Al Albert - Former President of United Soccer Coaches
Al Albert is an American college soccer coach. Albert is best known for his longstanding tenure as the head coach of the William & Mary Tribe men's soccer program in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Over the course of his 33-year tenure as men’s soccer coach at W&M his teams reached the NCAA tournament final-eight twice, he had 29 straight winning seasons, and he recorded 401 career wins.
In addition to his many years as a college soccer coach, Al also has had a distinguished history of volunteer service. Albert was President of United Soccer Coaches from 2008-2009, co-founded and serves as Vice President for the Virginia Legacy Soccer Club, co-founded and serves on the board for the Urban Soccer Collaborative, and served as Chairman of United Soccer Coaches Foundation Foundation.
Albert received his BA in sociology from the College of William & Mary in 1969 and followed up with his Masters in Education in guidance and counseling in 1971.
R. Emery Bright – Attorney & Activist
R. Emery Bright is a D.C. based attorney who works on a variety of high-profile cases for public and private sector clients, including Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and individuals. His cases cover complex legal matters in areas such as government merger and antitrust investigations, internal investigations, and multi-district litigation matters. A native of Liberia, Emery has been actively involved in public awareness and advocacy efforts over the years including participating in Ebola relief campaigns, lobbying for humanitarian intervention, and participating in direct action to change U.S. policy in Liberia.
Emery also moonlights as a writer, actor and producer. He has created pilot projects for television, a graphic novel series, and written, produced and starred in short and feature length films. Emery has made notable guest star and recurring appearances in television favorites (VEEP, The Wire, Law & Order, Dark Angel, among others) and films (Jamesy Boy). He has also performed in numerous theatrical productions. Emery received his B.A. from Beloit College, law degree from Case Western Reserve University and Masters in International & Comparative Law from Georgetown University.
Jill Ellis - 2015 FIFA Coach of the Year
Jill Ellis is the Head Coach of the U.S. Women's National Team and the 2015 FIFA Coach of the Year. In 2015, Ellis led the U.S. Women's National Team to a World Cup championship.
Ellis took the job as National Team coach in 2014 after serving as Development Director for the U.S. Women's National Team since January 2011. She has continued to work with the U.S. Women's National Team's Technical Director on the guidance of the USA's youth national teams.
Prior to becoming Head Coach, Ellis served as the Assistant Coach of the U.S. Women's National Team, as well as the Head Coach of UCLA and the University of Illinois. She played college soccer at the College of William & Mary, where she was named an All-American and earned a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Composition.
Ellis's story is special. As a girl growing up in the UK in the 1970s, she was routinely denied the opportunity to play football. That changed at the age of 15, and she embarked on a journey that would bring her to the height of women's sport. Her story is particularly relevant for MFA's female student-athletes, as girls in Liberia suffer from similar discrimination. Ellis thus serves as an incredible role model for our student-athletes, and we are thrilled to have her support.
Chris Gbandi - Northeastern University Men's Soccer Coach
Chris Gbandi is a Liberian native and the Head Coach of the Northeastern University Men's Soccer team. As a coach, Chris has had successful tenures at multiple prestigious American universities, including Dartmouth College, the University of Connecticut, and College of the Holy Cross.
Prior to his coaching tenure, Chris enjoyed an illustrious college soccer career at the University of Connecticut, where he was a three-time NCAA All-American and the 2000 Hermann Trophy award winner (the most prestigious individual award in American college soccer). Chris was drafted #1 overall in the 2001 MLS draft, igniting a nine-year professional career in the MLS and Norwegian First Division.
Chris embodies the power of the combination of football and education, and he is excited to support the Academy.
Angela Hucles - President of the Women's Sports Foundation
Angela is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist for US Soccer, a two-time World Cup Bronze Medalist, former professional soccer player for the Boston Breakers, and winner of the US Soccer Foundation’s 2009 Humanitarian of the Year Award. She is currently the President of the Women's Sports Foundation.
Since retiring from professional soccer, Angela speaks on leadership and the power of sport; and the impact they both have on personal growth and development. With her unique ability to connect with young players and a sincere and genuine approach, Angela shares personal experiences, practical advice, and tools for success and transformation that can change a life, and last a lifetime.
She understands the athletic experience and how that transformative power can help an athlete reach lasting success in life. Angela also shares how to stay focused - at the highest level - to accomplish soccer and personal goals, insight into overcoming stumbling blocks, and what to do when you find yourself off-track.
Angela is dedicated to sharing her unique insight and inspiration, and empowering audiences to achieve their goals and live their best lives.
Chid Liberty - Liberian Entrepreneur
Chid Liberty co-founded Liberty & Justice, Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified™ apparel manufacturer, after working in entertainment, technology, and finance. He was born in Liberia, West Africa, but left as an infant when his father became the nation’s ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, with residence in Bonn. His family was later exiled in the United States. In 2009, Chid returned to Africa after 28 years abroad. Inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize winning Liberian Women’s Peace Movement, Chid co-founded Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified apparel factory to provide economic opportunities for internally displaced women, who on balance, were vulnerable to rampant unemployment and economic exclusion. He is currently leading L&J’s rapid expansion in Liberia and throughout the region.
In addition to his work at Liberty & Justice, Chid served as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Liberia’s Monrovia Business Startup Center (BSC). The BSC was founded by Spark, a Dutch NGO, for whom Chid manages the Ignite Fund (Liberia) – an equity investment fund that makes strategic investments in Liberian Pico-cap companies with high growth potential. He also speaks internationally on social entrepreneurship and impact investing – recently at Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton Universities, as well as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and IE in Madrid, Spain.
Chid was recognized by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her 2011 State of the Nation Address for his leadership in shaping trade policy and indigenous Liberian entrepreneurship. He is a recipient of the 2014 Salzburg Global Fellowship, 2014 Global Innovation Summit Ecosystem Award, 2013 New African Press 50 African Trailblazers under 50, 2011 SVN Social Innovation Award, 2010 Cordes Fellowship, a Yoxi Portfolio SIR (Social Innovation Rockstar) and works as an advisor and board member to a number of high-impact organizations including GIIRS (the Global Impact Investment Rating System), The Liberia Marathon, FACE Africa, and the Opportunity Collaboration.
Abiola Oke - CEO of OkayAfrica
Abiola Oke is the CEO of OkayAfrica, the leading media company of its kind connecting a global audience to the African continent through compelling content and high-profile cultural events.
As a passionate activist, Abiola serves on the board of various nonprofit organizations, including the Brooklyn YMCA, FACE Africa, and MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary Diaspora Arts). He is a member of the United Nations Association, and is a participant in the next generation of leaders & philanthropists supporting the Clinton Foundation. He also mentors for the Student Sponsor Partners, an organization that addresses the high school dropout crisis in New York City by providing under-served students with four years of college-preparatory education. He was one of a few selected speakers at UNICEF's inaugural Global Innovations for Children and Youth Summit in Helsinki, Finland.
When Abiola is not running OkayAfrica, he can be found producing music for top charting African musicians, hosting cultural radio shows, painting and more. He is also the founder of The Book Club That Ended All Book Clubs, a three-year-old organization with over 350 members. Abiola is currently working on a book about young boys in african board schools and is a contributing writer to various online publications, most recently to CNN.
Prior to joining OkayAfrica, Abiola spent more than 10 years in the financial services industry holding senior executive positions at Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, TD Ameritrade, and Barclays PLC. He holds a bachelor's degree in Economics with a focus in finance from the City University of New York's City College.
Phil Roessler - Professor at the College of William and Mary
Dr. Philip Roessler is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at the College of William and Mary, where he also directs the Center for African Development. He is an expert on conflict, state building, and development in sub-Saharan Africa with extensive field experience across the region. He is the author of two books: Ethnic Politics and State Power in Africa: The Logic of the Coup-Civil War Trap (Cambridge University Press: 2016) and Why Comrades Go to War: Liberation Politics and Outbreak of Africa's Deadliest Conflict (Hurst Publishers/Oxford University Press: 2016) with Harry Verhoeven. His articles have been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Journal of Politics, World Politics and other outlets. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the British Academy, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute of International Education and United States Agency for International Development. As an MFA Ambassador, Dr. Roessler helps to design and implement the Academy's monitoring and evaluation programs.
Hananatu Tunis - Former Miss Liberia in the United States
Hananatu Tunis (Hana) is a proud descendent of Liberia with ties rooted in Sierra Leone. She's a St. John's University graduate, Founder/Executive Director of One Million Girls, and one of the recently announced hosts of the new online series, GenY. After serving as Miss Liberia New York & Miss Liberia in the U.S. '08-'09, she self-proclaimed her advocacy for the rights of women and girls all over the world and service for humanity. Her passion and ultimate goal is to change the world through social entrepreneurship and philanthropy.