The ProSocial Team The ProSocial Team
The ProSocial team is strategic, creative, energetic, and above all else, passionate about working with our clients to make the world a better place. We come from around the country and across the professional spectrum. We’re activists, creative thinkers, educators, and strategists. And we love what we do.
Meredith Blake, Founder & CEO
The chief strategist of ProSocial, Meredith Blake is a nationally recognized public interest attorney and social entrepreneur with more than twenty years of experience in creating positive social change. In the role of Founder & CEO, Meredith works with clients to create deep impact philanthropic initiatives and social impact campaigns grounded in research and with an eye toward sustainability.
Prior to launching ProSocial, Meredith worked as Executive Vice President at Participant Media. Among Meredith’s notable achievements at Participant was the social action campaign that accompanied the release of Vice President Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Before building the social action department at Participant, Meredith spent 10 years running Break the Cycle, the nonprofit organization she founded to empower youth to end domestic violence. Meredith has been profiled in local and national media and honored by numerous organizations for her work and has served as keynote speaker and panelist at leading conferences from the Sundance Producer’s Lab to Media that Matters. She currently serves as a board member for PS1 Pluralistic School and as an advisor to a number of nonprofit organizations going for second stage funding and national scale. She is also a member of Pleiades Network, an organization that inspires, recognizes, and advances women's leadership in creating a more sustainable world.
Michael J. Yuda, CFO
Michael has his degree in accounting from California State University, Northridge. He has an extensive tax background, beginning with work for the Internal Revenue Service as a Revenue Agent and continuing in the tax department of Green Hasson & Janks. After GH&J, Michael became a partner at the entertainment-focused Beverly Hills CPA firm Singer & Tiano. With a desire to branch out on his own, in 1983 Michael founded his own firm, serving large, medium, and small business and personal clients.
Before joining the ProSocial team, Mike also had a long history of lending his time and expertise to the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and a board member. To ProSocial, Mike brings this passion for social change, along with experience in the entertainment, finance and accounting sectors. At the agency, Michael leads financial administration, business planning, and budgeting.
Michael is licensed as a CPA in both California and Hawaii, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss, Senior Consultant
Bonnie brings three decades of experience as an award-winning production executive with a proven track record of using storytelling to change opinions and lead people to action. She has worked with the film industry’s greatest brands and creative leaders, including Disney, CNN, HBO, PBS, and National Geographic.
Prior to ProSocial, Bonnie oversaw Vulcan Productions documentary projects for 14 years. The independent film production company founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, Vulcan Productions is noted for telling powerful stories that help audiences understand the world around them, respond to challenges, and bring about lasting change. As Director, she provided executive management of several highly acclaimed cross-platform media initiatives simultaneously, negotiated multifaceted agreements, secured financial support from Fortune 500 companies, oversaw production from concept to premiere, and managed complex relationships and multi-million dollar operating budgets. Prior to her work at Vulcan Productions, Bonnie spent seven years with Disney as Manager of Creative Development and Business Administration at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida. Bonnie began her career as Director of Research and Development for public affairs programming for WNET in New York.
Larry Eason, Senior Strategist
Larry is a senior strategist with over 30 years of experience helping nonprofits, NGOs, and social impact businesses succeed. Larry specializes in helping organizational leaders design and execute innovative programs, forge win-win partnerships, and tell their stories.
After 17 years running campaigns and building nonprofit organizations, Larry co-founded and built a boutique digital agency, which was acquired in 2005. After three years working with PR/Communications agencies, Larry founded DotOrgPower, where he advised national and global clients such as RAND Corporation, the Global Innovation and Collaboration division of World Vision International, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, International Medical Corps, Social Venture Partners, Sustain Global Partnership (collaboration of World Vision, CARE, UPS, TNT, Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton), Charity Navigator, California Department of Mental Health, Alliance for Children and Families, and others.
Larry brings to ProSocial his domain expertise in the areas of health, children’s health, education, sustainability and the environment, and humanitarian/base-of-pyramid development. In addition to advising clients in these areas, Larry has served as board chair of Healthy Child Healthy World and is a founding member of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Digital Advisory Committee. Larry is a USC Jesse Unruh Fellow, lecturing and mentoring USC undergraduates on communications, politics, and current events. A surfer, potter, and painter, Larry lives in Pomona with his wife, daughter, and five rescue dogs.
Sadie Van Gelder, Director, Strategy & Communications
Sadie brings a varied background in media, content creation and marketing, and nonprofit work to her role at ProSocial. She was previously a consultant for Weill Media, where she worked on digital content marketing for global brands and developed a website aimed at parents of children who have ongoing health challenges. She has held editorial positions at five national magazines, spending more than 15 years at top publishing company Condé Nast, where she specialized in producing stories about psychology and health. Articles and special sections she produced have won awards from the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Sadie also has a strong interest in projects related to the well-being of children and families. A certified parent educator, she has taught classes and assisted with outreach for Hand in Hand, a nonprofit aimed at supporting parents. Earlier in her career, she edited the quarterly newsletter of Break the Cycle, a nonprofit serving youth.
Lauren Galaz, Campaign Coordinator
A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Lauren has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a focus in Political Communication and Media Institutions. Experience in public relations has led her to develop skills related to event planning, media outreach, and research. Prior to the 2016 Presidential election, she designed and conducted research observing the spread of fake news within online social networks. Lauren is passionate about environmental sustainability, education, and social justice reform and brings her enthusiasm for those issues to her position at ProSocial.
Ara Ellison, Executive Assistant
Dedicated to political organizing and social justice, Ara has helped implement grassroots campaign strategies on the local and national level for government officials and organizations such as Planned Parenthood. She has experience managing and mobilizing large teams of volunteers. She is also a passionate advocate for mental health, having assisted with outreach, events, and social media for a startup that provides support services to college students struggling with mental health issues. Ara majored in International Relations and Global Business at the University of Southern California.
"The team at ProSocial wears their passion on their sleeves. They truly care about their clients and the social issues they work with. These wonderful people have become more than friends; they are family."Kirk Smalley
Founder and Director, Stand for the Silent