Staff Bios

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Henry Berman

Henry L. Berman

Chief Executive Officer

Henry leads Exponent Philanthropy using his wealth of experience managing people, projects, and budgets in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. He was instrumental in helping the Association of Small Foundations (ASF) evolve into Exponent Philanthropy.

In his formal philanthropic career, Henry has served as a foundation president and co-trustee, gaining significant experience working closely with grantees and evaluating funded programs. In his continuing role as a foundation trustee, Henry has been a dues-paying member of Exponent Philanthropy since 2003. He served on the Exponent Philanthropy (then, ASF) board from 2008–2010 and was appointed CEO in 2011. Through his experience as a member and a leader within the organization, he brings to the CEO role a firsthand understanding of the needs of philanthropists with few or no staff.

Before joining the staff at Exponent Philanthropy, Henry had a long career in educational media and technology. He also served as a board member, volunteer, fundraiser, and/or marketer for several organizations including the American Society for Training and Development, the American Occupational Health Association, and the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation. He is a founding board member of the Museum of Broadcast Technology and also currently serves on the boards of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the National Council of Nonprofits. 

Henry earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Ithaca College, a master’s and doctorate in education from Boston University, and a certificate in business and management from the Harvard University Extension School.

Originally from Massachusetts, Henry now lives in Washington, DC. When not here, you might find him, still camera to his eye, exploring back roads and wilderness trails.

Kim Adkinson

Kim Adkinson

Associate Director, Marketing & Communications

Kim is our word wizard and provides input on a variety of external communications. She is the managing editor for Essentials and our blog, and she provides editorial support across the organization to ensure our materials are clear, effective, and an accurate representation of our brand. She is also savvy in managing design and print production, and has been known to shepherd more than a few projects from writing and editing through design and print. Before coming to Exponent Philanthropy, Kim was member services director at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers and philanthropy fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and holds master’s degrees in human development and social work.

Kim waves her magic wand remotely from her home in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD, where she and her husband support education and the performing arts, when not on the run after their spirited toddler.

Alesha BurkeAlesha Burk

Development Associate

Alesha joined Exponent Philanthropy in 2016 to support the development department and manage our Directory of Foundation and Philanthropy Advisors. She is passionate about serving nonprofits, and her diverse prior experience includes supporting scholarship students and donor engagement at the Penland School of Crafts and working for the U.S. National Arboretum in the Bonsai and Penjing Museum. Alesha is new to the Washington, DC area and enjoys discovering more about her new home. When not at Exponent Philanthropy or volunteering in the local community arts, she is an active sculptor and works in her studio as much as possible.

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll

Senior Program Director

Andy develops resources and programs on grantmaking, leadership, and trends in small-staffed philanthropy. One of Andy’s goals and passions is to empower more foundations and donors to take advantage of their unique freedom, assets, and powers to provide leadership on important issues they feel passionate about. Andy also writes “The Pulse” blog series on trends and is a trained facilitator in civic reflection. Prior to joining Exponent Philanthropy, he developed programs at the National Center for Family Philanthropy, and before that at the Council on Foundations. Andy has an MBA from the University of Michigan Business School, and has 30 years of experience in management, training, and program development for nonprofit organizations.

Andy is a DC native and has spent countless hours exploring the Chesapeake Bay. He and his wife Valerie are proud parents of a daughter who attends high school in the DC Public Schools.

Andrea Clay

Andrea Clay

Director of Corporate Partnerships

Andrea works to help our corporate partners achieve their business goals while providing value to our members. She joined the Exponent Philanthropy team in September 2015 and loves the challenge of finding the value proposition on both sides of a partnership. Much of Andrea’s career has been in the patient advocacy space, with a special focus on colon cancer.

When Andrea is not making deep connections with people, she can be found in her kitchen trying new recipes. She also eagerly anticipates the start of college football season each year. In her spare time, she can be found spending time with her family including two college-age daughters and two rambunctious Labrador Retrievers.

Na'Denna Colbert

Na’Denna Colbert

Director of Membership

Na’Denna Colbert was named Director of Membership in December 2015. Na’Denna works to clearly define the value of Exponent Philanthropy membership, engage current members, and grow membership through personal outreach and comprehensive engagement efforts. Her career is rooted in member outreach, educational programming, and volunteer services. Prior to joining Exponent Philanthropy, Na’Denna supervised the long-term membership strategies at Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and developed and managed the student member program at the National Art Educators Association. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Eastern University and a master’s degree in integrated marketing and communication from Roosevelt University.

Na’Denna has a passion for supporting professionals that provide essential services to communities around the globe.

MariceMarice Fernando

Membership Associate

Marice joined Exponent Philanthropy in January 2016 and coordinates the membership renewal and new member application processes. In addition, she is responsible for maintaining accurate database records, membership invoices, and ensuring all Exponent Philanthropy members’ inquiries and needs are met in a timely manner. Prior to joining Exponent Philanthropy, Marice worked at National Housing Conference, supporting its membership and events departments. Marice holds an MS in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University, and a BA in international studies from Berry College. She is passionate about supporting the development of community focused nonprofits both locally and internationally. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, and running.

Nikki HilgertNikki Hilgert

Program Manager, Volunteer Engagement

Nikki creates avenues for members to engage with our staff, one another, and peers in the field of philanthropy. A member of our Educational Programs Team, she also manages our Local Programs. Before joining Exponent Philanthropy, Nikki worked collaboratively with several small nonprofits in New Haven, CT, as an AmeriCorps volunteer and program coordinator at Squash Haven, a thriving youth development organization. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in leadership and service from Mercer University.

Nikki gives time, talent, and treasure to her church community and to organizations that support social justice, education, and music. She enjoys taking advantage of all the DC area has to offer with her husband and young daughter.

Nathaniel JamesNathaniel James 

Program Director

Nathaniel leads our Next Gen Fellows Program and Master Juggler Executive Institute, and manages our resources on the family philanthropy, effectiveness skills, and transition points. He takes lifelong learning seriously and is thrilled to provide educational experiences for those who want to make the most of their philanthropy. Previously, Nathaniel served as a strategic consultant to nonprofit and grantmaking organizations including Black Girls CODE, The Kapor Center for Social Innovation, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Vision Maker Media, and The Mozilla Foundation. His transition from earlier work in media and technology policy to philanthropy began when he founded the Seattle chapter of the Awesome Foundation. Nathaniel earned his bachelor’s degree at The Evergreen State College, where he focused on the relationship between technology and social change, then hopped the pond to complete a master’s degree at the London School of Economics, where his research looked at collaborative networks on Wikipedia.

Nathaniel is returning to DC from Seattle and loves spending his free time at museums and galleries or enjoying nature.

 

Lauren Kotkin

Lauren Kotkin

Director, Educational Programs

Lauren blends creativity and detail to deliver Exponent Philanthropy's educational programs. She is the leader of the Educational Programs Team and plans our biennial National Conference. She contributes to our collection of daylong seminars. In her first career, Lauren was an early childhood educator and served as the education director of a children’s museum near Boston. She holds a bachelor's degree from Duke University and master's degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, with a focus on using arts in education.

Lauren is a collage artist. She volunteers for and exhibits her work at DC-area arts organizations.

Ruth Masterson

Ruth Masterson

Senior Program Director

Ruth is project manager for Exponent Philanthropy’s Practical Board Self-Assessment, resource lead for governance and administration topics and co-lead on tax and legal topics. She works closely with members, creating written materials and training curricula and answering member questions on wide-ranging topics.

Prior to joining Exponent Philanthropy, she served nonprofits in her work at Adler & Colvin, the Council on Foundations, and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. She has been on boards of directors at Dolores Street Community Center and the Center of Creative Intent, executive director at Build Community Art Space, and a reviewer for The Foundation Review and the Maryland Association of Nonprofits’ Standards for Excellence certification program. Ruth earned her master’s in public policy at Johns Hopkins University with a focus in nonprofit management, a certificate in international development at JHU’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a BA at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

She enjoys volunteering with a Buddhist organization and a dog rescue group, and immersing herself in home improvement projects and gardening.

Laura McHugh

Laura McHugh

Digital Marketing Manager

Laura joined Exponent Philanthropy in 2015 as part of the Marketing & Communications Team. She’s interested in increasing the effectiveness of our online communications and creating a better user experience on our website. Another former small-town journalist on staff, Laura has focused her career on all things digital. Prior to joining Exponent Philanthropy, she developed digital media and managed online communities for the Mathematical Association of America and worked as a line producer for Foreign Exchange with Daljit Dhaliwal on PBS.

Jeanne Metzger

Jeanne Metzger

Chief Development and Marketing Officer

Jeanne is focused on growing our financial resources and expanding our reach within the philanthropic community. She joined the organization in 2013 to lead our development and marketing teams, and she spearheads initiatives that support our organization’s growth. Prior to joining Exponent Philanthropy, Jeanne served in a variety of management roles at the National Venture Capital Association where she launched a new social entrepreneurship initiative and helped build its membership, public relations, marketing, and non-dues revenue functions.

Jeanne is excited about the changing landscape of philanthropy and the growing application of for-profit strategies to the social sector. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and logging miles on her bike.

Kristina

Kristina Nygaard

Program Associate

Kristina joined Exponent Philanthropy in 2016 and provides broad support to our Programs and Services Team, manages registrations, and offers direct assistance to members. Originally from Norway, Kristina received her master’s degree from the University of Bergen (Norway), specializing in development studies and organizational science. Prior to joining Exponent Philanthropy, Kristina interned at the United Nations Global Compact in New York, calling on companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights and labor. Having lived and worked in four countries, Kristina is passionate about exploring new corners of the world and bridging different cultures. Her 11-year-old brother with Down Syndrome is her biggest hero, and Kristina will take on any challenge to champion the rights of children with disabilities across the world.

Cynthia SchaalCynthia Schaal

Chief Program Officer

Cynthia Schaal leads the development of programs and services that guide and connect member philanthropists and champion the impact of their work in the philanthropic community. She brings to the role extensive past experience in generating best practice insights and resources for nonprofit hospital and health system leaders.  

She received her undergraduate degree in Russian from Georgetown University and her master’s degree in education from Harvard University.

When not spending time with her family, Cynthia enjoys writing, dabbling in various hobbies, and participating in initiatives that empower children and families.

Peter Tajat

Peter Tajat

Director of Finance and Operations

Peter keeps our building and our systems running smoothly—and he is the first person we turn to for everything from questions about equipment to questions about program budgets. He has a range of key responsibilities, from technology to accounting to managing our front line staff, making him a top all-around contributor and a proficient multitasker.

Peter moved to the DC area from Slovakia in 2001, completed 2 years of ESL classes at Inlingua and NOVA, then returned to Bratislava to finish his MBA in management at Comenius University. Peter joined ASF in 2007 and often assumes grillmaster duties during summer lunches on the office patio.