mona Foundation. In her own words, “Mona’s commitment to long-term partnership with promising local educational initiatives is the type of work I want to support. Material progress can be so easily be reversed in unstable environments but the benefits of intellectual and spiritual education endure and continue to contribute to the progress of the individual and the community.”

Universal education unlocks the potential of humanity.
John Guilfoyle
Board of Directors, Mona Foundation, Canada

John has had a diverse and varied career in medicine. This has included full service family practice in rural and remote areas as well as administration and public health appointments in both Canada and the Caribbean. He has also been active in the training and mentoring of physicians while serving as director of the residency program in family medicine at the University of Manitoba. For the past fifteen years his practice has primarily been with northern communities. He has a keen interest in aboriginal health and the provision of services in remote areas. He has learned that the education of women and their complementary role in creating balanced development is essential to the health and wellbeing of the individual, the family, the community and the world.

I support Mona Foundation because of its focus on universal education and gender parity.
Mina Dickinson
Board of Directors, Mona Foundation, Canada

Mina is the coordinator of the Family Development Program at Sea to Sky Community Services in Squamish. She has worked as a front-line Family Support Worker and Family Preservation Counselor and now coordinates these programs as well as the Youth Outreach Program. She has volunteered in many different capacities in her community for the past 27 years. Mina says, "What attracted me to Mona Foundation is their approach that communities have the knowledge about how they can help and support each other and improve their own lives. In my experience this is the most effective approach to help families or communities."

Sustainable development is a process of building capacity at the grassroots where local people own their own development
Tabasom Eblaghie
Board of Directors, Mona Foundation, Canada

Tabasom Eblaghie is a psychotherapist, public speaker and blogger in private practice in the Tri-Cities region of British Columbia. Her background involves counselling work with women in transition homes, and First Nations youth. She has volunteered with various theater and dance groups for many years and participated and organized trips to Siberia, Albania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and various parts of Canada and US. She has also been an event planner for the past thirty years, planning conferences and workshops focused on developing communities and self-betterment.

She has been married to her best friend for the past 21 years, not having their own children, they have adopted the children of the world as their own as Tabasom believes that education of children is an honor that belongs that belongs to every citizen. In her own words, " I support Mona Foundation because the responsibility to educate children belongs to every one of us, and will be the cause of the advancement of our civilization.”

I support Mona Foundation because the responsibility to educate children belongs to every one of us, and will be the cause of the advancement of our civilization.

Mona San Diego Chapter

Nika Samimi
San Diego Chapter Director

Nika Samimi has been involved in the non profit world since 1998 beginning in Toronto, Canada. Her educational background is mainly in the business and legal world which includes mainly banking industry with her last career being a Vice-President of Canada's largest Bank.

She is currently serving on the Board of Angels Foster Family Network and previously served on Committees of Miracle Babies, RBC Trust Board and York University in Toronto, Canada. She is a philanthropist in San Diego and gives her time or support to an array of San Diego nonprofits which have included Just Like My Child, Scripps Health, Francis Parker School, San Diego Salvation Army, Tahirih Justice & San Diego Museum of Art among others. Having 2 children herself, her goal is to empower children specially girls all over the world to be educated and in turn empower their own children and other girls.

Empower and educate children, particularly girls, and they empower their children and communities
Nicole DeBerg
Core Founding Member

Nicole DeBerg currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit genomic research organization in La Jolla California, founded by biotech icon Craig Venter.

A seasoned financial leader with nearly 25 years of experience, DeBerg comes to JCVI most recently from the San Diego Housing Commission where she was Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Financial Services. Prior to this role she held senior financial leadership positions at several emerging biotechnology companies including Altair Therapeutics, Kalypsys and Depotech, as well as the position of Chief Financial Officer at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute.

DeBerg is a Certified Public Accountant and began her career as an auditor with Deloitte & Touche. She has held Board positions at other non-profit organizations and is actively involved in the San Diego community.

I am looking forward to working with all of you on accomplishing this wonderful and important mission.
Nour-Dean Anakar
Core Founding Member

Nour–Dean is the Managing Partner and the Director of International Business Development at Mckinney Capital Group and has 28 years of experience and a successful track record in leading the development and executive management of top ranked gaming and hospitality Corporations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and North Africa.

Nour-Dean contributes a high level of international collaboration to business developments and his expertise and global connections allows McKinney Capital and its partners to reach additional opportunities on an international platform. Nour-Dean specializes in identifying not only the right country to host a Corporation’s enterprise, but discovering the unique opportunity the country has to offer.

Nour-Dean has developed market studies, feasibility studies, and financial structures, in addition to having the diplomatic expertise with foreign governments to ensure projects commences and grow and expand successfully.

Nour-Dean is fluent in Spanish, Arabic, French, and English.

I am very happy to be part of such a great cause and support the Foundation any way I can.
Nadia Mahalingam
San Diego Chapter Director

Is a teacher, mother and French Baker. She has dedicated her life to serving humanity. This is the one thing that brings her true happiness. Nadia and family owned and managed a very well-recognized french bakery in Santa Barbara area called Le Chateau Bakery. In a short time, it became renowned for unique pastries and cakes using fresh and natural ingredients. This experience working under my parents has allowed her to use her talents for doing something she truly enjoyed which is catering special occasions using highest quality of fresh and natural ingredients. Her new business, The Lunch Box Cafe Deli in La Mesa, CA is a popular meeting place with those looking for best quality and home made cuisine, while enjoying a warm and welcoming environment. She has a very popular YouTube Channel, "Baking with Nadia,' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU2tNoujjmg. with more than 63,000 subscribers and surpassing 1 million viewership, All proceeds from her online income is contributed to Mona Foundation.

Service to Humanity is the one thing that brings me true happiness
Farah Ghalili
Core Founding Member

Farah Ghalili's professional background ranges from healthcare in nursing to Real Estate, interior design and building/property development management across two continents. Farah's primary time is dedicated however to helping to build moral capacity in communities in innovative ways. Her extensive work with moral education curricula in Australian school systems and her direct work with children in the schools on moral empowerment has crossed over into the United States where she has developed similar curricula for children in local communities and carried it out here in the San Diego community.

Farah hosts dozens of community members from a variety of backgrounds in her home weekly in a creative way that engages three separate capacity building which serves as a model of its kind in the area. She is consistently involved with a range of social action initiatives aimed to stimulate and develop unity in neighborhoods while she serves on related institutions.

I am dedicated to the education and empowerment of children, especially girls
Nikoo Mahboubian
Core Founding Member

Ms. Nikoo Mahboubian worked for the Baha'i International Community, a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the UN from 1994 to 2002. As an Alternate Representative to the United Nations for this organization, she worked with UN officials, UN diplomats and other NGOs to advance human rights agendas, especially in the area of freedom of religion or belief. She also participated in many sessions of the United Nations General Assembly Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee, the Commission on Sustainable Development, and the sessions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council Commission on the Status of Women.

She was the President of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief for two terms leading the committee to coordinate the NGO activities in support of protecting the rights of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; communicating with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, other relevant UN Offices, and UN member states. Ms. Mahboubian was also a member of the NGO Committee on the Family assisting to advocate for the inclusion of the family in decisions and policies at the United Nations.

As part of the Baha'i International Community’s campaign on human rights education, Ms. Mahboubian organized, coordinated and facilitated meetings with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Permanent Representatives of the United Nations Missions to promote human rights education.

Ms. Mahboubian holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Business from the University of San Diego. She also has a certificate of French language from the Sorbonne University in Paris

The experience of seeing ADCAM in Brazil was transforming and has added to my resolve all I can in support of Mona
Nava Ghalili
San Diego Chapter Director

Nava Ghalili was one of the youngest news anchors in the history of American television and is an active youth empowerment activist. She had also created, produced and hosted an Emmy-nominated series as a 24 year-old journalist. She is a film producer, actress, voiceover artist as well as a media consultant to multi-media agencies that serve as a voice to underrepresented population, political consultant for films and general consultant for non-profit organizations worldwide as an activist for education and women's rights. Nava has been an international motivational speaker on topics related to social transformation and youth empowerment since 13 years of age.

Sought out for employment for senior-level advisory positions in counterterrorism by the government, Nava gives talks around the world on groundbreaking ways to prevent youth radicalization and violent extremism of various kinds from the perspective of her research, experience and as a millennial. Of Iranian heritage, Nava was born in America and also raised in Australia. She has advocated for issues ranging from moral education to gender equality and is currently developing educational curricula aimed at empowering youth called “Purify My Heart”. In addition to acting, dance and vocal training, Nava’s education includes Commerce (Curtin University) in Australia and Journalism (Harvard University). She also holds a Master of Science in Comparative Politics (Middle East Conflict) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Some of her recognitions and awards include West Australian Youth of the Year, Oprah Winfrey OWN Finalist to create a show for the network and a finalist to serve as a United Nations Ambassador for Youth Affairs.

Nava’s work has also been published by various media outlets including the Huffington Post.

The prosperity of our future will depend on the moral empowerment and education of children, as they are the future champions of justice
Jaleh Brunst
Core Founding Member

Jaleh has been the resident of San Diego County for the past 37 years and is married and the mother of one son. She is a nurse by profession, and together with her husband established their private Medical Corporation where she has been the manager and the administrator for the past 37 years.

Her community involvement and volunteer services include establishing in 1982 the Scripps Memorial Hospital of Encinitas the Doctors’ Wives Auxiliary Board where she served as a liaison to Scripps Auxiliary Board. Established and chaired annual Medical Staff events, and hosted and chaired the first ever Gala Fund raiser. Since then, she has chaired or co-chaired the annual fund raising Galas for 22 years. She also served as a member of Scripps Hospital Community Advisory Board for two terms.

She is one of the eight founding members of Circle of Life 100 established to assist Scripps Hospital with their special needs. Jaleh was the honoree at the 10th year Gala fund raiser for Scripps Memorial Hospital and the first recipient of its Inaugural Achievement Award.

Jaleh has also served on the Hospice of the North Coast Board for several years and has similarly hosted and chaired Gala fund raisers for Hospice and volunteer's appreciation events. In recognition of her immense services she was inducted to the Hospice of the North Coast Hall of Fame in 2005.

Jaleh is an active member of the Baha'i community and honored by the local Spiritual Assembly of San Diego for services rendered to its cause. She enjoys playing tennis and Equestrian activities, gardening and of course spending time with her grandchildren.

I am impressed and inspired by Mona’s efforts and accomplishments in educating and advancing the underserved children, particularly girls.
Lori McKinney
Core Founding Member

Lori McKinney is the Chief Financial Officer at McKinney Capital and Advisory with over 30 years of experience in understanding and maximizing finances in investments of real estate and portfolio management. Lori takes pride in providing clients with confidence in their real estate decisions by bringing best practices and a fiduciary approach.

Lori has assisted investors and owner-users in managing expenses, budgeting, and forecasts, as well as strategic remodel for maximum value add in real estate investments. She is thorough and careful with each asset working from the perspective of maximizing asset value for future disposition. Lori brings her financial expertise to the asset management team. Her role includes financial forecasting & re-positioning of assets. Lori carefully prepares tax documents for all investors and keeps important dates for clients.

Lori has responsibility for everything that approaches a balance sheet or profit and loss statement. Her understanding of finance and accounting provides a ready resource to all with informative reporting for the team

I focus not on the bottom line, but on the relationships that create the bottom line
Stacie Devitt
Core Founding Member

Stacie Devitt is an accomplished professional and philanthropist. She is committed to the promotion of human rights and the advancement of peaceful societies. She is a champion for underprivileged families and actively supports and is engaged in many social causes, including the advancement of fairness in the United States’ immigration process.

Stacie is currently the Board Chairman of the American Bar Association Immigration Justice Project, an organization that promotes due process and access to justice for immigrants and asylum seekers through the provision of high-quality legal services.

After a successful career in commercial real estate, Stacie is now actively involved in local political analysis and development, while working on her political science degree at the University of San Diego. Stacie believes that access to a quality education is one of the greatest gifts a child can receive

I am deeply honored to be a part of an organization that works tirelessly to empower girls through learning
Albert Knowles

Albert Knowles began his career as an elementary and high school teacher and wrestling and football coach working with underserved children. He saw firsthand the transformation that education and a supportive environment can create in an individual’s life. After more than a decade of teaching, he had the opportunity to pursue a new passion. A desire to understand the nature and quality of our food supply led him and his wife to purchase a homestead farm in Washington State and develop an organic farm business where service, education and community building were the overarching goals. In addition to providing organic produce, meat, and eggs, their farm hosted monthly concerts in their barn to promote the arts and create community. He also supported other local farmers in the area and provided education to the local community about organic farming and local food. In addition to working as a teacher and a farmer, Albert supported his wife through medical school and residency. For several years, he stayed home to care for his two young daughters. As an educator and stay at home father he has first-hand experience of the power and difference that a quality education has on children and girls in particular as women continue to close the inequality gap with men. Albert holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Claremont McKenna College and a Masters in Education from the Claremont Graduate University. He is excited to be a part of the Mona Foundation team to aid in their mission to educate and create opportunities for girls and disadvantaged children across the world.

TBC
Heather Hays
Core Founding Member

Heather has been working in Education for the past 19 years as a teacher and school counselor. She is currently working as a high school level counselor in San Diego helping students achieve their high school diploma and develop their post-secondary plans. Earlier in her career she taught high school and middle school students in Bolivia as a social science teacher, and travel teacher for the Baha'i Faith.

Heather holds a M.S. in Counseling from San Diego State, is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, holds a Single Subject Teaching degree and has a B.A in History from UC Santa Barbara

I believe that education has the power to unlock potential and empower individuals to transform themselves, their communities, and eventually the world.

Portland Chapter

Nikki Meshkin
Board of Directors, Portland Chapter Director

Nikki Meshkin i has been a Technical Advisor and Business Operations Manager at Intel Corporation Technology & Manufacturing Group for 25 years with responsibilities in strategic planning, marketing and business operations. She previously held senior positions at Merrill Lynch and other financial institutions. Nikki currently serves on the Andisheh Center Board of Directors, celebrating and promoting Iranian culture, heritage, and the arts. She is also engaged in a global process of learning with the aim of enhancing the capacity of individuals and communities to serve humanity. Nikki holds an M.B.A. and B.A. in Finance & Management and lives in Portland, Oregon with her family.

In Nikki's own words, "...to educate girls is to reduce poverty”…What is close to my heart is Mona’s focus on the projects that provide girls a real chance at a better life for themselves, their families and their communities.

What is close to my heart is Mona’s focus on the projects that provide girls a real chance at a better life...
Janet Zabeti
Board of Advisors, Portland Chapter Director

Janet has extensive experience in banking and investment. She started her banking career in retail banking at Bank of America in Southern California in 1981 and worked in variety of different capacities including as Business Development Officer involved with marketing plans to achieve revenue goals. In 1993, she moved to Portland, Oregon with her family and continued her career in Wells Fargo bank. She worked in Wells Fargo Private Client Services and Wealth Management as a VP Senior Financial Consultant / Relationship Manager. There, she held a Securities License as well as an Insurance License and worked with high net worth clients helping them with their investment planning, setting their financial goals and managing their investments. Janet retired in 2011 and since then has focused on her philanthropic activities . In her own words, "it is an absolute pleasure and honor to be part of this organization and to be working towards making a difference in children's lives."

It is an absolute pleasure and honor to be working with Mona towards making a difference in the lives of children.
Neda Soofi
Core Founding Member

Neda Soofi, attorney is a former shareholder of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, where her practice was focused in the areas of business, tax & estate planning, and she specialized in employee benefits and ERISA. She also specialized in providing advice regarding the design, evaluation and management of retirement, compensation and benefit plans, and other HR-related programs. In addition, Neda has expertise in mergers and acquisitions with regard to integrating employee and benefit plans and resolving employee-related issues. During her time as an attorney, she has developed and evaluated qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans, incentive pay and stock option agreements. Neda is also certified in global benefit management.

Neda has a master’s degree in international law. In addition, she has five years of legal experience overseas in banking laws, commercial contracts, real estate and commercial transactions, as well as legal and financial advising. She is a native reader, speaker and writer of Farsi, and has satisfactory comprehension of Arabic.

Education is core to the advancement of women,, and I am very happy to support a non-profit that advocates for both education and gender equality
Tanya Zabeti
Core Founding Member

Tanya has a Juris Doctor from McGeorge School of Law and has joined in the initiatives of Mona with the desire to be a part of meaningful change towards universal education and gender equality.

Her love of traveling has allowed her to experience many cultures that have provided perspective and focus in her volunteering efforts.

“I’m excited about the social and economic change this organization will undoubtedly continue to ignite globally in making education a more easily attainable right.

Education provides opportunities. It lays the foundation upon which we build our lives and, in essence, learn to interact with one another. By focusing initiatives on educating women and children in countries where education is scarce, we are helping to provide opportunities that will be a catalyst in alleviating poverty and injustice. I believe in Mona.”

By focusing initiatives on educating women and children in countries where education is scarce, we are....alleviating poverty and injustice. I believe in Mona.

Seattle Chapter

Kim Clark
Board of Directors, Seattle Chapter Director

Kim Clark is an experienced education attorney/consultant and human rights advocate. Over the past twenty years, Ms. Clark has worked in the private sector for several large international law firms, in the non-profit sector as a legal aid lawyer, and the government sector as general counsel for a large public school district. Ms. Clark has also served as a management consultant to numerous school districts and State departments of education around the United States. Ms. Clark now devotes most of her time to philanthropic causes, including human rights advocacy on behalf of unaccompanied minors who have entered the United States to escape physical and/or sexual abuse. Ms. Clark holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian language from the University of Arizona and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

In her own words, "Access to education is a fundamental right that is critical to the progress of human civilization. As a school lawyer and feminist, I am deeply committed to this idea, particularly as it relates to girls. I like the Mona Foundation's strategic, results-driven approach to selecting projects that truly make a difference in the lives of the students they serve, and their communities. More than anything, though, I support the Mona Foundation because of the passion and commitment of the community of people behind the mission. Together we can do anything."

I support Mona Foundation because of the passion and commitment of the community of people behind the mission. Together we can do anything.
Dr. Nooshin Darvish
Board of Advisors

Dr. Nooshin K. Darvish is the Medical Director and founder of Holistique Medical Center. A Washington State board licensed naturopathic physician and a Fellow in Integrative Cancer Therapies, Dr. Darvish is a physician, writer, lecturer and educator in the field of naturopathic, integrative and anti-aging medicine. She is a candidate for a fellowship in anti-aging medicine. Dr. Darvish is Washington State’s only certified IPT (Insulin potentiation therapy) physician. Furthermore, she is a lyme-literate physician providing effective non-antibiotic based therapies for those suffering with chronic infections.

As a holistic clinician, she integrates western, eastern medicine, naturopathic and bio-energy medical systems, combining the care of the mind, body and spirit to address chronic illness, cancer, women’s and men’s health, allergies and physical pain. She practices medicine like a dance, delicately integrating the qualities of the human being with the attributes of the universe to diagnose, find the root cause of illness and treat to reverse the disease and aging processes.

A 1995 graduate and former chief resident and faculty member of Bastyr University, she has trained with medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, chiropractors and holistic practitioners across North America and Europe. Dr. Darvish is an approved CNME (Council for Naturopathic Medical Education) medical director involved in the training of naturopathic resident physicians across North America.

Thank you for inviting me to be part of this amazing global endeavor. I am humbled and honored to be part of the advisory board of Mona.
Georgina Ubeda
Core Founding Member

Georgina Ubeda, a British citizen, was born in Germany and has lived all over the world. She recently moved to Seattle, having lived in San Diego for 6 years. Georgina has worked for the global logistics company Expeditors for 15 years, and is currently a Global Account Manager overseeing relations with her client, Callaway Golf. She has extensive knowledge of business development and building client relationships.

Her love of traveling has allowed her to experience many cultures. Whilst living in South Africa, Georgina saw the impact of gender disparity in education and fervently believes the African proverb: ‘If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.’

Georgina has been involved in a number of social action and charitable projects back in the U.K. and is looking forward to contributing to the growth of the Seattle Chapter of the Mona Foundation.

If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.
Maleka Darvish
Core Founding Member

Maleka is 18 years old and lives near Seattle, Washington. During the past four years of high school, she has helped organize and teach a Baha’i-inspired children’s class in her community, and has also been involved in DECA, an organization that inspires and trains young entrepreneurs and business leaders.

She has written several business plans, including one dedicated to the education of children worldwide. Her belief in the transformational power of education attracted her to the Mona Foundation. She is thrilled to give her time and energy to supporting Mona, where she can have a lasting impact on the lives of young women around the world.

Mona is where I can make a lasting impact on the lives of young women around the world
Teresa Taylor
Co-Director, Seattle Chapter

Teresa has supported the Mona Foundation since 2000, when she worked at Microsoft with Mona’s founder, Mahnaz Javid. One day, Mahnaz stopped by her office to tell her she had started a nonprofit organization to educate girls and promote gender equality around the world. Teresa knew immediately this was an organization she wanted to support.

For the past 20 years, Teresa has worked as a content developer to help people learn and use software. Her previous career was in international trade policy, where she worked as a policy analyst in Washington, D.C. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and French from the University of Arkansas (her home state), and a master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Oregon. Her education, combined with a passion for international travel, has raised her awareness of the immense human needs in the world. She believes addressing those needs begins with providing education opportunities for all.

When I heard about Mona, knew immediately this was an organization I wanted to support.
Parisa Derakshani
Core Founding Member

Parisa was born and raised in Iran, where she was denied the opportunity to pursue a higher education because of being a member of the Baha’i faith. With much struggle, she moved to the US in 1985 to pursue an advanced degree. After receiving a Doctor of Pharmacy in 1991, she worked as a pharmacist for 16 years before opening the Lotus Laser and Spa, a medical spa in the Seattle area.

With a passion for serving her community, Parisa donates a portion of her clinic’s proceeds to charitable organizations. She chose to primarily support the Mona Foundation because of her deep conviction that education empowers and provides security to people, especially women and girls.

Parisa lives in Mercer Island, Washington with her husband and two daughters. She has taught her daughters that, to be truly successful in life, they need to be kind and compassionate and make a difference in the world by serving their community and humanity at large.

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Akil Bhagat
Core Founding Member

Akil is an optical engineer at Zemax, an optical design software company based in Kirkland, Washington. In 2016, he moved to Seattle from his hometown of Boulder, Colorado to join Zemax. Soon after, he began searching for a local education-based nonprofit he could get involved in.

Akil first learned about Mona when he attended the 2017 Gala event as a Zemax guest. Believing that education is a key to solving many of the problems in the world today, he was inspired by Mona’s work in communities where access to education has historically been a challenge.

While in college, Akil volunteered with the Institute of Optics to teach low-income children about physics. He also led the finance committee for his fraternity, the astronomy chapter, and the lacrosse club. He enjoys watching football, playing lacrosse, and playing video games with friends all over the country.  

I was blown away at the Gala event by how much Mona is doing, as opposed to talking about doing. Rainn’s story about how Mona is empowering people in Haiti to rebuild their own communities showed me that Mona cares deeply about achieving long-term results.
Julie Yee
Core Founding Member

Julie discovered the Mona Foundation in fall 2017 and was deeply inspired by its commitment to educating children globally, especially girls, as a means to transform communities. As a daughter of immigrant parents, she knows first-hand the power of education to change lives. She is delighted to join Mona Seattle and through her involvement hopes to engage more youth in Mona’s mission.

Julie is a serial founding member of community-based nonprofits. When she is not volunteering, she advises clients in her estate planning practice. She received her Bachelors degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from Seattle University, and a Masters degree in Taxation from the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle with her husband and three children.

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Stephanie Carson
Core Founding Member

Stephanie is a program manager at Amazon, where she manages a fulfillment network. A Seattle native, she received a bachelors from University of Washington in medical anthropology and global health and sociology, and a masters in sociology with a statistics emphasis. Her concentration was in food access in urban areas and subsequent health outcomes. She gets excited about finding data-driven solutions to complex problems, especially solutions that have a social impact.

Stephanie and her husband Ben learned about Mona at the 2017 Gala event and have been involved ever since. She is passionate about empowering young women and girls. Her wish is for girls to never feel like there is anything that they can't do. In her free time, Stephanie loves creating meals to share with family and friends over a bottle of wine.

The emphasis Mona places on girls' education is very inspiring to me. Its focus on grassroots efforts that are culturally specific also resonates with me. Mona is making a sustainable difference to improve the lives of individuals and their communities. It makes me feel honored to be affiliated with the organization.
Ben Carson
Core Founding Member

Ben is the new business development manager at Zemax, a software company based in Kirkland, Washington. After working with the American Cancer Society for five years, he wanted to focus more on the global community. He was extremely impressed with the work Mona is doing around the world, its grassroots approach, and the passion that everyone involved has about Mona’s work.

Ben’s biggest goal in life is to leave the world a better place. He believes that if everyone strives to be the best person they can be and is nice to those around them, they will leave a mark in their own way. Ben loves music (he’s an avid record collector) and enjoys rugby, show waterskiing, and the outdoors. He was born and raised in Seattle and lives with his wife Stephanie in Bothell Washington.

Seeing whole communities change makes me feel like the Mona Foundation is not just helping one person out, it’s changing the world.

Los Angeles Chapter

Tammy Randall Wood
Mona Foundation Board of Directors, Co-Director, LA Chapter

Tammy Randall Wood, ASID is the founder and principal of Interior Archaeology, a comprehensive interior design firm specializing in interior architectural design and curated furnishings. Tammy has designed award winning projects all over the US and has been featured in numerous magazines.

Tammy’s goal in designing homes is to create what she calls Noble Spaces; spaces with the power to support you in the life you creating and the person you are striving to be.

Tammy studied Television and Film in Los Angeles and went on to study Interior Design at Parsons in NY, eventually earning her NCIDQ Certificate (one of the highest accreditations in the field) as well as Professional Membership in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Throughout my adult life I’ve searched for ways to unite my individual efforts with larger efforts that have the highest capacity for making a difference in the world. I have never found an organization that satisfies this ends more thoroughly than Mona Foundation.
Tamar Hermes
Co-director, Los Angeles Chapter

Tamar Hermes is a monetizing mentor, entrepreneur, and Mona enthusiast. The mission of the Mona Foundation, empowering young girls through education, speaks directly to her vision of raising women up to their highest earning potential. As a money coach, she is impressed with how Mona makes their dollars go so far by keeping expenses low and carefully planning and communicating with schools to refine its needs. This way the money goes directly towards education, not a large staff payroll. “The impact of Mona Foundation continues to grow, and its dream to alleviate poverty is gaining traction as so many lives are positively affected by each girl that is educated.”

It is an honor to serve as co-director of the newly formed Los Angeles Chapter. Sharing this noble cause and building our circle of "friends of Mona " creates an energized and positive network that is unstoppable. It is in the spirit of love and conviction that we need to one day live in a world where all children have more than enough to eat and have the gift of a good education.

I'm thrilled my efforts go directly to helping girls all over the world. Mona stretches her dollars in such effective ways.
Matt Earl Beesley
Core Founding Member

Matt Earl Beesley is a cinematic director who has worked all over the world for the past 30 years. His many credits include CSI Miami, Bosch, Chicago Fire, and Revenge. He was also the second unit director on the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart and Wayne's World II and is currently Co-Executive Producer/Director on Dynasty.

His passion for justice and equality is matched only by the love he has for his family. The mission of Mona speaks directly to what is most important for him. He is thrilled to put forth his efforts to such a worthy cause.

When I heard the statistic that one girl educated impacts 100 lives, I just said, "Where do I sign up?"
Eva LaRue
Core Founding Member

ong known and well respected as an actor on popular shows like CSI Miami and All My Children, Eva LaRue has earned Emmy and NAACP nominations for her portrayal of strong women, and currently has found continued success as a motivational speaker, luxury travel writer/Ambassador for Travel.Luxury and a parenting influencer with her YouTube, Eva La Rue Channel Series, “ParenTeen”.

Eva is a board member, media director and brand ambassador for the company Circle4Parents.com - A virtual village for parents providing affordable, expert coaching on all parenting issues for topic specific support and solutions. As a passionate philanthropist and activist, Eva is the Spokesperson and Ambassador for the Tahirih Justice Center, a non profit, legal network helping women and girls fleeing gender based violence, sex trafficking and abuse. Being a member of the Baha’i Faith has solidified her belief that it is an obligation and a privilege to use whatever influence you have to leverage positive social impact in your community and the world. Having been invited to join in Richard Branson’s Philanthropic Leadership Forum on Necker Island, she is continuing to merge passion with purpose by joining the Los Angeles Board of the Mona Foundation. Eva’s most beloved job is proud mom to her teen daughter Kaya, who is also a writer and activist, having had her op-ed on "Child Marriage in the U.S” published this summer in Teen Vogue. Eva is also mom to 2 spoiled dogs.

Mona is a project close to her heart, because it focuses on grassroots initiatives of universal education and gender equality as a means of eliminating poverty and achieving positive community transformation in the US and abroad
Duane Clark
Core Founding Member

Duane Clark is an international director, screenwriter, and producer. He has directed over 100 hours of television all over the US, Canada, Great Britain, Europe, and South Africa. Mona Foundation’s mission spoke to Duane because he saw immediately that Mona’s approach to creating impact and movement towards alleviating poverty through gender equality makes sense. “Mona runs efficiently and intelligently. They make every dollar count and are impacting positive change in communities throughout the world.” The philosophy of creating a community of “friends of Mona” makes all efforts exciting and fun instead of an overwhelming task. It is through the engagement and participation of members working together to make a difference that so much gets accomplished.

Duane also likes how Mona includes the efforts of the youth to become involved because he knows the issues we face with poverty around the world are not going to change overnight. The next generation needs to be aware, and active and to carry the torch of Mona Foundation’s mission.

Mona runs efficiently and intelligently. They make every dollar count and are impacting positive change in communities throughout the world.
Katie Delahanty
Core Founding Meber

Katie became involved with the Mona Foundation in 2007 when she was hired as an assistant fashion designer for Mona Board member Diane Samandi's sleepwear company, Jonquil. Over the years Katie's position evolved from design work to ecommerce and social media management. In 2011 she launched www.inbloomintimates.com and began writing a blog to help drive traffic to the website. Feeling limited in writing solely about lingerie, she turned the blog into a fictional serial, posting two chapters a week about a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked at a lingerie company. It had never occurred to Katie that she was a writer, but she soon discovered a passion for storytelling. After nine months of posting--and live-tweeting as nine of the characters--Katie realized she'd written her first novel. Shortly thereafter, in a crazy turn of events, she landed a literary agent and ultimately a three-book deal.

Katie holds a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Professional Designation in Fashion Design from FIDM. She credits this education, combined with a family who supported the pursuit of her dreams, as essential to unlocking the hidden potential that has brought serious joy into her life. It is her wish that all children be given the opportunity to realize their gifts and share them with the world.

I imagine a world where everyone has the opportunity to realize their innate gifts and fulfill their highest potential. It starts with education. I love that Mona supports schools' needs--instead of dictating how funds are used--to help them grow.
Barrett McLaughlin
Core Founding Member

Barrett McLaughlin is a game creator, entrepreneur, Advertising Creative, and has been a contestant on over 8 game shows. He hosts live game events, manages the Silverlake soccer club The Eagledogs, and is a student of Permaculture.

Barrett was drawn to Mona because the impact of the scholarships is so great, and every dollar goes so far.

In his own words, “The best way for all of us to grow peacefully on this Earth is to educate as many people as possible. And the Mona Foundation does it so beautifully. I’m excited to be a part of it!”

Education is the key to a peaceful world, and I'm excited to be supporting it through Mona Foundation.
Jason Joel Lautenschleger
Core Founding Member

Jason first became acquainted with Mona in 2007 when he was introduced to the foundation’s efforts through his wife, Katie. His clinical side was immediately drawn to the efficiency and clarity of Mona's mission. His emotional side was blown away by the over-sized heart and passion of Mona’s family. Jason primarily works in television as Director of Development for 222 Productions.

When he’s not doing that, he’s creating games for the company he co-founded, Game Night in a Can or hosting his podcast, Creative Confidants. The common threads running through all of his endeavors are creativity and story-telling. He feels honored and blessed to have found a group like Mona that shares and celebrates those attributes.

Mona uses the creativity of amazing people all over the world to address immediate needs of those who deserve a chance to share their story.
Jade Wolf
Core Founding Member

Jade is an artist and author who just released The Creature Connection, a children’s book filled with imaginative creatures and stories about connecting to nature, each other, and ourselves. She also makes original designs for unique clothing and home goods as co-creator of the art collective Cool Beep Beep. Jade practices meditation and YiXue regularly and loves dancing and being in nature. Being ever curious about connections and how to better serve our children and environment,

Jade is deeply inspired to support the Mona Foundation’s mission to create a more kind world by enriching and supporting the growth and education of children, girls, and women everywhere.

I am deeply inspired to support the Mona Foundation’s mission to create a more kind world.
Oliva Villaluz
Core Founding Member

Oliva Villaluz is an interior designer who loves to create environments that invite and inspire with a truly unique elegant style. A few of her notable projects include the Fess Parker Wine Tasting Experience at the Santa Barbara Hilton, Epiphany Cellars in Los Olivos, Brick Barn Wine Estate in Buellton, and the Fess Parker’s award winning restaurant “The Bear and Star” as well as the renown boutique hotel the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood.

Oliva does not take hard work for granted but knows that all young girls need access to education to support them to find their gifts and blossom in the world.

All young girls need access to education to find their gifts and blossom in the world.
Maya Beesley
Core Founding Member

Maya Beesley is the captain of her Isreali dance company, a varsity tennis player, and proud International bachelorette junior at Agoura High School. She has a deep passion for equality and a love for education so getting involved with MONA resonated with her from the start. The opportunity to make a difference for others around the world who do not have access to education fills her heart.

Maya loves the way Mona LA chapter builds community and inclusion for teens to be involved and makes it fun in the process. “I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I did not have access to learning. It is a human right and should be available to all boys and girls.”

Education is a human right and should be available to all boys and girls.
Stella Havkin
Core Founding Member

Stella Havkin is an attorney in the Los Angeles area. She has received her B.A. from York University in Toronto, Canada with a focus on Psychology and Political Science in 1984. Ms. Havkin received her J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of Law in May, 1987. Ms. Havkin has been a member of the California State Bar since 1988.

Ms. Havkin’s practice has focused on commercial litigation and bankruptcy. She has been named as 2013 - 2018 Super Lawyer in the Super Lawyer Magazine in the field of Consumer Bankruptcy Law. She is also the Chair with the State Bar of California Bankruptcy Legal Specialization Board.

I believe education is key to eliminating global poverty.
Paul Davison
Core Founding Member

Paul Davison is a fierce advocate of socially-responsible business practices. Currently Paul serves as Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of a leading natural digestive health and wellness company. Previously, Paul served as Vice President at Proctor & Gamble’s New Chapter Vitamins division, in addition to leadership roles at other natural products, healthy beverage, and plant-based nutrition companies.

Paul is also a fifth-generation West Pointer, former Army master paratrooper, award-winning screenwriter, “recovered” reality television producer, novelist, and the father of two young girls.

Paul learned from an early age that a life lived in service to others was a life worth living, which made getting involved in the Mona Foundation a natural next step. Moved by the fact that investing in the education and empowerment of young girls can lift entire communities out of poverty and hopelessness, Paul is excited about working together to further Mona’s inspiring and vital mission.

Life lived in service to others is a life worth living,
Lauren Schnell Davison
Core Founding Member

Lauren is an associate marriage and family therapist, life coach, writer and speaker. She has been in the public eye appearing as herself in reality TV shows, multiple news channels and lectures around the world -empowering people to live their best lives.

Since Lauren discovered the Mona Foundation it has been a dream come true to help children and especially girls have the freedom and opportunity to realize their true potential!

Mona Foundation is a dream come true to help children and especially girls have the freedom and opportunity to realize their true potential!
Katrina Shrago
Core Founding Member

Katrina Shrago is a junior in high school in the Los Angeles area with aspirations to attend university to study either business alone or in combination with architecture. She excels at painting and photography as well as math. Because her father is from London, she has spent a great deal of her life in England and Europe.

Katrina has the opportunity to see the world and learn about different cultures which has led to her desire to help out with different charitable organization especially those involving young children.

I love supporting the education of children.
David Wood
Mona Foundation Board of Directors Treasurer

David Wood is the CEO of Human Touch, originally hired to develop a turnaround and growth strategy for this 35-year old health and Wellness Company. An innovative and driven business professional, he managed a restructuring which led to debt retirement and strong annual growth and profitability. David’s expertise led to successful market and product strategies that drove product innovation in such companies as GN Netcom/Jabra and Bose Corporation. While at Bose, David pioneered and developed an extensive leadership development program for high performing colleagues and has been a frequent presenter for both internal and external learning programs. David engaged his undergraduate education in Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, has general management certificates from Harvard Business School and an MBA from Boston University.

It is my core and conscious mission and privilege to engage my own strengths and virtues for the benefit of others.