PHILANOS DIRECTORS 2020-2021
Susan Benford was elected to the Philanos board in 2020 and serves as vice chair. She was on the steering committee for PowerUP! 2020 and co-led the organization of conference breakout sessions. She also serves on the board of The Philanthropy Connection, MA, where she was president and chair of development from 2016 to 2019, and held other leadership roles in grants, membership, governance, and the diversity task force. Additionally, she is on the board of Resilient Coders, a Boston area non-profit that trains black and brown youth to become software engineers through a free software bootcamp; and on the Boston Advisory Council of the Family Independence Initiative, a national non-profit successfully eradicating poverty. Susan lives with her husband and spoiled golden retriever outside Boston and has two adult sons.
Jenny Berg is governance chair and immediate past chair. Prior to her leadership position with Philanos she served as the president of the board for Impact 100 in Cincinnati, and in 2016 returned as a board member and currently serves as a focus area committee chair. Jenny's passion is to help nonprofit agencies become better, stronger, more collaborative and more impactful. In her current position as Executive Director of The Leadership Council for Nonprofits, she has the opportunity to connect with leaders of many nonprofit agencies in her community and to find out what their needs are.
Ellan Bernstein is board secretary. She also was co-chair of the 2018 WCGN Conference in Philadelphia. Ellan was the secretary of the founding board of directors of Impact100 Philadelphia and served as co-president of the organization. She was also charged with starting the Founders Fellowship program which offers Impact100 membership to younger members. Currently, Ellan chairs the diversity and equity committee of Impact 100 Philadelphia and serves on the executive committee of Interfaith Philadelphia, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering dialogue and understanding among people of different faith traditions. Ellan has been practicing real estate law for over 30 years in Philadelphia, PA. She lives with her husband and has three grown children.
Sandy Cook chairs the affiliate expansion and engagement committee. She is a founding member, past president and legacy member of the Women’s Giving Alliance (Jacksonville, FL). While living in Jacksonville for 15 years, she chaired its grants committee, led the organization’s three major research efforts and was a member of the advocacy and impact committees. She has also served as board chair for the Nonprofit Center of NE Florida, WJCT Public Television/Radio, and the World Affairs Council. Following her move to Colorado, so she and her husband could be closer to their son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons, she joined Impact 100 Metro Denver and currently serves as president. Her current community activities include the Colorado Women’s Foundation (donor and member of the grants committee), and the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville advisory board.
Avani Desai chairs Philanos’ newly formed technology committee and serves on marketing and communications. Avani’s career includes overseeing IT risk management and managing and developing internal and external privacy programs at a Big Four accounting firm. She leveraged a deep knowledge of healthcare with emerging technologies such as blockchain, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and virtualization. Now at Schellman & Company, Avani focuses on growth strategies, strategic client and market development, industry analysis and new services. She has been featured in Forbes, CIO.com, and the Wall Street Journal, and is sought after to speak on a variety of emerging topics, including security, privacy, information security, future technology trends, and the expansion of young women involved in technology. In 2017, Avani, a crypto enthusiast, launched MyCryptoAlert, an app that provides a mobile solution for portfolio alert problems crypto investors face. Avani is a board member of Arnold Palmer Medical Center, the Central Florida Foundation, and is a past co-chair of 100 Women Strong in Orlando, a female-only, venture capitalist-based giving circle that focuses on solving community-based problems specific to women and children by using data analytics and big data. Avani is the proud mother to her 7-year-old son, Sahil, and her 4-year-old daughter, Sareena.
Dale Lothrop Clifford chairs the education committee. She became a member of the Women’s Giving Alliance (WGA) in Jacksonville, FL in 2006 because a friend invited her to a WGA education event. She soon became active on the grants decision team, has served as grants committee co-chair and is currently second vice president. Dale retired in 2012 after 40 years as a history professor at the University of North Florida, during which time she also served as president of the faculty association, history department chair, founding director of the honors program, and Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. As a military historian, Dale’s particular interests are in the French Revolution and World War I; she also serves on the editorial advisory board of H-War. In the Jacksonville community she has served on various boards including those of Jacksonville Community Council, Inc., a civic involvement organization, and the Women’s Center of Jacksonville. Her skills as a community volunteer include speaking and writing, organizing projects, and applying computer technology as well as teaching others to use it. Her enduring passions include history, libraries, sailing, and walking on the beach near her home.
Maggie Glasgow serves as co-chair of marketing and communications. She is a past co-chair for Greenville Women Giving (Greenville, SC). She served as a board member for 13 years, and as a co-chair for four years. She also served as chair of the education, strategic planning, and leadership development committees. Prior to retiring and moving to Greenville, Maggie was an academic sociologist, teaching at Bluefield College in Bluefield, Virginia for over a decade, retiring as Chair of the Social Science Division. She established a major in sociology at Bluefield College and was selected Outstanding Faculty Member at Bluefield College in 2000. Maggie lives with her husband in Greenville where they enjoy reading, traveling and gardening as well as time with their three children and six grandchildren. Maggie has a BA in Journalism from the University of North Dakota, B.A. in Sociology from Florida Atlantic University, M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University. She brings her love of research, data analysis, writing, advocating for women and leadership development to this work.
Karen Holly serves on the affiliate expansion and engagement committee. She is a senior level executive with over 15 years of experience providing strategic, financial, and operational leadership in corporate and municipal government settings. She currently oversees the day-to-day operations of the Marion County Public Health Department in Marion, Indiana. As a member of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis, Karen has a passion for membership and has held multiple positions in that area, including membership chair. She served as president of Impact 100 of Greater Indianapolis from 2013-15. She has also been a member of the membership committee since 2016. Karen’s other community involvement includes being a member of the Presidents Roundtable of Indianapolis as well as a leader of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana since 2011. She has also been the treasurer of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition and a member of NFL Fitness and Football Committee for the 2012 Super Bowl. Karen has an MBA from the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN and a BS in electrical engineering from GMI Engineering and Management Institute in Flint, MI.
Ginny Jarrett serves on the affiliate expansion and engagement committee. She is co-founder and past administrative chair of the board of the Roanoke Women’s Foundation which began in 2004. Ginny is Managing Director, Investments for Davenport & Company, LLC and has been a financial consultant for over thirty years. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Hollins University. She has served as a board member and treasurer of the Association of Junior Leagues International as well as president of her local league. In her community of Roanoke, VA, Ginny has served as president of the YWCA and the Community Youth Program. She has also served on the boards of the Arts Council, the National Conference of Community and Justice, and treasurer of both Mill Mountain Theater and St. John’s Episcopal Church. Ginny currently serves on the board of the Carilion Clinic Foundation and on the grants committee for the Roanoke Women’s Foundation.
Val Kirk serves as the treasurer. She has over 40 years of experience in both finance and law with a degree in both. She practiced law for twenty-six years, serving as managing partner for 12 of those years before retiring in 2017. Val is a passionate advocate for the collective giving model having seen its impact in Austin, TX. She was on the Impact Austin board for 7 years, several as treasurer. Currently she is a volunteer in financial administration, in membership, and sits on the board's finance committee. Val created the grant finance committee which supports the grant review committees in reviewing potential grantee financials, co-chairing the committee for 4 years. She has also served on the finance, audit, governance, strategic planning and personnel committees as chair or as a member. Val’s other community involvements include serving as treasurer for 10 years for The Texas Advocacy Project; treasurer for 4 years for the Travis County Women Lawyer’s Foundation, and 8 years on the board of the KDH Dance Company.
Paula Liang serves as the current chair. She practiced corporate litigation in Chicago and New York and taught a course in pre-trial litigation that she designed at the University of Maryland. But she found her passion when she took what she thought was “time out” to raise her three children. Volunteer work quickly turned into leadership roles in non-profits, and eventually employment. She led two successful capital campaigns as a volunteer before accepting a job running the annual campaign for Greenwich Academy, a PreK-12 girls’ school in Greenwich, CT. Her most recent job before moving to Florida in 2011 was as the Development Director at REACH Prep, where she was responsible for raising the $1.5 million annual budget needed to provide academic enrichment and independent school placement to talented students trapped in failing public schools. When she moved to Jacksonville, she became involved in the non-profit world again; she is now serving as immediate past president of Women’s Giving Alliance (WGA), and co-chair of the Florida Women's Funding Alliance, as well as the secretary of the board for Hubbard House, as a Director of the Jacksonville PACE Center for Girls, and on the advisory board of Donasity, a Jacksonville-based online fundraising start-up. Paula also served as co-chair of the 2017 WCGN National Leadership Forum in Jacksonville and served on WCGN’s board as an ex-officio director in that capacity through June 2017. She earned a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from Boston University.
Deborah Majewski is a member of the affiliate expansion and engagement committee. She served on the Women’s Impact Fund board of directors for seven years including as board chair, nominating chair, treasurer, and grants chair and now serves on the board of advisors. As grants committee chair, she selected and implemented their first online grants management system. Deborah currently serves on the board of directors of Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center and on the governance board of A Way Home (a Charlotte housing endowment). In her professional life, Deborah is a Senior Program Officer at the Leon Levine Foundation, and prior to taking that role in 2018, she served in a variety of leadership positions at Bank of America Corporation. Deborah has an M.B.A., finance and corporate accounting, from William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY and a B.S., finance degree from State University of New York, College at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY. She lives in Charlotte with her husband Dan and enjoys spending her free time at the couple’s cabin in the NC mountains.
Laura Midgley served as the WCGN founding board chair from 2013-2015 and led the transition to become a 501(c)3. She co-chaired PowerUP! The Spark That Ignites Change, Philanos’ 2020 national conference for 370 leaders who convened in Seattle to advance their understanding and commitment to equitable grantmaking and inclusivity in our organizations. She now serves on the Philanos strategic planning, marketing and communications and resource development committees and has previously co-chaired membership, communications and governance. An active member of Washington Women’s Foundation (WaWF) in Seattle since 2002 and a director for nine years, Laura has served in many leadership roles at WaWF, including chairing a number of committees (Cabinet, Pooled Fund Grant, Discovery Days, Innovation Partner Grants, Governance). She is also a member of two other Philanos affiliates: Wood River Women’s Foundation in Ketchum, ID and the newly formed Impact 100 Seattle. Past board affiliations and board leadership roles in Seattle include Child Care Resources, Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS), University Prep, and Rebuilding Together Seattle. Laura currently serves as VP of University Relations for the Seattle Chapter of the ARCS Foundation, which supports the power of scientific and technological education to drive positive change in our world. She is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a BA in economics and had a career as a buyer before devoting her time to community building and raising a family. A transplanted New Yorker, she and her husband David raised their two daughters in Seattle, WA and spend as much time as they can hiking and skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Virginia Mills is a past board chair and a founding member of WCGN, now Philanos. She currently serves as co-chair of the marketing and communications committee. Virginia has a passion for helping women recognize, harness, and utilize their talents and resources for the betterment of themselves and their communities. That passion is expressed through her executive coaching business and her commitment to furthering the collective giving grantmaking movement. Her non-profit experience spans both Minneapolis and Boston: past president and a founding member of GIVING WoMN; board member of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches and former president of the Junior League of Minneapolis. While living in her other favorite city, Boston, she was a board member of Beacon Hill Women’s Forum and a member of The Philanthropy Connection and Womenade Boston. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Virginia holds a BA (Plan II) from the University of Texas at Austin and is the proud mother of two daughters.
Vicki Sheehan is a member of the Philanos affiliate expansion and engagement committee. She previously served as the secretary and held the role of chair of WCGN before it became a 501(c)3. She is an attorney and president of Sheehan Investment Services, which owns and manages office properties and a senior living community. A former Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund (SOS) president, she is past chair of the 2014 WCGN Conference hosted by the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund. Active throughout her professional career in many nonprofit boards, including YWCA, Junior League of St. Louis, Independence Center, Haven of Grace and Community School, Vicki recently co-founded "Nonprofit Real Estate Advisors," blending her professional expertise with her nonprofit board experience to serve small to mid-sized nonprofits that require professional services and guidance in real estate matters.
Jhaymee Tynan is a new member to the Philanos board of directors and part of the technology committee. She has a deep passion for trust-based philanthropy, supporting diversity in collective giving, and specifically helping to educate and inspire donors of color on the transformational impact of philanthropy in our communities. She is a proud member of the Women’s Impact Fund, and has served on the strategic planning, grants, and finance committees – most recently serving as treasurer and finance chair of the board of directors. Professionally, Jhaymee is a healthcare strategy and M&A executive with over 17 years of experience in healthcare, finance and IT. She also serves on the boards of directors for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Women in Healthcare, and the National Association for Health Services Executives. Jhaymee has a B.S. in finance from Virginia Tech, a M.S. in project management from the George Washington University, and an M.B.A. from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. She lives in Charlotte with her husband Brian and her two fur babies Kenji (Ragdoll Cat) and Agnes (mini goldendoodle).
Gwen Wesley is a member of the Philanos governance committee and chair of strategic planning. She is a founding member and past president of the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund. She is a member of the nominating committee and the advisory council. Gwen also serves on the board of the Women’s Society of Washington University, where she chairs the scholarship committee and on the board of Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice. Gwen’s corporate experience includes management positions in information systems technology, governmental and environmental affairs, and corporate director of diversity and equal employment opportunity. Gwen has worked with elected officials and neighborhood organizations to revitalize neglected neighborhoods in North St. Louis City. She has served as executive director of a not-for-profit organization and as a quality control agent with the Division of Children and Family Services. Her on-going compassion for children in foster care led her to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in St. Louis County Family Court and to later join their board of directors. On the national level, Gwen served on the National CASA Association curriculum advisory committee, developing and presenting material to prepare volunteers to advocate for children in courts throughout the United States. She remains “on-call” as a third-party reviewer for foster care cases in St. Louis County. Gwen holds a B.S. in English and an M.B.A. She is a charter member of the St. Louis Symphony In Unison Chorus, where she chairs the advisory committee.
Colleen Willoughby, Founder of Philanos is the founder of the Washington Women's Foundation (WaWF) in 1995 in Seattle, WA and served as president from 1995 to 2008. In 2008 she established PHILANOS, in response to the growing interest in collective giving funds modeled after the WaWF model. It has grown to 17,000+ members in over 75 locations including two funds she established in Melbourne, Australia and Shanghai, China. She personally visited these two cities and others in her efforts to advance the model globally. She has served as president of the Junior League of Seattle and has been a member of the board of directors of the Association of Junior Leagues International. She has served on the boards of The Seattle Foundation, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center Foundation, and the Saul and Dayee Haas Foundation. She has chaired the boards of Leadership Tomorrow, The Seattle Children's Home, and the United Way of King County. She is a founder of CityClub, a public affairs forum in Seattle, and she currently serves as a member of the advisory board at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. She is a graduate and Trustee Emerita of Whitman College. Colleen is currently a Director of Global Women - Partners in Philanthropy, a newly established organization to advance the model of collective giving globally. She began her career as a public middle school teacher.