Board of Directors
Michael Ien Cohen
Founder and President
Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, Filmmaker, Software Developer, Life-Long Skateboarder
Michael started out as the Marketing Director for a hotel supply company in 1990, while simultaneously attending college full time in the evenings. After graduating, his entrepreneurial career began, co-founding businesses to manufacture magnets for various industries. Soon after that, along with his friend and fellow Foundation Board Member, Bryan Conroy, Ph.D., he co-founded a software company pioneering web-based management systems for fire departments and EMS squads. The two main humanitarian inspirations in Michael's life include his Grandfather; a life-long volunteer for various causes and a celebrated FDNY hero with a day named after him in Brooklyn, NY. Michael is also inspired daily by his two daughters, whom he describes as having "truly beautiful and old souls", and that remind him about the importance of inspiring children to live full, rich, joyous and open lives. In 2017 Michael's love of humanitarian work, his passion to help inspire people and affect positive change in the world set him on a new journey, ultimately leading him here. In addition to creating the WhatStopsYou.org Foundation, he's currently producing and directing the uniquely uplifting and thought provoking documentary film, Humanity Stoked.
Bryan Conroy, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist, Entrepreneur, Software Developer, Adjunct Professor
Bryan's love for science and engineering began in his grandfather's basement, where he would hold a screwdriver while his grandpa was fixing an electronic gadget or building a birdhouse. This experience inspired him to pursue a career in engineering, and he hasn't looked back since. After receiving BE and ME degrees in electrical engineering from the Cooper Union, Bryan went on to receive a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University, where he worked on signal processing and machine learning algorithms for improving functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analyses. Since graduating, Bryan has almost a decade of experience in machine learning geared for neuroscience and biomedical applications, including in his current role as a senior research scientist at a large healthcare company. Throughout his career, Bryan has also enjoyed mentoring younger students, and has taught a number of classes as an adjunct professor at the Cooper Union. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, and gardening. He hopes to inspire his two young children with the love of learning as his grandfather once did for him.
Professional Equity Trader, Buddhist Meditation Teacher, Musician, Life-Long Skier
Billy has felt a strong calling towards working with others since he was a High School student doing volunteer work at the Kindergarten and working at summer camp. After graduating from Lehigh University with a BA in Architecture in the 80's, he became an instructor for the Dale Carnegie Institute, teaching students their curriculum in a classroom format, as well as training their instructors. In the 90's, he began what has been a 28 year career as an equity trader and he spent over a decade as the head of training for the trading firm, responsible for developing and working closely with newer traders. In 2014 Billy, feeling that his relationship to himself and to the world, and life in general was not healthy and expansive, began to turn towards his spiritual side. This search ultimately found its expression in Buddhism. He left the NY area and spends most of his year in the mountains outside of Boulder, Colorado, continuing his trading career, studying and practicing the Buddhist Path, and helping to serve others on their own individual paths as a Meditation Teacher.
Director / Treasurer
Entrepreneur, Lighting Designer, Professor & Coach
Brian's passion for design & technology followed him after he graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in business and the arts. As luck would have it, his family business was a perfect match to his creative side: the business was lighting. Through Brian's leadership, his business has grown steadily with him at the helm. As the creative force, he's been designing decorative lighting for three decades and is a member of ASID, IDS, ARTS & ALA. His hands on approach to all his work connected him to the community and in 1998 began teaching design students at local colleges. Throughout his career he has always looked to help others, and his direction was focused on helping children. His time and efforts helped to generate funds for the Ronald McDonald House, Toys For Tots and The Cohen's Hospital for Children, just to name a few. Brian also takes pride in his own children and is a proud father of four. One of his true joys in life has been coaching the local intramural basketball league in which all of his children have participated at different stages of their development.
CEO, Co-Founder and visionary of Wahoo's Fish Taco. Philanthropic icon of Orange County, California
Founder/President of the Poseiden Foundation, Board Member, USA Skateboarding Olympic committee, Female empowerment advocate and activist, “Dream Weaver” I AM HUMAN Inspirer & leader
Hamish Brewer PhD
Education Game-Changer, 2018 Northern Virginian of the Year. Award winning principal
Professional Skateboarder, Programs Manager for the Tony Hawk Foundation. Community Skate park advocate
Founder of Yunexis Agency. Agent for top professional female skateboarders and woman's advocate
Humanitarian, Public Speaker, Advocate, Founder of Global NGO, Longboard Women's United, Co-Founder of Longboard Girls Crew
6-Time Grammy winning Afro Latin Jazz composer and pianist. Artistic Director, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance