Columbia DC Board Members

Officers 

Kambiz Rahnavardy, President

Kambiz.jpgKambiz Rahnavardy '10SEAS is a principal engineer at Federated Wireless, pioneering the spectrum-sensing cognitive radio and commercialization of Shared Spectrum. He has previously worked for Toshiba America and Bell Labs. He was the treasurer of ColumbiaDC from 2013 to 2017. Through his past and his current role as the President, Rahnavardy has played an integral part in creating an efficient and lean organizational structure with low operating cost, high resilience, and strong community outreach. He has another MS degree from Virginia Tech in Electrical Engineering. He resides in Vienna, Virginia.

Natasha Lebedeva, Co-Vice President (Programming Committee)

Natasha.jpegNatasha is a Senior Planning and Editorial Producer at NBC News. Responsible for special news projects, coverage of international breaking news, exclusive interviews with world leaders. Natasha Lebedeva has been working at NBC‘s Washington Bureau for over a decade. During her career at NBC, she was an editorial and planning producer for political coverage at NBC and MSNBC. Prior to that, Lebedeva was a producer at primetime news program Dateline NBC. Currently Lebedeva works directly with Senior Vice President for News Gathering and with Vice President for Bookings. She works for all NBC News platforms and with all NBC News anchors. She serves as a liaison between NBC and foreign countries where NBC pursues news coverage. Prior to her NBC carrier, Lebedeva was a producer for CNN, reporter for Newsweek magazine and a producer for PBS program ‘Charlie Rose’. Natasha Lebedeva was a producer for a number of documentaries that aired on PBS, Discovery channel, National Geographic, also at the Library of Congress and Stanford University. Lebedeva is a recipient of prestigious journalistic awards for her achievements in news coverage. She was awarded several Emmy Awards; International Press Club Award; National Headliner Award; Alfred I. DuPont - Columbia Award. Natasha Lebedeva is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism (in New York). She currently serves as a Vice President of Columbia University Alumni Club of Washington DC. Natasha Lebedeva also holds Master’s degree with Honors in Structural, Applied and Mathematical Linguistics from St. Petersburg University (St. Petersburg, Russia).
Natasha Lebedeva was born and grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. She currently resides in Washington DC.

 

Suparna Mukherjee, Co-Vice President (Membership Committee)

Nathen Huang, Treasurer (Membership & Programming Committees, Young Alumni Club)

Nathen.pngNathen Huang CC '15/GSAS '16 hails from sunny Southern California and currently works as a Data Analyst at POLITICO. While at Columbia, Nathen completed a dual-Bachelor's/Master's degree program in Psychology and Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences and conducted extensive research on the implicit mechanisms of discrimination and intergroup relations. Nathen's interests include cooking, politics, cheese, and German. 

 

 

 

Directors

Kate Benner (Investment Committee)

Kate_Benner.jpgKate Benner is a member of the Environmental Practice Group in King & Spalding’s Washington, D.C. office. She focuses her practice on complex environmental litigation.  Ms. Benner has experience defending companies in investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, state attorneys general, and various state-government agencies.

Most recently, she has assisted with the litigation and resolution of numerous state-attorney-general environmental and consumer-protection claims in connection with the importation and sale of motor vehicles.

Ms. Benner holds an A.B. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was awarded the Edwin Parker Prize for the study of international or comparative law.

Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Benner worked for the Office of the United States Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President. 

Rhonda Colvin (Programming Committee)

Rhonda_Colvin.jpgRhonda Colvin is a 2013 Graduate of Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. There, she earned her M.A. degree, specialized in political reporting.

Colvin is an Emmy Award winning multimedia journalist with a background in both print and television reporting and currently works for The Washington Post. She has also reported for The Wall Street Journal as well as news organizations in Alabama, and her home state of Ohio.

In addition to her involvement as a board member of Columbia D.C., Colvin also sits on Columbia Journalism School's Board of Alumni.

Abigail Baldwin Coyne (Membership Committee)

Abigail_Coyne_Diller.jpgAbigail is a 2006 graduate of Columbia’s graduate school of social work where she earned a Masters of Science in Social Work with a specialization in Clinical practice; Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities. Ms. Coyne holds a Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude from Lawrence University where she studied Psychology and Philosophy. Abigail currently works as Major Gifts Officer at the National Cathedral School for Girls. Prior to serving in her role at NCS, Abigail was Associate Director of the Women’s Board at The University of Chicago. Abigail hails from Madison, Wisconsin and is proud of her Midwestern roots. She is a classically trained singer and is currently building a freelance floral design business. She resides in Washington D.C.

Joe Feuer (Nominating & Programming Committees)

JOE_FEUER.jpgJoseph C. Feuer (Columbia College ’87; SIPA ’91) has just concluded two terms as ColumbiaDC President. He is Executive Director of the Corporate Leadership practice at The Conference Board, a business membership and research association working in the public interest. Previously, Mr. Feuer served for five years as executive director of the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Society for International Development, a membership-based professional association for international development practitioners, Other prior positions include country director for two international development NGOs: Pact, in Ukraine and Belarus, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, in the Republic of Georgia.

Mr. Feuer has also served as Program Manager for European Affairs, and Economies in Transition at the U.S. Council for International Business in New York. In the years just after the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, he worked as a political adviser to the leading Czech political party and as a public relations consultant to companies invested in Eastern Europe. He also started the first walking tour company in post-communist Czechoslovakia. Earlier, Mr. Feuer worked as a legislative and campaign aide for Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II. He holds a B.A. in political science from Columbia College and an M.I.A. from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Ritija Gupta (Programming Committee)

Ritija.jpgRitija is a Vice President at a local digital health startup and DC-area native. A 2010 graduate of Columbia Business School, she looks forward to developing thoughtful and engaging events related to DC's unique intersection of business, government, legal, and non-profit spaces. In addition to sitting on the CUDC board, she also sits on the board of DC area charter school. Ritija enjoys the theatre and arts scene, and, when she has time, is working on the perpetual renovation of her home.

Tisha Jepson 

Tisha.pngTisha is a previous ColumbiaDC President and present Board member. Currently, she is True Bearing Diagnostics, CEO and St. Laurent Institute, EVP. With over 15 years experience developing successful start-up companies, Jepson brings with her, a leadership and board level perspective from both the private and public sector. Most recently, Jepson worked as Director of Corporate Strategy, Sales, and Marketing for SeqLL, Inc. with the goal of improving world healthcare through improved diagnostics using true single molecule sequencing (tSMS) and focusing on the  the Systems Biology of non-coding RNAs and their influence on chronic disease. She holds degrees from Columbia University’s Barnard College (BA), from American University (MA), and will complete her second Master's degree in the Spring of 2018 from Johns Hopkins University. 

Alex Liebowitz (Programming Committee)

Alex.JPGAlex Liebowitz (CC’61) majored in history and rowed on the lightweight crew while at the College. After graduate work in history, including a year as a Fulbright scholar in Paris, and a year as a history instructor at Ohio State, he entered the Foreign Service in 1967.  Alex spent most of his Foreign Service career working on European and political-military affairs -- in particular, disarmament. After 27 years in the Foreign Service, Alex moved over to the Civil Service, where he spent another 17 years working on arms control and nonproliferation issues. 

Since his retirement in 2012, Alex has been keeping active by studying the piano, taking a range of courses for retirees, and engaging in Columbia alumni groups in the DC area, including a book club that is re-engaging with the Core Curriculum reading list. He continues to enjoy skiing, including an annual trip to join a classmate on the slopes of Colorado and last year joined another classmate in sailing up and down the east coast to deliver the classmate’s boat to New England.

Alex is interested in bringing diverse programming to the Columbia Alumni Club on DC, and welcomes inputs from members on events they would like to see the club sponsor.  

Kathy McNally (Communications Committee)

 

Dale Turza (Investment & Nominating Committees)

Dale_Turza.jpgDale Chakarian Turza is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of SAP National Security Services, Inc.® (SAP NS2®). Prior to joining SAP NS2, Dale was a Partner in the White Collar Defense and Complex Litigation Group of the New York law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, LLP, and, prior to that, she was a Partner in the global law firm, Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, LLP. With over three decades of experience, Dale is a nationally recognized expert in issues relating to national security, corruption, commercial and arms exports, boycotts and economic sanctions. In private practice, she represented many U.S. and foreign defense contractors, industrial companies, financial institutions, and news organizations, among others, and she handled numerous enforcement actions, internal investigations and compliance matters over the years. Dale received her B.A. degree summa cum laude from Connecticut College for Women, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She obtained her M.A. degree from Columbia University and a J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center where she was editor of the Journal of Law and Policy in International Business.

 

Club Administrator 

Miyako Yerick:

Yerick_Miyako_Digital.pngMiyako is a 2012 graduate of Columbia College with a BA in History. She then got her masters at the LBJ school at the University of Texas, Austin and now works as a Geopolitical Risk Analyst specializing in the Americas region at Ankura. 

 

Director Emeritus

Lewis Mendelson (Investment, Nominating, Programming, Communications Committees)

Lew.jpgOur durable bon vivant and world traveler, Lew Mendelson, C’55, Law ’58, is the closest thing to a historic anachronism. He began participating in Columbia DC events in the early ’60s and  was its president in the late ‘80s  and early ‘90s. In 1991, he was awarded an Alumni Medal for his leadership of the club. He has also served as President of the Columbia Law School Association of Washington DC. In earlier lives Lew worked as a teamster, a merchant seaman, and a Spanish Sportswriter. As a member of Salem, Oregon’s  Pentacle Players, among other roles, he was  “Jim  O’Connor, the Gentleman Caller” in Tennessee William’s “The Glass Menagerie.” After service in the Army National Guard, he was named  Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court (1959-60). Thereafter, for 31 years, he worked as an SEC lawyer rising to Assistant Director in its Division of Investment Management and Senior Counsel in its Division of Enforce! ment. In “retirement,” from 1993 -2015, as a consultant with PriceWaterhouse, PWC, IBM and the Aries Group, he developed capital markets in 18 countries as disparate as Kyrgyzstan (1993-96),  India (1996-2007), Egypt (2008), Bangladesh (2006, 2012-2014) and Bhutan (2013-15). In 2007, he again  became active in Columbia DC, overseeing the restructuring of its Board, serving on its Nominating Committee and helping to write event and other promos. In 2017, he became Chair of RESET, a non-profit organization of volunteer scientists that provides hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to pre-school, elementary and middle school students in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.