Our Advisory Board


John newsome

John Newsome.jpg

John founded Public Equity Group in 2011. John’s PEG clients have included the San Francisco Foundation; Tipping Point Community; New Profit (MA); the Buffett Early Childhood Institute (NE); Nurse-Family Partnership (CO & CA); Espacios Abiertos – Puerto Rico (a place-based initiative of the Open Society Foundations); GLIDE Memorial Church and Foundation; and the Center for Urban Families (MD) (via the Campaign for Black Male Achievement of the Open Society Foundations), among others.

From 2009 to 2011, John left consulting to serve as a Vice President at the Global Business Coalition on Health, leading U.S. corporate social responsibility initiatives.

While at GBC, John worked closely with senior executives at multinational companies (e.g., the Brink’s Company, Chevron, L’Oreal, Levi-Strauss & Co., Pfizer Inc.) and with public partners (e.g., CDC, White House), managing public-private partnerships and representing GBC on Capitol Hill. John’s GBC work is featured in “the Financial Times and Washington Post” and elsewhere.

Prior to PEG’s founding (in 2006-2009), John worked as an independent consultant, partnering with other consultants and firms—including FSG Social Impact Advisors, for whom John twice served as a “senior advisor”—and supporting the initial design of Mitchell Kapor Foundation’s College Bound Brotherhood for Bay Area Black male students, among other clients.

Between 1994 and 2006, John served on the executive and management teams of several organizations, including the Oakland Public Schools (Executive Officer/chief of staff role), the Bridgespan Group (consultant, case team leader, manager), and the Center for Third World Organizing (Development Director). John also served as Press Secretary and legislative aide to US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) during her first term in office. John also has served on numerous boards of directors and recently completed six years of service on the National Advisory Board of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford (where he worked from 1994 to 1996 running student leadership development programs).

From 2004 to 2009, John led And Castro for All a grassroots organization focused on racial and economic justice within the Bay Area LGBT Community. Under John’s leadership, AC4A won unprecedented city and state racial bias cases/judgments (employment discrimination and public accommodations), which were featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere.

John holds a Spanish fluency certification, a BA (Spanish Literature, with a focus on colonialism and post-colonialism), an MA (Modern Thought & Literature, with a focus on fascism), and an MBA, all from Stanford University. John is a 1990 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and a 2002 Coro Foundation (SF) Community Fellow.

Melody woolford


Melody is a international development specialist by day and a serial student of yoga teacher trainings by night! She is currently Director of University/K-12 Partnerships at NaTakallam, a new social initiative that connects Arabic language learners with forcibly displaced persons - primarily Syrian and Iraqi refugees - for language practice and cross-cultural exchange online.

Prior to that Melody was Executive Director at Crutches 4 Kids, a start-up non-profit that collects gently used mobility aids for impoverished and under resourced communities around the world. She also worked in various roles at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) advising senior management on critical political, economic, and social issues relevant to the Middle East, and serving on advisory assignments to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN) in NYC and the Darfur Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Sudan. She holds an M.A. in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago.

Melody grew up in the Middle East, speaks Arabic, loves hiking, and has two kids. She volunteers for Greater NYC Families for Syria (GNYC4Syria) helping Syrian refugees resettle in the U.S. and is also a volunteer Crisis Counselor for Crisis Textline. Melody loves to practice her own modified blend of Ashtanga yoga inspired and heavily influenced by the following yoga trainings: YogaWorks 200-hour Teacher Training, Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Training Level 1 Certification, The Roll Model® Method, Yoga Tune Up® Integrated Embodied Anatomy, Yogi Beans Yoga Teacher Training for Kids, Trauma-Informed Yoga Training (by Feet On The Ground), and Liberation Prison Yoga Training

Henry cross


Henry Cross grew up in sunny Miami, Florida. Upon graduating high school, he moved to the politicized Washington, D.C. and double majored in History and Politics at the Catholic University. He served as a social studies teacher in Prince George’s County Public School in 2008-2009. In the fall of 2009, he moved to New York City to continue and grow his work in education and service.

He joined Hosh Yoga in 2011 as a teacher and Program Director. And since 2013, he founded and expanded programming for the organization with Hosh Kids and Hosh Seniors. Henry's entrepreneurial spirit helped developed the organizational, program, and financial capacity of the nonprofit to deliver self-sustaining and self-supporting health and wellness services to over 3,000 children, adults, and seniors every month in a cost-effective and fairly-priced way. And from 2014 to 2016, he participated in a philanthropic role by expanding the programming, policy, and public advocacy efforts of the Sonima Foundation as Community Relations Director.

His work has been featured by the Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Blog Talk Radio, The NYC Social Innovation Festival, Social Venture Institute, and multiple Brooklyn and Queens newspapers. He is an appointed New York City official of Community Board 5 in Queens, serves on a Department of Youth and Community Development Neighborhood Advisory Board, and on the board of directors of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association. And in 2015, Henry was selected as an etsy.org business fellow and awarded Top 40 Under 40 Nonprofit Rising Star. He finds joy in his community work service everyday and loves ballroom dancing!