Board of Trustees
Chair of the Board
Krista received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and qualified as a Certified Public Accountant when she moved to New York City in 1993. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two children. She is a former Senior Tax Manager for Ernst & Young LLP, former Chair of the Board of Trustees of Africa Foundation (USA), former trustee of Africa Foundation (SA) and the African Wildlife Foundation. Krista has traveled extensively throughout Africa and was honored with The African Diaspora Award for “The Friend of Africa” by Applause Africa magazine on December 8th, 2012. Krista was honored at the Voss Foundation’s Third Annual Women Helping Women event in the Hamptons on August 7th, 2017.
She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Kim arrived in New York City from Seattle in 1977 after winning a beauty contest and quickly rose to supermodel status with numerous covers and prestigious advertising campaigns. In 1988 Kim retired from modeling to raise her two children, and subsequently found a second career selling residential real estate in Westchester County, NY. She received Diamond and Platinum Awards for top producing and was known especially for negotiating and selling luxury estates and equestrian properties.
Kim spent many of her childhood summers in Montana falling in love with nature and animals. She was a horse wrangler at a dude ranch when she was 17 and is an accomplished rider, owning horses until 2016. Her passion for animals is evident with her involvement with the SPCA of Westchester County, a no-kill animal shelter where she created the “Critter Credit”, a financial incentive to help people adopting pets with disadvantages. She and her husband are the honorees of their 2017 gala. Kim is also involved with GallopNYC, which provides therapeutic horsemanship to help riders in NYC with disabilities. Kim has joined with a number of well-known models in the “I Am Waters Foundation” which supplies water to homeless people and hurricane victims. After a recent trip to Africa, Kim was inspired to increase her philanthropic efforts on behalf of wildlife and joined the Board of Empowers Africa.
Kim resides in NYC and is active representing EA at events and loves to travel. She has a grown daughter and son, and a cute little dog.
Donna is a native of Smyrna Georgia and attended Georgia Southern and Georgia State Universities. After starting a family and moving to New Jersey, she became involved in a number of causes, charities and interests that have remained special to her: Children, Theatre and Health.
Donna has Chaired events such as “Christopher Reeves Foundation”, “A Magical Evening”, the Annual New York City Gala held at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, supporting individuals and families suffering from paralysis, to the “Leading Ladies Luncheon” supporting New Jersey’s Community Theatre and the Paper Mill Play House
Her passion for children drew her to Empowers Africa, which has taken her from Tanzania to Namibia, supporting schools, orphanages and clean water sources for communities.
Most recently, Donna and a group of Producers took the New York Broadway hit, “Million Dollar Quartet” to the London stage.
Donna has many athletic interests and accomplishments which she enjoys and is proud of: The New York Marathon, the Brooklyn Half Marathon, the Caladonian Challenge (walking 54 miles in 24 hrs for Scottish Charity), Trekking/Hiking (Bhutan for 9 days), Heli Skiing, Fly-fishing and Photography.
Donna’s passions are her family; her husband Michael, their son Brian, who lives and works in Hong Kong, and their daughter Allison, who attends university in Scotland.
Beth Rudin DeWoody
Beth Rudin DeWoody, is President of The Rudin Family Foundations and Executive Vice President of Rudin Management Company. Ms. DeWoody studied at the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in anthropology and film studies, and completed her studies at the New School for Social Research in New York City where she received her B.A. in Liberal Arts.
Ms. DeWoody’s board affiliations include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New Yorkers for Children, Inc., New York Children’s Foundation, Creative Time, Find Your Voice, Inc., the New School University, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Design Museum Holon Israel, Save A Child America Inc. and The Police Foundation. She serves on the Parsons Board of Governors of the New School University and is a Member of the Committee for the University Art Collection, and is on the Photography Steering Committee at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, Florida. Her professional affiliations include charter member of New York Women Executives in Real Estate. Ms. DeWoody is Chairman of the Arts and Culture Committee of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), is on the Council of Conservators of the New York Public Library, and the Library Association of MOMA.
Ms. DeWoody’s works include working in Africa as an Assistant Director of the TV series “Born Free” and as Production Assistant for the movie films “Annie Hall”, “The Front” and “Hair”. She also was co-producer of the musical production “Enter Juliet”. She also was the executive producer of the documentary “Who Gets To Call It Art”, directed by Peter Rosen, about Henry Geldzahler. She is also a contributing editor for the magazine “Hamptons Cottages and Gardens”.
Ms. DeWoody also curated twelve shows for several different art galleries through the United States. She resides in New York City and has one son, Carlton, and one daughter, Kyle.
Bonnie Pfeifer Evans
Bonnie’s background includes entrepreneur, fashion model and philanthropist, as well as an award-winning associate real estate broker for the Corcoran Real Estate Group.
Having traveled all over the world, including 19 countries in Africa for modeling, pleasure & philanthropy, Bonnie is anxious to help Empowers Africa further their important mission.
Born in Maryland, second of seven children, Bonnie was “discovered” in high school by the Washington Post and was a finalist in the nationally televised “Model of the Year” contest, which launched her modeling career. She has been photographed for virtually every magazine, both nation & international, featured in TV commercials & on catwalks for numerous designers including Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Armani, Chanel, Kenzo & Missoni.
One of the modeling industry’s first philanthropists, Bonnie was the Founding Director of the industry’s first non-profit organization, the “DISHES Project for Pediatric AIDS” (Determined Involved Super-rolemodels Helping to End Suffering). For ten years, she worked to generate funding and awareness for direct care, education and prevention for children and their families impacted by HIV/AIDS. She appeared on 24 television programs, 60 radio shows, and committed to dozens of national speaking engagements to generate support for her project, which was cited by the White House for its private sector philanthropic contributions. After hosting DISHES fund raising events across the U.S. and in Brazil, in 1998 DISHES merged with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the nation’s leading fund raising and grant writing industry-related AIDS organization. Bonnie launched their Children & Families Initiative, still a successful part of the Broadway Cares National Grants Program.
Bonnie has received dozens of awards for her both real estate and non-profit efforts. She has served on the Boards of numerous local, national & international non-profit organizations.
Bonnie resides in Manhattan where she continues to touch the lives of many, extending her helping hands and using her diverse and seasoned experience to help others reach their goals.
Lisa Christiansen Gentil
Lisa Christiansen Gentil is an avid Africa enthusiast. Born and raised in Greenwich, CT, she graduated from Georgetown University and pursued a 17-year career in international banking until she and her husband moved to Brazil with their two young children. Since her return to the U.S. almost 15 years ago, Lisa has been involved on the boards of both privately-owned and non-profit companies and organizations. Most recently, she has served on the Board of Regents of Georgetown University and was the co-founder of the Georgetown Scholarship Program. She is mostly involved in philanthropic efforts which support scholarships or preserve nature. Lisa, her husband, Fernando, and their children, Fernando, Jr (26) and Gabriella (22), have travelled extensively in Africa. Lisa has visited Tanzania, Kenya, and Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
Patricia is a Senior Vice President in global wealth management at Morgan Stanley. She specializes in customized wealth management, lending, and trust & estate planning for high net worth individuals, families, family offices, and foundations. Patricia has a BA in International Relations from Brown University, an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in International Studies from the School of Arts & Sciences, also at Penn. She recently completed her MA in Classical Art and Archaeological Studies at Yale University. Patricia is an Associate Fellow of Davenport College at Yale.
Prior to working in wealth management, Patricia was an investment banker for eight years in both Derivatives and International Investment Banking at Credit Suisse (London), UBS, and Société Générale. She was a member of the Women’s Bond Club of New York and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Patricia has been involved in the Parents Advisory Board at Northfield Mount Hermon School, the Brown Club of New York, Friends of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she completed the “Non Profit Boards” course taught by the New York Junior League while a long standing member there. Patricia is a former Advisory Committee member of The Africa Foundation. She’s traveled to Africa six times and is an Africa enthusiast. Patricia lives in NYC and has two adult sons.
Nina Griscom grew up in Manhattan and attended Miss Porter’s and Barnard College before embarking on a modeling and acting career. Nina became a fixture on the city’s benefit and gala circuit supporting many philanthropic causes including sitting on the board of The New York City Ballet. Over the past two decades, Nina has also been involved in broadcasting—she co-hosted a show on the Food Network entitled Dining Around with food critic Alan Richman during the 1990s. She then turned her attention to retail and maintained an eponymous storefront on 70th and Lexington that specialized in home décor. She maintains an active blog: ninagriscom.com. Nina resides on the Upper East Side and recently traveled with Africa Foundation to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. She is a former Advisory Committee member of Africa Foundation (USA).
Aisha Haque is a Managing Director of Neuberger Berman. She joined the firm in 2004. B.A. in International Relations and French Literature from Stanford University, graduating with Distinction. Aisha is a member of the Institutional Sales Group focusing on Corporate Pensions, Endowments and Foundations located in the Midwest. Previously, Aisha was head of the Capital Advisory Group in the Private Investment Management Division at Lehman Brothers. Capital Advisory Group leveraged Lehman Brothers’ expertise to deliver customized asset management solutions to the firm’s clients. Prior to joining Lehman, Aisha was a director in Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch with a wide range of responsibilities during her 13 year tenure including Real Estate Investment Banking, Debt Capital Markets, Technology Investment Banking and Media Investment Banking. Aisha is a former Advisory Committee member of Africa Foundation (USA). Aisha has traveled to Africa three times. She resides in New York City with her husband and three children.
Catherine resides in Dallas, Texas and after a career in banking and real estate development, now represents tenants in commercial lease transactions. She has Masters of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University with a concentration in Economics. She holds a Texas Real Estate Broker’s License and is on the Advisory Council for the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas. She actively supports the SPCA of Texas, The Nature Conservancy, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Symphony. As an avid underwater photographer, and general nature enthusiast, she and dedicated to finding ways to protect the planet.
Mary grew up in Florida and majored in economics at Florida State University. After college, Mary began her career in politics, working as a constituent liaison in the United States Congress in Washington, DC. She then moved to New York City, and was an Advertising Manager in the men’s division at Polo Ralph Lauren, Inc. She has been involved with many philanthropic organizations including the junior committees of The Guggenheim Museum, Carnegie Hall and The Frick Collection. She has held various parent association positions at her children’s schools, and is an active fundraiser at those schools. Mary supported The Africa Foundation for several years and has visited Kenya and Tanzania. She resides in New York City with her husband and three children.
Jenny Kennedy attended Columbia University and has been a Ford Model for over 20 years. She is a former trustee of Africa Foundation (USA) and is involved in a variety of other charitable endeavors, the Museum of the City of New York, NY Botanical Gardens, School of American Ballet, the Brain Trauma Foundation and UNICEF. She is an avid hiker, skier and cyclist. Her interest in conservation drives her interest in partnering with rural communities in Africa. Jenny is a frequent traveler to Africa and resides in Miami with her husband and three children.
Tara Liddle is an expert in pediatric physical therapy and is currently the Regional Director of Pediatric Physical Therapy at Motion PT Group. She is also the author of “Why Motor Skills Matter-Improve your Child’s Physical Development to Enhance Learning and Self-Esteem”, (McGraw Hill, 2004). Tara graduated from NYU with an MA in Developmental Disabilities and a BS in Physical Therapy. Tara is an active fundraiser for many charities close to her heart. Her newest is Empowers Africa, where she looks forward to advancing the mission. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers, which provides mentoring services, family counseling and skill learning programs for NYC’s youth. Tara is an avid outdoor athlete; a runner, cyclist and skier. She also loves traveling, cooking, and supporting the arts. Tara resides in NYC and Quiogue with her husband, Jeff Liddle, and two children, Alexa and Harry.
Suzanne Leydecker received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a BA in Environmental Design and Planning. She also received a Master in Marriage and Family Counseling from The California Institute of Integral Studies. She currently resides in Aspen for the last 13 years after living in NYC for 10. During her time in NYC she spent seven years volunteering as one of the heads of the New York Junior League. Since moving to Aspen Suzanne has participated on numerous boards benefiting the community of Aspen and beyond. She has three grown children who are currently attending college and boarding schools. She has travelled extensively and has been to Africa three times over the last year with members of the Africa Foundation and is currently looking for some kind of employment that will help make a difference in the world.
Mary MacElree has a huge passion for Africa, animals, wildlife protection and human empowerment. Mary has traveled to Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana; and as a former competitive equestrian, her love of animals runs deep. Mary runs a successful boutique, full-service interior design firm capable of undertaking all planning and design services related to new construction, renovation, relocation or expansion projects. Art and design have always been a passion for Mary who attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, and received her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Drexel University. She is a supporter of the ballet and arts in Philadelphia where she lives with her partner.
Delia von Neuschatz
Delia graduated with a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. After briefly practicing law in New York City, she worked in the fashion industry and then went into publishing. She is currently the Beauty and Features Editor at New York Social Diary and has been a contributor to several publications including Gotham Magazine. Delia’s life-long love of animals has led her to write extensively about animal welfare and wildlife conservation and to participate in several charitable endeavors. She has visited every animal shelter in Manhattan and has written articles about them. Delia is on the Advisory Council at Bideawee, one of the oldest animal adoption centers in New York.
Her advocacy for wildlife conservation began a few years ago. After meeting Mark Shand, the founder of Elephant Family, she joined the planning committee for the charity’s Big Egg Hunt sponsored by Faberge. As a committee member, she recruited various artists to design some of the 200+ giant eggs that were displayed around New York. She was thrilled when the eggs from two of the artists she had enlisted were selected for a special fund-raising auction at Sotheby’s, the highlight of which was an egg created by Jeff Koons. Delia has also been involved as a member of the planning committee for Tusk’s annual gala.
Delia has traveled to Africa on multiple occasions visiting projects such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the most successful elephant orphanage in the world. Delia spent a part of her childhood in Morocco and currently lives in New York City with her husband and two cats.
Laura Nicklas received her undergraduate degree in Fine Art from New York University followed by an Associates degree in Interior Design from New York School of Interior Design. She worked in the field of commercial interiors in San Francisco until relocating back to the East Coast to complete a Masters Degree from Nova Southeastern University in Marriage and Family Therapy. She currently practices interior design part time and lives with her husband in New York City. Her involvement with various local non-profit organizations include the Happy Hearts Foundation, ACE (Association of Community Employment Programs), Angel Foundation and Meals on Wheels. Having been on several trips to various parts of Africa she is inspired to be involved with various causes in the region especially ones focused on children and empowerment of families.
Journalist, tastemaker, television personality, world traveler, hostess, cook, Southerner, Sunday painter, fledgling gardener and outdoors lover, Frances Schultz is an enthusiast on a variety of topics–decoration and design, food and entertaining, culture and style. She is author and co-author of several books, including A House in the South, and was for six years on-air host of the award-winning cable television show Southern Living Presents. A contributing editor to House Beautiful magazine and former editor-at-large for Veranda, she contributes also to the prestigious travel website Indagare and has written for numerous others, including Town & Country and the New York Social Diary. Frances has appeared on such programs as The Today Show, CNN’s Open House, The Christopher Lowell Show, The Nate Berkus Show and Turner South’s Home Plate. She also maintains a very active blog www.francesschultz.com. Civic-minded and community-involved, Frances serves on the boards of the Horticultural Society of New York, and the North Carolina Society of New York. Schultz is a former trustee of Africa Foundation(USA). Born and raised in the small town of Tarboro, North Carolina, Frances graduated from St. Mary’s School with honors and from the University of Virginia with distinction. She lives in Manhattan and East Hampton, with frequent visits to the Santa Ynez Valley of California. Frances has a real passion for Africa – she has traveled extensively in southern Africa, including pre and post-Apartheid South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.
Julie attended Wittenberg University earning a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Business Administration. During her college years, Julie was actively involved in her sorority, Kappa Delta, and following graduation, she volunteered on the Collegiate Advisory Board for her chapter, Alpha Nu, serving a term as board president. While working for Cardinal Health in Ohio, Julie met her husband, Jeff, whom lived in Georgia, and she continued her pharmaceutical career following her move to Georgia in 2002. Eventually, Julie retired from the pharmaceutical industry, taking advantage of the opportunities to travel. While in-between careers, she also volunteered for and participated in fundraising events for the Georgia chapter of the March of Dimes.
Born and raised in the Midwest U.S., Julie never imagined the travel she would experience later in life. For over a decade now, Julie has been traveling to and avidly photographing, along with her husband, Jeff, nearly every major Africa safari destination, (along with tigers, bears, whales and whatever else flies, floats and frolics in nature). Having amassed over 300 nights in the bush, she made the seemingly natural decision to shift her career and launched Eyes On You Safaris in 2015 to help others experience the awe of a customized African safari. For Julie, it’s deeply rewarding to witness the joy, enthusiasm and heartfelt emotions from those experiencing Africa for the first time and being an integral part of people’s lives being transformed by these experiences is one of her favorite parts. Julie believes in protecting tomorrow today, so that future generations have the ability to experience the splendors of Africa. Thus, Eyes On You made a significant contribution to the One Lake One Rhino project to relocate a rhino to the Okavango Delta region of Botswana and they routinely support wildlife and community conservations projects in Africa (and elsewhere) on an annual basis.
Eyes On You Safaris continues to grow and has expanded beyond Africa travel, now offering polar bear safaris where one can walk amongst the great ice bears, in addition to experiencing a variety of arctic wildlife.
Aside from her passion for Africa, safari travel, and photography, Julie is an avid skier, fitness enthusiast, yoga practitioner, and scuba diver. Julie resides in metro Atlanta with her husband, Jeff, and their beloved rescue dog, Pfeffer.
Zita de Zagon
Zita de Zagon is a graduate of Skidmore College with A Bachelor of Arts degree. She is currently a managing director in sales at Performance Trust (a Chicago based fixed income firm ). Prior to joining Performance Trust, Zita started her 20+ year career at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, followed by RBS and Knight Capital. Her passion for traveling as well as wildlife drew her to Africa for the first time in 2009. She has since been back every year and visited South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia and Uganda. She is a former Advisory Committee member of the Africa Foundation (USA) and a current board member of The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. Zita is originally from Belgium and currently resides in Greenwich CT.