Stephanie Gaillard White
Vice President of Human Resources
KaBOOM! Board Chair
Stephanie Gaillard White is the Vice President of Human Resources for WestRock, a global packaging company with a related Specialty Chemicals business. She has HR leadership responsibilities for the company's beverage business, the Asia-Pacific region and global corporate functions. She also has responsibility for diversity and inclusion.
Stephanie has over 20 years of corporate experience in the areas of human resources and information technology. She is actively engaged in community and non-profit leadership efforts. She received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina with a double major in Management Information Systems and Finance. Stephanie and her husband Mario, along with their two sons, Andrew and Austin, live in Midlothian, VA.
Stephanie still enjoys the memories of football, basketball, and dodge ball with her brothers – and winning at least one game….well, one time!
Sharon Price John
KaBOOM! Board Vice Chair
Sharon Price John has been the Chief Executive Officer of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. since June 2013. Ms. John has more than 20 years of business experience with an expertise in strategic marketing, product development, innovation and change management. During her tenure at companies including Hasbro, Mattel and Wolverine World Wide (WWW), she established a strong track record of success working with a variety of brands and businesses.
Prior to joining Build-A-Bear Workshop, Ms. John served as President of the Stride Rite Children's Group LLC. (SRCG), a division of WWW. Ms. John led all functions of the SRCG including product creation, wholesale sales, marketing, planning and distribution. She also directed the operations, retail merchandising and international franchising for more than 350 Stride Rite stores.
From 2002 to 2010, Ms. John held a range of senior management roles with Hasbro. These positions included General Manager and Senior Vice President of Global Preschool, where she drove the global strategy and marketing for Hasbro's Preschool portfolio including Mr. Potato Head and Play-doh. Separately, she served as the GM SVP of Marketing for the US Toy Division, overseeing a number of iconic brands including NERF, Transformers and My Little Pony while managing key licensing relationships such as Star Wars and Marvel. Prior to that, Ms. John worked with Mattel in a number of roles including Marketing Director of Barbie and Vice President of International for the Disney Business Unit.
Ms. John’s early career was in the advertising industry working at top agencies in New York City including DDB Needham Worldwide on the Hershey account and Bates, USA as the Account Supervisor of the SNICKERS/M&M Mars business. Ms. John holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.
Deborah A. Cowan
CFO & Treasurer
KaBOOM! Board Treasurer
Deborah Cowan is CFO and Treasurer at NPR and oversees financial, planning, accounting, treasury and risk management operations. Prior to joining NPR, she was Senior Vice President at Radio One, Inc., where she was part of the senior management team, and led the Company’s financial and accounting operations. Her early career was spent in progressive CFO roles at IBM and as an auditor for Coopers & Lybrand. A certified public accountant, Ms. Cowan holds a BA in Accounting from Howard University and an MBA in Finance and International Business from Columbia Business School. She currently serves on the board of Consumer Reports, and held prior board positions with the National Education Association Foundation and the Media Financial Management organizations.
One of Debbie's favorite pastimes is cooking, particularly baking, which all started when she got an Easy Bake Oven.
Udaya Patnaik is a founder and principal of Jump Associates, a strategy and innovation firm. Jump helps companies create new businesses and reinvent existing ones, and helps government, foundations and nonprofits increase their impact. Mr. Patnaik helps clients manage innovation, create and commercialize new businesses, and transform organizations. He uses skills in systems thinking, facilitation and roadmapping to advise executives in technology, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, philanthropy and retail. Over the years, Mr. Patnaik has had the privilege of working with leaders at GE, Target, Harley-Davidson and FedEx to solve long term strategy issues while delivering rapid results. He is a frequent speaker on using innovation to drive growth. Prior to Jump, Mr. Patnaik worked for a non-profit community and economic development firm, providing technical assistance in finance, policy, and systems improvement. He also authored and contributed to guidebooks on project scoping, water system management, economic development and infrastructure financing. Mr. Patnaik continues to speak on infrastructure and environmental issues in economic development at different regional institutes. He has taught at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and holds a degree in Civil Engineering, also from Stanford.
As a kid, Udaya played so much make-believe Star Wars that he owes royalties.
President and CEO
Michael Araten is the President and CEO of K'NEX Brands, a wholly owned subsidiary of Smart Brands International Co., LLC. K'NEX Brands was established to make and sell what has become one of the world's leading integrated construction systems for children, and is America's STEM building solution. , K'NEX building toys are distributed to nearly 40 countries, and over 95% of the component parts are Made in the USA. Mr. Araten has a unique perspective within the toy industry as he led KNEX to re-shore finished goods production of three iconic brands, K'NEX, Lincoln Logs & Tinkertoy, back to the United States.
Mr. Araten joined K'NEX in May 2005 to serve as their Vice President and General Counsel. He became President & COO in January 2006 and assumed his current position as President and CEO in January 2009. Upon assuming the role of President, Mr. Araten focused the company on e-commerce, social media and digital marketing, including a robust drop-ship capability that has capacity to fulfill 20,000 orders in 24 hours. Today, over 90% of the K'NEX's interaction with consumers is performed digitally, along with over 30% of revenue. K'NEX expects over 50% of revenue to be through e-commerce by 2020.
K'NEX Brands, is focused on moving fun-powered imaginations forward to create a STEAMagination universe where engineering, art, and fun click! Founded in 1992, and winner of over 370 international awards and recognitions, K'NEX Brands is the world's most innovative construction toy company. From the living room to the classroom, K'NEX has building toys specially designed for every age group and skill level. The K'NEX family of brands includes K'NEX Building Sets, K'NEX Thrill Rides, K'NEX Education, Mighty Makers, K-FORCE Build and Blast, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoy, Super Mario, Plants vs. Zombies and more.
Prior to joining K'NEX , Mr. Araten served as Chief Litigation Counsel to Toll Brothers, Inc. as well as Senior Vice President and Corporate Counsel to O'Neill Properties Group. In those capacities, Mr. Araten was responsible for risk management, regulatory approvals, human resource issues and the management of over 100 law firms in 21 states. Mr. Araten also formed numerous joint ventures, led due diligence and acquisition teams, and obtained land development approvals that created over five billion ($5 billion) in new home sales and land value.
As President and CEO, Mr. Araten is responsible for all strategic and day to day operations of the company, and is a member of the K'NEX Board of Directors. He speaks regularly on topics including advanced manufacturing, the toy industry, e-commerce, re-shoring, global competitiveness, entrepreneurship and innovation. Mr. Araten was recently named one of the 100 CEO Leaders in STEM by STEMConnector, and has appeared on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ABC World News, Bloomberg News, Fox Business, and numerous local and regional television and radio shows.
Mr. Araten serves on several corporate and non-profit Boards, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, American Made Matters, ALMO Corporation, 911Safety, LLC, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and the Upper Bucks County Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Araten holds a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member SMARTCEO (an exclusive community of CEOs and business leaders whose mission is to educate and inspire the community through the pages of their magazine). He resides in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania with his wife, Ellen and their two children.
Timothy M. Fesenmyer is a corporate attorney concentrating primarily in mergers and acquisitions, securities law and general corporate law. Mr. Fesenmyer’s mergers and acquisitions experience includes public and private transactions, negotiated acquisitions, joint ventures and other corporate transactions in a wide variety of industries. Mr. Fesenmyer also advises clients in connection with other non-transactional corporate, securities and business-related matters, including SEC reporting obligations and disclosure issues, corporate governance, and stockholder and compliance matters. Since 2008, Mr. Fesenmyer, together with several of his colleagues, has provided pro bono legal services to KaBOOM!. Mr. Fesenmyer has a B.A. from Miami University and an M.P.A. and J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He resides in Manhattan with his wife and their two children.
Tim still imagines that there is a pit full of hungry alligators under the monkey bars.
Regional Leader, Americas
Heidrick & Struggles
Ron Lumbra is a partner within the Global Chief Executive Officer & Board of Directors Practice and the regional leader for the Americas at Heidrick & Struggles, the premier professional services firm. Ron has the responsibility for overseeing the firm’s business operations across sixteen offices within the United States, Canada and Latin America and is based in Heidrick & Struggles' New York office.
Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles he spent 17 years with a global search firm where he was managing director and co-leader of the Americas CEO and Board Services Practice. There he served in various leadership roles including co-head of the firm's Americas operations, and head of both the New York and Houston offices.
Earlier in his career, Ron was with Amoco Corporation, where he served as regional vice president for Latin America in their Power Resources business. Previously, he was vice president for the Americas at The AES Corporation and principal with the Trammell Crow Company.
Ron is the Board Chairman of KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to creating playspaces for children. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Vermont, and a member of the Executive Leadership Council.
Ron received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
Bill Novelli is a professor in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. In addition to teaching in the MBA program, he is working to establish a center for social enterprise at the School. From 2001 to 2009, he was CEO of AARP, a membership organization of over 40 million people 50 and older. Prior to joining AARP, Mr. Novelli was President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, whose mandate is to change public policies and the social environment, limit tobacco companies' marketing and sales practices to children and serve as a counterforce to the tobacco industry and its special interests. He now serves as chairman of the board. Mr. Novelli is a recognized leader in social marketing and social change, and has managed programs in cancer control, diet and nutrition, cardiovascular health, reproductive health, infant survival, pay increases for educators, charitable giving and other programs in the U.S. and the developing world. He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from Penn's Annenberg School for Communication, and pursued doctoral studies at New York University.
As a kid and aspiring Pittsburgh Pirate, Bill pitched a no-hitter in the Kneepants League in Bridgeville, PA.
Chief Innovation Officer
As Chief Innovation Officer, Colin O’Donnell leads Intersection's efforts that drive breakthroughs in new products, services, markets, and within the organization. Drawing on his entrepreneurial and technical experience in creating transformative, scalable change within the public and private sectors, Colin delivers disruptive yet pragmatic solutions that respond to the biggest challenges facing our cities, communities, and businesses.
Colin has led groundbreaking technology and media projects that redefine how both cities and brands serve and communicate with citizens, including LinkNYC, the first-of-its-kind communications network bringing the fastest free public Wi-Fi to millions of New Yorkers, and the award-winning MTA On the Go interactive kiosks, which simplify wayfinding and communication in the largest public transit system in the Americas.
Colin's insight on the co-evolution of consumer technology and urban experience has been featured in major publications such as Fast Company, Wired, and the New York Times. The NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities named Colin as the recipient of the ADA Sapolin Award for his work in making NYC more accessible. He lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Eric Rothman is President of HR&A Advisors, Inc., an industry-leading real estate and economic development consulting firm. He is a nationally-recognized expert in transit-oriented development and advises municipalities, transit agencies, institutions, and private and non-profit organizations to support transformative economic development, especially around urban transportation centers and public transit infrastructure, including Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Saint Paul Union Depot, San Jose’s Diridon Station, and Hoboken Terminal.
Eric also advises cities on issues at the intersection of technology, land-use, and public policy. For two years he partnered with New York City’s Economic Development Corporation to manage BigApps, the nation’s largest civic technology competition. In 2017 he helped to create a policy toolkit for cities to plan for the arrival of driverless cars: www.driverlessfuture.org.
Prior to joining HR&A, Eric served as Director of Business Planning for Transport for London (TfL), where he was responsible for creating an integrated plan for the newly-created agency under the direction of the Mayor of London. During his tenure at TfL, the agency implemented the Central London Congestion Charging Zone, transformative improvements to the bus network, the Oyster smart-payment system, and developed the London cycling network.
Eric serves as Board Chair for the Design Trust for Public Space and on the Advisory Board of the ULI-New York District Council. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a Master’s of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Eric grew up playing kickball and capture the flag, and tries to play as much tennis as possible in his spare time.
Global Head of Corporate Communications
Jake is global head of Corporate Communications. He joined Goldman Sachs as a managing director in 2012 and was named partner in 2014.
Prior to joining the firm, Jake served as counselor to the US Treasury secretary from 2009 to 2011, during which time he advised the secretary and also acted as his liaison to the business community. From 2001 to 2009, Jake worked at Alcoa, where he last served as vice president for Business Development, overseeing global mergers and acquisitions and focusing on growth in China and emerging economies. He joined Alcoa as head of global communications and public strategy, and later oversaw the company’s global environment, health and safety efforts for several years.
From 1993 to 2001, Jake held several positions in the Clinton administration, including serving as White House press secretary, the US government’s principal spokesperson on foreign and domestic policy. He also served as deputy White House press secretary and as a special assistant to the president for economic affairs, working at the National Economic Council. Jake began his career in Washington in 1991 as communications director for the Democratic Governors Association.
Jake graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1986 with a degree in the humanities. He also attended the law school of the University of California at Berkeley.
Ex-Officio Member of the Board
James Siegal is the CEO of KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that seeks to give children the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Prior to KaBOOM!, James served as Chief of Staff for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that supports citizen engagement to address community challenges through AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund and other programs. James has broad experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including serving as Vice President of Nonprofit Programs and Practice at the leading non-profit coalition, Independent Sector. He also served as Registration Section Chief and Assistant Attorney General at the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau and associate at the global law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. James and his wife enjoy spending time on the playground with their three young girls.