Board of directors
board of directors
Simply Smiles Inc. is a not-for-profit organization and, therefore, relies heavily on its volunteer Board of Directors. We have been lucky enough to recruit real pillars of the community to serve on the Board. Their dedication, experience, and expertise are invaluable. We invite you to learn more about them.
karen jones, chair
Karen Jones holds a B.S. in Mathematics and a Masters in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University – both degrees were earned summa cum laude. Karen spent her professional career working for IBM, beginning as a Systems Engineer and finally as the Manager for Marketing Intelligence for IBM Sales and Distribution.
She has been an active supporter of many causes, including serving on the Advisory Boards for the University of Connecticut Health Center and College of Education. Karen has been involved with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship; Shepherds, where she was a student mentor; and with the Southport Congregational Church, where she is part of their Mission Outreach Board.
A long-time supporter of Simply Smiles, she brings her experience volunteering in Mexico and on the Reservation and as a fundraiser to our Board of Directors.
Karen lives with her husband, Bob, in Westport, CT.
ivan lucuk, vice chair
Ivan Lucuk holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College. He has spent his professional career working for Bridgewater Associates, a privately-owned global macroeconomic hedge fund that manages portfolios mainly for institutional clients including corporate pension funds, endowments, state pension plans, and sovereign wealth funds. Ivan began at Bridgewater as an Operations Associate, quickly being promoted to the Head of Foreign Exchange Operations, and is currently an Account Management Associate with a focus on client services.
Ivan is as dedicated to his work with Simply Smiles as he is to his professional career. He even took a six-month sabbatical in 2007 in order to help Simply Smiles expand our projects and infrastructure.
Ivan lives with his wife, Marisa, and their children in Trumbull, CT.
david rotatori, treasurer
David J. Rotatori is the President and CEO of Ion Bank in Naugatuck, CT. He holds a B.A. from Western Connecticut State University and M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut. David is a Certified Public Accountant and Charted Global Management Accountant with more than 25 years of experience in financial services organizations.
David is dedicated to his community, serving on the United Way Board of Directors and other roles, including chair of the 2011 and 2018 Campaigns and past Treasurer. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation and the Ion Bank Foundation. He is a member of the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society. David was also a coach for Naugatuck Youth Soccer and currently coaches for multiple youth basketball leagues.
As a longtime advocate of Simply Smiles, David brings his knowledge and experience to expand the operations, goals and strategic initiatives of the organization.
David lives in Naugatuck, Connecticut with his wife, Pam, and their three daughters, Cara, Mia and Alena.
david nurnberger, secretary
David Nurnberger spent his professional career as senior vice president of human resources at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. Retiring in 2011, he currently is a member of the Board of Directors of Ion Bank where he serves on four committees and chairs of the Compensation Committee.
He brings a wealth of experience working in non-profits to the Board of Simply Smiles. Prior to his human resources career, he spent 15 years working for the United Way, including 10 years leading the United Way of Northern Fairfield County. His volunteer roles have included serving on the boards, and as Chairman, of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, Western Connecticut State University Foundation, Danbury School and Business Collaborative, and Ann’s Place.
As a longtime supporter of Simply Smiles, David is a founding director of the organization. David has volunteered numerous times at Simply Smiles project locations in Oaxaca, Mexico and on the Cheyenne River Reservation.
David lives with his wife, Nancy, in Woodbury, CT.
bryan nurnberger, president & founder, ex-officio board member
Bryan Nurnberger founded Simply Smiles, Inc. in 2003.
Bryan graduated from the University of Colorado in 1999 with a B.A. in history. In the few years after college and before founding Simply Smiles, Bryan worked as a mountain climbing guide, hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, lived with monks in Greece, and worked with sugar cane cutters in the Dominican Republic.
In 2013, he was given the Lakota name Cante Waste Wicasa, meaning "Kind-Hearted Man," as part of a formal naming ceremony.
Bryan lives with his wife, Kristen, in Southport, CT.
Dr. Peter Bayers is Professor of English at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He holds a B.A. from Villanova University, an M.A. from New York University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island.
His scholarly work has focused on Native American literature and his numerous publications have helped to draw attention to the importance of affirming the history and culture of Native peoples.
Peter lives with his wife, Tracy, in New Milford, CT.
Annie Coombs is co-founder of Oikos, an architectural design firm based in New York City that provides socially and environmentally minded organizations with strategy for building initiatives, community engagement, and concept & schematic design. She holds a B.A. in Women's Studies from Wesleyan University and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
Inspired by her experience volunteering with the YMCA on the Cheyenne River Reservation as a high school student, Annie co-founded Post Reservation, an ongoing research project that visualizes housing, infrastructure, and economic issues on both the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge Lakota Reservations in South Dakota in an attempt to bring attention to oft-neglected communities and spark ideas for meaningful change.
Annie is excited to bring her passion for women's empowerment and Native American issues to the Simply Smiles Board.
Ed Dooling is the Vice President of Human Resources at Masonicare in Wallingford, CT. He holds a B.A. in Communications and Urban Affairs from Manhattan College and an M.S. in Human Resource Development from Villanova University. He brings a wealth of knowledge to Simply Smiles as a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and 15 years of experience in the field.
Ed lives in Cheshire, CT with his wife, Jennifer, and their four children.
Nakia Letang has a B.A. from Post University (CT) and has worked in the field of college admissions for over 14 years. She currently serves as Associate Director for Undergraduate Admission at Fairfield University, where she oversees diversity efforts in recruitment and enrollment.
Nakia has gained experience in recruitment and territory management in the southeast region, southwest region, mid-Atlantic region, New England region and parts of Latin America. She has presented at a number of regional and national conferences, including the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Critical Components Conference, the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) Annual Meeting & Conference on “Leaning In” as a woman pursuing a career and family, and has served as a facilitator for the Multicultural Symposium in Dallas, TX and Costa Mesa, CA for the past seven years. She has worked in collaboration on many of the institutions successful efforts to increase diversity, having served as a member of the President's Institutional Diversity Council and Strategic Vision Task Force at Fairfield University. She has served as the Communications Chair for the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) for three years and as the Vice President of the Northeast Consortium of Counselors Bridging Access to College (NECBAC), focusing on access and advocacy for underrepresented populations.
In addition, Nakia has worked with the Bridgeport Board of Education, serving on the former Bridgeport Higher Education Alliance and the Complete Fairfield County Initiative, examining ways to increase college degree completion in Fairfield County.
Outside of the admissions field, Nakia works diligently in her church community, serving as the youth coordinator and on the pastoral executive council. Through these roles, she has been able to host a number of workshops for the local community and served on the Advisory Board for the Women Moving Forward Organization. She has been featured in the New York Times (July 2015) and in the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Member Spotlight (March 2016) for her work and commitment to college access. Nakia is also the recipient of the NEACAC William S. Neal Rising Star Award (2010) and NEACAC IDEAL Award (2018).
Gil L’Italien holds a Doctoral Degree in Epidemiology & Biostatistics from Boston University School of Public Health. He is currently Head of GHEOR and Epidemiology and BioHaven Pharmaceuticals. Previously, he was the Executive Director of Health Outcomes at Alexion Pharmaceuticals and the Senior Director of Health Outcomes at Biogen, Inc; before that, he was the Executive Director of Global Health Outcomes at Bristol Myers Squibb. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.
Gil is also a member of the CDC Foundation, Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition (VHAC), the Industry Steering Committee of the Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERT), and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) at the US Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to his current professional roles, he served as Director of Vascular Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Instructor in Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Gil has published extensively in the epidemiologic, public health, and medical fields.
Gil is a committed philanthropist who has devoted his time, resources and talents in support of a number of causes, including hospice care, education of girls in developing countries, and improvements to the lives of disabled and disadvantaged children throughout the world. He is currently applying his skills to support the Simply Smiles mission of improving the health of children in remote regions of southern Oaxaca, Mexico. Gil is an active member of the Deep River Congregational Church and lives in Deep River, CT with his wife, Dale.
Dr. Mark Pierce holds a B.A., an M.D., and a Ph.D all from Northwestern University. His professional career began at Harvard University with an appointment as a Clinical and Research Fellow in Medicine, an Instructor in Medicine, and as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. Mark has applied his considerable talents as a physician and researcher at esteemed companies such as New England Nuclear Corporation, Enzymatics, Abbot Laboratories, The Warner-Lambert Company, and Pfizer. At Pfizer, Mark served as a Senior Vice President for Global Research and Development as well as The Director of Worldwide Clinical Research.
Mark has served on the boards of directors for Phytomedics Inc. as well as Phylogica in Australia. His professional writings have been extensively published in journals relating to his fields of research. Dr. Pierce is extremely active in his community, including at the Essex Congregational Church.
He lives with his wife, Kristin, in Essex, CT.
Sarah Westby holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Delaware and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. While in law school, Sarah held internships at Connecticut Legal Services and the United States Department of Justice – Civil Rights Division. She previously worked as an attorney in Manhattan, concentrating her practice in the field of pharmaceutical antitrust law. Currently, she is an associate in the Product Liability and Tort Litigation Practice Group at Shipman & Goodwin, LLP in Hartford, CT.
Sarah became involved with Simply Smiles through volunteering on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation and brings her energy, enthusiasm and experience to advance the organization's work.