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.