WHO WE ARE

OUR BOARD

Alok Sharma

Alok Sharma

(he/him/his)
TRUSTEE

Alok Sharma is the Founding Partner of Sharma Analytics, a technology project management consultancy based in Detroit. Sharma Analytics uses data to rationalize, select, plan and manage technology projects for small to mid-size organizations. They have worked with clients in the utility, nonprofit, manufacturing and logistics sectors. Alok studied computer engineering at Michigan State University. He began consulting after 10 years of IT project management experience at Fortune 500 companies.

Christopher Myers

Christopher Myers

(he/him/his)
TRUSTEE

Chris is a founding partner and current CTO at NewFoundry, a strategy, design, and software firm in Ann Arbor. He and his team imagine, build, deploy, and operate custom cloud, web, and mobile systems for clients worldwide. Before starting NewFoundry in 2012, Chris led tech solutions for automotive and network security industries. Chris has Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Computer Science and Software Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Claire Sheldon

Claire Sheldon

(she/her/hers)
TRUSTEE

A Senior Manager at Plante Moran, Claire works with clients to understand their real estate and facilities needs. She has 15+ years of procurement and industry experience, working with companies in manufacturing and beyond. She is also a member of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and is a Certified Professional in Supply Management. Outside of work, Claire’s kept busy with her husband, kids, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In her free time, she enjoys ballet, yoga, coaching soccer, traveling and organic gardening.

Diane Kaplan Vinokur

(she/her/hers)
TRUSTEE

Diane is a retired Associate Professor from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. During her career, she taught courses in nonprofit management for over 30 years. Diane has been interested in the work of nonprofit centers like NEW for many years. Her publications include the book Shared Space and the New Nonprofit Workplace (Oxford, 2019). Diane graduated with distinction from Oberlin College, and holds  MSW, MA, and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan.

Kathy Laird

Kathy Laird

(she/her/hers)
TREASURER

Kathy, our Board Treasurer, has a history of managing both for-profit and nonprofit businesses. From 2005-2017, she worked at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. There, she served as Vice President of Automotive Operations and President of Goodwill’s Green Works, Inc. Since retiring in 2017, Kathy has completed her coursework for General Civil Mediator. She’s also a Michigan Licensed Residential Builder. Kathy holds a Bachelor’s in Small Business Management from Ferris State University, and a Master’s of Business Administration from Michigan State University.

Dr. Kimberly Hurns

Dr. Kimberly Hurns

(she/her/hers)
TRUSTEE

Dr. Kimberly M. Hurns is the Executive Vice President of Instruction and Academic Affairs at Washtenaw Community College. As a first-generation college student, she’s extremely passionate about access to higher education. She’s served in progressive positions in higher education for over twenty years, starting as part-time faculty. In 2019, Kim was recognized as a Notable Woman in Educational Leadership by Crain’s Detroit Business. Dr. Hurns is a proud native of Detroit and life-member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Lila Asante Appiah

Lila Asante-Appiah

BOARD CHAIR
Chief Administrative Officer, THAW (The Heat and Warmth Fund)

Lila is an intuitive, results-focused Executive and Certified Professional Coach. She currently serves as NEW’s Board Chair and the Chief Administrative Officer for The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW). She’s also the President and Cofounder of Purposeful Pursuits – a nonprofit that supports women as leaders. Lila believes that intention is key to developing and cultivating talent-driven organizations. She holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Organizational Development, both from Roosevelt University.

Matt Hylant

Matt Hylant

(he/him/his)
TRUSTEE

Matt is the President of Hylant’s Ann Arbor office. Hylant is a full service insurance firm with operations across the Midwest and Southeast United States. Matt’s responsible for the day-to-day operations, along with setting the vision for strategic growth. Prior to joining Hylant, he served as a Project Manager for Epic Systems. Matt is also engaged with other local nonprofits, including United Way of Washtenaw County and Potter’s House School. In his free time, Matt enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two daughters. 

Yodit Mesfin Johnson

Yodit Mesfin Johnson

(she/her/hers)
PRESIDENT & CEO

As President & CEO, Yodit stewards our bold vision, strategic direction and overall operations. Yodit is a mother, poet, strategist, and champion for social change. She first joined NEW as a consultant in 2008, and became CEO in 2020. Yodit thrives in building community around the questions that matter most. How can we unlock the potential and possibility needed to radically transform our communities? How can we honor the ecosystem and the whole? How must we design and act in ways to bend the long arc of history towards balance and harmony?