Biographies: Board of Directors
EDDY AMEEN, PhD, Member at Large
Dr. Eddy Ameen is self-employed and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. From 2011 to 2020, he was Associate Executive Director of Early Career and Graduate Student Affairs at the American Psychological Association. He began his involvement with StandUp for Kids in Miami, Florida, where he moved from being an outreach volunteer to becoming the Executive Director from 2008 to 2010.
After an internship at the Child Guidance Clinic of D.C. Superior Court led him to Washington. D.C., Ameen became involved with the StandUp for Kids - DC chapter, where he still serves as Director of Training. He has been a National Board Member since 2015.
Ameen earned his B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University, his M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Boston College, and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from University of Miami. Eddy was formally “The Person of The Day” in a Huffington Post article for his involvement with StandUp for Kids.
In addition, Ameen provides pro-bono psychological evaluations to asylum seekers and leads a D.C. based LGBT youth advocacy coalition. He was board chair and then co-chair of StandUp for Kids from 2017 through February 2020.
CARLOS APONTE, Treasurer
Carlos Aponte is currently Vice President of Finance for Marchon Eyewear, a division of Vision Service Plan Company.
Carlos has over 25 years professional experience in financial management with different consumer product goods, publishing, and telecommunication companies. He has held various roles in operating units, regional and corporate offices. The majority of this work experience has been working with, and in, international markets on business development, strategic planning, FP&A, systems implementations, governance & controls, and P&L management.
Carlos holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting & Finance and a Masters of Business Administration degree in Management both from Northeastern University. He is located in the New York City area where he lives with his wife Joann and their two dogs.
ROBERT PETERS, Chair
Robert (Bob) Peters is a managing director in the Chicago office of Duff & Phelps where he leads the Firms indirect state and local tax practice. He has 35 years of experience providing tax and financial services to corporate clients.
Prior to working at Duff & Phelps, Bob worked at KPMG where he served National Partner in Charge of State and Local taxes, as well as Midwest area tax risk advisory partner, and tax partner in charge of the firm’s Stamford office.
He received his M.B.A. in finance from New York University, his Executive M.B.A from Stanford University and his B.S. in accounting, cum laude, from the University of Denver. He is also a certified public accountant in Illinois and New York.
Previously, Bob served as member of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Public Schools Career Academy and mentors high school students through the Development School for Youth (DSY) in the Chicago area. He also is an adjunct professor at DePaul University Graduate Business School.
KIM SISSON, Member at Large
Kim Sisson is the Executive Director of StandUp for Kids - Tucson and is the Youth Ministry Coordinator for Our Mother of Sorrows. She began her involvement with StandUp for Kids as a street outreach counselor in 2008 and within a few months moved into the role of Director of Outreach. In 2016 she became the Executive Director and in 2017 accepted an additional position on the StandUp for Kids National Advisory Council.
Kim maintains an active role of advocacy and mentoring for youth and young adults in Tucson. She is a member of the Homeless Youth Committee and is a strong force at homeless events and forums. She loves truth, growing in knowledge and understanding and has a passion for people and doing the right thing. Kim travels to Central America annually to volunteer at Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos. She and her husband Rick have 4 sons.
GREG SMITH, Ex Oficio Member
Greg Smith began his involvement with StandUp for Kids in Atlanta, Georgia, while working on a Lean/Six Sigma pro bono project on volunteer retention. In 2019, he was elected to National Board and hired as Director of Operations. In February 2020, he was promoted to National Executive Director.
With over 25 years’ experience with mid-sized, multi-site manufacturers, Greg served in senior level management positions, most recently as a Director of Operations and Supply Chain and a consultant with Holistic Performance Group. In these roles he has managed customer service, engineering, shipping/receiving, marketing, procurement and materials management.
Greg has a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Alabama, Birmingham where he majored in Marketing. He has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He also holds a Black Belt certification in Lean/Six Sigma.
LAURA ANN SMITH, Member at Large
Laura Ann Smith is currently Vice President, Assistant General Counsel – Corporate & Securities Law and Assistant Secretary of Tailored Brands Inc.
Laura Ann is a legal executive with extensive experience in working with boards of directors and management teams and advising on matters related to corporate governance, securities law, mergers and acquisitions, financing transactions, corporate transformations, change management, and sustainability.
She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Baylor University School of Law and her B.A. in American Studies, cum laude, from Southwestern University. She is also Vice Chairman of the Corporate and Securities Law Network of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). Laura Ann is located in Houston, Texas where she lives with her husband and son.
LISA SYMONS, Secretary
Lisa is Senior Director at Optum with a focus on improving the healthcare experience for members and providers. She has a long career working in multiple industries including healthcare, high tech and oil and gas. Prior to joining Optum and United Healthcare, she developed and managed several program offices in Fortune 500 companies and ran a successful consulting business for 12 years. Lisa has a B.A in Economics and a Master’s in healthcare management.
Lisa is active in volunteering across many programs with a focus on children, animals and the environment. Previous non-profit experience includes Habitat for Humanity, Humane Societies, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Arc, and Reading for the Blind. She brings strong volunteer management experience and enthusiasm to StandUp for Kids.
LAWRENCE J. WILKER, PhD, Member at Large
Lawrence J. Wilker, PhD is a Tony Award and Emmy Award winning producer and entertainment executive. As a principal and founder of TheatreDreams, he has co-produced many Broadway shows including Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party, starring Henry Winkler and John Ritter, the smash musical hit Urinetown, which won three Tony Awards, Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods starring Vanessa Williams, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Larry is also a partner in all five companies of Jersey Boys. TheatreDreams has been the owner/operator of The Chicago Theatre in Chicago, The Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, and the Baltimore Lyric Opera House.
Larry founded TheatreDreams (with Bill Becker) following his retirement in 2001 after 10 years as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., a $120 million per year arts and entertainment organization where he brought a new dimension of creative leadership. He created a PBS series, "Kennedy Center Presents," as well as the "Mark Twain Comedy Awards" on Comedy Central. He instituted national tours of Kennedy Center theatrical and family entertainment, free concerts, circus and cabaret productions.
Prior to the Kennedy Center, Larry served as President of Playhouse Square Foundation in Cleveland Ohio. Wilker took three shuttered movie/vaudeville theatres on Euclid Avenue, raised $40 million, and created an 11,000-seat performing arts center with a broad array of programs that brought over one million people annually to downtown Cleveland and provided the stimulus for the revival of Cleveland. Prior to Cleveland, Larry served as Director of Properties for the Shubert Organization in New York, which owned and operated 23 theatres in New York City and around the United States, and Vice President of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Foundation.
Larry Holds a BA in Economics and an MFA in Theatre from the University of Massachusetts, and a PhD in Theatre from the University of Illinois.
LETITIA WRIGHT, DC, Member at Large
Dr. Letitia Wright is a Chiropractic Physician who now works as a business consultant, Crowdfunding Expert, and Talk Show host. She began her involvement with Stand Up for Kids in Orange County California teaching a program with Carlia Oldfather that has become the Youth Entrepreneur Incubator.
In 2019, Dr. Wright was nominated for Woman of the Year for California’s 47th District by Assembly Person Eloise Gómez Reyes. She teaches for California State University at San Bernardino and Excellerated Business School in Thailand.
Dr. Wright holds workshops all over the world and works with other international groups like Female Wave of Change. She currently resides in Rancho Cucamonga, California.