The team at Elfenworks melds a Silicon Valley mindset, the power of partnership, and a gift for storytelling to foster creative educationally-oriented solutions on the cutting edge of hope. We hope you’ll enjoy these short team bios. 

MANAGEMENT & TRUSTEES

Mr. Kenneth Tam, Executive Director
Prior to taking the lead as Executive Director, Tam had a long history of working with Elfenworks on various finance projects, bringing over twenty years of operating and financial background, building and managing fast-growth companies and startups, including starting the German subsidiary of Orchid Technology, creating a distribution system that tripled German sales, serving as C.O.O. and C.F.O. at New Life Bakery, and working on the management team at Fresh Express, helping transform a commodities vegetable company into the leader of fresh cut salads. He also spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ken Tam received his B.S. from University of California, Davis and his M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. A father of two, Mr. Tam is especially taken with education, children’s issues, financial insecurity issues, protection of the vulnerable, the rebuilding of social communities, and with creation of opportunities, unlocking the promise of a better tomorrow for all who would work hard to attain it. Fluent in several languages, he has spearheaded some of our multi-language projects.

Dr. Lauren Speeth, Trustee & Founding CEO
Educational media expert Dr. Lauren Speeth leverages a lifetime of high-tech experience in the Silicon Valley, from the startup to Fortune 50 levels. She holds a California Community College Teaching Credential in Finance, Management, and Computers and has years of experience teaching graduate and undergraduate computer science, mathematics, and statistics. An author, filmmaker, musician and social entrepreneur whose educationally-oriented works have garnered critical acclaim, Speeth has lectured all over the world, including Australia, China, India, Jordan, and Ukraine. She is a Regent Emeritus of Saint Mary’s College and a former Trustee of Mills College, where for a decade she gave lectures in Leadership, Ethics and Entrepreneurship. A Lifetime Member of the Board of Councilors of The Carter Center, Speeth is also an External Advisor to the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, where she was an architect/programmer and co-orchestrated the Center launch with a Concert for Hope. Speeth holds a BA in Psychology from Mills College, an Executive MBA from Saint Mary’s, a DBA from Golden Gate University, a Certificate in Professional Homeopathy from The Caduceus Institute, a DMin from Bakke Graduate University, and a Stanford Advanced Computer Security Professional Credential. She has also completed Stanford’s Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders as well as a rigorous chaplaincy training program at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. Speeth has received two honorary doctorates and has been named one of the “40 Women of Influence” of Saint Mary’s College. An active musician currently focused on keyboards, she is a proud Member Emeritus of the First Violin section of The Peninsula Symphony.

Mr Kim Schoknecht, Esq, Trustee
Trustee Kim Schoknecht, Esq., is an Estate Planning Attorney and Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Palo Alto, and a certified specialist in estate planning, probate and trust law issues He has advised Elfenworks since the very beginning, and has a special heart for the student films of Campus Moviefest. When not shepherding Elfenworks, Mr. Schoknecht assists clients in establishing and maintaining a wide variety of trust vehicles and closely held business entities.He also frequently assists executors, trustees and beneficiaries (including charitable beneficiaries) in resolving difficult disputes that arise during administration, including will and trust contests and estate tax concerns. He was listed among the “Best Lawyers in America in Trusts and Estates (2013-2017) and is a frequent lecturer on estate planning and trust administration issues. Mr. Schoknecht also serves as a Trustee to the Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation.

Mr. Mark Vorsatz, Esq., Trustee
Trustee Mark Vorsatz, Managing Director and CEO of Andersen, co-founded Anderson Tax under the name WTAS in 2002. He has advised Elfenworks since our inception, and brings 35+ years of experience, a heart for key issues and an incisive intellect to bear on our behalf. In addition to his undergraduate and law studies, Mark attended a specialized law program at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England and an executive program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He has served as Chair of the Estate, Gift, and Trust Tax Committee of the American Institute of CPAs, is a member of the Tax Section of the ABA, has lectured extensively and taught estate planning in the graduate tax program at GGU and at Hastings. He is co-author of two treatises: Income Taxation of Fiduciaries and Beneficiaries and Tax Economics of Charitable Giving and co-editor of the newsletter, Family Business Advisor and has conducted numerous seminars on family business consulting and business disposition strategies and has written articles for The Tax Advisor, Taxation for Lawyers, Taxation for Accountants, and other prominent tax publications.

Ms. Elizabeth C. Wied, Esq., Trustee
Trustee Elizabeth Carol Wied, Esq., is a senior attorney for the State of California with a deep background including experience in child services and health planning. Trustee Wied always manages to find enough time to support us in her role as trustee despite her heavy responsibilities with the State of California, advising our management team, and helping us to chart the course since our inception.

Michael Dalling – Art Director
A graduate of California State University, Chico, Michael Dalling began his non-profit career as a child helping with the local food bank and continued volunteering (and recruiting his friends) through high school. Now, with over 15 years of graphic design experience, he continues to promote positive change through his lasting nonprofit work, including the logos used by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality and many other groups we have helped over the years. Michael is an award-winning designer whose work for us has been recognized by the W3, Pixie, and other outside awards organizations. 

CONSULTANTS

Tobi James – Breathing Butterly Project Consultant
Tobi James, an employee of Elfenworks Productions, LLC, consults with us part-time to head-up our Breathing Butterfly project.  See Elfenworks Productions for complete bio.

Don Kane, Chief Information Security Consultant
Don Kane CISSP® MCP, brings over 25 years of technology and IT Security experience to our team. Mr. Kane is a Microsoft Certified Professional as well as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, the “globally recognized standard of achievement that confirms an individual’s knowledge in the field of information security.” Prior to joining us, he spent twenty-three years at NASA’s Ames Research Center, where his responsibilities included security plan development and implementation. On retirement, he agreed to take step in as CISO and head up our IT Security education efforts, to help nonprofits grow in robustness and resiliency.  

Ryan Paul – IT Consultant
Ryan Paul is the founder of Covalent Systems Group, specializing since 2002 in providing technology support to the discerning nonprofit, small business, or high-tech startup. 

Marian Brown Sprague – Special Projects Consultant
Marian Sprague combines a passion for promoting positive change with the deep skills needed for effectiveness gained from nearly two dozen years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She ran our In Harmony with Hope Awards program for many years before moving to special projects. A graduate of Duke University, Marian began her nonprofit career with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts affiliate, Very Special Arts. Over the next decade, she was instrumental in the creation of two Washington, DC-based NGOs: the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare and the Caring Institute. She has also worked for the Heart of America Foundation and Resurge (formerly Interplast), the first organization to provide free reconstructive surgery for medically underserved children worldwide. An award-winning author, Sprague’s work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms, Toddler: Real-life Stories of Those Fickle, Irrational, Urgent, Tiny People We Love, the Mercury News, the Palo Alto Weekly, the Santa Clara Weekly, and Who Cares and Caring People magazines. She has also worked as a proofreader for Sunset Magazine and as a technical writer and editor at various Silicon Valley companies.  

John Watkins – Chief Technology Consultant
John Watkins of Futari Media oversees Information Technology and general wizardry for us, after having worked on various projects over the years (since 1983!) with fellow team member Lauren Speeth. They were co-architects together spearheading the development and implementation of inequality.com on behalf of the  Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. John is now heavily involved with many Elfenworks Foundation projects, whenever they involve technology, which they almost always do.

Team members can be reached, as necessary, via our general contact page. The entire Elfenworks team believes that YOU can make an exceptional difference. That’s why one of our greatest passions is encouraging the next generation of change-makers reminding them to …never underestimate your ripple!

Missing someone? Looking for previous interns? Check our “once an elf” page.