Chief Executive Officer
Katherine Soll, CEO/President. Kathy Soll believes that all New Yorkers should be committed to ending hunger, food insecurity and poor nutrition in one of the world’s greatest cities and that connecting youth to this mission and each other is a critical part of achieving that goal. Teens for Food Justice was built on the concept that hands-on volunteering and helping others builds character and creates a unique level-playing field where people of all backgrounds can contribute equally through hard work and commitment, something hard to find in an increasingly polarized, stratified world. She also believes that service is a powerful tool for tapping young people’s talents, resources, and abilities, helping them flourish and work productively with others, and that youth who help solve social problems become more positive, engaged, hopeful adults who remain active throughout their lives on behalf of social change. Kathy raised and educated two children in New York City’s public and independent school systems, serving in various leadership capacities within their schools’ PTAs and other community organizations. A lifelong New Yorker, she has also worked in the for-profit sector in management and marketing.
Board of Directors
Tara Smith, Chair. Tara Smith is the founder of Triptyk Studios, a company that develops and produces Broadway, film, tv and web-based IP. Tara made her Broadway debut at 26 as Co-Lead Producer of the hit musical satire, Xanadu, for which she was honored with the 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award and a TONY Award Nomination for Best Musical. Other Broadway hits include The Seagull starring Kristen Scott Thomas, Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America (TONY nominee), The Performers, starring Henry Winkler and Alicia Silverstone and the critically-acclaimed, new Broadway production of An American in Paris. Ms. Smith is a proud member of The Broadway League and the National Alliance of Musical Theater.
Chana Chenfeld, Co-Founder, Vice President. Chana Gandal Chenfeld is a graduate of Ohio State University. After graduating, she worked for two years at the UJA Federation in NYC in the New Gifts department developing techniques for soliciting new donors. Following that, Chana spent four years working in marketing for Remco Toys. Subsequently, she worked for Columbia Pictures as the Director of International Licensing for their television and motion pictures. While raising her three children, Chana worked to create Columbia Cares, the community service arm for the lower school at Columbia Prep, a NY based private school. Her involvement at Columbia continued as a member of both the diversity and social action committees which brought information to and engaged the community in issues that brought a better understanding to elevating the ethics and culture of the school. She has chaired various community-based committees and given countless hours towards raising funds for the various public and private schools her children have attended.
Connie Early, Treasurer. Connie Early is a Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group, working primarily in their Healthcare Practice, focused on strategy and operations. She is involved in their community engagement activity and high school mentoring program. She has previously worked for the UK Government across multiple policy areas, including education funding, climate change and trade and investment. Raised in Scotland, Connie studied Astrophysics at the University of St Andrews. She now lives in Soho with her husband and son, and enjoys vegan cooking, yoga and rock-climbing.
Kevin Beardsley. M Kevin is an accomplished finance and technology professional with over 8 years of experience across financial services and electrical engineering. He is currently a Vice President in the Investment Banking and Capital Markets division at Credit Suisse, where he is involved in advising on and executing M&A, debt and equity transaction for clients in the Technology sector. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Kevin was a Senior Engineer at Westinghouse Electric Company, where he designed computer hardware for use in nuclear power plant safety systems. Kevin is passionate about education, technology, and public health, and is eager to share his expertise in finance and engineering with Teens for Food Justice. As a member of the board, Kevin is excited to help TFFJ make the best decisions possible to pursue its mission of ensuring there is universal access to healthy, fresh, and affordable food. Raised in Pittsburgh, Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Business Administration degree from NYU Stern.
Jennifer Finer. Jennifer is an accomplished marketing professional with over 15 years of success leading large-scale marketing initiatives, high-profile event portfolios, and the associated cross-functional teams. She is currently Director of Global Event Management and Communications at Värde Partners, an alternative investment management firm. Previously, Jennifer was Director of Strategic Marketing at Brightwood Capital Advisors and Head of Event Marketing at Gerson Lehrman Group, respectively. Jennifer is a member of the Milken Institute’s Young Leaders Circle, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think-tank, focused on the power of capital markets to solve urgent social and economic challenges. Additionally, she serves on the Ambassador Circle for YRF Darca, a nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen Israeli society by promoting social mobility in the peripheral communities through education. Jennifer received a B.A. in Communications from The University of Delaware. Jennifer’s expertise includes driving organizational growth through strategic partnerships and various marketing channels. She has an advanced skill set in integrated marketing communications including experiential marketing, branding, client segmentation, and social media. She is an industry leader in managing conference sponsorships and third-party event relationships. Jennifer also has experience developing protocols and tools that scale complex projects. She has a personal passion for public health and building awareness of critical issues facing underprivileged children in NYC.
Mauricio Garcia. Mauricio Garcia is the Deputy Director at Cities of Service, a national nonprofit organization that supports mayors and city chief executives in their efforts to engage local communities and solve problems together. He has over a decade of nonprofit management experience leading programs and strategy for organizations focused on workforce development, financial empowerment, and community development. Mauricio previously served as Director of New York Programs at Seedco and as Director of Services at The Financial Clinic. Mauricio holds a master’s degree in public administration from the City University of New York’s Baruch College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Oakland University. He is also an alumnus of the Coro Leadership New York program.
Henry Gordan-Smith. Mauricio Henry Gordon-Smith is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues, and emerging technologies. Henry was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Japan, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Canada, Spain, Austria, and the United States. Henry earned his BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, a certificate in Food Security and Urban Agriculture from Ryerson University in Toronto, and an MSc in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. Henry is the Founder of the popular blog Agritecture.com and Co-Founder of the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF). Two years ago, Henry launched his company Blue Planet Consulting, a boutique urban agriculture advising firm where he helps entrepreneurs with vertical farming feasibility studies, recruiting, and systems design. Henry could not be more excited about empowering the teens of today to be the food justice leaders of tomorrow with the TFFJ team!
Judy Schoenberg. Judy Schoenberg is a seasoned mission driven leader with two decades of professional experience in the social sector focused on research, program development, strategy and philanthropy. She is currently a leadership consultant partnering with academic, non-profit, and start-up ventures. Previously, during her fifteen-year tenure at Girl Scouts of the USA, Judy was Chief Research Executive and led the Girl Scouts Research Institute. Her work has been featured at White House events and in national media outlets. Judy has also held positions as a program officer at a national women’s foundation and as a Brooklyn legal advocate. She is passionate about social action and wellness and was a Coro Leadership New York fellow in civic participation and is a certified health coach. For over a decade, she has co-led cooking classes with students at the Storefront Academy in East Harlem. She is currently a member of board of directors at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn. Judy holds a bachelor of arts (comparative literature) degree from Haverford College and a master’s in education (human development and psychology) from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. A native New Yorker, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons, and enjoys running and yoga, reading with her boys and cooking anything green.
Valerie Soll. Valerie Soll has been a textile conservator at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine for the past 20 years. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Fashion and Textile Studies graduate program at the Fashion Institute of Technology where she teaches collections management and basic conservation courses. With a background in dyeing and reweaving,Valerie has also taught conservation dye courses and rug workshops for FIT’s advanced conservation students. She is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, and has been an instructor in an AIC sponsored Preventive Conservation workshop on Ossabaw Island, GA. Valerie received her BA from University of Oregon and her special training in rug restoration in Ankara, Turkey. As well as serving on the TFFJ board, Valerie is on the board of the Look and Listen Festival and a team leader for a New York Cares reading program.
Randolph Stern. Randolph is the founder of Stern Vest Capital, where he has spent two decades as Managing Partner in commercial real estate private equity funds, which encompasses commercial real estate acquisitions, financing, project management, and investor relationships. Randolph was also a member of the investment committee for the Ceres Realty Fund and its managing partner, Blakely Stern Advisors. Currently, he manages two large real estate development projects in Dallas, Texas. Randolph earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University, began his career managing a large-scale Weyerhaeuser reforestation nursery, and moved on to the restaurant business so he is excited to be using his background in food and agriculture as a TFFJ Board Member. Randolph is an advocate for our environment and a life-long gardener, cook, and “foodie.” “I have been searching for an organization that promotes student engagement involving education and food, which fosters long term community enhancement. TFFJ is just what I was looking for to encourage healthy eating, to advance sustainability, to change lives, and to produce measurable results.”.