Our Team

Rais Bhuiyan

Rais Bhuiyan

Founder & President

Rais is a peace activist and an IT professional. After graduating from Sylhet Cadet College, a military School in Bangladesh, he joined the Bangladesh Air Force and was commissioned as a pilot officer following two and a half years of vigorous training. He received a BS in Aeronautics from the National University in Dhaka and completed numerous information technology courses in New York and Dallas where he continued his education, taking courses in computer system engineering,Show More

    programming, and database administration. In 2001, he was shot in the face by Mark Stroman, a white supremacist seeking vengeance for the 9/11 tragedy.

    Bhuiyan responded to this by forgiving his attacker and attempting unsuccessfully to prevent his execution. Bhuiyan currently holds a position with Sabre Holdings, a global technology company, in Southlake, Texas. His time is divided between managing a team of system engineers and data centers in Europe and touring the globe giving talks about the regenerative power of forgiveness.

Bruce J. Charendoff

Bruce J. Charendoff

Board Chair / Consultant / Mentor and Coach

As an anti-hate activist, Mr. Charendoff chairs two nonprofit organizations, World Without Hate and Lev B’Lev (Heart to Heart). Both organizations are committed to understanding hate, transforming those who hate, and replacing hate with compassion, empathy and forgiveness. He also serves on the steering committee of JAM-AT (Jews and Muslims Acting Together).Show More

    As Managing Director of BlueWave Merchant Partners, Mr. Charendoff consults with companies to help them become more competitive in their pursuits abroad and accelerate their business growth opportunities overseas.

    As a mentor and coach, he works with the Abramson Scholarship Foundation (District of Columbia) and Montgomery College’s Achieving the Promise Academy (Maryland), where he helps college students and job seekers strategically position themselves for educational and career success.

    In his previous corporate career, he was the Chief Public Policy Officer and Senior Vice President of Sabre Corporation, a $3 billion travel technology company. In that role, he led Sabre’s worldwide public policy and government outreach initiatives.

    Mr. Charendoff chaired Sabre’s foundation and helped develop Sabre’s Passport to Freedom initiative to combat human trafficking and give hope (and jobs) to its victims. He was the chairman and founder of the Travel Technology Association, the trade group representing global distribution systems, online travel companies, and short term rental companies; he served on the executive committee of the US Travel Association; and he was a board member of the European Travel and Technology Services Association.

    He was a founding board member of the Urban Alliance, a Washington, DC based mentoring and workforce training program, which has over the last 20 years placed over 3,000 students in professional internships.

    The American Society of Travel Agents awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award. He previously worked in positions of increasing responsibility at American Airlines and Shipman & Goodwin, a Hartford, Connecticut law firm. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife, Sally Rosenberg, who is a lawyer, novelist and aspiring theatrical producer. He has two daughters and two stepsons.

Mark Wright

Mark Wright

Evening News Anchor, King5 News

Mark is an award-winning anchor for KING 5, the NBC affiliate in Seattle, Washington. He is a four-time Emmy winner for his work as a documentary producer, anchor and reporter.

Mark was born in Seattle but raised on his family’s organic vegetable farm in Whatcom County. Mark started working in the fields in grade school – weeding, cultivating and irrigating the crops. He and his family cut their own wood for heat and raised their own livestock. Growing up on a farm taught Mark the value of hard work. It also instilled in him a love of locally-grown food and a sustainable lifestyle.Show More

    Mark attended Ferndale High School and Washington State University. At WSU, he fell in love with broadcasting and his future wife. Mark’s professional broadcasting career began while attending the Murrow College of Communication at WSU. He worked as a reporter and anchor for the university-owned public radio station. Attending the same college that legendary journalist Ed Murrow attended has always served as an inspiration to Mark. Throughout his career he has tried to apply Murrow’s commitment to integrity and innovation to every position he’s held. Mark graduated from WSU in 1989 with a BA in Communications and a minor in Business Administration.

    Mark’s early career was in Public Radio. He worked as a legislative correspondent for KBSU-FM in Boise, Idaho. He later worked as a reporter for Spokane Public Radio. In Spokane, Mark transitioned from public to commercial broadcasting at KXLY Radio/TV. In seven years, Mark rose from a radio “board operator” (fancy name for button-pusher) to evening television news anchor. In 1998, Mark left Spokane to anchor the morning news for KSTU Television in Salt Lake City. In 2003, Mark returned home to Seattle to work as an evening news anchor, first for the Fox affiliate and now NBC.

    Mark is the Immediate Past President and a board member of the Rotary Club of Seattle — the 4 th -oldest and one of the largest Rotary clubs in the world. Mark led the club of 450 members from June of 2017 through June of 2018. Rotary is a service organization that works to improve the lives of those in need at home and around the world. Mark also dedicates many hours a month volunteering his time as an emcee for non-profits, including — Growing Veterans, Food Lifeline, Bloodworks Northwest, American Red Cross, Plymouth Housing and various hospice organizations.

    Mark’s philosophy on life is to keep an open mind, learn something new every day and bring understanding to the issues he covers for the people of western Washington. Mark is married to his college sweetheart Jamie and has two boys. He loves working in the “big city” but feels most at home walking the fields in Ferndale that his great grandparents settled more than a century ago. In his spare time, you’ll find Mark playing the drums, golfing and practicing Jiu Jitsu.

Marisa Barthel, Retired

Marisa Barthel, Retired

In a non-traditional sense, Marisa Barthel has been involved in building bridges with “others” for decades. She is quick to acknowledge that many of the successes during her career – particularly those accomplished with international partners — were not in spite of the differences of the those involved but BECAUSE of them.Show More

    Marisa retired from the U.S. Intelligence Community in December 2014, following 32 years of public service, during which she built, led, and managed multi-agency/multi-national programs that delivered results. As the leader of each of these programs, success was achieved by: fostering strong relationships with U.S. Government colleagues and/or foreign partners; aligning resources with priorities; leveraging expertise of officers from multiple organizations; identifying solutions to address challenges; advocating for action; garnering decision-maker support to dedicate scarce resources to the effort at hand; and ultimately implementing the needed change or executing the operation.

    Since retiring, Marisa has applied her skill set & experiences to a variety of her passions – fostering dialogue between people of different faiths & cultures, advocating for rights of victims of sexual assault (from the emergency room to college campuses), and helping Veterans create strong resumes that showcase the depth & breadth of their military experiences in language that the civilian world can understand.

    Marisa and her husband, John, are both driven by a desire to “give back” to the community, and they embrace the belief that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” They have two grown daughters, who grew to respect other cultures during the years they lived and vacationed abroad.

Dr. Tyrone W A Grandison

Dr. Tyrone W A Grandison

Dr. Tyrone W A Grandison is the Board Chairman of The Data-Driven institute, which is a public health non-profit that helps policymakers create and implement effective programs and policies to solve their most critical problems, using the knowledge of the community, data and technology. Dr Grandison is also a 2018 Zhi-Xing Eisenhower Fellow. a Political Partner of the Truman National Security Project, and a Human Rights Commissioner for the city of Seattle. Dr Grandison was the Vice President of Data for U.Group, which is a result-oriented and high-impact consulting firm that is dedicated to providing innovative and cost-effective solutions to its federal and commercial customers. Show More

    Dr. Grandison was the first-ever Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Dr. Grandison also advises the Government of Jamaica on their Information Technology strategy - as a member of the National Information and Communications Technology Advisory Council (2016-18). He was the Deputy Chief Data Officer (dCDO) at the US Department of Commerce (2015-16), where he co-founded the Commerce Data Service - a data startup within the Department that supported its twelve bureaus - and led the successful rollout of its first 15 products. He was also a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow (2014-15) working with the US Department of Labor and the US CENSUS Bureau on their data and API (application programming interface) initiatives. He was the CEO of Proficiency Labs International, which specializes in supporting organizations design, build and evaluate privacy and security solutions for their systems. He was one of the managing partners of METIS, Inc. - a services company that specializes in solving organizational problems. He co-founded woyhd.org, a service to help consumers determine the privacy awareness of mobile healthcare apps. He is the co-founder of Hipaantrepeneurs, a service to help healthcare professionals with compliance with healthcare law. He was one of the founding chairs of the Diversity in Privacy and Security Seminar (Di-PaSS) series, which seeks to increase the number of minority professionals and researchers in the privacy and security space. He is a founding partner of Wonder Women Hacks, which is a hackathon dedicated to increasing the number of women in tech, providing a support system for female technologists and helping to solve issues relevant to women. He is a founding partner of Hacks for Humanity (a collaboration with Arizona State University's Project Humanities), which seeks to develop technology to reconnect people to their humanity. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica. Dr. Grandison was the CTO/co-founder of EqualityTV, where he led the platform and technical strategy initiatives.

    Dr. Grandison has over 25 years experience in software engineering, security and privacy. His work in database security and privacy has been internationally recognized as pioneering and impactful. In addition to relational data privacy and security, he has created and successfully led research and product initiatives in RFID data management, privacy-preserving mobile data management, private social network analysis, text analytics and healthcare management systems.

    Dr. Grandison’s career started as a software engineer in Jamaica. He received a B.S. degree in Computer Studies (Computer Science and Economics) from the University of the West Indies in 1997, a M.S. degree in Software Engineering in 1998 and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine in London (2003).

    Dr. Grandison is a 2018 AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador, an IBM Master Inventor, a Distinguished Engineer of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), a Fellow of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), has been recognized by FedScoop as "The Most Inspiring Up & Comer" in the US Government (2015), by the National Society of Black Engineers (as Pioneer of the Year in 2009), by the Black Engineer of the Year Award Board (as Modern Day Technology Leader in 2009, Minority in Science Trailblazer in 2010, and Science Spectrum Trailblazer in 2012 and 2013), by the Federal Computer Weekly as a "Rising Star" (2016), by the Institute for Education as "High Impact Presidential Innovation Fellow" (2016), and has received the IEEE Technical Achievement Award in 2010 for "pioneering contributions to Secure and Private Data Management".

    He has authored over a 100 technical papers, co-invented over 47 patents and written several books, including "Practical Privacy Protection Online for Free", "Trust Management Middleware for Internet Applications: Combining Trust, Recommendation, Risk and Experience", and "Cybersecurity Risk Assessment for Business".

Advisory Board

Howard Cohen

Howard Cohen

Vice President-General Manager of Clise Properties-Hotel Division.

Howard Cohen’s eighteen-year Rotary tenure includes membership in three different Rotary Clubs (Renton, Queen Anne and Emerald City). He has served as Club President in two of those clubs (Queen Anne and Emerald City). He is currently serving his second-term as Assistant
Governor (serving four different District Governors); was Vocational & Ethics Chair and served on many District Conference Committees. In November 2018, he was part of Rotary Zones 25/26 Institute attending Rotary’s Leadership Development Program.Show More

    Howard is Vice President-General Manager of Clise Properties-Hotel Division. He has been a hotelier over forty-two years and holds numerous credentials in his profession. His philanthropy includes the Howard J Cohen Bladder Cancer Foundation and the Spirit of Giving program. He
    has led numerous hotels, lodging and hospitality organizations and currently serves on the Seattle Police Foundation. Howard earned his BS in Business Administration from SUNY Buffalo in 1977 and MBA from the University of Washington in 1989.

    Howard will District Governor in 20201-2022 following Cathy Gibson, Seattle #4, who is Governor in 2020-21 and Bill McElroy (Mill Creek) who is Governor in 2019-20.

Marlisa H. Simonson

Marlisa H. Simonson

Marlisa H. Simonson
Senior Director of Philanthropy, Natural Resources Council of Maine

Marlisa heads up NRCM’s team of fundraising professionals, setting goals and creating plans to reach them. As a member of the senior management team, she helps establish organizational policies and protocols. Over a 20+-year career, Marlisa has always sought to bring people together and to connect personal passions with philanthropic missions. Prior to NRCM, she most recently worked with corporate sponsors and individual community members to generate revenue on behalf of the Travelers Championship, a PGA Tour professional golf tournament and charitable engine to hundreds of nonprofit organizations.

Before joining the professional sports industry, Marlisa served in higher education for three institutions over a 19-year career. Most recently, at the University of Hartford (Bloomfield, CT), she led a team of major gift fundraisers in support of initiatives in seven academic units, the performing arts, division I athletics, women’s leadership and Judaic studies. She also co-chaired a University-wide strategic planning committee. Her career in philanthropy began at Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT) and continued at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT).

A lifelong New Englander, Marlisa has always been involved in her community and in supporting organizations doing meaningful work. Currently, she serves on the board of Foodshare, one of two food banks in the state of Connecticut and a member of the Feeding America network.

Marlisa completed an undergraduate degree from Middlebury College, a Master’s in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix-Online and an Executive Education Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from Fordham University.

Natasha Bennett

Natasha Bennett

Natasha Bennett is a trilingual social science researcher and analyst specializing in human rights. Her research on the racial and ethnic dimensions of social inequity in democratic societies has focused on how laws, policies, and social relations can undermine human rights protections for marginalized groups. She has received research grants for her fieldwork in Europe, Latin America, and the United States, and has published on the politics of Bolivia, global urban growth, and migration. Currently, she is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Puget Sound and has experience conducting research and evaluation work for non-profit and public interest groups. .Show More

    Natasha is passionate about conducting research that will have a meaningful policy impact on improving human rights protections and inter-group relations. As a relatively new resident (and lover) of the Pacific Northwest, she is excited to engage these issues in her new community.

    Natasha holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California and a B.A. from Rutgers University.

Robert Bell

Robert Bell

Robert is an IT consultant for the multinational corporation Hitachi Consulting. Before that he was very active in the DFW film community working on several local productions since 2003.Robert has received two bachelor degrees from the University of North Texas; one in Business Administration Decision Sciences and another in Radio/TV/Film. During his time in the U.S. Army, Robert also received a wide variety of technology and electronics training along with leadership and team management certifications.Show More

    After his time in the military Robert decided to become an advocate for peace. He joined the professional organizations Iraq Veterans against the war and Veterans for Peace. He developed close personal and working relationships with local activist Leslie Harris, and journalist Nathan Diebenow; assisting them in creating video content from numerous protests and speaking events. Along with Nathan, Robert created the underground news channel Standard Rebellion. Highlights of the channel are short documentaries covering the Rally for Bradley Manning, a nuclear awareness piece for the PAX Christi, and covering guest speaker events for Chis Hedges and Col. Anne Wright.

Munir “Mark” Kamal

Munir “Mark” Kamal

Senior Vice President Commercial Financing & Marketing

Since 2001 Mark has been Vice President of Finance and Marketing for Enterprise America, Inc. a commercial real estate and mortgage brokerage firm headquartered in Dallas, TX. In his role, Mark specializes in commercial financing with a focus on SBA, Conventional, Bridge, Non-Recourse Financing and Business Development. He has vast experience in many industries including hospitality, Auto Repair, gas station and all types of commercial businesses. During the recession of 2009 to 2014 Mark worked in the IT industry as a Support Team Lead for CompuCom and MEDHOST providing support to corporate end users for their IT needs.Show More

    During this time Mark continued to work part time at Enterprise America keeping up on the changes of the commercial real estate and finance industry. He re-joined Enterprise full time in 2015.

    Mark grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh and he always had a passion for helping others and contributing to the society. He was an active member of the Lions Club International and participated in number of events to benefit the poor and helpless. As an adult and as member of a youth music band, he participated in number of benefit concerts to help the flood victims in Bangladesh which is a natural occurrence there. He has participated in employer sponsored programs for the united way, Red Cross and others. He is also a member of the Amnesty International.

    Mark completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree from Dhaka University and also attended University Of Oklahoma to pursue his higher education in Engineering. He also completed number of IT related courses in Big Data, and Database Administration in Dallas.