Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is comprised of carefully chosen members who are committed to advancing the strategic vision of the Foundation and assuring that fiduciary and legal responsibilities are met.

Edward W. Ahart, JD – Chair

Edward W. Ahart was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2010. He currently serves as Chair of the law firm of Schenk, Price, Smith & King LLP in New Jersey, previously serving as the firm’s Managing Partner and Chair of its Management Committee for nearly twenty years.

Mr. Ahart has extensive experience in business counseling, having represented a wide range of corporate and nonprofit entities, and is a frequent speaker on corporate governance, transactional and financing matters. He has had numerous community leadership positions including his current role as Chair of the Lafayette College Board of Trustees. After graduating with honors from Lafayette College in 1969, Mr. Ahart attended the Cornell Law School, receiving his law degree in 1972 and served as Law Secretary to the Honorable Joseph Halpern, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

Elliott S. Fisher, MD, MPH

Elliott S. Fisher was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2011. He is Director of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Care Policy and Clinical Practice and a professor at the Dartmouth Medical School. Dr. Fisher’s groundbreaking research focuses on the twofold differences in spending observed across U.S. regions and health care systems and the impact on quality, outcomes and costs of care. He is also actively involved in national efforts to improve measures of health system performance and to reform payment systems.

Dr. Fisher has served on major national committees and is a member of the Institute of Medicine. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington, where he also was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and received his Master’s in Public Health.

Michael Harris

Michael Harris was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2017. He is the Managing Director of PFM Asset Management, where he oversees the firm’s strategic market development efforts. Mr. Harris is a nationally recognized expert in the structuring and procurement of financial products and has advised a number of governmental and not-for-profit entities on the development of investment management strategies for grant funds, tax-exempt bond proceeds, and other operational and reserve funds.

Mr. Harris serves as a Career Coach for the National Urban Fellows Leadership Conference. He has guest lectured at events for Baruch College of the City University of New York and Spelman College. Mr. Harris has served in leadership positions on community and industry boards and interest groups working on educational and career opportunities for underprivileged students and access to healthcare for underserved populations. Mr. Harris is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a dual degree in Economics and Political Science.

Becky Payne – President & CEO

Becky Payne was named President and CEO of The Rippel Foundation in 2023. She first joined Rippel in 2021 as an Executive Vice President, leading the implementation of Rippel’s programs and facilitating strategic partnerships with organizations in the philanthropic, corporate, and government sectors.

Prior to joining Rippel, Becky spent 20 years in a variety of leadership roles at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she was responsible for designing and launching new, large-scale initiatives. Throughout her career, Becky has worked to uplift and strengthen the various ways individuals, communities, and organizations can come together to create an equitable future where health and well-being are accessible to all. In 2012, she was recognized with a CDC Honor Award for Excellence in Front Line Public Health for her leadership of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.

Becky serves on the board of directors for the Decatur Education Foundation and has been recognized by the Atlanta City Council for her community service. MPH in community health sciences with a minor in evaluation, Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine; BS in interdisciplinary studies in social science: health policy with a cognate in psychology from Michigan State University

Lydia Nadeau

Lydia Nadeau is executive director of oncology services at Atlantic Health System in New Jersey. She has overseen several expansions of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, including creating the Carol W. & Julius A. Rippel Breast Center at Morristown Medical Center and the Breast Center at Overlook Medical Center—both well-known for offering the latest in screening, diagnostic, and interventional procedures. Lydia serves as the liaison between Atlantic Health System and numerous community organizations. In recognition of her outstanding volunteerism in philanthropy, Lydia received the Augusta Stone Award from the Morristown Memorial Health Foundation. She currently serves as vice chair of the NJ Northwest Regional Board of the American Cancer Society. Lydia earned her MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and graduated summa cum laude with a BS in health care management from St. Peter’s College. She is a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives and a frequent speaker on topics such as innovation and the latest trends in oncology, many of which have been featured as best practices by the Advisory Board Oncology Roundtable.

James R. Sonneborn, CFP®, CFA, CDFA, MBA

Jim Sonneborn was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2017. He is a Partner and Wealth Advisor at RegentAtlantic, a financial and wealth management company, where he specializes in providing financial advice to nonprofits. He has previously held financial management positions with the US Trust Company of New York (Florham Park), Wachovia Bank, Chase Manhattan, SLH Asset Management, and Mellon Bank.

Mr. Sonneborn is a past President for the Estate Planning Council of Northern New Jersey, where he serves on the Board of Directors. He is also currently on the Investment Committee of Jersey Battered Women’s Service, where he previously was a member of the board. Deeply committed to his community, Sonneborn has been on the boards of a number of organizations in northern New Jersey and provided pro bono financial counseling at area women’s agencies. Mr. Sonneborn holds a BA in Business from Western State College of Colorado and an MBA in Finance from Drexel University.

David S. Surrenda, PhD

David S. Surrenda was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2007. He is CEO of The Leadership Edge, a consulting firm that works creatively with leaders to generate sustainable solutions to complex organizational challenges. Dr. Surrenda, a licensed psychologist, has been engaged in executive-level, organizational consultation and coaching with health systems, business, government, and education for 30 years. Dr. Surrenda recently served as the CEO of the Kripalu Center.

He is also the author of three books and a founder of the Graduate School of Holistic Studies at John F. Kennedy University. He served as the co-CEO of a training and research corporation, developing innovations in conflict resolution and crisis intervention. He also served as the Executive Director of The Natural Step, an environmental organization that provides consultation to major industries about the efficient utilization of natural resources as part of a strategy for business development.