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.
Krishna R. Patel currently serves as Justice Initiative Director at Grace Farms Foundation, a private operating foundation located in New Canaan, Connecticut. From 2015 until June 2018, she also served as the General Counsel of Grace Farms Foundation. In her role as the Justice Initiative Director, she is an active strategist, combating human trafficking on the global, national and state levels. Moreover, in a distinguished legal career spanning over fifteen years, she served as a federal prosecutor from 1999 until 2015, prior to joining Grace Farms.
Since joining Grace Farms, Ms. Patel has been at the center of organized actions against human trafficking in the State of Connecticut. She helped draft amendments to strengthen Connecticut’s existing anti-trafficking laws (effective May 17, 2016) and to deploy innovative data platforms for national law enforcement. She is an active member of the Trafficking in Persons Council at the State Legislature.
From 2003 until July 2015, Ms. Patel served in the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. From 2010 until 2015, Ms. Patel served as Deputy Chief of the National Security and Major Crimes Unit where she was responsible for supervising and prosecuting a variety of investigations including international and domestic human trafficking, civil rights, child exploitation, cyber-crimes, terrorism, complex financial crimes, money laundering, international weapons trafficking, intellectual property, export violations and immigration. Ms. Patel’s counter-terrorism, international human trafficking, child exploitation and civil rights prosecutions have been featured in many media outlets.
During her tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Patel was selected as one of six Assistant United States Attorneys who served on a Nationwide Investigations Advisory Committee (NIAC) which reviewed proposed nationwide child exploitation investigations that will likely impact a minimum of 15 judicial districts. From 2004 until 2011, Ms. Patel had been designated by the United States Attorney to coordinate efforts to combat human smuggling and human trafficking in the State of Connecticut and served as the Chair of the Connecticut Smuggling and Trafficking of Persons Investigative Task Force (STOP IT). In 2009, Ms. Patel led the prosecution of the largest sex tourism case. Ms. Patel has provided training to foreign law enforcement in many countries on issues relating to counter-terrorism, money laundering, human smuggling/trafficking, immigration, border security and child sex offenses. Ms. Patel created one of the first court monitored restitution fund for victims of human trafficking in the United States and for foreign victims.
On an international level, Ms. Patel worked with the United Nations University and foreign governments and international organizations to convene global experts to identity mechanisms that can strengthen the international response to trafficking by non-state terrorist groups. Ms. Patel continues to work with international organizations to prosecute and combat trafficking internationally in a variety of ways. She was also involved in helping to launch Unchain.org which is intended to raise public awareness and advocacy to support transparency in global supply chains and identify technological solutions to identify slavery in corporate supply chains.
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.
Lance J. Reisman is a retired business executive with over 30 years of experience with Fortune 500, private and start-up companies. Since his retirement in May 2019, Mr. Reisman has joined KKR as an Advisor and the board of GeoStabilization International, a KKR company, as its Chairman. He is also engaging in philanthropist initiatives, such as SOS Children’s Villages USA.
Prior to his retirement, Mr. Reisman spent four years as a Group Executive and Vice President at Danaher Corporation, a global science and technology company with more than 30 operating companies with leading positions in diagnostics, life sciences, dental and environmental/applied solutions. During his time at Danaher, he had global responsibilities for Danaher’s Water Quality business for which he led holistic operational and commercial execution and transformation, including several strategic acquisitions. Prior to this role, Mr. Reisman spent six years in increasingly senior leadership roles at Hach (a Danaher operating company), ultimately serving as President.
Lance began his career with Frito-Lay, where he held positions as both an Industrial Engineer and Manufacturing Manager. He then transitioned to Black & Decker where he held various leadership roles of increased responsibility in marketing in the Power Tool and Hardware divisions, where he was the Vice President of Marketing. Lance also held the position of Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for Robotoolz, a Silicon Valley start-up. He was subsequently Vice President of Business Development for RSI, a major manufacturer of cabinetry.
Mr. Reisman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
Aaron Carmack is a 30-year retail executive currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer at Roger’s Electric. With more than 1,300 employees, 13 offices nationwide and $300 million in revenues, Rogers is the largest self-performing electrical and lighting contractor in the U.S. Aaron also spent 14 years as a senior executive with Home Depot and served on the board of Habitat for Humanity East Bay.
Aaron holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Goizueta School of Business at Emory University. His undergraduate studies were at DePaul University. Aaron has a passion for serving the needs of abandoned and orphaned children. He and his wife adopted their daughter from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
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.