Chairman of the Board – Davis Weinstock
Davis Weinstock, Chairman of Clark & Weinstock, counsels leaders of large, complex organizations on strategies relating to reputational challenges and opportunities. Davis has counseled the Federal Trade Commission, Harvard Graduate School of Business, the New York Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Davis has provided strategies and/or counsel relating to many of the largest and best-known companies, transactions and events over the past twenty years.
As a writer and producer, Davis’ work has included a large number of films, series and pilots for three national networks and the BBC, three plays presented in New York, the feature film Tomorrow and articles in numerous national publications.
In volunteer activities, he has been president of the Board of Trustees of Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut and has headed the boards of the Nation Institute and CORO. He is a director of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University, New Visions for Public Schools, Apollo Inner-City Corporation and Impact Repertory Theater
Davis was educated at Harvard College and the London School of Economics.
Co-Chair and CEO – Nancy Parrish
Nancy is an active leader in community and public affairs. In 2011, Nancy founded Protect Our Defenders.
Nancy was founding co-chair of Human Rights Watch’s (www.hrw.org) Northern California Chapter, an organization “dedicated to defending and protecting human rights and focusing attention where human rights are violated” around the world.
Nancy has worked with President and Mrs. Carter in support of their international humanitarian work at the Carter Center (www.cartercenter.org), which is “guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering.”
She served two terms as development trustee of UCSF’s friends of Dept. of Psychiatry’s Hospital Board focusing on the creation of a children’s center. She has served as parent group president, board member or advisor to a number of public and private schools focusing attention on and support of kids with learning disabilities
Prior to 1996, she was founder and managing partner of Parrish, Smith Associates, a southern-based political strategy, event planning and public relations consulting firm.
Nancy is married and has two adult children.
President – Don Christensen, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
Don Christensen, Colonel, USAF (Ret.) served as chief prosecutor for the United States Air Force between 2010 and 2014. He served as a trial counsel, defense counsel or military judge for every year of his 23-year career in the United States Air Force.
Christensen has served as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Area Defense Counsel, Circuit Defense Counsel, Deputy Chief Circuit Defense Counsel, and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, as a deployed Staff Judge Advocate, Chief Circuit Trial Counsel, and Staff Judge Advocate and as a Military Judge. He has tried over 150 courts-martial as a trial and defense counsel and has presided over 100 trials as a military judge.
He was born in Sturgis, South Dakota and received his law degree from Marquette University Law School. A third generation Air Force officer, he received his commission as a second lieutenant through ROTC and entered active service on 15 July 1991. Christensen is licensed to practice law before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.
Christensen has received numerous awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
Secretary and General Counsel – Russell H. Miller
Russell Miller, a California attorney for thirty years, is Managing Partner of Miller & Olson, LLP, with offices in Burlingame and Sacramento. He specializes in nonprofit law, including formation and operation of charitable organizations. He also specializes in Federal and state political, campaign, lobby, and election laws, representing clients located throughout California, in other states, and in Washington, D.C.
Chief Financial Officer – Kirk Pessner
Kirk Pessner is the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Paralegal of Miller & Olson, LLP, has extensive and specialized expertise in campaign committee compliance, lobbyist registration and disclosure provisions, and conflict of interest disclosure for California and federal public officials. He also is an expert in the formation, operation and informational returns compliance of nonprofit organizations.
Board of Directors
Paula Coughlin, former Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Founder, Owner of Ocean Yoga Center in Atlantic Beach Fl. Paula Coughlin-Puopolo comes from a lineage of military and community leaders. Before settling in Florida, she served in the US Navy as a helicopter pilot, serving aboard Naval vessels as one of the earliest women in aviation to become flight deck qualified and maintenance officer/post maintenance check qualified. While serving as Aide de camp at the Naval Air Test Center, in 1991, her role as a whistle-blower in the infamous Tailhook Convention ended her aviation career, and Coughlin pushed forward working to rectify inequities in the military’s policies for the role of women in aviation and in combat. Coughlin is unwavering in her efforts to make positive changes; she has testified before SASC sub-committee, met with former President GH Bush, Sec. of Defense and more recently through an online petition, forced the HASC to hold open hearings on the sexual abuse scandal at Lackland AFB. In recognition of her leadership in modernizing the roles of women in the military, in 1992, she was honored as “Woman of the Year” by Vanity Fair. Coughlin was featured in a feature-length feature film, “She Stood Alone,” as well as the academy award nominated documentary “Invisible War” and most recently in the historical series “Retro Report” with the New York Times.
Congressman George “Buddy” Darden, retired. As a member of Congress he served 11 years on the House Armed Services Committee from 1983 – 1995. Prior to being elected to Congress he served as District Attorney of Cobb County, Georgia and in the Georgia House of Representatives. Throughout his years in Congress Darden advocated maintaining a strong national defense. From 1999 – 2003 Darden served as chairman of the Judicial Nominating Commission for then Governor Roy Barnes. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from LaGrange College and is currently a partner in the law firm of McKenna, Long & Aldridge.
Nicco Mele is is one of America’s leading forecasters of business, politics, and culture in our fast-moving digital age. Since January 2015, Nicco Mele has served in the newly created position of Senior Vice President and Deputy Publisher of the Los Angeles Times. He focuses on product, content, revenue, and audience development for all of the Los Angeles Times Media Group’s brands, including growing existing digital products and services, identifying possible acquisitions, developing new business opportunities and launching new products. Nicco’s first book, The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) explores the consequences of living in a socially-connected society, drawing upon his years of experience as an innovator in politics and technology. Nicco co-founded Echo & Co. and for the last six years, Nicco has served on the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School teaching graduate-level classes on the internet and politics.
Lilli J. Rey is a community activist with years of volunteer experience that have focused on protecting and restoring the rights of women. A political fundraiser as well, Lilli joined the board of Protect Our Defenders to help bring awareness to this issue with the goal of seeing change for the victims once and for all. Lilli lives in California with her four children.
Wendy C. Wolf, Ph.D. is a policy analyst, political activist and philanthropist focused on improving the lives of women and their families. Since retirement from running her own company, she has focused her energy on organizing women donors in support of progressive social change. She was the leader of the Women Donors Network’s work on reproductive rights for eight years. During that time, she organized their reframing, messaging, and policy work that included 76 donors and over 11 foundations. In addition, she spearheaded the venture funding (including 86 donors) of WeareUltraViolet(UV), an on-line organizing effort fighting sexism. She is on the steering committee for UV’s (c)(3) and Treasurer of their (c)(4). At WDN, she was on the board, served as Treasurer and was chair of the education and action efforts. She has been chair of the Board, as well as Treasurer and head of policy activities for the Healthy Teen Network, an organization of providers addressing issues of adolescent pregnancy and parenting. She is the Founder of the Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD), which she lead for 12 years. At CAPD, she and her staff provided strategic assistance and evaluation expertise to large foundations around how to improve the life outcomes of women and children. Prior to founding CAPD, she was the Director of Research for Public/ Private Ventures for 7 years. She was the chairperson of the Board of Healthy Teen Network for two years. And participated in similar roles on the boards of Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth and Living Beyond Breast Cancer. She has had a teaching position at the University of Arizona, with a multitude of published papers on women’s economic security. She received a Ph.D. in Demography and Sociology from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Brown University.