Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos,  
Board Chair

Co-Founder, President, and COO of Flag Luxury Group LLC

Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos is a hotelier and urban real estate developer based out of New York City. She is the
co-founder, President and COO of Flag Luxury Group LLC. Flag Luxury is a real estate development company with a primary focus on luxury hotels. She is also the Founder of The Friends Of New Yorkers For Children which support children in foster care through initiatives in education, mentoring, and career opportunities

Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez,
Board Vice Chair

Director of Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative 

As director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiatives , Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez leads national, state and local efforts to improve policies and practices to help ensure all young people have the opportunity to successfully transition from foster care to adulthood. She is known for addressing deep-rooted system challenges and understands the importance of working with diverse stakeholders across the communities being served.


Amy Crate,
Board Vice Chair

Amy Crate has been involved  with New Yorkers For Children since 2003 and served  as Co-Chair of the Program Committee.  Amy was Director of Marketing and Communications for fashion designer Zac Posen, where she developed strategic co-branded partnerships and was responsible for all marketing, events and public relations initiatives. McFarland graduated cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University, where she earned a BA in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.

Andrew Karsh

Andrew Karsh Portfolio Manager Fixed Income & Commodities California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). Andrew began his career in derivatives trading for Banco Santander and has a successful track record across global markets while working in London and New York for Credit Suisse. He holds a degree from Columbia University’s Business School.


Darrell Crate

A native of New York City, Crate attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine before attending Columbia Business School in New York. After his career as an investment banker at Chase Manhattan Bank, he was hired as the managing director of Financial Institutions Group based in London. He was soon after asked to join Affiliated Managers Group as its chief financial officer – a position he held until 2011. While at the firm he served as the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party from 2003 to 2007. Crate served as treasurer and a member of the executive committee of the Romney for President campaign in 2012.

Alexandra Hine

Alexandra is currently a Senior Associate at Flag Luxury Group. In her former role, Alexandra was the Director of Business Development and Strategy at Titan Group of New York as well as being president and founder of PhoodE, a cloud based online platform that helps small businesses manage their operations more efficiently. Alexandra earned an MBA at Darden School of Business.

Kathleen Holt Whyte

Kathleen is the owner of Success Strategies; a training and consultant   enterprise. Kathleen has vast experience in the areas of foster care, healthcare, banking, retail, and media industries as well as experience in management training, staff development, custom design training, video training, and executive education instruction. Holt has also received a master's degree in Human Resource management from Webster University.


Kishau Smith Rogers

Kishau Rogers is a serial tech entrepreneur with over twenty years of industry experience, specializing in using computer science and systems thinking principles to influence how we develop, build, grow and mature great ideas.  Recently Kishau served as an advisor to the U.S. White House Hackathon for Foster Care.  Kishau earned her Computer Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.


Rafael Lopez

Rafael López was the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. From 2013-2015, López served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President and with the Domestic Policy Council. López also served as the President and CEO of The Family League of Baltimore City, Inc. where he was a member of the Baltimore City Mayor’s Cabinet.  Lopez holds degrees from Vassar College, the University of California Santa Cruz, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Columbia’s School of Business.

Megan Smith

Megan Smith was the 3rd Chief Technology Officer of the United States (U.S. CTO) and Assistant to the President, serving under President Barack Obama. She was previously a vice president at Google, leading new business development at Google for nine years, was general manager of and the former CEO of Planet Out. She serves on the boards of MIT and Vital Voices. She is also a member of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Aid and co-founded the Malala Fund. On September 4, 2014, she was named as the third (and first female) U.S. CTO, succeeding Todd Park, and serving until Jan 2017.


Paul Kanavos        

Paul Kanavos founded Flag Luxury Group in 1997 after 11 years heading the Kanavos Group of Companies, a family-owned real estate development company established by the late Peter Kanavos Sr. Continuing his father’s legacy in the hotel industry, Mr. Kanavos formed Flag Luxury to identify, acquire, brand, and develop world-class luxury real estate in high-growth urban and resort marketplaces. Today, Kanavos continues to pursue additional land-based entertainment, hospitality and retail opportunities. Mr. Kanavos is a graduate of Tufts University.

Ken Jones

Ken Jones is the Vice President and CFO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Before joining Casey in 2008, he traveled extensively in Africa, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe as CFO of Danya International, a public health and education organization, and Jhpiego, a nonprofit international health affiliate of the Johns Hopkins University. Before working in the nonprofit sector, Jones held corporate finance positions at Ford Motor, Pfizer, Mirant and Prudential. Jones’ earned  bachelor’s degree at Boston University and a master’s degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Kelly Fitzsimmons

Kelly Fitzsimmons became Edna McConnell Foundation’s Director of Innovation and Policy Planning in 2016. Fitzsimmons researches and develops ways to help EMCF and Blue Meridian Partners grantees, and other nonprofits, philanthropy and government accelerates. She also takes advantage of the trend toward evidence-based policymaking and funding. In her previous role as Vice President, Chief Program and Strategy Officer, she led the strategic planning and management of the Foundation’s grant making program, and oversaw EMCF’s evaluation activities. Fitzsimmons served as project manager and successfully launched the Foundation’s Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot.