Moneythink is a grassroots youth movement at its core, but its early success has been guided by a wise and generous board of advisors. Our advisors help us reach more students, train more volunteers, build partnerships, strategize critical initiatives, and keep our legal and financial systems in check. Advisors continue to provide time, talent and treasure. In turn, as one advisor told us, we keep them hip and cool.
To view an individual’s biography, simply click on his/her photo.
If you are interested in becoming an advisor, please contact Ted Gonder, Executive Director and co-founder.
Mr. Knowles is the Director of The University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, an organization dedicated to improving inner-city education. Previously, Knowles served as deputy superintendent for Teaching and Learning at Boston Public Schools. While in Boston, he created two organizations devoted to building the pipeline of high quality teachers and school leaders for Boston Public Schools and served as co-director of the Boston Annenberg Challenge, a nationally recognized effort to improve literacy instruction. He also served as the founding director of Teach for America in New York City. For Mr. Knowles’ full bio, click here.
K. Thomas Stevens
Tom Stevens is principal of the law firm Stevens & Associates, a successor to the firm he founded in 1989. He is an English solicitor and an American attorney, admitted in Illinois, Washington, D.C., and New York.
Tom’s focus is upon finance, mergers and acquisitions, entity structuring and governance, tax planning, international transactions, and best practices analyses. He is an avid supporter of young entrepreneurs, providing mentoring through the firm’s Startup Trebuchet Program. He serves on the Board of The Chicago Lean Startup Circle, a non-profit group exceeding 2,000 members. Tom regularly speaks on issues pertaining to startup companies, law, and entrepreneurial skills, and maintains a blog at www.startup-trebuchet.com. Tom is also the President of the British-American Business Council – Chicago, a tremendous resource promoting transatlantic relationships and commerce (www.babcc.org).
Davyeon Ross is EVP of Digital Broadcasting Group, a top 5 Video Ad Network headquartered in New York, with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and now Overland Park KS. Ross founded and served as CEO of Digital Sports Ventures (acquired by Digital Broadcasting Group in October 2011), negotiating the rights to Division I college sports video across seven major conferences, and setting the strategy for the company’s portfolio of content and interactive technologies. His vision of uniting college sports and digital media into affordable, turnkey solutions has opened new doors for publishers, advertisers and agencies seeking to engage sports fans in a targeted manner.
Prior to launching Digital Sports Ventures, Ross served as lead technical and management consultant for eVergance Partners, managing projects around the world for Fortune 500 technology companies. Prior to eVergance, Ross began his technology career as a software engineer for Sprint, developing the company’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Knowledge Management applications. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, Ross earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Benedictine College and an MBA from Mid-America Nazarene University.
Charisse Conanan, CFA
Charisse is CEO and founder of Smarteys. Prior to Smarteys, Charisse was a Vice President at JPMorgan Asset Management, where she conducted specialized research and made buy/sell investment decisions for the $10 billion JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Fund (FLMVX). She also created MyFi, the division’s first personal finance series. Charisse teaches online financial classes, blogs about personal financial, and speaks regularly at industry events. Charisse received her MBA from Chicago Booth and BA from Yale University. She is a bid whist enthusiast, NY sports fan, and a professional foodie.
Tony is a passionate believer in mentorship, education and perspective as the keys to helping people achieve their full potential as individuals and improve their ability to contribute to society, locally and globally. Angel investor, member of Hyde Park Angels, cycling enthusiast and Moneythink fan, Tony relishes opportunities to advise, refer or support organizations and individuals with a plan to make something good happen.
Andrea Moran is Managing Director of Marengo Hampshire Partners and has placed executives, built boards, and developed and led teams for clients ranging from Fortune 50 companies to emerging venture-backed companies globally. Andrea has over 17 years of Executive search and management experience. She spent her earlier career at DHR International Executive Search as a Director, then joined the start-up team of Parson Group, where she built a full-scale recruiting practice that soon became a profit-center. During her tenure at Parson Group it became Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing private company in 2000 and achieved a phenomenal 27,992% growth over five years. She was recruited to A.T. Kearney as the Director of Global Operations to engineer and implement a business turnaround.
Wendy has been a successful synergist in the profit and non-profit world for over 20 years. As a consultant in launch and roll out strategies, she specializes in creating win-win partnerships and programs. She designs and oversees long term, effective messaging for all parties. Utilizing a customized, community-building approach, she has created development relationships with and for The American Cancer Society, The American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, Parkways Foundation (philanthropic arm of the Chicago Park District) NorthShore University HealthSystem and United Way.
She consults with and serves on the Board of Directors for Educational Foundations, Health, Arts and Charitable organizations. She leads the development of a parent education series model tapping globally recognized researchers and lecturers in education, physical and mental health and well being. Wendy co-founded Yellow Tractor Program and has helped position the national not for profit as a thought leader in the nutrition, health and wellness, education and self-reliance spaces.
Donna Gaines is the President and CEO of The Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (ABLE). ABLE was founded in 1992 and is comprised of a select group of leading African American CEOs in Chicago that provide proactive mentoring and outreach. Donna served on President Obama’s Transition Team and as a director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Karen is dedicated to ensuring that our next generation of innovators have the skills to be globally competitive and to drive the our future economic growth. Her passion for supporting intellectual advancements has inspired her to launch and support many educational efforts, from early childhood to the university level. Karen sits on a number of state education advisory boards, including the Illinois P-20 Council for Career and College Readiness. She also launched the Illinois Technology Foundation and an annual competition called “50 For the Future”to select the state’s top IT university students.
She has worked with Chicago Public Schools to develop innovative programming. Karen has spent her career working to be a change agent within forward-thinking companies; she pioneered online travel for American Express, has moved 140 newspapers real estate classified advertising online for Classified Ventures, and has been very active with companie in the Internet startup community. She is currently the Chief Product Officer at Apparel Media, a company that matches sponsors to local NFP’s.
Lonnie is the Co-Chair and Programming Chair of the Family Action Network (FAN), a 501(c)(3) that creates a high-quality free speaker series for Chicago’s North Shore area, funded by nearly all of the public, private and parochial schools in New Trier Township. Topics focus on the positive mental health development of youth ages 3-20, and the speakers are renowned in their fields, typically psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, education, and medicine. Past speakers include Howard Gardner, Carol Dweck, David Elkind, danah boyd, Madeline Levine, Barry Schwartz, John Cacioppo, Yong Zhao, Martin Marty, Vivian Paley, and Barbara Fredrickson. Lonnie’s passion for connection, collaboration and mentorship helps FAN create strong networks among children, parents, educators and helping professionals.
Participating in creative collective action and acts of healing inspire Victor daily. This inspiration comes from a truly global family, from his grandfather – a physician for the rural poor in West Bengal – to community organizers across the world, to his peers and friends. Victor served as a founding member and Executive Director of GlobeMed between 2006 and 2009. In 2007, he graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in political science
As a Gates Cambridge scholar, Victor earned an MPhil in Sociology from the University of Cambridge, where he studied social movement theory and global mobilization around tuberculosis. In 2012, he was selected as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and awarded a second Gates Cambridge scholarship to complete a PhD in Sociology. Currently, Victor is a third-year student at the Feinberg School of Medicine as a Baldwin Scholar. He’s hoping to share his experiences partnering with communities around the world and working with students on campuses across the US with Moneythink as it grows in its early phases.
Mr. Beard has had the privilege of creating, marketing and then chairing programs for each of the last seven Presidents of the United States – Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. In 1969, Mr. Beard founded and remains Chairman of the National Development Council (NDC), a national non-profit organization dedicated to redeveloping urban and rural low-income communities. In 1972, along with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr., Mr. Beard co-founded the Jefferson Awards for Public Service to create a Nobel Prize for public service. For Mr. Beard’s full bio, click here.
Steven D. Biedermann
Steven joined the board when he was investment portfolio manager for Chicago Public Schools. Biedermann’s commitment to community service work has made a difference both locally and overseas. He currently serves as the Treasurer of the Chicago Peace Corps Association. Steven served two years as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Kiribati as a mathematics instructor at Teabike College. More recently, he spent several months volunteering with the United Nations in southern Sudan on The Global Fund project, and is currently teaching in Palestine.
Susan D. Whiting is Vice Chair of Nielsen. She was appointed to this role in November 2008. She was also named Chief Diversity Officer in October 2010. As Vice Chair, Susan has responsibility for global client relations, communications and marketing, public and government affairs, corporate social responsibility, and Nielsen’s diversity initiatives.
Susan joined Nielsen in 1978 as part of the company’s management training program. In her decades-long tenure, Susan has served as president and chief operating officer of Nielsen’s television and advertising business in the U.S. and internationally, and as Chairman of Nielsen’s global media business. She also served as Executive Vice President of Nielsen, with marketing and product leadership responsibilities for all global Nielsen business units.
Susan is a member of Nielsen’s Executive Council, and was a recipient of the 2009 Women Who Make a Difference Award from the International Women’s Forum. In 2007, Susan was recognized by The Wall Street Journal as one of their “Women to Watch,” and she was named that same year by Crain’s New York Business as one of the “100 Most Influential Women in New York City.”
Susan is a vice chair of the Corporate Fund Board of the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts. She is a board trustee of Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and she sits on the Board of Directors for MarkMonitor, the Ad Council, the YMCA of Greater New York, and The Trust for Public Land. She also serves on The Women at NBCU Advisory Board.
Susan is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the International Women’s Forum and the Chicago Women’s Network.
Susan graduated from Denison University and currently serves as trustee of the University.
Rishi U. Shah, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Contextmedia, is a successful media and technology entrepreneur. Rishi started ContextMedia in 2006 to help patients with chronic diseases live healthier through contextually relevant media services. The company’s DOOH networks and mobile media offerings are now used by over a million patients monthly and the firm’s clients include more than half of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies.
Rishi advises several early-stage companies and serves on the Board of Directors of many civic organizations, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Institute for Student Business Education at Northwestern University, and serves as a mentor for Chicago’s technology start-up incubator, Excelerate Labs. He was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a member
of their 40-Under-40 class in 2009, and is an active member of the Executives Club of Chicago, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and the Illinois Technology Association.
He is past founder of the Northwestern Business Review, a Northwestern University-based collaborative publication distributed to more than 60 leading campuses nationwide. Prior to that, he founded a home computer consulting firm whose clients were acquired by Best Buy. Rishi has also founded several non-profit initiatives at the intersection of youth, education and media, including the Urban-Suburban Domestic Exchange Initiative, a program sponsored by the Gates foundation to facilitate cross-school interaction.
Oakbrook, Ill.-native, Rishi is an avid fan of the Chicago Bulls, ancient Indian philosophy and new media.
Saul began his journey into social entrepreneurship at 17 years old. First, it was through a high school club. Then he founded a non-profit called Student Movement for Real Change that had campus chapters at 25 universities across the United States that was endorsed by President Nelson Mandela. In 2011, Saul launched ThinkImpact Company, where he serves at Founder and CEO.
Saul serves on the Board of Directors for Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, an international organization with 8,000 members worldwide, the Board of Stakeholders for the University of the Pacific’s Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the Board of Directors of iOnPoverty, and Board of Directors of More Than Me.
In 2011, Saul was recognized as a top 9 Young Foreign Policy Leader under 33 by the Diplomatic Courier and is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council. He is an internationally renowned speaker and International Speaker Specialist for the Department of State. He blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and his work has been featured in Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company, The Next Web, Business Insider, Portfolio.com and The Washington Post.
A Truman Scholar, Saul graduated from Johns Hopkins University and John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). An avid runner, skier and Broncos fan, Saul lives in Denver with his wife, Emily.
Brandt Kucharski is the controller of Grubhub, nation’s largest online food ordering platform. Brandt spent ten years in public accounting advising companies on the IPO process along with leading merger and acquisitions, prior to joining Grubhub as one of the early employees.
Brandt serves as Chairman of the Board of the Holiday Heroes Foundation, a foundation dedicated to providing holiday parties for hospitalized children suffering with serious illness. Brandt is also an avid supporter of young entrepreneurs and mentors numerous companies in the Chicago land start up community. Brandt takes pride in helping others grow their business/foundation.