Asheesh Advani, President and CEO
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? I spend my time meeting people. I meet our network’s leaders and passionate staff members, our board members, our students (in school, out of school, and in competitions), our funders (both global and regional), our technology and delivery partners, and our alumni. In many of these meetings, I'm focused on finding creative ways to grow our reach and our impact in light of the latest technology trends in education.
Tell us about your career path so far: I have usually had jobs that involve building mission-driven organizations with passionate employees. One of the most powerful motivating factors for coming to work every day—and motivating others to do the same—is the knowledge that your time is spent improving the state of the world. My first company was a social enterprise bought by Virgin. My last company was an online marketplace that was bought by a large brokerage firm. In each case, we tried to build a culture that was full of passion and impact.
What else can you tell us about yourself? I have twin boys who are 11 years old who often remind me of my shortcomings—which is a great way to remain humble! For example, I am now certain that I am not a good singer, not a good cook, and not a good follower of toy-assembly instructions.
Carolyn Bassett, Senior Director, Development and Corporate Relations
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? My work at JA is primarily centered on global fundraising on behalf of the global network. I serve as the point person for our global corporate relationships with American Airlines, FedEx, Johnson and Johnson, Marsh and McLennan Companies (operating companies include: Guy Carpenter, March, Mercer, and Oliver Wyman), MasterCard Worldwide, MetLife, and Prudential PLC. I'm also active with JA global competitions, conferences, and Centennial planning.
Tell us about your career path so far: I've been with JA for 16 years, beginning with work locally as part of the JA of Northern New England team in Boston, MA. Starting in 2005, I spent seven years in Colorado Springs, CO, as part of JA Worldwide, working on after-school initiatives, program implementation support, and global student events before coming back to Boston with the relocation of our global headquarters in 2012.
What else can you tell us about yourself? I enjoy cooking, music, antique and thrift hunting, and interior design.
Brandie Conforti, Global Head of Development
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? As JA Worldwide’s new Global Head of Fundraising, I'm responsible for overseeing our global fundraising, strategy, and coordination. On any given day, this could actually mean engaging with our current or prospective institutional or individual donors, working with members of the global development committee, connecting with our board, crafting JA’s fundraising strategies, working to develop a fundraising infrastructure, or building a culture of philanthropy across the organization. I am very lucky to be joined in this work by two fantastic colleagues: Carolyn Bassett and Karen Ochsner.
Tell us about your career path so far: I’ve focused my career on non-profits whose missions are making a difference globally. I ran programs and later led the World Affairs Council of Boston as its youngest executive director; built the corporate and foundation fundraising functions and served on the senior staff of Partners In Health; and most recently led all of institutional giving at Accion, a pioneer in financial inclusion, also serving on their management committee.
What else can you tell us about yourself? I'm a die-hard foodie and political junkie and believe that travel is essential to the soul. Also, having lived in Boston for over a decade and a half, I can safely say the city is yet to influence my accent. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my driving!
Christina Dibitetto, Manager of Executive Operations
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? I'm the Manager of Executive Operations, directly reporting to and supporting the CEO and providing administrative support to the JA Worldwide headquarters team as necessary. I'm also the liaison with the JA Worldwide Board of Governors and am responsible for various accounting and HR functions.
Tell us about your career path so far: Prior to joining JA Worldwide in March 2012, I was employed by Eastern Bank, the largest and oldest mutual bank in the country, headquartered in Boston. I was the Executive Assistant to the President of Eastern Wealth Management and was the contact for the Trust Committee and Investment Committee. Before Eastern Bank, I worked for a boutique civil engineering and land surveying firm as Office Manager/Executive Assistant to the President and provided administrative support to a team of engineers, surveyors, and technicians.
What else can you tell us about yourself? I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, working out, listening to music, and taking long walks.
Erin Martin, Manager, Global Operations and Technical Services
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? I oversee all aspects of JA Worldwide IT and Technology related initiatives, including Salesforce and Program Central.
Tell us about your career path so far: I started as Technical Support at JA Worldwide and managed the JA USA IT Helpdesk for five years before becoming a Business Analyst, Trainer, and Applications Administrator for JA USA’s CRM software.
What else can you tell us about yourself? In my spare time, I love spending time with my family, reading, being outdoors, and traveling.
Karen Ochsner, Director, Development and Stewardship
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? I serve in fundraising and stewarding for JA Worldwide donors. This means that I meet with donors to determine how their corporate social responsibility objectives can align with JA, and then I steward the grants to the satisfaction of the donors, thus increasing the likelihood of renewals. I ensure that Acknowledgements of Agreements are in place, that funding flows to the participating JA organizations, and that program implementation, curriculum development, marketing, evaluation, and reporting deliverables are met and within budget. Please contact me if I can help you with our initiatives with ADP, Alcoa, Autodesk, Bechtel, Caterpillar, Franklin Templeton Investments, GE, HP Enterprise, HP Inc., HSBC, and Synchrony Financial. I also really appreciate learning what is going on locally with any of these global partners.
Tell us about your career path so far: My background is marketing in retailing and catalog. I also helped my husband as a recruiter when I was home finishing my MBA when our sons were younger, so that makes entrepreneurship and work readiness my favorite pillars. At some point, I became focused on working for a nonprofit with a mission I believed in. A former coworker who was working at JA USA pulled me in as a Steward (shout out to Melanie Adams). I worked for JA USA for a couple of years, and then was asked to work for JA Worldwide.
What else can you tell us about yourself? My immediate family counts five, with my husband, twin seventeen-year-old sons, and our yellow lab, Dixie. Our sons are very fortunate to have two sets of healthy, active grandparents and many cousins and aunts and uncles. I like to run Dixie in the nearby forest, and I belong to a book club where we even spend some time talking about the book!
Erin Sawyer, Senior Director, Global Marketing and Operations
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? I oversee all aspects of our JA Worldwide branding and marketing team. The JA Worldwide newsletter, social media, Annual Reports, Factbook, and executing grant-marketing deliverables all fall under my purview. Additionally, I oversee our global relationship with Citi and the Citi Foundation.
Tell us about your career path so far: I started in a local JA USA area office in Washington state as a program manager while completing graduate school, which was the best learning experience (and a giant high five to all the program manager out there making JA happen on the front lines everyday!). When I graduated, I was hired on at JA Worldwide, working as a product developer. I developed, tested, and rolled out global programs over the next two before moving over to the operations side of the house. Finally, for the last three years, I’ve worked with our brand and marketing team and loving the ever-evolving challenges and successes of JA!
What else can you tell us about yourself? In my spare time I love chasing around my 15-month-old little girl and our black lab (Josey), and trying to sneak in as many runs/bikes rides as possible so one day I will beat Leo Martellotto!
Joe Tortora, Senior Director, Global Operations
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? I'm responsible for global operations, as it pertains to year-end reporting for both the annual report and fact-book, member fee calculation and billing, and the monitoring of members compliance to policies and procedures for placement on the “Members in Good/Not Good Standing” lists, as well as any other member-associated requirements (e.g. Member Agreement tasks). Additionally, I'm also responsible for the build and roll-out of the JA network Salesforce/NGOC system.
Tell us about your career path so far: I'm a CPA with a solid background in accounting, audit, and business processes, as well as proficient in large-scale system implementations, including ERPs and CRMs. Prior to joining JA Worldwide, I was the Finance Systems Manager at Dassault Falcon Jet Corp, where I was responsible for all the financial systems of the U.S.-based companies, as well as the implementation of the new IFS ERP General Ledger and consolidated financial reporting module for the US locations. Prior to that, I was with the Girl Scouts of the USA headquarters office, where among many responsibilities, I played an instrumental role in the implementation of a CRM for HQ and its 120 councils throughout the US. Overall, I have had numerous roles throughout my 30+ year career in large multi—national companies, in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
What else can you tell us about yourself? I enjoy getting outdoors; in particular, riding my bike along the trails in the summertime (wish I could do it in the winter, but the conditions are not favorable in New Jersey for that). I also love music, especially the classic rock artists of the ’60s and ’70s, and go to many concerts. Finally, traveling is important to me. I've been very fortunate throughout my life, having gone to every continent (sans Antarctica), over 30 countries, and nearly every U.S. state. I have so many wonderful memories from it.
Margie Wang, Chief Operating Officer and CFO
What do you work on at JA Worldwide? All of the fun stuff! I love effecting change and moving us closer each day to “one JA.” I have the privilege of working on the JA network strategy, helping JA to set the course for the next 100 years and identifying ways to diversify JA’s revenue model. The global impact framework, JA Program Central, alumni database, learning management platforms, and salesforce.com (as JA Worldwide’s customer relationship management system) are a few of the key initiatives that offer me the opportunity to work with passionate JA associates around the globe.
Tell us about your career path so far: I probably have somewhat of a non-traditional career trajectory. My academic training focused on mathematics at Cornell as an undergraduate and an MBA in Finance at NYU Stern’s School of Business. I joined Exxon Corporation, where I learned all about the oil industry and how large, complex multi-nationals operate, all through a financial and systems lens. After retiring as the Controller and Treasurer of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, I joined the national office of the Girl Scouts of the USA as Vice President of Finance and Technology and learned about federated not-for-profits and their governance. This led to JA Worldwide in my current role as Chief Operating Officer and CFO, a full circle from the days at Exxon when I was a JA volunteer. I feel very blessed.
What else can you tell us about yourself? I love nature, and gardening is one of my favorite ways to quiet the mind and enjoy the beauty and colors of tulips, hyacinth, lilies, and crocus in my garden. My second love is travel both for business and pleasure. I have visited 50+ countries over my career and truly believe that JA helps bridge differences and understanding that the education of young people is the best investment one can make in any part of the world.