She Is: Board of Directors

Kirstan Barnett

Founder & President, Board Chair

kirstanI get a kick out of playing team sports: currently doubles tennis and partner golf. I moved to Boston in the 90’s to marry my opinionated, funny late husband, who passed away in 2008. I am finally fully back in the blessed, unruly world again. Hello! I am General Counsel and a Partner in a top-tier hedge fund in Boston. I founded SheGives with the hope of inspiring intelligent individual generosity by giving through a knitted group of friends of friends. I am analytical by nature, many of my friends are too, and I believe intelligent people like to do everything intelligently, including being generous. I liken it to joining a marathon training team – the camaraderie; the thoughtfulness of the structure around training, hills, sprints, long runs, etc.; the in-depth understanding of how to prepare for and run a marathon – very few of us would do the research to put together such a rigorous program for just ourselves. But the effort makes sense for a larger group. You figure out how much energy you want to put toward the training. And when the day comes, you still have to run the race yourself. But the team training can result in more fun and much better individual performance. So it is with SheGives. You determine the amount of money you want to contribute to the pooled fund, and you have the opportunity and responsibility to allocate that across the SheGives slate. Hopefully we will each give better – and more passionately — together. And have a greater impact on our world.

Laura Gassner Otting

Founding Board Member

lauraI am the adoring mother of two boys, Toby and Benji, and the happy wife of a guy named Jon who still looks 20 — so altogether the three of them keep me on my toes — which might explain why I took up long-distance running when I hit my midlife crisis a couple of years ago.  I completed both the Boston and Chicago Marathons in 2012, raising significant charity funds in the process, because working in the nonprofit space has been my life’s work.  I run the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, an executive search firm I founded in 2002 to advise nonprofits nationally on the talent challenges inherent to transitions and scaling.  That followed countless other mission-driven endeavors, including serving as a Clinton presidential appointee in the White House, where I helped found AmeriCorps. Right now I serve on the boards College Bound Dorchester, Newton Montessori School, and the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program at Brandeis University, am a curator of TEDxBeaconStreet, and was previously the founding board chair of both Strong Women, Strong Girls and the Boston Choral Ensemble, among many other community, political, and charitable commitments.  I am still learning to say, “No.”

Geraldine Acuna

Founding Board Member

geraldineI have three energetic young kids, Teddy, David and Sophie, and my favorite part of the day is coming home to big hugs. I am married to Gabe who is an awesome, smart, funny guy – and a really cool and involved dad. I have a big, loving, boisterous family from the Philippines who all live in Texas now, fittingly – and who never cease to remind me of what really matters in life. I am also Senior Counsel at a top-tier hedge fund in Boston, and actively serve on committees and boards of various academic, civic and religious institutions. Despite the very trying times we live in, I really believe that each of us has the power to repair the world – and that doing so is not a luxury but a life-enhancing duty that we owe to our communities, our friends, our families, and ourselves. I heavily support with my money and time the following institutions: Harvard College (Board of Directors, Harvard Alumni Association, and Vice Chair, Harvard College Fund Executive Committee), Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Dean’s Council and Co-Chair, Littauer Society), Combined Jewish Philanthropies (Board of Directors), The Rashi School (Annual Campaign Chair 2011-2013), The Resolution Project – a social entrepreneurship program for college students (Board of Directors).

Dina Ciarimboli

Founding Board Member

dinaI am the mom of two fun, unpredictable young children – Harry and Olivia – and the step-mom to two older and equally unpredictable college-age girls – Jaclyn and Danielle. My husband Ken is as familiar with Curious George as the SATs and between the five of them, there is never a dull moment in our house. I love biking, cooking and spending week-ends at the beach. I grew up in a very large, loud and loving Italian family and am forever grateful for the grounding it has provided me. I am an attorney who has spent the past 15+ years working for venture capital firms, venture-backed companies and entrepreneurs. I am amazed and inspired by the drive to innovate and the absolute fearlessness of the people I work with. I have learned invaluable lessons from them about both success and failure, and most importantly about believing in yourself through it all. I am excited to be a part of SheGives because I believe in supporting those in the non-profit world who are just as innovative and passionate about changing the way we identify, define and address social issues, and that find ways to creatively instill this drive to succeed, and ability to overcome failure, in those from less advantaged backgrounds.

Carla McCall

Board Member & Treasurer

I am a proud mom of two beautiful, blue-eyed, high-energy children. My daughter Alexandra is 11, and my son Evan is 8. Alexandra, the focused and sensible one, is a competitive gymnast, as well as a student of dance, piano and the flute. Evan, the light-hearted, loves baseball, hockey and karate. Their father, Chris, is the anchor helping us all achieve our goals. Chris and I worked together many years ago, but ultimately connected over a love of golf and acceptance of our collective lack of golf skill. I am a co-managing partner at AAFCPAs, a growing 160-person CPA and consulting firm that serves nonprofits, commercial companies, and high-net-worth individuals. Nonprofits are a critical component of the firm’s business and I am inspired daily by the great work our clients do in service to our community. I sit on the Women’s Advisory Board of the Boston Chamber. I am a past board member and finance committee member of Strong Women, Strong Girls, which is a mentoring program for young women. And, I have been a mentor through the Bentley University Center for Women in Business. These are important activities for me because they allow me to support young women who are starting professional careers.

Katherine Westlund-Scott

Board Member

I have a wonderful husband named Mike, who followed me to Boston from San Diego and has continued to support me in my career and ambitious desire to make the world a better place. I moved to Boston for my last job at the Boston Foundation where I worked on nonprofit capacity building, due diligence, and the connection of nonprofits and donors and before that worked at another foundation in San Diego and before that Tucson. Now, I work as the Director of Youth Philanthropy leading Youth Philanthropy Connect, an initiative of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation. Everyday, I get to interact with youth from across the nation engaged in philanthropy, and I love it! Through SheGives, I am excited to continue my work with nonprofit due diligence and frankly awesome women throughout Greater Boston. I am inspired by the impact of SheGives through our nonprofit partners, our giving, our entrepreneurism, and networks.

Sydney Atkins Mason

Board Member

Valerie Friedman

Board Member