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.
KaBOOM! Board Treasurer
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.
KaBOOM! Board Secretary
Colin is passionate about cities, the people who live in them, and how emerging technologies can solve epic challenges and improve the quality of life for all.
As an entrepreneur, technologist, and product designer, he has founded several companies that bridge the digital and physical space, including Control Group, Intersection, and CityBridge. His most recent organization is responsible for LinkNYC, a first-of-its-kind platform that replaced thousands of unused phone booths with internet hotspots and connected millions of New Yorkers to the fastest free internet on the planet. He has taught at the School of Visual Arts MFA Interaction Design program; is a Board Member of KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to making sure that kids, particularly those growing up in poverty, have access to places to play; a Design Partner with the International Rescue Committee's innovation group, Airbel, and shares his thoughts on the future of cities on TechCrunch.
He is currently working on a new co-living startup that aims to create flexible and affordable housing, with a focus on community.
An avid hiker, biker, climber, snowboarder, and traveler, he’s always eager to get outside and be active with his wife, Amanda, and their two children.
President and CEO
Sterling Drive Ventures
Michael Araten is the President and CEO of Sterling Drive Ventures, LP, a family office that owns, among other things, The Rodon Group founded in 1956.
Prior to Sterling Drive Ventures, Michael was the President and CEO of K'NEX Brands, whose K'NEX™ construction toy is distributed in 40 countries. Over 95% of the K'NEX component parts are made at Rodon in Hatfield, PA.
Mr. Araten joined K'NEX and the Rodon Group in May 2005 to serve as their Vice President and General Counsel. He became President & COO in January 2006 and President and CEO in January 2009.
Prior to joining K'NEX and Rodon, 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 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 Rodon Group Board of Directors. He speaks regularly on topics including advanced manufacturing, the toy industry, re-shoring, global competitiveness, entrepreneurship and innovation. Mr. Araten has appeared on CNBC, CNN, 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 KaBOOM!, American Made Matters, ALMO Corporation, 911Safety, LLC, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Mr. Araten is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and the Chairman of the Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce.
Residing in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania with his wife, Ellen and their two children, Mr. Araten holds a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Deborah A. Cowan
CFO & 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.
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.
Founder & Principal
Jump Associates LLC
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.
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.