Polly Appel holds an MSW degree from Columbia School of Social Work and a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has been assisting Kristi House with its client engagement project, “Healing EMBRACE”, which seeks to identify ways to improve referral rates of engagement from Kristi House and CAC partners. She has helped identify techniques, best practices and training curriculum that can be helpful to the families we serve. She and her husband Peter have three sons.
Susan is the Chief Commercial Officer for OneSpaWorld, a publicly-held $600M global spa and wellness company. She manages strategy, client relationships, contract negotiations, operations, sales, marketing, revenue, supply chain, business intelligence, finance, product innovation, customer service, shipboard human resources, and employee engagement for more than 3,000 team members from 87 countries on over 20 cruise brands across 150 ships. Prior to this role she served for 12 years at Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd., and three years at Norwegian Cruise Line. She is a graduate of the Newcomb College of Tulane University and has a son.
Yvonne Chen worked for the Carnival Corporation for 14 years, where she was the International Project Director. She was responsible for leading the planning and integration of start-up and ongoing requirements in international markets, including commercial strategy and ship operations. Experienced in strategy, business development, project management and advisory services, she brings an ability to understand complex processes involving finance, compliance and operations to Kristi House. Prior to working with Carnival she worked in audit for KPMG Chartered Accountants and Ellis Foster Chartered Accountants in Canada.
Chris Cruzpino joined Regions in 2008 and is the South Florida Regional Executive for Regions Private Wealth Management and the Market Executive for the Miami-Dade market. Chris oversees Private Wealth operations for the West Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and International markets. As the Market Executive, she works with colleagues and community members to identify opportunities for the bank and its associates to make a meaningful difference in response to local needs. Through volunteer service, nonprofit support, delivering financial education, and more, Cruzpino reflects the company’s commitment to meeting clients’ needs while supporting the vitality of the broader Miami-Dade community.
Prior to joining Regions Financial, Chris held the role of Executive Vice-President and Chief Sales Officer of Great Florida Bank. Cruzpino began her professional career in 1984 at Bank of America in the Consumer Bank channel. Chris served in many roles during her 23-year tenure at Bank of America including Senior Vice President and Market Manager for the Premier Banking and Investments division, as well as National Executive of the International Premier Wealth Management division.
Cruzpino is originally from Cuba and moved to the U.S. in 1962 with her family. She has served as Miami Dade County’s March of Dimes Walk America Chairperson, sits on the Miami Dade College Alumni Association Board, and has been an active participant in various organizations including American Heart Association, United Way, St. Jude Hospital and The Diversity Council.
Susan Dandes is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. She is the Clinical Director of the UM Child Protection Team, a Kristi House partner. Dr. Dandes is the clinical supervisor at CPT where she also performs psychological evaluations of children suspected of being abused or neglected as well as their family members.
Rachelle de Moya is a Certified Public Accountant who is currently a stay-at-home mother. Ethan, Juliette, Lucas and Emma keep her on her toes, along with her teenage stepchildren. A Tampa native, she moved to Miami 10 years ago where she obtained her Bachelors and Masters in Accounting at the University of South Florida. Rachelle has been co-chair of Kristi House’s Breaking the Silence annual program and currently serves as the Nominating Chair. She has been a volunteer fundraiser for Westminster Christian School and Parent-to-Parent of Miami. Supporting organizations that assist children is something she holds dear to her heart.
Pedro Echarte is a partner at The Haggard Law Firm, having previously been an intern and associate with the firm. Mr. Echarte handles an array of cases for the firm, including negligent security, fire, drowning and other catastrophic personal injury cases. He also handles Title IX cases and other cases stemming from the sexual battery, harassment, and discrimination of victims.
Mr. Echarte has been named to the Best Lawyers in America List, Super Lawyers List, and was named to Florida Trend’s 2015 Legal Elite. Mr. Echarte also currently serves as a Director on the Board of the Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Echarte received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law in 2010, graduating magna cum laude and serving as a member of the University of Miami Law Review.
Santiago Eljaiek III is the Shareholder of the Firm and heads the Transactional Department. His practice includes the representation of national and international clients, focusing primarily on the sale, purchase, lease and financing of commercial properties, real estate, and asset based and structured lending. Mr. Eljaiek also structures and negotiates complex business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, venture and growth capital investments, debt and equity financings and corporate restructurings. His clientele is diverse, including private equity and venture capital funds and corporations, as well as high net worth families and individuals. Eljaiek serves as outside general counsel for a variety of profit and not-for-profit Corporations and Condominium.
Fran Feinberg is Director of the Criminal Court Project of the Guardian Ad Litem Program for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. This office is part of the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program which is a network of professional staff and community advocates partnering to provide a strong voice in court and positive systemic change on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children. Miami is one of the state’s leading local Guardian ad Litem programs in 20 judicial circuits in Florida.
Gary Jackson is a retired Miami Police Detective with 25 years of experience in investigating sexual and physical abuse cases. Detective Jackson has been a Kristi House Founding Board Member since 1996. He is a Miami native and a graduate from Barry University. In 2011 the City of Miami honored Gary with a Proclamation recognizing his years of service on the Miami Police force. He has two grown children.
Aaron Karger is the founding and managing partner of Law Offices of Aaron A. Karger, P.A, where his practice in the area of personal injury including from negligent security, premises liability (slip and falls), wrongful death, automobile accidents, or from intentional torts such as sexual assault and battery. Aaron also has a significant background in real estate sales, management and development. Aaron is an active member of Dade Legal Aid where he routinely accepts Pro Bono cases through the Put Something Back Program. Aaron is very involved with philanthropy and strategic community outreach on behalf of the New World Symphony, where he serves as Chair on the Executive Committee for Friends of the New World Symphony.
Juliana is originally from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, located just outside of Detroit. She holds a Masters Degree in Contemporary Art History from Sotheby’s Institute in London and a Bachelor’s from the University of Michigan. Juliana runs her own jewelry design business. She and her husband Alex, who is the founding partner of Juniper Capital, have lived in Miami for six years with their children. She worked closely with the board of the Children’s Health Foundation when she lived in Aspen, and in Miami she is a member of the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation Board. Juliana and Alex were featured in the Miami Magazine philanthropy edition as one of the notable philanthropic families in South Florida.
Mr. Lichter is the Managing Partner of Newbury and is responsible for managing its secondary investment activity. Mr. Lichter has been a senior investment professional in nine secondary funds and has been responsible for over 100 secondary transactions. Mr. Lichter graduated with an MBA from M.I.T., Sloan School of Management and received an AB from Dartmouth College with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Mr. Lichter is a Member of the Board of Overseers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinarian Medicine. In addition, he founded and heads the Richard Lichter Charity for Dogs.
Dr. Andrea Lippman Loeb is a Licensed Psychologist who has been practicing in the Miami area for 15 years. Her specialties include assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults and adjustment to major life changes and challenges. Dr. Loeb also has extensive experience in the treatment of sexually abused children and served as Clinical Director of Kristi House for more than two years when the Orlowitz-Lee Center opened in 1999. Dr. Loeb completed her internship and residency at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Medical Center, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Loeb is currently the co-owner of a successful private therapy practice in Miami, named South Miami Psychology Group. She and her husband, David have three children.
Jennifer Love is Royal Caribbean’s security chief and senior vice president for safety, security, environment, and medical/public health. Ms. Love spent most of her career as an FBI agent, beginning as a street agent in 1987 and retiring in 2012 as the bureau’s assistant director for the security division. She was responsible for the physical safety of the FBI’s personnel, confidential information and internal police department, and both the U.S. attorney general and the FBI director. She was awarded the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive Service. Although expecting to retire after 25 years at the FBI, she was lured to RCL to take over as the company’s security chief. She was persuaded by cruise line’s commitment to the environment, by its drive to be ABC – Above and Beyond Compliance – in the regulatory realm, and by its culture of relentless innovation. RCL has been one of Kristi House’s founding corporate supporters.
Priscilla Marrero is Chief Creative Officer and Founding Partner of creativeondemand (C.O.D), a national cross-cultural advertising agency headquartered in Coconut Grove, Florida. Priscilla has dedicated her career to growing top-tier global brands, creating leading companies, and developing executive leaders. She provides a balanced innovative and strategic vision for all aspects of her client's business. Whether it’s business development, leading marketing communication programs, social media or community-based marketing, Priscilla offers a unique, down-to-earth perspective that along with her cross-collaborative approach delivers meaningful business results to her Fortune 500 clientele. She has a talent for translating research facts and figures to insights that truly capture human emotion and ultimately move consumers towards action and brand loyalty. Priscilla’s work has been recognized internationally with industry-leading advertising and marketing awards including Clios, London International Awards and national and local Addys.
Ania Rodriguez is founder and CEO of Key Lime Interactive. Her firm has served as a user experience advisor to Fortune 500 companies around the world for nearly the past two decades on the topics of User Interface Design, Product Design, and User Research. Known for her focus on actionable results and quality, Ania’s leadership has resulted in double-digit growth over the past six years and the company has emerged to become the leading user experience research firm in the United States. She is a mother of two children, Vanessa and Max. She is an inspiration to young women with dreams to pursue their own business while juggling the family life.
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Schaul, M.A., Ed, MBSR Certified Instructor, is a children’s book author and tutoring company owner who has worked education for 16 years. After 13 years of teaching in both the public and private elementary sectors, Elizabeth co-founded PowerPlus Tutoring, which she has owned and operated for the past three years. She is an active member of her children’s school, Temple Beth Am, where she serves on the Executive Board and as a member of the School Board. She has been involved with Beaux Arts benefiting the Lowe Art Museum, Make-a-Wish Foundation and events benefitting the Arsht Center and Miami City Ballet. She is chair of Kristi House’s Silver Lining Gala in February 2020.
Natalie Snyder is Division Chief of the Sexual Battery and Child Abuse Unit of the State Attorney’s Office for Miami-Dade County. Fulfilling an agency-partner seat, Ms. Snyder has served on Kristi House’s Board of Directors since 2018. She obtained her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 2005.
Dr. Brianna R. Varas is a Pediatrician with Sunset Pediatrics, where she hopes to alleviate any anxiety parents may have while dealing with their child’s health –not only taking care of medical problems but also taking care of families as a whole. Dr. Varas attended medical school at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and subsequently completed her residency in Pediatrics at Miami Children’s Hospital, now known as Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. During medical school, Dr. Varas began traveling to Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, and Haiti to perform medical mission work, something she continues to be actively involved in today. Dr. Varas recently embarked on another life-changing journey, that of being a mother. She enjoys spending time with her two young sons Angelo and Nicolas as well as with her husband Manny Varas.
Recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as a “Power Leader in Marketing,” Tina van der Ven has dedicated her distinguished 15-plus year marketing career to helping global law and accounting firms achieve their business and communications goals. Prior to co-founding NewStar Media, a full-service marketing-communications firm, Tina was the regional marketing director of Greenberg Traurig, and prior to that, she was the health care marketing consultant for Ernst & Young. Tina has been equally devoted to giving her time, talents and treasure to the community through leadership and board positions for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Miami City Ballet, Miracle Society, and United Way Women’s Leadership group, among others. She’s mentored several youth along the way, and was recently inducted to the NSU University School “Hall of Fame.” Tina lives in Coconut Grove with her husband and their two young children.