Diann Dawson’s more than 38 years of distinguished public service as a senior executive combined with her leadership in the private sector adds immeasurable value to the work of USCRI’s Board of Directors.
Ms. Dawson is currently President and CEO of DDA & Associates, a human services consulting firm. She is a national and global advocate for children and family strengthening initiatives and serves as a director on several non-profit boards.
Prior to her retirement as a senior executive, she served as the Director of the Office of Regional Operations within the Administration for Children (ACF) and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary on field operations, she provided executive leadership and directions to ACF’s ten regional offices on the integration and coordination of more than 65 human services programs to promote the well-being of children, families and communities.
Ms. Dawson’s extensive experience working at the senior leadership level for ACF led her to become a passionate advocate for children and family issues worldwide. She brings hands-on experience in operations and directions to USCRI’s work, helping the organization run model programs to serve refugee and migrant children and families.
Ms. Dawson earned a B.A. from Bennett College, an M.S.W. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a J.D. from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and is admitted to the D.C. and Maryland bars.
VICE CHAIR | GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE CHAIR
Earl Johnson serves as a Member of USCRI’s Board of Directors following a decades long career in public service at the federal and state level. Mr. Johnson has been a leader nationwide in promoting responsible fatherhood and economic security issues related to men and boys of color.
He was appointed by the White House to serve as the Director of the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (HHS/ACF). In this position Mr. Johnson oversaw an annual budget of $17.8 billion. In this role, he was the principle policy and administrative manager for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Before accepting his current position, he was the Senior Policy Advisor and Interim Workforce Investment Board Director for the City of Oakland and Mayor Ron Dellums. Prior to that he was the Senior Program Officer for the California Endowment and the Associate Director for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Working Communities Division. He also served as the Associate Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the California Health and Human Services Agency.
Mr. Johnson has worked serving families and children for his entire career. He brings this passion to USCRI’s programs for refugee and migrant families and children.
Earl Johnson has a Ph.D. from UCLA’s School of Social Work and Public Policy. He holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy and a B.A. in Political Science from the American University in Washington, D.C. He has also completed Harvard University’s Executive Management Program on Negotiation.
Katharine I. Crost serves as the Secretary of USCRI’s Board of Directors. She brings to the organization wide-ranging experience in the field of securities and corporate finance as well as non-profit leadership.
Ms. Crost is currently Senior Counsel in the Structured Finance Group at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP. Ms. Crost has been rated as a top capital markets and structured finance lawyer by numerous organizations. She has advised the firm’s clients on many innovative transactions in response to the 2008 financial crisis, including housing and financial regulatory reforms. Her extensive portfolio at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP includes serving on the Firm’s Executive Committee, establishing and chairing the firm’s Women’s Initiative and acting as a Practice Group Leader.
Ms. Crost has been a passionate advocate on behalf of immigrants, refugees and global citizens worldwide. She has served as a Board Member of the Women’s Refugee Commission and currently serves as a Member of the Emeritus Board of Indego Africa, a non-profit that works to provide artisan women and young people in Africa training for sustainable livelihoods and access to markets. Her commitment to empowerment and social justice has taken her to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Myanmar. She has represented pro bono clients in researching and preparing a report on shelters for unaccompanied minors and a training protocol for border patrol agents to screen for human trafficking victims. She currently volunteers at USCRI’s field office in Albany, New York.
Katharine Crost earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a Bachelor of Music degree from Michigan State University.
TREASURER & FINANCE COMMITTEE CHAIR
Gene DeFelice serves as USCRI’s Treasurer of the Board of Directors. He is an accomplished attorney as well as a seasoned corporate executive. His areas of expertise include business management, compliance and corporate governance.
Mr. DeFelice is currently the Managing Director of Novo Strategic Partners, a company specializing in legal and corporate management solutions including compliance; governance; human capital; licensing, mergers and acquisitions; regulatory issues; legislative affairs; and forensic services. Previously Mr. DeFelice served as the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Rackspace, a global leader in cloud computing and IT infrastructure with approximately 6,200 employees and $2 billion in revenue. He was Executive Vice President, Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary for HMS, a $450 million public healthcare technology, healthcare data analytics and medical services company. He has extensive experience in management, compliance and governance in Fortune 500 companies across a number of industries, including medical technology, healthcare analytics, pharmaceuticals, cloud computing and IT infrastructure.
Mr. DeFelice has sat on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations, donating his time and expertise to improving non-profit management and operations. He served for many years as USCRI’s Board Chairman.
Mr. DeFelice graduated from Rutgers University, earned an M.B.A. with distinction from Webster University in Switzerland, and was awarded a Doctor of Law from Seton Hall University.
AUDIT COMMITTEE CHAIR
Helen R. Kanovsky’s distinguished career in housing began with her interest in social justice. Ms. Kanovsky has served in the U.S. government, private sector and labor movement, bringing to USCRI’s Board of Directors a wealth of expertise and experience in housing across sectors.
She currently is General Counsel at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), where she oversees the association’s internal legal affairs, compliance and human resources operations.
Prior to joining MBA, Ms. Kanovsky was the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and had served as HUD’s acting Deputy Secretary. Previously, she was General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer at the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust. She was the General Counsel at both GE Capital Asset Management and Skyline Financial Services. Additionally, Ms. Kanovsky worked in private practice and on Capitol Hill, where she served as Chief of Staff to Senator John Kerry.
Ms. Kanovsky is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. She served for three years as the Chair of the National Housing Conference. She has spent her entire career working and advocating for stable affordable housing as a human right.
Helen holds an A.B. degree in government from Cornell University and graduated Cum Laude from Harvard Law School.
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE CHAIR
Jeffrey Metzger, an attorney who has worked in corporate, government, and private practice, brings to USCRI’s Board of Directors extensive legal expertise in ethics and compliance as well as a personal drive to serve the refugee and immigrant community.
Most recently, Mr. Metzger was Staff Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Unisys Corporation, where he was responsible for the company’s litigation, counseling the company’s government businesses, and directing the company’s federal government contracts organization. He also designed the company’s first ethics compliance program and then served as Corporate Ethics Officer.
Before coming to Unisys, Mr. Metzger served on the professional staff of the President’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on Defense Management, where he was principally responsible for making recommendations on defense industry compliance issues. He also served in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice for a number of years, representing the United States in procurement fraud and government contract litigation. Before joining Justice, he worked in private law practice in Washington, D.C., chiefly in the international trade area. Before attending law school, Mr. Metzger worked as issues coordinator in the first Senate campaign of President Joe Biden.
Mr. Metzger’s interest in refugee issues led him to represent, on a pro bono basis, children who sought Special Immigration Juvenile Status in the D.C. trial courts.
He earned a B.A., magna cum laude, from Amherst College, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School.
Kevin Bearden is an accomplished senior executive with more than 25 years of experience in strategic business growth, corporate operations and the management of large performance-based federal programs, including humanitarian solutions, cloud, cyber data analytics and intelligent automation systems.
Currently, Kevin leads the humanitarian solutions portfolio at Cherokee Federal serving as Vice President. His new organization provides influx facility wrap around and direct care services for unaccompanied children as well as refugee support services for newly arrived Afghan parolees. Mr. Bearden previously served in C-suite and other key senior executive roles at The Providencia Group (TPG), SOS International (SOSI) and General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT). Before entering the private sector, he was a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corp and served both on active duty as well as in the Army Reserves.
Kevin is very passionate about supporting underserved and vulnerable populations. He’s traveled both domestically and internationally as part of humanitarian missions assessing the plight of unaccompanied Eritrean minors along the Ethiopian border, he’s visited urban refugee processing centers in Nairobi Kenya and has overseen numerous domestic immigration programs supporting HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), DoS’s Bureau of Populations Refugee’s and Migration (PRM) as well as DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration and Review (EOIR). In his spare time – Kevin volunteers and mentors aspiring young men in local DC based urban education centers.
Mr. Bearden holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T and a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins.
Jeff Kelley has spent his career both in public service and in the private sector, focusing on communications, public affairs and government relations. He has worked for both the U. S. government and the private sector in the U.S. and Europe.
Most recently, Mr. Kelley served in the Obama Administration as Director of Public Affairs for the Administration for Children and Families. ACF houses programs such as refugee resettlement (ORR), Head Start, child welfare and foster care, and the nation’s family assistance program (TANF).
Mr. Kelley owned Peer Communications LLC, where he organized conferences on communications strategy for the senior public affairs executives of more than 100 Fortune 500 companies. He worked for more than 20 years for the DuPont Company, first as executive speechwriter for the Chairman, then in several senior management roles, including more than a decade in Geneva, Switzerland, leading the company’s communications and government affairs teams in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Earlier he was press secretary to U. S. Senator Thomas J. McIntyre (D-NH) and in the Carter Administration he was special assistant and speechwriter for Health and Human Services Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris.
Mr. Kelley’s volunteer experience includes six years on the Board of Visitors of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy at Dartmouth College, a nationally acclaimed institutional home for social science research, teaching and experiential learning. In that role he has sponsored and mentored undergraduate interns working for the USCRI. He currently teaches English as a second language at a center for immigrants in Washington, D.C. and volunteers as a National Parks Service guide at Ford’s Theater.
Mr. Kelley earned an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Katharine Laud’s path has combined finance and non-profit management to provide opportunities to under-served communities, including women, minorities, immigrants and people of color for wealth creation.
Ms. Laud is currently the President of Opportunities Credit Union, the 11th largest credit union in Vermont, which offers innovative and affordable financial services to Vermonters. Before assuming her current position, Ms. Laud was the Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration at the University of Vermont Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to serving the university community. She was the Chief Financial Officer of a non-profit that focused on affordable housing for low-income people. Ms. Laud has served on a number of corporate boards, including the Board of Directors for Provident Financial Services, a NYSE-trading bank holding company, a member of the Audit and Governance Committees and as Chair of the Wealth Management Committee. While serving on the Board of Directors of the First Morris Bank and Trust. She was instrumental in the founding of the Wealth Management Division.
Ms. Laud has used her extensive background in finance to build avenues to wealth creation and management for diverse and under-served communities in Vermont. She has brought corporate efficiencies to non-profit management to promote economic self-sufficiency among low-income people.
Katharine Laud earned a B.A. and an M.B.A. at Dartmouth College.
Regis G. McDonald is an accomplished social service executive with decades of experience in managing and developing cutting edge programs and services for youth and families involved with the child welfare, juvenile justice, child mental health and immigration systems.
Mr. McDonald at the time of his retirement was Senior Vice President for Programs at The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The Children’s Village was founded in 1851 in Lower Manhattan as the New York Juvenile Asylum. Today, the Children’s Village is a nationally and internationally respected multi-service human service organization with a staff of over 1,500 and an annual budget exceeding $91M. Mr. McDonald’s work at CV positively impacted and enriched every aspect of the organization, including its work on Undoing Institutional Racism and providing shelter and staff secure care to unaccompanied immigrant children.
At the invitation of the First Lady of Guatemala Mr. McDonald participated in two Central America Regional Child Migration Forums. One in 2013 in Antigua, Guatemala and the second in 2016 in Washington, DC. He served as a member of the United States Department of Justice Interagency Working Group on Separated & Unaccompanied Children in 2014.
Mr. McDonald earned an Associate in Arts degree from Wentworth Military Academy & College. He is the recipient of the Ted Messmore Honor Graduate Award, Wentworth’s highest award. Mr. McDonald was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Missouri State College and a Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University School of Social Work.