Strategic Board and Staff
Jay is President and Executive Director of The Big EQ Campaign. Generally acknowledged as a media pioneer, he is founder and former CEO and Editor-in-Chief of multiple award-winning and greatly successful (broke advertising records in the industry) LA Weekly newspaper, which he sold some years ago. Since then he has focused on three areas of activity.
DR. ROSLYN ELLISON BLAKE
Best known as co-founder and former CEO of Rhino Records, which itself became famous twice over – once as the vanguard company that founded and reprised remarkable music (and later films) and packaged these in an elegant and intelligent manner; and secondly as one of the most socially conscious businesses in America, one that encouraged company employees to mentor disadvantaged youth and donated millions to various community-based charities. After selling Rhino, he founded the company Shout! Factory and introduced to it the same social values and product focus, except with more attention to films and TV than music.
Widely respected as a philanthropist, he has served on numerous charity and non-profit social cause boards, among them the Chrysalis Foundation (homelessness and poverty) and Little Kids Rock, a national organization devoted to enriching children’s lives by providing musical instruments and training to schools across the country (more than 1,000 to date), a cause in which he is energetically active. Richard is also deeply committed to infusing SEL programs into all schools.
DR. AMY CRANSTON
Amy currently serves as the Executive Director of the California Social-Emotional Learning Alliance . Previously she was Director of Expanded Learning Services for the Ventura County Office of Education; also Co-Regional Lead for Region 8 of the California Department of Education’s Expanded Learning Division. A professional educator for nearly 20 years, she has been a teacher, school site administrator, county office administrator, and state representative for a four-county region.
A formal and passionate SEL expert, her Doctoral study focused on Social-Emotional Learning in K-12 Education. She has since brought her SEL expertise into service in various capacities at the local, state, and national levels. Dr. Cranston holds an Ed.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership and has published several articles based on her SEL research. Her book Creating SEL Environments is set for release in July, 2019 by Shell Education Publishing. Her additional areas of expertise include: Impact of poverty on education, social justice and educational equity for at-risk students, dropout prevention, college and career readiness, career and technical education (CTE), school climate and safety, family engagement, and afterschool expanded learning programs.
Mr. Duran is one of the 16 “Regional Leads” for Expanded Learning Programs in the State of California, responsible for providing technical assistance and grant compliance support to more than 50 school districts serving more than 21,000 children in 250 schools across four counties. Earlier, he managed a Boys and Girls Club department of 200 employees, overseeing multiple after-school programs. A major supporter of Social-Emotional Learning and a frequent speaker at community events and at education and government conferences, his most recent area of focus is on SEL in the Latino community.
A research scholar as well, his latest study looks at the prevention of health disparities for children exposed to violence in under-served communities. Two earlier studies examined health disparities for farm workers and indigenous Mexican populations living and working in Ventura County. He also has provided consulting assistance and training to government institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations and marketing agencies seeking to increase their outreach and services to the growing Latino community. Mr. Durán graduated from UCLA with a double major in History and Spanish Literature and holds a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the school.
Amanda Manares is a founding partner of Precision Health Technology Products, as well as an investor or Advisory Board member of multiple businesses and market disruptors in many industry sectors, including social impact investing. These service more than 30 global marketplaces. Her specialty has been securing market innovation and first-to-market advantages for several companies, including Appics AG and WeText. In this she draws on an extensive range of industry influencers, key strategic partners, global change makers and public figures she has cultivated over time. She is frequently called on for strategic development of business and selective nonprofit initiatives based on these factors, as well as for an innate skill at simplifying complex concepts, for her execution talents and instincts, and for her ability to understand and communicate organization missions to global markets.
Most recently, her interests and skills have gravitated toward entertainment and media and to navigating realms of virtual immersive technologies and blockchain ventures – including architecting crypto-philanthropic initiatives. As a mother herself, Amanda sees the emotional intelligence revolution and social emotional learning as a needed catalyst of an advanced society that has gained the skills to shed its destructive, conflict-ridden tendencies and prosper in a mutually caring and ever more innovative, fairer, and healthy new world. She also brings the vision of such a world to her role as a Founding Circle Member of the Stan Lee Foundation.
Mike Gormley achieved top recognition in his 40+ years in the music industry by setting into motion major artists’ international careers, including film composer Danny Elfman, the massively successful pop band The Bangles, Rod Stewart, Rush, BTO, The Police and Supertramp – this in roles as a record company executive and independent artist manager. He’s also been a music supervisor for TV and films, a music marketing/PR expert and, earlier, a journalist. He currently guides new talent seeking prominence in the industry.
As Publicity Director for Mercury Records, Mike engineered the media campaigns for Thin Lizzy, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, The Runaways and The Ohio Players, among others, and was instrumental in signing the pioneering punk band The New York Dolls and the groundbreaking German electronica artists, Kraftwerk. Later as VP-Publicity for A&M Records, he worked with Herb Alpert, Styx, Squeeze and others before starting the management firm Los Angeles Personal Development with Miles Copeland, manager of The Police. Artists he managed include African star Angelique Kidjo, hit songwriters Lowen & Navarro, Australian singer/songwriter Anne McCue, the producer/film composer Paul Schwartz, and Broadway and film star Paige O’Hara. Later as co-founder of Wildcat Records he signed Michael Damian and The Boomers. Marketing clients included Nickelodeon, hip-hop dance company Groovaloo, the Great American Food and Music Festival, Townsquare LLC and Rhino Records.
Paraag Lal is the Co-Founder of PKP Investments, LLC, a boutique family office firm focused on partnering with international and domestic family offices for investments in real estate assets (multi-unit, residential, & commercial), restaurants (casual dining and quick service), hospitality, and disruptive technology companies. PKP has partnered with several Silicon Valley’s tech companies, including Intel, Intel Capital, Google/YouTube, Facebook and Amazon. Earlier, Paraag worked for Intel (1996-2006) and Cisco (2006-2010). At Intel’s media and entertainment division, he brought Intel’s capacities to Hollywood’s major studios, post houses and gaming companies, ultimately helping drive billions in revenues. Post his MBA at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, he was recruited to Cisco, where he grew its newly formed Entertainment Division into a multi-billion dollar division.
As an Uncle to his 6 and 4 year old nieces, Paraag is an ardent supporter of what he calls “amazing” social emotional learning as a sorely-needed curriculum to prepare students for successful lives and to create healthy communities, families and workplaces. He also sits on the Board of Advisors for the United Nations UNA-USA LA Chapter and, drawing on his technology and business acumen, on the boards of tech companies Ostendo, GVNG and Ready Set Jet, in each of which he is also an investor.
Ronnie is founder and CEO of Nordis Technologies, a high-tech national business communications firm that specializes in digital printing, electronic communications, billing and payment services focused on the Hospitality, Healthcare and Financial Services industries. The 30-year old company operates production facilities in Coral Springs, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ronnie is the visionary behind Nordis Technologies flagship products Expresso and Expresso Pay which are cloud-based electronic billing and payment technologies that allow Nordis clients the ability to manage the complex communications and payment processes from their desktop.
Ronnie makes his home in South Florida and before launching Nordis Technologies created a fundraising company that delivered more than $50 million to schools and youth groups throughout the U.S. His passion for helping children keeps him active in several children-oriented charities, including Voices for Children Broward County, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the March of Dimes, and he is in the early stages of setting up his own children’s support foundation. Other causes he aids are the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, and the American Cancer Society.
Ted became a globally-recognized and respected social entrepreneur when he founded and was Executive Chairman of U.S. Doctors for Africa (USDFA),a humanitarian organization committed to increasing access to medical care for diseases and conditions affecting the people of Africa. Ted is also recognized as the catalyst of the African First Ladies Health Summit, and was a key adviser and contributor to the formation of the African Union Foundation.
In 2008 he received the United Nations’ Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award and Columbia University’s Harriet Tubman Freedom & Life Achievement Award, and was a NASDAQ Honoree. In 2004 he received the African Community – USA Award.
Now a resident of Los Angeles, he is a former U.S. Congressional candidate and a former member of the Business Advisory Council – U.S. National Republican Congressional Committee.
Passionate about improving the quality of life in Africa and the capacities of youth everywhere, Ted has worked closely with the leadership of many African nations, including as a strategic adviser to the Kingdom of Swaziland and has been a friend and informal adviser to several of Africa’s former head of state and their wives. His current focus is economic development.
Mark is founder and president of Ebling Holding Company, Inc., which incubates emerging consumer product brands with a special focus recently in the wellness space. He brings years of success and a gift for combining entrepreneurial companies with larger scale systems to produce market-leading results. He also partners with or consults to other entrepreneurs who share similar values and the passion to bring meaningful products to major markets.
His vision for helping children develop in healthy and creative ways was first significantly expressed in the mid-2000s when he partnered with Emmy Award-winning actress Jane Seymour in creating a nonprofit foundation that provided training in Creative Self Expressions to more than 140 high schools. Students were given scholarships and programs that promoted both creativity and critical thinking. The foundation proudly got to help students develop confidence and self-esteem as additional benefits from participating in the creativity programs.
Earlier, from 1986 to 2004, Mark was President of Ebling Holding Company Inc., which made a series of investments and operating deals with WNS Inc., a 950-unit specialty home décor and art store chain. From 2004 to 2006 he was President of a spin-off multi-brand division with 300 specialty stores – primarily in major malls across North America. Later, tapping his business development skills, he took over product expansion and marketing for Bissinger’s Chocolates and, with an innovative food subscription model, relatable TV advertising and an alliance with ethical and natural/organic organizations, he led it to rocket growth that transformed it from a small company to a national brand. In the process Mark became a spokesperson for Rainforest Alliance. Later, Mark became CEO and an investor in Clover Confections LLC., the parent company of Jo’s Candies LLC., a private-label manufacturer. Mark developed programs for all North American Starbucks, William Sonoma, Sur la Table, Whole Foods, Macy’s, Martha Stewart, Godiva, and Trader Joe’s.
Stephen Nemeth is a feature film and documentary producer and executive producer with dozens of films to his credit – – most produced by his independent film company Rhino Films. He is best known for the feature films Sessions, Why do Fools Fall in Love, Spaceman and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; and for the documentaries Fuel, Climate Refugees, The Monopoly Story, and Dogtown and Z Boys. He also developed numerous human rights related features and documentaries for Amnesty International while on the board of Artists for Amnesty.
Keith Montgomery is a serial entrepreneur and a NextGen technology specialist.
He is co-founder of several technology companies focused on Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cloud, and Enterprise Transformation. In addition to startups, Keith has worked with some of the largest organizations in the world including Cisco, McGraw-Hill, and the Department of Defense.
Keith uses a mathematician’s mind and linguist’s strategies to allow him to set powerful visions, build high-performance teams, and lead initiatives. By leveraging governance, leadership, data, security, and resilient systems, he’s led turnarounds and business transformations at Fortune 500, commercial banks, and professional services organizations.
As the creator of the Sustainable Disruption Management Framework (SDMF), Keith formulated a method that enables individuals, teams, and organizations to be resilient in the face of extreme change.
Resilience as an outgrowth of emotional intelligence is a core theme in Keith’s personal life, as well as a subject he speaks on to business and futurist groups. He believes humanity’s highest future is in developing the skills to manage life in a compassionate and resilient way.
TED SCHILOWITZ (Emiritus)
Ted is the official Futurist for Paramount Pictures and views universal emotional intelligence learning as a necessity for the future well-being of society. He spends his time and pursues his passion in a unique role in the motion picture entertainment industry. He works with studio leadership and the technology teams at Paramount/Viacom exploring forms of new and emerging technologies, with an emphasis on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Prior to joining Paramount, Ted was the Futurist at 20th Century Fox, where he worked on the evolving art, science and technology of advanced interactive visual storytelling. He was part of the creation team for the Martian VR and Wild VR experiences, which premiered at CES and Sundance as groundbreaking projects that pushed the envelope of Virtual Reality storytelling.
ERIK OBERHOLTZER (Emiritus)
Co-Founder & CEO of Tender Greens restaurant chain. A civic activist, Erik focuses on poverty youth, foster care, food justice and job training, economic empowerment and the environment. As a social entrepreneur, Erik works to change the cycle of poverty affecting at-risk youth, doing so in part with culinary training through Tender Greens’ Sustainable Life Project, which he founded. SLP enrolls economically-disadvantaged youth in a six-month farm-to-fork internship consisting of weekly farm visits, classic culinary arts classes and weekly on-the job training at Tender Greens. Graduates are eligible for full-time employment upon completion. Erik also is co-founder of P. Balistreri Salumi Company, the first of chef legacy companies incubated and brought to market through Tender Greens.
OUR STAFF & CONSULTANTS
Harsh Gohil – Social Media Manager
Angela Benedetto and Meg Foss – Writers
Lisa Deal – Art Director
Sri Govindarajan – Ecommerce Director
Maureen McComsey – Sponsorship Coordinator
Cecile Kong – Business Content Coordinator
Caitlin Christensen – Research and Outreach Coordinator
Laura Holka, Cheryl Sills – Public Relations Coordinators
Rajat Agarwal and Frank Galivan – Webinar Coordinators
Will Pitts III, Jeff McCormick, Jeff Sarlo – Web Developers
Sasha Strauss, Greg Logan, Linda Hollander, Simon Mainwaring – Marketing Consultants
Alyona Lelyuskina, Stephanie Wolters, Laurie Fisher – Project Coordinators
Kim Denton, Joe Collins, Jessica Archibeque – Video and Graphic Creators
The Art of Good – Design Team
Melissa Vo/ Good Cause Group, Scott Brumer, Amy Moilica – Funding Consultants