Since 2000, Soaringwords has been honored to meet and collaborate with many outstanding individuals who embraced Soaringwords’ mission and helped us accomplish great things to help hospitalized children to “Never give up!”  We call these people SoaringChampions because they have enabled us to SOAR.
Thank you, we love you, and are so grateful for your significant contributions. 
Lisa, Greta and the Soaringwords team 



Tacia Williams

Dazzling and radiant, Tacia Williams has been volunteering at Soaringwords for the past seven months since we met her at the global Zumba® Fitness Convention. Tacia has led weekly Soaringwords Educational Outreach program at PS 84 in NYC. She has made valuable contributions to our Soaringwords curricula and shown real leadership as part of the Soaringwords social media team. Tacia is conducting Soaringwords’ empirical researcher at Lincoln Medical Center. Tacia has completed her masters in Psychology at New York University.

Thomas Estler


Thomas shares with the Soaringwords community how his engagement with radical nutrition and willfulness helped him overcome a chronic condition which prevented him from leaving his bed for thee years. For the past ten years, Thomas has been part of the Soaringwords team sharing the Soaringwords + Zumba collaboration with more than 2,000 Zumba® Instructors in 62 countries. Thomas is a whirling dervish; whether darting through the gyms of many inner-city schools to lead Soaringwords’ Youth Leadership programs, or joining the Soaringwords team on four healing missions to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina where Thomas danced on a picnic table, Thomas is a well-loved, humble leader. He also lead workshops in hospitals, and represented Soaringwords at JetBlue events at JFK. At school dance programs, he is a rock star. Fourth and fifth-graders gather around him and follow his every step. Favorite Soaringwords moments: when children share their own creative dance moves inspired by Thomas.





Ellen Bari


Over the years, Ellen has  ‘rolled up her sleeves’ to help Soaringwords soar, whether it was getting down on her knees to organize the office,  making a mess with markers with a group of New York City kids, or trekking  out to New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina for much needed programs. Ellen’s creativity, insight and humor shine through in the seminal Soaringwords integrated arts curriculum she helped us develop, which has been used in hundreds of schools all across the country.  Favorite Soaringwords moment: discovering that some college students had decorated the Soaringwords quilts with interactive games.


Caroline Kohles


Caroline helped transform Times Square into Soaringwords largest dance jam for Make A Difference Day. She also led the first Soaringwords Nia dance jam with students at P.S 152 and cheered as we shared jams in 30 states. She brings her unique philosophy of “dancing through life” to inspire kids and grown-ups to move with the body’s way.

Liz Eisen, Sam Dworkin and Natalie Dworkin

This family has been a strong supporter of many of the Soaringwords museum initiatives. Sam and Natalie are featured in the SoaringMuseums videos. Sam has volunteered at many community events in the JCC and schools throughout the city. For two years, Sam and Natalie led several volunteer projects as their bar and bat mitzvah community service commitment.

Amber Nevens

Amber has taken on many huge volunteer projects such as managing our office move and helping us organize for volunteer projects. For years she was the Soaringwords team captain for New York Cares.  She brings light and joy to all of the volunteers programs she leads.

Beth Zagoria

Beth is a talented Creative Director who has added style, passion and great design to many Soaringwords offerings including the Soaringwords webinar presentation (What to Say or Do to Support Parents with Seriously Ill Children), and fliers and posters for all of our events.  She’s also helped direct several SoaringMuseums videos.

Alex Shear

We met Alex at the JetBlue Airways’ Light Up A Life program, where he volunteered for five straight days, eight hour shifts each day. At River to River Festival, Fashion Week or school programs, Alex’s love of people pulls everyone into the cause and inspires them to do something fun to help ill children and families to “Never give up!”

Mark Kershisnik

Global Head of Research, Eli Lilly & Company, Soaringwords Board Member 2005-2015
Mark has been a SoaringChampion, bringing the organization into the Lilly culture and enabling it to secure significant funding for initiatives that were enjoyed by 1,500 4th and 5th grade students in Indianapolis. Together the children made SoaringFables, SoaringHaikus, SoaringSuperheroes, and SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows that were shared with hospitalized children. This initiative won the Chairman’s Award for Community Service. Photo caption: far left Mark at the Lilly holiday party with 2,000 employees and families participating in Soaringwords service project.


Dr. Linda Breskin

Linda is a tireless champion who led events in Indianapolis and New Orleans. She is a skilled therapist and advocate for children. Linda was on the Soaringwords Board of Directors from 2007-2009. Photo caption: far left Linda volunteering at Soaringwords – JetBlue’s Light Up A Life event at JFK Airport, where thousands of travelers were delighted to decorate a patch on a SoaringQuilt® to cheer hospitalized children.


Icema Gibbs

Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, JetBlue Airways.
Icema is a big picture strategist and generous SoaringChampion. For four years, Soaringwords was honored to be the not-for-profit partner for the annual JetBlue holiday season Light Up a Life campaign. Thousands of JetBlue Crewmembers decorated SoaringQuilts® to donate to hospitalized children throughout North America and the Caribbean. 



Gina Rauscher

Soaringwords Board Member 2009-2012
Gina worked as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at JetBlue Airway and learned about Soaringwords through Corporate Volunteers NY (CVNY). Gina introduced us to the JetBlue CSR team and we grew the collaboration from ten Blue Cities to 65 cities over the course of four years. Soaringwords was the most well-attended and well-loved crewmember volunteer project ever and the SoaringQuilts® were donated to thousands of patients and families. Photo caption: right side Gina with JetBlue Crewmembers visiting children at Jamaica Hospital.



Jeffrey Russell 

Senior Managing Director – Products North America Chief Executive, Accenture
Soaringwords Board Member 2012-2015
Jeffrey helped Soaringwords become the hands-on employee-engagement not-for-profit partner at the Global Partnership meeting; and Accenture Day of Service Days at Accenture Federal Services in DC; and employee engagement programs in Philadelphia.


Graham Allan

Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Cisco
Soaringwords Board Member 2011-2015
As SoaringChampion, Graham is responsible for overseeing Soaringwords’ office donation at Cisco’s NorthEast Headquarters at 1 Penn Plaza, in New York City. Lisa Buksbaum met Randy Pond, Cisco’s COO, when she won a Global Growing with Technology Award . She was then invited to be the opening inspirational keynote speaker John Chamber’s Take Your Child to Work Day Town Hall meeting for 2,000 employees and family members. Since then, Soaringwords has led many employee engagement programs with Cisco employees in San Jose, NYC, St. Louis and other markets. 



Patricia David

Global Chief Diversity Officer, JPMorgan Chase
Soaringwords Board Chairperson 2010-2014
Pat and Lisa knew each other for many years from the Working Mother Media Women of Color/Diversity Best Practices Conferences. Pat joined the Board and Soaringwords started sharing employee engagement initiatives as part of the JPMorgan Chase Volunteer Leadership Group programs, which grew from three markets to fifteen.

Carolin Fermin

Since 2002, Soaringwords has been honored to share monthly employee engagement programs with hundreds of New York Life employees. The New York Life employees love making crafts projects such as SoaringOrigami, SoaringWishBoxes, SoaringGardens, SoaringTotes and many more to donate to hospitalized children. Soaringwords has been honored to be the not-for-profit partner for New York Life’s Take Your Child to Work Day and for the Month of Service programs. Photo caption: Carolin was the honoree at the Soaringwords Soiree in December, 2014 at Basketball City.


Sam Moed

Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning and Analysis, Bristol-Myers Squibb 
You never forget your first supporter. Sam has the distinction of giving Soaringwords its first-ever seed grant ($7,500) in the launch year. Thanks Sam.

Stephen Shulman, David Lee and Kwan Kehler



Thanks to brilliant SoaringChampions our pro-bono legal counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP who have secured dozens of Soaringwords trademarks and given us legal advice over the years. Thank you for transforming our trademark ideas into reality which enables us to launch more successful initiatives to benefit hospitalized children.



Mark Goldberg, CPA and Gary Felix, CPA

Raphael Sanders Goldberg Nikpour & Cohen CPA’s
As our pro-bono Accounting firm, SoaringChampions Mark and Gary keep Soaringwords’ finances in order and also provide superior business counsel. 

Moishe Grun

Copywriter and SoaringChampion.
Moishe created Soaringwords’ theme line, “The Power to Heal” which has served the organization since 2000.  We salute Moishe for this contribution and think of him each day, and miss him dearly. May his memory be for a blessing.


Jane Dutton

Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at University of Michigan Ross School of Business; CompassionLab

SoaringChampion, Positive Psychology BFF to Lisa, and world leader in Compassion, Jane has made many contributions to Soaringwords. Watch a conversation with Jane Dutton and Soaringwords’ Founder Lisa Buksbaum talking about how High Quality Connections can infuse each day with meaning and well-being, even in the midst of serious illness and other setbacks. Learn how strangers and hospital employees, other patients and family members can provide High Quality Connections that last for a few seconds and have a lasting impact.