About MAG America's Board
Laurence D. Alpert
Senior Financial Advisor, Dana Associates, LLC
Laurence D. Alpert has over 30 years of senior financial and business experience within the satellite, telecom, and government services industries.
Mr. Alpert earned an MBA in finance from NYU's Stern School of Business in New York City and a BA in economics from Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. While attending Stern’s graduate school, he began working in telecommunications and finance at ITT Corp. in New York City.
Career advancement opportunities drew him to the Washington, D.C. area where he continued working in finance and telecommunications at AT&T and Verizon predecessor companies. In his work at Intelsat (the largest fixed satellite communications providers in the world with its fleet of more than 50 geo-stationery satellites covering over 99% of the world’s populated regions), Mr. Alpert headed financial planning and analysis and treasury activities and worked on communications projects for Intelsat customers in most regions of the world. He also served in senior financial positions with Intelsat’s government services group located in Bethesda, Maryland. Currently, Mr. Alpert works as a consultant to several satellite and telecommunications firms. Mr. Alpert joined the MAG America Board in 2012.
Board Treasurer; Finance and Audit Committee Chair
Vice President of Finance and Administration at IDS International
Mr. Mark Michalowski has served in senior management finance roles with leading non-profit and commercial organizations for over 20 years.
Mr. Michalowski is currently Vice President of Finance and Administration at IDS International. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Institute for Physical Sciences and held senior financial management roles in defense and telecom firms, including Lockheed Martin Global Telecom (COMSAT Corp). He holds an M.B.A in Finance from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Princeton University.
Kara L. Bue
Governance Committee Chair
â€¨Founding Partner, Armitage International, L.C.
Ms. Kara L. Bue is one of five founding partners of Armitage International, L.C., a consulting firm that specializes in international business development, strategic planning, and problem-solving. Her previous work experience includes private practice as a corporate lawyer specializing in financial services law and service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Regional Stability within the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.
Ms. Bue is a graduate of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island and Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California. She is admitted to practice law in California and the District of Columbia. Ms. Bue also serves on the Board of Directors of Michael Baker International, LLC, a global provider of engineering and consulting services and the U.S. Foundation of the Bishop Strachan School, located in Toronto, Ontario.
Development and Advancement Committee Co-Chair
Founder and Managing Director, Genesis International Consulting
Ms. Indika Samarawickreme is the Founder and Managing Director of Genesis International Consulting, a management consulting firm focused on nonprofits and social enterprises. She has led complex strategic transformations, fundraising/revenue generation and program development for global corporations and nonprofits for over 20 years.
Prior to founding Genesis International Consulting, Ms. Samarawickreme was the head of strategic planning, performance management and organizational design for KPMG Consulting. She has been a chief architect in delivering award winning strategic planning systems, led major turnarounds and has held several leadership positions with nonprofits, both in the US and internationally. Ms. Samarawickreme holds double Masters and Honors in Accountancy and Economics from the universities in the UK.
Ms. Samarawickreme is a Chartered Accountant, (UK equivalent of a CPA) and holds an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Samarawickreme joined the MAG America Board in 2015.
Cynthia Bemis Abrams
Development and Advancement Committee Co-Chair
Leadership and Public Relations Consultant
Ms. Cynthia Bemis Abrams of Chicago, Illinois is a public relations and leadership consultant. She serves her client base of non-profit organizations and small businesses with 25 years experience in communications and strategic planning, audience and messaging analysis and social media. Since 2014, Ms. Abrams has been an adjunct professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Ms. Abrams graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato and holds a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Compensation and Executive Management Committee Chair
Vice President for International Business at Collins & Company Inc.
Eric D. Newsom was the Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs from November 1998 – January 2001. Mr. Newsom spent nearly thirty years working on foreign affairs and national security in the federal government.
Prior to rejoining the Department of State, Mr. Newsom was staff director of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee from January 1989 to March 1994. From 1987 to 1989, he was Legislative Director and Foreign Policy Adviser to Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont.
From 1985 to 1987, Mr. Newsom was minority staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and from 1982 to 1984 he was a professional staff member of that committee. He was an officer in the Foreign Service between 1967-79. He became Vice President for International Business at Collins & Company after 32 years in U.S. Government service.
Loddy E. Tolzmann
Immigration Attorney, Tolzmann and Nordell LLP and
Assistant City Manager, City of Bloomington, MN
Ms. Tolzmann has extensive and well-rounded experience in employment-based immigration, family-based immigration, consular-based processing, and deportation defense.
She has represented clients before U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services, the local immigration courts, and U.S. embassies/consulates worldwide. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and Bachelor’s degree in Business/Marketing from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Prior to becoming a partner at Tolzmann and Nordell, Ms. Tolzmann was an Associate Attorney at Davis and Goldfarb PLLC and also served as the U.S. Branch Manager of a leading international-based immigration and visa consulting firm in London. At the University of St. Thomas School of Law, she has served as Director for the Alumni Board and mentor for the law school's mentor program.
She is a 2009 recipient of the University of St. Thomas School of Law Alumni Living the Mission Award and has attained St. Thomas' Society of the Arches Socius Approbtus status for her contributions of time and talent to the university community. Ms. Tolzmann is a co-founder of Twin Cities Boxing, a nonprofit amateur boxing program for at-risk youth. Ms. Tolzmann joined the MAG America Board in 2011.
Managing Director, The Rock Creek Group
Mr. Tunc Dayloglu is a Managing Director at The Rock Creek Group where he focuses on global macro strategies. He joined the firm in 2008 and led the credit/event driven strategies before taking on global macro strategies. Prior to this, he was a Principal Investment Officer at the World Bank's Investment Management Department and also worked in Asset-Liability management, where he structured and traded derivative transactions for the World Bank. He also worked with the Financial Products and Services group, advising clients on sovereign debt management techniques and designing new financial products. Tunc received a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Bogazici University in Istanbul in 1994. He also holds an M.B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.S in Finance from George Washington University.
Senior Vice President for Strategy at DAI
Jean Gilson is Senior Vice President for Strategy at DAI, an employee-owned global development company active in more than 90 countries, with USAID and DFID as its primary customers. DAI tackles fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governance, and instability. Jean first joined DAI after a career in banking and has over 30 years of experience in the development field.
At DAI from 1990 to 2000 and from 2006 to present, Jean is responsible for corporate strategy, planning and development, brand and communications, strategic marketing, and IT. She also oversees DAI's innovation activities, strategic initiative pilots, and the firm’s growing commercial business in corporate sustainability and local content services.
From 2000 to 2006 Jean worked for USAID first as country representative in Vietnam and later as USAID’s Senior Policy Advisor to the MCC.
A leading figure in the development community, she currently serves as Vice Chair of Program Affairs for the Society for International Development (SID) Washington, D.C. Chapter, and also serves as Vice President of the Governing Council of SID International, headquartered in Rome.
Jean holds a master’s degree in international law and economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, an M.B.A. equivalence certificate from the First National Bank of Chicago, and her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University.
Donald F. “Pat” Patierno
Mr. Donald F. “Pat” Patierno has a diverse and expansive background that spans 38 years of military and civilian service with the U.S. Federal government. He spent over 21 years at the State Department where, among other positions, he served as the Director, Office of Contingency Planning; the Executive Director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs; the Director of the Office of Humanitarian Demining (PM/HDP); and the Executive Director of the Bureau of Public Affairs. As Director of PM/HDP, the forerunner of the State Department organization that manages the U.S. government’s humanitarian mine action projects, Mr. Patierno oversaw a $60 million program that supported humanitarian mine action assistance to over 40 countries. Subsequent to his retirement, in addition to his service on MAG America’s Board of Directors, Mr. Patierno served as the U.S. advocate for the Slovenian-based International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance. He earned a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Maryland College Park in 1975 and an M.S. in National Security Resource Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington DC in 1998.
Mr. Patierno joined MAG America's Board in 2006, became President of the Board in February 2011, and retired as Board President in July 2015. In May 2016 Mr. Patierno was selected by the Board to be President Emeritus.
MAG America Outside Counsel
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Steve Solow has worked for MAG America for over 12 years as the organization's outside pro bono counsel. Steve is currently a partner at the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.
Previously he served at the United States Department of Justice as Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section and, before that, as a prosecutor with the New York State Organized Crime Task Force. Steve has also been a law professor at both the University of Maryland School of Law and Pace University School of Law.
While at the U.S. Department of Justice, Steve oversaw an international investigation into the smuggling of ozone depleting chemicals and worked extensively with the U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies, as well as Interpol.
As MAG America's outside counsel, Steve and his firm provide pro bono legal support for the organization and he has personally visited MAG operations in Lebanon. Steve is a graduate of Brown University (B.A.) and New York University School of Law (J.D.).
MAG America Ambassador
Adventure Athlete, Author, Motivational Speaker, De-Mining Advocate
Rebecca Rusch is among the greatest female ultra-endurance mountain bikers in the world. As a professional athlete for over three decades, the 7x World Champion has shattered the glass ceiling in whatever sport she tackles. She has pedaled through the night on an epic adventure across Italy, ridden all the way up to the summit of Africa's legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro, and taught clinics and camps to introduce more women to her sport.
While she's used to pushing her body to the limit, nothing could prepare her for the emotional journey she took in 2015 when she pedaled 1,200 miles of the Ho Chi Mihn trail in search of the crash site that claimed the life of her father during the Vietnam war.
The Red Bull Media House feature film called "Blood Road," was released in the summer of 2017, documenting Rebecca's personal journey in search of her father. Rebecca is partnered with Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to raise funds that will be directly targeted back to Laos to clean up the UXO (unexploded ordnance) in her father's name.
"I never really knew my dad. He died when I was three years old- his plane shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. In my dad's last letter home, he had one instruction for me and my sister: Be Good. His words are the galvanizing force propelling me in my journeys and adventures. To me, his final instructions remind me that each of us can employ our unique talents to do good and be good, in whatever capacity. One of the most shocking discoveries for me during my journey down the Ho Chi Minh trail was the amount of unexploded ordnance still left along the trail. The Vietnam war ended more than 40 years ago but bombs that did not explode are still threatening daily life. I came home with the realization that I needed to do something to expedite the clean up and be part of the healing and recovery."