Ms. Andrea Cockrum, Board President
Andrea Cockrum has over 30 years of nonprofit management experience, including major fundraising, and over 40 years of management experience. She started her professional career in 1964 in flight services management working for United Airlines for 13 years based in Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles. In 1978, she was hired by UCLA as the Volunteer Coordinator of its Rehabilitation Center and then the Executive Director of the UCLA Program for Developmentally Handicapped Children and its S.P.R.I.N.T. (Special Preventive Research and New Technology) Program for infants.
Andrea became the founding CEO of The Fulfillment Fund in Los Angeles in 1988, an organization which provides mentoring, college preparation classes, college counseling and college scholarships for over 2,000 traditionally underserved students annually in Southern California. Andrea retired from the Fulfillment Fund in 2012 after more than 20 years of tremendous growth and success for young people, their families and communities. She joined the board of New Designs Charter School in 2003 and became board president in 2005.
Mr. Lloyd T. McKinney, Board Vice President
Mr. McKinney has over 25 years’ experience in Global Supply Chain Management. He is a leader with a proven track record in the ability to lead high performance teams. His skills include special projects management; proposal planning and preparation; administrative and financial management; and project planning and control. Mr. McKinney is a skilled negotiator and customer/supplier interface manager.
He is currently responsible for all aspects of the subcontract management activities for Advanced Mission Programs in the Payloads and Sensors Subcontracts organization for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. In that capacity, he develops acquisition strategies and proactively manages the surveillance over cost, subcontractor interfaces, technical, schedule and contractual performance of an approximate $200M portfolio.
Mr. McKinney currently serves on the Advisory Boards of New Designs Charter School, and the Finance Committee for the WATTSTAR Theatre Project. In these capacities, he advises on strategic planning, fund-raising, marketing, finance and program development.
Mr. McKinney has served on the boards of Los Angeles Urban Youth Golf, the Su Casa Family Crisis and Support Center, the WATTSTAR Theatre, and the Venus and Serena Williams Tennis Academy. Other interests include music, golf, billiards, and tennis.
Lloyd is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and currently is a mentor in its Career Advantage Program (CAP). He has successfully completed the following programs: The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduate School of Business and Management’s African American Leadership Institute; the UCLA - Professional Designation in Government Contract Management and the UCLA Professional Certification in Accounting.
Sheldon Zaslansky, Finance Committee Chair
Sheldon Zaslansky is an accomplished business leader and marketer with experience in Direct Marketing and business development. Mr. Zaslansky is the founder and current President of YellowBrickRoad, a consulting firm specializing in external and internal business development. Founded in 1999, YellowBrickRoad has a variety of clients ranging from cataloguers, retail marketers, on line marketers, and private service providers.
From 1981 to 1999, Mr. Zaslansky was President and owner of the leading Direct Marketing Services firm, The Walter Karl Companies. As the President of Walter Karl, he earned a reputation as a pioneer in his field. He has a proven track record in new business development, senior level client relations, business turnarounds, product development of advance database, and direct marketing techniques and general business. He sold The Walter Karl Companies, Inc and its subsidiaries to InfoUSA in 1999.
From 1971 to 1981, Mr. Zaslansky built Consumers Bargain, a direct mail marketing company. As CEO he developed the company into a multi-million-dollar organization. Target Magazine recognized him as one of the Top 100 Marketers in the country. He has been a featured speaker at many industry conferences. In addition, he has written featured articles for several industry publications and is regularly invited to participate in the DMA Leadership forum with the top marketers in the country.
Sheldon is actively involved with a number of companies. He serves on the Board of Directors for, Direct Ventures and Nola3. He is a director of numerous companies for which he has holds ownership positions. An advisor to The Kahn Gauthier Law group for their web business, which is one of the most visited legal sites in the country. In addition, he is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association. Since moving to California in 2000, Sheldon has assumed the position of Treasurer and is on The Board of Directors for the New Designs Charter School. Also and is often involved in fundraising for local charities. His primary concerns are for children’s organizations and international political policies.
Mr. Zaslansky graduated from Long Island University with a B.S. in Business Administration. He served in the US Army Reserves. He is the father of five children and resides in Manhattan Beach, California.
In 1976, Kojoe Essien enrolled in the Department of Russian Language and Literature, Voronezh State University in central Russia, in the former Soviet Union. Five years later, he graduated from Rostov-on-Don Technical University, excelling in water treatment and sewage engineering.
After holding various job positions in the former West Germany and West Africa, Mr. Essien accepted an engineering position from Tri-Valley Construction in Covina, California, initially as a Cost Estimator and later as a construction supervisor.
In 1986-87, Mr. Essien worked as a substitute teacher in both the West Covina and Compton, California Unified School Districts.
Driven by an unflinching desire to offer his services to those who seek them, Mr. Essien answered President Bill Clinton’s call for the private sector to assist in providing housing for the needy in our society. The Clinton Administration’s GORE (Government Owned Real Estate) program had just been unveiled and Mr. Essien was among the first respondents in California. Using private and government resources, Mr. Essien built or completely renovated a total of 405 (four hundred five) homes and apartments and resold them to needy families throughout Southern California.
True to his vision, Mr. Essien sold those homes and apartments and structured the resale transactions that resulted in several millions of dollars donated to deserving buyers as gifts for down payment or closing expenses, making home ownership a dream-come-true for hundreds of families who otherwise would probably rent perpetually.
Beginning in 2001, Mr. Essien has taught real estate evening classes to some 600 students. Of those, about half went on to pass their California State license and are now actively promoting lending and real estate development in their communities. One thing to note: Mr. Essien has not charged a penny for his teaching services. Currently, K. Sam Essien is the Broker and President of American Federal Funding, Inc. and CasaHome Realty Corp. He is also the president of Casa Por Menos (Home for Less), still working tirelessly in the provision of affordable housing to the Spanish community in Southern California.
"Diego Abba is the President of Opes International & Co., an international advisory firm based in Beverly Hills. He is the former CEO of Sleepy Giant, a fast growing technology and service provider, participated by TPG Capital and EMC (CAA). Diego executive focus has been in the content and digital space, both in the US - also developing the newly created position of VP Finance, Americas with Activision/Blizzard - and in Europe, serving as CFO of Zero9, a mobile content company, majority owned by InvestIndustrial.
Prior to these roles, Diego had advised extensively clients in media, technology and private equity for 9 years both in the US and in Europe, at Bain & Company. Diego also lived and worked in Asia, where he started up Procter & Gamble Vietnam, as the head of the finance organization, after having contributed to the design and implementation of the global in-house bank, as Forex Manager Europe for P&G European Treasury, in Belgium.
Diego has previously served on the Board of MILES S.p.A., an Italian luxury company, leading the turn-around and the growth strategy. Diego holds an MBA from Cornell University and an MA in Business from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy, with a full academic year at UCLA; he is fluent in French and Italian, with a working knowledge of Spanish.
Diego is married and shares with his wife the passion for contemporary art, traveling and fine dining both at home and around the world."
Dr. Derek Asiedu-Akrofi
Dr. Derek Asiedu-Akrofi is the Managing Partner in the Los Angeles based law firm of Akrofi & Akrofi, P.C. He is the head of the International Law practice group. The firm specializes in International Business, Project Financing and Immigration and Humanitarian Law.
He holds a master of Laws and Doctorate degrees in International Law and International Banking and Monetary Law respectively from Columbia University School of Law, New York. He also holds an additional Master of Laws in International Law from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He is a Professor of Law and Course Director at the International Law Institute, Washington D.C.; Geoffrey Wilson Fellow at University of Warwick School of Law and the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom.
Derek Akrofi has served in various capacities, including, Legal Counsel, International Monetary Fund, Washington D.C., Executive Vice President Legal Affairs, Protocol Inc., New York, Member of the U.N. Committee of Experts on Debt Equity Swaps, constituted by the UN Centre of Transnational Corporations; The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; and Boston University School of Law and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Derek Akrofi also has extensive experience in International Law, Anti-money Laundering, Financial Fraud, International Business and Consulting experience advising various companies and governments in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Former Soviet Republics and Asia. He has also served as Legal Adviser on various international consulting projects including those sponsored by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USAID, (United States Agency for International Development), Austrian Development Cooperation, UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research), Kuwait Investment Authority and the Middle East Securities Training Center.
Edna Marroquin is a board registered mental health professional with extensive work experience in education, community relations and children’s mental health issues having worked for a variety of mental health agencies throughout Los Angeles. She is currently a mental health specialist with Starview Children and Family Services in Los Angeles, where she works to bring intervention and family support services to residents of the community.
Prior to that, Edna worked as a Family Services Counselor for the Institute of Leadership and Education. There she worked with special needs children and their families to implement services and care. Edna previously served as the Head of Students Services for New Designs, where she initiated and improved student counseling services and volunteer programs for the children of South Los Angeles.
Edna holds a MA degree in Clinical Psychology, MFT program, from Antioch University, with a specialization in Community Psychology. She received her BA in Psychology from California State University, Northridge, and an AA in Liberal Arts from Santa Monica City College.
Edna's professional background, expertise and development work as a community counselor, and her association with New Designs make her a perfect fit on the board.