MEET THE BOARD
iACT’s Board of Directors includes individuals with extensive experience in advocacy and activism, policy and business. The board oversees iACT’s work and helps to ensure we are making progress in service of our mission.
Chair, Program Committee
Eric Angel is a software engineer that holds a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Davis. His M.S. thesis involved research in human perception of spatial sound and hands-on work with audio recording systems. In college he also studied image processing, and after graduating he was a Lecturer for an upper-division Electrical Engineering class at U.C.Davis. For the past 6 years he has lived and worked in Los Angeles. In June of 2009 he traveled as a member of the iACT team to the refugee camps for Darfuris in Chad. He ran the on-site technical operations for several live video conferences from within a refugee camp on the trip. This included a live link with a UNHCR World Refugee Day event for VIP’s in Washington D.C. and a 5 hour long live video feed that was viewed by people from around the world on a UNHCR website as it was happening. Eric also has experience with web design, audio processing, and video editing in Final Cut. Eric works with SGN because he deeply believes that technology has the ability to create links between people from different communities and cultures to solve some of the world’s worst human rights violations.
Why I ACT?
I ACT because I see how fortunate my daughter is to have peace, education, healthcare, play, and unlimited opportunities — and I believe every child deserves the same regardless of where they were born.
Co-Chair, Development Committee
Born and bred in the Los Angeles area, Corey now resides in the South Bay and is the owner of an award-winning Graphic Design and Marketing agency located in Hermosa Beach, Ca. He brings 20 years of marketing experience to the Board’s Development Committee with the mission to build and elevate iACT’s brand and ultimately increase awareness, involvement and funding for the organization. Corey graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a pre-law degree and spent several years recording and touring with his punk band before starting his own design agency. His interests include soccer, music and spending time with his family.
Why I ACT?
I act because while some are born with many options right in front of them, others aren’t so fortunate. How can we sit back and not bring support and hope to those who so desperately need it.
Co-Chair, Development Committee
Marcie graduated with honors from UC Santa Barbara with a double-major in Fine Art and Communications. Her first “real” jobs included touring the globe with Madonna as a costume assistant and being a graphic designer for the launch of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the 1994 World Cup in America. An entrepreneur at heart, she founded an award-winning agency in 1995 and left the firm in 2012 to launch her own line of paper and gift goods. Over the years Marcie’s work has been extensively honored and published, and as a result, she was selected as an occupational expert by the US Department of Labor to help them develop educational content. Marcie has been a longtime contributor to the design industry and looks forward to sharing this passion and dedication with the people of i-Act.
Why I Act?
I act because I can…
I can see the need and I can make a difference.
Christian Deitch became committed to the Darfur cause when he worked at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan from 2008 to 2010 as a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State. He logged long hours tracking developments on the ground in the region, and focused U.S. policy on pushing rebel actors to the negotiating table. In 2010 he traveled with former President Jimmy Carter to El Fasher, and advised several Congressional delegations during their trips to Darfur. Now living in California, he currently splits his time between Oakland and Los Angeles. He is delighted to serve on the Board of Directors Development Committee for iACT.
Stacey Martino has been merging arts and activism since 1988. She began using the arts to support community engagement and movement work when she became deeply involved in the epidemic of homelessness in Philadelphia. It was there that she embarked on a trilogy of theater pieces at the request of the local community experiencing homelessness. Stacey later earned her MFA at The New School for Social Research in New York and is a founder of CoActive Content, a collective of grassroots activists and artists. As a teacher of relaxation techniques, sensory awareness and compassionate communication, She has worked with artists, trauma survivors, parents, and those effected by homelessness for over 20 years.
In 2005 she began work in support of legislation to create a Department of Peace and Violence in our Federal Government where she was exposed to the practice of Nonviolent Communication. She is an NVC certification candidate, NVC Parenting Peer Leadership graduate and part of the International Nonviolent Global Liberation Apprenticeship Program. She is a Restorative Practices facilitator who serves in movement, community and organizational spaces working to create cultures of change around conflict engagement, equitable systems and community agreements. Stacey is committed to trauma informed care and restorative community practices. Her most recent training and community practice experiences include: The International Institute of Restorative Practices, Gregory Rouillard’s Art of Community, Impact Justice, The California Conference of Equality and Justice and ECHO Parenting and Education.
Stacey is an active team member and sits on the board of iACT ( she has traveled to the camps and contributes NVC and Restorative Practices Curriculum to the Global Citizens and LEAD with Empathy Programs), and is also a board member of Family Heart Camp, supporting diverse families and communities in the practice of nonviolent communication in natural settings.
Merri Weir started life in Biloxi, MS & soon started her love of travel and adventure at an early age when she moved to Germany where her dad was stationed. After other moves, she spent her early educational years in Texas then her 20s in Chicago, her 30s in Hong Kong and is now in Los Angeles. She considers herself to be a citizen of the world, an educator, an activists and believes in the Buddhist proverb that everyone in the world is connected by a red string and that it can never be broken or tangled and that we all should strive for harmony. Over the last 13 years Merri’s work for iACT includes hosting Camp Darfur, participating in the Mobile Library Campaign, being a member of the One Strong Kick Committee meeting and an education specialist on the Global Citizens Committee.
Founding Executive Director
Gabriel became involved in supporting populations displaced by genocide and mass atrocities out of a sense of personal responsibility. He believes that the power of community and compassion, combined with personal empowerment, can bring about meaningful change. He graduated from California State University at Dominguez Hills with a degree in Behavioral Science, and previous to founding iACT, Gabriel worked as a Family Consultant, providing in-home therapy for abused children and their families. In addition to making over 30 trips to refugee camps on the Chad-Darfur border, Cameroon, Tanzania, and the Central African Republic, Gabriel has spearheaded campaigns such as the 100-Day Fast for Darfur, Darfur Freedom Summer Vigils, Camp Darfur, Darfur Fast for Life, as well as iACT’s innovative and award-winning programs such as Little Ripples, the Refugees United Soccer Academy, and Darfur United. He is featured in The Enough Moment, a book written by activist John Prendergast and actor Don Cheadle.
Deborah A. Senior
Deborah’s passion for international relief and development began early in life and led her to pursue graduate studies in economic development. Her research focused on the challenges women face, particularly related to poverty, inequality, and vulnerability. While working in the private sector, she pursued her passion by volunteering extensively in a variety of areas. After 20 years at Toyota North America, she started a consulting practice performing strategic planning, marketing, and research primarily for nonprofit organizations.
Deborah has held numerous positions including marketing, brand, and product strategy for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion. She also led Lexus product development, pricing and sales/production planning, and the development and execution of Toyota’s regional strategies as Vice President for North America Business Planning. Deborah has taught a variety of subjects including Economics and guest lectured for graduate courses on Ethics and Social Impact and Economics of Philanthropy. Her work has been recognized with awards in social innovation and corporate citizenship, and she was nominated for the Automotive Hall of Fame Young Leadership and Excellence Award.
Deborah has a PhD and MA in Economics from USC, an MS in Nonprofit/NGO Leadership and Social Innovation from UPenn, and a BA in Economics and History from UC Berkeley. She recently received certification for teaching English as a foreign language following a three-month program in Morocco.
Deborah is the co-founder and co-chair of USC’s Women in Economics organization, member of USC’s Economics Leadership Council, and member of UPenn’s Nonprofit Leadership Governance Committee and Alumni Association Board.
I act because…
I believe everyone is deserving of opportunity in life, and I believe change is possible.
Treasurer, Program Committee
Yuen-Lin Tan joined the iACT team in 2005, answering founder Gabriel Stauring’s call for technical help with the first iACT mission to Chad. He is currently a board member on the Program Committee. Yuen-Lin made two trips to Chad, in 2007 and 2009. Interacting personally with the refugees from Darfur, these trips moved him and deepened his commitment to helping them. With other volunteers, Yuen-Lin developed Commkit: a social network-like system through which refugees in Chad communicated with others using satellite Internet. For World Refugee Day 2009, Yuen-Lin, the iACT team and partners UNHCR and VSee connected audiences around the world with refugees in Chad through an interactive live webcast. Yuen-Lin holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and is currently investigating the roots of humanity’s problems through an M.A. in Buddhist Classics at Dharma Realm Buddhist University.
With over 25 years of media and marketing experience, Marisusan Trout has held executive positions with Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Discovery Communications (Discovery Channel network), Hallmark Channel, and ABC; and has earned a solid reputation as a successful domestic and international marketing strategist and revenue builder. Marisusan’s passion and focus is developing cross-media content based on human-interest stories for multi-level (television, film, digital, social, mobile, event, etc.) entertainment properties, for networks and brands designed to inspire to move audiences into action and create positive impact.
Marisusan has traveled to third-world countries to assist in various education and health programs. Domestically, she has been involved in various philanthropic groups to help them build awareness and impact.
Marisusan Trout received a B.A. in Communications/Marketing from California State University, Chico. She enjoys time with her son, Alex, traveling, philanthropic and community events, wine, friends, and family; and resides in Manhattan Beach, CA.
I ACT because…..
I am inspired to take action and make things happen. Action creates hope, which then breeds new possibilities and positive change. I act because we all are one.