Becky Fawcett is the founder and president of Helpusadopt.org, an equality based organization that seeks to reduce the financial burden of adoption by awarding large, life-changing, problem-solving grants. After graduating from Franklin & Marshall College, Becky had a successful career in the magazine industry, first for Baltimore magazine, and then for Philadelphia magazine as the director of marketing. In 1999, she founded The Fawcett Group, a full-service public relations and marketing firm with offices in New York City and Philadelphia. Becky and her husband Kipp adopted their daughter, Jane, in 2005, and their second daughter, Brooke, in 2009. After adopting their first child, Becky and Kipp, were so grateful that they had the financial means to adopt that they decided to make a donation to an organization that would help ease another family’s financial burden. Sadly, they could not find an adoption grant organization that was based on a mission of equality. To address this need and help all types of families, they founded Helpusadopt.org in 2007. Under Becky's leadership, Helpusadopt.org has grown from a kitchen-table organization into a strong, national presence with a full time staff of four, board of twenty two, hundreds of volunteers, and thousands of donors. Helpusadopt.org has been featured on CNN, People.com, The Today Show and Good Morning America and in The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, O Magazine and Good Housekeeping for their groundbreaking work in the world of adoption. Becky lives in Manhattan with her husband Kipp and her children Jane and Brooke.
Kipp is a Managing Director in the investment banking group at Janney Montgomery Scott. Kipp originally joined Janney in 2004. Since then, he has worked in investment banking at Bear Stearns, Jeffries and Nomura, covering the specialty finance sector. He most recently was with Accordion Partners where he served as a strategic consultant to CFOs of middle market private equity-backed companies. Kipp rejoins the Firm with over 15 years of investment banking experience and has led and executed over 100 merger and capital markets transactions throughout his career. He specializes in financial institutions with a focus on the specialty finance sector.
Kipp earned his B.A. degree in finance from Franklin & Marshall College in 1993, his MBA from Villanova University in 1996 and completed his CFA degree in 1999. The decision to launch Helpusadopt.org was almost immediate once he realized what the average adoption costs are, how many couples struggle financially and how others go childless.
Glenn Hill is the proud father of three adopted children. He is also a Managing Director with J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s Global Fund Structuring Team where he focuses on structuring and funds management for private equity funds, real estate funds and hedge funds. Mr. Hill serves as President of J.P. Morgan Private Investments Inc., an SEC registered investment adviser that manages private client assets in J.P. Morgan multi-manager portfolios and feeder funds. Prior to joining the Private Bank in 2003, he worked for J.P. Morgan Partners and the J.P. Morgan Investment Bank, where he managed institutional private equity fundraisings for both internal and third-party fund managers. Mr. Hill received his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and B.S. in Advertising from Florida State University.
Kimberly has two decades of leadership and management experience in hedge fund and middle management operations. She was recruited for her current role to help strategize future goals and objectives. In this capacity, she ensures that operational functions run smoothly across all business units. Her career has spanned from positions in, Telecommunication and Information Systems Recruiter, Middle Office Analyst, Cash Management Supervisor, Head of Cash Management, to her current role as Head of Strategic Initiatives. Most recently, she was recruited to Co-Manage the Derivatives Operations team. Kimberly is also responsible for the creation and management of her firm’s undergraduate intern program. She has mentored over 120 undergrads through the program. Kimberly also created and is responsible for all content of her firm’s Women’s Initiative Network. Kimberly is a trusted senior management liaise, regarded as essential within the company’s infrastructure.
Michael Miller is a founder and Vice President of Miller Bros., an energy services firm based in Conshohocken, PA that constructs and maintains electrical substation, transmission and distribution systems as well as natural gas transmission and distribution systems. Miller Bros. is a resource for large investor owned utilities and private power facility owners of renewable energy wind, solar and battery storage systems. Michael is part of the founding team at Miller Bros. Solar, a National operations and maintenance provider to owners of solar generating facilities. Michael resides in Gladwyne, PA with his wife Jennifer and their two children. Michael spends as much time as possible raising, watching, laughing and learning with his family. Mike’s other interests include history, architecture and playing golf.
Seema Baranwal is a board-certified internal medicine physician and serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. She was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. Seema earned her M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School and completed her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Seema and her husband Ash are the proud parents of three children, one of whom was adopted from India in 2011. Seema enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, mentoring medical students, caring for patients, and giving back to her community. Seeing how adoption has built her wonderful family, Seema is passionate to help support and build as many loving families as possible.
Veronica M. Beard
Veronica Miele Beard was raised in northern New Jersey. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College and studied abroad in Florence, Italy. With a head for business and a heart for culture, she is inspired by myriad forms of art and has always enjoyed taking fashion risks. Her first job was on Wall Street in sales and trading. After a brief stint in the ‘90s working for Ron Galotti at Vogue, Veronica returned to the world of finance. She reached the pinnacle of her finance career when she helped Philippe Laffont launch Coatue Management, LLC, a premier technology hedge fund, where she was partner and COO. There she learned how to manage and organically build a business. Her quest to find and fill a void in the market led her to the fashion industry to create the perfect uniform for women; cool, sexy and chic. She believes in enhancing a woman’s personal strengths and features through her individual look. Veronica lives in Manhattan with her husband, Anson H. Beard, and their five children, Helaina, Scarlett, Anson Jr., India, and Matthew Rhett.
Jeff Dorschuck serves as the Vice President of Business and Professional Banking Regional Manager at M&T Bank where he has worked for over 16 years. Jeff was born and raised in Valley Stream, NY and is married to Danielle with whom he has a three month old named girl, Isabella Marie. He is a sports enthusiast being a big fan of the NY Mets, NY Jets, and Penn State football. He's an avid traveler who has visited over 36 countries and enjoys play golf on his downtime. Jeff is passionate about Helpusadopt.org's mission and is very excited to help more kids who are in need of a loving, permanent home.
Cara Kahn Fudemberg
Cara Kahn Fudemberg was born and raised outside of Boston Massachusetts. She attended Washington University in St. Louis where she was known for her wit, creativity, and style. After graduation, Cara joined the cast of MTV’s The Real World Chicago. Since then, she has worked as a stylist in top stores in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. In addition, she was a co host at a local entertainment TV show in Kansas City. Cara continues to offer personal styling and consulting as well as sharing fashion trends on local TV segments. She can also be found on QVC presenting fabulous footwear and accessories. Cara lives on the Main Line of Philadelphia with her husband Scott, their children Jack and Sloan, and their large lovable dog, Hank.
Kate Jenkins is the Global Head of Recruiting for the Product and Client businesses at BlackRock Asset Management. She joined Blackrock from JPMorgan Chase where she led recruiting for US Investment Management, Marketing and Global Operations for Asset Management. She was also responsible for the Staffing, Operations and Analytics. Kate has over 20 years of recruiting experience in financial services; she spent her earlier career with Morgan Stanley and Oak Hill Capital in New York. Kate earned a BA degree in Sociology from Gettysburg College in 2000. She is an active member of the Millbrook School alumni association. Kate resides in Montclair, NJ with her husband Brady and their two children.
Cooper Koch is the founder of Cooper Smith Agency, a Dallas-based PR and social media firm focused on the building materials, commercial real estate and construction industries. He is also the founder and publisher of He Said magazine — an online source of things to do, see, buy, enjoy, etc., all from a witty gay perspective — and storyteller on his blog Cooped Up and Facebook Live. In 2012, Cooper and his family, including husband, Todd, and their two (adopted) children, Claire and Mason, were featured in a national Father's Day marketing campaign for JCPenney that triggered a boycott from the "Million Moms" and worldwide news coverage of the first-of-its-kind ad. Cooper has been a vocal and financial supporter of Helpusadopt.org for many years, and has written about the organization's success for Huffington Post, dedicated his birthday as a fundraiser, and is always encouraging potential recipients to apply. Having adopted two children himself, Cooper knows firsthand how expensive it can be. Like Helpusadopt.org's founders, he refuses to believe that any person's inability to come up with a lump sum of $40,000 should in any way be a measure of their ability to be a fantastic parent to a child who needs a home.
Keith Lavitt is President of Super Enterprises, the regional wholesale distributor for the Marvin family of window and door products in lower NY, NJ, DE, eastern PA, GA and southern NC. Keith received his BS from Cornell University and his MBA from New York University. Keith is an active member of Vistage, an international CEO membership organization, and the Executive Council on Construction Supply. Keith resides in Long Island, NY with his wife Lisa and their two children, one of whom is adopted.
After a successful career in information technology consulting, Mike made a second career of giving back, paying it forward, and making community impact in VA, PA, and NYC through full-time community and nonprofit leadership, coaching and mentoring, and raising two sons while supporting his wife Jen’s successful career as a technology executive. Mike serves on several nonprofit Boards of Directors and several other nonprofit Committees, and coaches swimming and formerly baseball. Mike has been honored as a “Volunteer of the Year” and “Coach of the Year”. Mike became involved with Helpusadopt.org as an adoptee. He was adopted after his birth in 1969 by his parents through an adoption agency and foster family. His birth mother Diana was just 20, and his birth father, 24, had been killed in a drunk driving accident eight months before he was born. After college, he found Diana, and met his biological family on both sides. Mike says, "It has been an incredible experience of the miracle of life, timing and circumstance, and nature and nurture. I am blessed, fortunate, and grateful to have been conceived, born, and then adopted by my loving parents Patricia and Chuck; have a younger (also adopted) sister Michelle; have found my birth mother Diana; be happily married to Jen; be a Dad to two great sons, Ned and Eric; and be alive and well with terrific family and friends. Since meeting Helpusadopt.org Founder & President Becky Fawcett, I have served on Faces of Adoption Leadership Committees, and am honored and proud to serve on the Board of Directors."
Robert R. Nuzzo is the Chief Operating Officer for the Americas Fundamental Active Equities team at Blackrock Asset Management. In this role, he is responsible for helping to grow and manage the day to day operations of the business. Prior to this role, Robert spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs Investment Bank helping the firm build out into new businesses and restructure existing businesses. Robert received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. He was born in Brooklyn. Growing up with five siblings, and now having thirteen nieces and nephews, family is an important value to him. He and his husband Leif reside in the Union Square area of NY and are in the process of domestic adoption.
Greg is Executive Vice President for OrthoPediatrics, a company focused exclusively on commercializing surgical devices for children with orthopedic conditions. Greg has spent his entire 26 year career in the orthopedic device industry, serving in a number of capacities from sales and sales management to executive leadership. He was part of the team that helped launch OrthoPediatrics in 2007, and has been involved in several capital raises throughout the company’s history. OrthoPediatrics completed a successful IPO in October, 2017, and is traded under ticker symbol KIDS. Greg’s adoption story began in 2007, after years of trying to start a family, when he and his wife, Cindi, adopted Alexander at birth from Alexandria, Virginia. Three years later, they were blessed with Ryan, who was adopted at birth from Atlanta, Georgia. The Odle family currently lives in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Chad Punchard is the president of Comstar Supply, a national distributor of outside plant material for the broadband industry. A family-owned business, Comstar was founded by his father, Earl, 27 years ago. Chad has spent his entire 25-year career at the company serving in multiple positions, and spearheaded its growth as president since his father’s passing 12 years ago. A graduate of Gwynedd-Mercy University, Chad is an Ambassador of the Corporate Council and a member of the Board of Visitors for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Being an adoptee himself, Chad’s mission of finding loving homes for children in need is personal. Chad lives in Villanova, PA with wife Kelly and their three children.
Kim was born in South Korea and raised in Connecticut by an Italian-American family from the Bronx. She attended Boston University earning undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Advertising and earned her M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Kim is passionate about bridging digital innovation with the luxury retail experience and is currently the Director of Global Business Intelligence & Analytics for the Estée Lauder Companies. Prior to her current role, Kim spent a decade in the data and analytics consulting space implementing reporting tools, CRM systems and modern cloud-based platforms for clients such as Stuart Weitzman, Tiffany & Company and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Kim is a proud international adoptee and has prior volunteer work experience as a middle school mentor for adopted children, an adoptee panelist for families looking to adopt, and a member of the Young Leadership Committee all for Spence-Chapin, the adoption agency she was adopted through. The mission and inclusivity-driven aspect of Help Us Adopt resonates with her immensely and she eagerly looks to apply her expertise in data and analytics at the board level to serve this high growth organization. Kim resides in NJ with her husband, son and daughter.
Marilyn’s full-time and favorite job is being a mother. Having had her first child at 23 and then adopting her fourth 20 years later, she has a unique and evolving perspective on motherhood. Marilyn was born and raised in New York and attended the Pharmacy School at SUNY Buffalo. She married her high school sweetheart, Michael, at 22. They now live in San Diego where they own several successful restaurants. She is still working on raising her 17-year-old son, Max, who is finishing his senior year, and considers herself very lucky that her three grown children and two grandsons live nearby. Marilyn considers Max's adoption to be her greatest accomplishment. Knowing that she changed his life from uncertainty in a Russian orphanage to giving him every advantage that every child deserves has filled her heart and soul. The faces of the other orphans waiting for homes still haunts her 17 years later. Every child deserves a family and a home and she cannot think of a more meaningful way to share her resources and time than working with Helpusadopt.org.
Sindy was born in Guatemala and raised in Houston, TX. She graduated from the Stern School of Business at New York University, focusing on International Business. She has worked on the business side of fashion for 15 years, and is currently Head of Operations of TonyMoly USA, the US subsidiary of South Korean-beauty company TonyMoly. She is also an avid CrossFitter and weightlifter. Sindy believes that family is not always the unit we are born into, but who we choose to let into our lives. Adoption allows people the fortuity to provide and accept family that we may otherwise not have known. It is a priceless opportunity that should happen based on factors other than financial ability to meet up-front costs.
Jerry Slipakoff graduated from the University of Miami School of Business and joined the family owned steel company. After running the company for 10 years Jerry decided to leave the steel business to join a friend to grow his start up real estate investment / management company. Starting with 200 apartment units, the Galman Group has grown over the past 30 years and now owns and manages approximately 10,000 apartment units.
Karen Anisi Sperber
Karen grew up in Chicago and graduate from Loyola University of Chicago with a B.A in Finance. She began work immediately at The Northern Trust Chicago, as a Vice President. Karen was a Relationship Manager in the Trust Department for 16 years with clients nationwide including ERISA, Taft-Hartley and Insurance Pension Funds. Karen left Northern Trust to stay at home to care for her children full time. Having championed many efforts in her school district and beyond for the rights of children with disabilities she became fully committed to helping children. She also sits on another Board which raises scholarship money to send kids to camp who financially could not attend. Karen and her husband of 25 years, the Global Corporate Head of Mayer Brown, adopted their oldest son Jake, from Bulgaria 20 years ago. Two other children followed, Joseph now age 19 and Sophia now 16. Karen and her family live in a Northern Suburb of Chicago, Northbrook.
Mary Ann Bond
Mary Ann Bond recently retired from a long time career in healthcare and senior living marketing. Her last positions were Marketing Director for Princeton Windows and Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing at New Seasons Assisted Living. She and her husband Jeff (recently deceased) adopted their son Roman in 1994 from Russia. Roman is the light of her life and she wanted to give back. She was introduced to Helpusadopt.org three years ago through an existing donor and immediately joined the event committee for Faces of Adoption® Philadelphia, where she played an impactful role in sponsorship growth for the event. This year she served as event Co-chair for Faces of Adoption® Philadelphia. She is joining the Emeritus board of Helpusadopt.org to build more families and continue the work they started together in her husband’s memory.
Laura Fechter Klarman, Psy.D. received a B.A. in Psychology with Honors from the University of Michigan in 1991. She then completed a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Yeshiva University in New York City. Dr. Fechter Klarman has maintained a private practice in Manhattan for nearly nine years and ultimately resigned from administrative work in order to dedicate herself exclusively to her practice. Her clinical work with adults and couples focuses on a wide range of presenting problems including affective disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, and relationship issues. More recently she has expanded her clinical focus to include work on infertility and adoption related issues. She has done volunteer for RESOLVE, a national infertility organization for the past three and a half years and currently serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the NYC area. Her interest in adoption is personal in addition to professional, as she has built her family through adoption.
Jackie Cohen had a successful career on Wall Street that ultimately left her unfulfilled and burnt out. At age 35, she decided to make a change and quit her job to travel the world for a year before coming home to join her family’s growing business, Timeless Fine Jewelry. By 42, Jackie knew she wanted a family of her own and embarked on a journey that led her to the adoption of her beautiful daughter, Julia. Being a single mother and propelling her business into success keeps Jackie very busy, but she devotes her spare time to helping others through her work with HelpUsAdopt.org, an organization committed to providing financial support to families who have a desire to adopt.
Sarah Marshall is an advocate of Helpusadopt.org’s inclusive, non-discriminatory mission to support and grow loving families. Since earning her MBA at Wharton in 2000, Sarah has worked in private equity, primarily as a marketing agent and fundraiser for emerging firms in the US and Europe. A 1993 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Sarah served for five years as an acquisitions officer on the avionics program for the B-2 aircraft. She and her husband Brad live near Philadelphia. Sarah is dedicated to her three children and involved with numerous efforts to support the arts in Philadelphia.
Sutton Foster led Darren Star’s hit TV Land series, Younger for seven seasons and can now be seen in her highly-anticipated Broadway return as Marian in the revival of The Music Man, opposite Hugh Jackman.
The award-winning actress has also appeared on Broadway in Violet, Anything Goes (Tony Award), Shrek, Young Frankenstein, The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Women, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award), Les Misérables, Annie, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Grease. Off-Broadway, she has been seen in Sweet Charity (The Pershing Square Signature Center), The Wild Party (City Center Encores!), Trust (Second Stage), and Anyone Can Whistle (City Center Encores!).
She has toured all over the country with her solo albums, which include Take Me to the World, Wish and An Evening with Sutton Foster: Live at the Café Carlyle. Additionally, she has also appeared on television in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Bunheads, Elementary, Psych, Royal Pains, Law & Order: SVU, Flight of the Conchords and Sesame Street. She holds an honorary doctorate from Ball State University, where she also teaches.
In 2017, Foster and her husband adopted their daughter. She currently splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles.
Foster was Helpusadopt.org's Spring 2021 Voice of Adoption® Award recipient.
Leslie Grossman’s breakout role was as the spoiled rich girl “Mary Cherry” on the WB’s Popular. She followed that up with four years on the WB series What I Like About You. She also appeared in Murphy’s film Running With Scissors, as well as his series The New Normal and Nip/Tuck, and reunited for the hit FX anthology show American Horror Story: Cult as scene-stealer “Meadow Wilton.” She rejoined the AHS cast on Apocalypse as the equally entertaining “Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Grossman always secretly wanted to be an actress, although she never really expected it to happen. Her initial foray into showbiz was as a director of one-act plays in a festival at Crossroads School, a performing arts high school in Los Angeles. She switched gears from director to actress during her senior year at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Grossman starred in a theatre production of Cereal! which was so successful that it made a one-year run off-Broadway. Subsequently, the play made its way to Los Angeles at the Hudson Theater.
Grossman’s numerous television credits include guest appearances on Black-ish, Fuller House, Love, The Good Place, Speechless, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, 2 Broke Girls, Modern Family, Major Crimes, Whitney, CSI, Scandal, Dexter, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Grossman was drawn to Helpusadopt.org because she is not only an adoptee but also a mom by adoption. When not working, Grossman enjoys spending time with family and friends, shopping, and going to the movies.
Fran Hauser is President of Digital for Time Inc.’s Style and Entertainment Group. In her role, she oversees PEOPLE.com, the most visited site in the publishing industry, as well as EW.com, InStyle.com and others. These sites reach over 38 million unique visitors each month and generate more than one billion page views. Hauser is also responsible for the mobile and tablet strategy for these brands including the launch of over 20 consumer products, reaching more than 4 million users, available on the mobile web or as applications.
Hauser has been in the digital media space for 14 years and played an integral role in the $400 million sale of Moviefone to AOL. Earlier in her career, she held positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Coca-Cola Enterprises.
In 2011, Hauser was named to the FOLIO: 40, a list of the most distinguished magazine and media professionals from every corner of the industry. Two years earlier, she was named one of Ad Age’s “Women to Watch”, a list of the “30 marketers, media sellers and agency executives to keep your eye on today.” She was also inducted into Media Industry Newsletter’s (MIN) Digital Hall of Fame in May 2008.
Hauser is an active philanthropist, serving on the Board of Directors of GlobalGiving and ZenCare and on the Advisory Board of Helpusadopt. She is also a co-founder of GlobalGiving’s New York Leadership Council and funder of projects relating to global women’s issues including Half the Sky (the documentary and multi-platform initiative).
Hauser is also an angel investor in technology and fashion startups and serves on their advisory boards. She resides in Manhattan with her husband and two sons.
QVC Program Host
Kerstin Lindquist joined QVC as a program host in 2011. A native of Southern California, she's used to being on the move. After graduating Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Kerstin spent nine years working in broadcast journalism, including positions in Las Vegas and San Diego, before returning to the Keystone State as a QVC program host in West Chester. Along the way, Kerstin won four local Emmy® awards and was seen on NBC's hit drama The West Wing.
Kerstin and her husband, Dan, are kept very busy by their two beautiful daughters Georgia and Grace—who are just five months apart in age. (Yes, you read that right!) An active mom, Kerstin juggles family and work responsibilities along with her passionate commitment to spreading the word about infertility and adoption issues. She loves exercise and fitness, especially anything that gets her outside. Her idea of a perfect day is heading out to the beach—or even better, a boat—with Dan and her girls for some fun in the sun!
News Anchor, "Today" and "Access Hollywood"
Natalie Morales is the news anchor of NBC News’ “Today” and the co-host of the third hour, a position she has held since March 2006. Prior to her role as news anchor, Morales served as “Today” national correspondent from February 2006 to June 2011. Morales has also reported for all NBC News platforms including “NBC Nightly News,” Dateline NBC,” and MSNBC.
While working for NBC News, Morales has reported on and contributed to several major breaking news stories. As a part of TODAY’s ‘Shine a Light’ Campaign in 2014, Morales ran in and raised over $70,000 for victims of the Boston Marathon. Morales was a member of the “Rock Center with Brian Williams” team who won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for their lobster divers story in June of 2013. Twice Morales flew to London for major coverage of the Royal Family, both in 2013 and 2011, where she reported on the birth of Prince George and the Royal Wedding, respectively. In October 2010, Morales live-translated and reported on the Chilean miner rescue—coverage that was seen worldwide and recognized with a 2010 National Headliner Award. Her other notable reports include the 2009 presidential inauguration; the Southern California wildfires; the Minneapolis bridge collapse; Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy; the 2004 Tsunami; the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Francis.. In 2010, 2011, and 2012 she was awarded a Daytime Emmy award as part of “Today’s” recognition as the best morning news program. Morales was also honored with the 2013 Gracie Award for Outstanding Series for her Dateline series, My Kid Would Never.
Morales was an integral part of the network’s coverage of the 2010 and 2006 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Torino and the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Games in Athens, Beijing, and London. In August 2008, Morales had the exclusive, news-making interview with the infamous “Clark Rockefeller” interviewing him from Suffolk County Jail in Boston. Morales has also landed exclusive celebrity interviews with Angelina Jolie, when she revealed she was having twins, and Kelly Preston, in her first television interview after the birth of her and John Travolta’s son, Benjamin. Additionally, “Hispanic Magazine” named her one of the “Top Hispanics to Watch” in 2005 and one of the “Top Trendsetters” of 2003.
Morales, who speaks Spanish and Portuguese, was born in Taiwan and spent much of the first 18 years of her life living overseas in Panama, Brazil and Spain as an Air Force “brat.” She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University, New Jersey, with dual majors in journalism and Latin American studies. Morales was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and two sons.
Academy Award® nominee Nia Vardalos wrote and starred in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the number one romantic comedy of all time. The film garnered multiple nominations and awards that distinguished Vardalos as a writer and an actress, including Writers Guild, Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critic, Golden Globe nominations and an Independent Spirit Award win. Vardalos was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay and went on to write, star and produce “Connie and Carla”, star in “My Life in Ruins” and reunite on-screen with her “Greek” co-star John Corbett in the indie, “I Hate Valentine's Day,” which she also directed. She has guest-starred on numerous television shows, including "Cougar Town," “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Drop Dead Diva,” and has hosted “Saturday Night Live”.
Most recently, Vardalos co-wrote the film “Larry Crowne" with Tom Hanks; who directed, produced and starred in it along with Julia Roberts. Vardalos will next be seen in Spring 2012, in "American Girl," playing her first role as a mom. Next up is “Happy Mother’s Day,” for Walden Media -- a comedy that centers on four harried moms who escape the humdrum of the suburbs by setting off on a road trip on Mother’s Day. The film, which Vardalos wrote and will star in, is set for a 2012 release.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Vardalos attended Toronto's Ryerson Theater School. She worked in the box office of The Second City, and stayed to watch the show every night. When an actress fell ill fifteen minutes before curtain, Vardalos convinced producers she knew the show and to let her on. She was hired the next day. She became a performer/writer in twelve revues for Second City in Toronto and Chicago.
Nia Vardalos and her husband, actor Ian Gomez of ABC's "Cougar Town," were matched via American Foster Care, with their daughter when she was three years old. Nia is a spokesperson for National Adoption Day and an advocate for children and adoption. Recently, she was honored with the 2011 Angels In Adoption award.
Dr. Zibners is a board certified pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine specialist, as well as the award-winning author of If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay (Hachette, 2009). She is also the mostly-proud mother of 3 young children, two of whom are adopted.
Dr. Zibners attended the University of California, San Diego, followed by medical school at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She then completed both a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Nationwide Childrens Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. While an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, she met her future husband, Gernot Lohr. After relocating to the United Kingdom in 2006, Dr. Zibners pursued both a writing career and also one in academic medicine. She has appeared on The Rachael Ray Show, Fox News, and multiple radio broadcasts. Her print appearances include Parenting Magazine, Men’s Health and multiple online articles and is currently a regular guest at Shot of Prevention.com. She is currently an Honorary Consultant in paediatric emergency medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, as well as a nonclinical instructor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
After marriage, the Lohrs began pursuing parenthood. Fast-forward through multiple failed attempts at IVF and they welcomed two daughters in a span of 3 months. While one was born via surrogate, the other was a non-related adoption. Fervent supporters of adoption (and frankly any which way toward parenting a person might choose), they also recently adopted a son.
Attorney, DLA PIPER US LLP
Helpusadopt.org is represented by Matthew F. Gorra, an attorney at DLA PIPER US LLP in Baltimore, MD.
Mr. Gorra is a corporate transactional attorney with extensive experience advising clients on merger and acquisition, venture capital and securities transactions, as well as general corporate matters. He is also experienced in forming and managing the growth of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entities. Mr. Gorra holds a B.A. from Middlebury College (1994) and received his J.D. from Cornell Law School (1999).