LEADERSHIP

Our Directors and Special Advisors hold degrees from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Caltech, Georgetown, Boston College and more.

LEADERSHIP

Our Directors and Special Advisors hold degrees from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Caltech, Georgetown, Boston College and more.

CHINUA  ACHEBE  (1930 – 2013)
HONORARY CHAIRMAN
 

Award-winning Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic. One of Africa’s most respected and well-known native sons, Achebe is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart, the most widely read book in African literature and a masterpiece Oprah Winfrey declared one of the “Five Books Everyone Must Read at Least Once.”

CHINUA  ACHEBE  (1930 – 2013)
HONORARY CHAIRMAN
 

Award-winning Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic. One of Africa’s most respected and well-known native sons, Achebe is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart, the most widely read book in African literature and a masterpiece Oprah Winfrey declared one of the “Five Books Everyone Must Read at Least Once.”

OFFICERS

GODWIN  ONYEMA,  MD
CO-FOUNDER, PRESIDENT & CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

Education  
Dennis Memorial Grammar School – Onitsha, Nigeria
Government College – Umuahia, Nigeria
MD, University of Ibadan Medical School – Ibadan, Nigeria

Professional Experience
The GEANCO Foundation, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO – Chicago, IL
Obstetrics and Gynecology Internship – Cook County Hospital – Chicago, IL
Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency, Cook County Hospital – Chicago, IL
Chairman, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology Jackson Park Hospital – Chicago, IL, 1986-1990
Director, Women’s Center Jackson Park Hospital – Chicago, IL, 1986-1990
Active Staff Mount Sinai Hospital – Chicago, IL, 1990 to present

Professional Membership
Nigerian Medical Council
Chicago Medical Society (winner of the 2012 Henrietta Herbolsheimer, MD Annual Public Service Award)
Illinois Medical Society
American Medical Association
Fellow of American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologists
Fellow of International College of Surgeons

Areas of Expertise
Decades of experience in medical and healthcare practice, operations and administration

AFAM  ONYEMA
CO-FOUNDER, DIRECTOR & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Education
BA Psychology cum laude, Harvard University
JD, Stanford Law School

Professional Experience
The GEANCO Foundation, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer
Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Summer Intern – Los Angeles, CA
(2006 Kirkland & Ellis Minority Fellowship recipient)
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, Summer Intern – Los Angeles, CA
Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, Marketing Team – Chicago, IL
Hill & Knowlton Public Relations, Assistant Account Executive – Chicago, IL

Areas of Expertise
Management, Marketing, Public Relations, Legal Issues, Strategic Planning, Event Planning, Writing

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

STEVE  KIRSCHNER

Education
State University of New York College at Geneseo

Professional Experience and Areas of Experise
Steve Kirschner is Area Director (East Coast) of Medacta USA, Inc. He was the Team Sales Leader for Zimmer Carolinas, the Charlotte-based subsidiary of Zimmer Holdings, the world’s leading orthopedic equipment manufacturer.

Steve is co-leader of GEANCO’s medical missions to Nigeria. He personally recruits and organizes our mission team members and has raised over $150,000 to-date to underwrite these trips.

Steve also regularly helps secure millions of dollars in donated surgical equipment and instruments from Medacta, Zimmer Biomet and other sources.

MARK JOHNSON

Education
BA, University of Virginia

Professional Experience
Mark Johnson is an Oscar (Rain Man) and Emmy (Breaking Bad)-winning producer who has produced over forty films and television shows.  His recent slate of motion pictures includes The Chronicles of Narnia franchise as well as David Chase’s Not Fade Away.

Previously, he produced Nick Cassavetes’ dramas My Sister’s Keeper, starring Cameron Diaz; The Notebook, based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novel; Lance Hammer’s Sundance award-winning film Ballast; the Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest directed by Dean Parisot; The Rookie directed by John Lee Hancock; Mike Newell’s gangster drama Donnie Brasco starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino; and Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World starring Kevin Costner.

Johnson produced all of the writer-director Barry Levinson’s films from 1982-1994. In addition to Rain Man, their diverse slate of acclaimed features includes Good Morning VietnamThe NaturalTin MenAvalonDiner (their 1982 debut project, for which Levinson earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay), and Bugsy, nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Bugsy also captured a Best Picture Golden Globe Award. Mark produced the Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts feature film Secret In Their Eyes, as well as Logan Lucky, directed by Steven Soderberg and starting Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank and Adam Driver.

In television, he was executive producer of the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning drama Breaking Bad since the series began. He is also executive producer of the Sundance Channel’s first scripted series Rectify, created by Ray McKinnon, and AMC’s new series’, Halt and Catch Fire and the Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul.

Johnson is a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and for twelve years has been the Chair of the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Selection Committee.

SAM NESWICK

Education
BA Economics, Harvard University
MBA, Harvard Business School

​Sam served as Chief Operating Officer of Participant Media, a leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change.  Sam oversaw corporate strategy and operations, investments, innovation, corporate development, and strategic partnerships, in line with the company’s mission.

Sam joined Participant in 2014 as senior vice president, Strategic Planning, and previously served as chief strategy officer.  Prior to Participant, Sam held senior positions at The Walt Disney Company in Corporate Strategy and Business Development, including responsibility for the landmark acquisition of Lucasfilm and strategic expansion in Asia.  Prior to Disney, Sam worked in management consulting at Bain & Company.

EBELE ONYEMA

Education
BA Political Economics, Georgetown University
MA Social Work, University of Chicago

Professional Experience
Love Works Director, Soul City Church, Chicago, IL
Director of the CONNECT Center, Y.O.U. (Youth Organizations Umbrella, Inc.) – Evanston, IL
Teacher and Leadership Program Coordinator, Young Women’s Leadership Charter School – Chicago, IL
Velocity Sports & Entertainment Inc. – Norwalk, CT
Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates – Marketing Consultant, Project Manager – New York, NY

Has worked on the production of galas, concerts and seminars on behalf of major organizations, including Georgetown University, MTV, The NFL, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Areas of Expertise
Event planning and execution, marketing, public relations, human development

GOZIE ONYEMA

Education
AB Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University
JD, University of Wisconsin Law School

Professional Experience
Associate General Counsel, Smiths Group PLC – Washington, DC
Associate, Holland & Knight LLP – Washington, DC
Associate, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP – Washington, DC
Legal Intern, Essex Newark Legal Services – Newark, NJ
Project Assistant, Sidley Austin LLP – Chicago, IL

Areas of Expertise
International trade law, regulatory energy law, event and strategic planning

NCHE ONYEMA

Education
BA Communications, Boston College

Professional Experience
Development Manager, OneGoal – Chicago, IL
Consulting Coordinator, The Marketing Arm, Inc. – Chicago, IL
Executive Assistant, Monterrey Security Consultants, Inc. – Chicago, IL
Freelance event coordinator – Chicago, IL
TRACS, Inc. sports marketing and event management firm, Intern – Chicago, IL
NASA Ames Research Center: education and technology, Intern – Palo Alto, CA
Susan’s School of Dance: instructor, demonstrator, administrative assistant – Munster, IN

Areas of Expertise
Has conceived and led the production and execution of multiple charity events and galas, conventions, and large-scale international and national sporting events.

Event planning and management and public relations

GODWIN ONYEMA, MD

AFAM ONYEMA

TYRONE FAHNER, JD
DIRECTOR EMERITUS

Education
BA Economics, The University of Michigan
Northwestern University School of Law, LLM
Ford Foundation Fellowship, 1969-1971
Wayne State University, JD

Professional Experience
Ty Fahner served co-Chairman of Mayer Brown LLP from 1998 to 2001 and as Chairman from 2001 to 2007.  He sat on the Management Committee of Mayer Brown from 1985 to 2007.  Fahner was named “2002 Person of the Year” by Chicago Lawyer and has been named among both America’s Leading Business Lawyers (Chambers USA) and the World’s Leading Business Lawyers (Euromoney).

Tyrone Fahner is a former Attorney General of Illinois, serving as the state’s chief legal and law enforcement officer while prosecuting actions on behalf of the people and defending actions brought against the state, its constitutional officers, and its employees.

CHRISTOPHER DANIEL, MD, MBA, FAAFP
DIRECTOR EMERITUS

Education
AB cum laude, Princeton University
MD, Jefferson Medical College
Graduate certificate in the Business of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
MBA, Yale University (as a charter member of the Leadership in Health Care Program

Professional Experience
A retired U.S. Navy Captain with extensive interagency and international senior leadership experience, Dr. Daniel  recently worked as a senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies Global Health Policy Center, where he focused on the intersection of global health and security.  He continues to work in global health in his current role within the Department of Defense.

Earlier, as commanding officer of the Naval Medical Research Center, Dr. Daniel led Navy Medicine’s global enterprise of laboratories in Egypt, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, Cambodia, and the United States to enhance the health, safety, readiness, and performance of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel. He was also the first naval officer to serve as deputy commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

EMMANUEL EGBOGAH, PH.D
DIRECTOR EMERITUS

Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah has over 40 years of diversified geological and petroleum engineering experience in consulting, teaching, research & development, and project planning, implementation and management in Canada, United States, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Asia Pacific region. He is an internationally recognized authority in the fields of petroleum policy and strategy, improved/enhanced oil recovery, stimulation procedures and multidisciplinary team approach to field development planning and reservoir management. His global oil and gas industry experience which spans all technical, economic, fiscal, legal, safety and environmental aspects of petroleum industry practice and decision making, has been with Pacific (66) Petroleums Ltd, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Petroleum Nasional Berhad, Petronas (Malaysia), Libyan National Oil Corporation, Tripoli, Libya, Niko Resources Limited, Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Emerald Energy Resources Limited, Nigeria.

Dr. Egbogah is the immediate past Presidential Adviser on  Petroleum Matters, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Member, National Economic Management Team and Chairman of the Governing Board, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

GEANCO SPECIAL ADVISORS

ABRAHAM THOMPSON
SPECIAL ADVISOR FOR VIP OUTREACH

Abraham “Abe” Thompson was GEANCO’s 2013 Global PromiseHonoree.

One of the most well-connected and well-respected individuals in Chicago, Abe tirelessly connects GEANCO with prominent celebrities, business executives and philanthropists.

Thompson began marketing for films and international events in 1991, including the 1991 Cancun Jazz festival and the 1995 Sinbad’s Soul Music Festival in St. Martin.  In addition, Thompson has been a highly successful motivational speaker.  In 1999, Thompson became president and CEO of Partnership Radio, a group of radio stations in Northwest Indiana.  In 2003, Radio Ink ranked Thompson as one of the thirty most influential African Americans in radio.

SCOT HOPPS
SPECIAL ADVISOR AND  SENIOR COUNSELOR TO THE CEO & COO

Education 
BA Biological Anthropology, Harvard University
M.S.Eng., Energy Engineering, University of Massachusetts at Lowell

Professional Experience
Saunders Hotel Group & EcoLogical Solutions, Director of Sustainability – Boston, MA
Waterline Alternative Energies, Energy Project Engineer – Boston, MA
The Charles Hotel, Director of Front Office Operations – Cambridge, MA
Hotel Teatro, Hotel Manager – Denver, CO

Areas of Expertise
General management, budgeting, business development, customer relations, mechanical engineering and renewable energy

CHESS STETSON, PH.D
SPECIAL ADVISOR FOR TECHNOLOGY AND SYMPOSIA

Education
AB, Physics, Harvard University
MS, Neuroscience, University of Texas
Ph.D, Computation and Neural Systems, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Professional Experience
Assistant Staff, MIT Lincoln Laboratory; Research Assistant, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Areas of Expertise
Neurobiology, computer science, engineering, website design and graphic design

Chess has developed a groundbreaking system that allows our US-based doctors and directors to communicate securely with patients and others in Nigeria via online messages (in the US) and text messages (in Nigeria).

JENNIFER STETSON
SPECIAL ADVISOR FOR MEDIA AND PRODUCTION

Jennifer was born and raised in Hackensack, New Jersey.  She has been fascinated with the craft of storytelling her whole life.  After a brief stint in investment banking, Jennifer took  her business skills to Los Angeles, where she worked on a Showtime film, Fathers and Sons, directed by Rodrigo Garcia.  She then spent several years in film and miniseries production at HBO, working on such films as Maria Full of Grace, WalkoutGrey Gardens and You Don’t Know Jack.

Jennifer co-executive produced the feature film Entry Level. staring DB Sweeney, Missi Pyle, Kurtwood Smith and Cedric Yarbrough.  Jennifer has also produced several short films, including the award-winning El Tux.

Jennifer directed and produced Rise and Walk, a short documentary of GEANCO’s 2011 medical mission in Nigeria.  The doc was featured at the 2012 Hollyshorts Film Festival in Hollywood.  She has narrated several of the Foundation’s videos and advises CEO Afam Onyema on all media and production-related matters.

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