Our Team

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MICHAEL ROSSATO-BENNETT

(Executive DirectorMichael Rossato-Bennett is the Writer, Director, and Producer of ALIVE INSIDE – winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for U.S. Documentary – and Founder/ Director of The Alive Inside Foundation - www.AliveInside.org   An Architect of Change, he works to heal our disconnections. He believes we are in a time where great human change is possible. His films aspire to help us navigate that change in the community. In addition to ALIVE INSIDE, Rossato-Bennett is in mid-production on "Alive Inside 2," "Being Here” “Movement of Freedom” and several other documentaries.  At the Alive Inside Space in New York City, he produces new tech designed to increase human connection and reduce loneliness.

Here is Michael's TED Talk, explaining the journey of making, "Alive Inside."

 

BERNADETTE GONZALEZ ORTA

 

(Higher Education Director) Bernadette González Orta is a Certified Clinical Psychologist, Private Psychotherapist, and Psychoanalyst. She teaches Psychology at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.  She plays piano and comes from a musical family (her grandfather was an orchestra conductor, writer, and composer).  

She has written and presented on music’s link to psychology: “Psychology Foundation of Music,” “Between Music and Psychoanalysis”, “The power of Music: Intimidation vs Intimacy”.  She is the force behind the “Inspired by ALIVE INSIDE“ international expansion and universities. Presently, she is working with UIA psychology students and staff on a large scale pilot program improving elder‘s quality of life and changing young people’s paradigm in regard to old age and human connections. She is a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), the Psychoanalytic Federation of Latin America (FEPAL), and the Freudian Psychoanalytic Society in México City (SFCM).

 

WAYNE MESKER

 

(Director of Creative Advocacy) Wayne, a life-long musician & music lover, is the C.E.O. and Founder of Worldstock Entertainment, a spiritually guided, socially conscious, philanthropically focused company based in Cleveland, Ohio. Wayne’s continuous search for caring / concerned & like-minded friends from all walks of life has resulted in a continually expanding global network resulting in amazing projects & connections. Wayne founded the Rock Against Dementia and became one of the lead producers for WRAD (World Rocks against Dementia) after seeing 'Alive Inside' at the Cleveland International Film Festival in March of 2014.

 

AMANDA THURLOW

 

(Director of Social Media and Volunteer Outreach) Amanda is based in Canada where she is working diligently on spreading the word. Amanda became a licensed Holistic Practitioner 15 years ago and segued her way into elder care, working with senior citizens in a retirement home setting. Her passion is working with our elder community and is a compassionate advocate for their care.  On a personal level, music has been the cornerstone of her life.  Several years ago she attended the Harris Institute for the Arts in Toronto, Ontario where she took their Arts Management Program. Becoming a part of the Alive Inside Foundation, seemed natural to her, as she has a deep desire to improve the quality of life of our beloved and sometimes vulnerable members of our community.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

ROBERT LEON

 

Robert is the Chairman of the board of AIF.  Robert oversees the strategy, finance, and operations of AIF

As Senior Vice President of Structure Tone’s Global Services, Rob is responsible for the management of top national accounts and international client relationships. Rob also acts as a brand manager by coordinating the market strategy for Global Services and provides leadership, not only among sectors but across geographic regions to bring the global strength of Structure Tone together with local experience to each client and project in the United States and abroad.

Rob introduced green building to Structure Tone, launching the firm’s industry-leading sustainability program. He also paved the way to solidify a partnership with Delos, founder of the WELL Building Standard. Combining individual health and well-being with environmental sustainability, the WELL Building Standard focuses on human sustainability within a space. Rob’s strategic planning helped Structure Tone’s New York headquarters become the first WELL Certified project in the city.

Rob was co-chair of the Construction Committee for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn’s Green Codes Task Force to help green the laws and regulations that govern construction in the city. As co-chair of the committee, Rob worked with other industry professionals to review the city’s construction codes and identify impediments to green building and propose additions that will encourage green practices in the marketplace.

Rob is an engaged leader, both within Structure Tone and in the community. To help cultivate Structure Tone’s next generation of thought leaders, Rob established the firm’s Emerging Leaders program giving future leaders the opportunity to see deeper into the culture of the organization, participate in workshops for their development as managers and initiate evolution and change within the organization and the wider industry.

Outside of Structure Tone, Rob was a founding member of the Fifth Street Farm. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to creating a rooftop farm and providing a living classroom for teaching science, math and humanities. This organization gives students and teachers the opportunity to integrate urban agriculture and sustainability into the classroom, offering hands-on education in food awareness and environmental sustainability.

 

FRAN PANNELLA

Fran Pannella has worked for almost 20 years in geriatric nursing, eldercare, advocacy and dementia education.  She is passionate about the idea that there can still be Joy in Life after a diagnosis of dementia and is dedicated to finding and sharing positive ways to support elders & their families on this Journey. 

Fran is the Director of the Alzheimer's Respite Care Program at Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey and PRIOR Associate Director at Alzheimer's Association Greater NJ Chapter.

Fran is dedicated to spreading the mission of the Alive Inside Foundation and is currently working an Alive Inspired "Connection through Music" program for the respite recipients she serves.   She is a Certified Dementia Care Practitioner, ASFA – Senior Personal Trainer & LTC Fitness Leader and Brain Fitness Facilitator. She developed Movement~Music~Memories, a specialized exercise program for individuals with dementia. 

 

ERIC J. BERTRAND

 

Eric is the CEO of Eyeball Digital and a Partner of Eyeball (www.eyeballnyc.com). Eric's focus at Eyeball has been on strategy, finance, and operations as well as launching the digital advertising group.

Prior to eyeball, Eric was a PE/VC fund manager. In 2005, he founded and managed EJB Capital, a strategic advisory firm, which Greystone & Company hired in 2007 to lead their private equity effort. Prior to founding EJB Capital, Eric was a General Partner with Palisade Capital Management, where he jointly managed a private equity fund and venture capital funds. Eric began his private equity career with the Aetna's Private Equity Group.

Eric holds an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Studies from New York University. He graduated from Bryant University with a BS in Business Administration concentrating on Finance and Applied Actuarial Mathematics. Eric is a board member of several privately held companies as well as Unite For Sight, an international eye care related charity. Eric currently sits on the Bryant University Business School Board of Advisors, as well as the National Alumni Council. In addition, Eric is a mentor and judge for the annual New York University, Springboard, Junior Achievement, and Bryant University Business Plan Competitions.

 

J. CRAIG OXFORD

 

J. Craig Oxford is an entrepreneur, after finding success in the commercial trucking industry he founded High Emotion Audio Labs® and High Emotion Audio®. He has been issued more than 50 patents and trademarks in such fields as loudspeaker design, audio signal processing, geographically-correlated social networking, dielectric encoding, counterfeit detection, radiation shielding, and anti-microbial compounds for wound healing. Craig has more than 30 years of multi-industry experience, including operating responsibility for companies in audio technology, technology licensing and machine manufacturing.

Craig and his team are devoted to improving the lives of the elderly, especially those with memory and hearing loss, and music lovers of all ages through the synthesis of perceptual psychology, neuroscience, electroacoustics, and music. Craig is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a BA in Psychology; The American Graduate School of International Management with a Master of International Management; and the Owner-President Management program at Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

He also completed the Executive Program for Smaller Businesses at Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Medical Imaging Infrastructure program at MIT. Craig’s success in divergent industries stems from an ability to correlate insights across seemingly unrelated fields.

 

KENNEDY GACHIRI

 

Kennedy Gachiri is the creator of SuperstarAgenda. Superstar Agenda is a media platform devoted to showcasing individuals who are having a transformative impact in their communities and social systems by expressing their creativity through art or some form of entrepreneurship. 

In a previous life, Kennedy did time as a management consultant, corporate lawyer, and investment banker. He holds degrees from Yale Law School, The Wharton School, and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing. Kennedy is fluent in Swahili and French; and in his free time, he plays the alto saxophone.

MICHAEL P. MAHER

 

Senior Director for Synergy Leadership Consulting, responsible for managing key strategic accounts and developing new technology clients.


RICK NASH

 

Rick spent the first half of his working life developing services for Health Boards in the UK and Australia. He introduced the development of 'non-hierarchical' residential support services where budgets and 'staff' were based on need, not 'seniority.' Since 1999 Rick has been involved in social entrepreneur efforts such as fleet management for the Not For Profit sector, medical support devices, and Memorez
Rick lives in a beautiful part of Australia with his wife, 2 teenage sons, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and numerous goldfish.

BERNADETTE GONZALEZ ORTA

 

(Higher Education Director) Bernadette González Orta is a Certified Clinical Psychologist, Private Psychotherapist, and Psychoanalyst. She teaches Psychology at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.  She plays piano and comes from a musical family (her grandfather was an orchestra conductor, writer, and composer). She has written and presented on music’s link to psychology: “Psychology Foundation of Music,” “Between Music and Psychoanalysis”, “The power of Music: Intimidation vs Intimacy”.  

She is the force behind the “Inspired by ALIVE INSIDE“ international expansion and universities. Presently, she is working with UIA psychology students and staff on a large scale pilot program improving elder‘s quality of life and changing young people’s paradigm in regard to old age and human connections.

She is a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), the Psychoanalytic Federation of Latin America (FEPAL), and the Freudian Psychoanalytic Society in México City (SFCM).


ADVISORY BOARD
 

DR. BILL THOMAS, MD

Dr. Bill Thomas is an author, entrepreneur, musician, teacher, farmer, and physician whose wide-ranging work explores the terrain of human aging. Best known for his health care system innovations, he is the founder of a global non-profit (The Eden Alternative) which works to improve the care provided to older people. He is the creator of The Green House® which Provider Magazine has called the “pinnacle of culture change.” Dr. Thomas also developed the Senior ER model of care and is now working to transform the acute care services provided to elders.
He is the author of “Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life”, and has now embarked on a national tour to reimagine how Americans will approach aging in the 21st century. His synthesis of imagination and action led the Wall Street Journal to highlight Dr. Thomas as one of the nation’s “top 10 innovators” changing the future of retirement in America and US News and World Report to name him as one of “America’s best leaders.”

 

ROBIN GLAZER

Robin Glazer is the Director of The Creative Center at University Settlement. Together with founders Geraldine Herbert and Adrianne Assail, Robin helped bring the idea that "medicine cures the body, but art heals the spirit" to fruition. Currently, The Creative Center offers a variety of programs including Hospital Artists-In-Residence, an Arts Workshop Program, a gallery site featuring the artwork of professional artists living with illness and a training program for artists and administrators.
Since 2006, Robin has been the director of The Creative Center and has broadened the scope of art services to include the aging spectrum- from well older adults to the frail elderly living with dementia disorders. In 2011, Robin initiated a merger with the University Settlement- the oldest settlement house in the US which provides social services and cultural experiences to New York City's underserved populations including new and recent immigrants- enabling The Creative Center to bring creative art experiences to vulnerable populations including older adults living with dementia disorders. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts, a consistent funder of training for artists and administrators in the fields of arts in health and in creative aging, selected The Creative Center as a "Best Practice Site". The Creative Center is delighted to be a two-time recipient of LIVESTRONG's Community Impact Project which has replicated the Artist-In-Residence Program in 22 hospitals across the US.

 

SAMITE MOLUNDO

The world-renowned musician Samite was born and raised in Uganda, where he is one of East Africa's most acclaimed flutists. He performed frequently throughout Uganda until 1982, when he was forced to flee to Kenya as a political refugee. In 1987, Samite immigrated to the United States. Samite has released nine CDs internationally and composed film scores. In 2002, he founded Musicians for World Harmony, an organization dedicated to enabling musicians throughout the world to share their music to promote peace, understanding, and harmony among people. In that capacity, he travels to sing, play music, and exchange stories with victims of war, poverty and HIV/AIDS. He has traveled extensively the war-torn and distressed countries of Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Latvia, Liberia, and Cote d'Ivoire to work in refugee camps, with former child soldiers and AIDS orphans.

 

DR. LINDA GERDNER

Dr. Gerdner Ph.D., RN, FAAN of Stanford University School of Medicine was the first to develop and test the use of individualized music for the non-pharmacological management of agitation in persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The protocol has been tested by researchers and implemented by clinicians in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, France, Norway,  South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. Dr. Gerdner’s evidence-based guideline was originally published in 1996 and is in its 5th edition. Dr. Gerdner lectures on music and dementia worldwide.

LEAH BISIANI

Leah Bisiani – MHlthSc/Dip Bus/Dementia Consultant/RN.1 has over 30 years’ experience within aged /dementia specific care, Leah has a passionate dedication towards Best Practice, researching and utilizing progressive and innovative approaches to obtain the highest possible quality of life for people living with dementia. She distributes and publishes her evidence-based research and articles, in medical journals, the aged care sector, and community. Leah has successfully demonstrated how creating environments in which persons with dementia continue to thrive, enables the continuation of life-based on recognition of the person, by valuing individual preference and choices. Leah won the 2010/11 Lend Lease ‘Australian’, and then ‘Global’, Award for “Excellence in Innovation” for her person-centered and behavior management models of care, designed for people living with dementia.  As per the words of Gandhi, Leah believes: “Be the Change You Want to See in the World.” 

 

AND

LUZ DIMARCO

DR. LOUISE ARONSON

DR. FRED W. SCHAERF

ANGEL DUNCAN

RICHARD B. HECHLER

JENNIFER WOOD

DR. NANCY DOME


 

ARTIST ADVISORY BOARD

Glenn Hughes - Deep Purple

Rudy Sarzo - Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, etc.

Robert Sarzo - Hurricane

The Lumineers

Marcy Playground

Train

The Jerry Garcia Foundation

Spirit of Harmony Foundation

Jon Butcher

DILANA

Brother Trouble

Ira Dean - Trick Pony

Susan Michelson - Dick Wagner Memorial Foundation

Raymond Van Tassel - Rock Photographer

Greg Errico - Sly and the Family Stone

Mike Pinera - Blues Image

Val Halla

Dayna Jade

Sophia Radisch / Debby Giroux

Mindy Canter

Alexxis Steele - Steel Notes Magazine

Corky Byer - DJ/Promoter

Sandy Gennaro - Monkees, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Jett

Buffy Ford Stewart

Birdee Bow

Billy Wright

Rodney O'Quinn

Rich Granaas

Gerry Gallagher

Bruce Wall

Ann Silberman

Robbi Cohn - Photographer - Grateful Dead

James Crouch

Ann Angel - Author

Lucinda Rowe and Michael Connolly - National Recording Artists

Heidi Little - Musician/Activist

Xeno Rasumusson - Musician/Gerontologist

Paris Escovedo - Latin Jazz Musician

Lisa S. Johnson - Author/Photographer

Ali Handal

Joe Silva

Marc Rubinstein - Pig Light Show

Roberta Donnay

Kenny Roland

Joe Davis - Joe Davis Band

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