BOARD OF ADVISORS

Sylvia Burks

Sylvia Burks is a corporate legal and business advisor, specializing in complex cross-border mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, venture capital and private equity financings involving companies in the technology, life sciences and other sectors from her office in Silicon Valley. She received her JD from University of Texas School of Law, studied law at the University of Bonn, Germany, and worked in the Competition Directorate of the Commission of the European Union. She has worked at international law firms both in Europe and the United states, serving as a partner for fifteen years at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman LLP and Coudert Brothers LLP. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of California Anderson Graduate School of Management. Burks advises public and private participants in the global marketplace through Cross-Border Counsel.

In her practice, Burks interfaces with C-Suite executives and Boards whose decision-making require the up to the minute knowledge of global markets and best practices. She is excited to work with Skytop, whose conference provide fora for executives to gather such knowledge and to hear diverse perspectives, drawn from fact-based research and the analysis of trusted thought leaders and industry experts.

Cindy Burrell
President, Diversity in Boardrooms

Founded in 2011, Diversity in Boardrooms consults with Corporate Boards and Advisory Boards (or Councils). Leading the firm, Ms. Burrell contributes over 20 years of executive search expertise with a special focus in recruiting and referring diverse Director Candidates who enhance a company’s growth, profitability, and social responsibility reputation. Over the years, she developed best practices guidelines for boards and she often serves as a Board Facilitator.

In the Chicago area, Ms. Burrell is a recognized leader in the business community as well as a strong diversity advocate nationally. She is a Founder and Board Director of the Private Directors Association, which promotes private company board formation, supports excellent practices in board governance, and provides a network to connect individuals with private companies. In addition, she is a Board Leader for 2020 Women on Boards and a Member of 30% Coalition, both national organizations that advocate increasing the number of women corporate board directors.

In 2012 she was one of 3 people awarded special recognition and named Director Emeritus by the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, which has the mission of Empowering Women and Eliminating Racism. She was honored in 2011 by the Chicago Association of Minority Recruiters (CAMR) for her success in recruiting women and minorities to both corporate and advisory boards.

Currently, she is an Advisory Board Member for Skytop Strategies, which delivers high-content programs worldwide on topics such as Gender Equality in Boards; ESG; CSR; and Impact Investing.

Ms. Burrell’s academic achievements include a Master’s degree from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree from DePauw University.

Brian Chiappinelli
Founder/President, Impact Direct Advisors, LTD

Brian Chiappinelli is President and Founder of Impact Direct Advisors, LTD, a capital raising and strategic business consulting firm. IDA seeks to provide assets and liquidity predominantly to Impact-oriented investment opportunities, leveraging a vast network of owners, operators and investors. Through strategic advisory services, IDA provides insight to and assists in effective marketing and distribution management.

Brian has over 20 years experience working with both multinational and boutique asset management companies.  He was a principal and head of business development for Boston Common Asset Management, a global public equity ESG/Impact manager, identifying new channels of distribution and vehicles for growth. Prior to that he spent over 5 years in private equity focused on capital raising, product/market development and distribution roles for Deutsche Asset and Wealth management’s Secondary Opportunities Fund, and Harbourvest Partners’ Primary, Secondary  and Direct Co-investment offering in the US, Canada and Japan. Brian was a product specialist at Batterymarch, a quantitative global equity manager (affiliate of Legg Mason) and began his investment management career at General Electric Asset Management as a liaison with a Japanese subsidiary in Tokyo, and then as a director of consultant relations.

Brian was an assistant language teacher in Matsudo, Japan for 2 years on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program., and returned to work in economic and political research at the Consul General of Japan in NY. He remains deeply involved with and committed to US-Japan cultural exchange as an executive committee member of the Japan Society of Boston.

Brian has a BA in Public Policy from Hamilton College, a Masters of Science in Investment Management from Boston University, and holds FINRA Registrations 7, 63, and 26.

Ariel Evans

Ariel Evans is an American Israeli cybersecurity expert, entrepreneur and business developer. She recently took the helm of the Israeli cyber risk management company InnoSec which provides enterprises, cyber insurers and M&A teams quantification of their cyber risk.  Additionally, she consults for over 30 Israeli companies and is the go-to person in Israel that connects cyber startup companies to funding and business development opportunities.

An entrepreneur while in the US, she raised over $200 million from private equity and venture capital firms and has two successful exits under her belt.  Evans was also the Chief Information Security Officer for a major telco in the United States. She is recognized as a leader on Wall Street in Risk and Compliance having held positions at The McGraw-Hill Company, XL Capital, JPMorgan Chase, and Merrill Lynch as well as Lockheed Martin. Her insight into regulation, governance and business inter-connectivity technology allowed her to provide expert guidance to the Department of Homeland Security, The Payment Card Industry and other governing bodies that are accountable for reducing risk and understanding its implications with complex technologies.

Paula Luff

From 2007 through 2015, Luff was vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Hess Corporation where she established and led the global social responsibility function for the company.

Prior to joining Hess, she was senior director of strategic health partnerships for Pfizer Inc where she set strategy and led the teams that developed flagship programs and policies in global health for the company and its foundation. She also represented Pfizer on social investment and global health issues with the media, public officials, bi-lateral and multi-lateral organizations and other external stakeholders.

Luff was previously with CARE, the humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and master’s degrees from New York University and the New School University. Luff is a Senior Associate with the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Leaders’ Forum. She serves on the Boards of Philanthropy New York, the Access to Nutrition Foundation and the James R. Jordan Foundation.

Tom Manning

Tom Manning is a corporate advisor, board director, and educator. Currently, he serves on the boards of Dun & Bradstreet (Lead Director), CommScope, and Clear Media Limited. He was based in Hong Kong for 17 years, where he served as the CEO of Cerberus Asia, Capgemini Asia, and EY Global Consulting Asia, and as a partner with Bain & Company. Formerly, he was an independent director of several of China’s largest listed companies, including the Bank of Communications, Gome Electrical Appliances, AsiaInfo-Linkage Holdings, and iSoftStone; earlier in his career, he was with McKinsey & Company. He speaks Mandarin and teaches corporate governance, private equity, U.S.-China relations, and innovation at the University of Chicago Law School.

Manning is particularly enthusiastic about his collaboration with Skytop Strategies, which he describes as a “firm on a mission to connect thoughtful leaders with critical issues where leadership is keenly needed.” Manning notes that “Skytop has demonstrated an uncanny ability to identify insightful topics that demand attention, which is why Skytop conferences are attracting such diverse and influential participants.”