Newsmakers | July-August 2015

Charles-StokesLongtime president and chief executive officer of the CDC Foundation, Charles Stokes, has announced his planned retirement from the foundation. Stokes, 66, has led the foundation since nearly its inception in 1995 when it was created by Congress as an independent and nonprofit organization. Currently also the vice chairman of the Atlanta-based Raoul Foundation board and member of the Advisory Committee on Public Issues for the Ad Council, Stokes’ career has been dedicated to improving public health through service and policy. After graduating from St. Louis University and obtaining his master’s in education from Lincoln university, he worked for 22 years in the Missouri Department of Health, serving as deputy director for about half of them (from 1983 to 1994). Additional leadership positions held include stints as president of both the Missouri Public Health Association and the Missouri Institute of Public Administration. Throughout his career, he has been the recipient of numerous accolades recognizing his distinguished work. Stokes received the Noble J. Swearingen Award from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials for excellence in administrative management, the 1995 Public Health Leadership Award from St. Louis University and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Health-Care Heroes Lifetime Achievement award. Even with all of these accomplishments, he maintains that, “Leading the CDC Foundation and working with staff here and at CDC has been a privilege and the highlight of my career.” Charles Stokes will leave behind a lasting legacy at the CDC Foundation when he steps down effective Dec. 31, 2015.


PamBreauxPam Breaux has been named as the next chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). She succeeds outgoing CEO, Jonathan Katz, who stepped down in November of 2014. Kelly J. Barsdate has been serving in the position in the interim. Breaux has a proven track record of management and administration in government and private sector positions at multiple levels. A native of Louisiana, she is a former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT), a former executive director of the Louisiana Division of the Arts and is currently undergoing an appointment process to be the next assistant secretary of the Office of Cultural Development at CRT. Her career before serving her state included managing southwest Louisiana’s Decentralized Arts Funding Program and being executive director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana. Breaux has served on the boards of NASAA, South Arts, the Louisiana Board of International Commerce and the U.S. Travel Association. She holds a bachelor of arts in English from McNeese University and a master of arts in English and folklore from the University of Louisiana at LaFayette. Gary Gibbs, NASAA’s vice president showed his support for her appointment by saying, “Pam’s leadership credentials are exceptional. In addition to her executive experience and knowledge of our field, Pam offers NASAA a multisector perspective, a track record as a policy innovator, and true enthusiasm for both state arts agencies and our association. The board is proud to appoint her NASAA’s next CEO.” Pam Breaux began her duties July 6, 2015.


Peter_LaugharnThe board of directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation recently selected Peter Laugharn as the foundation’s new president and chief executive officer after a broad search. He will replace Steven M. Hilton, who has served since 1998 and is the grandson of the foundation’s founder. Hilton will remain chairman of the foundation’s board of directors. This marks the first time the foundation will be executively led by someone who is not a member or close associate of the Hilton family. Laugharn is a graduate of Stanford and Georgetown and holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of London. Selected because of his impressive background in the philanthropic sector which includes over 25 years of international and domestic experience, Laugharn most recently served as director of programs and then as executive director of the Firelight Foundation for nearly seven years. Before his time there, he worked as executive director of the Netherlands-based Bernard van Leer Foundation. Both the Firelight Foundation and the Bernard van Leer Foundation focus their philanthropic services and grant-making efforts on improving the lives of children and families internationally. Furthermore, Laugharn began his career at Save the Children, working a range of positions in several countries in Africa for 11 years. Most notably, he served as deputy director of the charity’s operations and facilities in Mali. He also spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. Additionally, as co-founder of the International Education Funders Group and the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS, it is apparent that Peter Laugharn has dedicated his career and life to helping children through philanthropy and direct services. Peter Laugharn begins his new position at the helm of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation effective Jan. 1, 2016.


Jim Murphy was recently hired as the new chief program officer of CypherWorx, a major online education services company. Murphy, who has over three decades of experience in youth and family services, is the former director of the National Accreditation of Child and Youth Development Programs and Department of Defense Family Readiness Programs. He has also headed the New York State affiliate of the National Afterschool Association (NAA). Recently, Murphy served as a consultant for the Child Welfare League of America, Amber Alert and Project Safe Childhood (an initiative of the U.S. Attorney General). He was responsible for overseeing the development and transition of national afterschool program accreditation and program accreditation for youth development and early childhood education programs as well as U.S. military family readiness programs. The NAA has named Jim Murphy as one of its 25 most influential people in the after school field. After completing the Institute for Non-Profit Management Executive Leadership program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business as well as earning the title of Master Project Manager, he went on to sign up for the Army Reserves, where he served for 9 years in various capacities. He also volunteered his time as a member of the Fairport-Perinton Chemical Prevention Council (CPAC) for over fifteen years. CPAC’s objectives are to reduce and/or eliminate high risk behaviors in youth, providing education and raising awareness of selected issues. CypherWorx CEO, Paul Cypher expressed his company’s enthusiasm for Jim Murphy’s selection, saying, “We are pleased to add Jim to the CypherWorx team. He has tremendous industry knowledge and experience in the child care and nonprofit fields.”


Alex-CountsAlex Counts, founder of the Grameen Foundation recently stepped down from his position as its president and chief executive officer. He has served at the helm of the foundation for more than 18 years. Counts began his career in international development and philanthropy initially working as legislative director of RESULTS and then serving as regional project manager for CARE-Bangladesh. He subsequently made his move to Grameen Bank and soon was given the go-ahead to found the Grameen Foundation with $6,000 in seed money. Today the foundation has approximately $25 million in annual revenue and over 200 employees operating in eight countries. Its mission has always been to help those in need increase their income, manage their finances and live healthy lives. Counts has been instrumental in the growth and stability of the foundation and will remain active with it in unofficial capacities after stepping down. A graduate of Cornell University, he is also known for his numerous written works in economics and social welfare, having been published in papers and journals such as the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. His primary life’s work, however, has always been building and leading the Grameen Foundation. Looking back on his tenure, Counts said, “It has been an honor to serve as Grameen Foundation’s president and CEO for more than 18 years… Today we are a leading international humanitarian organization advancing the causes of poverty reduction, microfinance, technology for development, and social business… I am pleased to entrust the leadership of this organization to a new generation of daring innovators, and I will remain supportive until the job is complete.” David Edelstein, current executive vice president for global programs at the Grameen Foundation, will serve as interim president and CEO until a search committee which will consider internal and external candidates makes their selection.


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