Rich joined Kesem as Chief Executive Officer in 2020. Rich brings nearly three decades of not-for-profit service to Kesem, having served on boards and/or in board leadership for San Diego Youth Services, the Petco Foundation and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, San Diego chapter. He has also been a fundraising leader, both at the local and national levels, for Lambda Legal and has worked with college students for more than thirty years, both in the admissions process and as a student/fraternity advisor at several different universities. At the end of 2019, Rich retired from his partnership in the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where he had been a business litigator since 1991 and where he had served as San Diego Office Managing Partner. Rich received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. He is originally from Northern New Jersey, and spent eight summers as an avid summer camper and counselor. He has since escaped the snow and lives in San Diego, California.
Domonique joined Kesem as Vice President of Brand & Marketing in 2018. Domonique brings deep experience in strategy, marketing, and constituent engagement. After more than a decade working in marketing and communications at advertising firms such as McCann and JWT, Domonique joined the staff at Teach for America. At Teach For America, Domonique worked in different roles leading brand, marketing, and experiential efforts with her most recent role as Vice President of Brand Strategy for the national organization. Domonique earned her B.S. in Radio-TV-Film with a focus in Ethnic/Minority Studies at UT Austin. She resides in Plano, Texas with her husband, their daughter, and their dog.
Jess founded the University of Georgia chapter of Kesem, a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project recipient, in 2011 and served as Co-Director for two years. She has since served on the Mentorship and Development Committees for the Camp Kesem Alumni Association. She is also an Advisory Board member for the University of Texas - Austin chapter of Camp Kesem. Jess received both her Masters in Nonprofit Organization Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Georgia. Prior to joining the Camp Kesem team, she worked in Fund Development for ZACH Theatre, Texas's longest running professional theatre company. She currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband, who she met while attending a Camp Kesem conference as a student leader.
Katie joined Kesem as the Manager of Marketing, Copywriting & Design in 2019. Most recently, she was the Managing Art Director at Modern Luxury and had been designing magazines for over 5 years. Before that, she received her BA in Journalism from Indiana University, her AAS in Graphic Design from Parsons School of Design, and her MA in Graphic Branding & Identity from University of the Arts London. And before all that, she spent 11 years living for summer camp as both a camper and a counselor. She used to frequently proclaim “I just want to be a camp counselor for life!” and is very excited to join Kesem. She is from Indianapolis, Indiana and currently lives in Chicago.
Carrie joined Kesem as the Engagement Coordinator in 2018. She served in social media and PR positions for Project 615 and PLA Media in Nashville, Tennessee, where she currently resides. Carrie is a graduate from the University of Georgia, where she served as both a Director and PR & Marketing Coordinator, with a degree in public relations and a certificate in new media. As an alumna, she currently holds positions on the Camp Kesem at the University of Georgia and Camp Kesem at Vanderbilt University Advisory Boards, and has previously served as both a Camp Advisor and CIT Advisor.
Isabel is Kesem’s Director of Corporate Alliances and Events, bringing 15+ years of experience in the non profit sector. She has held positions at renowned organizations such as The Exploratorium (San Francisco), The Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) and Earthwatch Institute (Boston). Most recently, she served as Senior Director of Development at Imerman Angels, a peer-to-peer cancer support organization, leading all aspects of development, events and partnerships. Isabel is passionate about working in collaboration with Boards, staff and volunteers to create measurable and sustainable impact through events, while helping everyone have fun and find meaning in the process. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Providence College (R.I.) and a M.A. in Museum Studies with a focus on administration from John F. Kennedy University (C.A.).
Prior to joining Kesem in 2013, Cristin provided capacity-building services to nonprofit and philanthropic organizations at Draper Consulting Group, particularly focused on fundraising, strategic planning, and board and staff development. She served previously as Grants Manager at Margery Tabankin & Associates, a philanthropic and political advisory firm for high-profile, high-net worth individuals and family foundations. Cristin grew up in Connecticut and earned her M.A. and B.S. in Political Science from Northeastern University in Boston. Cristin currently resides in Los Angeles.
Bree joined Kesem in 2015. Prior to joining Camp Kesem, Bree specialized in event management, donor engagement, and capacity building at youth-focused organizations, Austin Children's Shelter and Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County. Bree is a graduate of University of Baltimore where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Human Services Administration. A native of Ellicott City, Maryland, Bree now resides in Los Angeles.
Abi joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2016. Her first experience with Kesem was in 2005 as a camper at Camp Kesem at Indiana University. After losing her father to cancer in 2010, Abi was inspired to give back by becoming a counselor, coordinator, and then director while attending Indiana University. Abi is passionate about inspiring others through hands-on creativity and driving personal development. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelors of Arts in Telecommunications. Originally from San Diego, California, Abi now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Naomi joined Kesem in 2019. Prior to joining Camp Kesem, Naomi was a Program Assistant at The Jewish Federation and a Development Assistant at the Children’s Museum of Arts in New York. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Art History at University of Southern California. She’s lived in New York and San Francisco, but currently resides in her hometown of Los Angeles.
Alva joined Kesem as Manager of Community Relations in 2020. She has over 16 years of experience in the community relations and philanthropy sectors. Before Kesem, she served as Resource Development Director with Mercy Housing Lakefront and as a Corporate Social Responsibility Project Manager with Bank of America. In both roles, she developed and managed successful fundraising campaigns, volunteer programs, and community outreach programs. Authentic and collaborative, Alva believes that everyone’s stories matter. She seeks to inspire others to use their talents to help build stronger and more vibrant communities to live, work, and play. Alva earned her B.A. in Economics and Sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University and Masters of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A devoted Chicago native, she still resides in the city with her husband and son.
Jenna joined the Kesem National team as a Program Director in 2014, was promoted to Operations Director, University Liaison in 2016, and Manager of University Relations in 2018. She helped found the University of Georgia chapter of Camp Kesem, a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project recipient, in 2011 and served as Co-Director for the three subsequent years. She also served on the Camp Kesem Student Panel during this time. Jenna graduated from the University of Georgia in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a minor in English. She is from Marietta, Georgia and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Ingrid joined Kesem as Vice President, Finance, Talent and Administration in 2019. Ingrid fell in love with working with children as a summer and after-school counselor while an undergraduate in college, creating curriculum and teaching five and six year-olds. After attending law school and working for a law firm, Ingrid continued to work with children, teaching recent immigrant students dance and helping to create curriculum to enhance their understanding of English. Ingrid then went on to work as the Director of Business Affairs for Consumer Digital Services, an internet marketing company, where she was responsible for aspects of the business operations for the organization. Ingrid’s love of children and education propelled her to transfer her business operations and legal skills to serve as the Chief Operating Officer at various non-profit organizations, including 50CAN and Urban Arts Partnership. Ingrid’s responsibilities have included creating and managing the finance, human resources, operations and legal functions of organizations and providing senior leadership. Ingrid holds a B.A. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School and she resides in New York.
Kelsey joined the Kesem National team in 2015 as a National Program Director. Having had lost her mother to cancer at the age of three, she was drawn to the mission of Camp Kesem at the Augustana College chapter. She served as a counselor and co-director at Augustana College and also worked with Camp Kesem National as an event page intern and newsletter reporter. Working with all the incredibly strong campers and student leaders is Kelsey’s inspiration for her involvement with Camp Kesem. She graduated from Augustana College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, a minor in Multimedia Journalism and Mass Communications, and a Certification of Nonprofit Leadership Development. Kelsey currently resides in Wauconda, Illinois.
Liz joined the Kesem National team in 2008 as a National Program Director and has worked as a Senior Program Director, Manager of Programs, and Senior Manager of Programs. She helped found Camp Kesem at Indiana University in 2004 and served as a coordinator, Director, and intern with Camp Kesem National throughout her college career. A 2007 graduate of Indiana University, with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a minor in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management, her extensive background working with children in the camp setting has made her a firm believer in the positive transformational power of summer camp. Liz lives in Indianapolis, IN with her husband, 2 sons, and 3 cats.
Antonella joined Kesem in 2019 as the Constituent Care Assistant. Prior to joining Kesem, Antonella worked for a variety of causes with nonprofit organizations such as the ASPCA and TECHO, a Latin American based nonprofit. She graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor's degree in Public Administration. She is from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and currently lives in the Champaign-Urbana area with her fiance and their two dogs. She is delighted to be a part of this organization.
Elizabeth joined Kesem as Manager of Finance and Accounting in 2020. She lives in Madison, Alabama, just outside of Huntsville, the “Rocket City”. Elizabeth received her MBA at Columbia College and BS in Accounting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Elizabeth has performed full-cycle accounting for over 15 years serving in roles such as Accounting Specialist, Senior Accountant, Auditor, and Finance Manager. During her time at different organizations, she helped to identify and improve finance processes, led accounting system implementations, and kept daily accounting needs current with timely closes. After working as an auditor where she audited not-for-profit organizations, Elizabeth realized that devoting her time and skills to a not-for-profit organization would allow her to align her passion for accounting with her passion to serve others. Elizabeth learned about Kesem in her search for full-time non-profit work. She is extremely excited to bring her skills and experience to Kesem where she plans to maximize her potential and grow with the organization.
Alicia Kabir joined Kesem as Chief Operations Officer in 2017. Alicia comes to Camp Kesem with 20 years of experience in consulting; as a Partner at ERM, she worked with many Fortune 50 companies, helping them further their environmental, sustainability, and risk management programs. Her other areas of expertise are strategic planning, management of change, and team development. She is excited about Camp Kesem's continued growth and the organization's ability to support more children, and engage more student leaders, each year. Alicia is a graduate of both Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Tufts University, and she currently resides in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
Alex joined the Kesem National team in 2013 as a National Program Director, she has held various roles on staff, and she currently serves as the Director of Operations. She got involved with Camp Kesem at Michigan State University in 2008 and served as a coordinator, director, Camp Advisor, and intern with Camp Kesem National throughout her college career. Alex graduated from Michigan State University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Criminal Justice & Political Science. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.
Ciara joined the Kesem National team in 2015 as a Regional Program Director and was promoted to Training Manager in 2018. She first got involved with Camp Kesem in 2012 as a counselor and continued on to become a member of the coordinator team and a co-chair. As a long-time camp enthusiast, Ciara was drawn to Camp Kesem because of the organization’s emphasis on community support and the simple art of play. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 with a Bachelor of the Arts in English and a minor in Women’s Studies. She is from Tallahassee, Florida and currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Laura began working as a Program Director for Kesem in 2015. Laura became involved with Camp Kesem as a Unit Leader in 2010, and continued on to become a Development Coordinator and Co-Director. Laura graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology. She continued her involvement with Camp Kesem post-graduation as a camp advisor, advisory board member, and intake volunteer. Before joining the Camp Kesem team, she spent five summers working for Special Camp for Special Kids and a year working for Head-Royce School in programs administration. Laura is passionate about working with youth, and is excited to work for an organization that truly creates lasting meaningful impact. Laura grew up in Galway, Ireland, and currently resides in Berkeley, California.
Cody joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2015 and was promoted to Operations Coordinator in 2018. Initially, Cody became involved with Camp Kesem as a cabin counselor at the University of Notre Dame during summer 2012. After his first camp, he served as Co-Director at CKND for the next three years, while also learning about the broader organization as a member of the National Student Panel in 2013 and an Operations Intern in 2014. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science. Originally from San Diego, California, Cody now resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Kendall joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2016. Kendall first became involved with Camp Kesem at Indiana University in 2013 as a sophomore. After her first year at camp as a cabin counselor, she knew she wanted to take on more of a leadership role within the organization. The next year she was a Make the Magic Coordinator, and during her senior year she was one of the Directors. During Kesem's National Leadership Summit her senior year, she decided she wanted to become a part of the National team. She is looking forward to spreading her passion within the greater Kesem community! Kendall graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is originally from Newburgh, Indiana and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Travis joined the Kesem National team in 2019 as the Manager of Policy and Compliance. He first got involved with Camp Kesem in 2009 as a counselor and continued to serve as a Mental Health Professional through 2012. As a long-time Camp Kesem enthusiast, Travis holds closely the memories of the positive impact camp has on so many people and is excited to support the continuation of that impact in any way possible. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Studies and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2011 with a Master of Arts in Clinical Forensic Psychology. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Dionna joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2018. She first got involved with Camp Kesem in 2014 as a counselor and continued on to become a member of the coordinator team as a development coordinator and two-year co-director. She also served as a member of the 2017-2018 National Student Panel and 2018 Spring Events Intern. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2017 with a B.S.A. in Neuroscience and a certificate in Business Foundations. Originally from Howard County, Maryland, Dionna now resides in Denver, Colorado.
Hannah joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in April 2019. She first fell in love with the organization while attending University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she served as an Alumni, Marketing, and PR Coordinator for one year and Co-Director for two. During her time as a student she also served as a Camp Advisor, Camp Prep Volunteer, Funder Prospect Research Intern and on the National Student Panel. She will graduate in May from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Journalism in Advertising and Public Relations. From Omaha, Nebraska, she will reside in Chicago, Illinois, and can often be found enjoying the outdoors, drinking coffee or exploring new breakfast restaurants.
Hannah joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2019. Her passion for Kesem began when she joined the founding team at Brown University, where she served as an Alumni, PR, Marketing coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Operations Coordinator, and Chapter Co-Director her senior year. During this time, she also served as a Junior Camp Advisor and Camp Preparation Volunteer. Hannah graduated from Brown University in 2019 with a degree in Public Health. Originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, she now resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Kofi joined the Kesem National team in April 2019 as a Regional Program Director. He first became involved with Camp Kesem while attending the University of California, Irvine in 2015. Driven and excited by an opportunity to serve others who have also been affected by a parent's cancer, he served as an Operations Coordinator before becoming a Chapter Co-Director the following year. After graduating in 2017, he was blessed with an opportunity to continue serving the chapter as a CIT Counselor. Previously, he has also worked in higher education counseling, non-profit educational media, as well as with fostered, minority, underserved and underrepresented, youth populations. He hopes to do his part to help Kesem Magic spread so that no child ever has to go through cancer alone! Kofi is originally from San Diego, California and will be relocating to Chicago, Illinois.
Shane joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2019. Shane first became involved with Camp Kesem as an inaugural member of the University of Kansas's chapter in 2016. During his time at the University of Kansas, Shane served as a counselor, Outreach Coordinator, Co-Director, and Advisory Board Member. Shane graduated from the University of Kansas in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global and International Studies. Upon graduating from the University of Kansas, he has worked for the International Relations Council as the Membership Consultant and Assistant. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Shane now resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Lauren joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2018. Her love for Camp Kesem began when she got involved during her first year of college, where she served as a Volunteer Coordinator for two years, then Co-Director. Lauren graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Public Health and Neuroscience, where she was also able to use her passion for serving others to get involved with public and global health research projects, focusing on topics including vector borne disease and global conflict. Originally from New Hartford, NY, Lauren currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts.
Keandra joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2017. Prior to this, Keandra was a member of the founding team at California State University, Fresno where she started as a Volunteer Coordinator, and then went on to serve as a Chapter Co-Director for two years. During this time, Keandra also served as a Risk Management Intern and as a member of the National Student Panel. Keandra graduated from Fresno State in 2017 with a Bachelors of Arts in Family and Consumer Science. She is from Bakersfield, California and currently resides in Davis, California.
Eliza joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in November 2018. She first joined Camp Kesem while attending Michigan State University, where she served as an Alumni, Marketing, and PR Coordinator for one year and an Outreach Coordinator for two years. As an alum, she's also served as a Camp Advisor for five Kesem chapters. Eliza has previously worked and volunteered in disability respite care, refugee services, and parent education. She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from Michigan State in May 2017 and obtained her Master of Social Work with a focus in Mental Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2019. Eliza is originally from Terre Haute, Indiana and now lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Meag joined Kesem at West Virginia University in the chapter’s inaugural year in 2015 as an Outreach Coordinator. In the years to follow, she served as an Alumni, Marketing & PR Coordinator, followed by Co-Director her senior year. She also served as a Camp Advisor for the University of Kansas and University of Arkansas in the summer of 2018. She joined the Camp Kesem National team in August 2018 as a Regional Program Director. Meag graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing with a minor in Business Administration from WVU. She currently resides in Bonita Springs, Florida.
Brittani joined the Kesem National team in 2017 as a Regional Program Director. She first became involved with Camp Kesem in 2012 as a counselor and continued on to become a Development Coordinator and Co-Director. Brittani loved volunteering as a part of Camp Kesem where she was able to apply concepts she had studied in the classroom and make an impact in the community. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a minor in Nonprofit Management. She is from Lakeport, California and currently resides in Orem, Utah.
Kirsten first got involved with Kesem during her undergraduate career at Northern Arizona University as a Marketing/PR Coordinator for two years. After she graduated, she went to Arizona State University for her Masters in Social Work and worked within the behavioral health/criminal justice system. Her passion to work with families impacted by cancer never faded and she was thrilled to return to the Camp Kesem team as a Regional Program Director in 2018.
Chelsea joined the Kesem National staff as a Regional Program Director for the Southern California region in 2018. A Sacramento native, she made the jump to SoCal to attend UCLA, where is was involved with Kesem all four years. She graduated with a degree in Sociology and Education, and a passion for working with children. Even though she misses her dog back in Sacramento, she loves living in LA. In her free time, you can find Chelsea eating ice cream, catching up on the latest in pop culture, going to concerts, or exploring the city.
Dylan joined the Kesem National staff in 2019 as a Camp Operations Assistant. He first got involved in Camp Kesem at the University of Oklahoma in 2015 as a Committee Member and Camp Counselor. In the following years, he served as an Operations Coordinator and Co-Director for two years. While a student, Dylan supported the Camp Kesem National team as a Camp Operations Intern, Junior Camp Advisor, and Summit Risk Management Intern. He will graduate in May 2019 with a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a minor in Nonprofit Management. He currently resides in Oklahoma City, OK.
Connor joined the Kesem National staff as a Regional Program Director in 2020. He got his start at Indiana University, where he served as Co-Director, and has volunteered as a counselor and Camp Advisor for several other chapters. He looks forward to inspiring student leaders and helping them grow professionally. Connor graduated from Indiana University in 2019 with a B.S. in Marketing and minor in Spanish. Outside of Kesem, Connor loves movies, stand-up comedy, practicing Spanish, and reading. He currently resides in Indiana.
Mekelit joined the Kesem National team in 2020 as a Regional Program Director. She first got involved with Camp Kesem in 2018 as an Operations Coordinator. And in the Fall of 2019 she served as a Volunteer Coordinator, and then moved into the Chapter Co-Director role at University of Maryland College Park. Mekelit graduated in the Spring of 2020 with a degree in Psychology. During her time in school, she served on the Admin team, and was a Camp Advisor. Mekelit currently resides in Laurel, MD.
Divya joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director in 2020. She first got involved with the Camp Kesem Berkeley chapter in 2017, where she served as a counselor, Special Events Coordinator, and Co-Director. During her senior year, she also served as an intern with Kesem’s Brand team. Divya graduated from UC Berkeley in 2020 with a B.A. in Architecture and a minor in City & Regional Planning. Originally from Lexington, Massachusetts, she now resides in Berkeley, California.
Dante joined the Kesem National team as a Regional Program Director for the Southeast Region in 2020. His love and passion for Kesem first started during his undergraduate career at Stony Brook University, where he graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Theater Arts in 2020. From 2016, he served as a counselor and continued on to become a Volunteer Coordinator, Community Outreach Coordinator and Co-Director. Because of Dante’s immense passion for serving Kesem, he has also volunteered as a Camp Advisor outside of his student leadership roles. Dante is thrilled to continue spreading the Kesem magic and love while residing currently in Queens, New York, but will be moving to Georgia soon!
Neha Biggs is a Managing Director of Customer Experience within Digital Marketing at Nuveen. She lead the initiative to redesign their retail website in addition to ensuring everything done across digital marketing is hyper focused on addressing customer needs. Neha has over 20 years of experience building teams and collaborating to build world class customer experiences with a deep expertise in consumer research, competitive analysis, and digital strategy. Prior to joining Nuveen, Neha has had leadership roles at Discover Financial Services, TripAdvisor and spent 12 years managing the customer research group at Fidelity Investments. Neha has a B.S. from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute with double major in Finance and Information Systems. She currently lives in Wilmette with her two children who are both enthusiastic campers at Camp Kesem Northwestern.
Emily M. Brakebill is Managing Director, Chief of Operations and member of the Investment Committee at HMI Capital, where she has been since the inception of the firm in December 2008. HMI Capital is a private investment firm pursuing a long-term, concentrated, value-oriented, global strategy. Prior to joining HMI, Emily spent four years as a Vice President and Investment Manager at Columbus Nova Partners, a private investment management firm with over $1.5 billion under management. Prior to Columbus Nova, Emily served as Vice President and Investment Manager at Sirrom Capital, where she made investments in the software, service, retail and manufacturing sectors. Emily previously spent two years in Strategic Development and as an Assistant to the Founder / CEO of a publicly traded restaurant chain. She also spent significant time in operating roles at two internet service businesses. Emily started her career as a Financial Analyst in Corporate Finance at Montgomery Securities. Emily received an A.B. from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Ken, and their three children.
Thom Brown is retired from Great Northern Corporation in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he held several positions in The Specialty Group, Laminations. Before joining Great Northern Corporation, Thom spent over 20 years in the Aerospace Industry, with both Continental Airlines and Midwest Airlines. He has been active in clean drinking water projects in Guatemala through Rotary International, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Thom has a BS from the University of Maine, a MBA from Marquette University, and received certification in Sales Management from The University of Wisconsin’s Fluno Center for Executive Education. Thom has been a member of the Camp Kesem-University of Wisconsin Board of Advisors, and has a daughter who is a Camp Kesem camper, “Bear”.
Elise Cornille is a Managing Director of Technology Innovation Marketing at Accenture, where she has built her career over 20+ years. In this role, she oversees Accenture Labs, Accenture Ventures and Tech for Good programs. Elise was responsible for developing and manages Accenture’s Tech Vision, the organization’s most successful global thought leadership program. Elise has a B.A. in International Relations and French from Rhodes College. She and her husband currently live in San Francisco, where Elise also serves on Kesem’s San Francisco Board.
Ben Cornwell, Chairperson is a partner and co-founder at Paperclip Ltd., the Los Angeles based boutique development firm focused on projects in film, television, and the digital space. Prior to founding Paperclip Ltd. he was the COO of Marchez Vous, a luxury women’s footwear brand, which was originally launched as part of the brand development division at ROAR, the Beverly Hills based talent management company, where Ben was a manager from 2008 through 2012. Before joining ROAR, he was Managing Director at JS Apparel, a multi-national clothing manufacturer, with factories in Indonesia, Guatemala, and Los Angeles. He also currently sits on the board of directors for ECH Industries, a third party logistics provider. Ben received a BA in History from Franklin and Marshall College, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lisa, and their two children.
David Cronin, Treasurer is currently Managing Director, Lunin Development Corp. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and has worked in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and currently resides in Whistler, BC, Canada. He holds a Masters of Management from Northwestern University, and specializes in Transformational Growth and building high performance teams.
Becky Crowe is a Partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit education consulting firm working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. She has spent more than 15 years leading education reform efforts as a social entrepreneur and education policy and philanthropy advisor. Prior to joining Bellwether, Becky served as Executive Director of Partners in School Innovation in San Francisco. During her tenure, Partners doubled in size and became the key school improvement partner in several of the Bay Area’s largest urban districts. Becky has degrees in English and Education from Stanford University, and was a Sloan Fellow in the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Deeply appreciating the need for stronger supports for families who are impacted by cancer and the unique leadership development opportunity that Camp Kesem provides for college students, Becky is honored to serve Camp Kesem as a Board Member.
Matt Hanley is currently the Western Immuno-Oncology Regional Business Director for Bristol Myers Squibb, a leading worldwide oncology company based out of Princeton, NJ, bringing novel, therapeutic Immuno-Oncology products to cancer patients. Matt started his 25-year career in pharmaceuticals with Abbott Laboratories, a leading pharmaceutical company based in Abbott Park, IL, holding various roles in Sales, Marketing, and Pricing. After nine years at Abbott, Matt moved west to join Amgen, a leading biotech company based in Thousand Oaks, CA, in 2001 and held many commercial senior roles in Sales, Marketing, Pricing, Operations, and Learning and Development. After 13 years at Amgen, he left Amgen to join Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, a small, rare-disease hematology company to become the Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Training. Matt graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Finance and hails from Chagrin Falls, OH. He currently resides in Thousand Oaks, CA with his wife, Sharon, and three children, Brookelyn (16), Braden (14), and Brittan (11). He enjoys many hobbies, including playing and coaching basketball and soccer, avidly cheering for Notre Dame and Cleveland Teams.
Dr. Brent Iverson has been dean of the University of Texas at Austin School of Undergraduate Studies since 2013, after serving on the Task Force on Curricular Reform that led to the creation of the school. He previously chaired UT's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and served as the director for the Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostic Development. Iverson is best known for developing a cure for late-stage anthrax infection. He holds the Warren J. and Viola Mae Raymer Professorship and teaches an immensely popular two-semester sequence of organic chemistry while also running an active research program. He has won numerous teaching awards and is currently president of the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers. Iverson received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Stanford University in 1982 and a PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1987.
David Jones is a Managing Director with Merit Capital, where he has been a partner since 2010. He also serves on the board of three portfolio companies, BETER Mix, Inc, Medway Air Ambulance and Choice Brand Adhesives. David is active in coaching and coordinating youth sports, presently serves on several committees with his church, and a past board member of the Wellness House, a resource center for cancer patients and their families. David has a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a MBA from the University of Chicago Booth. David and his wife have four children, and currently resides in the Chicago area.
Jerry Katz is of counsel in Glaser Weil’s Real Estate and Corporate departments. During nearly three decades of practice, Jerry has represented a wide variety of clients, including publicly traded and privately held companies, institutional investors, developers, lenders, borrowers, joint venture partners, pension funds, REITs, retailers, management companies, private equity firms, media ventures, internet companies, entertainment companies, studio owners, technology companies and sports franchises. Jerry earned a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, Undergraduate School of Business.
Heath Koch is an independent consultant, focused on Ecommerce, Merchandising and Planning. She has worked in retail for johnnie-O, Gap and Coach and in finance as a sales trader and in risk management for DLJ, CSFB and The Capital Group. Heath also is on the Board of Directors for B*Cured, a non-profit funding research to find a cure for brain cancer. Heath has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University, and an MBA from Columbia University. Heath lives in Connecticut with her three children, two of whom are enthusiastic campers at Camp Kesem Yale.
Dr. Diana Montgomery is a pediatrician, currently with Private Medical, a concierge primary care practice for children and adults. Prior to that, Diana practiced at Presidio Pediatrics and UCSF, where she completed her residency, serving as Chief Resident in Pediatrics. She is an Associate Professor at UCSF, and serves on the Board of Family House. Diana and her husband live in the San Francisco Bay Area with their five children. Diana has a B.A. in History from Yale University, and received her MD from Columbia University.
Betsy Morton has been a Chief Human Resources Officer for over 15 years in global consumer products, manufacturing and retail organizations including the Chamberlain Group, Inc and Jockey International. She is known for making a positive impact on the business in which she works by integrating effective and innovative human capital and business strategies. Betsy has her BS from University of Wisconsin, Madison and her M.Ed from Loyola University where she majored in Adult and Corporate Education minored in Organizational Development. Betsy lives in the Chicagoland area with her family who are all involved in Camp Kesem. Betsy’s husband, Bryan Libbin, is an advisor to Camp Kesem’s Northwestern Chapter and her two daughters, “Skittles” and “Jelly Belly” are both Camp Kesem Campers.
Mark Luck Olson is President, Global Services at Decision Resources Group. A noted speaker and market-oriented innovator, Mark enjoys partnering with company leaders committed to unleashing the real growth potential of their organizations. Mark co-founded ChapterHouse, the leading boutique consultancy serving the U.S. health services sector on matters of company strategy, market growth and medical cost/quality. CH was sold to Oliver Wyman (OW) in 2008, at which point Mark became a Partner in OW’s Health and Life Sciences practice for the duration of his post-acquisition “stay” period. Prior to CH, Mark spent eight years at Baxter Healthcare, a leading global medical device and technology company, first working on national strategy assignments in Europe and the Far East, later as CIO for Baxter’s $2 billion global biotech business. Mark is an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned his undergraduate degree and MBA.
Robert Plotkowski has been a commercial real estate lawyer for over 30 years, and has been involved in large and sophisticated real estate projects in Southern California and throughout the United States. He represents real estate investors, developers, lenders and developers, entertainment media companies for whom he has negotiated high profile facility and venue agreements, and major corporations relocating their headquarters or developing new facilities from the ground up. Rob has a law degree from the University of California Berkeley and an undergraduate degree from UCLA. He is the managing partner of Advisors, LLP, a corporate and real estate transactional law firm which he cofounded in 2000 and was previously a partner at the law firm of Hill Wynne Troop & Meisinger. Rob lives in Brentwood, California with his two children.
Ruben Sigala is President of Sigala Ventures LLC, a consultancy delivering integrated analytics, machine learning, and marketing solutions targeted towards organizations seeking to develop and scale their capabilities. Prior to forming Sigala Ventures, Ruben served as the Chief Analytics Officer and Chief Marketing Officer for Caesars Entertainment, where he worked for over 13 years. Ruben has a B.A. in Business from the University of Kansas, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Ruben currently resides in Denver, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Chris Berry Solomon is an executive coach, attorney and CPA. Chris' executive legal and business experience includes multiple senior level roles and participation on numerous senior leadership teams in health care. Her experience includes serving as Vice President and Division General Counsel to Bausch & Lomb's Surgical Division; Special Counsel and Senior Leadership team member to DaVita Rx; Senior Counsel and senior leadership team member to Baxter International's BioScience Division; Assistant Corporate Secretary and Senior Counsel to Brunswick Corporation and Assistant Regional Director of the SEC's Enforcement Division. Chris is a former member of Camp Kesem's UC Irvine Board of Advisors and a 14-year breast cancer survivor.
Jay Stilwell, Secretary is Director of Marketing at The Clorox Company in Oakland, California. Since joining in 2001, he has created marketing campaigns and managed brand strategy and planning for several brands, including Clorox, Glad, Fresh Step and Brita. Jay currently manages new product innovation teams in the salad dressing, water filtration and cat litter categories. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Jay holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Davidson College and MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jay lives in San Francisco with his daughter, a current camper at Camp Kesem UC Berkeley.
Iris Rave Wedeking, Founder developed the vision for the first Camp Kesem Chapter at Stanford University in 2000 and pursued national expansion of the program in 2002 after recognizing a nationwide need for Camp Kesem. She served as CEO of Kesem from 2000-2006 and has served on the National Board of Directors since that time. Iris holds a BA from Tufts University and an MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Following her MBA, Iris worked in marketing research at The Clorox Company for eight years. She is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of iDENTICAL, a company that is revolutionizing tooth replacement worldwide through developing a drill-free dental implant. Iris lives in Walnut Creek, California, with her husband and three children.
Fred Williams is a a partner of Vinson & Elkins LLP, where he serves as co-chair of the firm’s global intellectual property practice. His practice focuses on complex litigation and counseling, with emphasis on intellectual property, antitrust, class action and white-collar disputes. Fred also maintains an active pro bono practice focused on civil rights and consumer-protection litigation. Fred received a B.A. in Economics from BYU and a JD in Law, also from BYU. Fred resides in Austin, Texas, and his three children all attended Camp Kesem Texas A&M as campers.
Bre Vergess (Kesem Name "Brooklyn") is the current Chair of the Alumni Leadership Board. Bre became involved with Camp Kesem at Berkeley in 2009, and continued on to serve as Finance Coordinator, Student Support Coordinator and Admin Coordinator for the Teen Program. In 2012, she served as a representative on Camp Kesem’s National Student Panel. Bre graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies, and went on to receive her Master’s in Public Policy with a focus in Nonprofit Management at the USC Price School in 2015. Bre currently works as a Principal Digital Consultant for Civic Resource Group which develops software solutions for the public and civic sectors. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Josephine Akinwumiju (Kesem Name “M&Ms”) joined Camp Kesem her freshman year at Emory University in 2011. She felt a strong connection to Camp Kesem’s mission, as her mother, who is now a cancer survivor, was diagnosed her senior year of high school. Starting as a cabin counselor her first summer and working her way up to director her senior year, Kesem quickly became a huge part of her life. After graduating with a B.A in Psychology and Linguistics from in 2015, she continued her work as an educator and later went to work as an Epic Consultant. Since graduation, she has served as a Camp Advisor for two years, supporting three chapters and four amazing weeks of camp! She is also a member of Camp Kesem East Atlanta’s advisory board. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia where she spends her free time checking out new places in dine, reading for her book club and for fun, watching way too much television, and hanging out with friends and family. She is excited to start this new chapter as a member of the Alumni Leadership Board.
Brielle Buckler (Kesem Name “Swizzle”) has been obsessed with Kesem ever since she saw a flyer for the University of Miami chapter hanging on the inside of a bathroom stall. She joined that day and became a counselor in 2010, before spending two years as a Co-Director. After graduation she remained close with the Miami chapter through two years of grad school, where she received her MBA and MS in Sport & Entertainment Management. Today, Swizzle lives in the NYC area, works for the National Basketball Association, serves as the Greater NYC Alumni Ambassador, and works with the Yale and Columbia chapters as an Advisory Board member.
Liz Carson (Kesem Name "Bojangles") joined the Camp Kesem family as an Outreach Coordinator for Camp Kesem East Atlanta in 2010, and continued to serve as a chapter director for three years. Since graduating, Liz has been a CIT Advisor, Camp Advisor, Senior Camp Advisor, and Hotline Operator. She also currently supports the East Atlanta and University of Georgia chapters as an Advisory Board member. Liz is a full-time staff member at Kate's Club, an organization that provides therapeutic programming for children and teens after the death of a parent or sibling. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Liyan David Chang (Kesem Name "Toasty") joined the Camp Kesem family at MIT where he met the most amazing kids and families who continue to inspire him to this day. After cofounding a startup in San Francisco, he flew across the country to help fix Healthcare.gov. Nearly three years later, David now works at The White House for the US Digital Service, helping government use technology to deliver better services to the American people.
Kelly Chernik (Kesem Name “Tree”) joined the Camp Kesem family in 2011 as a counselor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. While an undergraduate student, she served on the executive board as a “Camper Care” coordinator and Volunteer coordinator. Since graduation, she has served as a Camp Advisor, Senior Camp Advisor, CIT Advisor, and Intake Volunteer, and has attended 12 weeks of camp for 7 different chapters. Kelly recently finished her master’s degree in occupational therapy at UW-Madison and is starting her OT career at Sauk Prairie Healthcare. Other obsessions of Kelly’s include drinking coffee, playing volleyball, and spending time with her loved ones, especially her husband and dog.
Nick DiMaso (Kesem Name "Hot Mustard") joined the Camp Kesem family in 2011 at Northwestern University. He served as a counselor, a unit leader, and for two years as the Volunteer Coordinator, supporting the chapter as it expanded from one week to two weeks of camp. He continues to serve as a Senior Camp Advisor, on the Camp Advisor Panel, on the Northwestern University Advisory Board, and now on the Alumni Leadership Board. When Nick is "Nick" and not "Hot Mustard," he works in Instructional Design for an education tech company called BenchPrep. Nick is also a Chicago Peer Advisor to The Obama Foundation. Outside of work and civic engagement, Nick likes to improvise, write, and perform around Chicago, and he gets really into Dungeons and Dragons. Both Nick's and Hot Mustard's spirit animals are golden retrievers.
Paul “Mocha” Jimenez joined the Camp Kesem family in 2015 at UC San Diego. He supported his chapter as a counselor, unit leader, and PR Coordinator during his final years of college. He has gone on to serve Kesem as a Senior Camp Advisor and Summit Leadership Camp Advisor the following years, and continued serving Kesem as a Bay Area Alumni Ambassador. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Paul currently resides in San Mateo, CA, and is a part of the management team for Blue Bottle Coffee in the South Bay, continuing to spread magic through caffeination.
Elizabeth Hyatt (Kesem Name "Dunkin") joined the Camp Kesem family in 2011 at the University of Florida. She served as a unit leader, Operations and Programming Coordinator, Teen Camp Coordinator, National Student Advisory Board member, and Alumni Advisory Board Member at FSU. Passionate about cancer advocacy, Elizabeth lobbied on Capitol Hill as Camp Kesem’s Student Representative for One Voice Against Cancer and worked on oral chemotherapy parity legislation in Florida. While completing her masters at UF, Elizabeth participated in Florida’s Gubernatorial Fellowship and developed policy research focused on creating a state-wide telehealth infrastructure and network to improve access and specialty care for cancer patients She holds a bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Political Campaigning from the University of Florida. Currently, Elizabeth works for Deloitte Consulting in Washington D.C. helping federal agencies develop strategies to tackle their complex business challenges.
Jeff Leibach, (Kesem Name "Tiny") joined Camp Kesem as a co-founder of Camp Kesem North Carolina as a student at Duke University in 2003. Jeff served as a co-chair, and advisory board member, helping grow CKNC to serve over 100 campers per year by its fourth year. After graduating in 2006 with a B.A. in Public Policy from Duke University, Jeff served as Camp Kesem's first National Program Director. Working with incredible student leaders and board leadership during his two years as National Program Director, Jeff helped Camp Kesem grow from 9 campuses to 22 campuses during that two year period. During that time Jeff also helped organize Camp Kesem's first National Leadership Conference, and helped unify the Camp Kesem around its current logo and branding. In 2008, Jeff began a career in healthcare strategy consulting, helping hospitals and insurers transform the way the healthcare is paid for in the U.S. Jeff continues his work in healthcare consulting today, is currently pursuing an M.B.A from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Jeff lives in suburban Chicago with his wife Amy and daughters Kaylee and Kaia.
Becca MacDonald (Kesem Name "Snack Pack") first joined Camp Kesem as a founding member of The George Washington University chapter in 2007 and served as one of their first ever PR co-chairs in 2009. Designing posters and brochures for CKGW made her realize her dream of becoming a graphic designer. Today, she is a Senior Designer at Glantz Design, a digital branding agency, where she uses her creative agility and problem solving skills to create beautiful brands for her clients. Becca currently lives in Chicago with her husband and fellow Kesem alumni, Chris "Skippy" MacDonald. Outside of Camp Kesem, some of her hobbies include cooking (eating), rewatching old episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and taking advantage of the incredible food and art scene in Chicago.
Margret Mendenhall (Kesem Name “Zenyatta”) became involved Camp Kesem at Santa Clara University in 2013 after founding the chapter through Kesem chapter expansion campaign partnership with Livestrong. She worked as the founding co-director for two years before graduating in 2015. In 2017, she joined Camp Kesem at Columbia's Advisory Board and volunteered as a camp intake volunteer. In 2018, she attended Camp Kesem at Harvard's camp as a co-camp advisor. Margret graduated from Santa Clara University in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology and History. She currently works as a Patient Experience Specialist for Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York where she works in cultural transformation and human centered design thinking. She currently resides in Harrison, New Jersey.
Zach Morris (Kesem Name "Binx") joined the Camp Kesem family in 2011 as the co-founder and Co-Chair of the University of Minnesota chapter, which served 44 campers in its inaugural summer. As a student, he also served on the National Student Panel for two years. Since graduating, Zach has served as a CIT Advisor, Camp Advisor, and Senior Camp Advisor for more than 8 schools and 10 weeks of camp, and currently sits on the Advisory Boards for both Emory University and the University of Georgia. During the summer of 2016, Zach joined Team Kesem and ran the San Francisco Marathon, raising enough money to send four more kids to camp! Zach works full-time in the Extramural Research Department at the American Cancer Society and teaches high school life sciences part-time in a hybrid education program he co-founded in 2013. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia (where he serves as a Kesem Alumni Ambassador!) with his dog, Henry, and black cat, Binx!
William Chanes Martinez (Kesem Name “Fluffy”) is a 2016 graduate of The George Washington University. Willy first became involved with Camp Kesem at GW in 2014 and continued his involvement as a Teen Camp Unit Leader and CIT adviser for several summers. He was also a Kesem Alumni Ambassador for the Boston region. Willy graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and is currently working on his J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law, in Newark, New Jersey. He currently resides in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Jillian Millares (Kesem Name “Meery”) joined the Camp Kesem family in 2014 as a founding member of the Fresno State chapter, where she served as a co-director before graduating in 2015. Since then, she’s remained involved as a camp advisor, intake volunteer, alumni intern, and most recently, an alumni speaker at Kesem’s National Leadership Summit in 2018. She was also an advisory board member for the University of San Francisco in its inaugural year while she obtained her MS in Behavioral Health. She is currently a medical student st the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and is working towards a career in primary care and community health.
Jordan Newell (Kesem Name “Yogi”) joined Camp Kesem in 2012 at UCLA, where he was a counselor for two years as an undergraduate and helped lead the expansion to two-week long sessions. After graduating in 2014, Yogi has continued to attend camp every summer as a CIT/Teen Advisor, and served on UCLA’s Advisory Board. A lover of all things Kesem, he is forever indebted to the kids, parents, and volunteers that help foster the Kesem Magic, and the community, hope, confidence, self-reflection, and healing that it provides. Originally from California, he moved to New York in 2017, and works as an Executive Search & Leadership Consultant at Spencer Stuart. He is excited to join the Alumni Leadership Board, and continue his lifelong commitment to the organization.
Dana Percoco (Kesem Name "Thumper") joined Camp Kesem at the University of California, Davis in 2007. During her time at Camp Kesem at UC Davis she held a variety of positions including, Admin Coordinator, Student Support Coordinator, and Co-Chair. After graduating in 2011 she continued her involvement with camp as an Alumni Representative and Advisor to Camp Kesem at UC Davis, Summer Camp Advisor, and Bay Area Alumni Ambassador. She worked for non-profits and in politics before becoming a Business Initiatives Consultant in Client Experience at Wells Fargo. She currently lives in San Francisco, California.
Kami Nielsen (Kesem Name "Twitch") joined Camp Kesem family at Indiana University and served as Make the Magic coordinator before graduating with her BSPA and MPA from IU. Since graduation, Kami has served on several chapter Advisory Boards, as a Camp Advisor and as a founding Alumni Ambassador for the DC region. Outside of Camp Kesem, Kami works as Director of Communications at a foundation in Indianapolis (and is a certified yoga teacher on the side!). She currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with her husband and fellow Kesem Alum, Andy "Rhino" Nielsen, and their anxious dog Toby.