Leadership

Barbara Bainum, LCSW-C
Chair of the Board, CEO and President
As Chair of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President, Barbara Bainum leads the Foundation’s philanthropic investments in programs and services that align with its mission, while increasing internal organizational effectiveness in the areas of board governance, strategic planning, finance and administration.

Daughter of founder Stewart Bainum, Bainum transitioned into her father’s role in 2008. No stranger to leadership, she consistently promotes a culture of employee engagement, leadership development and diversity of thought, and is committed to carrying out her family’s legacy and helping all children thrive. Bainum holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science from La Sierra University. She is a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) in the state of Maryland.
Mark Birmingham
Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer
As Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer, Mark Birmingham develops the diversified global investment portfolio, manages the Foundation’s direct real estate holdings and oversees the financial planning, reporting and treasury functions.

Before joining the Foundation in 2014, Birmingham acquired more than 30 years of financial experience — including 14 years as the founding Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, where he developed and managed the $700 million investment portfolio and the financial and administrative functions of the foundation. Birmingham holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Accounting from the University of Rochester’s William E. Simon School of Management. He also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Saint Lawrence University.
David Daniels
Chief Operating Officer
As Chief Operating Officer, David Daniels oversees the implementation and operational activities for all programs and initiatives — translating the Foundation’s mission, vision and goals into sustainable processes, systems and procedures to deliver quality program services. He also serves as an internal leader of the organization — promoting a high-performing culture that fosters the Foundation’s core values of continuous learning, integrity, collaboration and commitment.

Before joining the Foundation in 2012, Daniels was Principal at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland, and School Administrator at Mount Vernon Academy in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and Liberty Christian Academy in Columbus, Ohio. He holds a Master of Business Administration, Finance, from Franklin University and a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Columbia Union College. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Business Administration from Wilmington University.
Leila Otis
Vice President, Programs
As Vice President, Programs, Leila Otis has overall strategic and operational responsibility for all Foundation program areas — providing leadership and direction to ensure alignment with the Foundation’s mission as well as ability for long-term sustainable change. She also oversees the Foundation’s program-related investment portfolio for all initiatives and launched the Foundation’s work in equity PRIs earlier this year with an investment in 4PFoods, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors.

Before joining the Foundation in 2014 as a consultant, she led investment research for SunBridge Capital Management, LLC, a multi-strategy investment management firm formed with capital and strategic support from the Bainum family. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brown University.
Clara Northington
Vice President, Human Resources
As Vice President, Human Resources, Clara Northington leads all Foundation efforts in attracting, hiring and retaining an engaged and effective workforce through services, programs and communications that drive a healthy culture, support employee development and reinforce the organization’s mission, vision, values and overall brand.

Before joining the Foundation in 2011, Northington was Director of Human Resources for GP Strategies Corporation. She was also a home-school teacher for her two children — developing and tailoring curriculum from early childhood through elementary grade levels. Northington completed studies for the Master of Science in Human Resources Development (ABT) at University of Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University Bloomington. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).
Noel Bravo
Senior Director, Strategic Research and Partnerships
As Senior Director, Strategic Research and Partnerships, Noel Bravo supports the development of organizational-level strategies, primarily through researching, writing and serving as a strategic thought partner to internal and external stakeholders.

Before joining the Foundation in 2012, Bravo served in the Obama Administration as Director of Performance Management for the U.S. Department of Education, leading performance reviews of all divisions in the Department and analyzing grant programs to align them with key policy priorities. Prior to that, he was Deputy/Interim Chief Financial Officer for DC Public Schools, leader of the Policy Matters project at the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Senior Advisor for Budget and Finance for D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and a Senior Consultant at KPMG. Bravo holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Stanford University.
Mae Cheung
General Counsel and Senior Director, Compliance
As General Counsel and Senior Director, Compliance, Mae Cheung develops, implements and monitors Foundation policies and procedures and also provides comprehensive legal oversight and guidance to mitigate risk and ensure the integrity of all Foundation activities.

Before joining the Foundation in 2018, she was Senior Director, General Counsel for The Optical Society in the District of Columbia for more than six years. There, she served as a one-person legal department for a global scientific professional society and managed all legal and regulatory affairs. Cheung holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts, Program of Liberal Studies, both from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently pursuing a Master of Education, Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The George Washington University.
Rebecca Cisek
Senior Director, Talent and Organizational Development
As Senior Director, Talent and Organizational Development, Rebecca Cisek, EdD, oversees the health and development of the overall work culture and provides one-on-one coaching to leaders and staff to further enhance team and individual growth.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 2015, she worked in field leadership roles in human resources, training and development for Target Corporation, and before that worked as a sports medicine clinician and educator for eight years, culminating in a Director of Sports Medicine position at the University of San Francisco. Cisek holds a Doctor of Education in Organization and Leadership from the University of San Francisco, a Master of Education from University of Virginia, and a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from West Virginia University.
Angela Deeds
Senior Director, Finance
As Senior Director, Finance, Angela Deeds manages the Foundation's financial policies, oversees internal and external financial reporting and analysis, safeguards company assets and leads the annual budgeting process.

Before joining the Foundation in 2015, she was Senior Financial Advisor for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Chief Financial Officer and Management Consultant for National Children’s Center, Inc., and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Navy Mutual Aid Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from The George Washington University and is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Ann Egan
Senior Director, Communications
As Senior Director, Communications, Ann Egan leads the Communications team and oversees all brand and communications activities to help the Foundation accomplish its mission. Since joining the Foundation in 2015, she has developed and implemented its communications strategy and infrastructure (channels, tools, standards and protocols); raised its profile through a coordinated media relations, social media and thought leadership effort; and supported the launch and ongoing operation of all Foundation initiatives.

Previously, Ann held a variety of marketing and media relations roles over 22 years at Mercer, culminating as Principal/Global Content Development Leader for the global consulting firm. She also worked in public relations at Fleishman-Hillard and as a newspaper reporter and editor. Ann holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University.
Nisha Sachdev, DrPH, PsyD
Senior Director, School Mental Health
As Senior Director, School Mental Health, Nisha Sachdev leads the Foundation’s local and national work in school mental health — working with key partners and convening leading experts to strengthen the quality and availability of school mental health programs for children, youth and families in the District of Columbia and beyond.

Sachdev has been involved in research and evaluation for more than 15 years. Before joining the Foundation in 2016, she was Research and Evaluation Manager for the DC Children and Youth Trust Investment Corporation. Before that, she was Executive Director at Coaching for College and founder of Breaking the Cycle. She began her career working as a special education teacher. She holds two doctoral degrees — a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) from The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and a Doctor of Public Health Education (DrPH) from the The George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health.
Sara Watson, PhD
Senior Director, Policy
As Senior Director, Policy, Sara Watson leads the creation and implementation of policy advocacy initiatives — ensuring alignment with the Foundation’s mission, vision and strategy and coordination with external partners.

Before joining the Foundation, Watson was Co-founder and Global Director of ReadyNation and ReadyNation International at the Council for a Strong America. Previously, she was Vice President for Partnerships at America’s Promise Alliance and Senior Officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts, where she directed Pew’s national campaign for quality pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds and also created both its home visiting campaign and its Results First initiative. She holds PhD and Master of Public Policy degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College.