Heather E. Connell
Heather E. Connell was born and raised in Massachusetts where she studied screenwriting and theatre arts at Salem State College. In 2001, she relocated to Los Angeles and founded Displaced Yankee Productions, an independent film company dedicated to using film as a platform for raising social awareness and activism through entertainment.
After making two short films, Choosing Your Course (2002) and Black and White (2004), Heather produced and directed her first feature documentary, the award winning Small Voices: The Stories of Cambodia’s Children. In 2014, Connell released her second documentary feature, the award winning Forget Us Not, which follows the stories of some of the five-million non-Jewish Holocaust survivors and is narrated by golden globe winning actor Ron Perlman.
Along with being the Executive Producer and director of Displaced Yankee Productions, Heather served on the board of directors of the Lineage Dance Company, a contemporary dance company dedicated to raising support and awareness for nonprofit organizations and to making the arts accessible to audiences of all demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Shortly after filming Small Voices: The Stories of Cambodia’s Children, Connell founded Safe Haven in 2010 in memory of her beloved Cambodian foster son Sumnang who passed away at age 5 from complications related to epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Safe Haven’s family centered, multi disciplinary approach to providing therapeutic rehabilitation, facilitating access to medical services and providing training/education to parents/caregivers aims to provide children with disability the opportunity to reach their full potential and highest level of personal independence and health.
Denise is a small business owner along with a part time photographer. She and her husband own and operate an import, large format printing and e-commerce company in the trade show industry. They started the company in 2006 and have grown steadily since. Their company, Ace Exhibits, has been the recipient of several awards, including the LA business journal’s fastest growing companies, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City by Forbes Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies and INC. 5000 fastest growing companies. She has a passion for the intricacies of running a business, and loves the challenges that come from being a business owner.
Her first visit to Cambodia was in 2010. She immediately fell in love with the land and its people. There was something truly magical about it. However, it being a poverty stricken country, she also felt the desire to be able to do something to help make a difference. After that first trip, she started to hunt for an organization to get involved with. Shortly after, she met Heather through a mutual friend and eventually became a Safe Haven Board member and is proud to be involved with such a life changing organization.
Dr. Desmond Brown
Director Of Pediatric Orthopaedics at Boston Medical Center. Desmond attended Tulane Medical School in New Orleans and completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at Tulane. He completed a fellowship in Pediatric Orthopaedics at the Alfred I. DuPont Institute in Wilmington, Delaware. He went on to practice pediatric orthopaedics in Pensacola, Florida, from 1990 until 2001 before leaving to do a Fellowship in Outcomes Research at Dartmouth College. Since 2003 he has been on the faculty of Boston University School of Medicine and Director of Pediatric Orthopaedics at Boston Medical Center.
His current practice includes pediatric orthopaedics and the management of orthopaedic problems related to neurologic conditions in children and adults. In addition, he handles adult trauma call at Boston Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center. His research interests include using administrative databases for orthopaedic research; injury prevention counseling; the economics of scoliosis surgery; orthopaedic problems in the developing world; child abuse; and the influence of obesity on orthopaedic conditions. He has served yearly as a volunteer at the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia, since 2005.
Kerrie has worked in the corporate world, but it was almost 10 years ago whilst traveling the world as an International Travel agent that she first fell in love with South East Asia and Cambodia in particular.
This love of Cambodia together with a big social and moral conscience saw her set up many fair trade projects in Cambodia providing fair wages to Cambodian Artisans. She has also led small group ethical tours to Cambodia. The tours educate participants about the benefits of traveling with a purpose with eyes and heart wide open. Showing travelers that where they choose to stay, eat, shop and donate really does have the power to bring about change.
She is an adventurous soul that lives life to the fullest and is passionate about making a difference. She lives her life true to the motto “accept what you can’t change, change what you can’t accept”.
Dr. Sarah Jade Stevens
Dr. Stevens is a psychologist and experienced family therapist with a preference for strength-based, post-modern therapies. She has helped many families achieve more harmonious relationships while recognizing the individual strengths and needs of each member. She has extensively studied non-traditional families, including non-biological families, and authored Characteristics of Stepfamilies That Lead to Successful Parent-Child Relationships. She is currently working on a series of children’s therapy books and treating children, adolescents and adults in private practice in Beverly Hills, California, USA.
Linde Hotchkiss, ARM
Willis Insurance Services of CA, Inc.
Managing Partner, San Diego
Linde Hotchkiss joined Willis in the beginning of 2010, and assumed the San Diego Managing Partner role in September 2011.
Ms. Hotchkiss has deep experience and more than 25 years in the insurance industry. She previously served as the Finance Partner of Willis’ Western Region. Prior to joining Willis, she lead a division of Marsh & McLennan and over the course of her tenure held several leadership positions since joining that firm in the beginning of 1989.
In her current role, Ms. Hotchkiss is responsible for all aspects of the San Diego operation including developing and implementing growth strategies, heightening client service and retention, recruiting new talent into the organization, and staff development. Hotchkiss’s appointment is part of Willis’ strategy to drive business results while serving the San Diego business community in dynamic and innovative ways.
Her unique vision incorporates the essentials of a successful enterprise: people; finance; and strategic planning. Her passion, commitment and desire to succeed motivate those around her. Not content to lead by title, Ms. Hotchkiss always leads by example. She is a board member of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation as well as Junior Achievement of San Diego.
Ms. Hotchkiss has an MBA from Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston with undergrad studies at both Slippery Rock University and University of Michigan.
Willis is a leading insurance broker that provides employee benefits and risk management solutions across a wide range of industries. Willis’ San Diego operations includes 46 associates placing more than $200M in premiums while serving more than 1,000 clients from its office.
Ruth has a varied background which has included working for local government in a community development capacity to working and living in a remote settlement with Australian Aboriginals in the far north of Australia. She is a natural teacher and has been an adult education teacher, specialising in small business mentorship/basic skills and her real passion is the arts. She has a passion for all things crafty and has recently started a business called Craft School Oz. Through the Fairly Cambodian Shop in Healesville, Victoria, Australia she became aware of the severe poverty in Cambodia and wanted to help. She has run various fundraising projects and has also established some important relationships with people which will enable some serious fundraising.
She considers herself to be a networker, arty and loves exciting projects. She is passionate about helping people in need and when something needs doing it has to be done.
Chris Lucurell has been a Principal of Adjusters International since 1997 and wears many hats with responsibilities ranging from building management, to human resources and payroll management, to marketing and accounting.
By nature, Chris is competitive, a perfectionist, and a problem solver. This set the foundation for her passion and work dedication that has now spanned more than 35 years. She puts her heart and soul into whatever she is doing, both professionally and personally, and is stubborn in her effort to be the best she can be, as well as be a positive role model for others.
Theresa has a wide background in digital, print and marketing, including experience in project management, art and editorial direction. As a Director at Fox Kids for 10 years, she handled the creation and production of all Fox Kids Network print promotional materials. She simultaneously served as a hands-on Managing Editor of the Fox Kids magazine, a publication with a distribution of 4.4 million homes and an annual budget of 6 million dollars.
As a freelance Production Manager and consultant, she has worked successfully with a variety of major entertainment companies and ran a successful pro-digital photography studio in Culver City, CA for four years. She also served for six years on the board of Lineage Dance, a Pasadena based non-profit company. As co-founder of a 501c3, The Community of Content Creators, she worked to bring together non-profits, solutions-driven stories and passionate people to effect pro-social change through (it) magazine. In 2010, (it) magazine was awarded the Be The Match “New Media Award” for its outstanding efforts to raise awareness of the National Marrow Donor Program.
Theresa traveled to Cambodia twice as the still photographer on Heather Connell’s film “Small Voices”. She has successfully raised two kids thru to college graduation with her husband in Pasadena, and currently works as a Manager in the development and launch of a social media app scheduled for release in 2016.
Amy Nelson serves as Managing Director of Venture for America, a Fellowship program that trains promising young people to become entrepreneurs. Amy started at Venture for America in 2013, first leading fundraising and will step into the CEO role in September 2017. Prior to joining VFA, Amy held senior business development roles with high-growth nonprofit organizations, including at B Lab, Cambodian Children’s Fund and Relief International. She co-founded the Middle School Public Debate Program, an organization that teaches young people the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from NYU.