Staff and Board

 

Staff

Eric D. Dawson 
CEO and Co-founder 
Eric has been with Peace First since its inception as a student-run program at Harvard University. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Point of Light Award, the Youth Service America’s Fund for Social Entrepreneurs, the Echoing Green Fellowship for Public Service, the Ashoka Fellowship for leading social entrepreneurs, and Pop!Tech’s Social Innovation Fellowship. He received his A.B. from Harvard University, his Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and his M. Div. from Harvard Divinity School. 
[email protected]

Bobby Jones
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer 
As an entrepreneur, strategist and active participant in youth culture, Bobby has traveled the world engaging young people to better understand their values and passions, and turning those insights into innovative and award winning campaigns for leading global brands. In his current role as Peace First’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Bobby is responsible for leading all marketing and communications efforts to help achieve Peace First’s vision to create a new social norm where millions of young people are prepared, empowered and committed to collaboratively solving the world’s biggest challenges with courage and compassion. 
[email protected]

Meredith Hamilton 
Chief Operating Officer
Meredith brings more than 15 years of leadership and management experience to her current role as Peace First’s Chief Operating Officer. She works with the team to develop, align, and execute Peace First’s strategy, while supporting staff and managing day-to-day operations. Prior to joining Peace First, Meredith was Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Italian Home for Children, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations at Jumpstart, and Vice President of Strategic Advancement at Jumpstart. In these roles, she led strategy development, annual planning and performance management, and internal operations. Meredith currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy and previously served on the Board of Advisors of The Guidance Center in Cambridge, MA. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA in African American Studies with a concentration in Anthropology from Wesleyan University.
[email protected]

Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss
Chief Strategic Engagement Officer
Bonnie brings decades of experience as an executive with a proven track record of building strategic relationships to mobilize engagement, lead people to action and drive impact. Her passion is bringing public and private sectors together to build and implement campaigns - all in the service of amplifying shared value, driving impact and contributing to a more equitable world.  As a leader in strategic storytelling, she has worked with the film industry’s greatest brands, including Disney, CNN, HBO, PBS, Discovery and National Geographic. She has tackled a range of issues, including educating girls in the developing world, domestic violence, promise and perils of Big Data, global health, environmental stewardship, destigmatizing nuclear power, gun violence, high school graduation rates, and supporting our veterans and their families.  Prior to joining Peace First, she ran Vulcan Production’s documentary division, the independent media company founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, noted for telling powerful stories and campaigns to help audiences understand the world around them, respond to challenges and bring about lasting change.  Prior to Vulcan, she was Manager of Creative Development and Business Administration at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida. She began her career as Director of Research and Development for public affairs programming for WNET in New York.
[email protected]

Raul Caceres
Chief Program and Technology Officer
Raul started his career as an engineer in the private sector. After receiving the Online Volunteer of the Year Award from the United Nations for his work in Sierra Leone in 2006, Raul changed his career to focus on the use of digital technologies to promote social change and justice. His work for the past decade has spanned 14 countries, multiple international and national non-government organizations and resulted in the creation of numerous innovative education and community-based social change programs. Raul received his BEng from the National University of Colombia and his MSc from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
[email protected]

Kristen Wise
Vice President - US Initiatives
Kristen is a trusted thought partner and collaborator with a diversified toolbox who thrives at the intersection of culture and social impact. For fifteen-years, her professional progression has evolved between consumer and philanthropic movements. With a focus on strategy, marketing, communications and partnerships, Kristen has worked with and alongside global brands including Coca-Cola, Special Olympics, The Clinton Foundation, Powerade, adidas, Nike, Jordan Brand, LVMH, Stella McCartney, and America Scores. Her distinctively community-centric and compassionate contributions to business have been felt at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, 2012 London Olympics, 2010 FIFA World Cup, and four NBA-All-Star Weekends. Kristen is a graduate of Boston University, a 2016 Bleeker Fellow, and lifelong athlete who cultivates mindfulness within business through the lens of a 300-hour certification with Jivamukti Yoga and 25-hour certification with Mindfresh.
[email protected]

Tom Barratt
Vice President - UK Initiatives
Tom brings an interesting mix of private sector, social enterprise and charity sector experience to help us deliver sustainable social impact in the UK. He’s worked for marketing agencies - helping to build some of the UK’s most recognized brands and also worked in-house for charities, where he's led the marketing communications, corporate relationships and commercial trading teams. He has run a grant-funded Olympic Legacy program for young people, where he transformed it into a new social enterprise and he’s launched and run his own enterprise development consultancy. Tom has a passion for social change and his experiences have given him the knowledge of how to achieve it sustainably.
[email protected]

Jenny Love
Development Manager
Since 2010, Jenny has been working with nonprofits supporting children and families experiencing social injustice. She has helped to design, leverage funds for, and implement activities in a range of settings, from public high schools, to a center for street-children in Morocco, and community-run after school clubs for refugee children in London. She has a B.A. in European Studies from the University of Bath (UK), is a certified ESL teacher and holds graduate qualifications in Nonprofit Management and Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counseling.
[email protected]

Renee Albanese
Finance and Operations Manager
Renee spent three years living in Belfast, Northern Ireland studying the post-conflict region. She is responsible for managing internal operations and finances for Peace First. Renee received her B.A. in Psychology at Providence College, and her MSC in Applied Psychology from the University of Ulster. 
[email protected]

Dalton Bentley 
Digital Media and Communications Manager 
Dalton began his time with Peace First as an AmeriCorps VISTA working in both the programs and communications departments. He is now responsible for helping to design and implement the communications efforts of Peace First and manages all Peace First social media and websites. Dalton received his B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College. 
[email protected]

Kelsey Thompson-Briggs 
Senior Manager, Program Implementation
Kelsey oversees the implementation of the Peace First Challenge. Previously, she worked in the peacebuilding sector in Northern Ireland, facilitating programs for children, young people, and adults at the Corrymeela Community, where she also contributed to the integration of environmental sustainability into programmatic work. She received her MPhil in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Trinity College Dublin, and her BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley.
[email protected]

Fish Stark 
Youth Activation Manager, Fellow-in-Residence
Fish, a Peace First Fellow, is completing a one-year residency at Peace First. As part of the Programs team, he plans and implements initiatives to support and grow the community of young peacemakers, with a focus on partnership-building, tool development, and community management. Prior to joining Peace First full-time, Fish founded and led the Teaching Peace Initiative, a nonprofit that trains high school peer educators across the US to teach peace, tolerance, and anti-bullying curricula in their communities. He is a 2017 graduate of Yale University, where he studied Political Science and Education Studies and received the Dean's Prize for his work to bridge divides between the university community and New Haven.
[email protected]

Amani Al-Nsairat
Program Manager, International Partnerships
Amani has five years of experience in the nonprofit sector and earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Hashemite University in Jordan, and a Master’s degree in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. Amani worked as a Programs Officer with the international non-governmental organization Generations For Peace based in Jordan, with the main focus on two key programs: Social Cohesion in Host Communities Program and Violence in Schools Program. Amani enjoys focusing on the topics of youth, peace, dialogue, and education.

Adrian Ballou
Program Manager, Community Engagement
Adrian has founded or led six different youth programs and has been involved in social change and facilitation work for over ten years, working on programs ranging from farming and food justice, youth spiritual leadership, and peer mediation and social justice education programs in schools. They also do communications work and cultural journalism focused on trans and non-binary issues with Everyday Feminism. Adrian has spoken at/had their writing taught nationally and internationally at non-profits, high schools, and colleges. They have organized with campaigns surrounding various issues, including racial profiling, government surveillance, immigration, and foreclosure and housing justice. Adrian has worked with a variety of organizations, including various schools, the American Friends Service Committee, and Civil Liberties and Public Policy; and they co-founded the Alphabet Soup Care Collective, which supports disabled LGBTQIA+ community. They care deeply about building adult solidarity with youth to end adultism and all forms of intersectional oppression.
[email protected]

Ochen Kaylan
Senior Drupal Developer
[email protected]

Tammy Tai 
Senior Advisor 
Tammy brings over twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector, primarily in the areas of youth development and mentoring. She has served as Vice President and Chief Mission Officer at MENTOR and Teen Development Program Officer at Hyams Foundation. Tammy has a BA in Sociology from Harvard University and an MBA from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
[email protected]

Sue Dalelio
Vice President - Talent and Culture
Sue has over 25 years’ experience in nonprofit management and organizational and leadership development, having held executive level roles in several functional areas for high growth social enterprises. After serving as Director of Registration and Student Services with the Boston Center for Adult Education, and eventually as their first Director of Development, she became Director of Posse Boston at The Posse Foundation, an acclaimed national college access and diversity program. There, Sue rose to Regional Vice President, implementing the strategic plan and ensuring overall health of the organization while overseeing numerous chapters. Fascinated by the idea of scaling solutions, she then served as a member of the executive team for Health Leads, a social enterprise that envisions a healthcare system that addresses all patients’ basic resource needs. Sue led in national program, revenue and organization-wide restructures. She currently serves as Board Chair for Y2Y Network, an enterprise that utilizes an innovative youth-to-youth program model to provide a safe and affirming environment for young adults experiencing homelessness.
[email protected]

Board

Dr. Anousheh Ansari 
Prodea Systems, Board Chair
Dr. Anousheh Ansari is a Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Prodea Systems. As she launched her company, she blasted off for an eight-day expedition aboard the International Space Station and captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer. She also earned a place in history as the first astronaut of Iranian descent, the first Muslim woman, and the fourth private explorer to visit space. Prior to Prodea Systems, Anousheh co-founded Telecom Technologies Inc., where she served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman. Anousheh is a member of the X Prize Foundation's Vision Circle, as well as its Board of Trustees. She is a life member in the Association of Space Explorers and on the advisory board of the Teacher's in Space project. Anousheh earned a bachelor's degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, followed by a masters degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. She received an honorary doctorate from George Mason, as well as Utah Valley University and International Space University. She is currently working towards a master's degree in astronomy from Swinburne University.

Jonathan Mandle 
Corrum Capital Management
Jonathan Mandle began working with Peace First in 2004. He is a Partner and portfolio manager with Corrum Capital Management. Previously, he was a portfolio manager at the University of California, Office of the Treasurer of the Regents and began his career as an analyst at Fidelity Investments. He currently serves on the board of Peace First, is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, and is an Investment Committee member for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. He received a BS and an MBA from Boston College and is a CFA Charterholder. Jonathan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Stephanie, and their three daughters.

Wei Chen 
Peace First Fellow
As a fifteen-year-old immigrant from China, Wei encountered daily hostility and harassment at his large south Philadelphia public high school. Realizing that it was the school culture and administration (rather than the aggressors) who were truly responsible for these challenges, Wei organized an eight day student boycott, which resulted in a new administration, new policies, and legislative change. He has built on this success through reaching out to other schools to help more young people organize for their rights. Currently, Wei is Asian American United’s Civic Engagement Coordinator, where he draws on his many years of experience as a youth leader and youth organizer. In February 2015, he was appointed by the Mayor of Philadelphia to serve as a Commissioner on the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. The Commission is mandated by the Home Rule Charter to enforce the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, and the provision of City services.

Jasmine Babers
Peace First Fellow
At 15 years old, Jasmine founded Love Girls Magazine in response to bullying, sexism and other injustices that she saw regarding women and girls around her community. Rooted in self-esteem, social justice and women empowerment, Jasmine created the magazine to provides girls across the country with opportunities in writing, photography, event planning, and leadership. Today, Love Girls have impacted over 25,000 girls across the nation. Currently, Jasmine serves as a Soros Justice Youth Activist Fellow with her initiative Fostering Incarceration, focusing on the foster care to incarceration pipeline. Through her work, Jasmine has been honored to receive numerous awards and accolades. Jasmine has been featured on the Harry Connick Jr. Show, Seventeen.com, and the Huffington Post. She was awarded The Peace First Prize in 2014, marking the start of her exciting journey with the organization and joined the Peace First Board of Directors in June of 2018.

Rashida Jones 
Actress and Philanthropist
Ms. Jones is a successful actress, well known for her roles on such hit television shows as Parks and Recreation and The Office. She has starred in several films including The Social Network, I Love you, Man, Our Idiot Brother, and The Muppets. She has participated in Stand Up to Cancer events, EDUN and ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History and The Art of Elysium's volunteer program, which runs artistic workshops for hospitalized children. In 2007, Ms. Jones was honorary chair of the annual Housing Works benefit, which fights AIDS and homelessness in New York City. She graduated from Harvard University in 1997 where she studied Religion and Philosophy. Ms. Jones is a resident of New York City. She joined the Peace First board in 2004.

Jesse Peretz 
Film and Music Video Director
Mr. Peretz is a film, commercial and Grammy-winning music video director. His past projects include music videos for artists The Foo Fighters and The Roots, commercials for Nike, Ikea, and Sony Playstation, as well as the feature length films The Ex and Our Idiot Brother. He has led our advisory board outreach in New York City where he resides, and he also helps raise awareness of work in Los Angeles. Mr. Peretz is a graduate of Harvard University where he received a BFA and has been a longtime supporter of Peace First prior to joining the board in 2005.