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YAP’s CEO reports to a diverse and independent Board of Directors who contribute a wealth of experience and expertise. The Board meets regularly during the year, both collectively and in Committees such as Executive, Finance, Audit, International, By-Laws, and Nominations. Our Board Members represent YAP’s service areas in the United States and abroad.
Lynette M. Brown-Sow has served as Vice-President of Marketing and Government Relations at Community College of Philadelphia, PA, since 1995. She is also the founder and owner of L.M. Brown Management Group, a consultant firm that provides professional services to corporations, non-profit organizations, governmental and public service entities. She was appointed to the Philadelphia Planning Commission in 1997 and previously served as Deputy Mayor of Administration in 1991. She has held appointments as adjunct faculty at Antioch University and has also taught in the Mental Health Social Services Department at Community College of Philadelphia. Ms. Brown-Sow has been active in behavioral healthcare for over 20 years, chairing and serving on the board of one of the largest mental health agencies in the country and serving for three years as Region III Community Director to the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. Her volunteer affiliations include membership in the Forum of Executive Women and the Avenue of the Arts She also chairs the Board of Directors of Health Services, Inc., and is the Mayor Representative on the Board of City Trust. Ms. Brown-Sow holds a Master’s Degree in Policy Planning and Development from Bryn Mawr College and a Bachelor's Degree in Administration from Antioch University.
Joseph Allen (Jay) Snyder has over 20 years of state government experience in human services. Mr. Snyder also has 30 years experience in professional tennis both as an officiator and administrator. He is a United States Army veteran. Mr. Snyder's Pennsylvania state government experience includes service to the Governor's office, the Department of Community Affairs, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and the Department of Public Welfare. He also served as Pennsylvania Commissioner for the Blind, President of the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and President of the National Council of State Agencies of Vocational Rehabilitation. He became a Certified Umpire in 1967 and has worked as an umpire at the US Open, Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. He has held positions as the United States Tennis Association Director of Officials, Chief Umpire for the US Open Championships and Director of the US Open and has taught tennis officiating worldwide. Mr. Snyder holds a Master of Public Administration, from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School and a BA in English Literature and Theatre, Susquehanna University (Pennsylvania).
Frances V. Lanigan has over 36 years of local government experience in human services. Now retired, she is the former Commissioner, Oswego County (New York State) Department of Social Services. Her government experience includes identifying strategies to reduce the cost of foster care at the local level combined with the concept of building families to succeed for the long term. In the mid- 90's she was instrumental in reaching out to YAP and bringing their services to a rural upstate county with very limited resources. She is a past president of the New York Public Welfare Association, the state association of local district commissioners from across New York State who advocate for local concerns to State Legislators and oversight agencies. Ms. Lanigan also held leadership positions that led to mergers and professionalization of local services that strengthened and improved the local delivery of human services. She currently volunteers for a number of not for profit agencies that focus on the positive development of and protection of children and families. Ms. Lanigan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Certificates of Study in Leadership, Strategic Thinking, Organizational Development, Public Policy & Government Financing.
Aidan has served on the YAP Ireland's Board of Directors since January 2012 and was appointed Chair in 2015. Aidan has spent 40 years working in the Irish Health and Social Services Sector. Following a 14 year career in clinical nursing he moved into Nursing Management and onward through area and regional health services management before being appointed as Ireland's first National Director for Primary, Community and Continuing Care in 2004. He was appointed as Chief Executive of The Children Acts Advisory Board in 2007. The Board’s function was to advise the Ministers for Health and Children, Education and Justice on child protection and welfare matters. Aidan held this position until the Board was subsumed into the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in 2010. Aidan has held Board positions on An Bord Altranais (The Nursing Board) as an elected member, and the National Disability Authority as a ministerial appointee. He holds a Masters in Business Administration. Aidan retired from the Public Sector in 2011 and currently works as a Project Manager with Crosscare Teen Counselling. He is Chairman of the Safeguarding Committee for the Dublin Archdiocese and is a member of the Risk and Audit Committee of the Adoption Authority of Ireland.
John F. Davis serves as President of the African American Chamber of Commerce in Central Florida. Growing up in housing projects of rural Pahokee, Florida, inspired and drove his passion for helping African Americans and others to realize their dreams through education, political, and economic empowerment. A student-athlete in high school, Mr. Davis earned All-American honors and a full scholarship to Florida State University, serving as team captain, and obtaining his B.S. degree in Political Science. After stints with the National Football League and Canadian Football League, he worked at Florida's Division of Elections, before entering into medical device sales. After forming 'ProStyle Training' with NFL great Tyrell Buckley, Davis became involved with the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), serving in various leadership capacities, including spearheading the Black Republican Conference and attending the Campaign Management College offered by the Republican National Committee (RNC). In 2009, he served as Deputy Executive Director of Operations becoming the highest-ranking African American in the history of the Republican Party of Florida. A short time after forming JFD Consulting, he became Director of External Affairs for Florida's Department of Children and Families. Mr. Davis is a member and/or volunteers with: Southside Church of Christ, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Florida State University Black Alumni Association, Orlando Inc. Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Bridges of Light Foundation, and other non-profits. He resides in the Metro-Orlando, Florida area with his wife Felicia.
Emily Ferguson is an educator and parent advocate. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State Harrisburg and received a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Turabo, Puerto Rico. Emily points to her personal experiences growing up in a low-income community and her time spent volunteering in Mexico as factors that shaped her belief that all children should be valued, respected and accepted. She is a mother of four children, and a committed advocate for her son, who has severe, non-verbal autism. Emily is an Executive Board Member of The Vista School and a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Project MAX Statewide Parent Network.
Margaret Alexis Kennedy, Ph.D., is a recognized expert on sexual exploitation. Her areas of interest include child abuse, sexual assault, body image, exploitation through prostitution and internet crime. A former lawyer, Dr. Kennedy has successfully integrated these professional foci into her research agenda examining sexual exploitation. She has published in numerous journals such as the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Kennedy has testified in court, spoken throughout the United States to organizations, including the American Psychological Association, and is quoted frequently in the media. She has received grants to study crime in Clark County, Nevada and has led a number of task forces. Her work in Nevada included Juvenile Justice Girls Research at the Clark County Detention Center. Dr. Kennedy has taught at the University of Toronto, Argosy University (CA) and the University of Nevada—Las Vegas (UNLV). She is an active mentor to UNLV students and nonprofit organizations. Dr. Kennedy received her law degree from the University of Manitoba, Canada in 1993 and her Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 2004. Her doctoral dissertation on cross-cultural perceptions of child abuse won two American Psychological Association Awards (Divisions 37 and 41).
Elizabeth Lauren Orazi has nearly 15 years of experience in Pennsylvania state government. She began her career in the legal office of the Senate Democratic Caucus. For the caucus, she handled legal and legislative matters related to banking, insurance, community and economic development, and military and veterans' affairs. She joined the Governor's Office of General Counsel (OGC) as Assistant Counsel in 2004. In 2007, she was promoted to Deputy General Counsel and then led OCG's legislative operations from 2009 to 2010. During her tenure with OGC, she handled legislative matters for every administrative agency, but particularly focused on issues related to the Department of Education, Department of Public Welfare and the criminal justice agencies. After seven years with OGC, she moved on to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, serving as Counsel, Chief Counsel and is presently Executive Director for the House Judiciary Committee. The work of the House Judiciary Committee includes matters related to criminal law, civil law, corrections and juvenile justice. Ms. Orazi is a summa cum laude graduate of Marywood College (now Marywood University) in Scranton, PA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Secondary Education and a minor in Religious Studies. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton, in Dayton Ohio.
Miriam Peña is the Director of the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships. Her role as city liaison to the non-profit sector involves development and delivery of training and technical assistance to better connect government and community. Previously, Miriam was the Executive Director of the Colorado Progressive Coalition, a statewide, social justice public policy advocacy organization. Born in Juarez, Mexico and raised in Denver, Colorado, she became the first in her family to earn a Bachelor’s degree, having studied Public Policy and Communications at the University of Denver. In 2015, she earned an MBA from the Olin Business School of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to her nonprofit work at CPC, she has served in various leadership positions on numerous nonprofit boards locally including Rights for all People, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, El Centro Humanitario (Humanitarian Center for Day Laborers), and nationally with the Alliance for a Just Society. She previously co-hosted a weekly radio talk show, “Weekend Wisdom” in Denver and was appointed to the Denver Women’s Commission as chair of the Public Policy committee where she served for a year in 2013. In August 2013, Miriam became foster mother of her three nieces, ages 12, 10 and 8.
Vivian Sanks-King, Esq. practices law in New Jersey and frequently speaks to national and state professional organizations, university faculty and community groups on various health law topics. Her professional history includes several legal positions at the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey (UMDNJ), Assistant Counsel to the Newark Board of Education and Assistant Dean of Seton Hall University School of Law. Ms. Sanks-King is a past president of the Seton Hall University School of Law Alumni Association and past chair of the Community Health Law Project, a legal advocacy organization for individuals with disabilities. Her numerous awards include the 2002 Raymond A. Brown, Esq. Social Justice Award from Babyland Services, Inc., the 2002 Community Service Award from the Northern New Jersey Black Nurses Association, and the Salute to Policy Makers award from Executive Women of New Jersey in 1998. She serves on the boards of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey, the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute (Chairperson), the Garden State Bar Association, the New Jersey Women and AIDS Network, and Leadership Newark (Vice Chair). She was honored by Seton Hall University School of Law as its Distinguished Graduate (1995) and by Rutgers University Newark College of Arts and Sciences' Alumni Association as its Distinguished Alumni in 1998.
Randolph N. Stone is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. There he directs the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project of the Clinic, offering law and social work students supervised opportunities to provide quality representation to children and adults. He was the Director of the Mandel Clinic from 1991 to 2001 and previously served as the Public Defender of Cook County where he was responsible for management of a $32M budget and leadership for a 750 person law office. He has also served as deputy director for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, partner in the Chicago firm of Stone & Clark, attorney with the Criminal Defense Consortium of Cook County, and as a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow for the Neighborhood Legal Service Program in Washington, D.C. He is a past chair of the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section, and serves on several boards and committees including the Sentencing Project, Inc., the Federal Defender Program, and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. Mr. Stone attended Lincoln University ( Pennsylvania), received his BA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his JD from the University of Wisconsin.
Bio coming soon
For over three decades, John L. McKnight has conducted research on social service delivery systems, health policy, community organizations, neighborhood policy, and institutional racism. At Northwestern University, his alma mater, he has served as Professor of Communication Studies and Education and Social Policy. He also serves as Director of Community Studies, Institute for Policy Research; and Co-Director, Asset-Based Community Development Institute. He currently directs research projects focused on asset-based neighborhood development and methods of community building by incorporating marginalized people. Mr. McKnight has been associated with many of the Institute's major research projects since he joined the organization in 1969. These have included research on the urban determinants of health, law enforcement, urban disinvestment and metropolitan government, deinstitutionalized child welfare services, police anticrime programs, and the effects of the perception of crime upon community responses. He also directed the Chicago Innovations Forum, an IPR-based dialogue among neighborhood leaders and innovators in economic, political and social development. Much of his work on asset-based community development is captured in his co-authored book, Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets (1993), which has circulated through a broad range of community, government, business, nonprofit, and educational institutions in the United States and Canada. Articles he has written over the past two decades were published in The Careless Society (1995). He serves on the Board of Directors of numerous community organizations including the Gamaliel Foundation and The National Training and Information Center.