Board of Directors

Meet Our Newest Members! 

        • Allen Wilcox

          Allen Wilcox

          Allen is an experienced leader of positive change within complex systems across all three sectors – private, public and social.  From 2008-2016, Allen was President of VillageReach, a global health innovator that develops, tests, implements, and scales new solutions to critical last mile health system challenges in low-resource environments.  At VillageReach he created a new strategic model for scaling and sustaining proven system solutions through large public and private sector institutions.  Two VillageReach solutions have scaled multi-nationally and two scaled nationally positively impacting tens of millions of low-income beneficiaries.  During Allen’s eight-year tenure, he sourced and managed 50% year-over-year average revenue growth transiting VillageReach from a six-employee, one country operation to a 120+ employee organization operating across sub-Saharan Africa and Pakistan. From 1991-2002, Allen was an Associate General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation, where he supported the company’s international commercial activities and numerous product development groups.

          Allen earned an LL.M.  in International Business Legal Studies from University of Exeter (England), a J.D. from Southern Methodist University and a B.A. from University of Texas. He received recognition as a Rotary Foundation Scholar, Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year and Microsoft Alumni Integral Fellow.

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                  Paul Cotton

                  Paul Cotton has worked in the information technology industry for 45 years. He retired from Microsoft in Sep 2017 after 17 years of leading teams in USA and China who represented Microsoft in external standards organizations. Paul has extensive experience in consensus-driven standards organizations like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) where he has spent 20 years leading committees producing new Internet standards. Paul was co-chair of the W3C HTML Working Group which delivered the current HTML5 standard in 2015 and several media-related extensions to HTML in 2016-2017. In addition, Paul has represented Canada on several international standards committees working on database, document processing, and cloud computing technologies.

                  Earlier in his career, Paul worked for IBM for 5 years on IBM’s database products and prior to that, he worked for Fulcrum Technologies for 10 years on their text search software products. Paul has also worked in several IT startups and has been an angel investor in several others.

                  Paul has worked overseas for over 6 years in IT-related assignments for CUSO, CIDA and the United Nations in Tanzania, Chile, and Burma (Myanmar). Paul has traveled to over 90 countries.

                  Paul Cotton has B.Math and M.Math computer science degrees from the University of Waterloo.

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                        Tony Cavalieri

                        Tony Cavalieri joined the Agricultural Development group at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012. He is the lead for the crop improvement team in the Agricultural R&D group. He is focused on delivering improved seed varieties to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Before joining the Gates Foundation, Tony consulted for USAID in Africa. He served as an advisor for The Nature Conservancy and worked to develop a sustainable agriculture strategy. Tony worked for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on issues related to science and technology policy in South Asia. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) from 2008-2012. He was also a board member for Chromatin Inc. He spent 22 years with Pioneer Hi-Bred International a DuPont Company. He joined the company as a plant physiologist and conducted research to improve drought tolerance in maize. He held a number of research leadership positions at Pioneer and DuPont. He was a Vice President of Pioneer for 10 years and led the company’s research platform.

                        Tony is a fellow of the Crop Science Society of America. He received his Ph.D. in biology from the University of South Carolina and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois.

                  Christine Chew

                  Christine Chew is an experienced educator, community leader, and educational advocate. Christine’s belief in the power of education and the open sharing of information draws her to support Literacy Bridge in its pursuit to empower people and communities through relevant and shared learning.

                  As a School Board Director, Christine advocates for strong instruction and educational leadership to support all students. She also volunteers in support of various educational initiatives in our communities and serves on the Washington State School Board Directors’ Resolutions Committee. Christine served as the Executive Director for a Seattle nonprofit, College Access Now, that is dedicated to making college possible for underserved students; and she is a former high school science teacher and holds a doctoral degree in science education. Christine has worked with students, teachers, coaches, principals, and research partners to develop educational tools and support teacher learning; her research focused on the impacts of school leaders on implementing instructional change.

                  Christine’s early career and education provide a foundation that brings together leadership, science and technology, and public policy. As a program management lead at Microsoft, Christine coordinated product development of consumer-focused software products and services. In her early career, Christine worked as an environmental health/risk assessment toxicologist. Christine holds bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and political science and a master’s degree in toxicology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

                        • Rao Remala


                          Rao Remala devotes much of his time to philanthropy through his family foundation, the Satya and Rao Remala Foundation, since his retirement from Microsoft in 2004. He was recruited to Microsoft in 1981 from Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL), the developer of India’s first microcomputer, where he started the software division. Rao began his prolific tenure at Microsoft as a software developer and wrote original code for the precursor to Microsoft Windows. He retired 23 years later as Microsoft’s director in R&D.

                          He earned an engineering degree from the Regional Engineering College (REC) in Warangal, India, and later a master’s degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India. He also pursued doctoral studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.

                • Michele Hasson

                  Michele Hasson has more than 25 years of development experience in the non-profit sector. She is currently consulting (when not traveling), with the Northwest African American Museum, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Wing Luke Asian Museum, the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute, and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Her extensive experience in fundraising and board development, especially with major donors, has helped organizations grow both internal and external capacities.

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                          David Vogel

                          David S. Vogel is a world renown data mining and predictive modeling expert. He has won over a dozen data science awards and earned international recognition for the accuracy of his predictive models, including being the 3-time winner of the prestigious KDD Cup and the Heritage Health Prize award, demonstrating the versatility of his predictive techniques. David is the Founder and CEO of an award winning quantitative hedge fund and has been quoted on charitable and financial issues in a variety of news sources including Bloomberg, Barron’s, Think Tech and also continues to present his research at conferences and institutes worldwide.

                          As a Trustee of his family foundation, VoLo Foundation, David is responsible for setting the priorities of the organization as well as approving the Foundation’s strategies and allocation of resources. He is passionate about VoLo’s mission and uses data to drive decisions to maximize impact.

                          David graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Scientific Computing from New York University.

                        • Cliff Schmidt

                          Executive Director

                          Cliff Schmidt started Literacy Bridge in 2007 to address global poverty and disease by making practical agriculture and health knowledge accessible to those who need it most. He led the development of an audio-based mobile device called the “Talking Book” for people with minimal literacy skills living in rural areas without electricity or Internet access.

                          Cliff received the Microsoft Alumni Foundation Integral Fellow Award by Bill and Melinda Gates and was awarded a Clinton Global Initiative membership by President Bill Clinton. He received the top prize at the Tech Awards in 2012 and Computerworld Honors in 2013, and was selected by the PBS Newshour as one of five Agents for Social Change in 2013.

                          Prior to starting Literacy Bridge, Cliff was a software developer for Microsoft and a nuclear engineering officer for the US Navy Submarine Force. He received his B.S. in Cognitive Science from MIT and his M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Washington.

                        • Arthur C.L. Tao

                          Vice President

                          Arthur C.L. Tao is an experienced program manager in the software industry. He co-founded Literacy Bridge with Cliff Schmidt in 2007 to address global poverty by making knowledge accessible to people in the world who are without basic infrastructure and electricity.

                          In addition to his work at Literacy Bridge, he provided product development leadership in an early stage startup. Previously, he worked at Microsoft as a senior program manager in the development of MSN web applications. He has extensive experience in the management of large and complex software projects, and in working with global teams and partners in a multinational and multi-corporation environment.

                          Arthur received his B.S. from Swarthmore College (Graduation w/ Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa), and his M.S. in Computer Engineering from Cornell University.

                          Arthur holds a patent in the area of high performance and high volume database application pro

                        • Kevin Reed

                          Secretary and Legal Counsel

                          Judicial Commissioner Kevin Reed is a magistrate judge of the General Sessions Criminal Court in Shelby County, Tennessee. He began his legal career by practicing law for the Shelby County Public Defender. He then went into private practice for ten years developing an intellectual property and entertainment law practice. As a magistrate judge, he sets felony bonds and presides over preliminary hearings and petitions for orders of protection in domestic abuse cases.

                          In addition, he is a board member of the Oak Spring Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization established to service the needs of the people of Northeast Shelby County. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and his JD from Howard University School of Law.

                                  • Joyce Kim


                                    Joyce is the Executive Director of, a nonprofit organization focused on open financial access. Stellar is a common payments platform that increases interoperability between diverse financial systems and currencies. Prior to Stellar, Joyce was a VC at Freestyle Capital as well as an entrepreneur. She worked as an attorney at Wilmer Hale and Sherman & Sterling, and pro bono at Sanctuary for Families and the Innocence Project. Joyce graduated from Cornell University at the age of 19, followed by graduate school at both Harvard and Columbia Law School. She serves as a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab.


                                • Lisa Cohen

                                  Lisa Cohen is the Executive Director of the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA), a coalition of the state’s leading global health research and development organizations. Prior to the formation of WGHA, Ms. Cohen spent 25 years as a producer and manager in broadcast news. She taught journalism at the University of Washington, where she earned degrees in Broadcast Journalism and International Communications. She serves as Executive Director and Board Chair for the Washington Global Health Fund and on the governance boards of Global to Local, Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association as well as numerous civic advisory committees.

                                  • Joe Appiah-Kusi, M.D., MPH

                                    Dr. Joe Appiah-Kusi is a physician, educator, researcher, policy analyst, strategic planner and humanitarian. He has been a professor at a couple of universities including University of Washington and University of Phoenix teaching courses in the humanities, ethics/law, public affairs, history, multiculturalism, doing business in different cultures and comparative health care system. He was a General Practitioner for the U.S. Army Medical Command in Europe, Adviser to WA state DSHS, Medical Practice Investigator for WA state Medical Disciplinary Board & the Board of Medical Examiners. Has received a number of distinguished awards including UN/WHO Fellowship, AMA, AHA and SAMA Fellowship. He is a renaissance scholar and global citizen diplomat serving as an Adviser to Seattle Art Museum on the interpretation of African and the Oceanic Art collection.

                                  • Shayne Gary

                                    Dr. Shayne Gary is a Visiting Professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Senior Lecturer of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) in Sydney. He is also Associate Director of the Accelerated Learning Laboratory, and in 2007 was a visiting faculty member at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Shayne’s research focuses on improving strategic decisions under complexity and uncertainty. He teaches Strategic Management, Systems Thinking, and System Dynamics across MBA, Executive MBA, and executive programs. Shayne received his Ph.D. at London Business School and his BSc degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).