KIND Co-Founder Brad Smith Transitions to Board Chair Emeritus After 15 Years at the Helm

February 12, 2024

New KIND Board Chair Pamela Passman and Board Members Horacio Gutierrez and Amy Pannoni  Poised to Take Organization into Its Next Chapter 

Washington, D.C. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) today announced that Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft Corporation and KIND Co-Founder, is now Board Chair Emeritus after 15 years at the helm of the organization’s Board of Directors. Smith’s decision comes 17 years after he and Angelina Jolie launched the organization to harness the power of pro bono partners to advance protections for unaccompanied children on the move.  

“When we first conceptualized the organization 17 years ago, I had no idea how profoundly impactful its work would be in a time that urgently requires real immigration and refugee protection solutions, particularly for unaccompanied children,” Smith said. “I very much look forward to seeing what the future holds for KIND. I am sure it will continue to serve as a respected and expert voice with governments, the private sector, the United Nations, and the large NGO community, and will play a critical role in leading the international communication in protecting displaced children. I take tremendous pride in the organization and will continue to do whatever I can to advance its critical mission and work.” 

Under Smith’s Board leadership, KIND grew from seven employees in 2008 to nearly 500 employees currently spread across the United States, Mexico, Central America, and Europe. The organization has more than 800 private sector partners, who work, pro bono, to protect unaccompanied children—work that now encompasses legal representation, psychosocial support, strategic partnerships, advocacy, and communications.  

KIND President Wendy Young said, “Brad has been an extraordinary leader for us all, bringing tremendous intellect, passion, and commitment to our mission. He is a tireless champion for protecting unaccompanied children at every step of their journey. We will continue to draw inspiration from his legacy. KIND’s tremendous impact and growth is rooted in his vision. That vision is a strong foundation for the critical work ahead.”    

KIND’s Board of Directors selected Pamela Passman, APCO Worldwide’s Global Chair, Corporate, and Managing Director, New York, as its next Chair. Passman, who previously served as Board Vice Chair, has served on KIND’s Board Executive Committee since the organization’s founding and brings decades of experience in empowering organizations seeking to strengthen their impact and influence.  

“Pamela was with me every step of the way as we developed and launched KIND. She is a strategic, experienced leader, whose vision for KIND will ensure its stability and success for many years to come,” said Smith. 

In addition to Passman’s leadership transition, KIND’s Board of Directors recently welcomed two new members. Horacio Gutierrez, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer for The Walt Disney Company; and Amy Pannoni, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, HR Legal at Microsoft. Pannoni and Gutierrez bring deep legal expertise to the Board, demonstrating a strong commitment to cultivating pro bono partners to help protect children 

“We are thrilled to welcome Amy and Horacio to KIND’s Board of Directors. And I am certain KIND is well positioned to thrive as we tackle the complex challenges that impede protections for unaccompanied children,” concluded Passman.  


Media Contact: Megan McKenna,, 202-631-9990