Meet Our Board of Directors

Deborah Richmond, AIA

Board Chair

Deborah is a practicing architect, installation artist, writer and researcher in the areas of container logistics as they impact urban settings and consumer culture. Deborah is experienced in the design and construction of projects for public agencies, with past clients from CA State Parks, the City of Santa Monica, LACMA and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. She currently teaches architectural design at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA. She has provided support in the development of the Mobile Village project at Peace4Kids which grew out of the intersection of her research into container logistics and her understanding as an architect of the fragile relationship between foster youth and the places they occupy.


Richard Loring


Richard has been an active part of the Peace4Kids community since 2009 as both a volunteer and member of the Board.  When not busy with Peace4Kids, Richard serves as the Managing Director of Design Lab, a real estate development entity located in NELA.  Richard also is the Founder and President of Fortis 17 CRM Corporation, providing construction management and development advisory services to a variety of end users.  During the course of his nearly 40-year career, Richard has been the recipient of numerous AIA awards and spoken at conferences dealing with design and environmental issues in many parts of California.


Elizabeth [Liz] Parker


Liz is the Regional Operations Manager for Embarcadero Realty Services LLP, managing over 1.5 million square feet across 11 properties. Liz joins the Peace4Kids Board having been a regular volunteer at the Peace4Kids Core Saturday Program. She brings an intimate understanding of our organizational culture and the needs of youth in foster care.


Angelica Nwandu 

Angelica Nwandu is an alumna of Peace4Kids and the founder of Instagram-based media company The Shade Room. The New York Times called The Shade Room "Instagram's TMZ, and In 2016, Forbes named Angelica to its 30 Under 30 list, saying she "revolutionized celebrity gossip". The Shade Room's followers, across all digital media platforms, now total more than twenty million people. Angelica has also been a Sundance Fellow, and was selected for the January 2014 Screenwriters Lab and Directors Lab for the script she co-wrote, Night Comes On.


Susan Ramaker

Susan currently serves as the Director of Marketing (West) for Panda Restaurant Group. She is a creative thought leader with strong experience in brand development, strategic planning, product and concept launch, and department leadership. She also has experience in new media and digital platforms, as well as fundraising event management. Most significantly, Susan has a long history of serving the nonprofit sector as a Board Member, Executive Director and as a tutor for inner-city youth in Chicago.


Lee Gelb

Lee Gelb is an innovative human resources professional, with over 20 years of business experience and a truly global outlook. She’s held senior executive positions at CARE, Starbucks, and ARYZTA, and currently at Pathfinder International, building a reputation for an effective leadership style and a lead-by-example attitude. She designed and implemented the Employer of Choice methodology – now a human resources standard throughout the corporate world – during her time at Starbucks. Whether through coaching, strategic planning or the application of technology, Ms. Gelb specializes in utilizing human resources strategy and tools to gain positive organizational performance.


Akin Abioye 

Akin Abioye is an alumnus from Peace4Kids and currently serves as the Policy Specialist for FosterClub. Akin began his advocacy career at Peace4Kids at the early of 16 by helping to shape the passage of the landmark bill AB12, which increased the legal age of foster care to 21 in California. His efforts on this campaign earned him the prestigious White House Champion of Change Award in 2015. Akin brings lived experience and in-depth knowledge of the child welfare system to our Board and Leadership Team.


Mira Zimet

Mira Zimet is a documentary filmmaker and co-founder of the award-winning webseries, The Storyboard Project, a digital story archive of narratives from people impacted by foster care. She currently serves as chief creative content officer in the communications and marketing office at USC Annenberg. She has spent the past nine years producing, directing and editing videos that bring to life the great work that goes on at the University of Southern California. Before coming to the university, Mira served for over twelve years as an independent writer/producer on documentaries and educational videos. In 2002, she received an Emmy nomination in the education category. Additionally, Mira has received 15 CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) awards (both national and regional), including six gold.


Maria Groezinger

Maria Groezinger is the President and Founder of LA Apparel Services. In this role, she coordinates a team of fashion industry professionals to help bring their ideas to market. As an alumna from foster care and health advocate, Maria also brings a unique perspective to our board that helps shape our priorities. As a trained integrated holistic nutrition expert, she believes that there is a direct link to a thriving community and access to healthy whole foods. She hopes to support Peace4Kids in increasing the health and wellness of the foster care community through providing affordable and convenient access to whole foods through thriving business models. 


Cristina Rodrigues

Cristina Rodrigues is a marketing leader whose strengths lie in understanding customer experiences and building powerful brands. As VP of Marketing at EcoSense, Cristina is responsible for the strategic development of product and marketing initiatives worldwide. She has served as a Peace4Kids volunteer and participant in our group mentoring program for over two years. Cristina brings over 20 years of International Marketing & Product Development experience that includes working at a Fortune 500 company (Staples Inc.), a Forbes 25 company (Samsonite Corp.), as well as 15 years of experience in the LED technology industry. Prior to EcoSense, Cristina held top management positions as Director of Global Brand Marketing at Rosetta Stone and Director of Strategic Marketing at Acuity Brands. 


Leslie Ponciano, Ph.D.

Board Member Emeritus

Leslie Ponciano is a developmental psychologist, the Director of Research for Age of Learning (, and a professor in early childhood education and applied developmental psychology.  She has created, directed, and taught academic courses at Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, and CSULA.  Dr. Ponciano’s research examines the social and emotional development of children in non-parental care such as ECE classrooms and foster care.  She also has experience as a social worker/supervisor in foster care, an infant-toddler teacher, and a behavioral specialist.  Dr. Ponciano helped to develop the curriculum for Peace4Kids, a community-based organization serving foster children. She has three children and is a former foster parent. Dr. Ponciano obtained a B.A. in Psychology from UCI, a M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Psychological Studies in Education from the UCLA.