Chairman & Founder
Anthony Samuel Melikhov was born in Minsk, Belarus in 1963 and moved with his family to the United States in 1989 to pursue a better life. In 1992, he founded Sagmel Inc., an over-the-counter pharmaceutical company, headquartered in Libertyville, Illinois.
In 2008, after many years of serving as President of what had become a multi-million dollar company, Anthony and his partners made the decision to sell their vested interest to Bayer AG. Anthony based his decision on a personal calling and overwhelming feeling to evaluate his path in life, striving for the pursuit of inner happiness and peace. This compelling feeling led him to want to do more for the world around him, thus establishing Bright Future.
Maya Gumirov, NCC, LPC
Maya Gumirov came to the Unites States from Russia, as a refugee in 1995. With her extensive expertise as a print and television journalist, she started to work for a Russian newspaper in Chicago, two weeks after immigrating to the Unites States. A year later, her knowledge of the Russian community was noticed by HIAS Chicago, the oldest immigration agency in Illinois, and she was hired as a media and community outreach coordinator. Maya has been involved in working with immigrants and refugees from around the globe for more than 15 years – helping them adjust in a new country. After completing a Master degree in Community Counseling (Illinois School of Professional Psychology) and passing the licensure exam, she began working as a psychotherapist. Maya’s special passion is to educate children about Holocaust and Remembrance. She conducts Commemorations for Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans and their families – connecting generations, educating and healing.
Dr. Andrew Ivanchenko
Andrew Ivanchenko, M.D. is a board certified, family practice physician whose primary focus is muscular and joint pain. Dr. Ivanchenko graduated from Saratov Medical University in 1985 and is a Healthgrades© Recognized Physician.
David Loewenguth is the Executive Director of Bright Future’s partner program, CHABHA (Children Affected by HIV/AIDS). This program raises funds for grassroots projects in Rwanda and Burundi that care for orphans and other children affected by HIV/AIDS. The community-based organizations are led by young adults who believe in fostering an environment of care and compassion to children who delight in helping young children. Older children learn trades in CHABHA’s Project Independence.
Sara Potler LaHayne is the Founder & CEO of Move This World, (MTW) a global nonprofit that uses creative movement to discourage conflict, violence and bullying in local communities around the world. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Sara is a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum; an American Express Emerging Innovator; a Cordes Fellow with the Opportunity Collaboration; a Peace X Peace 2012 Women, Power, & Peace Award Winner (Generation Peace Award); the only U.S. recipient of the Youth Leader Award by the Inter-American Development Bank Annual Board of Governors Meeting; an Ashoka Activating Empathy Award Winner; a two-time Beyond Sport Award Finalist; a StartingBloc Fellow; a Finalist Nominee Social Entrepreneur/Innovator for the Women’s Information Network 18th Annual Young Women of Achievement Award; 1 of 3 Artists Transforming the World by the Arts and Healing Network; a Susan Schiffer Stautberg Leadership Fellow. She has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Carnegie Council’s Policy Innovations, Americans for the Arts, Ashoka, El Tiempo, Unrest Magazine, Rising Pyramid, Whole Living Magazine, Martha Stewart Radio on SiriusXM,and the International Platform on Sport and Peace, among others.
Secretary of the Board
Karen M Lodygowski currently serves as Controller for Bright Future International. Ms. Lodygowski found her way to Bright Future International in 2012 after pursing volunteer opportunities for several charities. Her volunteer work not only put her on the path to rediscovering her life-long passion for helping people, but also provided a perfect opportunity to apply her background and talents in ways that benefited the greater good (Karen holds several degrees in the Arts & Design). In high school she started workingin the nonprofit sector and that tapped into her love for making a positive difference. And, although she experienced genuine fulfillment and joy in that position which she held into her college years, she thought she had to a get a “grown up” job and thus ventured off into the corporate world. Before following her heart and returning to the nonprofit world, she served as a Director of Operations, a Principle owner of a boutique kitchen design firm, an office manager, a project manager a lead designer and an all-around organization guru. All of Karen’s experiences both within the profit and nonprofit sectors, and as a mother to an awesome son, helped her to the realization that working in a nonprofit is THE “grown up” job.
Ryan Hampton is a founding partner of a full service strategic fundraising and public relations firm. Ryan’s work with nonprofit organizations, governments, NGOs, and political campaigns over the years has raised tens of millions of dollars for different causes. He has experience in fundraising, community outreach, leadership development, legislation and political consulting. Ryan is an alumni of the Clinton/Gore administration having served in the White House as an assistant to the Vice President. Additionally, he has worked with the Democratic National Committee, Florida Democratic Party, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno,the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, Obama for America, as well as numerous members of Congress, the Senate, and Governors across the country. He attended Marymount University and is certified by various institutions including M.I.T. and Harvard University.
Andrew Richmond, a veteran in-house licensing attorney with over 19 years of industry experience, founded Richmond Management Group in 2003. In founding RMG, Andy’s goal was to assist companies that did not require fulltime licensing counsel by providing top-flight legal representation on an as-needed, basis. Andy possesses unique licensing industry knowledge having represented both the licensed property (licensor) and manufacturer (licensee). Few attorneys have firsthand experience from both sides of the negotiation table and this perspective enables Andy to forge workable, legally-compliant documents in a professional and time effective manner
Andy received his BA in English and American Government from Franklin & Marshall College and his JD from the University of Maryland School of Law.
Geneva Wasserman is a seasoned entertainment professional and intellectual property licensing attorney, currently leading the commercial division of Invision by the Associated Press in the role of Director of Business Development. Her skills include intellectual property licensing, talent management, public and media relations, business affairs and business development. She is the proud mother of two children and resides in Los Angeles with her husband Adam.
Wilmer Valderrama, best known as ‘Fez’ on That’s 70’s Show, has produced, directed, written, hosted & acted in a number of film and television projects; Wilmer was most recently seen in: NBC’s Awake, Larry Crowne, The Dry Land, From Prada to Nada, and is the iconic voice of ‘Manny’ on Disney’s Handy Manny. He also serves as the spokesperson for CHCI, Environmental Media Association Board Member, and Co-Chair for VotoLatino.
Forest Steven Whitaker is an American actor, producer, and director. He has earned a reputation for intensive character study work for films such as Bird and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and for his recurring role as ex-LAPD Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh on the award-winning television series, The Shield. Whitaker won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland. In June 2011 Whitaker was inducted as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador For Peace and Reconciliation. He is currently serving as the Founder and President of the PeacEarth Project – a not-for-profit organization with an international scope and reach to help societies affected by conflicts and violence transform into safe and productive communities.
Secretary of State Jesse White
Jesse Clark White is a Democratic American politician. He is currently the 37th and second-longest serving Secretary of State of Illinois, after James A. Rose, and the first African American to hold this position. White was born in Alton, Illinois.