Action Against Hunger Welcomes Two New Board Members to Advance Goal of Tackling Rising Global Hunger

Action Against Hunger, a nonprofit leader in the movement to end hunger, today announced the appointment of two new members of its U.S. Board of Directors. The appointees share a passion for Action Against Hunger’s vision of ending hunger in our lifetimes and further enhance the board’s expertise in food systems, public health, and health policy to help the organization address a growing global hunger crisis.  

The new board members are: 

  • Aisha Haynie Smart, a physician who is board-certified in family practice and palliative medicine, works for Memorial Hermann Hospital System as a medical director of care management. Previously, Dr. Haynie worked as a hospitalist, an emergency room physician, and as a public health physician in disease control and epidemiology. She holds a sociology degree from Harvard College and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University, with a focus on development economics and health policy. She obtained her medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Haynie spent her formative years in the Philippines where she developed an interest in healthcare and addressing the world’s inequalities. 

  • Leslie Grant Smith, currently the Business Development Manager at American Custom Drying, has more than 16 years in the food industry. While experienced in research and development, sensory panels, and quality assurance, she is most known for her ability to successfully lead cross-functional teams in new product commercialization. She holds a Bachelor’s in Food Science from Penn State University, where she studied abroad in Costa Rica with an Agribusiness Management program, and also, collaborated with faculty and graduate students during a research internship at the University of Arkansas Food Science Dept. She deeply believes in the power of food as a force for good. 

“Our commitment to strong governance will help us deliver on Action Against Hunger’s mission at a time of rapidly rising need among the people we serve,” said Raymond Debbane, Action Against Hunger US Board Chair and President and CEO of The Invus Group, LLC, a global investment firm. “It is an honor to welcome to the board Dr. Haynie and Ms. Smith, both highly qualified leaders with a diversity of personal and professional experience that can help promote the organization’s ongoing social impact.” 

Action Against Hunger reaches people in almost 50 countries with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. It also engages in issue advocacy, original research and program innovations that promise even more efficient, effective approaches to addressing the growing global hunger crisis. 

“We must come together against hunger as climate change and conflict create the kind of global hunger emergency that we haven’t seen in decades,” said Dr. Charles Owubah, Action Against Hunger’s CEO. “We are delighted that Dr. Haynie and Ms. Smith are supporting our efforts to ensure that every life is well nourished.” 

The new appointments to the Board join existing members who include: Raymond Debbane (Chair), Thilo Semmelbauer (Co-Chair), Charles Owubah (Secretary and Chief Executive Officer), Christophe Duthoit (Treasurer), Jean-Pierre Chesse, Sylvain Desjonqueres, Burton K. Haimes (Chairman Emeritus), Ricardo Hernández, Yves-André Istel, Shabrina Jiva, Anya Kuligina, Ketty Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge, Amy Schulman, Julia Sherbakov, Robert Spatt, Karim Tabet, Sandra Tamer, and David Van Zandt. 

Action Against Hunger has been recognized for the strong governance practices of its board of directors and executive team, including through 15 consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. This is the highest level of recognition, reflecting the organization's sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. 

Action Against Hunger is leading a global movement to end hunger in our lifetimes. It innovates solutions, advocates for change, and reaches 26 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 50 countries, its 8,300 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. It strives to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.