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Turning Profits into Purpose in Times of Crisis (Part 2)

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Ayris T. Scales
Serve DC, Chief Service Officer

Ayris T. Scales is a tri-sector leader with a knack for quickly assessing structural challenges and navigating organizations through periods of rapid change, re-alignment and operational expansion. Her record of weaving public-private partnerships has positioned her to raise over $50M and award over $100M in grants and subsidies for underinvested communities in Savannah, Atlanta, Chicago and DC.

In 2018, Ayris was appointed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to lead public-private partnerships and has formally served as the Chief Service Officer for the District of Columbia since 2019. In this capacity, she leads ServeDC, the Mayor's Office on Volunteerism and Partnerships, coordinating multi-sector relationships and city-wide service initiatives to amplify civic engagement. Ayris is active in the community and serves an advisory council member for both Wells Fargo’s Where We Live and Lyft’s City Works initiatives. She is also the chartering President of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Metropolitan Washington DC Chapter.

Her previous roles include Vice President of Economic Growth and Jobs for World Business Chicago and Executive Director of the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative. She has been a featured speaker and panelist for a variety of influential organizations across the country, and in the United Kingdom. Most recently, she delivered the keynote address for the U.S. Department of Justice's Annual Women's History Month celebration, focusing on implicit biases and policy creation. Last summer, she co-authored Making Freedom Ring For Black Women on Blackher.us. Ayris' work has also been highlighted on ABC, NBC, Telemundo, Fast Company, Ebony Magazine, The Washington Post, Black Noire and more.

She attended Clark Atlanta University, Kent State University, and Baruch College where she was a National Urban Fellow.

Manraj Singh
Connect for COVID-19, Founder & President

Manraj Singh is the Co-founder & President of Connect for COVID-19, a national nonprofit which was founded in March 2020 in response to the “no-visitor” restrictions that were implemented in health facilities to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Connect for COVID-19 gets smart devices to health facilities most affected by the coronavirus so patients can stay connected with their families as well as access telehealth services. Since March, their team of 100+ volunteers has donated over 2,000 devices to 250 health facilities across 12 states.
Manraj is currently an MBA candidate at Columbia Business School and formerly a health strategy consultant in the Deloitte Federal Strategy & Analytics practice in Washington, D.C. Driven by his upbringing in rural Punjab in India, Raj is deeply passionate about improving access and quality of care for underserved populations. Raj's professional interests lie at the intersection of health, technology, and innovation. He has experience working across the Federal health landscape (provider, payer, policy) with deep exposure to health systems in India, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Ukraine through client service and field research.

Manraj is an active volunteer in the D.C. community through pro-bono consulting for Ashoka and the Halcyon Incubator. Internationally, he serves on the Drones for Health Advisory Board for VillageReach and as a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum. He received an A.B. from Princeton University with a focus on health policy and healthcare economics.

Omaar Yemini
W5 Group

Omaar Yemini works in the principal’s office at single-family real estate investment office W5 Group, where he leads the firm’s marketing, business development and community outreach efforts. It was earlier this year, and with the financial support of W5 Group principal Ralph Winter, that Omaar launched Serving the Frontline—a coalition of restaurants in Miami that has to date served thousands of fresh meals to healthcare heroes on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. Among the restaurants donating meals is Naomi's Garden Restaurant & Lounge, the restaurant that Omaar co-owns with his brother.

Prior to W5 Group, Omaar spent five years at Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through inclusive living, social and employment opportunities. Here, he channeled his business development and marketing expertise, as well as his commitment to making a difference, to spearhead fundraising efforts and raise approximately $5 million for the organization.

Omaar earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami, where he majored in both communication and sports administration. In his spare time, he enjoys pursuits such as fitness and meditation that contribute to a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Trevor Theunissen
Uber, Director, Public Policy & Communications

Trevor Theunissen currently serves as Director of Public Policy and Communications at Uber Technologies. He leads the company's government affairs and communications team for the South and Southwest regions, 23-states including Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

Trevor is responsible for establishing and building Uber's brand and profile with policy makers and the media--including governments, third parties, reporters and academics; and working to ensure that regulatory frameworks support Uber’s products, including Uber Eats, Uber Freight, Uber Elevate and Uber Health. He is also responsible for Uber's engagement with state Attorneys General across the United States.

Previously, Trevor practiced law in New Orleans and served as Chief of Staff to a New Orleans City Council Member. He also worked for the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state entity set up to lead Louisiana's rebuilding efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Trevor holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University and a Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and two children.

David Horwitz
Serve DC, Commissioner

David Horwitz is a Program Manager of Science Outreach at the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC where he manages global public awareness campaigns, volunteer programs, and outreach efforts. He has extensive experience in nonprofit program management, partnerships, communications, evaluation, and volunteer engagement and training. He is most passionate about programs that build community, support education, and promote social equality. David received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with honors from the University of California, Davis and his Master of Arts degree in Communication with distinction from the California State University, Fresno.


Serve DC will host a two-part panel discussion with a select group of local and national brands that stepped up during our most recent public health emergency, COVID-19.

The initial discussion Partnership, Platforms, and Priorities, will revolve around Serve DC and local small marketing/ tech firm, D2D. Speakers will explore the decision points and road-map of partnering to create the District's digital platform for volunteerism and donations in response to COVID-19 public health emergency.

The second discussion Turning Business Challenges into Opportunities in Times of Crisis, is a paneled discussion featuring a moderated discussion between the Serve DC Commissioner, David Horwitz and representatives from District Government and a few local businesses that stepped up with significant life-sustaining services and or goods in response to our most recent public health emergency, COVID-19.