The Redwoods Initiative team has extensive experience in wealth management, philanthropic services, and business initiatives. Each module is taught by a faculty consultant with Abby Raphel leading as co-facilitator. Faculty credentials are based on sector knowledge, experience and excellent teaching ability.
Sheila is the Managing Director of Ethos Family Office Services and Executive Vice President of Ethos Trust Company. Sheila was previously the Owner and Managing Director or Cashel Fiduciary Partners. She has developed an extensive knowledge and experience with trusts, estate planning, tax planning, private trust companies and the needs of family offices throughout her 25 year career in law and business. Sheila is a trailblazer in family office trust planning and fiduciary compliance and has worked at the forefront of her industry to promote and develop best practices for high net-worth clients in managing trusts and trust business for maximum protection and benefit. Before founding her own business, Sheila was Chief Fiduciary Officer and Trust Counsel for Perspecta Trust LLC. Her career, beginning with her first job in the Trust Department of fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Ohio, and continuing through more than a decade as a partner in two prestigious law firms, has uniquely prepared her as one of the nation’s premier experts in the intersection of the family office and trusts. Sheila is a firm believer that trust education is one of the most powerful tools in a grantor’s, beneficiary’s and family office’s arsenal. Sheila is licensed to practice law in the states of New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio, and Kentucky, and was certified by the Bar of the Supreme Court of Ohio as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, including estate, gift and fiduciary taxation. Her vast experience in the practice of trust and estate law, combined with her understanding of the unique challenges faced by family offices, position her to offer unique perspective and modern, real-world solutions to challenges facing family offices today.
Nell Derick Debevoise is the founder and CEO of Inspiring Capital, which matches business professionals with social ventures to help them grow sustainably. Forbes called Inspiring Capital’s flagship program “a Teach for America for MBAs interested in nonprofits and social enterprises”. Nell teaches Impact Investing at NYU and co-founded Global Good Sports, which helps corporate clients develop messaging and programs about their community responsibility initiatives. She can’t say no to opportunities to evaluate and advise purpose-driven startups.
Previously, Nell was founding director of Tomorrow's Youth Organization, a nonprofit supporting children and women in the Middle East. She studied psychology, education, and entrepreneurship at Harvard, Columbia, London Business School, and Cambridge. Nell has spoken about business-minded social change at Columbia, Harvard, Yale, the World Bank, UN, CFA Institute, and other global stages, alongside President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Cherie Blair, and Sir Ronald Cohen. She has lived and worked on four continents, and speaks fluent French and Italian, as well as enough Arabic, Japanese, and Brazilian Portuguese to raise eyebrows.
Jason first got involved in social change work when he founded Oregon Students Supporting Education in high school. Convinced he’d spend his life as an activist, he studied politics in DC and worked in the Clinton Administration on AIDS policy and then spent a decade working in education and cultural policy. His life took a turn into the philanthropic world after unexpectedly discovering his family had a small family foundation when he was 22 years old. While his activism continued, his attention increasingly turned towards philanthropy and donor organizing until today his professional, academic and volunteer time are all connected to leveraging philanthropic resources for social change.
Professionally, he holds the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, the nation’s first endowed chair focused on community philanthropy. In this role, he is developing a program of research, teaching, service, and thought leadership designed to explore and advance the field of community philanthropy, nationally and internationally. Prior to his appointment as the Kellogg Chair, he served as Executive Director of Bolder Giving, which he led through five years of major growth after Melinda Gates credited them as an inspiration for the billionaire Giving Pledge, and as an award-winning adjunct professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. Jason also serves on the boards of the Proteus Fund, Solidaire Donor Network, and 21st Century School Fund; advisory boards of the Chartered Advisors in Philanthropy Program, WiserGiving, and Credit Suisse’s LGBT Equality Portfolio; and is a member of Funding Queerly, the Threshold Foundation, and the High Impact Documentary Funding Circle.
Paige recently moved to Northeastern Pennsylvania from New York, where she worked as an investment advisor at Goldman Sachs, sourcing new assets and managing investment portfolios for the private client business. Prior to Goldman, Paige spent seven years in Washington, DC working as an advisor at the U.S. Treasury, and as a fundraiser and project director on political campaigns.
Paige has a background in economic policy, international relations, and political campaigns. Paige has broad experience in business development, coalition building, and strategic communications.
Paige holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oregon Clark Honors College. She resides in Scranton, PA.
Galia is an independent personal financial expert with more than 19 years’ experience in financial services, including nearly 10 years on Wall Street, and an MBA in Finance. She founded Down to Earth Finance, where she offers individual sessions and seminars to address personal financial needs and concerns. Her speaking experience includes the Freelancers Union, Barnard College’s Financial Fluency Program, and Athena Center for Leadership. She has been quoted on CNN and in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal.com, and much more.
Chi-Yu Liang is an attorney specializing in trust, estate and charitable planning for individuals and families. She regularly counsels families on the tax-efficient transition of wealth to younger generations and other beneficiaries. With a background in engineering, Chi-Yu applies her aptitude for problem-solving and creative thinking to helping her clients achieve their planning objectives. Chi-Yu is pleased to be a member of the faculty of the Redwoods Initiative, where she has led discussions on the importance of tax planning and the role of trusts and other planning vehicles in furthering family goals.
Randi is a Partner in Morrison Cohen’s Corporate Department, where her practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, equity finance, fund formation, and general company counseling.
Randi has extensive experience in structuring and negotiating complex business transactions, including mergers, stock and asset acquisitions and divestitures, equity finance, recapitalizations, and restructurings. Her practice also focuses on the formation of private investment funds. She regularly advises companies on formation, governance, structure and financing matters. Randi has represented clients in a broad range of industries, including, in particular, consumer products and branded businesses, health and wellness, apparel and accessories, food and beverage, software and technology, medical equipment, industrial manufacturing, and advertising.
Randi joined Morrison Cohen in 2005. Prior to that she was an associate in Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP's capital markets group.
Paul is the founder and Managing Partner of Vernal Point Advisors, a San Francisco based wealth advisory firm. Having previously run a family office with an active foundation, Paul has focused his career on working with families who have good values and who demand a high level of engagement and customization.
He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Financial Planner, and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst with a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Although his technical practice is oriented toward finding creative cross-disciplinary solutions, he believes the human element ultimately drives outcomes, and that forging strong human connections is the most important and fulfilling part of his work.
When he's not working or spending time with his family, Paul can be found in the mountains or trail running in the San Francisco Bay Area. His volunteer activities have been oriented towards creating over fifty educational programs, and he chairs a regional alliance of professional associations dedicated to serving the public through advanced financial education.
Judy Morrill, Managing Director at Silvercrest Asset Management Group, has over 25 years of wealth management experience. Judy’s background is somewhat unique because she did not study economics or finance as an undergraduate at Hollins University, but majored in political science and French and spent a year in Paris. Her first job on the trading floor of First Boston Corporation in 1985 made her realize two things: 1) that her understanding of history and geopolitics had as much to do with figuring out the economy and financial markets as any financial formula; and 2) that to be taken seriously in this business she needed an MBA, which she ultimately obtained from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Judy has a unique perspective and empathy for those who think finance is “boring” or “complicated”. She is passionate about financial literacy for young adults and women, and approaches her profession as a responsible and trustworthy steward of financial assets and as an educator.
When not busy taking care of her clients, Judy can be found volunteering at her 3 sons’ schools, running in Central Park, and serving as President of the Hollins University Alumnae Association.
Abigail is CEO of The ImPact, a nonprofit network of families who commit to make more impact investments, more effectively. Prior Abigail was Head of Impact Investing Initiatives at the World Economic Forum and Head of Africa and Latin America for The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She is a graduate of Harvard and Tufts, was a Fulbright Scholar in Uruguay, a World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow, and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Founder of Julie Shafer Development + Philanthropy, a national philanthropy consulting firm. Ms. Shafer offers a multifaceted skill set honed though over 20 years as a philanthropy executive. After leading a large private foundation in California, Ms. Shafer coordinated an $80M capital campaign for neuroscience before establishing her consulting practice. She brings a translational approach that bridges the gaps between philanthropists and non-profits. Working across the spectrum of giving, Ms. Shafer turns donors into philanthropists through discreet, personalized and focused giving strategies. Her creative and measureable fundraising programs allow non-profits to quickly reenergize their staff and their process. Ms. Shafer offers development & philanthropy assessment, training, recruiting and board facilitation. She has served on numerous foundation and non-profit boards and created the Women in Philanthropy Roundtable in San Francisco. Ms. Shafer is a certified pastry chef, has three grown sons and lives in New York City.
Simone is a non-profit management practitioner and professor who specializes in major gifts fundraising, corporate governance and board relations. Over the last decade Simone has raised and helped to deploy $25M in philanthropic capital for issues ranging from teen pregnancy prevention to environmentalism. Currently, she is the Director of Board Relations for the Environmental Defense Fund, a global environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the systems upon which all life depends. In her role she ensures EDF’s ability to govern smartly and maintain institutional integrity in the US and abroad. Committed to nurturing the next generation of social impact leaders, Simone also teaches reflective non-profit management practices to students as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Prior to EDF, Simone was part of the founding staff Van Jones' social justice accelerator, Dream Corps. As the Chief Relationship Officer of a start-up, she learned what it meant to run an agile, nimble and resourceful organization. As a writer and public speaker, her work has appeared in Blavity, The Huffington Post, CNN, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Journal of Governmental Finance and Public Policy. Levo League, Policy Mic and Cosmopolitan Latina. And she has presented at the Princeton University L.E.A.D Summit, American Express, the Center For Non-Profit Management, New York University’s Social Enterprise Bootcamp, SoapBox Feminist Camp, The NYS Society of CPAs and the New Leaders Council. She’s also received numerous awards and fellowships including the University at Albany’s “30 Under 30” award, NYU Wagner’s IGNITE Fellowship, New Leaders Council Fellowship, Center For Women in Government Fellowship and participated in the George Washington Graduate School of Political Management Semester in Washington program. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Simone proudly serves as the governance chair of the Ms. Foundation Board of Directors and as an advisor to Be:More America.
Era is currently a Managing Director in Northern Trust's Greenwich Connecticut office.
A native of South Korea, Era migrated to the United States with her family when she was eleven years old. After completing her undergraduate studies in Economics at the University of Chicago, Era travelled abroad for several years before returning to New York City to begin her career in the financial sector nearly two decades ago. The firm she joined was Brundage Story & Rose LLC, a small investment counsel boutique that had been established at the turn of 20th century, as Wall Street began to regain its footing following the stock market crash. Era particularly enjoyed learning about the nuts and bolts of the stock market from the industry veterans who had witnessed much of the highs and lows of the economic history firsthand. At the height of the Tech Bubble, when corporate M&A mania was at its fever pitch levels, Brundage Story & Rose was acquired by Bessemer Trust, literally months before the bubble burst. Era recalls vividly the gloomy sentiments that pervaded The Street and the painful lesson the industry had to be taught in the devastating aftermath that followed the global stock market collapse. Unfortunately, it was a lesson that the industry was to relearn short eight years hence during the Credit Crisis. During her decade-long tenure at Bessemer Trust, Era enrolled in a part-time MBA program at NYU and completed the coursework in Finance and Economics. Era took leave of her post at Bessemer Trust to join as a senior managing director at a small multi-family office for a few years, then rejoined the Trust world in 2012 when she accepted her current position at Northern Trust.
Era enjoys classical music, traveling, and swimming, especially when she can do any combination or all of the above with her family. Era is truly passionate about teaching. She believes teaching to be one of the most demanding yet rewarding professions.
Era lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.