International Advisory Council

Dr. Hawa Abdi 

Dr. Hawa Abdi is a Nobel Peace prize nominee, Somali human rights activist, doctor and founder of The Hawa Abdi Foundation. "Mama Hawa” opened one of the first NGOs in Somalia to provide health care, education and aid empowerment for the women of Somalia.  U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called Dr Abdi “a perfect example of the kind of woman who inspires me”. In 2010, Glamour magazine named Dr. Abdi and her two daughters "Women of the Year," dubbing them the "Saints of Somalia".

Eric Schwartz 

Eric Schwartz, dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, has a 25-year career in senior public service positions in government, at the United Nations and in the philanthropic and non-governmental communities. From 2009 through 2012, he was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, having been nominated by President Obama. Schwartz's other high-ranking positions include serving as the Department of State’s principal humanitarian official, managing State Department policy and programs for U.S. refugee admissions and U.S. international assistance worldwide.

US Executive Board of Directors

Ann Laatsch - Chairwoman 

Ann Laatsch is the Director of Legal Services at JusticePoint, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of evidence based criminal justice programs, practices and policies headquartered in Milwaukee, WI.  Ann was formerly the Managing Attorney for Disability Services at Community Advocates, Inc., where she practiced in the areas of Social Security Disability, public benefits, and health care. She was previously a Staff Attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin, providing representation and advocacy to seniors on issues related to elder abuse, domestic violence, financial exploitation, and state and federal benefit programs. She is the founder of the Milwaukee chapter of Dining For Women, a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Association of Women Lawyers, and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives. 

Phyllis Nolan (Treasurer)

Phyllis Nolan is an independent marketing consultant with more than 30 years experience in P&L management, including company president and corporate business unit general manager. Her experience includes setting overall strategic direction, product development, offshore product sourcing, marketing and retail concept development and implementation. Phyllis also served on the Kansas Board of Regents for five years, presiding as chair for one of those years. Currently, she is a board member of the Department of Orthomolecular Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center.

Talyn Good - Secretary and Co-Founder of Heshima Kenya

Talyn Good served as Heshima Kenya's Co-Executive Director for Operations from 2008 to 2011 in Nairobi, laying the program foundation and partnerships with UNHCR, US Department of State, and vital community actors in Nairobi. Before Heshima Kenya, Talyn worked with the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program.  In the US she developed, implemented and directed the Immigration and Refugee Social Service programs at a community based non-profit organization in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jill Rasmussen 

Jill Rasmussen is an independent consultant and philanthropist with ten years of marketing and communications experience in the healthcare and technology marketing fields.  Most recently, Jill served as the Principal for Promoting Public Causes, Inc. managing all Chicago operations. Jill built and maintained strong relationships across sectors, educating nonprofits in her areas of expertise, marketing and communications, and crafting philanthropic strategies for corporate clients.

Daphne Ortiz 

Daphne Ortiz is an independent publicist with more than twelve years experience in the entertainment industry. With offices in Chicago and Los Angeles, her experience includes pitching and creating media campaigns on  local, regional and national levels to promote her client’s projects which have included films, TV shows, writers, directors, producers, clothing collections, sports, healthcare issues, events and charities.  Daphne has served as a “Big” in Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Inland Empire of Los Angeles program in addition to being a board member for the Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago.

Scott Gordon

Scott Gordon is Chairman and CEO of Rosenthal Collins Group, a leading futures brokerage firm. His career in the futures industry spans more than 40 years over which he has been a floor trader, broker, exchange official and clearing firm executive. Mr. Gordon previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer of a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, and also as Chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In addition to Heshima Kenya, Scott's civic affiliations include current and recent positions on the Boards of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Econ Illinois and The Greater Chicago Food Depository. 

Shermin Kruse 

Shermin Kruse is a partner at the law firm of Barack Ferrazzano, the author of the critically acclaimed novel Butterfly Stitching, a contributor to the Huffington Post, and co-founder and director of the peace organization, Pasfarda Arts and Culture Organization. In addition, Shermin is involved in a number of other international foundations. From traveling to the Turkey-Syria border to interface with Syrian refugee children, to serving as a commentator on NPR’s Worldview on foreign policy issues, Shermin is globally dedicated to raising awareness.


Kenya Board of Directors:

Rosalind Raddatz - Chairwoman

Rosalind is a Trudeau Foundation Scholar based in Nairobi and a PhD candidate at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa.  Rosalind holds prior degrees in Philosophy and Political Science at Concordia University in Montreal.  Her research interests include mass violence and genocide, institutional and national accountability, moral obligations to distant others, and post-conflict gender issues, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.   Rosalind had more than a decade of experience as a documentary filmmaker, teacher and photographer. She is active in several non-profit endeavors, primarily around girls’ health and education in the developing world

Payal Patel - Treasurer

Payal serves as an adviser at KMPG in Nairobi.  After completing her Masters in International Securities, Investment and Banking in England, she was employed at Deutsche Bank in Finance and then decided to return home to Kenya and use her skills and expertise within the local market.  Payal also served as a Quality and Assurance Manger at Sankara Hotel.  She tutors children in mathematics and English in Kibera slums under the Rock Foundation.

 Patricia Amira

Patricia Amira is an accomplished multimedia professional and a Director of Madndala TV Ltd., a production company engaged in the creation of pan-African television formats. She is the creator and content driver of her very own talk show, "The Patricia Show", which was was broadcast in 4 continents, constituting a first for any African talk show production. Her character and capacity to connect with people on a meaningful level has seen her work across various fields, with a selective body of clients both locally and internationally. These include KPMG, The African Leadership Network, CTA (ACP-EU), Oxford University, Women Inspiration and Enterprise (WIE), ONE and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She lends her voice in support and actions to a number of campaigns, the most noted being a Signatory and Individual Champion of the Girl Effect's, "The Girl Declaration." Patricia is listed in Forbes Africa as one of the Top 40 Most Powerful Media Personalities (Oct. 2011) and is also feted in the book "Life Journeys' as one of Kenya's highest achieving women.