The GivingPoint Team
Derek V. Smith
Founder of GivingPoint
Derek Smith spent his entire career in the technology field and studied the incredible benefits and detrimental consequences that technology has brought to the human condition. He has seen the ways technology can be isolating and all consuming. He realizes that society will never reject the technology that dominates our daily lives, but he believes humanity deserves the awareness and tools to balance their perspectives. That is why he is committed to bringing solutions to bear that will generate a human renaissance and create a more connected, compassionate, socially responsible world.
Despite the many challenges and technological influences that youth must overcome to succeed in life, Derek understands that youth have the desire to discover themselves, relate to the world around them and give back in significant ways. Derek is passionate about growing the citizen sector and filling the world with passionately engaged youth who can harness their passion to strengthen communities.
Derek founded GivingPoint in an attempt to provide a mechanism to stimulate youth to understand the world around them, nurture their passion, create strong bonds, and take action to impact long lasting change. GivingPoint helps young people become aware of the needs of others and critical societal issues affecting their lives.
In addition to focusing his talents to empower youth to develop a better world, he is the Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Global Prescience, an interdisciplinary non-profit research, education and service organization dedicated to the pursuit of prescience– foreknowledge that anticipates global events and trends that are yet unseen. The Institute seeks to harness the passion of individuals to anticipate issues through clue detection engines that identify inflection points in technological, financial and social systems.
Derek is the former Chairman and CEO of ChoicePoint, a leading provider of decision-making technology and information and a recognized leader in corporate citizenship, information security and personal privacy protection. Under his leadership, ChoicePoint gave birth to innovative products and services that created a safer and more secure society. ChoicePoint helped recover more than 1,000 missing children. It created the first national background screening service for non-profit volunteers that identified over 200,000 convicted criminals attempting to work with children – including 2,700 registered sex offenders. Additionally, ChoicePoint’s philanthropic initiatives and employee volunteer efforts won the company recognition from groups as diverse as the US Department of Justice, the US Chamber of Commerce, Hands on Network and Points of Light Institute.
Derek serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Aquarium and Geeknet. He serves on the Board of Visitors for the University of Georgia and is a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons. He resides in Georgia with his wife, Lisa, and two children.
Debra Carson assumed her role as Executive Director in January of 2015 and oversees the organization's youth empowerment initiatives, operations management and donor relations.
Prior to her role with GivingPoint, Debra was the Executive Director of the Chicago Summer Business Institute (CSBI) for 16 years where she oversaw all operations. CSBI is a nonprofit youth organization that provides paid internships to high school students within the finance, legal and government entities. She made a lasting and positive impact on more than 1,500 students through CSBI alone, by exposing them to a plethora of meaningful paid internships, economic and financial empowerment workshops, entrepreneurial training, post-secondary educational resources and networking opportunities, among others. Many of these students received thousands of dollars in financial scholarships, full four year college scholarships and were hired as employees.
Debra Carson has more than 25 years experience working with children and youth as an advocate, educator and cause-driven leader.
Debra is a graduate of National Louis University where she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavioral Science, as well as an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Triton College.
Director of Programs
James Aucoin joined GivingPoint in the third quarter of 2016 as the Director of Programs. In his role, James oversees the GivingPoint Institute and has taken on the task of developing more programs for GivingPointers to be involved in.
Prior to joining GivingPoint, James taught all four subjects at the middle school level while also working with children who have disabilities for eight years. About the career change, he says, "While I have left the traditional classroom, I will never cease to be an instructor."
James sees his role at GivingPoint as one that will develop the capacities of our students (not just those in GPI) to not only feel that they have the power to change the world but also provide them with the knowledge to do so.
In addition to being a full-time staff member at GivingPoint, James is also pursuing his PhD in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University.
Director of Nonprofit and Community Outreach
Nyaboke Machini joined GivingPoint in September 2011 and serves as the organization’s Director of Nonprofit and Community Outreach. She maintains several of GivingPoint’s key collaborations including, the flagship partnership with The New Schools at Carver in Atlanta. In this role, she is focused on cultivating relationships with schools, community groups and nonprofit organizations (NPO) by providing support through training sessions, planning service projects and creating special events meant to increase youth civic participation.
Nyaboke began her nonprofit and youth development career while attending college at the University of Georgia, where she worked as a Counselor and Marketing Intern for the Boys and Girls Club of Athens. In 2009, Nyaboke joined United Initiatives for Peace (UIP) as a Marketing Manager. UIP promotes higher education, offers creative recreational programs, and encourage social reform through female empowerment in communities worldwide.
Nyaboke is a 2003 graduate of the University of Georgia where she completed a double major in Business and Fashion Merchandising. She is a native Kenyan and lives in South Atlanta with one of her three siblings.
For information on launching a GivingPoint program at your school or favorite nonprofit, contact Nyaboke by emailing Nyaboke@MyGivingPoint.org or by calling 770.709.5010.
Digital Content Specialist
Asif Lakhani joined GivingPoint as its Digital Content Specialist in February of 2016. In his role, Asif oversees the daily management and long-term renovation of our interactive website. He is responsible for maintaining the database for more than 9,500 users which includes, but is not limited to, managing all aspects of volunteer hours and community service event listings. Asif will increase GivingPoint's presence on social media and develop more content to be distributed through our blogs and email streams.
Asif graduated from the University of Missouri in 2012 with a degree in magazine writing. He previously worked at two major media companies in Atlanta, where his duties ranged from reporting, writing, editing, online production and social media. Asif also has prior experience within the nonprofit sector as a social media coordinator and outreach ambassador. He is thrilled to bring his expertise to GivingPoint. More importantly, Asif is excited to create with the team and learn from the staff he joins here.
Lastly, as a Muslim, Asif is delighted to say he works for a nonprofit as charity is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Leah Williamson serves as the Secretary of the Board for GivingPoint and Administrator of the Myfifident Foundation. She comes to the Foundation with over 30 years of administrative assistance expertise across a broad spectrum of business entities having supported executives in the high tech, temporary services and print manufacturing arenas.
Most recently, she worked directly for and supported Derek Smith in his role as Chairman and CEO of ChoicePoint Inc. until the sale of the company was consummated in the fall of 2008. Leah resides in the Cummings area with her husband, Jim, and their two "children" - their dogs - Sophie and Katy.