Board of Directors
Deborah Aubert Thomas
Deborah Aubert Thomas is Vice President of Programs & Learning for Philanthropy Ohio. Previously, she served as Director of Grants & Programs at the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Deborah has also coordinated a diversity internship program for Women & Philanthropy, developed the National Girls Inc. Media Literacy after-school program, and coordinated the Leadership Scholars Program at the Institute for Women’s Leadership for Rutgers University.
Jules De La Cruz
Jules De La Cruz is a graduate of the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor where she obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Further studies garnered a Master's in Public Administration from Georgia State University. After teaching fifth grade in the Detroit Public School System, she embarked on a 30-year law enforcement/security career to include time as a traditional beat cop, Detective, and a Campus Police Chief for a large, mutli-campus metro Atlanta College. She was briefly profiled in "Breaking the Brass Ceiling: Women Police Chiefs and Their Paths to the Top." In 2004 Jules relocated to San Diego, California, where she was employed as the Director of Security for the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies until 2016. She now spends her free time wearing and selling hats and playing with pressed penny and Zoltar machines.
Sharmila Rao Thakkar
Sharmila Rao Thakkar, MPH, MPA, is a philanthropy and nonprofit consultant at SRT Advising & Consulting in New York City. Utilizing expertise in leadership development, program implementation, resource development and communications, she advises clients on operations, strategy, board development, multigenerational engagement, grantmaking and community outreach activities. She is also an affiliate consultant with the Support Center, an adjunct associate instructor in the nonprofit management master’s program in the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University in New York, a 21/64 certified trainer in multigenerational philanthropy, Exponent Philanthropy peer coach, and mentor for philanthropy/nonprofit leadership development programs. Prior, Sharmila was appointed the first non-family executive director of The Siragusa Family Foundation in Chicago.
Cynthia Neff has lived in Charlottesville, Virginia since retiring from IBM in 2006. Prior to settling down in Virginia she was a human resources executive with IBM and ran a number of operations during her tenure there. Throughout her career she fostered a number of initiatives focused on building high-performance, global workforces with a focus on diversity.
Cynthia is now a Democratic candidate for the Virginia General Assembly and running for the House of Delegates and Thomas Jefferson's old seat. In her spare time she works with a number of non-profits in addition to TrueChild, including the AIDS Services Group and the Legal Aid Justice Center. She is happily ensconced on five gorgeous acres with a variety of young campaign staff, family and dogs.
Kimberly Otis is Director of Advancement for Women for Afghan Women, overseeing raising a budget of over $8 million/year, communications, and advocacy for the largest Afghan women's rights organization in the world. Her career has focused on the rights and empowerment of women and girls and progressive social change. From 2008-3014, Otis was director of the Caring Economy Campaign, and is the former CEO of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, Women & Philanthropy, the Rauch Foundation, and The Sister Fund. During the challenging aftermath of September 11, 2001, Otis was chair of the board of Philanthropy New York. She now serves as board chair of Gender Action and is a former Board member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Women's Funding Network. She has published three book chapters, authored dozens of reports and OpEds, and has presented widely at venues including the National Press Club and on Capitol Hill.
Gina Reiss is a results-oriented leader and executive manager with almost three decades of fund raising experience in the nonprofit sector at the state, national and international levels. A co-founder of TrueChild, she has built effective strategic partnerships with high net worth donors, major foundations, UN agencies, community based organizations, and Fortune 500 corporations. She has raised millions for social justice causes and led major advocacy campaigns on issues from women’s and LGBT rights, and masculinity among young men of color in the US to promoting girls’ education and menstrual health management in Africa, and ending sex trafficking in South East Asia. Fast Company selected Ms. Reiss among their 2012 “League of Extraordinary Women.”
A Toni Young
Toni Young is founding Executive Director of Community Education Group (CEG) in the District of Columbia. Founded in 1993 as the National Women and HIV/AIDS Project (NWAP), it has consistently focused on the needs and challenges the Black community, particularly those faced by women. Today CEG conducts the bulk of community HIV testing and counseling in SouthEast DC. A recognized expert on reproductive health and gender-based violence, Toni is in frequent demand as a speaker. In 2012, CEG was selected to lead the Road to AIDS, a nationwide tour to increase community participation in the 15 cities most adversely impacted by HIV.