Board of Directors
IRMA S. TURTLE - FOUNDER, PRESIDENT, SECRETARY
Irma Turtle is a graduate of Smith College. She began working in Africa in 1985, after a career in advertising and publishing in New York from 1974 - 1984. From 1981-1984 she ran a newly acquired agency for Ogilvy and Mather. in Brazil. In early 1985, after a trip to the Sahara Desert and a glimpse into the unique lifestyles of nomadic peoples, Irma began Turtle Tours, an adventure travel company which specialized in introducing travelers to remote populations and their unique ways of life. Turtle Tours became inactive in 2002 in order to direct all attention, money and energy to TurtleWill, the humanitarian organization.
Irma Turtle is featured, along with the Dalai Lama, in an international television series called "Nomads of the Human Condition".
LAWRENCE DECKER, MD, MBA, FACEP - VICE PRESIDENT
Dr. Decker, an emergency medicine physician, is currently chairman of AmCare ( a chain of 7 urgent care facilities treating over 150,000 patients a year). He is also President of Decker Wines, a virtual winery with distribution in 9 states. Past activities include member Ohio Board of Regents, member of many medical societies, Phi Beta Kappa, Mensa, docent at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Bailli & member of La Chaine des Rotisseur and Bacchus Society. He and his wife, Carol Scribner, have traveled extensively in over 75 countries and done volunteer consulting for US AID in Eastern Europe on several occasions. They are involved in collecting contemporary art, African Tribal Art, and Asian Art.
STEVEN A. HIRSH - TREASURER
Steven A. Hirsh is currently President and Chairman of Astro Communications, Inc. a manufacturer of industrial stroboscopic lighting products with offices in Illinois, New Jersey, Thailand and China. Astro also operates a small scale finance and investing company. Mr. Hirsh has held these positions since 1986.
Mr. Hirsh served as a portfolio manager for William Harris Investors and predecessor companies which included Harris Associates, Harris Group and R. J. Levy Harris Inc from 1965 until 2003. All of these firms were controlled by Irving B. Harris, deceased 2004. From 1963 until 1965 Mr. Hirsh was a member of the Corporate Finance Department of Bear Stearns and Company in New York City.
Mr. Hirsh received a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Chicago in 1963. He has served on the Board of the Highland Park Illinois Community Foundation for the past ten years and also serves on the Board of Directors of Delphi Financial Group
JAMES L. FOGHT, Ph.D. - BOARD MEMBER
Dr. Foght is Managing Director of Vector Securities International, L.L.C., a boutique investment and merchant banking firm specializing in Mergers and Acquisitions and Private Placements. He is Managing Partner of Foght Enterprises, L.L.C. focused on international business advisory services. He was instrumental in developing Vector Securities into the largest investment banking firm dedicated to serving clients in the healthcare industry. Dr. Foght was formerly Senior Vice President and Co-head of Kidder Peabody's Life Sciences/Medical Products Specialty Group. Prior to that, Dr. Foght spent 23 years with E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., spending half of his career in research and research management.
Dr. Foght earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in organic chemistry with minors in biochemistry and microbiology from the University of Illinois and holds a B.S. from the University of Akron. Dr. Foght is currently a Trustee of the University of Akron, on the Board of Directors of Acrux Limited (Melbourne, Australia), on the Board of Advisors of Ovation Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Lincolnshire, Illinois). He also serves as Chairman of Illinois Ventures LLC and is a Member of the Leadership Council for the University of Illinois, and a Board Member of the African Wildlife Foundation.
CHRISTOPHER GRAVER - BOARD MEMBER, OUTSIDE COUNSEL
Practice Areas: Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Representation, Commercial/Business Litigation, Contracts, Personal Injury
Chris Graver has cultivated a diverse practice in state and federal courts which, to date, has included litigation of claims involving commercial contracts, patent infringement, environmental insurance coverage, employment disputes, commercial real estate matters, creditors' rights, and representation of both creditors and debtors in Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings
Education and Admissions
HELEN BROWN - BOARD MEMBER
Helen Brown is a former Elementary School Teacher and has a MA in Counseling Psychology and a CRC in Rehabilitation Counseling. She was an active community volunteer in the 35 years she lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She created a holiday gift program for newly arrived Soviet Jewish people to introduce them to the Chanukah traditions of their new country. She also served on a variety of Boards of Directors such as WomenVenture which aided women to become economically self-sufficient; Jewish Family and Children Services; and Neighborhood Involvement Program which provided medical, dental counseling and generalized services to needy families in their geographic location.
In 1993 she expanded her interests to become a volunteer team leader for Global Volunteers, an adventure travel nonprofit organization. During her tenure with Global Volunteers, Helen was a Team Leader for humanitarian projects in Russia, Poland, Spain, Mississippi and Texas. She served on the Global Volunteer Board from 1995-1999.
Helen Brown most recently has served as a volunteer for CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate working with children and families within the foster care system
ELYSE D. CHERRY - BOARD MEMBER
Elyse D. Cherry is CEO of Boston Community Capital, a community development financial institution and President of Boston Community Venture Fund, which invests in businesses having the potential to achieve a social as well as a financial return.
Ms. Cherry is an attorney and a former partner of the Boston law firm, Hale and Dorr, specializing in commercial real estate transactions, affordable housing development and open space preservation. She served as Vice President and Counsel to SRB Corporation, a member of the Plymouth Rock family of insurance companies, and CEO of Earthwide Products Corporation, an investment fund that targeted environmental businesses.
Ms. Cherry is a leader in the community development finance industry. She serves as a member of the Boards of Directors of the National Community Capital Association, the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance and many of Boston Community Venture Fund's portfolio companies. She is a member of the Economic Development Grant Advisory Board for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, an advisor to Northeastern University's urban-focused School of Education, and a member of the executive council of the YWCA of Boston.
MAXWELL BRUCE DREVER - BOARD MEMBER
Maxwell Bruce Drever has been a value-added real estate investor and successful entrepreneur for over 40 years. In 1985, he formed Drever Partners, Inc., with corporate offices in San Francisco. In 1997, the assets of DPI were merged into Walden Residential Properties, Inc., at a value of $670 million. Listed on the NYSE, Walden became one of the largest U.S. apartment REITs with over 40,000 units.
Mr. Drever is also the principal investor in San Clemente, California based Argus Realty Investors. With its strong financial backing and dedication to excellence, Argus carries a solid reputation for closing transactions quickly and profitably for its investors.
For the last 25 years, Mr. Drever and his family's primary social focus has been to sponsor education and care for disadvantaged children worldwide. Besides serving on the Board of Trustees of two schools, he is also personally involved and financially supportive of important community causes.
Maxwell Bruce Drever holds a degree in Finance from the University of Illinois and resides in the bay area of Northern California.
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