@ Centre for Social Innovation
601 West 26th St. #325-102
New York, NY 10001
Board of Directors:
Laura Abrams (née Toivonen) is from Turku, the most beautiful city in Finland. She relocated to New York in 2005. She has 15 years of experience in media and advertising industry, and is currently working as Director of Business Operations, Digital Media, at Merkle Inc., a privately owned performance marketing agency. Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Aalto University School of Business, and a master’s degree in Internet Marketing from Hanken School of Economics. She also spent one year in a high school in Iowa as an AFS exchange student and 9 months in Nantes, France, studying in Nantes Graduate School of Management. In her free time she enjoys doing sports (sailing, running, gym), champagne, writing letters (the old-fashioned way – with pen to paper), candles, traveling, and music (second alto + piano). Laura is the treasurer of FCF.
Elli Gustafsson is a legal professional with a law degree from the University of Turku, Finland. Elli has been working for Attorneys at law Borenius Ltd. in Finland since 2012, and she is currently on secondment to Attorneys-At-Law Borenius LLP in New York. In New York, Elli’s practice concentrates especially on European Union data protection and privacy law. Prior to graduating, Elli has worked as trainee at leading Finnish business law firms. She has also studied law at Santa Clara University, California, and business at Aalto School of Business and at City University of Hong Kong. She has also completed an internship in a software company based in Shanghai, China. In her free time, Elli enjoys exploring New York food scene, traveling and yoga.
Jaana Rehnström is a physician (gynecologist) recently retired from private practice. She has been a lifelong human rights activist and since her move to New York 30+ years ago, became interested in promoting Finnish culture and values. She has served on the Boards of several Finnish expatriate organizations in New York and is now also on the Board of the Kota Alliance, a new NYC organization dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment (an offshoot of FCF). In her free time she enjoys music in all its forms, reading, cooking, gardening, socializing with friends and family, and travel. www.jrehnstrommd.com
Mari Simonen an interrnationally recognized leader on development issues was, until recently, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. She was responsible for management, resource mobilization and partnerships. Mari Simonen is currently Chairperson of the International Board of Trustees of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), a global non- governmental organization fighting poverty through volunteers. Among other current responsibilities, Mari Simonen is member of the independet audit and oversight committee of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and member of the board of directors of Population Action international (PAI).
Sanna Valvanne is an innovative choir conductor, versatile performer and a singer&songwriter, originally from Finland. She is recognized worldwide for her creative and holistic choral method “Sing and Shine with Body and Soul”. Sanna is a popular clinician and guest conductor with choirs around the world. She is a former singer and vocal trainer of the world famous Tapiola Choir, with a Masters Degree in Music, from the Sibelius Academy. Sanna lives in New York City, where as the founding director of Sing&Shine Kids and the choir specialist at several El Sistema inspired programs, she works with children from underserved communities. She is excited to serve on the board of FCF and looks forward to sharing the joy&power of music with everyone! www.sannavalvanne.com