Surdna Foundation Appoints Melissa D’Arienzo, Miguel A. Santana, and Ommeed Sathe to its Board

Friday, December 16, 2022

Surdna Foundation Appoints Melissa D’Arienzo, Miguel A. Santana, and Ommeed Sathe to its Board

New members bring expertise in social media, racial and social justice, and impact investing 

The Surdna Foundation announced today the election of Melissa D’Arienzo, Miguel A. Santana, and Ommeed Sathe to its Board of Directors.

“We welcome Melissa as the newest Andrus family board member and Miguel and Ommeed as community board members,” said Carra Cote-Ackah, Chairperson of Surdna’s Board of Directors. “Their diverse perspectives and experiences will strengthen and support Surdna’s work to foster more just and sustainable communities.” 

Text: Surdna's Newest Board Members. Photos: Miguel Santana (man with light complexion, grey hair wearing light blue button down and navy suit jacket), Melissa D'Arienzo (woman with tan skin, long, brown hair wearing black button down), and Ommeed Sathe (Man with tan skin, dark short hair wearing a white button down shirt with grey suit jacket)

Melissa D’Arienzo, a fifth-generation Andrus family member, is a Global Director for Channel Sales at LinkedIn, where she leads and manages the company’s relationships with advertising and marketing technology partners. She brings over 15 years of experience working across advertising, media, and sales—all while fostering practices of inclusion and belonging in the workplace. Learn more about Melissa. 

“It is an honor to be entrusted with stewarding Surdna’s legacy, mission, and vision, which I believe in so strongly,” said Melissa D’Arienzo.

Miguel A. Santana, one of four community members on Surdna’s Board, is President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation that partners with communities across Southern California to advance racial, social, and economic justice. He brings over 30 years of experience leading fiscal, legislative, political, and community issues. Miguel recently served as President and CEO of Fairplex, a nonprofit in Pomona, CA. Prior, he was the City Administrative Officer for Los Angeles, overseeing the City’s $9 billion budget and designing its first comprehensive homeless strategy.  Learn more about Miguel.

“Surdna Foundation’s commitment to equity and inclusion, and social and racial justice, deeply align with my own values and that of the Weingart Foundation,” said Miguel A. Santana. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board and the foundation staff  to advance Surdna’s mission to create a more just and sustainable nation.” 

Ommeed Sathe, one of four community members on Surdna’s Board, is Head of Strategy at Lafayette Square, an impact investment firm. Previously, he was Head of Impact and Responsible Investing at Prudential, where he managed a portfolio of over $1 billion. Prior, Ommeed served as Head of Real Estate Development for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority right after Hurricane Katrina. Earlier in his career, he served as a real estate and land use attorney with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in New York City. Learn more about Ommeed.

“I have deeply admired the Surdna Foundation for many years and have seen firsthand the critical role they played in supporting rebuilding efforts in New Orleans and building the field of impact investing,” said Ommeed Sathe. “I look forward to supporting the Foundation in its continued pursuit of social justice.”

In keeping with the Board’s term limits, Kelly Nowlin stepped down after 12 years of service. Gwen Walden, a community member on the Board for 11 years, passed away from breast cancer in September 2022. 

“Over several months of interviewing many qualified candidates for Surdna’s Board, it became obvious that Melissa, Miguel, and Ommeed each bring a deep commitment to social justice, strategic thinking, and significant leadership experience to the table,” said Don Chen, President of the Surdna Foundation. “I’m thrilled that they are joining our Board.” 

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