Tifarah Allen, Partner, Hogan Lovells
Tifarah’s public company clients depend on her for their varied securities matters, including securities offerings, SEC disclosures, stockholder meetings, Section 16 matters, and ongoing corporate governance advice. With a particular focus on real estate investment trusts (REITs) and companies in the real estate industry, Tifarah’s flexible, but focused, approach has helped companies access the capital markets by navigating the initial public offering process, securities exchange listings and compliance, and meeting ongoing capital needs through follow-on equity offerings. 

Tifarah also has extensive experience advising public and private companies across industries and sovereigns on the issuance of debt in public and private offerings. She proactively identifies the needs of her clients to negotiate debt terms that the company can comply with not only today, but also through the maturity of the debt.

In addition to her public company advisory practice, Tifarah leverages her securities law experience to advise fund sponsors in structuring and raising capital for real estate private equity funds.

Prior to joining Hogan Lovells in 2011, Tifarah began her career at a national law firm as a junior associate working on securities, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate matters. While in law school, she was an articles editor for the Columbia Law School Journal of Gender and Law. Prior to law school, she worked for a major internet retailer and an international commercial bank on internet-based consumer products.

Richard D. Calder, Jr., Board Chair of Educare DC
Richard D. Calder, Jr. served as the Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of GTT Communications, a global internet and cloud networking company, from 2007 to 2020. Mr. Calder led the growth of GTT from $50 million to $1.7 billion in revenue and from 60 to over 3,000 employees based in 30 countries worldwide. Prior to GTT, Mr. Calder served as President & Chief Operating Officer of InPhonic Inc., an online seller of wireless services and products. Earlier in his career, Mr. Calder served in several executive roles for Broadwing Communications, he held senior management positions with Winstar Communications, and co-founded Go Communications, a wireless communications company. Mr. Calder also held a variety of marketing, business development, and engineering positions with MCI Communications and Tellabs. Mr. Calder received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Yale University. Mr. Calder serves on the Board of the American Red Cross National Capital Region. Rick resides in Bethesda, MD with his wife, and they have lived in the Washington Metro area for over 32 years with their 3 grown children. Rick was raised in the Middle East and Europe as the son of a senior CIA officer.

Charis Menschel, Director of the Charina Endowment Fund

Charis Menschel was formerly an associate in the Washington, DC offices of DLA Piper and Morrison & Foerster, as well as an adjunct law professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. Prior to attending law school she was an Associate Equity Research Analyst at T. Rowe Price. Menschel received an A.B. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Georgetown University. She serves on the boards of Sidwell Friends School and is a Director of the Charina Endowment Fund, and previously served on the boards of Beauvoir School and DC Prep. She has been an active volunteer with the Harvard College Fund and Harvard College Schools and Scholarships Committee.

Angel Elliott, Educare DC Parent
Angel Elliott is a parent of two current Educare students and two graduates. After graduating from DC Central Kitchen Culinary Program in 2019, she worked in food service for a local middle school. She has been an active member of the Educare community and has facilitated Parent Policy Committee meetings in the Chair’s absence, interviewed teacher candidates, and participated in student recruitment events.

Peter J. Farrell, Managing Partner, CityInterests Development Partners, LLC
Peter J. Farrell is the Managing Partner of CityInterests Development Partners,, LLC a downtown Washington, DC, real estate development and investment company. Founded in 2005, CityInterests Development Partners is a fully-integrated real estate development firm focused on the mixed-use urban revitalization of underserved areas in the Washington, DC, region as well as boutique residential real estate projects in emerging markets such as LeDroit Park, Shaw, Mt. Vernon and Trinidad. In addition, CityInterests Development Partners is the master developer of Parkside, a 3.1 Million Square Feet mixed use transit oriented development project located in Ward 7 and the home to Educare DC. Farrell serves on boards of various educational institutions and philanthropic endeavors focused on providing last mile financing to enable children to attend school. Farrell is also a member of the board of directors of the W P Carey Company, a national and international Real Estate Investment Trust which is publicly traded on the NYSE. Peter is married 35 years to his wife Stephanie and they have 4 children (2 girls and 2 knuckleheads) , ages 32, 30, 27, and 22. Peter is a graduate of Georgetown University and suffers from the Hoyas “blues” as he is a rabid Georgetown Basketball fan and they are not what they used to be. Peter played lacrosse at Georgetown and is a member of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He is the Co-founder of the Tewaaraton Trophy, the national award presented annually to the best college lacrosse player in men’s and women’s NCAA lacrosse. Peter plays golf, paddleball, skiing, and swims in various open water races.

Zunnobia B. Hakir, Lieutenant, Metropolitan Police Department
Zunnobia Hakir is a twenty-plus year veteran member with the DC Metropolitan Police Department who is currently serving as a Lieutenant who manages Patrol operations. Zunnobia is also a native Washingtonian, a DC resident and an Early Childhood Education advocate. Zunnobia’s passion for ECE and development stems from her own experience as a graduate of the Anacostia High School pre-school program, which began in the early 1980’s. Zunnobia’s son attended Educare DC from 2014 through 2018. She received her B.S. from The George Washington University in Criminal Justice.

Khosi Mathias, Senior Ad Communications & Brand Strategy Manager, Center of Marketing Excellence
Khosi (Nananmla) Mathias leads Advertising & Brand Strategy at Nestle, the largest multinational food and beverage company in the world. In this role, she oversees creative strategy and marketing communication development for the multibillion-dollar, North American portfolio of brands. Prior to Nestle, Khosi held leadership roles at Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Time Warner where she was responsible for the ideation and development of large-scale advertising campaigns. She is a passionate marketer, specializing in strategic thinking and brand building that strengthens consumer relationships and accelerates business growth. She has been active in a variety of civil service initiatives and was awarded a Governor’s Citation from the State of Maryland for her contributions towards women’s empowerment and ending youth violence. Mathias graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University and holds Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. She is a Washington D.C. native and resides locally with her husband and son.

Lesley Poole, Chief Executive Officer, The SEED Foundation
Lesley Poole is the chief executive officer at The SEED Foundation. Poole was one of The SEED School of Washington, D.C.’s founding faculty members. For 11 years, she held positions ranging from director of admissions to director of parent and community relations to head of school for student life. Since transitioning from her leadership roles at SEED DC to The SEED Foundation, Poole served in several management positions at the foundation, including director of outreach, for six years before becoming CEO. She began her career in education as a mathematics instructor. She later served for two years as the service area director of the School Division of the San Francisco Educational Services (SFED), where she oversaw five programs working with inner-city children with special needs in San Francisco. Poole has two bachelor’s degrees: one from San Diego State University/San Francisco State University in chemistry and engineering and one from Patten College in organizational management.

Jessie Rasmussen, President, Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Jessie Rasmussen joined the Buffett Early Childhood Fund in 2007, and her entire professional career has focused on improving outcomes for children and families. For more than 20 years, Rasmussen was an early childhood education teacher and administrator, then spent the next 20 years in state government, first as a Nebraska state senator and then as the state human services director in both Nebraska and Iowa. She served as the early childhood policy director for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, and played an instrumental role in the development and successful passage of early childhood legislation in 2006 that established a $60 million early childhood endowment, funded through a public and private partnership.

Rachel Schumacher, Consultant and Advisor, R. Schumacher Consulting
Rachel is an independent consultant specializing in early childhood policy, and the former Director of the Office of Child Care in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2014-2017. She is a highly regarded expert on child and family policy at the federal, state, and local levels. In the private sector, Rachel helped the JB and MK Pritzker Family Foundation launch an ambitious national effort to ensure children are on track for school readiness by age three. Prior to federal service, Rachel spent over a decade at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), where she led policy research and provided technical assistance to policymakers on a range of topics including: infant and toddler child care and Early Head Start policies, state early childhood systems and standards, state prekindergarten programs, and federal law and regulation for the Child Care and Development Fund and Head Start/Early Head Start. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two sons.

Leigh K. Sims, Principal, and Founder, EdCoSpace, Consultant, a Senior Consultant, Guidehouse
Leigh K. Sims is the principal and founder of EdCoSpace, an organization that coaches families with children ages birth through five. She also serves as a Senior Consultant at Guidehouse. Sims began her career as a general educator in Western Massachusetts and later joined the VSA Arts team at the The Kennedy Center. Following her stint at the Kennedy center, Sims retuned to the classroom where she spent 13 years as an early childhood general and special educator for DC Public and charter schools. Sims is a graduate of Smith College and The Catholic University.

Dontai Smalls, Vice President of Global Public Affairs, UPS
Dontai Smalls joined the UPS Global Public Affairs function in the Washington, DC office in 1999. In his current role as Vice President, he coordinates all international policy on Capitol Hill for UPS, particularly focused on trade and customs modernization policy. Dontai has led several industry level efforts to modernize customs processes and enhance trade facilitation. Dontai is also responsible for the global aviation portfolio for UPS, which operates one of the largest airlines in world. He is an expert on international aviation policy representing the interests of UPS before numerous international organizations and foreign governments. He manages the relationships between UPS and the Congressional Study Groups, which provide substantive, issue-based opportunities for Members of Congress to engage with their counterparts abroad.

Dontai has been named a Top Lobbyist in Washington, DC by The Hill for the last five years (2017-2021). Prior to joining the Public Affairs function, he served as counsel to UPS’s Air Group Legal Department in Louisville, KY from 2005-2007. In that capacity, he focused on brokerage/customs, flight operations, international operations and real estate/airport property issues relating to UPS Airlines. He serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society (Vice Chair), Washington Government Relations Group, the Express Association of America, the International Aviation Club, South Carolina Business Council in Washington, and on the Corporate Advisory Council of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Dontai received his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. cum laude in political science from Howard University.

Charles Song, Vice President , PNC’s Corporate & Institutional Bank
Charles Song is a Vice President in PNC’s Corporate & Institutional Bank in the Greater Washington D.C. market. He is responsible for delivering banking products and services to small middle market & commercial companies. He advises his clients on appropriate capital structure, cash flow efficiency and PNC’s world class treasury management platform. He is a trusted advisor with experience in providing clients strategic and forward-thinking advice for their business and growth strategies.  Charles began his career in the banking industry decades ago and has worked at PNC since 2013. He is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to improving processes and mitigating operational risks. Charles analyzes cash flow lending opportunities to determine risk profile of clients and prospects in coordination with PNC’s credit division. He enjoys solving the unique needs of his clients by working with a multitude of business partners to deliver the best products and solutions for their company. Charles manages a diverse portfolio of clients in various industries such as Government Contractors, Manufacturing, Wholesale, Distribution, Non-Profits and Professional Services. He is passionate in providing value and exceptional service to his current and prospective clients. Charles graduated from University of Colorado. He is active in the community and is involved in several outreach programs.

Grace Tenhula, Educator
Grace Tenhula served as the assistant program manager at the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco. In this role, she led museum field trips and group visits and guides children, ages two through eighteen, through hands-on museum exhibits that are designed to build and boost creative confidence. Previously, Tenhula taught fifth grade and ran an after-school program. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Skidmore College and has a Teacher’s Certification from the state of New York.