Our Leadership and Staff

Lynn Margherio | Founder/CEO

A graduate of Georgetown University, Lynn’s 20-year career has spanned the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Lynn has advised Fortune 500 companies on growth strategies, competitive positioning, and investment/acquisition opportunities. She has served as a senior member of the health care reform team in the Clinton White House. In addition, she has served as Executive Vice President of the William J. Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, where she helped launch and build President Clinton’s program to assist countries in the developing world to plan and implement large-scale HIV/AIDS care and treatment programs.

Lynn has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work, including honors from Bank of America, the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Celtics, Facing History & Ourselves, and the National Committee on Child Labor. Lynn serves on the New England Regional Advisory Board of Citizens Financial Group and on the Advisory Board for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

Michal Smith | Executive Director, Philadelphia

Michal is a graduate of London University and North London University, and holds a certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from Bryn Mawr College. Michal is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of the Arts, a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce. She is on the boards of Child’s Work USA, Philadelphia and The Teacher’s Place. In 2013, SmartCEO Magazine recognized her with its Brava Award for top female CEOs. Since joining Cradles to Crayons, Michal has doubled its operating revenue, the number of children served, and has grown the service delivery area to include a second state, New Jersey.

Bernard Cherkasov, Esq. | Executive Director, Chicago

Bernard is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard, where he studied law and the relationship of theology, policy and law. Prior to Cradles to Crayons, Bernard served as CEO of Equality Illinois, the Midwest’s largest civil rights organization advocating for LGBT rights.  

Originally from Azerbaijan, Bernard’s family used to receive an occasional package with winter coats and other clothing. He remembers how empowering it felt when someone took notice of his family and now finds a personal connection to the mission of Cradles to Crayons.

Our Staff

National Staff

  • Anne Bonner, Director of Marketing & Communication
  • Aram Defterderian, Controller 
  • Jillian Eid, Associate Director of Strategy & Growth
  • Karen Gallahue, Vice President of Finance Accounting
  • Alexander Gnassi, Organizational Growth and Innovation Coordinator
  • Karen Grant, Vice President of Development
  • Megan Kelleher, Accounts Payable Payroll Coordinator
  • Ellen Manning, Vice President of Organizational Growth and Innovation
  • Kirsten Sims, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Zachery Tapp, Director of Technology and Operations