Sheri SouthernInterim Executive Director
Geri AuriemmaFoundation Coordinator
Lené CopelandFoundation Associate
Sherry CromettPresident, CareerWork$
Anna CunninghamDirector of Operations, CareerWork$
Ranko FukudaRegional Director, CareerWork$
Marie ToftDirector of Finance, CareerWork$
Ruby SloanProgram Coordinator, CareerWork$
Sheri Southern joined the Biller Family Foundation in December 2019, as a consultant managing Human Resources. In February 2020, Sheri took on the additional role of Interim Executive Director.
Sheri has spent her career focused in the areas of Operations, Technology and Human Resources. Most recently she led the Human Resource function at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Prior to that she managed Human Resources for Knowledge Universe, an Early Childhood Education organization. She has held executive level positions in both for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations over the past 30 years, and she has a true passion for bringing people, systems and processes together to ensure everyone is set up for success.
Sheri currently lives in Loveland Colorado and plans to return to the Pacific Northwest in the future.
Geri Auriemma joined the Biller Family Foundation in September 2019 as the Foundation Coordinator, bringing with her several years of experience in the nonprofit and public sectors. Previously, Geri served as a legislative aide to Seattle City Councilmembers Abel Pacheco and Rob Johnson, managing communications and constituent relations and tracking policy related to arts, education, and human services. Prior to her work at City Hall, Geri was a nonprofit arts fundraiser, managing the Annual Fund at Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Geri holds an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University and a BA in Vocal Performance from Colby College. Outside of work, Geri enjoys singing with the Seattle Symphony Chorale, reviewing performing arts experiences throughout King County for 4Culture, and volunteering with Northwest Girlchoir. Born and raised in Seattle, Geri feels a strong pull towards aligning her work with advancing the public good and is excited to join the Biller Family Foundation team to help support the work of changing people’s lives in meaningful and lasting ways.
Lené Copeland joined the Biller Family Foundation in 2013 and supports all aspects of the Foundation’s grantmaking. Ms. Copeland brings a rich, diverse background to her program administration position. With formal education in architecture, much of her career has involved teaching including a 20-year role bringing architecture to K-12 school students through the built environment education program called, “Architecture in Education.”
Ms. Copeland formerly taught and helped develop curriculum in environmental technology for the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center in Philadelphia. This program focused on varied groups of inner-city schools, and engaged them daily in an interactive, hands-on teaching environment. Ms. Copeland has worked in architectural practices in Seattle and Philadelphia designing residential homes and educational facilities. She received her Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and studied in Rome, Italy and Tokyo, Japan.
Sherry Cromett joined the Biller Family Foundation in December 2018 as President of CareerWork$. Based in Seattle, she oversees the operation and expansion of the two CareerWork$ training programs, BankWork$® and CareerWork$ Medical®.
Most of Ms. Cromett’s career has been spent with Starbucks, where over the course of twenty years she defined and spearheaded the U.S. and global business strategies as well as highly complex, critical initiatives for over 12,000 stores. She also previously served as Regional Vice President of KinderCare Education.
Ms. Cromett earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Economics from Smith College. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, cheering for her kids on the soccer field, baking, and traveling.
Anna Cunningham is the Director of Operations for CareerWork$®, a focus area of the Biller Family Foundation. In her role, Anna is responsible for creating and implementing systems and processes to accelerate the growth of CareerWork$’s two programs: BankWork$® and CareerWork$ Medical®.
Prior to beginning her current role, Anna spent the majority of her career building community programs as part of Starbucks’ Social Impact team. She built and led collaborations with external nonprofit organizations and internal business teams to achieve meaningful impact.
Anna earned Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Washington in Zoology and Norwegian. Outside of work, Anna enjoys traveling with her family, discovering new music, and attempting to expand her cooking horizons.
Ranko Fukuda is the CareerWork$® Regional Director. She is responsible for working with vocational training partners, employer partners, and community stakeholders to ensure the BankWork$® and CareerWork$ Medical® programs are maximizing their impact in markets across the country. After graduating from University of Michigan, Ranko spent 12 years with Capital One Financial, honing in on her Project and Program Management skills, as well as having the privilege of working in the CEO, President and Bank Presidents’ offices and managing the Bank charitable giving program. Her tenure at Capital One ended unexpectedly when the Great Northeast Earthquake and Tsunami affected her home country of Japan, and she moved to Japan temporarily to help aid in disaster recovery with All Hands Volunteers. Upon her return to the US, Ranko moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the non profit sector to leverage her professional skills in making a difference in underserved communities. She enjoys salsa dancing, hot yoga, organic farming, and spending time with her dog and cat.
Marie Toft joined the Biller Family Foundation in 2019 as the Director of Finance for CareerWork$®. Marie will unlock the growth potential for CareerWork$ two programs; BankWork$ and CareerWork$ Medical, by streamlining, enhancing and expanding the analytics behind them through the implementation of new systems, tools and practices. In additional, Marie will partner with our national non-profit training providers and market contacts to drive program insight and success.
Marie is an accomplished leader who previously spent 23 years with Starbucks Coffee Company delivering enterprise solutions, improving processes and leading new projects/programs ranging from acquisitions to new global systems or capabilities to name a few. She has a strong financial acumen, plus a wealth of experience in reporting, systems, and optimization from her experience with such a fast-paced growing enterprise.
Marie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a Finance focus from Gonzaga University. Outside of work, Marie enjoys spending time trying new restaurants or Washington wineries, traveling and being outdoors either doing yard work or hiking.
Ruby Sloan’s journey with CareerWork$® started in 2012 when she graduated from the Seattle BankWork$® program, which allowed her to start her career in banking as a teller. With the training she received while in the program, she was able to stand out as a top performer and work her way up to a Sr. Relationship Banker position in commercial banking. Wanting to give back to the program that changed her life, she became a Career Navigator with Seattle BankWork$ expansion into Pierce county.
Ruby serves as a key support liaison to new and existing CareerWork$ training partners, providing curriculum and instructional support, as well as representing the program across the country to constituents while supporting the team in achieving its national expansion. In her spare time, Ruby enjoys taking road trips with her husband and three children, exploring natural attractions, and tasting new food from different cultures.
Lindsey C. KozbergDirector
Sarah J. LydingDirector
Pedro J. MartíDirector
John R. OhanesianDirector
Richard M. PowellDirector
Mr. Howard Behar’s career in business spans over 50 years, all in consumer oriented businesses covering several industries. He retired from Starbucks Coffee after 21 years where he led both the domestic business, as President of North America, and was the founding President of Starbucks International. During his tenure, he participated in the growth of the company from 28 stores to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents. He served on the Starbucks Board of Directors for 12 years before retiring.
Mr. Behar now serves on several boards, including iD Tech, Education Elements and the advisory boards of Anthos Capital and Roadtrip Nation. His non-profit commitments are to the University of Washington Foundation, UW Business School mentoring program and as a Trustee for The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation. Mr. Behar is committed to the development and education of our future leaders and has been a longtime advocate of the Servant Leadership Model. He has also authored a book on leadership titled “It’s Not About the Coffee.”
Ms. Yvonne Bell has been working in the non-profit sector for thirty years and has led successful fundraising campaigns for The Museum of Contemporary Art, the California Science Center and Center Theatre Group. She currently serves as the Director of Advancement for Center Theatre Group, and as a member of the senior executive team, she plays an instrumental role in the organization’s fundraising, strategic planning, programming and board development efforts.
Ms. Bell serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Ojai Playwrights Conference and frequently speaks in Los Angeles and nationally on fundraising in the arts.
Lindsey C. Kozberg
With more than two decades of public affairs experience spanning government, nonprofits, law firms, and universities, Ms.Lindsey Kozberg currently serves as a Principal at Park & Velayos LLP, where her practice focuses on land use, real estate and government regulatory matters.
Ms. Kozberg was most recently chief communications officer for Truth Initiative, the largest public health organization in the U.S. dedicated to ending tobacco-related death and disease. Prior to that Ms. Kozberg was vice president for external affairs at the nonpartisan RAND Corporation, where she was charged with connecting the work of more than 1,000 researchers to the challenges facing policy and decision makers around the world. She is a former director of public affairs for the U.S. Department of Education and served as a spokesperson for signature White House domestic policy initiatives as a special assistant to President George W. Bush.
A passionate supporter of Los Angeles-area cultural and educational institutions, Ms. Kozberg currently serves on the boards of ExED, the Los Angeles Parks Foundation, the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Ms. Kozberg received her J.D. from Stanford University, and her undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Sarah J. Lyding
Sarah Lyding is the Executive Director of The Music Man Foundation, also known as The Meredith and Rosemary Willson Charitable Foundation. Under her leadership, the Foundation launched a music therapy grant program for Southern California-based organizations and supports many outstanding music education programs in fulfillment of the Foundation’s mission to use music to improve children’s lives. Before joining The Music Man Foundation in 2017, Ms. Lyding was the first staff member for The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, where she worked for nearly 10 years on programs such as BankWork$TM and the Social Impact Theatre opportunity.
Prior to her work with foundations, she led fundraising efforts at some of the region’s preeminent performing arts organizations including Pasadena Playhouse and Center Theatre Group. Ms. Lyding also serves on the Board of Directors of Boston Court Pasadena.
Pedro J. Martí
Pedro J. Martí is a Managing Director and Private Wealth Advisor with Rockefeller Capital in Los Angeles, California. Pedro and his team develop customized wealth management solutions for high net worth individuals, households, and foundations. After understanding his clients’ financial situation, objectives, values, and family dynamics, Pedro collaborates with specialists to design financial strategies to help clients pursue their short and long term goals. With a passion for people and a love for numbers, Pedro focuses on wealth preservation and creates unique solutions for each family he works with.
Prior to joining Rockefeller, Pedro was a Managing Director and Senior Financial Advisor for Wells Fargo. Growing up, Pedro started washing cars at his family’s car dealerships, worked in the parts department, and eventually joined sales where he built his people skills interacting with customers. Pedro went on to serve as an analyst in Wells Fargo’s Corporate Development team where he advised senior leadership on Mergers & Acquisitions and served as the Chief of Staff for the firm’s COO. Pedro additionally was a member of the Summer Associate Goldman Sachs Sales & Trading Program and developed and implemented a professional development training program for Wells Fargo in the LA Metro Region. Pedro also established a family office in San Juan, Puerto Rico inclusive of Asset Allocation, Real Estate Development, Private Equity, Structured Products, and Education practices to help wealthy families develop and preserve their legacies.
Pedro earned his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of business and his BBA from the Emory Goizueta School of Business with concentrations in Finance, Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, and Financial Services. He stays involved in his community as a Board Member of the Biller Family Foundation, Para Los Niños, Children’s Burn Foundation, & March to the Top Africa. Pedro and his wife also underwrite scholarships for his alma mater in Puerto Rico, Colegio San Ignacio and actively support Children’s Hospital LA, UCLA Health, Teen Cancer America, Union Rescue Mission, Amanecer Counseling Services, and the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools. Pedro and his family have a passion for service to others and currently reside in the Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles.
John R. Ohanesian
Mr. John R. Ohanesian is the President and CEO of Lear Capital. Founded in 1997, Lear is the largest direct response marketing and sales enterprise in the U.S. focused on precious metals with over $2 billion in transactions. Previously, he was President and CEO of Bosley from 1990 to 2010 as well as co-Founder, President and CEO of Aderans Research Institute, a biotech company, from 2002 to 2010. Since 2013 he has been an Advisor/Chief Strategic Officer of Theradome, Inc., which is an aesthetic medical device company based in San Jose, California.
In 2004, The Concern Foundation named Mr. Ohanesian as their honoree for his philanthropic and humanitarian efforts in the Greater Los Angeles area. He served on the Board of Directors of Center Theatre Group from 2001 to 2008. From 2005 to 2008, he was a member of the Board of Directors of City of Hope’s National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute. From 2007 to 2014 Mr. Ohanesian served on the Board of Trustees of The Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, California.
Richard M. Powell
Mr. Richard Powell was born in Los Angeles and now resides in Santa Monica. He graduated from Woodbury University, a private Los Angeles college. While attending college, he started a business with his father, furniture veteran Larry Powell, creating the L. Powell Company. After leading this highly successful family business for 30+ years, Rick was instrumental in selling the Powell Company to a private investment group in 1999.
Rick is currently President of Ashjer, LLC, where he devotes his time to helping non-profit organizations raise money, serving on numerous boards and committees as well as a consultant to private companies.
In 1982 he co-founded Concern II for Cancer Research. Concern II pioneered fundraising among young people 18-40 in the area of cancer immunology, specializing in pediatric cancer.
Rick has been an avid community leader for his entire adult life. He served in many leadership roles for various non-profit organizations over the years. He currently serves on the Community Benefits Committee at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, the Furniture Industry Executive Committee at City of Hope, and as the immediate past Chair of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Rick has also been the recipient of numerous honors recognizing his deep commitment to community service.