|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.
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 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.
Dr. Annette N. Brown is an economist with more than 15 years of technical assistance, research, project management, and business development experience in international development, including more than seven years in executive and senior management positions. Brown currently serves as the Deputy Director for Advancement and Impact Evaluation Services and head of the Washington office for the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). In this position, she directs 3ie’s replication, registry, and database programs and quality assurance services as well as 3ie’s fundraising and membership development activities. She previously served as Chief Evaluation Officer, for which she directed 3ie’s evaluation office and was responsible for ensuring the quality of all impact evaluations funded by 3ie. Prior to joining 3ie, Brown served in several roles at Chemonics International Inc. including Director of Impact Measurement and Director of the Knowledge and Innovation Department. Before Chemonics, Brown served as Center Director at the Urban Institute (UI), where she oversaw all aspects of program management and strategic development for UI’s international development research and technical assistance portfolio. Over the last decade, including several years with the emerging markets division of BearingPoint, Inc. (now part of Deloitte Consulting, LLC), she has performed research and technical assistance work in both the economic growth and democracy and governance sectors in more than twenty countries across Europe and Eurasia, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, including a resident position in Armenia. Earlier in her career, Brown taught and conducted research as an Assistant Professor in the economics department at Western Michigan University, served as a Research Associate at the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, and also served as an economist in the research department at the World Bank.
Dr. Brown’s current research projects include a review of evaluating stabilization interventions, a systematic review of public information impacts on governance, and a book chapter on impact evaluations of peace education.
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.
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.
Tom has served as the Managing General Partner of Geolo Capital since 2005, bringing to the group more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, banking, real estate development and in managing private equity investments throughout the US and the Pacific Rim. Following a career in banking and international finance, Tom lived in Hong Kong and was the Chief Investment Officer and one of the founding partners for the InterPacific Group – a privately held company active in the Pacific Rim in the hospitality industry, consumer services & products, real estate development and recreational facilities. In 1995, Tom founded Mandara Spa in Bali, Indonesia serving as its Chief Executive Officer and growing the company to become the largest resort spa operator in the world. Today he serves on the boards of Joie de Vivre, Exclusive Resorts, Roost, Local TV and Western Athletic Clubs – and also serves as a Trustee for the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii.
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 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 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 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.
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.