2017 Just Peace Summit Team

Alejandro Zavala
Hotel Dad

Alejandro Zavala, Los Angeles native, first male in his family to attend college, received: Associates Degree (2013), Glendale Community College; Bachelor's Degree (2015), Human Development, Pacific Oaks University; now pursuing a Master's Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy, Pacific Oaks University.

At age 16, Alejandro worked in Finance. Successful, at age 27, he entered college full time. Utilizing public transportation, he maintained perfect attendance at work and school with a 4.0 GPA.

Alejandro garnered scholarships for his academic achievements and volunteers in the community. Alejandro, a primary counselor at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, loves music, dancing, and experiencing different cultures.

Aria Finger

Aria is CEO of DoSomething.org, the largest tech company exclusively for young people and social, change with 5.5million members in 131 countries.  In 2013, she founded TMI Strategy, a subsidiary strategic consultancy, that has brought in over $6million for DoSomething.  Finger graduated with an econ degree from WashU in St. Louis and teaches at NYU.  She was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2016.

Benjamin Quinto

Benjamin has been a youth advocate since his teens, proposing a United Nations Youth Assembly Project at the age of 18 and later founding the Global Youth Action Network (GYAN). GYAN connected over 10,000 organizations in 180 countries, elevating youth voices in global decision-making and facilitating global collaborations. Benjamin also helped organize the 2000 National Youth Conventions, launch Global Youth Service Day, Chat the Planet TV and Three Dot Dash. He speaks 5 languages, has self-published 2 books and loves travel, photography and music. Currently he co-manages Natural Immunogenics, makers of Sovereign Silver, and serves on several non-profit boards.



Brett Schilke

Brett is Director of Impact, Exponential Generation Initiative at Singularity University in Silicon Valley. He directs global initiatives that empower individuals to positively impact billions of lives. He was co-founder and CEO of the educational development company IDEAco, where he co-created the City X Project - an innovation and problem solving experience used in 75+ countries.

In the past ten years, Brett's traveled through North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East to work on international education and community development. He has also designed learning experiences for programs of the U.S. Congress and led community impact projects in rural Russia.

Danielle Giambattista

Danielle Giambattista is the Managing Director of Food Driven Inc., a hospitality consulting company that specializes in concept design, food and beverage menu development, restaurant operations, human resource development, and project management including overall corporate strategy execution for newly opening and existing establishments.  Danielle’s background includes over fifteen years of professional experience in the hospitality industry working with prestigious chefs such as Daniel Boulud, Gordon Ramsay, and Alan Wong. 

She has worked with the Desmund Tutu HIV Foundation in South Africa to raise money to open a café that offers nutritious meals and employment to the young people of the community. Danielle has also worked closely with young people and adults with disabilities at such places like the Lavelle School for the Blind in NYC to teach the students how to cook quick nutritious meals in order to maintain healthy lifestyles. 

Gani Naylor

Gani Naylor is a facilitator and documentary filmmaker. Gani is passionate about helping young people develop their confidence, self-awareness and power to make a difference in the world.

As a facilitator for PYE Global (Partners for Youth Empowerment), Gani trains teachers and educators to bring creativity and vibrancy to their work leading to fun, engaging, transformational learning experiences. He weaves a variety art forms helping groups come together, build trust and connection and feel free to truly express themselves.

Recent projects include working with refugees in Greece with Unicef. Other passions include sailing, surfing, making music and storytelling.


Gary Bencheghib
Film & Content Director 

Gary is a filmmaker, adventurer and activist who is passionate about creating social change. He runs Make A Change World, a media outlet that uncovers uplifting and inspirational story to inspire people to make positive change one view at a time. His work has been seen by hundreds of millions worldwide and have included sailing down the Mississippi River on a plastic boat, to following the Trash Man, Rob Greenfield, as he wore every single piece of trash he created for a month. Gary was a 2012 GTL and currently serves as an Ocean Ambassador for the Ocean Recovery Alliance and Global Alert.

James Brooks
GTL Alumni Volunteer

From a very young age, James Brooks has known that he would dedicate himself to coming to a better understanding of the other species with whom humans share the planet. Before he was 10, he started an organization called “Apeaware” to raise awareness of great apes and the threats they face and his “1000classrooms” project helped people and gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through raising money and awareness and led to several national and international awards including being named a 2011 Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leader at age 14.  James continues his pursuit of better understanding of our fellow creatures through studying animal cognition at Duke University where he is a junior majoring in Evolutionary Anthropology. 

Jason Russell

As Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Invisible Children, Jason Russell led the company’s creative vision with an emphasis on the power of storytelling for over a decade. In 2016, he launched Broomstick Engine, a creative agency that is dedicated to using storytelling to inspire movements and real action. Jason is both a work and life partner to his childhood sweetheart Danica, and recently released their book “A Little Radical: The ABC's of Activism”. He believes the greatest stories he gets to co-direct are those of his two children, Gavin Danger and Everley Darling.


Dr. Jeni Stepanek
Facilitator, Speaker,
"Mama Peace"

A noted advocate for children's and families' rights in health and education, Dr. Jeni Stepanek has spoken on television, radio and in print about disability, hospice, family support, parenting, writing, spirituality, peace and many other topics, all while battling a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Her youngest son, Mattie, was a poet and peace advocate whose bestselling books have inspired millions. Mattie created poetry and essays from age 3 until he passed away in 2004 at age 13 from muscular dystrophy. Jeni is the author of the NY Times bestselling book, "Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs.” In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, Jeni is a faculty associate at the University of Maryland where she earned her doctoral degree in Early Childhood Special Education, specializing in anticipatory grief and family support.

Juan Miranda
Production Assistant & Driver

My name is Juan Miranda 37 years old . First and foremost I am a father to 5 beautiful children . I am an entrepreneur as well as a dreamer. I manage to give back to my community through many free programs I am involved in . I am a poet an aspiring actor and a writer. I enjoy living every moment in the present as well as planting a seed for a better future. I love to learn and embrace difference. I am a hard worker and an understanding individual. I hope this is somewhat good enough, I could go on for days if you let me. Have a great day.

Khouloud Ayuti

I'm Khouloud, a 2008 GTLs from Israel. At the time of the summit I was 18 years old, passionate about helping Palestinian families get proper healthcare and promoting peace education in my community in Jaffa. during my time in college, as a student getting my BA in social and political sciences, I got accepted to interning at the Peres center for peace and later got to work there as a project manager in the field of peace education through technology,and have been working there since. I am a professional group facilitator, specializing in dialogue groups in hope of promoting respect and understanding between the different communities in Israel, the west bank and the middle east. I am mother of 2 beautiful girls who i hope will grow in a better,more peaceful world :) 


Kimberly Birbrower
Curriculum DESIGNER 

Kimberly Birbrower is a former classroom educator with extensive experience in nonprofits, educational administration, and media literacy, and founded Big Picture Instructional Design. Before that, Kim was the first Director of Education at Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation, and prior, served as Assistant Director of Education at the ADL. Kim has her permanent teaching certification, and taught English in various schools throughout NYC. She received her BA from Boston University and her MA from NYU. 

Kristen Powers

Kristen Powers is the executive producer of Twitch, a documentary that follows Kristen as an 18-year-old as she undergoes genetic testing for Huntington's disease. When she's not screening her film, Kristen works as the Advocacy Coordinator at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in North Carolina. 

Lara Stein

Lara is Founder and former Director of the TEDx program (TED conferences), and currently Founder / CEO of TheTribe - an organization dedicated to solving the world’s biggest problems through community, tech, ideas and passion. Lara was also Managing Director of Singularity University’s global expansion and implementation strategy. 

As Founder and Director of TEDx, Lara developed the program to grant free licenses to third parties to organize independent TED-like events. In the first 5 years of TEDx, she grew the program into a global phenomenon with 40,000+ talks given at more than 8,000 TEDx events in 133 countries. 


Marc Birnbach

As a Manager of Multimedia for an international NPO, deep story gathering is a necessity and the success is measured by the donor support in which the NPO targets. Marc supports Americares, a world leading NPO, whom provided donated medicines and medical supplies in order to create, support, and sustain local living health clinics. His travels are frequent and world wide including his most recent trip to Kathmandu - Nepal, Bangkok - Thailand and a layover in Tokyo - Japan. He is also scheduled for a third revisit ton El Salvador as well as Liberia. Marc has been supporting the We Are Family Foundation, Three Dot Dash Just Peace Summit, and TEDxTeen since 2008 in a similar capacity. 

Marc Phillips
Digital & Content Strategist
Ketchum, New York 

Marc is a Digital & Content Strategist working at Ketchum focusing on the foundational elements of what make web encounters memorable: strong brand narratives and user interactivity. Marc's successful team efforts have been recognized at industry award ceremonies in the US.

Prior to Ketchum, Marc worked in marketing for a GroupM subsidiary. As an undergraduate, Marc was awarded a fellowship with the International Radio and Television Society and won The Advertising Club of New York's "Person of the Year" student scholarship in 2012.


Michelle Posadas
Lead Facilitator

Michelle Posadas is a creative educator cultivating collaborative art experiences internationally since 2002. She believes telling stories through images is a fundamental strategy for social change movements. Her commitment to change and community organizing began as a Conflict Manager in third grade. Through her position as Learn Design Manager at Adobe, she is currently working with emerging artists who use their art as a force for #CreativeImpact. Join @project1324 in pushing society forward.


Olivia Wright
GTL Alumni Volunteer

A 2014 global teen leader with a mission to “shoe the world”, this is Olivia’s third year at the Peace Summit to spend the week with the world’s most devoted philanthropists.  Olivia hails from Nashville, and when she’s not working with her organization H.U.G.S., you can almost always find her scrawling out her latest writing, making music on her piano, and finding unique ways to further global peace. Ecstatic about being a part of such an awe-inspiring global family, Olivia is excited to watch magic happen at this year’s Peace Summit.

Pamela Bell

Pamela was a founding partner of the global, iconic brands Kate Spade and Jack Spade for 16 years, until she and her partners sold the business.
Now, Pamela is founder of prinkshop. prinkshop designs advocacy graphics for pressing social issues and translates them onto products, allowing customers to wear what they care about. prinkshop donates a portion of the profit back to the organization dedicated to the cause – embodying a model she calls “creative capitalism.”

She currently sits on the board of Project Renewal, a homeless agency in NYC and is co-founder of the Bowery Arts Project.

Reshini Premaratne
GTL Alumni Volunteer

Reshini Premaratne is a rising freshman at Harvard and a political citizen, figure skater, and advocate for the homeless. She worked as a field organizer for Hillary Clinton's campaign, registering voters and coordinating a network of volunteers. From the age of four, Reshini has utilized figure skating to share stories, organize charity shows, and raise money for those in need. At the age of ten, Reshini created X-Out Homelessness to integrate education, fundraising, and advocacy efforts for the homeless. From the voting booths to the ice rink to the homeless community, Reshini strives to be a leader for social change.


Rick Fernandes
3DD Studio Director

As Executive Director of the Fred Rogers Center, Rick Fernandes is responsible for strategic partnerships, program development, and outreach and communications. He has been involved in children’s television for 30 years where he has worked on shows including Blue’s Room, Between the Lions, Out of the Box, Bear in the Big Blue House, and Reading Rainbow. Rick’s achievements include 11 Emmy nominations covering five different children’s series for PBS, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, and one Emmy win for directing Disney Channel’s Bear in the Big Blue House. He also has experience in general entertainment, working on sitcoms, reality, game shows and music videos. Previously, Rick served as Executive Director, General Entertainment Content in Southeast Asia for Turner International Asia Pacific Limited.

Robert Galinsky

Robert Galinsky is founder of GalinskyCoaching.com, is head speaker coach at TEDxTeen and TEDxFultonStreet, and works with teenagers in Rikers Island Jail and jails and prisons throughout NY State via the organization Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. His one-person play "The Bench, A Homeless Love Story" recently played to a packed house at Dixon Place Theater and Galinsky is currently in development with Critical Content Inc. to create a reality TV show. He has appeared on the VIEW, ABC Nightline News, in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal speaking on his innovative coaching and performance techniques. More: GalinskyPlace.com

Samantha Emrich
Creative Strategist
Ketchum, New York

Sam is a member of the Ketchum New York creative team. Sam serves as a creative consultant planning and pitching break-through programs to current and new business prospects, rooted in smart strategy. She is also a trained brainstorm facilitator. 

Prior to her tenure as a creative, Sam held account management roles with health and wellness brands and worked in market research and analytics. 

An advocate of inner peace for world peace, you can often find Sam meditating or inverting on her yoga mat. By night and weekend, Sam is the Founder & Chief Content Creator of CatchingDragonfly.com, a fitness & wellness blog.


Seanne Farmer

As a small child, Seanne wanted to be a backup singer for Tina Turner.  The timing didn’t work out on that…but it did lead to pursuing a degree in Acting/Directing with extended studies in Film & Post Production.  She is an Emmy nominated Producer, Creative Director/Production Supervisor, Show Caller, and has spent the majority of her lifetime on a bus or plane traveling the world with concert artists Bette Midler, Cher, Beyonce, Cirque du Soleil, (and a few others she can barely remember until late night storytelling sessions).  In her downtime, she can be found jumping in with foundations producing events that put good into the world.  She is absolutely in awe of all of the GTL’s, and hasn’t even met you yet!

Shantell Martin

The work of Shantell Martin is a meditation of lines — a language of characters, creatures, and messages that invites her viewers to share in her creative process. 

Part autobiographical and part dreamlike whimsy, Martin has created her own world that bridges fine art, performance art, technology and the everyday experience: conversations, objects and places. 

Underlying Martin’s work is a quest for identity — her own, discovered and refined in the development of her characteristic style, and that of the viewer, engaged by Martin’s direct questioning and further explored in her winding lines. Her artwork has appeared in the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the Contemporary African Diaspora, Bata Show Museum and a number of private galleries. 

Simon Cohen
Facilitator & Chief Storyteller

After setting up the PR agency Global Tolerance in 2003, aged 24, Simon grew the company to become the world’s leading
agency in social change. He represented leaders including HH Dalai Lama, HRH The Prince of Wales, and Gandhi’s grandson. Simon then famously gave away the £1m company for the riches of family life. Between diaper changes and role-playing as a dinosaur-fairy-princess, Simon works with a Tibetan Buddhist master, and travels the world with his family, giving talks about love and leadership. He is also a contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur magazine and other global media. 


Teun Voeten

Teun Voeten studied Cultural Anthropology and Philosophy in the Netherlands. He is photojournalist and author who has been covering the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Colombia, Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Honduras, DR Congo, North Korea, Mexico, Libya and Syria. He published in Vanity Fair, Newsweek, The New Yorker and National Geographic. Voeten also works for the International Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, Human Rights Watch and the UNHCR. 

In 1996, he published 'Tunnel People', an anthropological-journalistic account of living 5 months with an underground homeless community in New York. After a trip to the West African country of Sierra Leone where Voeten was hunted down by child soldiers intent on killing him, he published ’How de Body? Hope and Horror in Sierra Leone’ in 2000


Thomas Barritt
Partner/Managing Director
Communications Training Network
Ketchum New York

Tom Barritt is a veteran communications training instructor and a sought after speaker and facilitator, with more than two decades of experience. He directs Ketchum’s network of communications trainers and creates and facilitates customized training workshops to help clients effectively deliver messages in a variety of forums. 

Mr. Barritt has clients preparing for interviews on major news broadcasts, including Nightline, ABC News Primetime, Dateline NBC, Good Morning America, 60 Minutes and Today, as well as print interviews and satellite media tours. He has counseled CEOs, senior executives and spokespeople for numerous corporations and associations.

Vicki Shenk
Production Manager

Vicki is from Cincinnati Ohio yet now lives between NYC and Las Vegas. She got to dance on lunch tables at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts then received her BFA in Stage Management from the Conservatory of Theatre Art from Webster University.  She ran away with the circus for 14 years with Cirque du Soleil.  She got to see the world thanks to her time with Cirque. She now focuses on doing production work for events from fashion shows, food and wine festivals to corporate meetings. She is so excited to be a part of the the Just Peace Summit and can't wait to meet everyone. 


Yeonmi Park

Twenty-two-year-old human rights activist and North Korean defector Yeonmi Park is fast becoming a leading voice of oppressed people around the world. At the 2014 Oslo Freedom Forum and the One Young World Summit in Dublin, she became an international phenomenon, delivering a passionate and deeply personal speech about the brutality of the North Korean regime. Her escape from North Korea has given the world a window into the lives of its people. Due to her bravery, strength, and story, the BBC named her one of their Top 100 Global Women.