Leake & Watts Welcomes Aboard Three New Board Members from Google, BlackRock, and Reed Smith

Christopher Ackerman, Erik Moss, and Obediah Ben Samuel Represent a Younger and More Diverse Generation of Philanthropists, Recruited Through Programs That Connect Board Candidates to Outstanding Nonprofits

Yonkers, NY, November 30, 2016 --(PR.com)-- Christopher M. Ackerman of Google, Erik Moss of BlackRock, and Obediah Ben Samuel of Reed Smith have been elected to the Board of Directors at Leake & Watts, an award-winning New York City nonprofit human services agency, announced Alan Mucatel, executive director, today. The new members reflect the board’s commitment to recruit younger and more diverse members who can use their professional skills and insight to continue moving the agency forward.

“Chris, Erik, and Obediah are passionate about the values and goals of Leake & Watts,” explained Mr. Mucatel. “Their professional and educational backgrounds, as well as their grasp of what’s happening in the world today, will be of enormous value as our agency continues to grow and expand.”

For Christopher Ackerman, a senior quantitative user experience researcher in the Google for Education group, joining the Leake & Watts board was a great way to get involved in the community. “I was attracted to Leake & Watts when I read about the scale and scope of the good work they do in the New York City metro area. Meeting members of the board and executive staff, and touring the facility in Yonkers, convinced me of the quality and importance of their work,” Mr. Ackerman said. He added, “I hope to use my skills in metrics, IT, and strategic planning to help move Leake & Watts forward.”

Mr. Ackerman earned a PhD in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He also holds a BA in English from the University of Chicago. Since joining Google in 2012, he has helped formulate and analyze Google’s efforts to drive internal and external charitable giving. He has also evaluated nonprofit grant applications in the education sector as part of Google’s Bay Area Impact Challenge. Mr. Ackerman is the author of numerous publications in the field of neuroscience. He currently resides in Manhattan.

Erik Moss, director of global fixed income at BlackRock, Inc., said he was drawn to Leake & Watts by the diversity of services it provides to at-risk populations - something with which he is familiar. “I grew up in a poor community with many neighbors who suffered from mental disease, behavioral outbursts, and a general lack of education. My experiences taught me that it is important to receive adequate care and that education can span seemingly vast divides in our culture,” he explained.

Mr. Moss added that he has been a teacher himself. “I have firsthand experience in seeing the power of what can happen when the appropriate level of services are provided to students. Each of us wants to learn and succeed while being a part of a larger community. It is core to our humanity, and I am encouraged by the fine work that Leake & Watts and its incredible staff provides its clients,” he said.

A resident of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mr. Moss joins the Leake & Watts’ board with extensive experience in business management and financial modeling. A graduate of Columbia University, he holds a BA in Economics. Mr. Moss also earned an MA in Secondary Math Education from City College, City University of New York. In addition to his service to Leake & Watts, Mr. Moss is a junior board member for Advocates for Children.

Obediah Ben Samuel, an attorney at Reed Smith and a resident of Brooklyn, New York said, “I was drawn to Leake & Watts because it offers a broad range of programs that focus on the fundamental development needs for at-risk youth. A large portion of youth benefiting from its work are ethnic minorities, LGBT, and unaccompanied minors immigrating to this country, all of which are causes very close to my heart.” Mr. Samuel added that he was impressed by Leake & Watts’ holistic approach, focusing not just on the child, but also on the entire family and the child’s environment.

In addition to his service to Leake & Watts, Mr. Samuel is a student mentor for NewYork Needs You. He was graduated with a BA in International Finance & Marketing from University of Miami, School of Business, and was awarded a JD in Law from University of Notre Dame Law School. He is a member of the New York City Bar Association.

Founded as a Manhattan orphanage in 1831, Leake & Watts operates programs serving more than 11,000 children, adults, and families throughout New York City and Westchester County. Programs include early childhood education, foster care and adoption, specialized education services, a home for teenage mothers in foster care, behavioral/mental health support services, and juvenile justice services. Leake & Watts also operates residences for adults with developmental disabilities and a Preventive Services program to stabilize at-risk families so children can remain in their parents’ care. For more information, visit www.leakeandwatts.org.
Leake & Watts
Jeannie Ashford
914-242-0010 x 103