Meg Zucker is the Founder and President of Don’t Hide It Flaunt It (“DHIFI”). Meg has a genetic condition called, “ectrodactyly” that she passed on to two of her three children. A lawyer with over twenty years of experience in the field of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism on Wall Street, Meg found her DHIFI calling in 2009 when her oldest son of three children was bullied on the playground in elementary school because of his difference. Deciding to make “lemonade from lemons,” that experience created an opportunity for Meg to speak to students, teachers and other faculty at schools about the importance of unconditional acceptance of one another. Fast forward, DHIFI is now a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that, among other things, partners with Scholastic Inc. to create “Flaunt It” related programming in schools. Also, sharing DHIFI’s mission of empowerment and empathy, Meg has been both published and featured in national magazines (e.g., Parents) and newspapers and featured on television including Today (NBC) and The Learning Channel. According to Meg: “What makes me, me is that besides the fact I happen to have one finger on each hand, one toe on each foot and shortened forearms, and two of my three children share my condition, I am also allergic to Kiwi.”
Beth Manes Lax
Beth is an attorney with over twenty years experience whose practice concentrates in Special Education Law, Special Needs Planning, Guardianships and Estate Planning. Beth frequently speaks at community group meetings and corporate seminars on topics relating to education law and special needs advocacy. Beth is also the Immediate Past President of Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of New Jersey, Inc., an organization that provides lifetime advocacy for people with special needs. In 2017, Beth was named a Super Lawyer for Education and Schools. According to Beth: “What makes me, me is that I am painfully insecure and socially anxious. I live in constant fear of disappointing people, appearing less than competent, or failing in any perceivable way.”
Danielle is the Vice President of Marketing for Scholastic, Inc., the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leading provider of print and digital instructional materials for pre-K to grade 12. Danielle joined Scholastic in 1998 focusing on marketing and strategy across several lines of business. In 2007, Danielle left to start her own marketing firm, DM Direct Marketing, and worked with clients ranging from startup web companies to large corporations. Danielle returned to Scholastic in late 2011 to oversee the marketing, product development and digital initiatives for several educational product lines. Danielle is passionate about the work at Scholastic, where the company’s core mission is promoting literacy and academic achievement. Danielle lives in NJ with her husband, two sons, and her beagle. According to Danielle: “What makes me, me is my kids have a pronounced stutter. As a mother, you feel their daily challenge to communicate. I reinforce to them that what we say is more important than how we say it. And they have taught me how to talk less and listen more.”
Jill van Dyk
Jill van Dyk moved to Southern California from Houstom, TX in 1983 and established a successful career in marketing and advertising. She began at Chiat Day Advertising and subsequently worked for two subsidiaries of Interpublic Group, before spending a number of years at boutique agencies including The Motta Company, where she was an account supervisor serving in high end real estate development. Jill also actively volunteers in a number of capacities for local schools in CA, as well as supporting her husband’s efforts in outreach to patients battling blood cancer. When time permits, she can be found attending bootcamp on the beach or hanging out at the Santa Monica Pier with her kids. She lives in west Los Angeles, CA with her husband Nick, daughter Parker, son Carson and two cats Jasper and Bullwinkle. According to Jill: “What makes me, me is I am a mother who is a passionate advocate of my daughter, a young lady who was born with a genetic retinal disorder called cone dystrophy, which has resulted in her near blindness.”
John is an attorney in New Jersey focusing on Elder Law (guardianship, long-term care planning and special needs). Prior to joining a law practice, John worked in public affairs and crisis communications at an international public relations firm in New York. He has a background in public policy having spent several years working as a policy advisor on Capitol Hill and later for the Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League. His public policy experience focused on advancing human rights and promoting tolerance and respect for people’s differences, domestically and internationally. According to John: “My difference probably lies more in my role as husband and father of individuals who wear their physical differences on their sleeves and therefore will have very different life experiences than I had. Oh, and I was born with only three lower front teeth instead of four. So there’s that. ”
Jared Schoenfeld has worked in the sports and entertainment business for nearly fifteen years. Jared has held a variety of positions with organizations including the Phoenix Suns, Madison Square Garden and The Players’ Tribune and created a name for himself by developing a range of innovative partnerships to help these organizations grow. He currently acts as advisor related to business development and marketing for organizations and individuals including Chopra Global, a leading whole health company empowering personal transformation for millions of people globally. According to Jared, “What makes me, me is that I had a brother who passed from SIDS when I was 5. His passing has shaped my perspective of life and desire to make him proud. I created my LLC on behalf of him and am fueled every day to try to help others who have experienced trauma in their own life how ever I can.”
Dr. Nelly Farnoody-Zahiri
Nelly is the Executive Director of the Global Education Institute and author, keynote speaker, and Licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in working with Cross-Cultural Families. She is the founder of the International Center For Peace Learning and the producer and host of the family show MomTalk LA TV On-Line and at Andisheh TV. According to Nelly: “What makes me, me is that I am a first-generation immigrant from the Middle-East and was raised in an interfaith family…I am also a tireless advocate for women’s rights, children’s rights, and peace through social-emotional learning – which I put into practice every day with my own 3 kids as well as my work in the field.”
Ben Sacks has spent his career working at the intersection of technology, finance, and public policy. He is currently a manager of strategic initiatives at Lyft. Ben previously worked at Barclays and Booz Allen, where he developed financial models for city and federal agencies in various capacities, and in a prior life, worked on political campaigns across the country. He graduated from New York University and earned a master’s degree in economic policy from the London School of Economics. Originally from Rhode Island, he currently lives in San Francisco and in his free time, enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with his fiancée. “What makes me, me is that I have a brother with severe autism, whose life and experiences have shaped my interest in helping others.”
Elizabeth “Liz” Svatek
Liz Svatek is the Founder of The Warrior Moms, an online community of Moms who are looking to laugh, learn and be inspired. She showcases Moms doing amazing things in their communities as well as Moms who have been in the trenches and have tips and advice. In addition, for the past 15 years, Liz has honed her skills in Marketing, Branding and Social Media working with celebrities like Ariana Grande, Paul Stanley from KISS and Chef Fabio Viviani. After 8 years on the board of the Junior League of Los Angeles, Liz is excited to join DHIFI. Liz’s son Landon was born with right arterial thrombosis and has had over 30 surgeries to continue to improve his right arm. Having a son who has his differences on the outside has caused Liz to be more vocal about her own differences. “What makes me, me is that I have an incredible son who has a lot of physical challenges, I have a passion to help and connect Moms, and it took in vitro to have my son, but only a few Mojitos to have my daughter!”
Natalie Klein is the former Partner and CEO of the leading lifestyle brand Hot Moms Club founded in 2005 (one of the first social network community for moms run by moms). She built up one of the largest mom networks world wide with 6.5 million organically grown social media followers and over 60 million in organic reach and saw the company through its acquisition. Over the 11 years Natalie was with HMC, she did everything from being Editor-in-chief of the online magazine to overseeing the daily operations including but not limited to celebrity partnerships, online ad sales and monetization of digital channels and growth. On the corporate side, she has partnered with many brands on developing non-traditional campaigns, in store and online, creating the most efficient path to purchase across digital channels. While incorporating partnerships with several of the world’s most circulated print magazines, publishers and global media companies such as Conde Nast, Harper Collins and Time Warner.
Natalie has served on the Good Foundation + committee, a charitable organization that was founded by Jessica Seinfeld and worked with the Make A Wish Foundation. Natalie married to a Hollywood agent Gregg Klein, they have two children, a son and daughter both under the age of 12 and currently Junior Flaunt Ambassadors. They live in Southern California enjoy the beach and playing with their Havanese dog named Mookie Wilson and Bichon Poodle named Seaver (Tom)–Yes, Gregg named the dogs after Mets players.“What makes me, me is I am a mother and passionate advocate to a son who has been bullied for wearing glasses and to a daughter with a visible scar.”
Anita was born in South America and raised on the West Coast by a single mother who chose to stay in the US to raise her children despite not speaking English. She has more than twenty years of experience in advertising, marketing and communications with a focus on multi-cultural campaigns. Her clients have included prominent brands across a range of industries, such as Absolut Vodka, Nintendo of America, Mattel and JC Penney. As a leader within the cross-cultural advertising sector, she has been a strong advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion. According to Anita, “What makes me, me is my first-hand understanding of the immigrant experience and the significant challenges it presents, especially when there is not the support of family or a well-established social network.” Anita sees her purpose as ensuring that whatever makes you different becomes your superpower!