About Us

Our Mission

Powered by Action amplifies the efforts of those trying to change the world by connecting people anywhere as if they were in the same room.

Our Belief

Created with visionary leaders and nonprofits in mind, our app suite helps individuals and teams connect to create communities, build movements, and affect change in the world—regardless of their location.

Conversation

We power ongoing communication, connecting passionate people who share interests and intent.

Community

Communities bound together by common interests and purpose gather and form movements.

Change

Movements fueled by integrity, strong values, and infrastructure change the world.

Strategic Intent

To build a network of nonprofits and their life-empowering services that will be accessible by anyone, anywhere, from any device. Through its strategic partners, Powered by Action will develop and offer software innovations and programming that make this possible.

Our Team

Our experienced and innovative team believes that nonprofits are changing the world. Together, we are building a collaborative network of nonprofits and life-empowering services accessible by anyone, anywhere.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

Helen Keller

Executive Team

Andre Hughes

Andre Hughes

Founder & Servant, Powered by Action

Andre Hughes is a retired Global Managing Partner at Accenture. During his nearly 25 years with Accenture, Andre founded and grew two billion-dollar businesses and led the company's human capital, inclusion and diversity, and corporate citizenship program.

Andre holds a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He serves on the boards of the Chicago Urban League, Purdue University's Krannert School of Management - Business Opportunity Program, the Presidential Council for Economic Growth and Development in Haiti and LeaderShape. Andre lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two children.

Bjorn Jensen, Ph.D.

Bjorn Jensen, Ph.D.

Director of Customer Engagement

Bjorn has a specific background and experience in driving online community engagement through hands-on assistance and research. Bjorn believes all nonprofits can capitalize on the rise in civic engagement by leveraging innovative online technologies to solve society’s toughest problems. Likewise, he believes that increasing the frequency and number of interactions between nonprofits and the people they serve can triple knowledge and behavior changes sought.

Bjorn received his Ph.D. in Organizational Communication and Open Digital Innovation from The Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University and his MSc in Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

Regan Sonnabend

Regan Sonnabend

Chief Pioneer, PbA for nonprofits

Regan is a career marketer and a lifelong volunteer for a variety of causes. After spending a decade in hospitality, a decade in healthcare and most recently a few years in the agency world, Regan is overjoyed to be joining our team to bring her personal and professional passions together at Powered by Action. She has led marketing and social media strategy for numerous clients including household name organizations, presented at numerous industry conferences and worked with organizations to promote public-private partnership.

Regan’s volunteer highlights include Boys and Girls Clubs, United Way Youth in Action program, Chicago Lights, committee chair for her PTA, pro bono work for water-related causes and serving as a Climate Reality Leader, personally trained by Al Gore.

Mark A. Olivo

Mark A. Olivo

CPA

Mark A. Olivo, CPA has been providing 20 years of business and individual tax planning and consulting services to his clients. His expertise includes tax return preparation and review for individuals, corporations, partnerships, and exempt organizations.

Mark is a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois Society of Certified Public Accountants. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Illinois State University in 1997, and was granted a CPA certification by the State of Illinois in February 2001. He lives in Chicago with his wife, and is avid Cubs fan!

Susanne Vasilic

Susanne Vasilic

Chief Pioneer, PbA for schools

Susanne Vasilic has taught in Chicago for fifteen years and believes that education can empower youth to reach their full potential. In 2011, she joined Chicago Virtual Charter School, an innovative school that serves students city-wide. She earned a Master's of Science in Curriculum Adaptation at Northeastern Illinois University and Bachelors of Arts in History from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has shared her ed tech experience at national conferences including the University of Wisconsin Madison Distance Teaching and Learning Conference and at the 2014 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium. She is also a member of the International Society for Technology in Education. Susanne lives in Chicago with her husband and three children.

Jason Perry

Jason Perry

Curriculum Developer, PbA Schools

Jason is an experienced minister, author and teacher. For 30 years he has served the church and kingdom of God in a wide variety of capacities including youth pastor, Sunday School teacher, deacon, elder, campus youth leader with Youth For Christ, interim pastor, youth pastor, associate pastor, and church planter. He has served in several national-level leadership roles addressing issues surrounding youth, mentoring and leadership development. Pastor Perry possesses extensive experience both nationally and internationally as a conference and retreat speaker.

Board of Directors

John-Paul E. Besong

John-Paul E. Besong

Philanthropist & Consultant

John-Paul recently retired from a 35 year career at Rockwell Collins, where he was Senior Vice President and CIO and was responsible for planning and directing the strategic goals and objectives of the information technology organization.

John-Paul holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of Iowa. He has served on the Boards of QCR Holdings, Inc., United Fire Group, Inc., Goodwill Industries International, Inc., JA Worldwide, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa, Inc., Mercy Medical Center Cedar Rapids Iowa, Inc., Iowa Public Television, Iowa Public Television Foundation, and Involta LLC. John-Paul lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with his wife and has two children.

Justin Brown-Vice Chair

Justin Brown-Vice Chair

Chief Operating Officer, BigMarker

Justin is the Chief Operating Officer of BigMarker.com, the world's largest webinar network. Prior to joining BigMarker, Justin worked in Accenture's Management Consulting practice where he helped some of the world's largest companies and governments solve strategic and operational issues.

Justin received degrees in Economics and Marketing from Miami University and is pursuing an MBA at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. He lives in Chicago with his wife.

Clarence Mitchell-Board Chair

Clarence Mitchell-Board Chair

Managing Partner, C3 Ventures Group LLC

Clarence is Managing Partner of C3 Ventures Group LLC, a New-York-based private investment firm. Prior to founding C3, Clarence was a partner and led global management consulting practices for large international professional services firms including Accenture and Cognizant.

Clarence holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University and an MBA from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. He is on the boards of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the Chapin School. Clarence lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Andre Hughes

Andre Hughes

Founder & Servant, Powered by Action

Andre Hughes is a retired Global Managing Partner at Accenture. During his nearly 25 years with Accenture, Andre founded and grew two billion-dollar businesses and led the company's human capital, inclusion and diversity, and corporate citizenship program.

Andre holds a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He serves on the boards of the Chicago Urban League, Purdue University's Krannert School of Management - Business Opportunity Program, the Presidential Council for Economic Growth and Development in Haiti and LeaderShape. Andre lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two children.

Jessica Mattes-Treasurer

Jessica Mattes-Treasurer

Vice President, Goldman Sachs

Jessica is a Vice President in the Investment Management Division (IMD) in Chicago. She joined Goldman Sachs in 2006. Jessica graduated from the University of Notre Dame with honors where she earned a degree in Finance and Political Science as well as a concentration in International Business.

Prior to joining Goldman, Jessica spent time as an analyst for Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management and for Aon Corporation Risk Services. Jessica is a co-captain of the firm’s Investment Management Division and the diversity recruiting captain at the University of Notre Dame. Jessica is on the advisory council of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. She is a founding and active member of the Governing Committee for the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago’s Auxiliary Board and active with the Notre Dame Clubs of Chicago, Omaha and Grand Rapids.

Zhu-Song Mei

Zhu-Song Mei

Founder & CEO, BigMarker

Zhu-Song is the Founder and CEO of BigMarker.com, the world's largest webinar network. Prior to launching BigMarker, Zhu-Song worked at the Technology Labs of Accenture's R&D division where he built complex systems that solved a variety of client optimization problems.

Zhu-Song received three BS degrees from Northwestern University: Computer Science, Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing and Design. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son.

Miriam Neems

Miriam Neems

Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, myowndoctor

Miriam Neems is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at myowndoctor. A skilled businesswoman, Miriam is responsible for overall operations, product design and marketing, customer acquisition, regulatory compliance and legal. She graduated cum laude with her JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Tracey Patterson

Tracey Patterson

Senior Manager, Accenture

Tracey is Senior Manager in Accenture's Business Process Outsourcing group where she leads Accenture's North America Talent Acquisition Operations and Transformation, managing an international team of 400 and a $30 million budget.

Tracey holds a computer science degree from Loyola University Chicago and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business. She serves on the boards of The Boys and Girls Club of Chicago and Jack and Jill of America - Mid-Western Region. Tracey lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

Dr. William Payne III

Dr. William Payne III

MD, MPH

Dr. Payne is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon who practices with WellGroup Health Partners. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of myowndoctor.

Dr. Payne graduated from Occidental College with a BA in Biology, earned his Medical Degree at UCLA School of Medicine and a Master's of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. He serves on the boards of St. James Foundation and the Oasis Foundation. Dr. Payne lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two children.

Edwin Phanord

Edwin Phanord

Founder and CEO, RTX Technology Partners

Edwin is the Co-Founder and Global Managing Partner of RTX Technology Partners, a New-York-based global strategy and technology consulting firm that provides its clients full-service business and technology solutions. Prior to founding RTX Partners, Mr. Phanord was a Senior Partner at Accenture.

Mr. Phanord has undergraduate degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Economics degree, a Masters of Engineering in Electrical and Computer Engineering and an MBA from New York State University at Buffalo. He serves on the Board of the Presidential Council for Economic Growth and Development in Haiti. Edwin lives in New Jersey with wife and two children

Stephen W. Schwab

Stephen W. Schwab

DLA Piper LLP (US) Partner

Stephen is a partner in DLA Piper LLP (US), resident in the Philadelphia and Chicago offices. He represents companies, investors, managers, brokers, trade organizations, regulators, legislators and receivers in disputes, transactions, regulatory and receivership matters.

Stephen holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. He also holds his A.Re. from the Insurance School of Chicago and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Leadership Program. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Museum of the American Revolution, the Boy Scouts of America (Central Region), and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce (Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Mid-Market Initiative).

Elizabeth Tinkham

Elizabeth Tinkham

Senior Managing Director, Accenture

Liz is a Senior Managing Director at Accenture and an industry expert in the areas of telecommunications, media and high technology. She leads the Global Microsoft account, managing a team of 5,000 people working throughout the world.

Liz holds a BS in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Ohio State University and an Executive MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is a Board Member of Washington STEM. Liz lives in Seattle with her husband and three children.

Advisory Council

Janice Howroyd

Janice Howroyd

CEO, Act 1 Companies Inc

Janice is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of California based Act•1 Group, a billion-dollar company that is a global leader in providing temporary staffing, HR services and consulting to over 12,000 clients throughout the world. Janice is a sought-after speaker and lecturer, and is the author of The Art of Work: How to Make Work, Work for You!

Janice is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. She serves on seven boards including her Alma Mater, Harvard University's Women's Leadership Board, and the Los Angeles Urban League. Janice lives in Nevada with her husband and has two adult children.

Cheryle Jackson

Cheryle Jackson

Vice President Government Affairs - Corporate Development of AAR Corporation

Cheryle is the Vice President for Government Affairs and Corporate Development of AAR Corp. where she is responsible for developing strategies to drive AAR's growth, strategic partnerships, communications and branding. Cheryl's previous jobs include CEO of the Chicago Urban League, VP for Communications and Government Affairs at Amtrak and VP of Communications and Brand Management at National Public Radio.

Cheryle is a graduate of Northwestern University. She is the Founder of Real Like Me and serves on the boards of the Aerospace Industry Association and the Chicago Foundation for Women. Cheryle lives in Chicago.

William Mzimba

William Mzimba

Chief Executive Officer, Accenture South Africa

William holds a BA in Business Studies from De Montfort University and a MBA from Bond University. He is co-chair of the South African FoodBanking Network, Director of the Global FoodBanking Network, and a Trustee of the Accenture Foundation. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with wife and two children.

Strategic Partners

BigMarker

BigMarker

Event Space & Custom Branding

BigMarker is the platform for modern webinars & online events.

Creatix

Creatix

Software Design & Development

Creatix is a digital product design and development firm that supports complete digital product life cycles from ideation to requirements to launch.

McDermott, Will & Emery

McDermott, Will & Emery

Pro Bono Legal Counsel

McDermott, Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a long history of social responsibility and commitment to its community.

Weber Shandwick

Weber Shandwick

Marketing

Weber Shandwick is one of the world's leading global public relations firms with offices in major media, business and government capitals around the world.