ARI ALEXANDER is a Senior Director at Salesforce in Global Business Planning and Strategy. He has been at the company for 5 years. Prior to that, Ari served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator and Director at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Ari also served as a Senior Fellow with the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He was a co-founder and co-Executive Director of Children of Abraham, an international organization dedicated to the promotion of dialogue between Jewish and Muslim teenagers around the world. He has presented and lectured about international development and interfaith cooperation all over the world.
He completed two Master’s degrees in the United Kingdom as a Marshall Scholar: an M.A. in Comparative Ethnic Conflict from the Queen’s University of Belfast and an M.Phil. in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford. Ari’s research led him to spend time living in Jerusalem, Beirut, and Damascus. Born and raised in Providence, RI, Ari is a Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan, and enjoys biking and skiing. He was a national leader in USY, a Camp Ramah regular and raised by a synagogue president, a Hillel Director and a Jewish federation executive (all of whom were his Mom).
RON BELLER has had a 30 year career in financial services around the world and has spent the last decade working on education reform in the UK and US. Beller is co-founder and CEO of Branch Hill Capital LLC, an investment manager. He was previously co-founder and CEO of Peloton Partners, a London based hedge fund. Beller spent 14 years at Goldman Sachs where he was a Partner in the Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities division.
Beller is co-founder of Caliber Schools, (www.caliberschools.org) a Bay Area based Charter Management Organization which is in the process of setting up its first charter school in Richmond, California. He is also co-founder of Ed-Mentor LLC which invests in early stage educational technology companies. Beller is co-founder and chair of governors of King Solomon Academy (www.kingsolomonacademy.org), a high performing, non-selective Academy school in London serving a highly disadvantaged population. Beller spent the 2002-2003 school year working for the New York City School system as part of Chancellor Joel Klein’s leadership team, implementing a comprehensive, system wide reform program.
Beller is married, with three children, and lives in San Francisco. He was graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in History.
MATHEW CHASAN CALMER is a pioneer in wearable technology and connected devices. He is an instructor and student mentor at Hack Reactor, a San Francisco based software engineering school, and runs a software and embedded devices consultancy, The Big Incredible. Mathew is motivated by simple practices to bring spirituality into daily routine, and brings this to his work in and out of the Kitchen. He has served on the Kitchen Finance Committee since 2012 and currently acts as Treasurer.
JEFF LAWSON is the CEO and Co-Founder of Twilio, a serial inventor with over 15 years of entrepreneurial and product experience. Prior to co-founding Twilio, Jeff was Founder & CTO of NineStar, Founding CTO of Stubhub.com and Founder, CEO & CTO of Versity. He was also one of the original product managers for Amazon Web Services. At every business, Jeff identified the fundamental need for a platform for developers and companies to easily build communications-based business solutions. Jeff grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, started his first company in middle school, and earned his BS in Computer Science & Film/Video from University of Michigan.
EMILY MITRA is originally from upstate New York and came to San Francisco after graduating from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. For her first four years, Emily worked as a freelance writer for SIERRA Magazine and for a boutique health food grocery followed by twelve years in strategic sales with Davis Vision, Talk City, and finally Yahoo!
Upon meeting Anjan Mitra in the late 90’s, a native to India, her experience broadened quickly through their travel and culinary adventures together throughout India. By December 2005 Emily and Anjan brought their vision to life opening DOSA on Valencia, a 50- seat restaurant on a small, vibrant corner in the heart of the Mission District. The Mitras opened their second location in November of 2008, DOSA on Fillmore.
DOSA Restaurants have achieved many accolades including Top Ten Bay Area New Restaurants 2006 SF Chronicle, Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand & Recommended, Best Indian 7X7, Best Indian SF Bay Guardian, Best Indian Reader’s Poll SF Magazine and SF Weekly, Best Eats SF Examiner, Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants SF Chronicle and Top 100 Bay Area Bars SF Chronicle.
In 2014, Emily and Anjan expanded their business opening a 12,00 square foot commissary kitchen as well as Dosateria, a fast growing South Indian “fast casual” concept featuring healthy Indian food at a lower fare and accessible to a broad, mainstream audience.
Emily is an active member of her community as both a mother with two young girls, ages four and ten, and as a businesswoman. In addition to DOSA Restaurants, Emily built and operates DOSA Catering, a full- service South Indian catering company and acts as Vice President of Japantown Center Garage Corporation (JCGC), a non-profit corporation benefiting San Francisco, focusing specifically on management and technical assistance programs.
JENNIFER MOSES has spent the past decade in education, public policy and philanthropy after a career in investment banking. Jennifer is co-founder and currently CEO of Caliber Schools, a non profit public charter school organization with over 1,000 K-8 students in Richmond and Vallejo, CA.
She is a founding Trustee of Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), one of the largest children’s charities in the UK, and the co-founder of King Solomon Academy, an all-through state school in London. Since moving to San Francisco in late 2009, she launched Ed-Mentor, LLC, a VC fund that invests in education technology startups, and is co-founder of Caliber Schools, a new charter school organization that will leverage technology in the classroom. Prior to moving to California, she was a senior policy adviser to then British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. She was previously Chief Executive of the policy thinktank Centreforum, following her banking career as a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs. Ms. Moses is married with three children.
AVIVA PALMER is Founder and CEO at The Adventure School, a Seattle and San Francisco based event planning company. She planned her first surprise party at age 10. Aviva loves thinking about the importance of celebration and communal learning to culture and the healing of our world. She is co-author of Uno Mundo, a picture book about peace and non-verbal communication and she loves the organization Servas. Aviva has worked as a political consultant, field organizer and high-dollar fundraiser in Washington for Governor Gregoire, US Senators Murray and Cantwell and President Barack Obama. Having taught in an after-school program at The Rose Art Museum and as the Teen Coordinator at the Peninsula JCC, she is invested in and loves working with youth. Aviva can also speak Mongolian after a stint living in the Mongolian Steppe studying fairytales and learning to herd animals. She received her Sociology BA from Brandeis with a concentration in the Humanities Interdisciplinary Program.
MELANIE RANEN moved from New York to San Francisco in January 2012 and joined the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center as a Director of Development. Previously, she served as the Director of Development for the NYU College of Arts & Science, and held roles in fundraising and external relations at University of the Pacific and UNC-Chapel Hill.
Melanie demonstrates an abiding commitment to Jewish communal service in both her personal and professional life. She spent the year after college volunteering in Israel through Project Otzma, and upon returning to the US, worked for the Jewish Federation and Hillel. While living in New York, Melanie joined the leadership board of Pursue, a joint project between American Jewish World Service and the Avodah Jewish Service Corps.
Melanie received a BA in sociology from Northwestern University and a master’s in public administration from UNC-Chapel Hill. Melanie loves to seek out new adventures and is passionate about yoga, art, photography, vegetarian cooking, and exotic travel. She lives with her husband Matt and their children, Ethan and Eliza, in the Mission.
JOCELYN ROSS has worked as a manager and engineer at startups for the last decade. She spent five years at Facebook, where she started the risk management team, and then moved to Stripe, a company that is working to create a new standard for online payments. She worked in a number of different areas at Stripe, including analytics, data engineering, and machine learning. She also helped develop Stripe’s original set of company values and operating philosophy. Jocelyn grew up in East Central Illinois. After receiving her BA in Psychology from Stanford, she found she had no desire to leave the Bay Area and has been around ever since. She and her husband, Ben, have been Kitchen regulars since they first attended a holiday at the Kitchen in late 2014. She joined the Kitchen Finance Committee in 2016.
DAVID SHLACHTER is a Bay Area entrepreneur creating affordable housing solutions for working class Americans. He grew up in Oregon, is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College & Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Dave began his career with ISDLS as a legal reform consultant for clients including the Supreme Court of India. In 2008, he joined the global marketing division at Better Place, a venture-backed clean tech firm that builds electric car infrastructure. In 2011 Dave formed the investment firm Farallon Ventures; its holdings include Jaffa Parks, which owns and operates manufactured housing communities in the U.S. Dave surfs, runs, and climbs, builds furniture, and shapes surfboards. He lives with his wife and dog in Mill Valley, California.
JEFF SILVER is a Senior Legal Counsel at PayPal. He was previously a middle school special education teacher in Brooklyn, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer in New York and San Francisco, and an attorney and operations director at LendingClub. He received a BA in Anthropology and History from UNC-Chapel Hill, an MSEd in Adolescent Special Education from Long Island University, and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania. Jeff is active in the Kitchen's Justice League, an avid follower of politics, a poor speaker of German, and a devoted fan of his hometown Kansas City Royals. He lives in the Castro.