Board of Directors

Jim Tobin, Chair

Ronni Goldfarb, President

Saswati Paul, Vice Chair

Jack Deeds

Mark Gunther, Chair Emeritus

Harini Krishnan

Mary Beth Garber

Michael Kleeman

Jenn Louie

Christopher R. Wolf

Julie Gupta

 


JIM TOBIN, Chair

Mr. Tobin joined Equal Access’ Board of Directors in October 2006. In January of 2006, James M. Tobin formed the Law Office of James M. Tobin to focus his practice on the evolving convergence of the Internet and traditional telecommunications industries, with emphasis on policy, regulatory issues and business transactions. From 1990 until 2005, Mr. Tobin was the partner in charge of the San Francisco-based telecommunications practice of Morrison & Foerster, a large international law firm. Mr. Tobin has over thirty years of legal and business experience in the telecommunications industry. Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster, Mr. Tobin held corporate offices as Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of ALC Communications Corp. (now part of Global Crossing) and Vice President-Regulatory Affairs of Sprint. Mr. Tobin also served as a member of the Board of Directors and Vice-Chairman of COMPTEL, the trade association of competitive telecommunications service providers. Mr. Tobin also served as the Chairman of the Board of Southern Pacific Telecommunications Company (predecessor company to Qwest Communications) from 1991 through 1993. Mr. Tobin’s practice has focused on the transactional, regulatory, and political aspects of the telecommunications and evolving internet industries, both domestic and international. Mr. Tobin has counseled service providers (such as cellular carriers, long distance carriers, local exchange carriers, and providers of enhanced and Internet-related services), large users of communications services, and government regulators.

Mr. Tobin has lectured and spoken on telecommunications issues at the University of California, Golden Gate University School of Law, the Institute of the Americas, California Continuing Legal Education classes, and other industry and legal seminars in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In 2004, the San Francisco Magazine named Mr. Tobin one of Northern California’s Super Lawyers in Telecommunications, and Who’s Who Legal, the International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers named him one of the world’s finest Regulatory Communications lawyers of the years 2005, 2006, and 2007. Mr. Tobin has been listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Law for over fifteen years.

 

RONNI GOLDFARBPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Ronni Goldfarb is the founder of Equal Access International and has served in the capacity of President and CEO since Equal Access’ inception in 2000.  Under her leadership, Equal Access launched and developed its mission and unique methodology for catalyzing social change – combining the power of innovative media with direct community engagement.  Today, Equal Access  has a broadcast reach to more than 100 million underserved people across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, with country offices and large-scale programs in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Chad, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Yemen and project activities in Lao PDR. Focusing organizational efforts to address critical needs in the developing world at scale, Ronni leads the organization in strategic planning and major partnership development. She also serves as a Program Development Specialist, Champion and International Ambassador for Equal Access work across five key sectors: Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment, Youth Life skills & Livelihoods, Human Rights, Civil Society & Governance and Global Health.

In 2010, Ronni was appointed by Secretary of State Clinton as a Commissioner to the National Commission to UNESCO. The National Commission supports worldwide humanitarian development and values by coordinating efforts and delivering expert advice from the federal, state, and local governments and from nongovernmental organizations on issues of education, science, communications, and culture. Ronni also serves as President of the Equal Access Board of Directors. With more than 16 years experience as a Strategic Communications Consultant prior to the founding and launch of Equal Access, Ronni has created and implemented communications initiatives, multi-media events, and programs for Fortune 500 Corporations and the United Nations. Her work with the United Nations includes strategic consulting and program implementation for UNDP, Regional Bureau of Asia and the Pacific, the UN Conference on Women, Beijing, and the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Ronni holds a Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude from SUNY Buffalo and studied Cultural Anthropology and Media at New York University.

 

SASWATI PAUL, Vice Chair

Saswati is an attorney by profession, focusing in particular on employee benefits and ERISA fiduciary issues.  Previously she was with GreenbergTraurig, LLP, the ERISA boutique Trucker Huss, White & Case LLP and Baker & McKenzie. Before moving to the private sector, she worked with the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA, for nearly eight years, enforcing fiduciary compliance under ERISA. She is a frequent speaker and writer on ERISA fiduciary issues and is currently on the 2010-2011 Program Committee of the Western Pension & Benefits Conference (WP&BC) San Francisco Chapter. She began her legal career as the first Anheuser-Busch Fellow at the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, and co-authored its first comprehensive national audit on anti-Asian violence. She was appointed to the Maryland Governor’s Task Force on Anti-Asian Violence, and served as President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund of Washington, D.C.  This past summer, she was invited to participate in the Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festival’s program on Asian Pacific Americans. She is a member of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives and various bar associations.  Presently she serves on Audubon Elementary School’s Site Council, teaches art in school through ArtinAction, and is Treasurer of her daughter’s Girl Scouts Troop.

In past years, she has also served on the boards of various Asian Pacific American Bar Associations. She was instrumental in establishing the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California’s Hate Crimes Hotline. Saswati has also worked with battered women and provided representation to indigent clients seeking political asylum and/or facing deportation. While earning a B.A. in Economics from Yale University, Saswati wrote her senior essay on the role of women in economic development. Saswati continues to be involved with Yale by serving as an interviewer for its Alumni School Committee. She also holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Gryzmish and Dean’s Funds Awards focusing on public interest law. She is a member of the California, Maryland and District of Columbia Bars, and various U.S. District Courts.

 

JACK DEEDS

John Francis Deeds, CPA, “Jack” is an entrepreneurial financial thought leader in emerging business solutions, including the building of rigorous financial tools and models, strategic/business plans, automated processes, and business metrics and tracking mechanisms that provide evaluation and timely decision support. Jack has a strong history of working with strategic operations and finance departments to plan and execute fruitful organizational direction.

During his career, Jack has provided COO, CFO, VP finance, Controller, Management Consultant, and Auditor services to diverse industries including service organizations, distribution, manufacturing, construction, banking, real estate, government, non-profits and trade associations. Jack also brings extensive experience in managing international finance support for operations. He utilizes his diverse business experience and superior business acumen to develop and align strategic finance initiatives with overall business strategy. Jack has developed a culture of operations as a customer service team.  He has advised key senior executives in multi-million dollar organizations in managing their operations and to help them create value.

Jack is a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the Greater Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants. Jack serves on several not for profit Boards. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Medora, and has a daughter who works in television in New York.

HARINI KRISHNAN

Like many of the Board members at Equal Access, Harini Krishnan is an individual who has enjoyed wearing many hats in her life.

Growing up in India, France, England and the US instilled in her a love of International Relations which led her to pursue her Bachelors in Political Science & a minor in French at UC Irvine. She began her career working with Non Profit Humanitarian and Public Health organizations, when, as part of her Masters in International Public Administration at USC, she was required to pursue an internship with a UN organization. She chose to work in the UNICEF India Country Office in Delhi, and also began working with grassroots organizations that provided non-formal education to working impoverished children during this time. After returning to the US, she began working for International Medical Corps, an organization similar to Medecins Sans Frontieres which trained local medics in war devastated countries, and after moving to the Bay Area, Harini worked for International Rivers Network, an Environmental Human Rights organization based in Berkeley. After a brief hiatus following the birth of her two daughters, Harini joined Child Family Health International (CFHI), a global health service learning organization based in San Francisco and helped implement the Recover program, which involved the solicitation, collection, inventory and shipment of recycled medical supplies and equipment to CFHI partners abroad.

Harini left CFHI to raise her two daughters and began volunteering extensively in the Hillsborough School community, serving as President of both the West Hillsborough Elementary Parent Group, and the Crocker Middle School Parent Group, and also served on the Hillsborough Schools Foundation Board as the Community Campaign Co-Chair. Harini has been the Co-President of the San Mateo High School Foundation for the last four years, and is also active in San Mateo High School’s Music & Drama Boosters as well as the Hillsborough Neighborhood Network.

Harini comes from a family of acclaimed Carnatic (South Indian Classical) Musicians and is a well known Carnatic Vocalist in the Bay Area. Harini and her 2 sisters are known as California Sisters in India and as Krishnan Sisters in the Bay Area, have released many albums, performed in venues around the world, and given fundraising performances in support of many causes such as Rotary International’s Global Polio plus Program. Harini also enjoys being a vocalist for several Indian Classical Dance programs as part of Vishwa Shanthi Dance Academy based in San Mateo. An avid proponent of Indian Classical Music Education in the US, Harini has presented lecture demonstrations at various schools, universities and musical venues, including San Jose State University, City College of San Francisco and the Annual California Music Educators Conference. Harini has been featured in local public TV programs and has been a judge for several music competitions including Anahat, the National South Asian A Capella Collegiate Competition. In addition to Indian Classical Music, Harini is also passionate about musical theatre, and has performed in several fun roles in community theatre productions including as Evilene in the Wiz!

MARY BETH GARBER

Mary Beth Garber, president of the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA), was named Broadcaster of the Year at the 2008 national Radio Advertising Bureau convention. Under Garber’s leadership during the past ten years, the Los Angeles Radio market has grown to be the largest in the world, and the only one with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion. While at SCBA, Garber has co-produced with Arbitron three behavioral studies about media usage and created the concept of “The Virtual Neighborhoods of Radio.” An early and vocal advocate of radio’s continued importance as a twenty-first century medium, she has written and spoken throughout the country on the value of using radio together with the Internet to build stronger, more targeted marketing campaigns.

Garber has received numerous honors during her distinguished advertising and broadcast career including the Genii Award for Excellence in Radio, from the American Women in Radio and Television, the 2007 Golden Buccaneer Award from PIRATES (Print, Interactive Radio and TV Education Society) for her philanthropic endeavors, and has been on Radio Ink magazine’s list of “20 Most Influential Women In Radio” since its inception in 1999.

A former Pitzer College trustee, Garber is on the Board of Directors of think(LA), the Executive Board of the Los Angeles Media Marketing Research Council, the Board of Trustees of St. Francis Hospital Foundation and the Board of Variety Children’s Charity, Tent 25. Garber’s natural leadership talent and ability to influence others was recognized during her undergraduate years while she served as the first student class president.

JULIE GUPTA

Julie is an independent consultant focused on providing business and product strategy and implementation for media, Internet and technology companies at all stages of development. Previously, she was Executive Director of Product Strategy at AOL. Julie brings over 15 years of proven success in project leadership, business strategy and product management experience in for-profits and non-profits to her board role at Equal Access. She has been instrumental in managing successful teams at both startups and Fortune 500 companies charged with launching new product initiatives. Prior to AOL, she re-engineered a 150-year old non-profit organization to profitability and long-term sustainability. Julie has been an executive with multiple start-ups at early stages of their inception, developing and executing both long-term business strategies and the delivery of products and services. She has held key positions at Bain and Company, Sun Microsystems, and Kleiner Perkins-backed Corsair Communications. Additionally she co-founded Rentanything, an Internet marketplace known as the ‘eBay for rentals’. Julie started her career at IBM. Julie has a Bachelors and Masters in Engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

 

 MICHAEL KLEEMAN

Michael Kleeman is a Senior Fellow at the University of California, San Diego and the National Chair in the Office of the President for Humanitarian Services for the American Red Cross.  At UCSD, he is working with the School of International Relations/Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation and the California Institute of Telecommunications and Internet Technology (CALIT2) on mobile health and critical infrastructure issues.  He is also a member of the faculty Network at the Claremont-IMD Executive Education program at the Drucker School of Business.  Formerly a Vice President at The Boston Consulting Group, Director at Arthur D. Little, and executive at Sprint, Mr. Kleeman has been involved with numerous technology companies in North America as advisor and executive.  He serves on the Boards of The Institute for the Future, the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito and SEACOM.  Mr. Kleeman holds an MA from the Claremont Graduate School, an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University.

 

 JENN LOUIE

Jenn Louie manages the Trust & Safety team at Meetup, a local community organizing network at the intersection of online and offline social community building. Prior to joining Meetup, she worked at Google for over 7 years in several roles spanning from Sales Strategy & Operations for New Product Solutions to Product Policy Development and has worked in Biotech and for the Japanese government. Jenn also serves on the Board for the Community Technology Network.

 

CHRISTOPHER R. WOLF

Christopher R. Wolf has 30 years of financial and investment experience, including 10 years portfolio management and oversight of funds of hedge funds and hedge funds, and 6 years in private equity. Mr. Wolf is Co-Founder, Managing Member and CEO of Convergens SF LLC, a provider of advanced fiber optics, internet and telecom services and Chairman of SRA Stewards, Inc., a national publishing firm. Previously, Mr. Wolf was Founder and Managing Partner of Cogo Wolf Asset Management, managing an emerging markets fund of hedge funds since 2005. Mr. Wolf was also CEO and CIO of KingsGate Capital Management, LLC, a long/short equity hedge fund from 2001-2005. Prior to founding KingsGate, he was President, CEO and Director of Protogene, a biotech firm, from 1999-2001. From 1996-1999, he was EVP and CFO of Hyseq, Inc. where he oversaw the world’s largest biotechnology IPO for 1997. From 1991- 1996, he was Managing Partner of Georgica Group; from 1988- 1991, Partner in Mergers & Acquisitions at Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.; from 1983-1988, VP in Investment Banking with Kidder, Peabody & Co. Inc.   He holds a B.A., summa cum laude, from Ohio Wesleyan University and a M.B.A. from Yale University.

 

MARK GUNTHERChair Emeritus

Mr. Gunther began his business career organizing food cooperatives during and after college while working first as a cook, then a carpenter. Since 1980, Mr. Gunther has been the Financial or General Manager of small businesses in the catalog, periodical publishing, and consumer product industries, including Mix Publications, publisher of the leading professional, audio and electronic musical instrument magazines, and the Dinocardz Company, publisher of a series of innovative, educational dinosaur products. He spent ten years as a trustee, including serving as treasurer and then president, of Presidio Hill School, California’s oldest, continuously operating progressive independent school.  Mr. Gunther currently is managing director of the Eva Gunther Foundation, a grant maker and seed funder focused on enabling self determination for girls. He serves on the boards at Buddy Rhodes Concrete Products and Rhythm and Motion, Inc., and on the Finance Committee of Congregation Beth Sholom, where he previously led the complete reconstruction of the congregation’s campus. He has been Chairman of Equal Access since its inception. Also an athlete, he rides his bike about 7,000 miles per year.