Executive Board

Executive Board

Laura Reiss photo

Laura Reiss

Founder & President

Laura Reiss has always believed in a world where people support and celebrate each other. In 2008, she harnessed this belief and started the first Kindness program at Sunrise Park Elementary in Boca Raton, FL, where her children were going to school. This kindness movement that began as a single club became The Kindness Matters 365 Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that educates and inspires children about being kind to themselves, others and throughout the world.

Through extraordinary programs nourished with Gratitude, Compassion and Kindness, Kindness Matters 365 equips kids and teens with knowledge and skills for their social and emotional well-being. We empower their exploration and discovery in caring for themselves and each other, today and for the future.

“I am committed to leaving this world better for having been here. KM365 has created what I believe is the answer to empowering people by giving them the tools necessary to powerfully navigate through life and give back, all while being the best versions of themselves.

I believe in a Kinder world and work towards this every day.”

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Andrew Reiss, MD photo

Andrew Reiss, MD

Chairperson & Treasurer

Andrew Reiss earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia College of Arts and Sciences in 1991 and went on to earn his MD from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1998. He completed his residency training in Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado and is now a board certified pediatrician with Pediatric Associates in Boca Raton, FL.

In his work and personal life, he recognizes the importance of teaching and guiding children towards success. As part of the Samaritans365 Foundation – Kindness Matters, he has seen how contributing to our local community and participating in charitable events and organizations helps children achieve these goals. His commitment to the Samaritan365 Foundation is an extension of his professional passion and what he does every day.

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Karin Gellen photo

Karin Gellen

Vice President

Karin is Executive Director of KM365 and a graduate of Emory University who dedicates her personal and professional life to live alongside the community of others. She brings a depth of experience and knowledge to KM365 in startups, operations, management, customer service, board governance, and talent acquisition. As Executive Director, Karin works passionately to strengthen operations, develop and manage programs and talent, cultivate and integrate the Foundation’s vision, build curriculum, fundraise, and write/administer grants.

Outside of KM365, she is a Mom to Dani and Andrew, consultant to HopeGel®, on the Advisory Board of Wish A Book, Board President of Bucks for Buddy, and Vocal Department President at Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Karin was formerly a partner for an international talent acquisition firm, a human resource professional and recruiter, and a successful small business owner.

Karin began her involvement with KM365 as an Ambassador Club Leader when her two children were in Palm Beach County public schools; she has been passionately involved with everything KM365 ever since! Karin believes her work at KM365 is her calling; the Kindness Curriculum is the “juice” that will help our kids attain social and emotional well-being. And that the result of it all will be a better life for our children and a kinder world for future generations.

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Dr. Laurie Riopelle photo

Dr. Laurie Riopelle

Secretary

Dr. Laurie Riopelle recently became the Principal at Del Prado Elementary School in Boca Raton. She previously served as a principal in Palm Beach County for over ten years at both the elementary and secondary levels. Throughout her twenty-six-year educational career, she has been a teacher, learning team facilitator, assistant principal, principal and director. In 2003 she received the William T. Dwyer Award for Excellence in Education, winning this prestigious award from among all elementary educators in Palm Beach County.

She was also named one of three state finalists for the 2015-2016 Innovative Principal of the Year by the Florida Council of Instructional Technology Leaders, was awarded the Outstanding School Administrator of the Year by the Palm Beach Association of School Psychologists and was a member of the Florida Department of Education Commissioner’s (Brian Dassler) Leadership Academy.

Prior to her arrival at Del Prado, Dr. Riopelle served as the Director of Leadership Development for the School District of Palm Beach County, providing professional growth opportunities and building leadership capacity for both current and aspiring leaders across the 10th largest school district in the nation. She also facilitated leadership programs for aspiring principals and assistant principals and delivered professional development for school and District administrators. Additionally, she serves as an adjunct professor in an Educational Leadership Master’s program at Florida Atlantic University.

Dr. Riopelle received both her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Florida State University. She received her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Lynn University.

Dr. Riopelle currently lives in Boca Raton, Florida with her husband, Jerry, who is a principal for the School District of Palm Beach County. She has two grown sons, Matthew, who lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona and Scott who resides and works in Boca Raton. In her spare time, Laurie enjoys Pilates, reading and spending time with family and friends.

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Allyson Harman photo

Allyson Harman

Director/Development Chair

With over fifteen years of fundraising experience, and a fine arts background, Allyson brings a unique perspective each project. She is a South Florida native and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University. Allyson is dedicated, both to our local community, and to bettering the world as a whole. Allyson is passionate about her professional role as the Director of Regional Development for National Jewish Health, where she helps to raise critical funds for medical research and treatments for those with severe respiratory, cardiac, and immune-related conditions. Allyson lives with her family in Boca Raton, Florida.

Jill Siegel, MSW photo

Jill Siegel, MSW

Director/Merchandise Chair

Jill is originally from the suburbs outside of Philadelphia and has lived in South Florida for the last 18 years. She is the proud mother of two wonderful children. Her son, Drew, graduated from Dartmouth College in 2019 and lives and works in California. Her daughter, Carly, began her freshman year at college in 2019 at the University of Pennsylvania. While Jill earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in Business Management, and then went on to obtain her Masters in Social Work, she considers her children her proudest accomplishment.

After working with developmental optometrists focusing on treating patients presenting with vision difficulties impacting their lives, she went on to manage medical offices owned and operated by a hospital. Jill then chose to stay at home to focus her attention on raising her children, always taking great joy in parenting and enjoying her time being with them. She helped her children learn, grow, and develop while trying to listen with patience and encourage with love. She stressed to her children the importance of having gratitude and giving back at a young age. She taught them the importance of exhibiting kindness, compassion, empathy, and understanding towards others, while making sure they understood the concept of self care and how integrating self care strategies in their life would tremendously benefit not only them, but those they were surrounded by.

Through work with her own personal foundation, she has supported numerous causes of importance to her in the areas of healthcare, the arts, and education. She has also volunteered with multiple organizations including literacy tutoring at Title 1 elementary schools and feeding the homeless. Jill was instrumental in guiding and mentoring her children in the creation of their own charitable foundation, promoting literary exploration in the disadvantaged youth.

When learning about Kindness Matters 365 and its mission and work, Jill was eager to become involved. She has seen first hand the importance of the work they do in her community and is excited to be part of their continued impact both in South Florida and across the country.

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Dido Balla photo

Dido Balla

Director

A passionate speaker, educator, and entrepreneur, Dido graduated with a Master of Science in Secondary Education from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Dido has seven years of experience as a High School teacher, and he is also the founder of a non-profit organization called FitLit. His mission is to use a blended curriculum of fitness and literacy to empower youth. As an experienced brain trainer, Dido has positively impacted hundreds of parents and educators and thousands of students in the areas of emotional intelligence, mindful awareness, and positive psychology.

His work has expanded throughout the United States as well as abroad in Jordan and Brazil. Dido is currently the Director of Educational Innovation and Partnerships for the Goldie Hawn Foundation, where his focus is to maximize the impact of MindUP in schools, communities, and families. He is on a mission to make the world a happier, more productive, and more fulfilled place for all.

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Melissa Orlen Cohen, Esq. photo

Melissa Orlen Cohen, Esq.

Director

Ms. Melissa Orlen Cohen is a co-founder of Fame Collective, a brand incubation company, and Higher Frequencies, a lifestyle brand seeking to elevate the social consciousness through a wide-span of regulated and unregulated product offerings promoting health, connectedness and social conscience across health and wellness, fashion, art, music and entertainment platforms.

Ms. Cohen is a senior executive with an entrepreneurial drive that has evolved throughout a multi-faceted career. For the past eighteen years, prior to co-founding and launching Fame Collective, Ms. Cohen served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of MovieTickets.com, Inc., a leader in advance movie ticketing. As Executive Vice President and General Counsel of MovieTickets.com, Ms. Cohen oversaw all legal aspects of operations and played a leading role in developing and executing on strategies and growth initiatives. In December 2017, Ms. Cohen played a lead role in the acquisition of MovieTickets.com by Fandango as the newest addition to Fandango’s suite of movie ticketing properties. Prior to joining MovieTickets.com, Ms. Cohen was Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs for Hollywood Media Corp. Ms. Cohen began her legal career practicing corporate, securities and entertainment law with Greenberg Traurig, P.A. and Thelen, Reid & Priest, LLP, representing public and private clients in a broad range of capacities. Ms. Cohen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Pennsylvania, a Juris Doctorate from University of Pennsylvania Law School, and is a member of the Florida and New York Bar Associations. She is an avid writer and is actively involved in community outreach.

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Shelly Himmelrich photo

Shelly Himmelrich

Director

Shelly Himmelrich has served as President of The Pechter Family Foundation for over 12 years. Her parents, Jack and Marilyn Pechter established the organization in the 1980s with the desire to help young and old, the hungry, the homeless, and specific programs in alignment with their mission of creating a better world through caring and philanthropy. Through its educational programs for children and adults, the Foundation is committed to furthering tolerance and human rights for the Jewish community and gives locally, nationally, and internationally to help people most in need.

Shelly is also the Vice-Chair of The Pechter Community Foundation, which benefits The Achievement Center for Children and Families. Shelly is personally and professionally passionate about this center which educates and improves Delray’s most vulnerable families.

Shelly has served on the boards of The American Heritage School Parent Teacher Organization, The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, and The American Society for Yad Vashem. Also on The Palm Beach County Food Bank’s Board. Shelly and her husband Billy are founders of Empty Bowls Delray Beach. Additionally, she has served on committees for The Boca Raton Regional Hospital Woman’s Advisory Council, The Johns Hopkins Women’s Journey, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Human Rights and Holocaust Education.

Together with her husband, Bill, and their son, Max, Shelly is currently founding The Charlie Himmelrich Charitable Trust (The Charlie Fund) in their son and brother Charlie’s honor. In her spare time, Shelly enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exercising, collecting seashells, is passionate about orchids and plants, and dreams of new ways to help more people. She lives in Gulf Stream, Florida, with Billy and their four dogs Bing, Sunny, Brioche, and Mookie.

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Robin Rubin, MSW photo

Robin Rubin, MSW

Director

Robin Rubin is an avid volunteer, incredibly involved, and well respected in the greater Boca Raton philanthropic community. Active in her effort to foster and support the local community, she has served on the foundation board for Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach County, the executive board of the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center, South Palm Beach Jewish Federation, and Norman and Ruth Rales Jewish Family Services. Robin also serves on the Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Go-Pink challenge committee and the Women’s Advisory Council for the Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute.

She is also passionately involved at Rales Jewish Family Services and in their yearly Reflections of Hope Luncheon. The mission of that luncheon is to educate the community and end the stigma of mental illness.

Robin earned both her BSW and MSW from Florida Atlantic University, and she currently teaches the Social Work and Positive Well Being course in both the MSW and BSW programs at FAU. Professor Rubin knows the skills and tools necessary to live a flourishing life. Her passion is to teach people how to build their reservoir of positive emotions, work with negative emotions, increase resilience, and create nurturing relationships. As an alumna of FAU, she is the driving force for the annual Phyllis Sandler Heart of Social Work Event that raises funds for student scholarships. Ms. Rubin also founded the Community Advisory Board for the Sandler School of Social Work in 2011 and continues to serve on the board as the faculty representative.

Robin has two adult sons, Jordan and Jonathan, a daughter by luck, Bella, and two beautiful grandchildren. She lives in Boca Raton, FL, with her wonderful husband, Gary, and their two mini Labradoodles.

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