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

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

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

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

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

Melissa is a transformative coach and national speaker (onceweconnect.com) providing students with the tools to instill a growth mindset, foster grit, direct perspective, enable the power of now, understand vulnerabilities, and expand their toolbox to empower students to live a flourishing life of well-being in pursuit of their passions. Melissa joins her professional strengths in Business/Operational Leadership and Organizational/Cultural Development with the tools, insights and applications grounded in the science of well-being, to offer a unique approach to early career and college major exploration and coaching to support the development and execution of a life vision and mission.

Melissa has a diverse background as a senior executive and corporate attorney, with an entrepreneurial drive that has evolved throughout a multi-faceted career spanning various industries and emerging markets. A sociologist and attorney by trade, trained in the practices of meditation, positive psychology and mindfulness, Melissa has utilized her extensive experience in the corporate, legal and mindfulness fields to teach and advocate social and emotional well-being in all aspects of life, and to guide students and employees through career decisions. Melissa is actively involved in community outreach, a corporate executive, strategist and advisor, a University of Pennsylvania Alumni Interviewer, and a mom of two, to whom she has taught the importance of utilizing mindfulness and meditation in their daily lives to achieve their desired goals in pursuit of their passion, vision and mission in life.   She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a certificate in applied positive psychology, and is a licensed attorney in New York and Florida.

Melissa also spends time on brand and product development, creating brands seeking to elevate the social consciousness through a wide-span of product offerings promoting health, connectedness and social conscience across health and wellness, fashion, art, music and entertainment platforms. For eighteen years, Melissa served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of MovieTickets.com, a leader in advance movie ticketing. For a portion of that time, Melissa was Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs for Hollywood Media Corp (NASDAQ listed, formerly included Broadway.com, Hollywood.com, and movie-related data syndication companies). Currently, Melissa is also an avid writer and actively involved in the community, serving on the board of directors and as an executive advisor and strategist for the non-profit KindnessMatters365 foundation, which teaches and advocates social and emotional well-being.

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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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Summer Faerman photo

Summer Faerman

Director

Summer Faerman could have been on a fast track to a high-powered legal career. The Miami Beach native graduated from the University of Florida at 19, triple majoring in Business, English and Religion. She was accepted into Harvard Law School but had bigger plans to go out and change the world. Summer took a deferment to work for a law firm but billable hours weren’t on her bucket list. Giving back is her true fuel and passion.

Currently, Summer finds this fuel in her 9-to-5 as director of the Tzedakah, Learning and Chesed (TLC) Program at Boca’s B’nai Torah Congregation. Under the TLC umbrella, she built the first Little Free Pantry, a public food cabinet, outside the Salvation Army on Southwest Second Avenue in Boca Raton and has since installed dozens more, from Coral Springs to Lake Worth Beach, all of which are stocked 8-12 times a days.

Fighting foodinsecurity is one of many ways Summer gives back. The Boca Raton-based mother of two volunteers for more than 15 local and national organizations, cooks for the homeless as part of Love Outreach Boca and is proud to serve on the Executive Board of Kindness Matters 365.

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Anthony Bacchus photo

Anthony Bacchus

Director

Anthony Bacchus is from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and had been playing drums since 1978. He’s the founder of Palm Beach Community Artist Presentations and Performance (PBCAPP), an organization promoting performance opportunities for the Palm Beach County Community. He’s also the founder and CEO for Cultural Arts Performance and Education Universal (CAPE), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization empowering and inspiring youth, the community and the elderly.

Anthony was Director of the Milagro Teen Center since 2013 to 2021 and is currently Director of Partnerships for Milagro Center. As Director of Milagro Teen, he turned a drop-in center for underserved youth into a fully-structured afterschool program, creating middle and high school programs to provide kids and teens academic enrichment, cultural arts, and mentorship resources and opportunities.

A Nonprofit First Rising Leader Graduate of 2018, Anthony is also a Master African Caribbean drum teacher and performs spiritual and healing facilitations throughout South Florida Anthony has a passion for working with children and uniting the community. He is active in the community, having planned and participated in a multitude of impactful events and initiatives in Palm Beach County, empowering youths by engaging them in entrepreneurship, dancing, drumming, and live art. Anthony also created the Milagro and Spady Museum’s inaugural presentation of the Black History Youth Awareness Arts Festival in 2022, bringing together Palm Beach County City officials, many organizations, children, parents, teachers, and the community together in unity. He transcends spiritual energy to all through the drums and love and is proud to be serving on the KM365 Board of Directors.

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Frank Marangos photo

Frank Marangos

Director

Dr. Frank Marangos has more than 40 years of experience in management and development with religious, educational, business, and non-profit entities providing organizational consulting, assessment, leadership development, instructional training, strategic fundraising, communication, and personalized coaching. He’s currently Director of Development and Communications for The Salvation Army of Palm Beach County.

Frank is a Fellow in Charitable Estate Planning (FCEP); holds a doctoral degree in Adult Education (Ed.D.) as well as a doctoral degree in Ministry and Childhood Education (D.Min.). He is also a Certified Practitioner and Interpreter of Myers-Briggs Type Instruments (MBTI) that provide vital psychometric information for leadership, teambuilding, professional learning communities, and organizational development. As Founder and CEO of OINOS Educational Consulting Company and a Senior Business Coach and Consultant for AWAKE Consulting Group, Frank has provided training and support to entrepreneurial leaders on a variety of business and marketing strategies. He has been invited to participate in national and international think tanks focusing on societal & religious issues hosted by the United States Government (SAG) and Oxford University.

Frank previously served as a Managing Director for O’Meara Ferguson – a highly specialized financial services and development counseling firm that provides financial and strategic consulting, capital resource and investment management advisory services to schools and universities, religious orders, and other organizations related to and part of the Catholic Church. He also was the Dean and supervised the construction of the Church of Saint Mark Greek Orthodox Church on Yamato Rd in Boca Raton, FL. He collaborates as a Vice President with Thompson and Associates (www.ceplan.com) – a company that specializes in providing planned giving expertise. The firm does not replace but compliment personnel to increase contributions. He has also taught at several theological schools and Christian universities, is a successful grant-writer, and is a nationally certified Distance Learning Leader. Frank’s favorite place to visit is Maui, and he enjoys fly fishing in his spare time.

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Meet Our KM365 Advisory Board

Robin Rubin, MSW
Professor, Florida Atlantic University
Expertise: Community Outreach, Volunteerism, Philanthropic Advocate
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Yohai Borenstein
Co-Founder/CFO
Aivante Solutions
Expertise: Corporate Finance, Operations/Project Management, Accounting
Location: Centennial, CO
Anne D.
Expertise: Kindness Queen, Connectivity w/ Specially-Abled
Location: Michigan
Sandy Gerstein
Founding Agent
The Koolik Group
Expertise: Organizational Development, Project Management
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Joseph Zolobczuk, MS Ed.
Executive Director of YES Institute
Expertise: LGBTQ Diversity & Inclusion Advocate/Professional
Location: Miami, Florida
Caio Uruguai
Founding Sensei, True Kombat Training
Expertise: Anti-Bullying Advocate & Self-Defense Trainer for Children/Adults
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Nandini M.
Expertise: Leadership, High School/Teen Programming
Location: North Carolina
Chris Purcell
Owner/Creative Director
Torque Advertising + Design
Expertise: Brand Development, Graphic Design, Marketing/Promotion
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Carla Sadoff
Partner, Lumeri LLC
Expertise: Complex Project Management/Strategic Planning, Operations Execution
Location: New York, NY
Sarena S.
Expertise: Leadership, High School/Teen Programming
Location: North Carolina