James W. Hood
Founding Member, Chair
Jim has had a distinguished career helping countless organizations, across many industries (including nonprofit entities) identify and implement strategies for significant growth. He has more than four decades of experience in general management, business strategy, marketing, finance, consulting, private investing, and as an entrepreneur.
During his years in advertising, Jim managed some of Young & Rubicam’s largest accounts, headed the agency’s strategy review board, served as Director of Global Business Development, and was CEO of the joint venture between Y&R and Dentsu, the largest advertising agency in the world. During his years on Wall Street, Jim was Chief Marketing Officer of Lehman Brothers and First Boston (later Credit Suisse), where he worked closely with Wall Street legends including Peter G. Peterson, Stephen Schwarzman, Roger Altman, and Larry Fink. Jim also had a successful strategic consulting practice for more than a decade, working with clients in the financial services, telecom, defense, technology, and restaurant industries. While a consultant, Jim co-founded and became CEO of HipCricket, a groundbreaking mobile marketing firm that went public in 2006. He was also a director of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group and served as a member of their executive committee when the company went public.
Since the death of his son, Austin, from an overdose in October 2012, Jim has devoted all his time helping teens and parents across America understand and overcome the profound stigma surrounding this adolescent-onset illness; urging the country to tackle this issue head-on; focusing on prevention, as America does with every other serious illness. Jim has been part of many pioneering efforts in the addiction/prevention field, including Executive Producer of Unite to Face Addiction, a history-making event in front of fifty thousand people on the National Mall on October 4, 2015, and partnering in the publication of Facing Addiction in America – The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health in 2016, with U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. He has appeared on panels discussing America’s drug crisis with President Bill Clinton.
Jim currently serves as CEO and board member of Generation S.O.S., whose mission is, “Helping teens mike life-saving choices about substance misuse and other mental health issues.” Generation S.O.S. is unique in that our programs, content, and outreach are driven and delivered by teens and young adults, with support from the leadership team and board.
Jim holds a BA in Psychology and Economics from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard University. He has lived with his family on Compo Beach for 26 years.
Ian E. Warburg
Founding Member, Vice Chair
Ian has a business career spanning more than thirty years as an executive in leadership roles. Ian started his career with F.A.O Schwarz in New York before joining GS America, Inc, a diversified investment and management company with global interests in a broad spectrum of business interests, including numerous investments in real estate, retail, restaurant, and hospitality. Ian’s focus was on the development, investment, and oversight of these businesses. Currently, Ian serves on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit boards, advises companies, and works as a therapeutically informed executive coach. Fascinated by people, and complex organizational and family systems, Ian is passionate about making the right kind of difference in their lives.
A third generation Westport resident, Ian attended Westport public schools and fondly recalls the connection he had to the community and, with that, the Main Street of his youth which included a broad array of “mom and pop” shops: Klein’s, The Remarkable Book Shop, Functional Clothing, Trudy Gary, Schaeffer’s Sporting Goods, The Sport Mart, Billy’s Smoke Shop, Ship’s Inn Restaurant, The Main Street Mobil Station and so many more. Back then, Westport was the consummate New England hamlet. Charming and intimate. A place where everyone knew your name and where bankers and bakers were cheek and jowl with painters and poets at Oscar’s or Gold’s or any of the many locally owned and operated establishments, all treasured by the community.
Ian holds a BA in International Affairs and Economics from New York University, an MSOD from American University, and an MFT from Southern Connecticut State University.
A lifelong Compo Beach resident, Ian lives in his native neighborhood of Westport with his wife, Jane Green. They raised their blended family of six children here, with each attending Westport Public Schools. Empty nesters for the first time in nearly 3 decades, they share their home with four cats and a dog.
Ian and Jane’s philanthropic activities include decades of service to The Hole in The Wall Gang Camp, The Westport Country Playhouse, The Westport Public Library, The Hebrew University, The Bethel Recovery Center, Pink Aid, City of Hope, and the Melanoma Research Alliance. Ian currently serves on the boards of the The Aquaya Institute and Save Westport Now, as their board chairs.
Emily Ashken Zobl
Founding Member, Secretary
Emily A. Zobl is currently the President and Co-Founder of Anchor Westport Enterprises, LLC (“AWE”). AWE is an independent, privately held business with a diverse portfolio of investments in hospitality, food services, technology, and multi-media publishing. In addition to AWE, Emily is currently the Vice President of The Ashken Family Charitable Foundation (“AFCF”). Created in 2003, AFCF is a family run charitable foundation primarily focused on advancements in healthcare and medical research, the environment/sustainability and local community efforts.
Prior to co-founding AWE, and pre COVID-19, Emily worked at Madison Square Garden in NYC where she was focused on Corporate Strategy, Customer Experience, and Consumer Insights. In her various roles there she looked at improving business operations and was responsible for driving key research initiatives to better the overall experience for the customer. She played a key role in the creation and implementation of the “Madison Square Garden Official” mobile app.
Emily attended the University of Michigan and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sport Management & Business. Emily was a member of Michigan’s Student-Athlete program, playing on the Wolverine’s Division 1 Field Hockey Team. Emily is a second generation Westporter, having attended Westport Public Schools from Green Farms Elementary through Staples High School, participating in many sport and community programs.
Emily currently lives in the Compo Beach area with her husband Tim. They moved back to Westport in the Summer of 2020 and are looking forward to actively contributing to their local community.
Chris Tait spent more than 30 years in the hospitality industry working with leading brands including Marriott, Starwood, and Hilton hotels. Leveraging his expertise in hotel management, Chris lead a consulting practice focused on the turnaround of underperforming properties. An entrepreneur at heart, Chris co-founded the Savoy Supper Club in South Norwalk in the 1990s. In 2015, Chris co-founded XG Industries, a Connecticut based enterprise, and an innovator and disrupter in the premium fiction modification space. XG employs nano and sonic technologies in novel ways manufacturing patented friction modifiers used in the premium lubricant/grease markets, a game changer in the lubricant industry.
Chris is in his 5th term as the elected RTM representative for Westport District 1. District 1 covers the Old Mill beach area to Saugatuck Shores. He serves as the Chairman of the RTM Parks and Recreation committee, member of the Health & Human Services committee and Westport Public Works committee.
Chris was born and raised in Westport in the Old Mill community. He is married and has two daughters in the Westport Public Schools. Chris and his family are all avid boaters and enjoy the beach.
Scott M. Kobak is a Partner in the Real Estate Department of Simpson Thacher & Bartlet LLP. His main area of concentration has been in representing institutional investors in complex commercial real estate acquisitions and developments, joint ventures and financings including active involvement with many of the most prominent real estate private equity funds. He acts as a frequent transaction counsel to the real estate fund business of Carlyle, KKR, Blackstone and Crown Acquisitions.
Scott has focused over the past number of years on significant real estate private equity fund joint venture arrangements and financings with prominent developers and operators throughout the country. Scott joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in 1993 after receiving his J.D. from Boston University Law School, magna cum laude, where he was an Associate Editor of the Boston University Law Review. He was elected to become a member of the Firm in November 2000.
Arriving in Westport in 2002, Scott lives with his wife, Raquel, and their 3 children in the Compo Beach neighborhood. All raised in Westport and all attended Westport’s public schools. Scott and Raquel have been actively engaged in a variety of charitable and community activities, including ABC of Westport, Rach’s Hope, Pink Aid and Chabad of Westport. In his spare time, Scott enjoys golf and spending time at Compo Beach.
Thomas “Tommy” Febbraio brings more than 20 years experience as Real Estate developer, PFS Associates Partner, entrepreneur, cofounder of Edmond Chittendon Inc. and owner of Compass Commercial – (Febbraio Group), which maintains his real estate license. Over the past ten years, Mr.. Febbraio has leased, developed and sold over three hundred million dollars of commercial real estate for numerous clients throughout the NY & CT area. His main focus within CC revolves around retail leasing, real estate construction, marketing, property management, and business development. In 2006, Mr. Febbraio received the Bronze CBC “Circle of Distinction”, 2007, Silver Award, 2008, Gold Award and surpassed the requirement for the elite, “Top Two” in the company, in addition, to being #1 in the country for retail leasing.
In November of 1989 opened a nationally acclaimed southwestern restaurant called Arizona Flats, specializing in Tex-Mex cuisine: setting the trend as the forerunner of many other restaurants of that genre. In July of 2010 opened one of the first Gastro Pubs in the CT area called Gray Goose and with its unique design and menu has now won countless of awards. In March of 2012 opened a Tavern named Spotted Horse in Westport, CT. His new endeavors symbolize a continued enthusiasm and fondness for the restaurant industry and his appetite to create and re-create a rarified culinary experience by using indigenous local and American ingredients. Although, some of the restaurants are similar in esthetics and design Mr. Febbraio and his team has the incredible capacity to keep each project and menu unique and one step ahead of industry trends. Tommy is a Westport native who is passionate about his hometown and doing his part to keep it the wonderful place to live, work, play, and dine.
Sophie joined the Earthplace senior leadership team as the Director of Marketing & Development in 2019. There, Sophie manages the annual fund, major gifts, and events. Additionally, Sophie oversees their marketing initiatives. She has worked in non-profit for more than a decade, and prior to Earthplace, was the U.S. Development Director for International Animal Rescue, a global animal conservation organization. Sophie is passionate about the environment and about educating the public on the importance of environmental resiliency and sustainability. Sophie has a B.S. in Biology from Royal Holloway, University of London and holds certificates in General Fundraising Strategy, Trust Fundraising, and Building Corporate Relationships from The Institute of Fundraising. Sophie lives in the Compo Beach area of Westport with her husband, Stefan, their three children, two cats, two dogs (and a horse).
Margie is of counsel to a boutique education law firm protecting the legal rights of students with disabilities. She is also a court-appointed attorney and guardian ad litem in matters involving intellectual disability, and a co-founder of Woman’s Compass, an educational forum offering innovative financial and legal self-care courses for women. She serves on the board of the Westport Country Playhouse where she currently co-chairs the Education, Diversity and Inclusion committee; She also serves on the regional board and national commission of the ADL. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and a JD from Boston University School of Law, in addition to Mediation Skills Certification from Quinnipiac University School of Law's Center on Dispute Resolution. Margie is a long-time Westport resident and the mother of 3 wonderful daughters.
Marina’s passion for helping individuals with disabilities began with her own two children with special needs. She was a founder and past president of the Remarkable Theater, sits on the Westport Commission on People with Disabilities, is a presenter for the ARC Connecticut, is a member of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) State Employment Leadership Network, and testifies on disability-related issues in front of the CT State Legislature.
Her career has been in the field of management consulting, mostly in the area of information technology consulting with Gartner, Inc. She also spent 16 years as a special education advocate, supporting families by negotiating with school districts for services for their special needs children.
Marina has an MBA from The Wharton School and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Economics and Psychology from the University of California San Diego.