The Partnership at Drugfree.org Expands Its Board of Directors
Four Diverse Executives Elected as National Nonprofit Commits to New Five-Year Strategic Plan
New York – July 10, 2013 – The Board of Directors of the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to finding evidence-based solutions to adolescent substance use disorders, The Partnership at Drugfree.org, announced an expansion with the election of four new members. Vicki Cohen, Executive Vice President of Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc.; Phil Kwun, Managing Director and founding member and Chief Financial Officer of Sonenshine Partners; Lee Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Shaw Asset Management; and Carter Weiss, Managing Partner of Silas Capital were each elected to serve a three-year term as a director.
“Expanding and evolving our board is part of a thoughtful planning process intended to help the Partnership address the opportunities identified within our five-year strategic plan,” said Pat Russo, Chairman of The Partnership. “Vicki, Phil, Lee and Carter bring additional talent and passion to our existing board. They all have career accomplishments in business areas important for our future success and also important to maintaining an effective, responsive and properly governed nonprofit organization. We are delighted to welcome them to our board.”
Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the organization added, “We are growing the board with a keen eye to expertise that matches the demands of our strategic plan and maintains the high quality of thinking our board has brought to bear. During the interview and selection process, it was clear that each of these individuals wants and expects to be directly involved in facilitating our work alongside staff. To roll up their sleeves and truly see the impact of their involvement. It is a blessing to know Vicki, Phil, Lee and Carter view our work and the role of our board exactly as we do.”
Pasierb added, “We are actively seeking additional candidates in the areas of classroom education and administration, electronic education, juvenile justice, digital/social media and youth marketing so these are exciting times of growth.”
Vicki Cohen is Executive Vice President at Frank N. Magid Associates, heading up Magid’s east coast operations and consulting practice. Founded in 1957, Magid is a research-based strategy consulting firm and a long-acknowledged leader in market research and consultation to clients in the media, entertainment and other select industries. Since joining Magid in 1994, Ms. Cohen has developed teams of best-in-class research analysts and strategists, and has advised clients on issues related to corporate development, brand management, competitive positioning and communication, product development, emerging technology and innovation.
Prior to joining Magid, Cohen was an investment banker for nine years in the media and communications practice at Chase Manhattan Bank, specializing in corporate finance, merger and acquisitions and syndications. She has a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
“The Partnership at Drugfree.org makes a measureable difference in people’s lives,” said Cohen. “The vast majority of drug and alcohol addiction begins in the formative teen years, and the results can be devastating and life-altering. The Partnership provides science-based prevention, intervention and treatment resources and tools for parents and teens to navigate these at-risk years. This is important work and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Phil Kwun is an investment banker based in New York City. He is a Managing Director and founding member of the boutique investment bank, Sonenshine Partners, where he also serves as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. Prior to Sonenshine Partners, Kwun was with the global media and telecommunications group of BT Wolfensohn (the mergers and acquisitions division of BT Alex. Brown) and its successor firm, Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown. Kwun has spent more than 15 years advising companies in a broad range of growth sectors on mergers, financings, corporate strategy, partnerships, recapitalizations, restructurings and joint ventures. In recent years, Kwun has counseled companies in the areas of enterprise software, telecommunications, e-commerce, media and business services. He has worked with companies at all stages of their lifecycles.
Outside of his work at Sonenshine Partners, Kwun is a Director of RosettaBooks, a pioneer in the electronic publishing industry, and serves as a mentor for the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, a group focused on launching successful start-ups at Yale. Kwun holds a BA with distinction from Yale College and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a graduate of the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Darien, Connecticut.
“I’m honored to be elected to the Board of Directors of The Partnership at Drugfree.org,” said Kwun. “The work of The Partnership is critically important in today’s environment as the legal, educational and social atmosphere around drug use is changing. As a parent and someone who has seen the impact of substance abuse on families and individuals, I hope to contribute meaningfully to the work of promoting dialogue between parents and teens and effectively identifying and treating substance abuse. The team at The Partnership at Drugfree.org is very impressive, and I very much look forward to working with them.”
Lee Shaw is CEO of Atlanta-based Shaw Asset Management and Chairman of the Shaw Family Foundation. He currently serves as the Founding Chairman of The Georgia Meth Project, a member of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. The Georgia Meth Project launched in 2008 and recently expanded, delivering methamphetamine prevention lessons within schools in the state. Previously, Shaw lived in Dalton, GA and served as an executive with Shaw Industries for 20 years. Shaw Industries grew from a family company with $300,000 in sales in 1958 to one of America’s largest corporations, appearing on the Fortune 500 list and achieving $4 billion in sales as of 1999. In January 2001, Shaw Industries was sold to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the holding company of Warren E. Buffett.
“I have seen the lasting damage drug use can do to individuals, families and communities through my work with The Georgia Meth Project,” said Shaw. “We’ve been able to make great progress in Georgia, but our work is ongoing and we still have a long road to travel. I have also seen how drug and alcohol abuse can rob future employment opportunities, negatively impact businesses and lessen America’s economic competitiveness. Joining the national board of The Partnership at Drugfree.org is a perfect coming together of my business experiences, nonprofit work and steadfast belief in brighter, healthier futures for all children. I could not be more thrilled or more ready to get to work.”
Carter Weiss is a founding partner of the consumer venture capital fund Silas Capital. Prior to forming Silas Capital, Weiss co-founded Built NY in 2003, and for seven years as CEO, grew Built into an internationally recognized consumer products brand, taking sales from zero to approximately $30 million. Weiss grew Built to what it is today, selling in more than 50 countries around the world. Before his role as CEO of Built, Weiss spent seven years as a tech venture capitalist. He was previously a member of corporate venture capital fund Hollinger Capital, where he made successful investments in consumer internet companies such as shopping.com (IPO 2004). Before Hollinger, he was an associate at venture capital firm Cornerstone Resources and an M&A analyst at CIS Corporation. Weiss began his financial career at World Marketing Inc., a Trans World Airlines holding company, where he held various accounting positions.
On joining the board, Weiss said, “I am honored to be working alongside the dedicated people of The Partnership at Drugfree.org and to assist in their daily effort to help parents and families manage today’s challenges around adolescent drug use, alcohol use and addiction. This is a health issue and I know that the world of digital innovation can further increase the positive impact The Partnership has each and every day.”