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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, from 1995-2018. 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.
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.
Donncha has served on the YAP Ireland Board of Directors since July 2015 and was appointed Chair in May 2018 following the successful tenure of Aidan Browne. Donncha is an independent business advisor and mentor specialising in providing supports to include training and consultancy to startups in Ireland. Donncha is a member of the Advisory Board of Bizmentors an organisation providing pro bono mentoring to startups and microenterprise in Galway. As a Bizmentor, Donncha was assigned to meet with Andrew Chappie of YAP Ireland also based in Galway as he was looking to expand the Investing in Children initiative. Donncha was later nominated to the Board of YAP Ireland to bring a different perspective to the organisation. Donncha’s professional background is Marketing having qualified with a B.Comm and MBS in Marketing from NUI Galway. Outside of work, Donncha is a coach and player with the local hurling and camogie club helping out with u6 Boys, u8 Girls and u18 Boys teams. He is also an active player of this very skilful and fast game.
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).
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.
Bill Wachob's unique background combines government, communications, electoral and public policy expertise. His insight into campaigns comes from a professional political career spanning over three decades.
In 1975, Bill began his public service career as the Director of Administration and Finance for the Youth Advocate Program of Pennsylvania. At the age of 25, Bill was elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature where he focused on juvenile justice, welfare and senior citizen issues. After serving three terms (1979 – 1984), Bill worked closely with United States Senator Tom Harkin as the Executive Director of Independent Action PAC.
Since 1989, Bill has directed the west coast office of The Campaign Group, Inc., a national media/political consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia and San Diego. He received national recognition for consulting on the campaigns of five successful congressional campaigns. In 1994 Campaigns & Elections magazine called The Campaign Group one of the premier media/communications firms in the country and called Bill Wachob a “rising star” in national politics.
Bill has been a Governor’s Appointee to the California Youth Authority Board and involved in public affairs campaigns for Southern California Edison, California Power Exchange (CalPX), Automated Power Exchange (APX), San Diego Gas and Electric, SEMPRE Energy, and numerous public interest organizations.
Bill holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and an MGA from the Fels Center of Government, University of Pennsylvania.
He lectures extensively on campaign strategy, communications, and public policy and recently completed teaching a course, Influencing Public Policy, at the Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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.