Amber Sheikh is the chief impact officer and owner at Sheikh/Impact (formerly Thurlow/Associates), where she and her incredible team work to raise the capacity of organizations solving the toughest issues facing California communities — focusing on fundraising, external relations and organizational development. Amber’s specific areas of expertise include capital campaigns, individual fundraising, constituent/donor relations, strategic planning and executive/board development. A proud native Angeleno and first generation American, Amber is motivated by helping nonprofit organizations maximize their positive impact on our communities.
Before forming Sheikh/Impact, Amber was the Managing Senior Associate at Thurlow/Associates, where she provided strategic counsel and assistance to nonprofit clients working in health, human services, social justice and other fields. Prior to her nine-year tenure at Thurlow/Associates, Amber managed individual donor portfolios, as well as foundation and government relations, for Marymount California University. She also served on the fund development teams of two prominent homeless service agencies — Downtown Women’s Center and Children Today.
Earlier in her career, Amber worked in Sacramento with the California State Assembly. Her international experience includes work with a United Nations women’s microfinance Non-Governmental Organization in Delhi, India, and with Women’s Edge Coalition.
Outside of her professional life, Amber is a very active community advocate. In June 2019, Amber was appointed to the LA City Harbor Area Planning Commission by Mayor Eric Garcetti. She also coordinates the Council District 15 Working Group on Homelessness. Amber serves as a board member of Social Justice Partners LA and on the advisory councils of Maternal Mental Health Now and the Assistance League of San Pedro/South Bay. She also proudly serves on the Harbor Neighborhood Relief Fund and Providence South Bay Mission and Community Health Committee, lending her expertise to support impactful grantmaking throughout South LA.
In 2019 Amber was chosen as LA City Council District 15’s Pioneer Woman of the Year for her work on homelessness and gender equity. She is also the 2019 recipient of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award for her work championing solutions to end homelessness in South Los Angeles. In 2021, Amber was selected as an LA Impact Maker to Watch.
Amber is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of California, Davis with concentrations in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies as well as Hindi/Urdu and Arabic languages. Amber is the proud daughter of immigrants from Pakistan and England. She lives in vibrant San Pedro with her two vivacious children, Allegra (6 years old) and Zayd (4 years old).
Kelly Lynn Fitzgerald is the managing director at Sheikh/Impact, where she provides a broad spectrum of counsel and assistance to clients — in areas including but not limited to publications, institutional fundraising, major donor relations and public grant solicitation.
Before joining Sheikh/Impact, Kelly was with Thurlow/Associates for nine years, providing strategic fund development counsel to nonprofit agencies. Prior to that, she served as a program associate with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where she coordinated the annual planning and allocation process for approximately $8 million in emergency housing and assistance from federal and state sources annually. While at United Way, Kelly also monitored the fiscal and programmatic performance of grantees and ensured compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations.
Kelly holds a master of public policy degree from the University of Southern California, as well as a bachelor’s degree in public policy and management from the same institution. She is passionate about improving the quality of life for children and families in her community. Kelly is an active member of Lakewood Little League’s board of directors, and she is also involved with her son’s school as a Parent Teacher Association member.
Jessica Beckerman is a senior associate at Sheikh/Impact, where she provides support to clients in areas including but not limited to strategic planning, grant solicitation, prospect research, communications and marketing.
Jessica was an associate at Thurlow/Associates for four years, where she provided fund development counsel and leveraged her expertise in communications and publications. Before joining Thurlow/Associates, Jessica worked for Children’s Tumor Foundation, which raises funds for neurofibromatosis research. During her time there, she managed the NF Walk program, significantly increasing participation and visibility, and more than tripling annual funding. Prior to that, she worked in editorial at the publishing house Simon & Schuster in New York, working with numerous renowned authors to craft and polish written materials for impact.
Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from American University. She is originally from Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Will Simcoe is an associate at Sheikh/Impact, where he provides support to clients in areas including but not limited to institutional and public funding solicitation, prospect research, impact analysis and communications.
Before joining Sheikh/Impact, Will provided fund development consulting to nonprofit clients in the education, health and human services sectors. Will previously designed curricula for the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and ran a private tutoring company. Will has extensive experience finding technological solutions for nonprofits: He helped create a database and data visualization dashboard for Entrepreneurship for All to aid in their expansion; while working at Thabyay Education Foundation, he developed a comprehensive online eLearning platform — which continues to help hundreds of social workers in Myanmar, Laos and Thailand each year.
Will holds an MBA in social impact and a master’s degree in sustainable international development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, as well as a bachelor’s degree in ecotourism from Westminster College. An avid cyclist, Will serves as a board member at the Bicycle Kitchen, a nonprofit bicycle repair education organization in Los Angeles.
Joelle Marie is an associate at Sheikh/Impact, where she provides logistical, communication and research support, as well as expertise in the areas of program development and implementation and mental health and related policy.
Prior to Sheikh/Impact, Joelle Marie was an area housing coordinator in Los Angeles County, providing support to individuals, providers and organizations through the coordinated entry system — to link those in need with housing, funding, employment, healthcare and other services. Joelle Marie has previously provided consulting services to several national mental health and peer support organizations, including National Alliance on Mental Illness, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and National Association of Peer Supporters, contributing to program management, execution and messaging.
Joelle Marie is active in advocacy and outreach, including in research, healthcare and policy engagement: As part of the Senior Strength Initiative, she helped shape a Community Peer Worker role to assist bridging geriatric primary care patients to mental health providers; she was a CalVoices ACCESS Ambassador to inform stakeholders and increase their engagement in local and state policy; and recently, she was involved in a research and stakeholder convening with the University of Kentucky — producing recommendations for Internal Review Boards to follow when considering research participant experiences.
Joelle Marie is a member of the Council District 15 Working Group on Homelessness and Chair of the American Association of Suicidology Disability and Access Committee.
Claudio Vazquez provides administrative support to Sheikh/Impact and provides office management and technical support for the firm's daily operations. He is bilingual in English and Spanish and is an experienced translator. He is also an accomplished photographer, whose work has been exhibited in galleries in North and South America.
Victoria Thurlow provides assistance and counsel to Sheikh/Impact, as needed. Victoria has extensive experience as a leader in fund development and communications. After working directly with respected organizations in the social sector, she founded Thurlow/Associates. Through her decades of experience as principal of Thurlow/Associates, Victoria used her unique expertise to help nonprofits throughout the region achieve lasting impact.
Salim J. Sheikh, Esq. provides legal assistance and counsel to Sheikh/Impact, as needed. He also provides client support in the area of justice-reform. He currently practices law in Cook County, Il.
Prior to getting his law degree, Salim served in the US Army and then was
the director of the penal law project at CSU Chico, where he provided programming in several CA State prisons including, Pelican Bay, San Quentin, Stockton Woman’s Facility, Susanville and Folsom State Prison.
Salim’s justice system involvement in his youth helped inform his decision to pursue a career in law and represent the interests of those who historically have been underserved by the legal community. For his work, he was named a Super Lawyer Rising Star Illinois in 2015, 2016 and 2017.