LEADERSHIP
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Julie Burns , CSW
Founder 

Room to Grow

Julie Burns founded Room to Grow in 1998. Prior to that, Julie worked as a psychotherapist in the child and adolescent division of the Karen Horney Clinic in New York. It was at Karen Horney where she developed the concept for Room to Grow, recognizing the profound need to help soon-to-be parents living in poverty, and provide them with the direct support and resources for their children from the very beginning.

Julie received her master's degree in social work from New York University and graduated with a BA in art history from the University of Michigan. Before embarking on a career in social work, Julie worked in the Old Master Painting department at Christie's, the auction house, in New York.

Julie divides her time between New York City and Walpole, NH with her husband Ken Burns, the documentary filmmaker, and their two daughters.

To read a letter from our Founder,
click here.

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Mary E. D. Cannon

Mary began her professional career as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs.  Upon leaving Goldman Sachs, Mary worked in Strategic Planning and Corporate Development for Starwood Hotels. After receiving her MBA, Mary joined Charlesbank Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Boston where she focused on real estate investing.

Mary graduated with a BA in Government from Harvard College and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.  Mary serves on the Board of Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit agency in New York State dedicated to serving domestic violence victims and their children.  Mary lives in New York City with her husband Colbert  and their three children.


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Lia Dean
Managing Vice President
Capital One Financial Corporation

Lia Dean is a Managing Vice President at Capital One Financial Corporation. She was a leader in McKinsey & Company's Global High Tech and Telecom Practice; and the Marketing and Sales Practice. Lia served leading telecom operators, consumer electronics manufacturers and integrated high-tech companies on marketing, sales and growth topics. Prior to McKinsey, she led sales for CashEdge, Inc., a leading provider of online money transfer services that was acquired by FiServ. Lia graduated from Yale University and MIT, where she was a Siebel Scholar. She also serves on the board of Zero to Three. 

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Alexandra of Greece, CLS


Alexandra of Greece is a Child Life Specialist, having graduated with an MS in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. During her training, Alexandra served as an advocate for the hospitalized children and their families at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital, comforting and preparing them for medical procedures, teaching them about the illness, and working to help minimize their stress and anxiety. Alexandra has a BA from Brown University in Comparative Literature. In addition to Room to Grow, Alexandra serves on the board of the New York City Opera and is part of the Natural Resources Defense Councils' New York Council. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.


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Allison Gollust Hult
Senior Vice President of Communications
CNN Worldwide

Allison Gollust Hult most recently served as Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications for NBC Universal, where she was responsible for communications policies and strategic positioning of NBC Universal's global assets, content and executives.  In addition to serving as chief spokesperson for the company and its Chief Executive Officer, she also oversaw the company's domestic and international media strategy and execution, executive communications, internal communications, corporate philanthropy, and community relations.

Allison spent nearly 15 years at NBC Universal, all of them in communications.  She oversaw communications strategy for NBC News for more than seven years.  She was responsible for all internal and external communications for the nation’s leading news division, its executives and its programming, including "Today," "Nightly News with Brian Williams," "Dateline" and "Meet the Press." In addition, Allison had oversight responsibility for communications for MSNBC, CNBC and The Weather Channel.  She joined NBC News as the head of communications for “Today” in 1997.  Allison joined NBC in 1996 in corporate communications.  

Prior to NBC, she served as Director of Communications for Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, based in Denver, Colo., and New York City. She began her career as a news anchor, reporter and producer.

Allison graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.S. in Broadcast News.  She resides in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

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Randall Kane, Treasurer
Co-Founder
Acquis Consulting Group


Randall Kane is the Co-Founder of Acquis Consulting Group, a boutique management consulting firm, working with some of the world’s leading enterprises in an array of industries. His characteristically innovative and personalized strategies continue to drive some of the world’s largest and most profitable corporations, including numerous Fortune 500 companies. 

At the time of Acquis’s launch in 1998, Randy was already a seasoned practitioner of corporate finance and operations. He began his career at the American Express Company where he held several positions in Corporate Finance. At Shearson Lehman, he worked in corporate bond trading, providing financial analysis and strategy that guided major investment decisions. In 1989, he joined Morgan Stanley as an Associate Vice President in the Equity Capital Markets Group and trained his focus on high technology. Randy left Morgan Stanley during 1992 to start a consulting practice focusing on business strategy, corporate development, and strategic sourcing. The experience and knowledge base developed through this practice led to the founding of Acquis.

Prior to joining the board of Room to Grow in 2008, Randy, a native New Yorker, was a member of our Development Committee as well as an active and involved supporter since 2004. Randy also plays a strategic role as an advisor to the management committee of the New York based non-profit organization God’s Love We Deliver. 

Randy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and international business from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He lives in New York City and has three children.

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Rachel Mauro, Secretary
President
Rachel Mauro Fine Arts, Ltd. 

Rachel Mauro is the sole proprietor of Rachel Mauro Fine Arts, Ltd. Prior to founding her business in 2006, Rachel ran the New York gallery, Dickinson Roundell, a fine art business headquartered in London. Rachel also worked at Christie's auction house for twelve years, both in London and in New York, where she was Head of Old Master Paintings as well as a Board Director in London and Vice President in New York. In addition to Old Masters, her specialties include Twentieth Century and Contemporary art. She has a BA in art history and French and Italian languages from the University of Kansas, and completed a post-graduate program in art history at Sotheby's Institute in London. She lives in New York City.

Rachel and Julie Burns have known each other since working together at Christie's auction house, and she has been with Room to Grow since its inception in 1998.

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Allison Picott
Advancement Advisers

Allison Picott is the co-founder and principal of Advancement Advisers, a Boston consulting firm serving non-profit organizations in the areas of fundraising, leadership development, and planning.  Prior to launching Advancement Advisers in 2013, she worked as a consultant for The Wayland Group. Allison’s experience as a development professional also includes her work as a major gift officer at Phillips Academy, Walnut Hill School, and Boston College Law School. 

Allison began her professional career as a law clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court and then as litigation associate for Nixon Peabody LLP and Prince Lobel and Tye LLP in Boston. 

Allison is a graduate of Phillips Academy. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Trinity College (CT) and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Allison currently serves as a director of the Abbot Academy Association at Phillips Academy and as a board member of Women in Development of Greater Boston. In 1999, Allison was awarded Phillips Academy’s Distinguished Services Award in recognition of her many years of work as an alumni volunteer for Phillips Academy.  She is the youngest graduate ever to receive this honor.

Allison resides in Concord, MA with her husband, Michael, and three step-children, Chloe, Noah and Sophie.

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Melina Spadone
General Counsel
Interlaken Management


Melina Spadone has been in the legal profession for over 14 years. She is currently an Attorney Search Consultant with Klein Landau Romm & Schwartz, where she primarily focuses on general counsel and partner level placements. Immediately prior to joining Klein Landau Romm & Schwartz, Melina served as the general counsel of a leading private investment fund. She served for several years as the general counsel of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the leading trade association serving the retail real estate industry, and has also served as corporate counsel for Viacom. Melina began her career as an associate at Hughes Hubbard & Reed.

Melina currently serves on the committees of several non-profit organizations, including the Young Associates of the Metropolitan Opera. Melina earned her law degree from Fordham University and also holds an M.B.A. from INSEAD. She is fluent in French and Italian and conversant in Hebrew. She resides in New York City with her three sons.

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Carrie Shumway

Carrie Shumway pursued a career in finance after graduating from Harvard College with a B.A. in Psychology. Carrie was a Vice President at Merrill Lynch where she worked as  both a trader and salesperson in their Institutional Equity Division. Upon leaving Merrill Lynch, Carrie worked for Knight Securities in their Institutional Sales and Trading division.
 
Since leaving Wall Street, Carrie has been focused on raising her family and supporting community interests. Carrie currently resides in New York city with her husband Cory and their two children.

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Uma Thurman
Actress 

Uma Thurman's acclaimed work in film and theater for the past 21 years includes Pulp Fiction, Hysterical Blindness, and Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2. She was born in Boston and raised in Amherst, MA. She currently resides in New York City with her three children.

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Maggie Rokous Towles, Chair

Maggie Towles most recently worked in teen fashion. She joined and helped to grow the then start-up clothing company dELiA*s. Maggie was responsible for catalog and online inventory planning and management and worked with the senior merchandisers to plan and purchase the clothing line. Prior to that she worked in business consulting at the Boston Consulting Group and within the strategic group in Viacom's new media division.

Maggie graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 with a B.A. in Intellectual History and a minor in Chinese. She also graduated cum laude from Phillips Andover Academy in 1987. After graduating from college, Maggie lived and worked in Asia for two years.

Maggie now lives in New York City with her husband and two children and devotes most of her time to their activities and to volunteer work in the community.

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