About Us

Meet the Board

Michael Wilkerson

Chairman

Michael Wilkerson is Founder and Managing Partner of Ancêtre Group, a merchant-banking firm focused on private equity investment and financial advisory services. Ancêtre Group invests as principal and on behalf of third-parties and provides advice to shareholders, management teams and boards on a variety of financial and strategic matters including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, capital policy and valuation.

Previously, Mr. Wilkerson served as Co-Head of the Global Consumer, Food & Retail Group and as Managing Director in the Financial Institutions Group at Lazard Frères & Co., one of the world's preeminent financial advisory and asset management firms. Mr. Wilkerson was also Managing Director in the Financial Institutions M&A Group at Citigroup Global Markets.

Mr. Wilkerson was named as one of the "40 under 40" in investment banking and private equity by Dealmaker magazine. Mr. Wilkerson previously served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Geneva School of Manhattan and was a Corporate Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Mr. Wilkerson holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a M.A. from Yale University and a B.S. summa cum laude from Oral Roberts University.

Brant Cryder

Brant Cryder is the President of Yves Saint Laurent North America. Before rejoining the Gucci Group in his current role, Brant spent the past 12 years with the Prada Group following his time at both Saks Fifth Avenue and Armani. He has four wonderful children: Ellie, Baylor, Hudson and Beckett with his lovely wife Mary. He studied Business and Communications at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Brant is also a distinguished DJ who has played at major parties, events and fashion shows in Bali, Italy, LA and NYC. He has appeared at numerous speaking engagements in relation to the fashion industry including CCC Manhattan and Paradox. Cryder has a very strong heart to encourage, motivate and lead people into an increased understanding of their call, identity and destiny.

Brook Hazelton

Secretary

Brook Hazelton is a private investor and co-founder of St James Partners, a corporate advisory and investment business. From 2004 to 2008, he was the managing partner and minority owner of Phillips de Pury & Company, a high-growth contemporary art auction house. Previously, he spent five years working internationally with Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group. He began his career with James D. Wolfensohn Inc. Mr. Hazelton is married with two young children. He is an honors graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School.

Chi-Hua Chien

Chi-Hua Chien is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Goodwater Capital. Before co-founding Goodwater, Chi-Hua was a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he focused on investments in consumer technology. Chi-Hua serves on the Board of Directors of Path, Lithium (aka Klout), Zaarly, Chill, Level Money and Zumper. He's also a venture capitalist who invested in Chegg, Inspirato, Karma Science (acquired by FB), Spotify and Twitter. Chi-Hua fell in love with startups at Stanford University, where he earned a BS in Industrial Engineering, a BA in Economics, an MS in Industrial Engineering and an MBA.

Gian-Carlo Ochoa, Ph.D.

Treasurer

Dr. Ochoa is private investor and financial advisor with over ten years investment advisory experience in public and private investments. He most recently worked with Fortress Investment Group advising them on distressed debt investments. Prior he was a senior analyst and assistant portfolio manager for Aslan Advisors a global investment firm that invested in long and short-term investments in public and private debt and equities. He has also acts as a consultant for Andre Meyer Ventures (AMV) a venture capital group, helping them develop their web based online trading platform. Prior to joining Aslan he was a senior healthcare analyst at P.S.D Capital Advisors and an analyst at S.A.C. Capital. Dr. Ochoa started his investment advisory career as a associate biotech analyst at UBS. He received a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Yale University, a M.S. in Biochemistry from University California at San Francisco and his B.A. in Psychobiology from New York University. His scientific findings are published in a number of top health care journals including twice in the prestigious Science Magazine. Gian-Carlo and his wife Grazia Sorice Ochoa live in Bronxville, New York with their son Alessandro Elia Ochoa and daughter Carolina Emmanuelle Ochoa.

Gordon Pennington

Pennington is the Managing Director of Burning Media Group. He is a marketing communications consultant and strategic planning advisor to organizations, corporations and government groups internationally. Pennington served as the Director of Marketing for clothing giant Tommy Hilfiger and has served clients that include Chase Manhattan Bank, J.P. Morgan, Apple Computer, British Airways, CBS, The Coca-Cola Company, Equinox Fitness and Rollerblade. He is currently a Scholar in Residence for the UBS think tank at Wolfsberg in Switzerland.

Shannon Sedgwick Davis

Shannon Sedgwick Davis is CEO of the Bridgeway Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Bridgeway Capital Management, Inc. An attorney, Shannon is a passionate advocate for social justice and International human rights. She is a well-known strategist engaged in promoting peace and ending human atrocities across our globe.

Shannon is a recipient of The Spirit of McMurry Award, given annually to one outstanding alumni, as well as Baylor Law School's 2011 Young Lawyer of the Year award. Shannon's work has been featured a number of times on radio, television and through print media.

Shannon previously served as Vice-President of Geneva Global and Director of Public Affairs at International Justice Mission. She is currently a board member of several organizations within the US and abroad including The Elders, Humanity United and Toms Shoes.

Scott Harrison

Harrison graduated from New York University in 1998 with a B.A. in Communications. After a 10-year foray into special event planning and promotions, he began a small upscale event planning and nightclub consultancy. His clients included MTV, VH1, ABC, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Xbox (Microsoft), Universal Records, RCA, Island Records, Dunkin Donuts, Bacardi USA, Nike, Anheuser-Busch and more. In August 2004, he left the event business to serve for a year as a volunteer photojournalist onboard the Mercy Ship Anastasis in impoverished Liberia, West Africa. In September 2005, returning home to NYC, he tested the idea behind charity: water by producing a large exhibition of his photographs and videos called Mercy. Despite opening in the midst of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Harrison's Mercy show was a success. Visitors contributed more than $96,000 towards providing medical procedures and freshwater wells in West Africa. Harrison returned to West Africa for another 6 month journey in October 2005, before returning to Manhattan in the spring of 2006 to found charity: water.

Valerie Donati

Donati founded Brand Building Communications in January 2007 in New York City and launched her Los Angeles arm in 2008. In addition to pioneering an award winning digital WOM practice, Donati created a community-based online lifestyle news platform, 24/Savvy, in 2010. She is married to Simon McIntyre and serves with him as a Global Executive team member of C3 International, the overseer of the C3 European regional churches and the co-pastor of C3London, a local church based in Fulham.