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Who We Are

The GCNF team is a high-caliber group of engaged domestic and international leaders with public and private sector experience in child nutrition and related fields. GCNF’s Board of Directors and Senior Staff work closely together to support school meal programs that help children and communities thrive.

Board of Directors

Ronald E. Kleinman, MD
Physician-in-Chief, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children
Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital
Charles Wilder Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Gene White, MS, SNS
Vice President
Gene White & Associates
Past President, School Nutrition Association
Penny E. McConnell, MS, RD, SNS
Former Director, Food and Nutrition Services
Fairfax County Public Schools
Trish Ault
Communications Consultant
Daniel Silva Balaban
Director & Representative
Centre of Excellence against Hunger, Brazil
United Nations World Food Programme
Valerie Nkamgang Bemo
Deputy Director
Global Development
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Ashleigh Black
Former Director of Congressional Relations
Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Rafael Fábrega
Food for Development Office
Tetra Laval AB
Michele Fite

Chief Commercial Officer
Motif Ingredients

Krysta Harden
Executive Vice President
Global Environmental Strategy
Dairy Management Inc.
Kate J. Houston
Former Global Head of Public Policy & Issues Management
Cargill, Inc.
Susan Neely
President and CEO
American Council of Life Insurers
Barbara E. Noseworthy
Global BT
Janey Thornton, Ph.D, SNS
Former Deputy Under Secretary
USDA Food Nutrition and Consumer Services

Senior Staff

Dr. Ronald Kleinman, President of the Board

Ronald E. Kleinman, MD is Physician in Chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Charles Wilder Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kleinman’s major areas of research interest include gastrointestinal immunology, nutrition support of infants and children, and nutrition and public health policy.

Dr. Kleinman’s professional affiliations include the American Gastroenterological Association, American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD), North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN), and American Pediatric Society/Society for Pediatric Research. He is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, chapters, monographs and 4 textbooks.

Dr. Kleinman was a founder and past president of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. He has been a member of the Medical Advisory Group on Diet and Nutrition Guidelines in Cancer for the American Cancer Society, the National Cholesterol Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a member of the Institute of Medicine committees on Standards for School Meals and Obesity Prevention for young Children, member of the Board of Directors for the David Ortiz Childrens’ Fund, the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, the ILSI Research Foundation, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF New England Regional Board, the Massachusetts General Hospital Physician Organization and Chair of the Board for Project Bread. He was the Chair of the NIH/NICHD Workshop Planning Committee for the Dietary Guidelines: Birth to 24 Months. Dr. Kleinman is a member of the External Advisory Board (EAB) for the Obesity Research Center at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kleinman served as Chair of the Committee on Nutrition for the American Academy of Pediatrics and is the author of the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh editions of the Academy’s textbook, Pediatric Nutrition, and served as the Editor-in-Chief for Current Pediatrics Reports.

Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director

Arlene Mitchell was appointed Executive Director by the Board of Directors of Global Child Nutrition Foundation in April 2014. Prior to that, Arlene served for nearly six years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she was Deputy Director for Access and Markets in the Agricultural Development Program.

Earlier in her career, she served as an executive in the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) where she led the global school feeding effort; managed international technical assistance and training activities for the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and was both a volunteer and staff member with the U.S. Peace Corps. Arlene’s varied experience also includes running a restaurant and a snack machine business, invalid care, and a variety of other gambits.

Jennifer Shin, Senior Program Officer

Jennifer Shin is a Senior Program Officer and has worked for GCNF since 2019. She is focused on knowledge sharing and building advocacy for school meal programs in partnership with governments, development agencies, civil society organizations, and the private sector. After working for ten years on education, food security, and nutrition issues in Southeast Asia, Jennifer understands that sustainable development occurs in partnership and through a systems approach. For equitable and sustainable growth, it is crucial to support local leaders and solutions that invest in health, nutrition, and education for all.

Jennifer has worked as a consultant with the World Bank, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), U.S. Department of State, and numerous NGOs. She also co-organized the first TEDxDili conference in Timor-Leste.

Jennifer holds a BA from University of California, Berkeley, and a MPA from Cornell University.

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Rebecca Ward, Communications & Development Officer

Rebecca (Steelman) Ward has worked for GCNF since August 2016. Rebecca is focused on communications, including GCNF’s website, social media platforms, and digital media. Additionally, she coordinates fundraising efforts, event planning, and development projects.

Prior to GCNF, Rebecca served as a Program Coordinator at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, helping to create and promote internationally-focused programs and events.  Rebecca is from Wichita Falls, TX. She received her Bachelor’s degree from University of Washington.

Ryan Kennedy, Program Officer

Ryan Kennedy has worked for GCNF since March 2019.  Ryan is focused on managing and developing GCNF’s programs and event management including GCNF’s annual Global Child Nutrition Forum, the annual Spring Seminar, regional Learning Exchanges, private sector engagement, and supporting GCNF’s programmatic contract work as needed.  Additionally, he supports data and information management for GCNF’s Global Survey of School Meal Programs and research on specific topics critical to school meal programs.

Prior to GCNF, Ryan served in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso as an education volunteer with a focus on Math & Science and rural food security and later directed the department for Volunteer Engagement at Mary’s Place, the largest provider of social services to families in the Seattle area.  Ryan is from Seattle, WA and received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a focus on Pre-Medical studies.

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CiCi Schneider, Finance & Administration Coordinator

Cierra “CiCi” Schneider has served as Finance and Administration Coordinator since 2018. CiCi first worked for GCNF as a summer intern in 2016. CiCi focuses on finance and operations while providing event planning and donor database support.

CiCi is from Sioux Falls, SD. She received her bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from Dakota Wesleyan University.