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Board of Directors

Shiva Sarram, Founder and Executive Director

Shiva Sarram was born and raised in Tehran, Iran during the devastating Iran-Iraq war - a war that resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties. Her family moved to Europe briefly and eventually, to the United States where she has resided since the early 1980's. Shiva attended the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics. She then worked on Wall Street for Chase Manhattan Bank, Deloitte & Touche, Tiger Management and McKinsey & Company.

Shiva has been involved with philanthropic efforts for over twenty years including serving on the Board of the Tiger Foundation for a decade, a $100 million dollar grantmaking foundation working to break the cycle of poverty for children and families in New York City. Her passion for war-affected children as well as her education in economic development, led her to the extraordinary vision and founding of the Blossom Hill Foundation. She resides in New Canaan, CT with her husband and two children where she is actively involved in a number of social justice and public policy issues including climate change, foreign policy and sensible gun law reform.

Hossein Amir-Aslani

Hossein Amir-Aslani has 31 years of experience in Investment Banking starting his career at Irving Trust Co. in 1985. He worked at JPMorgan for nearly twenty years and has been with Morgan Stanley since 2008. Hossein is in charge of the bank's global Aerospace & Defense/Government Services practice. His clients include Boeing, Raytheon, Honeywell, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Harris, Avolon, Booz Allen and Spirit Aero amongst others.

Hossein graduated from the University of Paris with a BA and MA in economics and earned an MBA in finance from New York University’s Stern School of Management. He currently resides in New Canaan, Connecticut with his wife of 30 years. They have two daughters in college and a son who is in high school. Hossein’s hobbies include reading, eating, running and tennis.

Heather Hewett

Heather Hewett is a writer and an associate professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She directed the Women’s Studies Program from 2005-2011 and teaches interdisciplinary courses that examine gender, human rights, feminism, and narrative. Her essays and articles have appeared in over two dozen academic and mainstream publications including The Washington Post; CNN.com; The Christian Science Monitor; and Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers. She also blogs about issues facing mothers and families around the world for Girl with Pen (http://girlwpen.com).

Heather is a graduate of Yale University. She holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Literary Studies, as well as a Graduate Certificate in African Studies, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been a Global Scholar at the Rutgers Institute for Research on Women and has taught in several high schools and colleges, including Université Gaston Berger in Senegal, where she served as a visiting lecturer.

Drew Pearson, Treasurer

Drew Pearson is an experienced executive in the private equity industry. He most recently spent over 22 years at General Atlantic where he served as a Managing Director and Chairman of the Portfolio Committee. Prior to joining General Atlantic, Drew was a business analyst with McKinsey & Company, Inc. where he worked with Fortune 500 businesses in the technology and financial services industries.

Drew holds a MA/BA in Regional Science from The School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Drew and the Blossom Hill Foundation founder, Shiva Sarram, are married with two children and consider this work a core part of their family values.

Reza Sayah

Reza Sayah is a journalist currently based in Tehran, Iran. Most recently Reza was CNN's correspondent based in Cairo where he covered the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to his posting in Egypt, he was CNN’s Pakistan-based correspondent responsible for covering Pakistan and surrounding countries in South Asia. Like Shiva Sarram, Reza was born in Tehran, Iran, and left for the U.S. in 1979 soon after the Islamic Revolution. During his career, Reza has reported on numerous world events including the Egyptian Revolution, the war in Afghanistan, the Ukrainian Revolution, the Libyan Revolution, and the disputed 2009 presidential elections in Iran.

With a journalism career that spans more than 18 years, Reza brings current and essential international knowledge and insight to the Blossom Hill Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Pepperdine University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Reza is fluent in Farsi and conversational in French.

Janet Hartwell, Advisor

Born in Cambridge, England, Janet Hartwell lived in Iran and Saudi Arabia and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, before coming to America with her husband and two small children. Janet has 30 years of experience in the field of education. She was an English teacher at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry before becoming Head of the Middle School and Assistant Head of School. She then served as Assistant Head at Groton School in Massachusetts until she was appointed Head of School at Greens Farms Academy. At the Academy, she oversaw the expansion of facilities and overall program, including the World Perspectives Program -- a series of K-12 curricular initiatives that instill a deep understanding of global issues including health, climate change, and population growth. Janet retired from GFA in 2018 after 15 years as Head of School.

Janet holds a BA in English and Greek from the University of Leeds, UK, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Moray House, University of Edinburgh, and an MA in Educational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is past President of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and is deeply committed to education for all children.