Our Team

Learn more about Southern Communities Initiative board members and team members who work to inspire change in the Southern regions.

Board Members

Headshot of Robert F. Smith as he wears a suit and smiles for the camera.

Robert F. Smith

Founder, Chairman and CEO, Vista Equity Partners

Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith is a philanthropist and entrepreneur who is dedicated to liberating the human spirit. Throughout Smith’s 35+ year career, he is committed his time and resources to initiatives supporting diversity and inclusion, culture, healthcare, the environment and education. The thought leader behind The 2% Solution, Smith partnered with some mission-aligned individuals to create the Initiative in 2021 to bridge the racial wealth gap in six Southern U.S. communities.

Rich Lesser in a black suit jacket, white collared shirt and maroon patterned tie wearing glasses and smiling.

Rich Lesser

Global Chair, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

Rich Lesser is the Global Chair of Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the past, Lesser served as BCG’s CEO for eight years, a period of exceptional growth for the firm. As the CEO, Lesser oversaw the launch of several key business initiatives and programs, including BCG’s pledge to reach net zero climate impact by 2030.

A headshot of PayPal CEO Dan Schulman.

Dan Schulman

President and CEO, PayPal

Dan Schulman is the President and CEO of PayPal. Under Schulman’s leadership, PayPal has helped transform how people move and manage money, as well as how merchants and consumers interact and transact. Since Schulman joined the company in 2014, PayPal has been named to JUST Capital and Forbes’ JUST lists for top companies. PayPal has also been recognized as a Fortune Change the World company thanks to its commitment to tackling some of the biggest societal challenges.

La June Montgomery Tabron

President and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

La June Montgomery Tabron is president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, one of the largest private foundations in the United States. Since joining the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 1987, Tabron has risen to become the organization’s first woman and first African American chief executive, leading work to support thriving children, working families and equitable communities. Currently, Tabron serves on the Kellogg Company board and chairs the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Trust.

Southern Communities Initiative Team Members

A headshot of Mambu Sherman, Executive Director of Southern Communities Initiative.

Mambu Sherman

Executive Director

Image of Paul Disselkoen from PayPal wearing a suit

Paul Disselkoen

Principal, SCI - Senior Associate, Public Affairs, PayPal

Image of Franz Paasche wearing a black sweater and blue collared shirt

Franz Paasche

Principal, SCI – SVP, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, PayPal

Image of Usman Ahmed wearing a blue blazer and striped button down shirt

Usman Ahmed

Principal, SCI – Head of Global Public Affairs and Strategic Research, PayPal

Image of Ami Desai in a black turtleneck standing outside

Ami Desai

Principal, SCI – Chief of Staff to Founder, Chairman, and CEO Robert Smith, Vista Equity Partners