Board of Directors
Maria Rodale, co-chairman
Maria Rodale is the CEO chairman of the board of Rodale Inc., a board member of the New York Restoration Project and a board member of the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She is the author of four books; has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, CBS-TV’S The Early Show, CNNfn and NPR’s All Things Considered; and has been quoted in The New York Times, Newsweek and USA Today. Rodale won the 2007 Americans for UNFPA Award for her work to promote the health and dignity of women and received The National Audubon Society’s “Rachel Carson Award” for “Working to Ensure a Healthy Environment for Future Generations” in 2004 and was named a co-recipient of the prestigious Women in Periodical Publishing’s “Exceptional Woman in Publishing” award. She is the granddaughter of the late J.I Rodale.
Paul A. McGinley, co-chairman
Paul A. McGinley received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University (A.B. 1970) and his law degree from Georgetown University (J.D. 1974). He has been practicing law in the Lehigh Valley since 1974 and is one of the founding partners of Gross, McGinley, LaBarre & Eaton. McGinley has held prestigious positions in the past including, chairman of a hearing committee of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, president of the Lehigh County Bar Association, and president of the Swain School board of directors. He is a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Magazine Publishers of America, a member of the American and Pennsylvania Bar Associations and the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, and is director and secretary to the Velodrome Fund.
Anthony Rodale, chairman emeritus
Grandson of Rodale Institute’s founder, J.I. Rodale, Anthony was inspired to help farmers and gardeners become more productive while growing their food in balance with nature after photographing a food security workshop in Kenya with the Rodale Institute’s international team. From 1992-2005 Anthony served as vice chairman and then chairman of the Rodale Institute’s board of directors. Under Anthony’s leadership the Rodale Institute renewed its commitment to the founding theme of Healthy Soil – Healthy Food – Healthy People, the farm became certified organic, the long term Farming Systems Trial celebrated its 25th anniversary, The New Farm magazine was launched online, and his wife Florence Rodale launched a successful youth education program and website. He also won international recognition for leadership work in Senegal. In 2005, Anthony decided to focus on photography (he is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photograph and Business, Santa Barbara, CA), leaving the Institute to pursue new creative paths. He continues to be an active advocate for farmers currently serving on the board of Rodale Inc., the Rainforest Alliance and the Appeal Board of the Soil Association.
Ardath H. Rodale, co-chairman emeritus in memoriam
Ardath Harter Rodale was chief inspiration officer at Rodale Inc. She held a BS in art education from Kutztown University and has received a number of honorary doctorates from DeSales University, Lehigh University, Kutztown University and the New College of California. Ardath, usually known as Ardie, was named one of the “50 Best Women in Business in Pennsylvania” by the Central Penn Business Journal in 1996, a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania by Governor Tom Ridge in 1997, was chosen as one of the top 50 Working Business Owners in the United States in the October 1997 issue of Working Woman Magazine, and was named one of the 50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs in the World by The Star Group in 1999. She was the mother of five children, a grandmother of eleven and the wife of the late Robert Rodale. Ardie is the author of four books, Climbing Toward the Light, Gifts of the Spirit, Reflections: Finding Love, Hope, and Joy in Everyday Life, and Everyday Miracles: Meditations on Living an Extraordinary Life published in 1989, 1997, 2002, and 2007 respectively. She also wrote “Reflections,” a popular monthly column for Prevention magazine and was one of 29 prominent women whose thoughts on the role of spirituality in modern life were featured in the book, Embracing Our Essence: Spiritual Conversations with Prominent Women, published in 1995 by Health Communications, Inc.
Drew Becher, who joined the Rodale board in 2008, was named president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in June 2010. At PHS he has initiated the multi-state Plant One Million tree campaign and the expansion of the City Harvest program, which partners with community gardens to grow fresh produce for underserved residents. Before coming to PHS, he was executive director of the New York Restoration Project and partnered with Mayor Bloomberg to launch MillionTreesNYC, which has led to the planting of more than 479,000 trees to date in the city’s five boroughs. He served as deputy director of Washington D.C.’s Office of Planning, where he led the creation of the Department of Environment, and was director of the district’s Department of Parks and Recreation. In Chicago, Becher was chief of staff for the Chicago Park District and helped forge Mayor Daley’s acclaimed environmental and beautification agenda.
Elizabeth Kucinich is a sustainable food and vegan advocate, a champion for peace, human rights, animals and the environment. A government affairs professional, Elizabeth moved to the USA in 2005 to organize the American Monetary Institute’s first international conference on Monetary Reform, after having lived and worked in slums in India and rural subsistence communities in Tanzania. She was a congressional liaison for the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. Academically, she holds a BA in Religious Studies and Theology, an MA in International Conflict Analysis, and a Certificate in Peace and Reconciliation Studies. Elizabeth is an Executive Producer of “GMO-OMG”, a documentary exploring genetic engineering in agriculture and food (www.GMOfilm.com). She is also co-producing “Hot Water”, a documentary about the nuclear industry, uranium mining and the radioactive pollution of water (www.ZeroHotWater.com). She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Dennis Kucinich, a former US Congressman and two-time US Presidential candidate. They share their home and garden with their three rescue dogs and cat, and a hive of bees they lovingly refer to as their girls.
Kim has been a member of the Rodale Institute’s Board of Directors since 2008. She has been a leader in bringing healthier food to America’s school children as a founding board member of the Coalition for Better School Food. As a Trustee of Neighbors Link, she worked to better integrate recent immigrants into the mainstream of the U.S. on a legal path to employment and citizenship. A graduate of UC Berkeley with Honors in Urban Studies focusing on urban agriculture, she holds a master’s degree from the Elliot School of Public and International Affairs at George Washington University in economic/agricultural development of developing nations and Science, Technology and Public Policy. Post graduate studies she was awarded a Fellowship from the InterAmerican Foundation to conduct field research on colonial agricultural legacies, food biases and marketing structural alternatives in the Caribbean region for 6 months. Kim is a Trustee of the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation in NY, Urban Resource Systems in SF. a Special Advisor to the national Children & Nature Network and recently joined the NY-based Thanks To Scandinavia Foundation’s board. Kim lives in NY with her husband and 4 children.
Helen Piszek Nelson
Helen Piszek Nelson received her bachelor of science degree in business administration, graduating Summa Cum Laude from Gwynedd-Mercy College. She is currently vice president for Emlen House Enterprises Inc., president and co-chairman of the Copernicus Society of America, and is appointed to the president’s council at Gwynedd Mercy College. Honors include being elected as an honorary member of the Academy Club of Germantown, and an Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1990 at the Germantown Academy, where she had the distinction of being the first woman alumnus in the 246 year history of the school to receive the award. Helen recently joined the Board of Trustees at Delaware Valley College and has received awards from Podlasie University in Poland for her work in Student Exchange programs and a medal from the Minister of Education for her work in promoting Polish culture and student exchange.
Michel Nischan is a proponent of sustainable farming, local and regional food systems, and heritage recipes, Michel has long been a leader in the movement to honor local, pure, simple, and delicious cooking. He is owner and founder of Dressing Room, his homegrown restaurant in Westport, CT, and CEO and president of Wholesome Wave. A son of displaced farmers, Nischan grew up with a deep appreciation for sustainable agriculture and those who work the land. As a professional chef and advocate for a more healthful, organic and sustainable food future, he has built on those childhood values and become a catalyst for change and new initiatives in local and regional food systems. Nischan is a two-time James Beard award winner and most recently the recipient of the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Louise Schorn Smith, CPA
Louise Schorn is a certified public accountant, certified management accountant, and president of Countryside Consulting, Inc. She belongs to the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center, and is also a member of the Founding Partners of the Farm Based Education Association (FBEA). Schorn helped start the Maysie’s Farm CSA in Chester County in 1997, was instrumental in creating Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center (an educational nonprofit organization) in 1999, and created the Sustainable Agriculture Internship Training Alliance of Southeastern PA (SAITA) in 2000.