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.
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.
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.”
Dave is a long-time entertainment industry executive, having focused on international film and television distribution for the past fifteen years at companies like 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and NBC Universal. Dave has a deep interest in helping disadvantaged communities, especially those overseas that have been impacted by genocide. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dave has a BA from Wesleyan University and a JD from The University of Michigan School of Law. He has had a life-long love of soccer and international travel. Dave lives in Manhattan Beach, California with his wife Lynne and two teenage daughters.
I ACT because…
“I believe we have a moral responsibility to try to heal the world.”
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.
Ben has worked in and around professional soccer all the way back to the 1900’s as part of a career in the sports, media and technology industries. He has worked for teams in America and England and been involved in 4 World Cups (2 men’s and 2 women’s), winning an Emmy award for his work on the TV coverage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
He is extremely passionate about using soccer as a weapon for good, and gets the chance to do so as a founding co-owner of both Minnesota United of Major League Soccer and Angel City FC of the National Women’s Soccer League, both of which are very focused on doing impactful work off the field as well as winning games on it.
He has also taught in the business program at UCLA’s Continuing Education Program and has been a guest lecturer at top business schools including Harvard, Dartmouth and UCLA.
A Minnesota native, he graduated with honors from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in economics and holds a MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship.
He and his wife, Joanna, have two soccer-crazed boys who have experienced strangers turn into new friends through pick-up games on their travels in places ranging from a blacktop field near an educational center they helped build in rural Romania to the streets of Moscow.
I ACT because…
Soccer when used for good is one of the most powerful weapons in the world – it can give children superpowers and connect people from any background. Soccer is an opportunity for us to be united across race, religion, gender, and nationality: the beautiful game welcomes everyone. Roll a ball out anywhere and watch good things happen…”
As the child of public school teachers, access is at the heart of what drives Joanna to act. Born and raised in Sacramento, soccer was also a major part of her childhood, and she was part of one of the first competitive girls teams in the area at the time. Joanna brings more than 15 years of nonprofit experience to iACT, and is currently ensuring access to a quality education for all as the executive director of an education foundation based in the Bay Area. Soccer continues to be a major part of her life from watching her two children play to helping create a local TOPSoccer program for children with special needs.
I ACT because…
The world needs more joy, more opportunities to play, and more people asking others what they need. I ACT to help bring access to early childhood education to every child.
Joslyn Hitter has been studying Insight Meditation since 2008. Her approach to Insight Mediation is greatly informed by her Master’s degree in Counseling and Psychology along with a Master’s degree in Depth Psychology and Somatic Studies, both from Pacifica Graduate Institute located in Carpinteria, California. A native Angeleno and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Joslyn attended Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland for high school and American University in Washington, D.C. for undergraduate study.
She is a Mindfulness Facilitator certified by the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. In addition, Joslyn is certified to lead groups specializing in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP). Joslyn has practiced Ashtanga Yoga since 2000 and has a Master’s degree in Eastern Classics from St. John’s College located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Joslyn credits Donald Rothberg and Trudy Goodman as her inspirations and motivation for sharing the practices of loving awareness with communities suffering from trauma and systemic violence.
In addition to her one on one, group, corporate, and drop-in meditations, Joslyn teaches at InsightLA and Cancer Support Community Center in Los Angeles. She also teaches with iACT in refugee camps in eastern Chad and Greece.
I ACT because…
“I am committed to doing what I can to ensure the peace, happiness, wellbeing, and safety of all beings everywhere, omitting none.”
Nezia Munezero Kubwayo
Nezia Munezero Kubwayo is a Burundian American humanitarian, currently serving as the Director of Philanthropy at Shepherd’s Clinic. She has managed communications and development efforts for non-profits for over a decade. Nezia previously worked in refugee resettlement for the Ethipian Development Council and Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area. She also worked as the Executive Director of Night of Peace Family Shelter prior to serving in the information management branch of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Nezia earned her BA in Political Science and French at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and her MA in International Human Rights Law from the American University in Cairo. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Nova Southeastern University. Nezia lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband and three children.
I ACT because…
“The world is a better place when refugees have opportunities and spaces in which to thrive.“
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.
Born and raised in South Africa during apartheid, Liam saw both how injustice and violence can destroy lives, as well as how the transformative power of human rights, dignity and opportunity can lift up an entire nation. He grew up learning from the freedom fighters in his own family, as well as his heroes from the liberation struggle – Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and so many others.
On graduating from the University of Cape Town with a degree in Actuarial Science and Business, he pursued a career in the financial world, with the goal of helping those less fortunate gain access to financial products usually reserved for the wealthy. In South Africa he created home financing solutions for low-income people, developed easy to understand savings products, and made life insurance available at local supermarkets for less than $1.
Later, as a Fellow of the Institute and Society of Actuaries, he developed health insurance for low-income people in various countries in Africa, along with microfinance and crop insurance for poor farmers in Africa, India and Southeast Asia.
In the US, Liam was the founder of Swell Investing, the direct-to-consumer impact investing platform of Pacific Life, whose aim was to make purpose-driven investing mainstream. Now, as Chief Actuary of the Silicon Valley based startup Ladder, Liam is working to make life insurance easily available to everyone.
For iAct, Liam offers his financial expertise along with his deep passion for helping those less fortunate, especially people from his beloved Africa.
I ACT because…
“As Madiba said, what counts in life is the difference we have made to the lives of others.”
With more than 20 years of experience in sports marketing, Eddie knows what it takes to develop effective plans to reach and engage sports fans of all ages and backgrounds. His experience has him well-versed in traditional media, new media, event-based marketing and endorsements. He has developed platforms with blue-chip brands including Bank of America, Sprint, Red Bull, Chivas Regal and Honda. A specialist in Hispanic marketing, he has partnered with leading multicultural producers, promoters and local heroes in co-creative campaigns across the country.
Off the field, Eddie volunteers with various non-profits, and is a Board Member of Darfur United. In the community, he supported the fundraising efforts and program execution for the Southern California Youth Soccer Organization (SCYSO), providing opportunity for underserved youth. He has developed several programs that take youth off the street and into the classroom before lacing up and taking the field or court.
He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, representing the school in the men’s soccer program. His best times on the field are now spent on the sideline coaching his two daughters.
I ACT because…
”My father has shown me how much positive one person can bring to the world, and my mother who has shown me how much a parent can bring to a child.”
Katie-Jay Scott graduated from Portland State University with a B.A. in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She also holds a certificate in Executive Management from the Center for Nonprofit Management.
Through her positions as founding Board of Peers member of Education Network for Global and Grassroots Exchange (ENGAGE), AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator with “I Have a Dream” Foundation-Oregon, and founding Coordinator of the Portland Coalition for Genocide Awareness, Scott brings extensive leadership, community organizing, facilitation, and organizational development experience to iACT. She is a trainer, facilitator, and mentor. She began volunteering with iACT in April 2007 and been with the organization since. In January 2019, Scott became the Executive Director of iACT. She currently serves on Healing Dialogue and Action’s Advisory Board, a CA-based organization that creates healing with survivors, people who have experienced incarceration, communities impacted by violence, and advances transformative justice working towards a world free from violence. As Executive Director, she oversees international and national programs and campaigns, partnerships, fundraising and development, advocacy and policy, and engages iACT’s extensive team of volunteer experts and technical advisors. Scott brings a strong social justice lens to iACT’s work.
She has practiced yoga and mindfulness for over 15 years. She is trained in Trauma-Informed Yoga, Healing Yoga, and recently completed Off the Mat and Into the World’s Action and Purpose Leadership Intensive. She believes mindfulness and mindful movement are tools that can support trauma transformation. Scott has traveled and worked in countries in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
I ACT because…
“I feel we are all part of one community and one humanity. It’s a value that runs deep and I feel obligated to not only share this but to help build the next generation of leaders. I’ve always felt that I will leave this world a better place, and each day there is something I can do to work towards this. Educate. Activate. Empower.”
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.”
Founder, Chief of Vision and Strategy
I ACT because…
“Because it’s personal. I am a father and cannot help but thinking what it would be like if it was my kids sitting in the middle of the desert, with so much danger and so little hope. I know so many refugee fathers, mothers, and children. They are friends. I must act.”
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.”
Her career has included being a paralegal then trial manager at a major US law firm, NGO administrator in Hong Kong, and 16 years as an educator. She is currently working with Facing History Los Angeles as a Social Media coordinator. As a citizen of the world, educator, and activist she 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. This includes encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone and connect with others.
Over the last 15 years, Merri’s work with iACT includes hosting Camp Darfur, participating in the Human Rights Mobile Library Campaign, being a member of the Annual Event Committee, and an education specialist advisor for Little Ripples and Global Citizens.
I ACT because…
“I can’t turn a blind eye to the harm so many have experienced and I’m obligated to ensure their stories are heard, their needs met & their dignity is intact.”