Advisors

We are deeply grateful for the ongoing support of NEXUS’s Advisors who lend their names, time, and expertise in ways that amplify the work we must do.
 

Alexander Frantzen is a Senior Analyst for The Durst Organization, a recognized leader in the field of sustainable building; and one of the oldest family-run commercial and residential real estate companies in New York City. Alexander works as part of the transactions team that underwrites and executes the firm’s acquisition, financing, and transactional activities. He advises non-core investment opportunities; including private and public equity, venture capital, New York Water Taxi, and McEnroe Organic Farm. Alexander is passionate about sustainability and inspiring individuals and corporations to understand and reduce their environmental impacts. He built a lifestyle energy footprint calculator and a global CO2-emissions growth and abatement model; available at www.energyweneed.com. He volunteers his spare time to advise project-based initiatives that transition NYC to a low-carbon economy. Show more…


Amir Dossal is Founder and Chairman of the Global Partnerships Forum, an international platform working to address economic and social challenges, through the creation of innovative partnerships, www.globalpf.org. He is also the Co-Initiator of the Pearl Initiative, a CEO-led program, promoting transparency and accountability in the Gulf Region. See www.pearlinitiative.org. Amir is Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union for Global Partnerships www.itu.int and also serves as Commissioner of the Broadband Commission: www.broadbandcommission.org. Show more…


Ana Lucia de Mattos Barretto Villela studied pedagogy and the psychology of education at the Pontical Catholic University of Sao Paulo. She is the founder and president of the Alana Institute, a fellow of Ashoka, and the recipient of the 2007 “Educator We Want Award” of PNBE, the National Business Though Centers of Brazil. She is a board member of several institutions including Itau Cultural, Akatu, Brincante, and Conectas. Finally, she is a member of several international young social entrepreneur groups.


Andrea Zucker is the Executive Director of Together for Tomorrow and the former NEXUS Director of Engagement. She is a writer, activist, and social impact investor who believes that each of us should harness our personal gifts to find our best ways to give. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, her parents modeled the importance of community involvement from her earliest days and taught her that her role as a human being is to help repair the world in whatever ways possible. Andrea was shaped by early experiences in community activism through Youth Service Charleston and Operation Understanding and went on to work in the nonprofit world professionally with The Coastal Community Foundation, United Way of America, United Way International, and The Community Foundation of the Greater Washington Area. She also works with the InterTech Group, Inc. a privately owned company that incorporates philanthropy and community involvement into its corporate philosophy.Show more…


Charles Meyer has been an entrepreneur since he founded his first company at the age of 13. He has gone on to found and advise multiple ventures and initiatives including gopogo, Dangerous Games, NEXUS and many others. His philanthropic interests have included the Latin American Youth Center, Jenesis Group, A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Foundation, and the Campaign for Youth, among others. On a personal level he is fond of travel, learning, tea, and the outdoors. These diverse experiences have inspired him to encourage other young people to be modern day Renaissance Men. At the age of 22, his experiences are unusual for his age. His enthusiasm and desire to continually challenge himself have inspired his personal mantra: “Change is inevitable, growth is optional”.


Chris Ergen splits his time between consulting in the communications industry and participating in art and music movements around the world. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the team as he spent his youth learning from the greats in telecommunications and the satellite industry while supporting his family’s business, Dish Network. He works with A Human Right, Dish Network and Hughes Network Systems to help enhance communications on Earth. Also an artist of a somewhat unique variety, he collaborates with creatives of many varieties to help bring more artistic expression into the world. Most recently he facilitated the launch of an art project into the depths of space and intends to venture out there one day.


Ed Walters is currently a partner at Tamarisc, an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in real estate and building technologies that promote efficient resource allocation. Ed previously worked for the Chairman of Morningside Group where he led strategic initiatives across Morningside Ventures and Morningside Foundation that would maximize societal and economic impact. He also held operational roles for Morningside portfolio companies. Prior to Morningside, Ed worked in the United States Senate and the Brookings Institution on economic policy issues. He began his career in international development and global health at the Clinton Foundation and Partners in Health. Ed holds a master’s from Oxford University, where he was a Clarendon Scholar, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Trinity College. He is currently completing his MBA at Harvard Business School.


Eric Greenberg is President and CEO of Innovation Investments, LLC. He is also President and CEO of Beautifull!, www.beautifull.com, a popular restaurant in San Francisco that serves tasty, healthy, and convenient food that is fresh, natural and whole. A serial entrepreneur, Eric has founded and established several businesses, including founder and CEO of Acumen Sciences; founder and Chairman of Scient (NASDAQ:SCNT), a systems integrator focused on e-business; and founder and Chairman of Viant (NASDAQ:VIAN), an Internet systems integrator. In addition, he established wind farms projects in partnership with Lakota Native American Tribes in the South Dakota. Eric was a pioneer in establishing the commercial internet, where his companies built over 250 electronic businesses. Viant and Scient were backed by Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital, Benchmark Capital, American Funds, Morgan Stanley and other blue chip investors. He returned over $2 billion to these investors. Show more…


Ian Simmons initiates projects that improve democracy and is an impact investor. Results of various philanthropic and advocacy initiatives Ian has conceived and catalyzed have been featured in media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, as well as on CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN. For example, Ian was the silent partner in co-founding and seed-funding ActBlue, which makes it easier for citizens to create change. ActBlue has channeled over three million individual donations totaling more than $286 million to candidates across the United States. Ian enjoys making site visits to learn from innovative businesses and outstanding non-profit initiatives around the world. In 2012, together with his wife, Liesel, he founded the Blue Haven Initiative to accelerate the social impact of their investing. Ian graduated with honors from Harvard College in 2000.


Jenna Nicholas graduated from Stanford University, class of 2012 with an International Relations Honors Degree, having also read International Development at Oxford University. During her time as a student, Jenna interned at: the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR); the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society; the Siebel Foundation; Global Health Corps and Business for Social Responsibility in Beijing. She was on the Board of the Stanford Haas Center for Public Service, and the Judging Chair of the Business Association for Stanford Entrepreneurial Students Social Entrepreneurship Competition. In 2011, Jenna co-founded a social enterprise, Phoenix Global Impact, which is dedicated to promoting strategic philanthropy and impact investing in China. Currently Jenna is the Executive Assistant for Wayne Silby, Chairman of Calvert Special Equities in Washington, DC. Jenna is also the Senior Vice-President, Social Capital for Gridshare, a renewable energy finance platform.


John Kluge is Co-Founder of Eirene, a group building purpose driven, radically scalable businesses in the education, water, food, and base of pyramid sectors. John also directs the Digital Safety and Citizenship program at the EastWest Institute, an international, non-partisan, non-profit policy organization, whose mission is to devise innovative solutions to pressing security concerns and mobilize networks of individuals, institutions and nations to implement these solutions. Though his focus has been primarily on cybersecurity, climate and energy resilience, and international space policy, he is also working on integrating gaming, social networks, and music as alternative solutions to peacemaking. Show more…


Joshua Thomas got his first taste of business in his work in radio as the youngest Assistant Program Director in the country at Hot 97.1 FM in New York City. From there he rocketed through his Bachelors in Business Entertainment at Indiana University, while maintaining his successful international DJ career. His knack for entrepreneurship has lead to his partnership status with Dale & Thomas, the largest gourmet popcorn company in the country. Most recently Joshua has partnered with Edward Jamele to birth crowdMGMT, a Creative Experiential Marketing & Media Agency satisfying the needs of clients ranging from popular venues & hotels to leading accessories brands. At this pace, Joshua Thomas has no plans of slowing down any time soon.


Justin H. McAuliffe graduated from the Hotel School at Cornell in 2010. Recently, he worked with Grameen Research on a movie campaign about Muhammad Yunus and micro finance in the US. He enjoys social business/ innovation and also environmental sustainability & biodiversity issues. His is a member of Hilton family, is part of the Generations in Giving Program of the Conrad Hilton Foundation, and is actively involved philanthropically. He currently lives in New York City and is leading a new startup company in the hospitality industry.


Khaliya is a philanthropist, venture capitalist, public health specialist and active advocate for social change. Both her professional and philanthropic work focus on the intersection of design, technology and social entrepreneurship. In addition to her work with NEXUS, Khaliya is a patron of the TED conference. An avid art collector, she is on the Young Acquisitions Council for the Guggenheim, the Whitney Contemporaries and the Metropolitan Museum’s Apollo Circle. Khaliya also runs an art gallery which features innovative, socially-conscious artists and artisans. She received her Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University, her Bachelor’s degree in European Studies and International Affairs from New York University, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria from 1999 to 2001. She also studied Computer Science at New York University and Film at the New York Film Academy.


Ladislav Kossar is a social entrepreneur, angel investor and venture philanthropist. In 2006 he started a mentoring project YourBuddy, which facilitates successful social integration of orphans in Eastern Europe. In 2010 he founded PROVIDA, a venture philanthropy foundation with a mission to improve the quality of lives of disadvantaged people by investing in impact driven social ventures. Ladislav obtained his law degree in Slovakia, studied at Harvard University and worked for Deutsche Bank. As an angel investor, he has helped build one of the top in-store design consultancies in Europe.


Leah Hunt-Hendrix is pursuing her doctorate at Princeton University in Religion, Ethics and Politics. Born and raised in New York City, she has spent the past decade at the intersection of theory and practice, combining a study of moral philosophy and democratic theory with research around the world in grassroots organizing and social movements. She has lived and worked in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, where she focused her research on the effects of international aid and development, and the history of popular protest.


Liesel Pritzker Simmons is the Co-Founder and Principal of the Blue Haven Initiative, a family office dedicated to deploying different kinds of capital (for- and non-profit) to solve social problems. She is the Co-Founder of the IDP Foundation, Inc. (www.idpfoundation.org) a private foundation with a mission to mobilize resources and strategic support to increase educational opportunities. Established in 2008, the IDP Foundation has supported and developed a wide range of programs in the education sectors most notably the innovative IDP Rising Schools Program in Ghana, which leverages microfinance networks to empower low cost private schools with trainings and financial services. Liesel is a Co-Founder of Opportunity International’s Young Ambassadors for Opportunity (YAO), a global network of young professionals who are passionate about microfinance. She is currently Chairman of the board of YAO and a Director on the board of Synergos. Show more…


Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk is the Co-Founder/President of The Memnosyne Institute (known as The Memnosyne Foundation from 2005-2012). She is a frequently requested international speaker, having done so for organizations in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, including serving as the headline speaker for the United Nation’s NEXUS Summit in 2011. In November of 2012 she will serve as the headline speaker for Australia’s Gr8 Women’s international online broadcast to thousands of women worldwide. As a mediator, she led her organization to help successfully negotiate the first alliance in 300 years between the Hopi and Navajo Nations, hosted the mediation for the Liberian Diaspora via the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a collaborative effort between Memnosyne and the Interfaith Center of New York where she also serves on the board; and most recently was instrumental in the successful merger of Giordano Bruno University and Wisdom University, the resulting entity of which she will serve as Vice-Chair. Show more…


Mary Galeti currently serves as the Executive Director and Vice-Chair of the Tecovas Foundation. The Tecovas Foundation funds social innovation and entrepreneurship by focusing on leveraging new service models and sustainable economic development both locally and internationally. A member of the board of trustees since 2000, Mary has led Tecovas to develop a concrete vision to increase the foundation’s capacity and effectiveness. Recently the foundation has added impact investing and PRI work to their portfolio. Through her leadership of the Tecovas Foundation, Mary also serves as strategic stakeholder consultant to several non-profit entities. Show more…


Michael M. Milstein is a partner at New York Private Bank & Trust and a partner at Milstein Properties. In addition to his other roles at NYPB&T, he is currently the CEO of the Boylan Bottling Co and serves on the board of The Nicklaus Companies. Michael serves on the board of the Howard & Abby Milstein Foundation, a leader in “Venture Philanthropy”, which brings the principles of venture capitalism to philanthropy. These include active engagement in organization and operations; encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to innovation and change; and finding and investing in leaders in the field. He also serves on the board of the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation, which seeks to improve world health and develop meaningful positive bridges between nations by developing mutually beneficial partnerships and exchanges between Eastern and Western medical institutions. Michael graduated from Cornell University in 2011 cum laude in Politics, Philosophy, & Economics with a Minor in the Classics. He also read in History at Pembroke College, Cambridge University.


Paula Senna Lalli graduated from the University of São Paulo where she majored in Social Sciences with an emphasis on the anthropology of art. She is currently focused on integrating the knowledge of anthropology into the use of music and computer design to promote humanist values. Paula is the youngest board member of the Ayrton Senna Foundation of Brazil where she helps to guide strategic planning processes that will determine the future of the foundation.


Ruma Bose is a serial entrepreneur, business executive, philanthropist and author with over 15 years working in executive roles with numerous early stage companies in the consumer industry. Having founded and led a number of successful for-profit companies globally, Ruma has advised or provided venture capital to over 100 consumer-related companies in the US, Europe, India and China. She has been a member of the Young President’s Organization and continues to offer the benefits of her experience to various foundations and not-for-profit organizations as an active Board member and philanthropist. Ruma serves as a mentor for the US State Department’s Program to Propel Women’s Entrepreneurship in Pakistan and in 2011 she founded the Pars Fortuna Institute to teach entrepreneurship and leadership skills to women in the developing world. Show more…


Shawn Landres, NEXUS Advisor on Faith-based and Interreligious Innovation, is an entrepreneur, writer, and network curator. The White House has spotlighted Shawn’s work as co-founder & CEO of Jumpstart, a research & development laboratory that the Jerusalem Post says has “changed the global conversation about Jewish innovation”, and the Forward has named him to its list of the 50 most influential American Jewish leaders. Jumpstart supports visionary philanthropic & nonprofit leaders of Jewish & interreligious causes with the perspective & connections they need to achieve impact, build stronger communities, and transform the world. Show more…


Wyatt Rockefeller is a filmmaker and investor with a background in energy policy and development. After graduating with Honors in History from Princeton University in 2007, he worked on President Obama’s first presidential campaign and subsequently in his administration as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In 2010, he left to join EGG-energy, Inc., an energy distribution start-up based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Having since succumbed to his life-long love for filmmaking, he is currently pursuing an MBA and an MFA at New York University’s Stern School of Business and Tisch School of the Arts. He is active on behalf of a variety of organizations and is a believer in the social efficacy of patient capital.


Zac Russell has always been passionate about how to tell a story better. He founded Russallo in 2013, a narrative consulting firm focused on listening, designing and implementing holistic communication and marketing plans for a wide variety of organizations. He is a long time advocate for next generation philanthropy, impact investing, and global social entrepreneurship for non-profits and foundations. Zac has worked as a Hawaiian cattle hand, Marketing for FOURPOINTS a French international equities fund manager, and with One Nation, an Initiative working with American Muslim communities to end discrimination. He is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in Nonfiction Writing and global economics. Zac serves on the board of directors of the Russell Family Foundation as a part of their investment committee.


Emeritus Advisors

HRH Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud was raised and educated in Washington, D.C. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Vernon College of George Washington University. She is CEO of luxury retail corporation Alfa International, which operates the Harvey Nichols department store in Riyadh. Princess Reema is the former CEO of luxury retail corporation Al Hama LLC, (which for the past 15 years managed brands including Donna Karan and DKNY in the Middle East). She is the Founder of private equity fund Reemiyah and the Co-founder of Yibreen, women’s day spa. Most recently, she has taken the role of designer, Creative Director and Founder of luxury handbag and luggage brand Baraboux. In the social responsibility front, Princess Reema has no shortage of roles either. She is a founding member of Zahra Breast Cancer Association (Guinness World Record holder for organizing of world’s largest human pink ribbon in 2010 ). Show more…