Keith White, Co-Chair
Entertainment Lawyer, Free Integrated Media
Keith White began his career as an educator at Boys & Girls HS (while attending Law School) and then as a Prosecutor in The Kings County District Attorney’s Office. After leaving the DA’s Office, Keith began working as Independent Counsel for A.R. Bernard, a city leader and started his own firm where he practiced Entertainment Law. The firm represented clients like Ron Artest, Shaquille O’Neal, F.E.D.S. Magazine, DJ Envy, Rockwilder, and others. In addition, Keith White has personally represented the New York Billy Graham Organization and Christian Cultural Center as well as worked with NYCHA, HPD, and HUD to develop and build affordable housing for thousands of disadvantaged members of the New York City community. After leaving the firm in 2006, Keith started a management/consulting business, Free Integrated Media. Free Integrated Media is the global brand manager for several artists, labels, and writers and is responsible for the writing or production on platinum and gold records from Jennifer Lopez, Mary J Blige, Beyonce, Ciara, Wynter Gordon, and others.
Motisola Zulu, Co-Chair
Founder and Practitioner, M. Zulu, PC
Motisola Zulu is an entertainment lawyer who recently re-opened her own law practice of M. Zulu, PC in 2014. She previously was an entertainment law partner at The Davis Firm, where she was responsible for structuring, negotiating, and drafting agreements for her clients. She takes pride in being able to educate her clients while representing them. While at The Davis Firm, with a stellar list of industry heavyweights that include Redfoo, Swizz Beatz, Lil Jon, and The Underdogs, she has used her expertise to strengthen and protect their careers. Prior to her working with the Davis Firm, Ms. Zulu was a sole practitioner and founder of the entertainment law firm of M. Zulu, P.C. which catered primarily to the music industry. She currently resides in New York, NY, however, she was born and raised in Washington, DC. She attended Spelman College where she earned her BA in Political Science then acquired her J.D. from Howard Law School. Ms. Zulu is also a member of National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), a founding member of Black Women in Entertainment Industry, a mentor for Year-Up NYC and speaks on several panels discussing the entertainment industry. Giving back, especially to the youth, is extremely important to Ms. Zulu whose family encouraged supporting the community.
Michael D. Grohman, Secretary
Partner, Duane Morris Law Firm
Michael D. Grohman is chair of the Wealth Planning Practice Group and head of the firm’s New York office. Mr. Grohman practices in the areas of tax and estate planning and administration, with particular emphasis on estate planning for owners of closely held businesses, professional athletes and entertainers. He is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey. Mr. Grohman is a graduate of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Brooklyn Law School and the New York University School of Law. He also serves as the co-chairman of the Advisory Council of the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York.
A.R. Bernard, Sr.
Founder and CEO of the Christian Cultural Center
A.R. Bernard, Sr. is the Founder and CEO of the Christian Cultural Center, as well as the President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York, which represents 1.5 million Protestants, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians. He is also the founder of the Cultural Arts Academy Charter School, which was established in February 2010 and is a comprehensive educational alternative designed to meet the needs of children for the 21stcentury. In addition to guiding the Christian Cultural Center’s many outreach programs, Rev. Bernard established a rapidly growing male mentoring program with more than 1,000 male mentors. He has a Master of Urban Studies and a Master of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wagner College, May, 2010, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary, May 2009. Along with his civic and clergy responsibilities, Rev. Bernard is an Adjunct Professor at Alliance Theological Seminary.
Founding Partner and Creative Director of Picture Projects
Alison Cornyn is an interdisciplinary artist at the convergence of technology and traditional medias with extensive experience in exhibition, interactive and web design as well as in building online communities and fostering civic dialogue. She is founding partner and Creative Director of Picture Projects, a Brooklyn-based studio that produces in-depth new media projects about some of the most pressing social issues of our day with a focus on investigating complex stories from multiple perspectives. Often merging art, photography, media, technology, and journalism, the studio creates engaging environments, both online and as physical installations. Alison teaches at Parsons/The New School and in the Design For Social Innovation Program at the School of Visual Arts and has conducted workshops on multimedia storytelling and guest lectured at the Sundance Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival, IDFA in Amsterdam. She has a B.A. from Connecticut College, a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University, an M.F.A. from Hunter College and was an artist in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Alison lives with her husband, Gilles Peress and their two daughters in Brooklyn, NY.
Director of Development, Council of Urban Professionals
Samantha Erskine joined the GEMS Board in 2012. She is the Director of Development at the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP), where she is responsible for creating and implementing fundraising strategies to both maximize and diversify CUP’s revenues. Prior to joining CUP, she was the Manager of Development at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, where she helped build the Development Department’s infrastructure, grew and diversified the organization’s revenues, and expanded its visibility. Ms. Erskine has also worked at the Applied Research Center and at Legal Momentum, where she used various technologies, media sources, and fundraising tools to solicit donations, cultivate supporters, and engage communities and stakeholders. In addition, Ms. Erskine has had a lifelong commitment to, and passion for, the performing arts. She has taught and performed in Russia, England, Spain, France, Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, across the United States, and on a salsa cruise to the Bahamas with a Bronx-based dance company opening for El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College. She also holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, in Psychology and Women’s Studies, from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Advertising Partnerships, Flipboard
Melissa Finney is an Advertising Partnerships at Flipboard, a digital media company. Previously, she served as a Senior Account Executive at Zillow.com, where she developed revenue-generating partnerships with key consumer brands. Ms. Finney has also held senior sales positions at The Economist, ESPN, and CourtTV. She received a BA degree cum laude in Journalism and French from the University of Southern California, where she later established a scholarship fund for African Americans engaged in overseas study.
Ellen R. Fried joined the GEMS board in 2006, bringing a lifelong passion and commitment to fighting for the rights and protections of children. She is a seasoned attorney, teacher, mentor and administrator with extensive background in legal education, clinical instruction, and development of courses and programs in the field of juvenile rights. Presently she is an adjunct professor at CUNY School of Law and teaches in both the first year lawyering program and the third year family law concentration. She recently taught a course in “Children and the Law” as part of the innovative interdisciplinary Children’s Studies Program at Brooklyn College. From 1993-2007, she taught as an adjunct professor at CUNY Law School where she created and taught in its first Juvenile Defender Clinic. Prior to CUNY Law, Ms. Fried served as the Director of Training for the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society of NY for several years, where she developed training programs for all incoming attorneys, supervised new attorneys in all five boroughs, developed and implemented continuing education programs and produced the state-wide JRD Newsletter. During Ms. Fried’s 30-year career as a public interest attorney, she also taught at Hofstra School of Law, was Assistant Director of the Fund for Modern Courts, an administrative law judge for the E.C.B., a consultant for the Fifth Avenue Committee, and a trial attorney with the Criminal Defence Division of The NY Legal Aid Society. She is a graduate of Northwestern University (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa) and Columbia University School of Law (J.D., Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar)
Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Cynthia Godsoe teaches courses in family law, criminal law, children and the law, professional responsibility and public interest lawyering. Her scholarship centers on the regulation of intimate behavior and gender roles through family and criminal law, encompassing topics including the path to marriage equality, the designation of victims and offenders in intimate violence, the public v. private family law systems, and the criminalization of non-conforming girls. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Houston Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, and Yale Law and Policy Review, among others. She presents widely on these issues at scholarly symposia, writes about them for Huffington Post and the popular law professor website, Prawfsblawg, and is frequently consulted by the media on family and juvenile justice matters. Before joining the Brooklyn Law School faculty, Professor Godsoe represented children and youth in impact litigation and individual cases in juvenile justice, education and child protection matters as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division and Advocates for Children, among others. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Edward Korman in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and was a Skadden Public Interest Fellow. She was chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the New York City Bar from 2008-2011 and continues to participate in pro bono work on a variety of children’s rights issues.
David Schisgall has been producing and directing long-form nonfiction for the past eighteen years. He has worked for ABC News, PBS, and Oscar-winner Errol Morris. In 2004 he won the Edward R. Murrow Award for the Best News Documentary of the year for his work in Iraq. He premiered Very Young Girls, the full-length documentary about GEMS, at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, and the documentary screened in festivals across the country, on television, on Showtime, and in four international markets. The documentary is now available on DVD from Netflix and is for sale through the GEMS Shop.
Dr. Larissa Temple
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Larissa Temple is a surgical oncologist and board certified colorectal surgeon at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she also oversees the Colorectal Survivorship Clinic. She is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Canada). She has co-authored several papers on colon and rectal cancer treatment and outcomes, and lecture on these topics nationally and internationally. Dr. Temple received her medical degree from the University of Calgary and an MSc in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto. Her two-year Surgical Oncology fellowship at MSKCC was followed by a fellowship in Colorectal Surgery at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital.
Managing Director, Wolfensohn Fund Management L.P.
Diana Taylor joined Wolfensohn Fund Management L.P., a strategic consulting and investment firm, in 2007, prior to which she served as New York State superintendent of banks and chairwoman of the New York State Banking Board. Before her government service, she worked in the private sector as vice president for KeySpan Energy and as an investment banker with Smith Barney, Lehman Brothers, and Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette. Ms. Taylor serves on the boards of Citigroup, Brookfield Properties, and Sotheby’s. She also serves on several charitable boards. She chairs the boards of ACCION International, Hudson River Park Trust, New York Women’s Foundation, and the YMCA of Greater New York. Other memberships include Dartmouth College, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the International Women’s Health Coalition. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York. She earned her AB from Dartmouth College, her MBA from the Columbia School of Business, and her MPH from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia.
Arden Wohl is a style icon, philanthropist, pastry chef, and experimental filmmaker. As a recent graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Arden had first graduated with a degree from New York University’s Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. Since then, some of her filmography has included The Goatsucker, Coven, which screened at Art Basel Miami Beach, as well as Two Other Dreams, starring Leelee Sobrieski. Most recently, Arden Co-Produced In God We Trust, a documentary feature film about Bernie Madoff that premiered at teh 2013 TriBeCa Film Festival. Today, Arden serves as a voice for a variety of non-profit organizations such as the Nest Foundation and the Endangered Species Coalition.