Board of Directors
Abeer Al Otaiba
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.
Salvador Briman, a respected businessman and philanthropist, conducts business globally, while keeping his primary residence in Mexico City. Mr. Briman attended Michigan State and then returned to Mexico to complete his education with a degree in accounting at ITAM Instituto Technologico Autonomo en Mexico. Briman, CEO of World Champions for Hope, has a charitable career mentoring and supporting at-risk youth and athletes that parallels his tremendous record of success in the business world. An athlete himself and influential figure in boxing, Briman is an advisor to the President of the World Boxing Council (WBC). In that capacity he has an impact on all policy and was influential in creating the first ever pension fund for retired and needy boxers within the 165 countries under WBC leadership. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Mexican Museum (San Francisco), and the boards of the Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation and Give to Give Foundation.
Amy Squire Buckley
An expert in large-scale program management, marketing, and communications, Amy Buckley has 20 years’ experience in communications. Previously, Amy worked at Varsity Group, where she led the launch of a new business model, an e-commerce solution serving educational institutions and their students Amy also was a management consultant with A.T. Kearney, served in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and as deputy director of Presidential Personnel in the White House. Ms. Buckley received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Boston College and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Virginia. She lives in Bethesda, MD with her husband, three boys and a black lab.
Laura is a Healthcare Policy Consultant. Most recently, she was Managing Director, US Public Sector Health and Human Services, Microsoft. She has over 15 years of experience developing and implementing public policy strategies with federal, state, local and tribal officials, industry trade associations and public policy groups.
Abby Cherner has significant nonprofit board experience, working with Hope for Henry Foundation, Center for Inspired Teaching and the National Child Research Center. She practiced law at Arnold & Porter after graduating with honors from Georgetown Law Center. Abby now runs her own business, At Home with Abby, lessons in entertaining.
Jonathan Evans is the President 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 12+ 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 2016; 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 is a CPA and began his career at KPMG and then spent four years in the commercial real estate business before joining UCG in 1992, as Director of Acquisitions and CFO. He became a partner at UCG in 1996. Over the years, Todd has led UCG’s acquisitions and divestitures. He has also worked closely with UCG’s portfolio company presidents on their business strategies, and with UCG’s Senior Management Team. in 2017 Todd was appointed Managing Director, SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, LLC.
Todd is a graduate of Emory University and The George Washington University, where he earned a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in finance. He is a member of the Young President’s Organization; BLR, LLC; Manitou Camps Foundation; and is the chairman of the Goizueta Advisory Board at Emory University. He loves family time, great wine, golf and travel.
Allen Goldberg is the Vice President of Communications of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), formerly the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, which improves access to safe, quality, effective medicine. The association advocates for policies to keep safe, effective and affordable prescription medicines within reach for all Americans. Allen began his career in Washington, DC more than 30 years ago working with trade associations for the nation’s broadcasters, grocery stores and food manufacturers. After his time with the industry groups, Allen started working with Internet and hi-tech companies, including VarsityBooks.com, FKF Applied Research (a neuromarketing firm) and XM Satellite Radio. Allen also worked as Vice President of Communications for Neustar, a provider of data and analytic services to the communications, Internet and entertainment industries.
George “Chaucer” Hwang, M.D. is an anesthesiologist at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, where he serves as Director of Endoscopy Unit and Assistant Professor at the medical school. After graduating from Georgetown University, George found success in the music world, starting a band that would go on to tour the world with acts like Plain White T’s, Fall Out Boy and Gin Blossoms. However, George promised himself that he would finish medical school, so after a few years he returned to DC to complete medical school and an anesthesiology residency at Georgetown. He continues to write and produce songs for major label artists with his production company in LA, while still educating and serving as an anesthesiologist at Georgetown.
George and Hope for Henry have collaborated on numerous events involving artists touring DC, utilizing connections he makes in the music world. Artists such as Diplo, Charlie Puth, R.City and Cody Simpson have all donated their time, and these events have further broadened Hope for Henry’s ability to engage and enliven children staying at the hospital.
David Jacobsohn, MD
David Jacobsohn, MD, Chief of Bone Marrow Transplant, recently joined Children’s National from Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he served as a member of the Stem Cell Transplant Program staff and as the Director of the Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease Clinic. In his first year at Children’s National, he completed fundraising for an outpatient dedicated bone marrow transplant unit. He has also made significant changes to improve patient care, such as adding a program of night-time hospitalists MDs to take care of bone marrow transplant patients. David has lectured widely on GvHD/BMT in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Dr. Jacobsohn obtained a Bachelor of Science from Yale University, his medical degree from Tufts University, and a Masters in Clinical Investigation from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Sara Just is Executive Producer of the PBS NewsHour. Most recently she was Deputy Director of the Washington Bureau of ABC News and prior to that, she oversaw all political and DC-based coverage for ABCNews.com, the broadband cable channel, ABCNewsNow, and ABC’s mobile platforms. In that capacity, she also managed partnerships, sales and content initiatives to drive traffic, visibility and innovation at ABC News digital. A veteran television producer, she previously served as ABC’s Acting Washington Bureau Chief and for 17 years worked as a senior producer and producer at ABC’s “Nightline.” She is the recipient of nine Emmy Awards, two duPont Silver Batons, two Peabody Award, and an RFK Journalism award for coverage of a range of stories from presidential campaigns, to conflicts in the Middle East, natural disasters, the racial divide in America, as well as arts and features.
Steve is CEO of Georgetown Cupcake, the celebrated gourmet cupcake bakery located in Washington, DC and whose owners, Katherine Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, are the subjects of the hit series DC Cupcakes on the TLC Network. Since 2008, Katherine and Sophie have expanded Georgetown Cupcake with locations in Bethesda, MD, New York City/SoHo, Boston/Newbury St, and Los Angeles. Georgetown Cupcake ships its cupcakes nationwide and offers over 100 flavors. Prior to joining Georgetown Cupcake, Steve worked for 11 years in the nuclear security field, including six years at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration where he led U.S. efforts to develop advanced nuclear detection technology. He holds degrees in Public Policy and International Affairs from Princeton and Harvard Universities and lives with his wife in Arlington, VA.
Richard I. Lane, is a founding principal of West, Lane & Schlager (WLS), is an active professional in the commercial real estate industry, where his primary focus is the representation of law firms. Prior to forming WLS in 1996, Rich worked at the commercial real estate firm Grubb & Ellis for seven years. He works extensively in downtown Washington, DC, as well as in the suburban office markets in Virginia and Maryland.
Richard Mintz counsels companies, countries and institutions in managing communications and issues around high-profile crises and special situations. His specialty is in assessing and managing political risk around cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Currently, he is advising the United Arab Emirates in its recovery from the Dubai ports controversy by developing and managing a comprehensive U.S. public diplomacy and issues management program. He also works closely with Arabian Gulf, European and Russian companies investing in the United States.
Hugh Panero, Chairman of Hope for Henry Foundation, is Owner, Yellow Brick Road Ventures LLC which consults and invests in a variety of entertainment-related companies. He is co-founder and former president and chief executive officer of XM Satellite Radio. A business leader and media entrepreneur, Hugh was a pioneer in both the cable TV and pay-per-view businesses and is credited with launching the satellite radio industry. He has served as chairman of the DC Chamber of Commerce, which honored him with the DC Business Leader of the Year Award in 2000 and is a board member on a number of nonprofit boards including Hope for Henry and CollegeTracks. Hugh received Bachelor’s Degrees in Government and Sociology from Clark University and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Baruch College.
Stacy Samet earned her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts. She was a performer and choreographer with Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia and spent years as a teacher working with children and young adults. She has a long history of giving back to the Washington, DC region through active volunteer efforts and philanthropy. She is a proud mother of two grown children.
Dr. Aziza Shad is the Ellen W.P. Wasserman Endowed Chair of the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital and the director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. She earned her medical degree from Dow Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan followed by pediatric residency training in Pakistan, the United Kingdom and at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. She completed her fellowship in pediatric hematology oncology at the National Cancer Institute. Shad is the Director of the US branch of INCTR (International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research), Chair of the Pediatric Oncology Education Committee and Member of the Governing Council of the INCTR. She is also a Senior Scientific Advisor for the International Committee for Establishment and Development of Oncology Centers (ICEDOC) and Chair of the Palliative Care Steering Committee for MECC (Middle East Cancer Consortium). She has spoken at numerous scientific meetings, both nationally and internationally, and has published in the field of Pediatric Lymphomas, Pediatric Oncology in Developing Countries and Late Effects in Cancer Survivors, a major area of her research.
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.