Our Board of Directors

John Kahan


Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Microsoft, Corporate External and Legal Affairs, responsible for Infusing data science to address the world’s great challenges. e.g., promoting sustainable use of the planet’s resources, improving opportunities for people with disabilities, protecting human rights, strengthening humanitarian assistance in disaster response, needs of children, refugees and displaced people, human rights and increasing the capabilities of the world’s NGOs. Data Science support for CELA initiatives (e.g., Digital Crimes, Legal services, etc.)

33+ years of experience driving large scale data teams. Prior, General Manager of Customer Data and Analytics, where he drove data sciences and analytics in support of Modern Life and Devices, Gaming, the Senior Leadership Team of Microsoft (including the CEO, Chief Strategist, CMO, and Division EVPs), and AI & Research.

Prior, reported to the CMO and the president of the Online Services Division where he oversaw all Microsoft’s online customer data including the data platform that powers Bing, Microsoft Advertising, & MSN including Customer, Product, and Competitive Intelligence, Experimentation, and Data & Marketing Sciences worldwide. Prior, he was the GM, Global Relationship Marketing where he was responsible for Microsoft’s CRM efforts worldwide and Microsoft.com one of the largest corporate websites worldwide.

Prior, John was at IBM for 18 years where he was VP, Integrated Marketing Communication for Sales & Distribution where he oversaw all advertising, database and online marketing for IBM’s Industry customers and ibm.com across 60+ countries.

John and his wife Heather are proud parents of four girls and an amazing grandson. He is an avid photographer. Loves traveling, spending time with family, and giving back. John is the President of the Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild at Seattle Children’s Hospital. www.GiveToStopSIDS.org

Heather Kahan


Heather Kahan is a retired Software Development Executive, having worked for IBM in the mainframe software division for 17 years. She has a bachelors and masters degree in computer science and mathematics. Heather is the mother of 4 beautiful daughters, and a son, Aaron Matthew, who is the inspiration behind this SIDS research guild. She enjoys volunteering, books, cats, traveling, tennis, choral singing, and caring for her new grandson!

Gilbert D. Wootton


Gil is the Seattle Office Managing Director responsible for the Pacific Northwest. Gil leads approximately 1,800 professionals and is responsible for managing the local business, expanding the company’s civic presence and fostering employee engagement. Gil is in his 28th year with Accenture.

In addition to serving as head of the Seattle office, Gil is also client account lead for two of Accenture’s key clients in Seattle, and has responsibility for the Communications, Media and Technology (CMT) local market industry team. He has been on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Washington Technology Industry Association for the past eleven years.

Gil has worked extensively in the Seattle local market over his career, engaging with companies including Expedia, Microsoft, Boeing, Univar, Isilon (EMC), T-Mobile, Paccar, and others. His primary experience is in broad-scale transformation including Sales & Marketing, Finance and Information Technology. He has notable awards and articles regarding Finance and Accounting Business Process Transformation and Outsourcing.

Gil serves on two boards at the University of Washington (Foster Sales & Marketing Center and Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board).

Gil is also active in several charities involving food allergies, such as the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. A graduate of the University of Washington (BS in Mechanical Engineering), Gil and his wife, Carolyn, have three children and are avid snow and water skiers.

Jason Thain

Vice President

Jason Thain has over 20 years sales experience working in the technology industry with top global enterprise accounts. Jason has a long history of building relationships at the executive level and helping customers solve complex issues and achieve success through the use of technology. Currently Jason manages an enterprise sales team focused on Adobe’s top strategic accounts.

Jason grew up in Kauai, Hawaii and Klawock, Alaska and graduated from Loyola Marymount University. Jason currently lives in Seattle Washington with his wife Sue and their 5 children. When Jason is not spending time with his family he enjoys the outdoors and traveling as much as possible.

Daniel Sytman

Board Member

Daniel Sytman is a Senior Communications Manager for Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs (CELA) division. In that role, he serves the Microsoft Philanthropies team, helping to tell the story the company’s commitment to nonprofits, and those they serve, in the media.

He previously worked in communications for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, where he specialized in consumer protection issues, including the national mortgage settlement with some of the nation’s biggest lenders. Prior to that, he spent over a decade working in local and national media.

Ujjval Mehta

Board Member

Ujjval Mehta is Client Partner of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT solutions and consulting firm. ‘Established in 1968, TCS is part of the TATA group. The Tata Group is a global enterprise today, operates in more than 100 countries across six continents, with a mission’. To improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust.

Ujjval has 18+ years of experience working in the technology industry. He has performed a variety of roles in TCS including Sales, Strategic account management and Delivery of Global customers. An Electronics and communication engineer, Ujjval graduated in 1998 from Government Engineering College, before pursuing his career in Information Technology.

Originally from India, since 2009 Ujjval settled in Redmond, WA with his wife Ishita and son Bhrugu. An avid Seahawks fan and keen supporter of community initiatives, Ujjval enjoys Indian classical music, reading and travel.

David Sable

Board Member

David Sable works with WPP CEO Mark Read across WPP’s clients and agencies on innovation, thought leadership, and North American business growth. In his previous role as Global CEO of Y&R, David propelled Y&R to a top five global creative firm at Cannes, developed new resources and practices Y&R, expanded the global footprint of Y&R’s now-partner, VML, and ultimately helped unify Y&R and VML into one marketing powerhouse: VMLY&R.

David’s involvement in the advertising industry has spanned more than 40 years, joining Y&R as a trainee in 1976. After his initial stint at Y&R, David worked at Wells Rich Greene before relocating to Israel, where he co-founded an agency, Mimsar, that focused on the then-nascent hi-tech industry, which was the foundation of “The Startup Nation.”

Upon returning to the U.S., David joined the Y&R network once again, working directly for Harold Burston at Burson-Marsteller, and Cohn & Wolfe, where he led major accounts and developed their crisis communications practice. In 1990, he returned to Y&R to lead the agency’s international Colgate-Palmolive account. There, he pioneered Y&R’s cross-agency team approach on the USPS account, transforming it into an award-winning industry benchmark. In 1996, David became a founding partner of one of the first digitally-focused omni-channel startup, Genesis Direct. In 2000, he took that experience to Wunderman, ultimately serving as its Vice Chairman, before returning to Y&R as Global CEO.

David is active in the industry as former Chairman of the Advertising Council’s Board of Directors and, for many years before, a Director-at-Large of the 4As. He has served as Jury President at Cannes three times and was a member of the Titanium jury. He now serves as a keynote speaker at major global events and advises industry leaders worldwide.

A prolific writer and soon-to-be-published author, David is a designated LinkedIn Influencer, where he now ranks among the most widely read business leaders in the world. He also served as an Executive Producer on MTV’s highly acclaimed REBEL MUSIC series.

In 2013, Fast Company named David one of the 10 Most Generous Marketing Geniuses. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of both UNICEF USA and the International Special Olympics, as well as the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the UNCF. David is also a member of the public company side of American Eagle Outfitters’ Board of Directors.

David and his wife, Debbie, have two daughters. two sons-in-law, four treasured grandchildren — Henry, Teddy and Gemma, and Goldy.

Ria Sankar

Board Member Emeritus

Ria is a Sr. Program Manager in Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Division. She is a 10-year Microsoft veteran with varied cross-discipline experiences across analytics, program management and product marketing. She has worked on complex cross-company partnerships and multi-billion dollar businesses and products.

Ria’s personal mission is to bring forth her diverse perspectives and knowledge to help non-profit organizations improve lives with Data and AI. She also runs her own consulting company ImagineQ and nurtures the next generation of data and product leaders by teaching at Product School.

Carla Murray

Board Member Emeritus

Carla Murray is responsible for managing 64 properties in the western United States across all Marriott full serve brands. Carla was promoted into this position following a series of General Manager positions she held at the St. Regis Aspen, The Westin Seattle, and The Sheraton Seattle from the years of 1998 – 2002.

In addition to her hospitality responsibilities, Carla has been deeply involved in positions within each of the communities she and her family have resided. In Seattle, she is the former Chair of the Downtown Seattle Association; past Chair of the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau and currently serves on their Executive Board of Directors. She also serves on Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s President’s Affiliates Council and Gala Board of Trustees, as well as the Seattle Hotel Associations “Evening of Hope” Board of Trustees. Carla also served on the Executive Board of Directors for Visit California.

Carla received recognition from the Puget Sound Business Journal for “Women of Influence” in 2007, Washington State Hotel & Lodging Association, as General Manager of the Year. She has also been recognized for her accomplishments within Starwood by receiving the 2004 “Leadership in Six Sigma” award.

Carla received her B.A. in Communications from Stephens College. She spent an off-campus semester at Oxford University, Oxford, England.

Carla resides in Mercer Island, Washington with her husband and two children.

Erin Albanese

Board Member Emeritus

Erin Albanese is a corporate and transactional attorney with significant experience in corporate finance, public and private offerings, securities law, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and a wide range of business transactions. She graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2001 and began her practice in Houston, Texas with the international law firm Vinson & Elkins. She went on to join WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. and later Fish & Richardson in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a solo law practice in Sammamish, Washington, where she focuses on advising small businesses, start-ups, and non-profits.

Erin is licensed to practice law in Washington State and the District of Columbia. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the King County Bar Association, and the National Lawyers Guild. She is a community organizer and activist, as well as a participating member of several local volunteer organizations. She is a producer of the Washington State Indivisible Podcast.

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Organization EIN#82-2772540

Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild at Seattle Children’s
8167 West Mercer Way
Mercer Island, WA 98040

© 2021 Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild