Retired, University at Buffalo Law School
Carole Smith Petro, Ph.D.
Retired, University at Buffalo
Executive Vice President of Global Supply Chain and Technology, Rich Products Corporation
Associate, Corporate and Business Law Practice, Hodgson Russ
Assistant Professor Dept. Educational Policy and Leadership, University at Buffalo
Owner, Knowles Solutions
Christine Brown, DO
Physician, Delaware Pediatric Associates
Owner, Global Villages
Anne is Executive Director of Girls Education Collaborative. Public affairs and education have always been at the heart of her career. She served as the President of the Board for the East Aurora School District and helped launch Enterprise Charter School in Buffalo, New York. She has lobbied on Capitol Hill for public education and has served as a Trustee for the Buffalo Seminary, an all-girls secondary school. She was Campaign Director for Alice Kryzan for Congress in 2008.
After earning an Executive Masters of Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, she took a deliberate ‘pivot’ into the newly emerging field of global girls education. She spent some time serving as Executive Director of the Kakenya Center for Excellence, a girls school in Kenya, before founding Girls Education Collaborative in 2011.
She has a Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin College and describes herself as “a Buffalo gal who is passionate about things that happen both here and beyond”. She has three grown children and a delightful grandson. She enjoys canoe tripping (except during thunder storms), kayaking, hiking, reading, doing new things and dancing with her husband.
Bob Berger, Board Chair, is an emeritus professor at the University at Buffalo Law School. His research and teaching interests for the past 20 years have been in the area of environment and development, focusing most recently on renewable energy and climate change. Bob also directed the environment and development legal clinic in which he and students worked with non-profits and local governments on a number of projects in the domestic and international context. He has been an active participant or board member for many local and regional organizations focusing on renewable energy and climate change concerns.
Bob has a BA degree from Kenyon College and a JD from the University of Chicago. He has traveled throughout the world and recently spent three weeks in Tanzania, the highlight of which was a visit to the Kitenga school site.
Bob is excited to be a member of the GEC Board because he knows “that girls education is crucial to developing a sustainable world”. He believes GEC’s support for green projects incorporating renewable energy, “Can be an important model of how to successfully meld international educational and environmental priorities.”
Carole Smith Petro is a founding member and Chair Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Girls Education Collaborative. Other current volunteer roles include service as a member of the Alison DesForges Memorial Committee, dedicated to promoting Alison’s human rights legacy; as a representative of the Darwin D. Martin House Corporation on the Board of Directors of the Frank Lloyd Wright Fontana Boathouse; and as a member of Buffalo Sunrise Rotary.
Carole’s career as a senior administrator at the University at Buffalo spanned more than 35 years, until her retirement two years ago. Among her roles at UB were Chief of Staff to President Steven B. Sample, Associate Vice President for University Communications, General Manager of WBFO, and Associate Dean of the Collegiate System. She also taught in UB’s Graduate School of Education as an adjunct faculty member.
Carole holds a Certificate in Educational Management from Harvard University, a Ph. D. and M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University at Buffalo, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Chatham University. Her professional and personal travels have taken her to five continents, most recently to visit the partners of the Girls Education Collaborative in northwestern Tanzania. She is the mother of three daughters and a grandmother of nine.
“The work of the Girls Education Collaborative has been both inspiring and invigorating, and we welcome all to join us in advancing the human rights of girls wherever they need our support,” Smith said.
Georgia Dachille, Board Vice Chair, is the Executive Vice President of Global Growth and Technology at Rich Products Corporation. In the 27 years Georgia has worked at Rich’s, she has held various positions across the business. In her current role, she leads Rich’s innovation efforts including oversight of R&D, global marketing and strategic growth initiatives. Prior to working at Rich’s, Georgia worked at Ernst & Young as a senior auditor.
She is a graduate of Canisius College where she received both a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and her Master of Business Administration degree.
Georgia is excited to join the GEC board and said, “I’m a big believer in education as a means to lift people from poverty and allow the world to benefit from the talents of people who do not have the opportunity to pursue education to the degree they would like.” She said that “this is especially true for girls in many developing countries who do not receive formal schooling or only receive schooling for a few years at a young age,” and that knowledge provides her with even more motivation to make a difference.
Louise is originally from Rwanda but has found a new home in Buffalo – where she has become a community leader and mentor to many. Louise is the owner of Global Villages, a gift shop on Grant Street.
Ryan is our Treasurer, and the owner of Knowles Solutions, a firm he founded to provide accounting and consulting services to small businesses. With 10 years of accounting experience, he focuses on financial data management and reporting. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and previously worked as a CPA with Deloitte in New York City. He also runs a website promoting data communication in his home country, the Bahamas.
He is a graduate of Boston University with a Bachelors degree in Accounting. He also has a Masters degree in Marine Biology from Northeastern University which he recently attained while taking a multi-year sabbatical from the accounting profession.
Ryan is passionate about education and serves on the board of a non-profit that promotes reading to young children in the Bahamas. He is a firm believer that promoting women’s rights and education is an obvious choice for social and economic advancement. He is ready to help make a difference on a global scale from his adopted home of Buffalo.
Board Secretary Dr. Christine Brown is a Buffalo native and board certified Pediatrician, currently at Delaware Pediatrics in Buffalo, NY. She attended Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and earned her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio. Crediting a strong and empowering all-girls high school education to Buffalo’s Nardin Academy, she supports GEC’s mission to further girls education globally. Dr. Brown has professional interests in wilderness medicine, pediatric emergency medicine, and medical education, having served as Chief Resident in Pediatrics at the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Always seeking opportunities to care for and educate children and peers, her path to GEC board membership has also included teaching horseback riding and rock climbing lessons to kids, co-founding her medical school’s Wilderness Medicine Club, and a love of travel and adventure. She lives in Orchard Park with her husband and two sons.
Jennifer was recently named the inaugural director of the Medical Education and Educational Research Institute, assistant dean for medical education at the Jacobs School and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine. She holds a secondary appointment in the Graduate School of Education.
Jennifer was a member of the GEC Board in 2013 before moving to Pennsylvania for a position at Penn State University. Meka earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s of science in teacher education from Canisius College. She received her doctorate from University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education.
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