Executive Vice President
National Banking Division Manager
for Southern California
Bank of the West
Dan Wilson is an executive vice president overseeing the commercial banking team and manages almost $2.5 billion in assets for Bank of the West in Southern California. A native of Southern California and a career Bank of the West employee, he enjoys golfing and raising competitive horses. This involves breeding, foaling, raising, breaking and training. He is an avid sports fan with a deep appreciation for all competitive athletes. He is a member of Crossroads Community Church, is married to his wife, Pam Wilson, and has three adult children.
Founder, Bridges to Understanding
For over twenty-five years Phil Borges has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures, striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and his award winning books, which have been published in four languages, include Tibetan Portrait, Enduring Spirit, Women Empowered and Tibet: Culture on the Edge. He has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic channels. Phil also lectures and teaches internationally. In 2000 Phil founded Bridges to Understanding, an online classroom program that connects youth worldwide through digital storytelling in order to enhance cross-cultural understanding and help build a sense of global citizenship in youth. He also co-founded Blue Earth Alliance, a 501c3 that sponsors photographic projects focusing on endangered cultures and threatened environments.
Phil graduated from University of California as a Regents Scholar in 1969 and was honored with their prestigious University of California Medal in 2004. He lives with his family in Seattle.
As CEO of GAINSystems, Inc., Mr. Benton leads teams responsible for the design, development, and delivery of the GAINS® Supply Chain Optimization solution. Mr. Benton is a recognized authority on Demand Planning, Inventory Optimization, Distribution & Network Optimization, Collaborative Planning, and General Operations Planning with more than 18 years in the field. His engagements have included work with a variety of Distributors, Service Parts Distribution and Maintenance/Repair (MRO) organizations, as well as Manufacturers including several in the apparel industry.
“My passion for Barco’s Nightingales stems from my desire to alleviate suffering and encourage self-improvement. Addressing key health, physical, and sociological challenges is key to achieving that goal, particularly in developing countries. Nightingales does this extremely effectively, efficiently, and compassionately. It’s an ideal collaboration for the third pillar of the fulfilling life’s vision of Learn, Earn, then Return.”
President & CEO
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
For 30 years, Rita Soronen has worked on behalf of abused, neglected and vulnerable children, providing leadership for local, state and national efforts working to improve the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, while striving to assure safe and permanent homes for North America’s children. Leading the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption since 2001, a national nonprofit public charity, Ms. Soronen works to find adoptive families for each of the more than 134,000 waiting children in the United States and Canada’s foster care systems. Under Ms. Soronen’s leadership, the Foundation has significantly increased its grant-making and awareness commitments, while developing strategic signature initiatives that act on the urgency of the issue. In 2012, the Foundation dedicated more than $14 million to grants and award-winning national awareness activities, including Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, Adoption-Friendly Workplace and the 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list, National Adoption Day, poster and PSA campaigns, and Finding Forever Families: A Step-by-Step Guide to Adoption. Ms. Soronen currently serves on the board of the Ohio CASA/GAL Association, the Public Education Committee of the National CASA Association, is a past vice president of the board of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and a current member of the advisory board, and is a fellow of the Jefferson Fellowship for Executive Leadership. Ms. Soronen is among the 2013 Sunny-95 20 Outstanding Women in Columbus, is a recipient of the Angels in Adoption Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the National CASA Association Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of the Year Award and the Ohio CASA/GAL Association Statewide Leadership Award. She is a requested national speaker on the topics of children and the child welfare system. A graduate of the University of Louisville with graduate work completed at The Ohio State University, Ms. Soronen resides in Columbus, Ohio, and has two wonderful daughters.
Chief Executive Officer
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California
As the Chief Executive Officer, Vince Bryson provides leadership to all RMHCSC programs, including Ronald McDonald Houses in Bakersfield, Loma Linda, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Orange, and Pasadena, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a Community Grants Board and four scholarship programs. Vince works to unite all RMHCSC programs in order to meet the organization’s ultimate goal of improving the health and well-being of children in Southern California. Prior to joining the Ronald McDonald House, he was director of premium seating for the Staples Center. Vince came to the Staples Center from the New Los Angeles Marketing Partnership, a public-private partnership created by Los Angeles Mayor Riordan. He served as the Development Director. Additionally, Vince served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Magic Johnson Foundation, Inc. During his tenure the foundation began its operation, raised $8 million and distributed more than $3.5 million to AIDS-related organizations nationally. Vince also served 14 years as Development Director of The College Fund/UNCF for Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii. When appointed, he was the youngest director ever assigned to lead an area office.
Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times®
Sarah Orth joined Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® in December 2012, bringing more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising to the position. Sarah earned her bachelor’s in theater from Fordham College at Lincoln Center. After working for seven years in New York City’s non-profit Off-Broadway theater community as a Managing Director, she relocated to Los Angeles with her family in 2002. As the first full-time Development Director of Mothers’ Club Family Learning Center, a 50 year-old nonprofit in Pasadena, Sarah increased annual revenue streams by more than 40%, and played a key role in the agency’s $6.5 million capital campaign for its permanent facility. She then served as Director of Fund Development and Strategic Planning for Flintridge Center; and completed her graduate studies, earning a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Northridge. Sarah teaches the Capital Campaigns class for UCLA’s Nonprofit Certificate Program and serves on the Board of the Patron Saints Foundation. She also serves as President of the Board for her children’s elementary school foundation, Mountain Avenue Committed to Kids.
Chief Nursing Officer
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Sherry Kwater brings more than 30 years of healthcare executive leadership to her role. Sherry’s prior experience was the Vice President of Clinical Excellence at the Sisters of Mercy Health System in St. Louis where her responsibilities included nursing and quality over 24 hospitals. Sherry’s responsibilities at Penn State Hershey Medical Center include the oversight of the quality of nursing care provided across the enterprise. Sherry leads the patient care strategic initiatives related to nurse staffing, patient safety, nursing research and community outreach.
Scott Ventrella is principal of Positive Dynamics, a management consulting firm specializing in the development and delivery of programs designed to help companies achieve unprecedented levels of performance by leveraging the inherent potential in people. As a consultant and leader, Scott brings over 25 years of organizational development experience to Positive Dynamics with a unique blend of solid, real-world application and academic credentials. Scott, since 1993, has been an adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business and also serves at adjunct professor at the Jack Welch College of Business at Sacred Heart University and at Fairfield University. Scott hosts a weekly nationally-syndicated radio show, “The Business of Living: Strategies and Solutions for Managing Your Life and Career.” He has a master’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in marketing, both from Western Connecticut State University.
Regal Trading Company
Robert Fast is a proven driver and developer of business—a leader whose entrepreneurial, organizational, and managerial instincts have been repeatedly utilized to propel multiple companies and ventures through rapid and continuous growth. Robert currently directs commercial operations for the Regal Trading Company. He administers a budget of several tens of millions of dollars while overseeing distribution of the company’s products to thousands of clients spread across the western United States.
Robert began his career at Harding University, where he graduated with degrees in both Business and Psychology A native Texan, it was the restaurant business that brought Robert to Los Angeles after college. He specialized in turning around failing restaurants, a notoriously difficult venture he met with resounding success. Robert ultimately served as the general manager for three distinct restaurant groups before transitioning towards a career in academic administration at UCLA. As the Chief of Staff to the Dean of the School of Nursing, he facilitated with the School’s senior administration to manage daily operations. He became particularly adept at advancing fundraising and entrepreneurial initiatives, even in the midst of economic recession and unprecedented state budget cuts.
Robert is also a published author and consultant who, in his spare time, operates two health and fitness ecommerce sites. He presently sits on the advisory boards for both Barco’s Nightingales Foundation and Help the Children.
National Kidney Foundation
Formerly Chief Development Officer at ReSurge International, Nicole Friedland brings more than two decades of nonprofit experience to the National Kidney Foundation, a major voluntary health organization, dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. For much of her career, Nicole worked with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, beginning as a special event coordinator for the Greater Bay Area chapter and culminating with five years as the organization’s executive director. Nicole has also served as director of development for the Seva Foundation and the American Heart Association. Pursuing her interest in Asian studies, Nicole spent six months in Chiang Mai, Thailand. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Nicole received her bachelor’s degree in community studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Franchise Management Disney Channel
A seasoned entertainment industry executive, John Hanna is responsible for developing global franchise strategies for key Disney Junior top-rated preschool series, such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Mickey Mouse Club House. In addition to pitching new series to both internal and external partners, he also works closely with other business units, such as Disney Consumer Products and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment to execute against the franchise plans.
Before joining Disney Channel, John headed business development for ABC Entertainment Group, most recently as executive director where he focused on key licensees, product categories and marketing. In addition to closing multi-year deals with Barco Uniforms, Ubisoft, Activision and a network of European licensing agencies on behalf of ABC Studios, he also developed and implemented an e-commerce strategy that resulted in an innovative partnership with Café Press to run the official ABC online store, user-generated fan stores and the Grey’s Anatomy uniform store.
Previously, John worked in brand management for Buena Vista Home Entertainment and in promotions for The Disney Store. He began his Disney career at Walt Disney Attractions in San Francisco.
Supply Chain Services, U.S. Supply Chain McDonald’s Corporation
Julie Harper has been the Sr. Director, U.S. Supply Chain, for McDonald’s Corporation since March 2010. Julie has worked for McDonald’s for over 17 years and has held various supply chain, accounting and finance leadership positions during that time. Currently, she leads a team responsible for over $1.5 billion in annual spend including all U.S. packaging, youth and adult promotion, uniforms and Arch Cards. Prior to McDonald’s, Julie worked at a large private financial institution and as an auditor for KPMG. Julie graduated magna cum laude with Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Northern Illinois University and is a C.P.A. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the DuPage Federation of Human Services.
UCLA School of Nursing
MarySue Heilemann became a registered nurse because of her interest in advocating for people in relation to health and illness. After working as a public health nurse, a high-risk labor and delivery nurse, and a community-based program coordinator for low-income women’s health, she deepened her commitment by completing a master’s, doctorate and post doctorate in nursing at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Heilemann is currently an associate professor in the School of Nursing at UCLA. In addition to teaching undergraduate and doctoral students at UCLA, she is a nurse researcher. The focus of her research is the development of innovative methods for treating depression among low-income Latinas living in the US. She integrates factors such as resilience and motivation with techniques like Schema Therapy while considering gender and cultural issues, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. Her research expertise focuses on qualitative, though she also uses quantitative methods. In 2011, Dr. Heilemann created a symposium at UCLA focused on the image of nurses in media and continues to advocate for a more accurate portrayal of nurses in television, film and print media.
Hispaniola Mountain Ministries
Phil Little has been a Taco Bell franchisee for 25 years. Prior to that, he was a CPA with accounting firm KPMG. Over the years, he has volunteered his time with various causes. For the past 12 years, he has worked with and mentored underprivileged youth through The Lighthouse Foundation, where he served on the board and as president.
He is currently president of Hispaniola Mountain Ministries, a nonprofit that builds houses and water wells in Haiti, and is planning to build a school there. The organization also brings doctors and nurses to conduct medical clinics in areas where there are no doctors and where medical care is scarce or non-existent. They have also recently brought a dentist to do dental mission trips in Haiti.
Phil conducted two mission trips to Haiti in 2011 and is overseeing a partnership with Barco’s Nightingales Foundation to bring solar-powered water wells to the country. The first well is expected to be completed by the end of February 2012.
Dean and Assistant Director
UCLA Health System
UCLA, School of Nursing
Dr. Courtney H. Lyder is Dean of the UCLA School of Nursing; Professor of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health; Executive Director, UCLA Patient Safety Institute; and Assistant Director of the UCLA Health System. He is the first African American to serve as a dean at UCLA and is the first male minority nursing dean in the U.S.
Dr. Lyder is an international expert in gerontology. His clinical research has focused on chronic care issues affecting older adults. More specifically, he has focused his attention to pressure ulcer prevention, identifying erythema in darkly pigmented skin, wound healing, quality improvement in skilled nursing facilities, and elder patient safety. His research helped shaped the U.S. government’s position on surveying their 16,000 skilled nursing facilities. Most recently, Dr. Lyder served as the lead investigator for pressure ulcer incidence and prevalence in U.S. hospitals. This work assisted the U.S. government’s decision to stop paying for hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.
He has over 200 publications and has been awarded over $22 million in research and training grants. Since becoming dean at the UCLA School of Nursing in 2008, research funding has increased 400% ($11 million annually). Dr. Lyder is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. In 2011, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius appointed him to the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research.
President and CEO
Bonnie Nijst brings more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and public relations to the award-winning branding and marketing programs that ZEESMAN creates for corporations, nonprofits and government agencies. ZEESMAN’s clients have included Disney, Warner Bros., HMSHost, Pioneer Electronics, Four Seasons, the City of Los Angeles, the City of Beverly Hills, Griffith Observatory, the W.M. Keck Foundation and Rock the Vote.
Prior to ZEESMAN, she held senior management positions with Marketwire, Medialink, MCTV and PR Newswire. Active in the business and nonprofit communities, she has served as President of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and as Vice Chair of the NAWBO-LA Foundation. She currently serves as a member of the executive committee of the board of directors of the California Family Health Council, as vice chair of the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee of the Southern California Minority Business Development Council, and as a director of the Education Fund Board for the League of Women Voters Los Angeles.
Founder and Principal
Impact Solutions advises nonprofits on how to maximize impact as they accomplish their missions. Alignment of mission, strategy, programs and fundraising is essential for nonprofits to achieve excellence. Clients include Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Co-Founder and Partner
Joe Schaefer is Co-Founder and Partner at Innovative Systems, a developer and proven provider of enterprise-wide software solutions for the sewn products industry, including manufacturers, importers and distributors. He is responsible for all marketing, sales, training and implementation of the company’s Full Circle® Apparel Software. His clients include some of the biggest names in the apparel industry – Seven for All Mankind, Hurley International, Lucky Brand Dungarees, Neff, Hudson Jeans, Volcom, Obey and Frame Denim. As a third-generation Marine, Joe is no stranger to public service. In addition to Barco’s Nightingales Foundation, he is actively involved in the City of Hope, and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Professor of Pediatrics and Head
Division of Hematology-Oncology, Keck School of Medicine, USC
Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Dr. Siegel is a Professor and Vice Chair of Pediatrics at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, as well as Head of the Division of Hematology-Oncology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a position he has held since 1976. He is also the Director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at CHLA, Associate Director of the USC-Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the first holder of the Stuart E. Siegel, M.D., Endowed Chair in Pediatric Oncology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, and the Director of the USC-CHLA Institute for Pediatric Clinical Research. He leads one of the largest academic programs in pediatric oncology in the nation.
Dr. Siegel received his B.A. and M.D. from Boston University, his pediatric training at the University of Minnesota and pediatric oncology training at the National Cancer Institute. He has been active in leadership roles in the National Leukemia Broadcast Council, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the American Cancer Society. He serves on the boards of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the National Childhood Cancer Foundation, the Chase Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities Global, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Young Adult Alliance. He is also Vice President of ThinkCure, the official charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and President of the Children’s Specialty Care Coalition. Dr. Siegel recently served on the Institute of Medicine (National Academies) committee on access to new drugs for children with cancer. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including the National Caring Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Boston University.
Christopher Kim has been running a global supply chain business since 2002. Since the start of his global venture, he has used his international network and resources to support children around the world. He has supported children in impoverished areas with basic essentials – food, water, education, clothing, and medical care. His latest project involves supporting a medical professional team that produces nutritional bars for severely malnourished children in North Korea. Christopher has supported Barco’s Nightingales Foundation since its inception in 2008, and supports other organizations that assist the homeless and disabled senior citizens in the Greater Los Angeles area. Christopher has a BS degree from University of Southern California, and a law degree from Loyola Law School.