Board of Directors
Abeer Al Otaiba
As the Founder and Creative Director of SemSem, Abeer Al Otaiba has dedicated her professional life to empowering women through her luxury clothing line. Abeer is Honorary Chair of Hope for Henry Foundation’s Board of Directors. Trained as a civil engineer, Abeer is actively engaged in philanthropic efforts. Most recently, she served as co-chair of the 8th Annual Children’s Ball, the most successful fundraising event in the history of the Children’s National Medical Center. Abeer is the founder and creative director of SemSem, a luxury fashion line for women and girls she launched in 2015. She and her husband Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba from the United Arab Emirates have two young children.
Lauren Aronson is a health policy expert with an insider’s understanding of how to navigate the political landscape in order to get things done in Washington. She joined Mehlman Castagnetti in May 2015 after serving in senior positions in both the Executive Branch and the United States Congress. Lauren’s expertise in the intricacies of health policy, combined with her many years in the trenches of policy-making on Capitol Hill and in the Administration, enables her to provide clients with a broad perspective. She is uniquely equipped to help clients read the political landscape and achieve policy and political objectives.
From 2012 until 2015, Lauren directed the Office of Legislation at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) where she led the agency’s interactions with Capitol Hill. Before joining CMS, Lauren served as a Professional Staff Member for the Committee on Ways and Means in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lauren served in the White House from 2009 to 2010 as the Policy Director in the Office of Health Reform. She was a key member of the Administration’s team working to enact the landmark ACA, President Obama’s signature health care law.
Jason grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and has close ties to the Washington, D.C. area. For the past nine years, Jason has worked for Athletes for Hope, a non-profit organization that teaches professional and Olympic athletes about smart philanthropy, and helps them volunteer with charities throughout the world. In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Jason oversees over 2,000 athletes and manages key relationships with organizations such as the Gates Foundation and Nike, Inc.
Jason is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Counseling at Johns Hopkins University. Jason is the head coach of the track and cross country teams at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, is the Co-Founder of the MoCo Track Club, and serves on the board of the Hope for Henry Foundation, Grassroot Project and the University of Pennsylvania Track & Field Team.
A native of the DMV area, Michelle has extensive experience in various fields including public relations, government, and the non-profit sector. Most recently, she left her position at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and transitioned to being a stay at home mom to her daughter, Siena. Michelle received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and has a Masters of Public Administration from George Mason University.
Michelle has a passion for running and is a certified coach through USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America. She is the Co-Founder of MoCo Track Club.
Jonathan Evans is the President and CEO of Bart & Associates, Inc. (B&A).He is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the organization, delivering against the strategic plan, improving revenue and market share, and overall growth of the company. Jonathan brings executive leadership with 14+ years of relevant Federal Government contracting experience. Prior to joining B&A, Jonathan was with IBM Global Business Services where he served as a Project Manager at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Interior (DOI) managing over $50 million dollars in revenue.
Mr. Evans puts a strong emphasis on volunteering, charitable efforts, and mentoring his staff to create the next set of executives to run the company. Mr. Evans and the company have supported Shine on Casey which awards a scholarship to a high school graduate; Rebuilding Together Montgomery County (RTMC) which provides housing assistance to vulnerable residents; the Cardinal Bank Classic; Chance for Life; the Celtino organization which promotes education in rural Latin America; and the Asian American Lead (AALEAD) which supports underserved youth. In addition, Mr. Evans served on the Washington Business Hall of Fame Committee of the Board of Junior Achievement of Greater Washington for two years which was responsible for raising over $1 million dollars for Junior Achievement.
Todd Foreman, Chairman
Jonathan has served in leadership positions in higher education, business, and the public sector. He currently advises private equity firms and companies on ed tech market trends and investment opportunities. Jon also is a lecturer at Georgetown University in higher education leadership and ethics.
Jon previously held senior executive positions at Laureate Education, including serving as President of Walden University and CEO of the Online Division. Earlier in his career, Jon served in the White House as special assistant to the President for economic policy under President Bill Clinton, and he practiced law as an associate at Covington & Burling. Jon lives in Bethesda with his wife, Jill Wilkins, and their three children.
Lindsay has worked in education for 14 years in Fairfax County, Virginia, teaching high school English, writing curriculum, and mentoring new teachers. She received a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Boston University and Masters in Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lindsay is currently the field supervisor for The Catholic University.
As Lindsay was completing a certification in School Administration and Supervision from the Johns Hopkins School of Education, her life quickly changed. Her three-year-old son Max had to undergo immediate surgery for a brain tumor, and a few months later, he would receive another life-altering diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Lindsay saw Hope for Henry’s powerful impact firsthand during Max’s long hospital stays and frequent clinic visits. She is honored to serve as a member of the board, supporting other families like hers. Lindsay and her husband, Drew, live in Bethesda, Maryland, with Max and his two sisters, Ava and Ellie.
Aziza Shad, MD
Jamie is President of PR Collaborative. With a rich background in public policy and journalism, Jamie creates communication plans that put her clients in the national spotlight—and keeps them there. Whether it’s managing a crisis, devising long-term strategies, or assembling top-notch teams to execute campaigns, Jamie’s boundless enthusiasm and insider’s perspective add clarity and credence to any project.
Jamie has her roots in political communication, and the second phase of her career, in which Robert Redford pushed her to leverage her skills in national advocacy to start a thriving film public relations business, came later. Jamie is a Maryland native (and proud University of Maryland grad) who has been living and working in the metro DC area for the better part of thirty years.
A former D.C.-based television news writer and producer, Jamie served as press secretary to U.S. Representative Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut. After Capitol Hill, Jamie was named Communications Director for Handgun Control, Inc. and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence. She served as a spokesperson for Jim and Sarah Brady and was a lead strategist for gun control and education initiatives. Jamie also has a long career in the arts as the co-founder of the Impact Arts and Film Fund.
Laurie Strongin is founder and CEO of the Washington, DC-based Hope for Henry Foundation. Laurie’s work with Hope for Henry and the memoir she published, “Saving Henry,” have placed her at the forefront of supporting the rights of patients and their families and the responsible use of new medical technologies.
Laurie’s advocacy has led her to service on the nation’s preeminent science policy and bioethics panels – including her participation on the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Ethical and Social Policy Considerations of Novel Techniques for Prevention of Maternal Transmission of Mitochondrial DNA Diseases. Her activism has produced op-eds in national newspapers; appearances on television and radio; collaborations with Congressional leadership; and recognition from the White House. An in-demand inspirational speaker, Laurie has been featured as a People magazine “Heroes Among Us” and was the subject of profiles in the USA Today and the Washington Post.
Susan Toffler is a leader in the field of communications consulting with more than 25 years of booking guests for CNN, ABC News Nightline and Good Morning America and nearly a decade of working with the nations top CEO’s on messaging, training, crisis strategy, coaching and broadcast placement.
Her client list includes major corporations General Motors, Hilton Worldwide, McAfee Network Security, Mercedes Benz USA, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Raytheon, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, 3M, RealNetworks, Pratt and Whitney and Graphique de France. She is twice nominated for the Daytime Emmy Award for “Best Talk Show,” CNN & Company.