Meet the Team

Board of Directors

Jonathan L. Cohen

Chairman of the Board
Founder and President, Generated Materials Recovery LLC

Jonathan L. Cohen is the founder and President of Generated Materials Recovery, a national provider of recycling services for manufacturing and industrial facilities. He is the Chair of the Board of the Anne Frank Center USA, having previously served as a trustee for 10 years. He serves on the national board of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Manufacturers Council, is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (Manhattan and Arizona Chapters) where is on the executive committees for the Manufacturing Excellence Network and Sustainable Business Network. Jonathan graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where he received a BA, majoring in both English Literature and German. Jonathan is an avid reader, traveler, skier, and tennis player. Raised in New York, he now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Dara, and their children, James, Leo and Lana.

Charles H. F. Garner, Esq

Managing Director & General Counsel, M-III Partners

Charles Garner has more than 25 years of legal, advisory and operational management experience in international law, real estate investment, telecom and technology. Charles is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and has a JD from NYU. He also previously served as Chairman of the Board of the African Medical & Research Foundation and as a Director of Continuum Health Partners.

Sharon R. Douglas

Board Secretary

A passionate advocate for the Anne Frank Center for nearly a decade, Sharon Douglas currently serves as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. With her husband Preston, Sharon was the 2016 winner of the Spirit of Anne Frank Distinguished Advocates Award. She holds a BA in Education, with graduate study at Queens College and St. John’s University.

Anthony Polak

Board Treasurer
Investment Advisor, Aegis Capital

Tony Polak continues the tradition of the Polak family’s support of the Anne Frank Center, with his parents Jack and Ina Polak having been champions of the organization since the early 1980s. He has an MBA from American University in Washington, DC. Tony has actively volunteered with the youth basketball programs at the Greenwich Boys and Girls Club and YMCA.

Amanda Bailey

Board Member
Vice President for Human Resources at Boston University

Amanda Bailey is a HR senior leader with 30 years of human resources experience in private and non-profit organizations. Amanda Bailey joined Boston University as the Vice President for Human Resources in August 2021. Prior to her role at BU, Amanda served as the Vice President of Human Resources at Brown University and held the roles of Associate Vice President and Acting Chief of Staff at Morehouse College. In 2024, Amanda was selected as the Chair-Elect to the Board of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) and served previously as a national board member. Amanda is a current board member to several organizations such as the Society for Higher Education HR Executives (SHEHRE), the American Research Universities’ Human Resource Institute, the New England Human Resources Association, Operation ABLE, the Governing Body for Evanta (a Gartner company), and the Anne Frank Center USA. 

Prior to joining the education industry, Amanda held HR positions at private and public organizations such as American Express and the National Labor Relations Board. When available, Amanda enjoys museum visits, art exhibits or shows, and volunteering as a mentor.

Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University, a master’s degree in Human Resources Management and Labor Relations from the University of Rhode Island, and an additional certification in labor relations in education.

Sydney Caine

Board Member
Head of Industry, Healthcare at Google.

Sydney Caine is a dynamic leader in the healthcare industry, serving as the Head of Industry, Healthcare at Google. She
partners with top health insurers and health systems to develop innovative digital solutions that improve patient care and
access. Sydney is also deeply passionate about Holocaust education, combating antisemitism and keeping Anne Frank’s legacy alive. Sydney brings a unique blend of digital expertise and social consciousness to the Anne Frank Center USA board. Her
deep understanding of consumer insights, digital strategy, and her ability to drive business impact will be invaluable assets.

As a mother of three sons living in the suburbs of Chicago, Sydney is committed to using her skills and experience to
educate and create a more inclusive future. Sydney is also on the Executive Committee for The Children’s Service Board
at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Prior to joining the education industry, Amanda held HR positions at private and public organizations such as American Express and the National Labor Relations Board. When available, Amanda enjoys museum visits, art exhibits or shows, and volunteering as a mentor.

Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University, a master’s degree in Human Resources Management and Labor Relations from the University of Rhode Island, and an additional certification in labor relations in education.

George Fechter

Board Member
Entrepreneur • Civil rights and social equity advocate

Irene R. Gottlieb

Board Member
Founder, Garnet Media Group • Author • Photographer

Pieter Kohnstam

Holocaust Survivor
Author, A Chance to Live: A Family's Journey to Freedom

Pieter Kohnstam was born in Amsterdam in 1936. His parents, Hans and Ruth Kohnstam, were forced to flee from the Nuremberg/Fuerth area in Germany to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, during the early days of the Nazi regime.

It was by chance that the Kohnstam’s apartment in Amsterdam was downstairs from the fam ily of Anne Frank. Ruth became a close friend of Edith Frank, and Anne, the youngest daughter, became Pieter’s babysitter. Both children attended the local schools in the neighborhood.

When Nazi persecution of Jews in The Netherlands became intolerable, the Franks went into hiding, but Pieter’s parents decided to flee Amsterdam. After a year-long trek through Bel gium, France and Spain, they reached safety and freedom in Argentina.

In 1963, Pieter immigrated to the United States where he pursued a career in the specialty chemical industry, focusing on pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. He became a U.S. citizen in 1968. He and his wife, Susan, married in 1965 and have two children and three grandchil dren. Now retired in Venice, Florida, Kohnstam is active in community affairs.

Pieter’s book was published in The USA in 2006, The Netherlands in 2008 and in Germany in 2016.

Sally Levine

Board Member
Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust

Sally N. Levine has served as Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust since 2013. Sally Levine joined the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust from the Breman Museum in Atlanta where she served as the Specialist for Teacher and Curriculum Development. She previously served as a Regional Educator for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. In these roles, and as a Museum Teacher Fellow, she has conducted workshops for educators locally and throughout the country, focusing on Holocaust history and pedagogy. Prior to her assignments as a museum educator, Levine was a classroom teacher and social studies department coordinator for over twenty years. She has taught both social studies and language arts.

Julie Linhart

Board Member

Julie Linhart began her career with successful stints in television news production in Charleston, SC, and Washington DC, and later in public relations and hotel sales in New York. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she has been a residential realtor for the past 17 years, primarily representing buyers moving to Arizona. While raising her two sons in Phoenix, she also  became involved in the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center, where she spearheaded a campaign and raised money for an outdoor playground for the facility. She served on the Women’s committee at Congregation Beth Israel,  where she helped organize a “Walk for Cancer”, which has become a successful annual event. Julie has also served on the prestigious Arizona  Kidney Board, which hosts one of the country’s best attended National Author’s Luncheons.

Julie graduated from the University of South Carolina. She and her husband Gary have two sons Zachary and Matthew. They enjoy traveling and spending time at their beach home in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mark Shemtob

Board Member

Mark is a retired pension actuary having run his own consulting practice for many decades. He currently serves as a volunteer for several actuarial organizations focusing on national retirement security public policy issues. He has taught at the Rutgers University Business school as an adjunct professor on retirement finance. Among Mark’s other volunteer experiences include being a US Peace Corp volunteer in the 1970s, Habitat for Humanity builds, as a consultant to veterans starting businesses, and the expansion of the Actuarial Foundation Math Motivators Program in NYC. He has traveled extensively around the world. Mark received his BA from SUNY Albany and his MA from Columbia University both in mathematics.

Advisory Council

The AFC Advisory Council engages an accomplished group of professionals as ambassadors, occasionally lending their expertise and presence. Advisory Council members include scholars, clergy, industry leaders, public figures, and others with backgrounds as varied as the communities we serve. The Advisory Council is distinct from board membership, as there are no philanthropic or time commitments beyond serving as an ambassador on the AFC’s behalf.  

Joyce Ahrens

Foundations Developmental Resources, LLC

Amanda Bailey

Vice President for Human Resources
Brown University

Lt. Col. Jennifer Bower

Assistant Professor
U.S. Army War College

Maria Esposito, PhD

Associate Professor of Education Molloy College, NY

Josh Lockwood

Division VP, Northeast American Red Cross of Greater NY

Lauren McGowan

Director of Development North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center

Jud Newborn, PhD

Curator/Producer, Cinema Arts Centre
Author, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose
Founding Historian, NY Museum of Jewish Heritage

Jonathan E. Rothschild

President & CEO, Arterio, Inc.
Roslyn, NY

Ivy Schamis

2018 SAFA Teacher of the Year Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Parkland, FL

Siddhartha V. Shah, PhD

Curator of Indian & South Asian Art, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

Barton Shallat

Rabbi Emeritus Temple Beth El, Huntington, NY

Are you interested in joining our Advisory Council?

Please contact us at for more information on this opportunity.

Staff Members

Lauren Bairnsfather


Dr. Bairnsfather began her career at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and most recently served as Executive Director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. She holds a Doctorate in History from the University of Texas at Austin and serves on the boards of the Association of Holocaust Organizations and the Council of American Jewish Museums.

Alexandra Gellner

Educational Program

Hailing from Northern California, Alex’s professional work in theatre and film spans 20 years, having appeared on multiple off-Broadway and independent theatre stages throughout New York City. As a teaching artist, she has led workshops at The New School’s Summer Stage Acting Intensive and collaborated with youth theater groups around the country. She is a champion of collaboration, ensemble-building, and bridging differences through the practice of empathy. Alex holds an MFA in Acting from The New School and a BA in Dramatic Arts and Psychology. She likes to spend her spare time rediscovering favorite pastimes, such as cross-stitching, knitting, calligraphy, ink drawing, and water coloring.

Vik Gupta

Finance & Human Resources

Vik Gupta is a consulting director of finance to a number of nonprofits and small businesses. He creates and implements financial systems, improves internal controls, reports to management and board of directors, liaises with outside auditors, and is responsible for overall financial strategy. He works on contingencies to ensure organizational continuity even during adverse times. He works closely with all clients to understand their programmatic missions and how finance can support and further their missions. In his spare time, Vik is a photographer, volunteers with under-served communities, and teaches math to high-school students.

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Congressman John Lewis speaks at the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards
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