The diversity of our board and staff reflects the diversity of the world our work is shaping. They bring expertise, resources, and vision to their work—along with track records as catalysts of change.
Board President & Founder
Jon Stryker is the founder and president of the Arcus Foundation, a private, global grantmaking organization with offices in New York City, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Cambridge, UK. Arcus supports the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) human rights, and conservation of the world's great apes. Mr. Stryker has supported the foundation's ongoing efforts with more than $500 million in funding since its inception in 2000. Mr. Stryker is also a founding board member of the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya, Save the Chimps in Ft. Pierce, Florida, and Greenleaf Trust bank in Kalamazoo. He serves on the boards of his undergraduate alma mater Kalamazoo College and Friends of the High Line, a nonprofit organization that funds the maintenance and operations of the High Line park in New York City. Mr. Stryker is a registered architect in the State of Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Kalamazoo College and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.
Stephen Bennett is CEO of United Cerebral Palsy, an international network of disability advocacy organizations and providers of services. He is a leader in disability public policy with roots in advocacy, organizing and strategy, having started his career as a Peace Corps/VISTA volunteer in South Central Los Angeles in the aftermath of the Watts riots. Mr. Bennett served as the CEO of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) in the late 1980s to the mid-1990s; and his experience in the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, developing a response, organizing support and building public understanding, greatly impacted his life and later work. He has served on various boards, including ANGLE, Leadership 18, and the National Institute for the Severely Handicapped. He is a founding board member of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and he currently chairs the Disability PAC.
Evelynn M. Hammonds
Evelynn M. Hammonds joined the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2002 after teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was also the founding director of the Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology and Medicine. Her scholarly interests include the history of scientific, medical, and sociopolitical concepts of race and sexuality; the history of disease and public health; gender in science and medicine; and African-American history. She is the author of “Childhood’s Deadly Scourge: The Campaign to Control Diphtheria in New York City, 1880-1930”, many scholarly articles and the co-editor of the book “The Nature of Difference: Sciences of Race in the United States from Jefferson to Genomics” published in 2010. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics, Electrical Engineering and the History of Science. Ms. Hammonds served as the dean of Harvard College from 2008 to 2013. Prior to her appointment as dean, she served as Harvard University’s first Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity beginning in July 2005. She is currently the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies.
Janet Mock is the New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness, and host of MSNBC's So POPular! a weekly series about popular culture, politics, identity, and representation. She also serves as Contributing Editor for Marie Claire -- the magazine where she first stepped forward publicly as a young trans woman. Her writing, work, and media advocacy has been recognized by the Ms. Foundation, Planned Parenthood, ADCOLOR, and TIME, which dubbed her “one of the 30 most influential people on the internet," and Fast Company, which named her "one of the most creative people in business." In December 2016, The Trans List, a documentary about prominent trans Americans she produced for HBO, aired. In June 2017, the follow-up to her New York Times bestselling memoir will be released. It will center her twenties experience and unpack her journey as a college student and young professional in media grappling with going after her dreams, dating, and disclosure. Hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, Janet lives and writes in New York City. (Photo credit: Aaron Tredwell.)
Catherine Pino is founder and CEO of D&P Creative Strategies, a company that she and her partner founded to advance corporate, philanthropic and legislative efforts that mirror her deep commitment to social justice and civil rights issues. Ms. Pino has over two decades of experience working in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, including roles at Carnegie Corporation of New York, DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, Independent Sector and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she gained an expertise for developing strategic philanthropic efforts, designing and evaluating programs that target underserved communities, and creating successful public policy and advocacy agendas. Organizations with whom Ms. Pino has current or past affiliations include the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Victory Fund, Hetrick-Martin Institute, Nielsen, Independent Sector and NCLR.
Slobodan (Slo) Randjelović is a licensed architect, designer, and photographer. He worked as an associate at Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York and as an independent architect in Italy designing large-scale projects including university buildings, commercial office space, and religious institutions as well as smaller residential, landscape, and retail spaces. Prior to his career in architecture, Mr. Randjelović worked as a set designer and photographer for Studio Festi, an international theatrical production company based in Varese, Italy. He also helped to design education and medical facilities for children in Kenya on behalf of the Gallman Memorial Foundation. Mr. Randjelović began his education in his native Serbia and completed his professional training in Italy. He earned a degree in Architecture from Facoltà di Architettura at Roma Tre University in Rome and holds a master’s degree in Landscape Design from Facoltà di Agraria at Università degli Studi di Torino in Turin, Italy. Mr. Randjelović is an active supporter of environmental conservation, LGBT civil rights, and the arts. In addition to the Arcus Foundation, Mr. Randjelović serves on the board of New York Live Arts, a nonprofit dance organization.
Jeff Trandahl joined the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in November 2005 after serving on Capitol Hill for 23 years. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trandahl was elected Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1998 to 2005. Mr. Trandahl was the second highest constitutional official in the U.S. House of Representatives and served as the chief legislative official. He led a staff of 300 highly specialized staff and oversaw an operating budget of more than $20 million. Prior to his election as Clerk, he served for various members of the House and Senate and held various committee staff assignments. As Executive Director and CEO, Mr. Trandahl leads the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit that protects and restores our nation’s native species and habitats. Created by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private funds. Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded grants to more than 3,800 organizations in the United States and abroad and has leveraged—with its partners—$576 million in federal funds into more than $2 billion for conservation. Mr. Trandahl earned a B.A. in Government/Politics from the University of Maryland in 1987 and holds a Certificate in Management from the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University. Mr. Trandahl currently serves on the boards of the Gill Action Fund, Jones Group, Arise Corporation, and the Arcus Foundation. Mr. Trandahl was raised in Spearfish, South Dakota, the son of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Trandahl has had a life-long commitment to conservation.
Executive Assistant to the Executive Office
Rodrigo Aguiar joins the Arcus Foundation from Lambda Legal, where he fielded thousands of help desk calls from people reaching out to get information on the state of the law, discrimination, and to find legal support. Rodrigo comes to Arcus with a background in Business Administration and graduated with honors from Berkeley College. Rodrigo is passionate about social justice and building long-lasting meaningful human relationships. In his spare time, Rodrigo enjoys making candles and Afro-Cuban crafts.
Heather comes to Arcus with more than 14 years’ experience in communications and administrative support. She has served as executive assistant to the General Partners of Spray Venture Fund, and the President and CFO of Calydon, Inc., building on prior experience in office management and administrative assistant positions. Heather became a communications specialist at Cell Genesys, generating and editing the bi-weekly company newsletter, press releases, web copy, articles for journals and publications, and advertisements. She continued this work as an independent consultant in the U.S. southwest for art galleries, small boutiques, and individual artists. Heather is also a teacher, writer and classically trained singer.
Digital Communications Manager
Prior to joining Arcus, Angela was senior digital writer at Panthera, the wild cat conservation organization; and editorial and marketing associate at American Jewish World Service. She launched her career as a reporter for The Evangelist, a Catholic newspaper in New York's Capital Region, where she earned top industry awards. During this period, she helped lead a Kiwanis club that worked to improve the lives of children and families locally and globally, and co-authored Keeping Time, a nonagenarian musician's autobiography. Angela has a bachelor’s degree in newspaper journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York. She has been committed to mission-driven enterprises and working with words from a young age.
Monica Charles comes to Arcus from the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, where she assisted the Neonatology division director with administrative duties, budgeting and meeting logistics. Prior, she worked at the Ford Foundation for six years, overseeing international projects in the Office of Program Management, and was also a grants administrator for the Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Program. She gained further philanthropy and grants management experience through her positions at Bloomberg, the Council for Economic Education, Twenty-First Century Foundation and United Hospital Fund. She is a long-time volunteer at Lighthouse International and holds an MPA in nonprofit management from Baruch College.
Adrian R. Coman
International Social Justice Program Director
Adrian has worked for more than 20 years in advocacy, philanthropy, education, and politics. Since 2013, he has coordinated the International Human Rights Program at the Arcus Foundation in New York, advancing LGBT human rights. Adrian was executive director of the LGBT group ACCEPT in Romania, where he led campaigns contributing to the repeal of an anti-gay criminal law and the adoption of anti-discrimination provisions. Upon his immigration to the U.S. in 2002, he worked in philanthropy with the Baltic American Partnership Fund and in human rights advocacy with OutRight International. In 2009, he went to the European Parliament in Brussels to assist a legislator on human rights and anti-corruption. Adrian holds degrees in chemistry and human rights, and is fluent in Romanian, English, Spanish, and French.
U.S. Social Justice Program Director
Desiree brings more than a decade of social justice grantmaking and program development experience supporting marginalized leadership and constituency building at the local, state, and national levels. Most recently, she was the Director of Board Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its nonpartisan advocacy and political arm, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Prior to that, she was a Program Officer at the Ms. Foundation for Women, where she led programs on reproductive justice, HIV/AIDS, and school-based sexuality education. Through this work, she advised and partnered with foundations, individual donors, national advocates, and community-based organizations to create a more racially diverse and politically powerful domestic pro-choice movement. Having grown up on a dairy farm in California’s central valley as the granddaughter of Mexican farm workers, Desiree is committed to supporting equality and opportunity for the United States’ most vulnerable communities. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Social Justice Program Assistant
Karolina joins Arcus from Bloomberg Philanthropies, where she provided support, research, and analysis for the Management Team. Prior to working at Bloomberg Philanthropies, Karolina graduated from Franklin & Marshall College, where she served as an Executive Board Member and intern for the Alice Drum Women’s Center. Karolina believes in spreading radical kindness and is an advocate for intersectional social justice.
Linda comes to Arcus from the national headquarters of the American Lung Association, where she most recently served as the Director of Accounting and Financial Reporting. Prior to Arcus, she worked for the Renaissance Economic Development Corporation as staff accountant. Linda enjoys driving and taking road trips whenever possible, and hopes to one day be able to take a cross-country road trip. Linda holds a BBA in accounting from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, The City University of New York.
Accounting & Human Resources Associate
Melvin joined the financial team of the Arcus Foundation in the Spring of 2009. Prior to Arcus, Melvin served as an accountant at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Amnesty International. A lifelong New Yorker, Melvin raises tropical fish as a hobby, and holds a BS in accounting from the New York Institute of Technology.
Rachel comes to Arcus with eight years of grant management experience at The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, a small family foundation where her responsibilities included grant management, financial recordkeeping, and updating and systemizing office procedures. Before beginning her career in philanthropy, she lived and studied in Chicago, New Zealand, and Kenya. She is a board member at the Peekskill Museum in her hometown, and on the Communications Executive Committee for the Van Cortlandt Track Club in the Bronx. Most weekends you will find her running the trails with her dog or weeding in the backyard. Rachel completed her undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science at Northwestern University and she received a master’s in public administration from the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College.
Chief Executive Officer
Annette Lanjouw is a highly regarded expert in great ape conservation. She has worked with chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas in the wild, and has worked extensively in conservation strategy, program implementation, and research. For 15 years she was director of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, which works to conserve mountain gorillas inhabiting the forests on the border of Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Ms. Lanjouw served as scientific advisor to world-renowned wildlife filmmaker Alan Root, as Central Africa program officer for the Wildlife Conservation Society, and as project manager and field director for the Frankfurt Zoological Society’s Chimpanzee Conservation Project in eastern DRC. Before joining Arcus, she was international program officer for the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. A native of the Netherlands, Ms. Lanjouw holds a BSc in zoology and psychology from Victoria University in New Zealand, and a doctorandus degree in behavioral ecology from the Rijks Universiteit in the Netherlands. She is scientific advisor to the Trust for African Rock Art, and a member of the Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group, the Trans-boundary Conservation Specialist Group, and the World Commission on Protected Areas.
International Social Justice Program Officer
Erica brings more than 10 years of experience working in the non-profit, government, and community organizing sectors. She has been with Arcus since 2012, supporting the International portfolio of the Social Justice Program to advance the full equity and inclusion of LGBTQ communities. Prior to her work at Arcus Foundation, she worked with organizations in Nicaragua on sustainable development, renewable energy, and women’s empowerment. She is deeply committed to seeing the full realization of rights for women and girls of color and, in her free time, is a co-founder and core organizer with Sister Diaspora for Liberation, where she enjoys community building with women to dismantle systems of patriarchy and white supremacy. She also currently serves on the Young Professionals Board of Womankind. She received her Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California with a concentration in international and macro issues, as well as prior degrees in sociology and African/African-American studies.
Social Justice Program Manager
Daniel joins Arcus after working for nonprofits in Chicago, Cape Town, New Orleans, and New York. His background includes collegiate leadership development, historic preservation, and LGBT health and wellness. In addition to his LGBT-related work at Arcus, he has served the international/transracial adoptee and Korean-American communities as President of the Board of Directors of Also-Known-As, Inc., inaugural member of the Steering Committee for the Young Professionals’ Network at The Korea Society, and on the Community Grants Committee at the Korean American Community Foundation.
Captive Apes Program Director
Arcus’ founding executive director, Linda was the first staff person at the Arcus Foundation, and helped establish the framework for the Foundation’s vision, grantmaking, and general operations. Currently, she is the senior program officer for the Great Apes Program, specializing in sanctuary support. Prior to joining Arcus, Linda worked in financial management and the insurance industry. She is particularly interested in the fight for social justice, compassion regarding the treatment of animals, and great ape sanctuary and conservation.
Global Media Director
Sebastian Naidoo is a communications and media specialist, having worked for 16 years in headquarters and field offices of civil society organizations and the United Nations. His professional tenure has included the UN Development Programme, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Doctors Without Borders, and OneWorld International. He was Managing Editor of the ReliefWeb humanitarian news service, and at OneWorld he delivered human rights news through Yahoo!, overseeing bureaus in New Delhi, Lusaka, and Washington D.C. Previously, he worked as a reporter in Japan, Cambodia, and the UK, where his writing appeared in the London Guardian, the London Independent, The Washington Post, The Cambodia Daily, and New Internationalist, among others. He is a member of Doctors Without Borders US Association, and has received national and international awards for his work. A South African and British national, he holds master’s degrees in Japanese and in journalism, and speaks English, Japanese, and Spanish.
Linh M. Nguyen
Before she joined the Arcus Foundation staff, Ms. Nguyen worked at Marks Paneth Shron LLP, TVR Communications LLC, XPlus One Solutions, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. She has broad experience in profit and not-for-profit accounting. She holds a BBA in accounting from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, City University of New York.
Thomas W. Nichols
Chief Operating Officer
Prior to joining Arcus, Thomas was Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Finance and Administration at the Heinz Center in Washington, DC, where he led a team comprising financial management, grants management, human resources, information technology, and administration. Before that, he served as Chief Financial Officer at the African Wildlife Foundation and, earlier, at the World Wildlife Fund. A Certified Public Accountant, Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. He serves on the Boards of Netcentric Campaigns, the Sitar Arts Center, and The Peter Fox Project, of which he is a founding member.
Grants Management Director
Ericka oversees grantmaking processes and procedures, compliance, and overall grants management functions, including complex international grantmaking environments. She brings a wealth of grantmaking knowledge from her work at the Annenberg Foundation, where she was a member of senior management and oversaw all operations of the grants management department, and focused programmatically on community development and animal welfare grantmaking. Ericka began her career in philanthropy with the Getty Foundation, where she coordinated various internship programs, resulting in the placement of hundreds of undergraduate and graduate interns at arts organizations throughout Los Angeles County. Prior to this, Ericka worked in advertising/marketing in Minneapolis and Chicago. Ericka currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Grants Managers Network, and Co-Chairs the Nominating Committee. Other field contributions include serving as the Editor and contributing writer of the GMN Examiner, and the Communications, Conference, and Collective Knowledge Committees. A Minnesota native, Ericka conducted her undergraduate studies at the College of Saint Benedict/St. John’s University. During her 10+ years in Southern California, she conducted her graduate studies at Antioch University, Los Angeles.
Lia M. Parifax
Executive Planning and Project Management Director
Lia Mandaglio Parifax is an attorney and civil rights activist. Prior to joining Arcus, she served as Managing Director, Global Initiatives at Out Leadership, a strategic advisory firm specializing in LGBT talent and business development. In 2011, Lia co-founded Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization advancing LGBT rights through sports. In this capacity, Lia has helped strategize groundbreaking social advocacy initiatives in athletics. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Equality Card Project, an LGBT-focused philanthropic credit card. Lia has been published in several leading rhetoric and legal journals, including the American Bar Association’s Public Contracts Law Journal, the Italian American Bar Association’s Digest, the California International Law Journal, and the International Journal of Law in Context of Cambridge University Press. She has contributed to several opinion pieces in outlets like The Huffington Post and CNN, and she served as an editor of the book, Keys to College Studying: Becoming an Active Thinker, Prentice Hall (2nd ed.) Lia graduated first in her class from Lafayette College and received a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. In March 2014, she was named with her husband to Vanity Fair's Hall of Fame for her human rights advocacy leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Great Apes Program Officer
Adam Phillipson comes to conservation from a background in both the humanities and the natural sciences, with a particular interest in the cultural and behavioural traditions underlying the attitudes of resource users to their environments. Previous projects include community conservation with Frankfurt Zoological Society in Ethiopia, and research into the illegal trade in wildlife products in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan with Fauna and Flora International. He has also worked on Chimpanzee projects in Guinea, and undertaken Gorilla research in Gabon. He holds a master’s degree in conservation science from Imperial College, London, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cambridge University.
Conservation Program Director
Helga has over 15 years of experience in natural resource management, research, and project development in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Her work has included research on urban environment projects in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as well as linkages between health of refugees and environmental degradation in Kenya. She has served as the Uganda Country Program Officer/Regional Policy Advisor for the International Gorilla Conservation Programme and African Wildlife Foundation, where she strengthened community participation in conservation, contributed to the development of a national tourism policy and implemented regional conservation strategies. Helga has a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science where she researched the role of conservation in armed conflict. She holds an MSc in Environmental Science, Policy and Planning from the University of Bath and a BSc in Genetics from University College London. She is the lead editor for the State of the Apes report, the world’s first publication series looking at threats and dangers facing great apes and gibbons in every region where they live.
Great Apes Program Officer
Chris joined Arcus from the Zoological Society of London, where he spent 12 years leading conservation programs in Africa and the Middle East. Prior, he spent several years overseas working on primate programs in Africa and Asia, both on field projects--including WCS Nigeria's Cross River gorilla conservation and research work and ZSL's chimpanzee surveys in Sierra Leone--and with sanctuaries, including the CERCOPAN primate sanctuary and a gibbon sanctuary in Thailand.
Social Justice Program Vice President
Prior to joining Arcus in 2006, Cindy was director of Grantmaking at the Boston Foundation where she specialized in the areas of Health and Human Services, homelessness prevention, LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS. She also worked for more than six years on the staff of the Fenway Community Health Center. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Funders for LGBTQ Issues and as a member of the board of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. Past board membership includes Funders Concerned About AIDS, Massachusetts Health Council, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, Gay Community News and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. In 2009, Cindy was appointed to the New York City Commission for LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth. Cindy holds a JD from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston and is a published author of fiction and essays.
Communications Vice President
Bryan has more than 30 years of global experience in communications, brand management, and integrated marketing campaign development. He began his career at Strayton Advertising and Public Relations (later the Advanced Technology Division of Hill & Knowlton). Bryan held a number of executive positions in Marketing and Communications at Lotus Development Corporation and IBM Corp., including Vice President, IBM Americas, Vice President of Global Industry Communications, and Vice President of Marketing, IBM Lotus Software. He also launched IBM’s global alumni program and led the planning for IBM’s Centennial. He has served on the boards of Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, ACLU Massachusetts, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts and Harvard Magazine. Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in European History from Harvard College in Cambridge, MA.
Program Manager / UK Office Manager
Marie has a strong background in administration roles gained in employment with a trade union, the legal sector, and higher education. She holds the Institute of Legal Executive Higher Professional Diplomas in land law and conveyancing from University of Westminster, London, as well as a BSc (Hons) in ecology and conservation from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.
Madeleine Van Dam
Madi recently graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in Documentary Studies. She has a passion for environmental and social justice, enjoys being a part of a team and community, and believes that humans can coexist with one another and nature in a peaceful way. Madi’s most notable film, Walk on the Mountain, has recently been touring with the Banff Film Festival, and she is excited to bring her passion for film and activism to Arcus.