A diverse group of industry leaders who lend their expertise to impact more children and youth here in the US and around the world.
Ann M. Veneman has a distinguished career in public service, serving as the Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) from 2005 to 2010 and as the United States Secretary of Agriculture from 2001 to 2005.
Veneman’s leadership and vision have been recognized both nationally and internationally. In 2009, she was named to the Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Women Making History Award from the National Women’s History Museum.
The only woman to ever serve as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Veneman directed one of the most diverse federal agencies, with a budget of $113 billion and 110,000 employees. She also served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1995 to 1999, overseeing the state agency responsible for the nation’s largest agricultural producing region. From 1986 to 1993, she served in various positions in the USDA, including Deputy Secretary, Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs and Associate Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service.
Veneman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a frequent speaker on a range of topics, including poverty alleviation, empowering women and girls, food security and nutrition, and global health. Throughout her career, Veneman has served on a number of advisory councils, committees and nonprofit boards, particularly those involving higher education. Currently she sits on the boards of Nestlé S.A., the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and she is a member of the Hilton Foundation Humanitarian Prize Jury. She has also worked with the Bipartisan Policy Center on nutrition and political reform issues and with the Chicago Council on agricultural development. She serves on the advisory boards of BRAC, Just Capital, the National 4-H Council, Resolution Project, The FEED Project, Pencils of Promise, TerraVesco, the Close Up Foundation, the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, Living Goods, Runa, Perfect Day, Ukko, Memphis Meats and Full Harvest.
Veneman served as a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and the U.C. Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. A lawyer by training, she has practiced law in both California and Washington, DC. Veneman holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Davis; a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley; and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from several universities.
Michele Metrinko Rollins graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Law Center, earning a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in 1965, a Juris Doctor in 1968, and a Master of Laws in taxation in 1970. While at Georgetown, she became Miss USA and represented the United States in the Miss USA-World contest in London in 1964.
Rollins was staff attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Corporate Regulation, from 1968 to 1971. From 1971 to 1972, she did trial work at the Department of Justice, Tax Division, in the U.S Court of Claims. In February 1972, she joined EPA to serve as Special Assistant to the Administrator. Following a brief detail to the Federal Energy Office in 1974, she became the first female Associate Solicitor for Conservation and Wildlife at the Department of the Interior, a position she held from 1974 to 1977. From 1977 to 1980, she was Sun Company’s Associate Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Rollins has been admitted to the DC Bar, the DC Court of Appeals, the United States Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania State Bar, and the Delaware State Bar, and she is a member of the Federal Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Rollins is currently Chairman of Rollins Jamaica Ltd., the holding company for Rose Hall Devs. The tourism arm of Rose Hall consists of the Rose Hall Great House and the Cinnamon Hill Great House, along with the White Witch and Cinnamon Hill golf courses. The Rollins family has built a Holiday Inn, a Hilton and the Hyatt Ziva-Zilara and has changed the complexion of tourism on the North Coast. The utility arm of Rose Hall consists of a water reclamation facility that can treat up to 2.5 million gallons of wastewater per day and approximately five miles of pipeline that distributes potable water to the major hotels along the Elegant Corridor. Rose Hall also operates an extensive plant and tree nursery and has 4,200 acres of developable real estate, sea and hillside.
Rollins is Chairman of the University of Delaware’s Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management Advisory Board, Lifetime Partner of the Horatio Alger Association and a member of the Rose Town Foundation Board and the Montego Bay Arts Council. She is founder of the Rose Hall Artisans, a nonprofit craft program tutored by the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts. Rose Hall’s main charity is SOS Children’s Villages.
Mohamed Ousri is a self-made, entrepreneurial businessman and philanthropist with a passion to make a difference in underprivileged communities around the world. Born in 1959 in the city of Rabat, Morocco, he came from humble beginnings and witnessed firsthand the struggles endured by those in underdeveloped countries. Mr. Ousri immigrated to the United States in 1988 and began his career as a real estate investor with the goals of pursuing the American Dream and giving back to those in need. Founder and CEO of M.R.S Real Estate, he now resides in Virginia with his wife and two children. Mr. Ousri is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children through his family foundation. The Ousri Family Foundation has allowed him the privilege of traveling the world and fulfilling his childhood dream of making the world a better place.
Eric Nyquist is the Chief Communications Officer for NASCAR. In this role, Nyquist works closely with NASCAR Chief Executive Officer and the senior leadership team. As the CCO for both entities, Nyquist leads the coordination of all strategic development activities and communications across NASCAR’s growth initiatives and operations, the racetracks and the industry’s numerous stakeholders.
Since his arrival at NASCAR in 2005, Nyquist has managed a dozen plus different functions, including Strategic Development, Business Affairs, NASCAR Technology Group, Integrated Marketing Communications and NASCAR Entertainment. As Senior Vice President of Strategic Development, Nyquist framed the larger industry’s strategic agenda with an integrated business focus, overseeing projects critical to the industry’s growth, working collaboratively with NASCAR’s senior leadership to identify, pursue and resolve larger key initiatives across the industry. In this role, Nyquist spearheaded the creation of the race team ownership charters, providing race teams with a more stable ownership platform, one that has helped to create better long-term equity value. Nyquist also led the development, formation and implementation of the industry’s collective strategic business plan, known as the Industry Action Plan (“IAP”). The IAP consists of seven key platforms – Youth, Generation Y, Multicultural, Digital/Social Media, Event Experience, Driver Star Power and Product Relevance. Prior to the emergence of the IAP, Nyquist played a critical leadership role in the assessment, restructuring and proactive development of several key operations, including NASCAR Media Group, NASCAR Productions, NASCAR Licensing, Integrated Marketing Communications and the transformation of company-wide business planning processes. Nyquist was the driving force behind launching NASCAR Green and bringing American Ethanol into the sport as part of the transition to E-15 in all three national series.
Prior to joining NASCAR, Nyquist served as Executive Vice President of Chicago White Sox Enterprises from 1999-2004. In this role, Nyquist managed strategic development initiatives and key league relationships across the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls and United Center organizations, reporting directly into owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
Nyquist started his career in 1998 at the National Football League in New York, working in Roger Goodell’s League Development department. Nyquist assisted in the management of critical league revenue-sharing financial models and played a role in stadium development efforts across the league, including the formation of Resolution G-3, an innovative stadium financing program that used league funds to incent new stadium construction.
Nyquist has a B.A. in International Economics from Carleton College (magna cum laude), an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (with high honors), and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Nyquist has been a guest lecturer at 30+ prominent graduate institutions, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, University of Virginia, Northwestern, University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, and is a member of the Illinois Bar. Nyquist has been an active board member of The Children’s Place, NO MORE, Central Florida YMCA and several youth sports organizations.
Nyquist was born and raised in Albert Lea, Minn. and currently resides with his wife Michele and three children in Lake Mary, Fla.
George is an Analyst, a Portfolio Manager and a member of the Investment Committee at Sustainable Growth Advisers. Sustainable Growth Advisers is an institutional equity manager with $15 billion of client assets under management. He is also a member of the firm’s Advisory Board and its Executive Committee.
George began his investment career in 1987 as an International equity analyst at Drexel Burnham Lambert covering closed-end country funds. In 1990, he joined Smith Barney as a senior analyst responsible for the global coverage of electrical equipment stocks. He also held a senior analyst position at Chancellor Capital Management where he was responsible for covering a number of capital goods industries. In 1997, George joined Scudder Kemper Investments where he was Senior Vice President and co-manager of the Scudder Large Company Growth Fund. George has a B.A. from Trinity College and an M.B.A. in Finance and International Business from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He grew up overseas and is fluent in French.
Tom is a four time CEO with decades of experience running public and private technology companies that have defined or redefined markets in data, analytics, digital identity, cloud analytics and security. His business experience spans six continents with high tech leaders based in Silicon Valley, New York City and around the globe.
Tom started his career with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Double Minor in Business and Mathematics from Marquette University. He rose through the consulting ranks as a database analyst at Accenture and Price Waterhouse, before becoming a 20 something VP of Sales at Oracle. In between CEO or COO roles at six different technology companies, he served as part of the Executive Leadership Team at Cognizant responsible for the growth in their disruptive technology practice around Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. For the last two years, Tom has served as CEO of Socure, the Leader in Day Zero Identity that helps the unbanked and underbanked achieve full participation in the financial ecosystem.
Outside of his work, Tom served three years as the President of the Los Gatos Education Foundation, a charity focused on STEM education in secondary schools. Today he serves on the National Advisory Board of DreamBig, A Boston based charity that helps to level the playing field for disadvantaged girls in American cities by funding extracurricular activities, sports and academic scholarships. He joins the Advisory Board of SOS Children's Villages following his visits to the villages in Chicago, Haiti and South Africa where he and his wife have sponsored both children and STEM education efforts. Tom resides in Los Gatos, California where he is married to the love of his life Martina and helps raise three teenage daughters.
Originally from Austria, Klaus Grimm, grew up at the SOS- Kinderdorf in Moosburg Austria from the age of 5 to 18. Klaus graduated from the Danube University, Austria, with a hotel management degree and moved to the US in 1991 where he and his wife, Kristin, have made Reno, NV their home since 1994 along with their two sons. Matthew is a history graduate from Oberlin College in Ohio and Owen is studying sports management at SMU in Dallas.
Prior to acquiring his first business (marketing, print and promotional items) Klaus worked in sales and management for Fortune 100 companies (AT&T, WellPoint) and successfully sold his first venture (Blue Moon Promotions) to Deluxe Corp, a fortune 500 company in 2011.
After the sale of BMP, Klaus continued to spend significant time fundraising, steering and developing the Discovery Museum in Reno, NV. The board raised $21 million in private donations to build a 72,000 sq.ft, hands on discovery center in Reno, NV. Klaus was instrumental in the creation of the museum, fundraising, building, running (post BMP sale) and opening the Discovery Museum which had over 250,000 visitors the first year. In addition to Klaus’ involvement with the museum, he was on the boards of Step2 (a women’s substance abuse recovery program) and of Sage Ridge School (a non- sectarian college preparatory 3-12 school).
In 2012 Klaus started acquiring and building numerous Massage Envy’s in Nevada and California and sold his portfolio in 2017 to a NYC PE firm. Today Klaus is a franchiser of 2 emerging concepts – Hammer and Nails- Grooming for Guys (as seen on Shark Tank) and Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade and is an avid cyclist. Kristin is actively engaged in the family philanthropy business, and we both share a passion for traveling to places near and far and staying engaged in social justice, education and children causes.
Pooja is passionate about helping vulnerable children and their families through the development of child and family-centric and outcome- driven programs related to early intervention, learning support and inclusion, mental health, family preservation, and out-of-home care.
She is a career civil servant in Singapore, currently on secondment at AWWA, one of Singapore's largest social service non-profits, as Deputy Director for Impact and Inclusion Advocacy. She has also been active as a volunteer, donor and Board Member of various child and family- focused charities in the US and Singapore.
Pooja started her career as a diplomat, including a posting as First Secretary at the Singapore High Commission in London. She then followed her passion to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, where she led policy for Singapore’s disability early intervention programs, piloting the integration of various discrete programs into a flexible, child-centric and resource efficient continuum of support options, currently being mainstreamed. From 2017 to 2019 she was responsible for manpower planning for Singapore’s social service sector, where she oversaw the set-up of a dedicated data team.
Pooja has been a long-time supporter of SOS Children’s Villages (as was, she has recently discovered, her late grandfather). Pooja holds a bachelor in Economics from Cornell University and a Masters in International Policy Studies from Stanford University. She lives in Singapore with her husband, two children and a dog.
Edwin Fountain has served since March 2015 as General Counsel of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the U.S. government agency that builds, maintains and operates American military cemeteries and memorials around the world. Previously he was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the international law firm Jones Day, where he practiced for 24 years as a general litigator and antitrust lawyer.
In 2013 Edwin was appointed by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, where he served as Vice Chair until 2019. In that capacity he led, and still continues to lead, the development of the national World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. He also serves as Chairman of the Arlington County (Va.) Industrial Development Authority.
Edwin received his college degree from the University of North Carolina, his law degree from the University of Virginia, and a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics.
Rob Gregory has more than 30 years of experience building revenue growth, brand strategy and media business P&L responsibility. He has successfully positioned and launched media businesses in the social media, affluent consumer, thought leadership, news and millennial spaces.
Mr. Gregory was named to Media Industry Newsletter’s "Most Intriguing People in Media." Gregory is currently President at WHOSAY, where he built the go-to-market positioning, editorial, sales and marketing strategy. WHOSAY, a social media platform for celebrities, thought leaders and influencers, was successfully sold to Viacom in January 2018. Gregory is a board member of the National Institute of Social Sciences and an advisor to Algebraix Inc. He is a graduate of Boston University.