Our Leadership

Executive Director Megan Ferraro speaking to children about swim safety

EXECUTIVE TEAM

headshot of Karen Cohn, co-founder of The Zac Foundation

Karen Cohn

Co-Founder, The ZAC Foundation

Karen Cohn co-founded The ZAC Foundation in 2008 with her husband, Brian Cohn, after their six-year-old son, Zachary Archer Cohn, drowned when his arm became entrapped in a pool drain. Zachary’s memory is the inspiration for the Foundation’s mission and activities. The ZAC Foundation has funded free water safety and swim camps for more than 20,000 children in at-risk communities nationwide and is spearheading the development of drowning prevention plans in four U.S. communities in the hopes of reducing the national drowning rate. Through her role at The ZAC Foundation, Karen has testified before Congressional subcommittees as well as before State and Federal agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has written about water safety issues for CNN.com, USA Today, and The Washington Post, among others. She is also a Northeast Trustee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

headshot of Brian Cohn, co-founder of The Zac Foundation

Brian Cohn

Co-Founder, The ZAC Foundation

Brian Cohn and his wife, Karen, co-founded The ZAC Foundation in 2008 after their six-year-old son, Zachary Archer Cohn, drowned in a pool drain entrapment. Brian has had a long career in the asset management and financial advisory industry, starting at Arthur Anderson before moving to SAC Capital Advisors, where he most recently served as President. In 2010, Brian established his own firm, ArcherOak Holdings, a family office engaged in a broad range of investments.

headshot of Megan Ferraro

Megan Ferraro

Executive Director, The ZAC Foundation

As the Executive Director of The ZAC Foundation, Megan Ferraro oversees the Foundation’s programs, directs philanthropic partnerships, manages the annual budget, and represents the nonprofit as a subject matter expert in aquatic sector initiatives, and at industry events, with both legislators and the media throughout the country. Ferraro is also a Steering Committee member of the National Water Safety Action Plan, and Steering Committee member and Co-chair of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance Advisory Board. Additionally, she is a founding member and Steering Committee member of Families United to Prevent Drowning.

BOARD MEMBERS

Rowdy Gaines

3-time Olympic gold medal swimmer
NBC Sports swimming analyst

Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines IV, who also serves as a spokesperson for The ZAC Foundation, is one of the greatest American sprint freestylers of all time. Gaines swam at Auburn University, where he was a five-time NCAA champion. He won gold medals in swimming at the 1984 Olympics for the 100-meter freestyle and in two relay races. A longtime NBC Olympic swimming analyst and International Swimming Hall of Fame member, Gaines continues to spread the message of water safety across the U.S. He also currently serves as Vice President of Partnerships & Development at the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance, and previously was Vice President of Aquatics at the YMCA of Central Florida.

William D. Ramos, PhD

Director, Indiana University Aquatics Institute
Associate Professor, Indiana School of Public Health

Dr. William D. Ramos, Ph.D. is director of the Aquatics Institute at Indiana University and an associate professor at the Indiana School of Public Health. Ramos researches the public health impact of both built and natural aquatic environments. For the past 30 years, he has practiced aquatic management in everything from conventional pools and waterfronts to today’s modern water parks. His insider exposure to the field of aquatic management has provided the impetus for research questions surrounding issues such as drowning prevention, physical activity, participant perceptions, and recreational water illnesses. Ramos also currently serves as an American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council member.

Miriam Lynch, PhD

CEO, Diversity in Aquatics

Dr. Miriam Lynch, Ph.D. is an advocate for increasing aquatic opportunities and water safety education for all. She collaborates with various aquatic organizations to raise awareness, create community partnerships, and develop solutions to reduce the drowning gap.As the CEO of Diversity in Aquatics, Lynch, along with a team of volunteers, works to educate, promote, and support swimming, water safety and healthy aquatics activities in traditionally underrepresented populations. Lynch, who swam collegiately at Howard University, is also a full-time teacher at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Virginia. She recently earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from Howard University School of Education. Shes also been a swim coach, served on the board of the USA Swimming National Diversity Committee and the Eastern Zone, and was Potomac Valley Swimmings Diversity Chair.

Michael Golden

Strategist and Social Innovator

A social entrepreneur, former award-winning journalist, campaign strategist, and political reformer, Michael Golden is president of Golden Mean Strategies in Chicago. He has dedicated much of his career to launching social enterprises that create opportunities in undersized communities. Golden is also the co-founder of One Million Degrees, a breakthrough scholarship support program that has empowered more than 1,800 low-income community college students to succeed in school work and life.

Peter Nussbaum

Attorney and executive

Peter Nussbaum is an attorney and executive who previously served as the General Counsel of Point72 Asset Management, L.P. and its predecessor, S.A.C. Capital Advisors, LLC. Prior to that, Peter was a partner at the law firm Schulte, Roth & Zabel LLP. In addition to his role on The ZAC Foundations Board, Peter is a Trustee of the Westport/Weston Family YMCA Foundation, Inc., and a coach of the Ys Special Olympics swim team.

Danielle Veira

Communications and Engagement Director, A Better Chicago

Daniella Veira is the director of communications and engagement at A Better Chicago, a nonprofit venture philanthropy fund fighting poverty by investing in opportunities for Black and Latinx low-income youth. Veira leads the organizations strategic communications, digital marketing, and thought leadership efforts. Prior to moving to Chicago, Veira spent more than a decade in Washington, D.C. working in nonprofit communications.

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