We’re so thankful for our Board of Directors. These visionaries set the direction and goals for Pledge to Humanity on an annual basis. Their leadership, direction, and discernment is priceless to everything we do.
Gaby Ghorbani, Founder – Gaby Ghorbani was born and raised in Mexico. Shortly after arriving in the United States, she began an entrepreneurial career which included owning and operating two successful franchises. Since her childhood, Gaby has been committed to humanitarian issues, and through the years, has supported and worked with many different philanthropic projects around the world. Due in large part to her vision and leadership, Gaby continues to steward her commitment to humanitarian efforts around the globe through her non-profit organization, Pledge to Humanity, and through her social enterprise, Love You More – both efforts support local and global causes. She also recently founded Sueños Amor y Esperanza, a nonprofit in Jalisco, Mexico, which is in the final construction stages of an after-school community center to serve under-resourced children. Gaby has served on the advisory boards for Americans for Philanthropy and Advance International, Inc.
Gaby believes strongly that children are capable of doing amazing things to help other children and individuals who are less fortunate. As a result she, her husband, and her own children have been highly involved in humanitarian efforts around the globe. Gaby’s children, serving as co-founders, have been a huge part of Pledge to Humanity over the years and they continue to be actively involved in the daily operations and projects happening around the globe.
In 2009, Gaby launched Pledge to Humanity in an effort to organize efforts within her local area and in many different countries to reach out to people of all ages and provide aid for their needs She also has had the privilege of creating a philanthropy class in a local middle school. Through the philanthropy class and working with other private and public schools, she has the opportunity to instill a passion in children to creatively and practically assist people around the world who are less fortunate.
Beth McKnight, Secretary – Beth is the parent advisor for the San Ramon Valley High School Pledge To Humanity Club which her daughter Kailey McKnight started in 2014. Beth is very proud of the fact that the club has over 140 members and that the club has quickly become the largest and fastest growing club on campus. The club offers volunteer opportunities to its club members most weekends at Soup Kitchens like Glide Memorial, Loaves and Fishes, Martin De Porres and St Vincent De Paul Oakland. They also have a partnership with Habitat for Humanity where the high school kids build homes for low income families. The club has also held a number of collection drives for folks in need (Foster Kid Gift Card drive at Christmas, and Easter supply drive for St. Vincent De Paul’s most needy families in West Oakland).
Their favorite activity is working with Special Olympics athletic events and Challenger baseball where they are able to help mentally/physically challenged kids play baseball. The clubs goal is to make a difference in the very community they live.
In addition to helping with PTH Beth has her own Marketing Consulting business called Category Insights where she actively consults for Consumer Packaged goods clients like Clif Bar, Ghirardelli, Peet’s Coffee, Lindsay Olives and many others in the bay area. Beth lives in Alamo with her husband, and two children.
Carrie Barlow, President – Carrie Barlow is an experienced community leader, involved in many different organizations and campaigns around her home in the East Bay area of California. She graduated with a BA in Communications / Public Relations and a Minor in Business Administration from California State University, Chico. She has spent several years on the Lafayette Library Board with the communications, events, and development committees. In addition to her work at the library, she has been involved with the Oakland Zoo California Trail Official Opening Patron Party Committee and other fundraising efforts. She has helped raise funds for many local school auctions and has been team parent of several sports teams including JV Volleyball and Varsity Lacrosse. She has a passion for the kids in her community and has put a lot of hard work into local organizations!
Natalia Ghorbani, Co Founder/Director of Global Initiatives – Natalia was born and raised in the Bay Area, where she attended Monte Vista High School and went on to graduate from the University of San Francisco with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. She now lives in New York City where she is a sales manager at Yelp. She has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for humanitarian projects across the globe, including funding cleft palate surgeries, building schools, and organizing drives for orphans and the homeless. She has traveled to India, Kenya, Ecuador, Mexico and China for Pledge to Humanity philanthropy projects over the years, as well as being involved in various other humanitarian projects through her school. She has been a philanthropist her whole life, and she is honored to be the Co-Founder of Pledge to Humanity.
Laurie High, Director of Communications and Marketing – Laurie High is happily married with two beautiful daughters, and has been fortunate to live in the Alamo/Danville area for the last 15 years. She was born in Madrid, Spain, and has lived in a multitude of countries around the world as a result of growing up in a military family, finally settling in Texas, where she received a degree in Sociology and Journalism from Texas A&M University. Laurie has worked a global B2B sales capacity for many years, primarily focused on helping large organizations with Supply Chain optimization. In addition to Pledge to Humanity, Laurie has previously served with the Buena Vista Auxiliary of Assistance League of Diablo Valley, Rancho Romero Elementary School Auction, Stone Valley Middle School PTA, and is currently a member of the National Charity League.
Laurie Strauch, Treasurer –
Laurie Strauch has been a PTH volunteer since 2014 and board member since 2020. During that time, she has co-hosted a PTH Kids group, organized Stone Valley Middle School student volunteers in visits to local senior homes, helped with Special Olympics at the Mauzy School, and taken multiple mission trips to Open Arms Daycare in Mexico. Laurie grew up in San Diego and attended UCLA where she received a BS in Applied Math and Economics with a specialization in Computing. Earlier in her career, she worked with Accenture, CNET, and Pets.com before starting a family. Laurie now runs her own bookkeeping business and serves as the Treasurer on SRVHS Academic Boosters and the Membership Committee at Round Hill Country Club. She lives in Alamo with her husband Mark and 3 kids, loves playing tennis, traveling, and hiking the local hills. She has a heart for volunteering and loves working for the mission of Pledge to Humanity.
We are so appreciative of the dedication and guidance the Pledge to Humanity Advisory Board gives us. The following are the members who comprise the PTH Advisory Board:
Becky Tavella – Becky Tavella – Becky has been involved in the community and local schools for over 16 years as she raised her three daughters in Danville. Graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a teaching degree, she spent her early career teaching elementary school before having twins in 2001. Currently, Becky is a substitute teacher at San Ramon Valley high school and an assistant coach on the track team. Working with youth has always been a passion of hers. Recently Becky has taken an active role in the 200 student Pledge to Humanity club at San Ramon Valley High School helping run the club. Community service and outreach have always been an important part of her family culture with a recent full-family trip to Mexico to build houses for people in need. She spent 8 years in the National Charity League with her daughters doing side by side community service and serving on the board for 2 years. Becky is married and resides in Danville with her three children. Frequently you will find any member of the Tavella family running through town or hiking the beautiful hills of Las Trampas or Mt. Diablo. She is honored to be part of the Pledge to Humanity team.
Maggie Oetgen – Maggie Oetgen is from the midwest. After finishing school at the University of Illinois-Chicago, she was actively involved with The Field Museum, serving on the Junior Board there, and with The Junior League of Chicago. She also served on the Junior Board of Directors of Private Arts, a literary and arts periodical. Aside from spending much of her time involved with different philanthropies, she worked with the City Office of Governor Jim Edgar, where she assisted with his special events planning and frequent trips to the Chicagoland area. After 10 years in Chicago, Maggie moved with her husband, Stephen, to Alamo, California, where she raised her three children. Maggie has regularly contributed to the Seven Hills School, has served as parliamentarian and secretary to the Dorris-Eaton Parents Association, has been a member of the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Napa Valley Festival del Sole. In her spare time, she enjoys the best food & wine that Napa Valley can offer and enjoys playing USTA tennis and bocci ball at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo.
Cybille Scott – Cybille Scott was born in Naples, Italy and moved to Orange County California as a child. She is also bilingual, thanks to her French mother. She received her Bachelor of Arts at California State University, Long Beach. Cybille worked as an art consultant and Gallery Director in Newport Beach, CA. She has traveled extensively and has a passion for people and their cultures. Cybille met her husband, Larry, in France and later moved to London, where they married and started their family. They moved back to the United States in 2003 and located to St. Petersburg, Florida. Cybille now resides in Danville, CA as of 2009. She is a full time mother to her three children and is an active volunteer. She is an active supporter and contributor to the ADL ( Anti-Defamation League), Women’s Sports Foundation, Moms Demand Action and Envision Education. She enjoys traveling, cultural outings and art, playing tennis and being with her family and friends. She is honored to be part of the Pledge to Humanity team.
Kathy Anderson –
Kathy is an East Bay native, grew up in Piedmont, CA and attended UC Berkeley. She is a Bay Area Real Estate Development vetern with a vast network of Real Estate resources and professionals. After college, Kathy worked at SummerHill Homes for over a decade. Kathy has been immensely involved in Bay Area Real Estate as owner, developer and investor for over 35 years. Kathy was involved in the Junior League of the East Bay from 1996 to 2002. She pioneered the East Bay Women’s Business Conference during her time with the League. Kathy was involved in fund raising for Rancho Romero High School where she chaired three Vintage Evenings.
Kathy was a mentor to Pledge to Humanity’s Monte Vista High School Club between 2013 and 2015, when her son Justin founded the club at MVHS. She also supported Kaylee, her daughter co-founding Pledge to Humanity at San Ramon Valley High School in 2014. Highlights included attending Soup Kitchens such as Glide Memorial, Loaves and Fishes and St. Vincent de Paul in Oakland. Kathy has traveled with Pledge to Humanity to India and Africa with her son William, where they helped build schools, during summers of 2017 and 2018. Kathy’s newest venture, Perpetual Homes, is a residential development company targeted at providing affordable housing, as well as the “missing middle” housing in California.
Kathy is wife to Skip and mother to Justin, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Engineering, Kaylee, Villanova Nursing, and William, currenting attending Forman School in Litchfield, CT.Kathy enjoys world traveling with her family and friends; hiking, yoga, wine tasting, as well as her desire to give back. Her favorite quote is by Picasso, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
– Janet was born and raised in Oakland, California and now resides in Alamo. She married her husband, Patrick, after their graduation from University of California at Santa Barbara, and has used her Art History degree in her Interior Design career. During the childhood of their twins, Janet focused her energy on volunteerism for the community – concentrating on PTA and Education Funds in the area’s Public schools. She was the founder, with her children, of the Monte Vista High School PTH Club. She is also a Legacy Member of The Cancer League, Inc. of Piedmont, serves on various steering committees for the Round Hill Country Club, as well as the Board of Directors for Pledge to Humanity. Janet started her volunteerism with years of training in The Junior League of Oakland/East Bay.
Donna Motta – Donna received her BBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. After moving to San Francisco, she worked for Mount Zion Hospital in the Trust department as an accountant. Then she worked for the Center Citizen Initiatives which is a non-profit that gave technical assistance to Russia. She met her husband, Joe Motta while living in San Francisco and they moved to Alamo to start a family. They have two boys. After the birth of her first child, she started an executive search consulting company serving the high tech industry which she ran for nine years. She has served on several non-profit boards in her community. In addition to Pledge to Humanity, she has served on the PTA and Education Funds Committee for the local elementary and middle schools as well as the Danville Oaks Rugby Club board. Her favorite pastimes are reading, snow skiing, tennis, and hiking.
Jan McAdoo – My family and I moved to Alamo, CA in 1997 from the New York metro area. My 3 sons attended both public and private schools and during this time I met Gaby Ghorbani – the founder of Pledge to Humanity. Gaby’s passion for bringing the concept of “philanthropy” into the classroom was infectious and it fell in line with my own non-profit mission — to reboot the curriculum being taught in our schools. Starting with one middle school, PTH has grown to 2,500 youth ambassadors and we are just getting started.
My role on the board of PTH includes fundraising and creating alliances between non-profits working in the same space. Since 2012, when I joined the board, I’ve supported the mission that every child should have a chance to help others. In addition, I sit on the Local Area Board for the national non-profit BUILD.org. BUILD brings “entrepreneurship” into the classroom. My role focuses on media strategy and building alliances with other non-profits in a similar space.
I also support the non-profit “10,000 degrees” in their effort to equalize tests scores in underserved communities. And last but not least Coaching Corp, a non-profit that provides volunteer coaches for after-school sports in underserved communities. In my spare time, my oldest son and I are embarking on a new adventure in Hollywood – supporting the arts, so to speak, with MacPac Entertainment. Working with young filmmakers who have stories tell is as fulfilling as it is fun. Now that I’m an empty-nester, I toggle back and forth between Alamo and Sausalito where I enjoy sailing, paddle boarding and biking.
Lisa Miller – Lisa Miller was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ and graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Secondary Education. After living in Cave Creek, AZ; St. Louis, MO and Vevey, Switzerland with her husband, Matt, and three children, her family has settled in Alamo. Lisa has been actively involved in Alamo Elementary School, Stone Valley Middle School PTA and Education Fund Boards, and Monte Vista High School since she has lived in the area. Lisa enjoys traveling, reading and planning fundraising events.
Julie Lowe – Julie was born in Santa Clara and raised in Los Altos, CA. She received a B.A. degree from UCSB in Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations. After college, she worked in the field of sales for the Eastman Kodak Company for 8 years. She and her husband are parents of triplet son . Julie was a member of Rancho Romero Elementary PTA from 2001-2007 and during that time, ran various student based fundraising events. She was also a member of the Stone Valley Middle School Education Fund Board 2008 – 2010 and helped fundraising efforts for Class Size Reduction Campaigns, Parent /Teacher Socials, and Fitness Challenges. Julie is a supporter of the non-profit organization Students Rising Above, which is dedicated to sending underprivileged high school students to college, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Julie has served as a Pledge to Humanity Board member since 2009. She is also a member of the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church.
Mazi Ghorbani – Mr. Ghorbani has been a serial entrepreneur and inventor, founding and leading several successful companies including being the founder and president of Advance International, Inc. and co-inventor of the Seavior System, Advance Protein Powder, and Super Omega 3 oil manufacturing. He is also the co-founder of Pledge to Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to humanitarian relief around the world. He has pioneered innovative companies in various fields, such as AVA (Advanced Vehicle Armory) inventing numerous unique manufacturing methods and devices for executive protection vehicle manufacturing and Diamond Seal & Keytronics Vehicle Security Systems. His main passion is his efforts in fighting global starvation and malnutrition among children around the world.
Arman Ghorbani, Co-Founder – Arman is the Co-Founder at Pledge to Humanity. He graduated from Monte Vista High School in 2011, where he served as the Vice President of Rotary International’s Interact and the Secretary of the Spanish National Honor Society. He went on to earn both a bachelors and a masters degree from Santa Clara University in Finance. He has worked for Advance International, Inc. as VP of Corporate & Business Development, and most recently as an Advisor.
Arman served as Philanthropy Chair at the California Phi Fraternity at Santa Clara and has travelled to Nevada and Arizona with Free the Children. He participated in the “Take Action” leadership academy two years, and has volunteered on Pledge to Humanity projects in Kenya, India, China, and Mexico and has organized various local community service projects in the Bay Area.
Jovan Ghorbani, Co-Founder
Youth Advisory Board
The Youth Advisory Board offers an insight to the pulse of the younger generation, with ideas on exposure and marketing, using Social Media and other avenues.
Brianna Lane – Brianna was born in Walnut Creek, CA and is currently attending University of Southern California. She grew up working in the East Bay community through service organizations. In summer of 2015, Brianna was Pledge to Humanity’s full-time intern and accompanied us on our annual summer service trip to India. Currently, Brianna works part-time with Pledge to Humanity and is implementing Pledge to Humanity outreach programs in Los Angeles to help meet the needs of that community. She is excited to be a youth advisor after volunteering her time at Pledge to Humanity starting back in elementary school.
Emma Cochran – “
My journey with Pledge to Humanity has truly changed my perspective on the world and who I am today. I began this journey as a Freshman in high school and ever since I have been forever changed. I have accomplished many things in my time with PTH including but not limited to 2019 Volunteer of the Year, Club President, and advocate for youth community involvement. These accomplishments are nothing compared to the characteristics community involvement has taught me. I have learned to act with compassion, recognize my privilege in all situations, and use a growth mindset to help my community. I will forever have PTH’s imprint on my heart and future actions. Cheers to a lifetime of helping others!”
Kylie Yarwood –
Kylie was born and raised in Danville, CA. She started her journey with PTH as an officer freshman year at San Ramon Valley High School. As a freshman, she implemented a new program connecting students to senior citizens through homemade welcome baskets, as well as in person outreach. She continued to hold roles all the way until senior year where she became co-president with Emma Cochran. After high school, she continued on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and continues to be involved in the Pledge to Humanity Instagram, utilizing her Graphic Communications degree.