Board of Directors

The 16-member Board of Directors consists of professionals from the fields of medicine, finance, law, and philanthropy. A commitment to the mission of Friends and upholding rigorous standards of accounting has earned Friends high accords by Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

Alex Chanthasoto

alex-chanthasoto

Alex is a Senior Software Developer with over 20 years of experience in programming, system administration and project management. After graduating with a BS in Computer Science & Mathematics and an MS in Computer Science, Alex has gained exposure to various roles and technical expertise in different industries, including his current position as a Production Support Engineer at the NYC Department of Buildings.

Born in Laos, Alex immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. Together with his wife, Nieves, and their two daughters, his family has been actively engaged in supporting FWAB. They have traveled around the Northeast to visit the local Lao-American communities and to discuss the benefits of having a better healthcare system through the Lao Friends Hospital for Children in Luang Prabang.

David Chang

Born in Shanghai and educated in Tokyo, David graduated from Occidental College and worked in the Asian divisions of Deutsche Bank and Chemical Bank. He is Managing Director of CCL Holdings (USA) Ltd. and Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Vintage Communities, Inc., and makes his home in Irvine CA.

The newest building at Angkor Hospital for Children, constructed to house the CBHEP program and Microbiology Lab, was funded by David and his family. 


Nerou Cheng, C.P.A.

Born in Cambodia, Nerou earned a BSBA from Georgetown University, an MBA from Ball State University, and his CPA Certificate from Pace University. He established N. Cheng LLP in New York City in 1989, which has grown to a 80-person accounting and consulting firm. Nerou is vice-chair of the board, and is an active board member of Friends of Khmer Culture, another NGO doing work in Cambodia.

Nerou established Friends of Friends, Cambodian-American support groups, in New York/ New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New England. Nerou serves as Vice Chairman of the Board.


Kenro Izu, Founder and Honorary President

After studying at Nihon University, Kenro moved to New York where he established his photography studio in 1974. While specializing in commercial work for prestigious jewelry companies, he continued photographing still life and sacred stone monuments around the world. He founded Friends Without A Border to build the Angkor Hospital for Children, which opened its doors in 1999. He has inspired countless people by his example of using the arts to achieve humanitarian goals.

As founder and honorary president, Kenro maintains his active leadership by making trips to Cambodia and Laos several times a year. He also serves on the Board of Friends Japan and AHC International.


Stephen Joester

Steve is a New York based British photographer who has shot award winning commercial campaigns for many of the world’s leading brands. His love of travel led to a decade of travel photography for Corbis and Getty. Over the last decade, Steve returned to the images that made him one of England’s leading rock photographers. His images of the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Neil Young, and many other iconic musicians, are now the subject of his multimedia art.  Steve’s work has been exhibited extensively in the U.S.

In 2007, Steve and his wife started The Shemesh Joester Foundation with the goal of supporting children’s causes. 


Philippe Lajaunie

Philip was born and raised in Bordeaux, France. In 1982, inspired by an 18 month trip around North and Central America, Philip decided to permanently relocate to this side of the Atlantic. In true entrepreneurial spirit, over the following decades, Philip opened 20 restaurants in several states, and has been involved in real estate development and media ventures. The latest venture is an all-American sourced and produced premium bottled water brand, American Summits.

In 1998, while launching a restaurant in Tokyo, a side trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia led Philip to the discovery of the Angkor Hospital for Children. This progressively paved his involvement with Friends Without A Border. As a French-American, Philip feels a deep bond with humanitarian efforts in Indochina.


Matthew Magenheim

Matt is a Partner at Development Capital Partners, a New York-based investment manager focusing on frontier and emerging markets. He spent several years living and investing in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia, including more than two years in Cambodia where he managed the William J. Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative’s operations in Cambodia and Lao PDR and made private equity investments. Matt graduated summa cum laude from Bowdoin College and with honors and distinction from Columbia Business School. He lives in Manhattan with his wife.

Matthew was elected Chairman of the Board in April 2015.


Michael Malcolm

Michael Malcolm studied Sanskrit and Tibetan at the University of California at Berkeley where he received a degree in Religious Studies. His interests in Buddhism and Buddhist art led him to travel to Cambodia, Laos and India. In New York Michael worked with Asian Art Gallerist Doris Wiener where he researched and wrote attributions of Indian miniature paintings, as well as stone and bronze sculpture from India and South-east Asia, and thangkas from Tibet. Later Michael spent several years as Director of Lowinsky Gallery in SoHo. Currently he is a private dealer handling fine art photographs.

With his wife, Carrie, and children, Ian and Alessandra (a native Khmer), Michael continues to travel extensively through Asia.


Denis Martin

Denis is recently retired after 25 plus years experience in Internet related IT services.  He is a graduate of Clark University and New York University – Polytechnic School of Engineering.  He has traveled through many parts of Asia and makes his home in Rhode Island with his wife and 15 year old son.  In addition to supporting FWAB he is very active as a state representative for the Fresh Air Fund in NYC.

Denis and wife Anne adopted their son, Angkea, from Kompong Thom in Cambodia in 2003 and have been long time supporters of Friends directly and through Hearts That Help.


Tina Patterson

After graduating from Boston University, Tina joined Distant Horizons, a tour company that specialized in tours to Asia for nonprofit organizations and universities. In 1999 she founded Authentic Asia, which provides custom journeys throughout Asia for discerning private clients.

Tina visits AHC annually and regularly directs her clients to Siem Reap to tour the hospital as much as visit the famed temples of Angkor.


David Pritchard

David recently retired from the law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard in Chicago after 38 years as a trial lawyer in the medical/legal field. David has also practiced as a medical ethicist. He has published and lectured on medical and ethical issues, and has served on the Ethics Advisory Board of Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He now dedicates his time to Friends Without A Border.

David currently serves as Secretary of the Board, and previously served as Chairman as well as Executive Director of Friends Without A Border.


Susan Rafte

Susan Rafte is a community volunteer.  She is a 21-year survivor of metastatic breast cancer and focuses much of her time to helping in the cancer community.  She is the survivor/founder of Pink Ribbons Project, an organization that impacted the Houston Community for over 20 years.  Susan is involved as a patient advocate at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine.  She dedicates many hours to providing peer-to-peer support to other cancer survivors, and is inspired to be a part of Healing Circles Texas a new step on her journey.  Susan lives in Houston, Texas, is married to Alan and has a 22 year old daughter.


Jonathan Spector, M.D., M.P.H.

Jonathan has practiced pediatrics and public health for 15 years. His clinical work spans caring for children with malnutrition in remote Africa to intensive newborn care at Massachusetts General Hospital. He became acutely attuned to the essential role that health systems play in the delivery of high-quality care, and this fueled a portfolio of research to support maternal and newborn health in low resource settings. Jonathan was based at Harvard’s School of Public Health, and he has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Foundation.

In 2014, Jonathan became the first Executive Director of Lao Friends Hospital for Children and he oversaw the hospital’s Grand Opening in February 2015.


Michael Stern

Graduated from Dartmouth College, Amos Tuck Business School and New York University School of Law. Stern served President at Omni Capital Corporation, Parfums Stern, Inc and Stern Fragrances, Inc. He founded The Big Wood Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable foundation in 2000.  He also assists in wide variety of capacities to the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, the Youth Employment Summer Program and the Children’s Aid Society.

Michael currently serves as Treasurer of the Board and previously served as Chairman.


Timothy Weiner, M.D.

Currently a Professor of Surgery at University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Tim has almost twenty years of experience in pediatric surgery.  In addition to a clinical practice, he is a dedicated educator and mentor for medical students, surgical residents and colleagues with several teaching awards over his academic career.  His publications include over 25 articles and book chapters in both basic science and clinical research.

With AHC/FWAB as the focus of his current surgical mission work, he has also done service in Nicaragua, Vietnam and Malawi.  He is a Commander in the US Navy Medical Corps and was deployed with a forward surgical team in SE Afghanistan in 2012.


Ayako Weissman

Aya is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and has over 32 years of investment experience. Aya is the Senior Vice President in charge of Asia Investment Strategy and senior portfolio manager at Horizon Kinetics LLC. Most recently, Aya was founder and Chief Investment Officer of AS Hirota Capital Management, LLC. She received her MBA from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and holds a BA in Liberal Arts from International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. In addition, Aya is a board member of SBI Holdings in Tokyo, Japan.

Aya volunteered with JVC in Bangkok assisting Cambodian and Laotian refugees, and also as a UNHCR volunteer at Palawan First Asylum Refugees Camp. Aya currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board.


Steven Williamson

Steve currently serves as the chief legal officer and corporate secretary for the Bessemer Trust companies. He also serves as the chief legal officer and corporate secretary of Bessemer Securities LLC. Prior to joining Bessemer in 1996, Steve was a partner in the law firm of Chadbourne & Parke in New York City. While at Chadbourne, he lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates in the early 1980s, and his practice extended to corporate and financing transactions across multiple industries. Steve received a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Steve, and his wife Laura, frequently traveled to Southeast Asia and visited Angkor Hospital for Children in 2005 during a visit to Siem Reap.  He has been a contributor to FWAB for many years and joined the Board in 2016.


Amy Yang

Amy grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and studied at Northwestern University where she received a dual degree in Art History and Economics.  She currently works for Citi as a Director in the Not-for-Profit Health Care Group, with day-to-day relationship coverage of a range of not-for-profit health systems, hospitals and health plan providers throughout the United States for both strategic advisory and capital markets services.  With over 15 years of experience working with health systems on top of being the daughter of an E.R. physician and the sister of a pediatric surgeon, Amy has a deep appreciation for the medical field and a longstanding desire to assist health care providers in their missions to care for those in need.

Amy journeyed to Cambodia and Laos during her honeymoon and was profoundly struck by the generosity and hospitality of the people in both countries, against a backdrop of all that they had overcome.  The desire to help the communities in Cambodia and Laos led to her joining the Board of Friends Without a Border in 2016.  Amy and her husband John currently reside in San Francisco and are looking forward to assisting in growing the FWAB network on the West Coast.