National Advisory Council – Bios


Amanda Leis is a social worker with 25 years of experience serving New York City’s older adults. She is the Director of the Bill Payer Program of the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc., where she has grown a corps of over 100 volunteers who assist low-income seniors and people with disabilities with the tasks of monthly bill paying. Previously, she was at Hartley House, as founder and director of an intensive case management program for homebound elders in the under-served neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and master’s degrees from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Columbia University School of Social Work.


Rishi Nigam is vice president of Global Strategies and Business Planning for Group RCI in Parsippany, N.J., where he is responsible for charting the long-term strategy for the vacation rental and exchange division of Wyndham Worldwide. He was instrumental in Tinker’s efforts to provide its beneficiaries with computers and is now involved in budgeting and long-range planning for the association.


Everett Poisson is the director of the KUA Fund at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H. Formerly associate director for external relations with Harvard Business School, he served as a liaison between alumni and the school, seeking to build relationships that continue beyond graduate school years. Before joining Harvard, he was director of business development for Boston’s well-know public broadcasting station, WGBH Everett is spearheading Tinker’s comprehensive fundraising campaign. “The mission of the association resonates with me—the thought of being homeless and not being able to continue to be involved in one’s community is powerful and tragic,” he says. “I also admire and am motivated by the tremendous team that leads the association in its important work.”


Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum, a native of Budapest, left Hungary with her mother after her father was shot and killed on the day the Hungarian Revolution ended in 1956. Moving first to Tangier and then to New York city, Szilvia attended Queens College, receiving her Ph.D. from CUNY Graduate Center, as well as a master’s in library science. For 26 years she was special collection librarian at St. John’s University, nurturing groups that included lawn tennis materials as well as volumes by well-known New Yorkers like Edith Wharton and William Dean Howells. Now retired from St. John’s, Szilvia, who was married to the late Charles Tanenbaum, continues their interests in books through her activities with the Grolier Club and the Bibliographical Society of America.


Louise Valdes-Fauli, though born in Maine, spent 36 years of her adult life in Miami, where she was Chairman of the Miami Science Museum for four years and a board officer with an arts funding organization. A graduate of Smith College, with a BA in economics, Louise entered the training program at Bankers Trust and became a commercial lending officer in the Asia Division. Over the years, she has worked for banks and later as a consultant to banks, as well as to orchestras and other not-for profit organizations. Because her three children and grandchildren live in New York, she now spends much of her time in the city, and became aware of the Annie Tinker Association though her longtime friendship with Michele Randall. Louise has already played a pivotal role in the 2011 Valentine’s Benefit. “I admire the goals of the organization and have truly enjoyed meeting the ladies who are part of the Tinker family. So many of them have lived such interesting lives and I am happy to play a small role in making their later years more comfortable” Louise said.