Sheikh/Impact is a minority woman-owned firm that supports organizations working to serve and improve our communities. The issues that are important to our clients are also important to our team because they are ultimately what have driven each of us to do what we do.
Our staff members’ lived experience, coupled with incredible professional and educational backgrounds distinguish our firm from others in the field. This lived experience includes those who are: first-generation Americans and immigrants, survivors of domestic violence, justice-involved, first-generation college graduates — as well as prominent advocates for gender equity, equitable housing, and mental health reform.
The Sheikh/Impact team is dedicated to supporting organizations focused on justice system reform because we have personally experienced the effects of the current system.
We are tenacious in our work to build the capacity of health care organizations because we know true community wellness only happens with equitable access to quality, compassionate care.
We are committed to building the capacity of direct service organizations because we have been recipients of such services.
We are invested in ensuring the sustainability of arts service organizations because we have had our lives changed through art and connection.
We understand that clients are heavily invested in their organizations –– and the people they serve –– and we value the work we do together. The nonprofit world is one of the last frontiers of equity, and that is where we can help make change.
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 director 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.
Tammy Khan is the vice president of operations at Sheikh/Impact where she oversees daily operations and special projects. She also provides client support in areas such as communications, community engagement and government relations.
Before joining the Sheikh/Impact team, Tammy spent 15 years serving as the public information officer for the Torrance Unified School District (TUSD). While leading the communications department, she developed and implemented a comprehensive public information, community engagement and media relations program for TUSD. Prior to her tenure with TUSD, Tammy worked as a field representative in the California State Legislature, where she managed community outreach and constituent relations for Senator Debra Bowen and Assemblymember Ted Lieu.
Tammy earned her master’s degree in negotiations, peacebuilding and conflict resolution (NCRP) from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She received her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with an English minor from Loyola Marymount University. Tammy has served on the board (and as past president) of the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation for 15 years.
Will Simcoe is a senior associate at Sheikh/Impact, where he provides support to clients in areas including but not limited to institutional and public funding solicitation, strategic planning, 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 — a platform that 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.
Garrett Dunbar is a senior associate at Sheikh/Impact, where he offers support to clients in areas including but not limited to public funding solicitation, program development and homeless/housing policy.
Before joining Sheikh/Impact, Garrett spent many years working at community mental health and homeless service agencies throughout Los Angeles, including The People Concern and Mental Health America of Los Angeles. Supporting our most vulnerable community members to meet their complex needs, he gained a unique perspective on the multifaceted systems individuals must navigate while living on the streets with serious mental illness — and the challenges nonprofits face while providing support. Additionally, Garrett has practiced law in nonprofit environmental justice organizations, completed a fellowship at Community Legal Aid SoCal, and worked in private firms engaged in consumer financial protection, personal injury and medical malpractice.
Garrett holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in integrated health from California State University, Long Beach. He also obtained a Juris Doctor degree with a concentration in environmental law and policy from Whittier Law School. Garrett is a lifelong resident of the South Bay, an active member of several local homelessness task forces and a passionate advocate for social, economic and racial equity.
Joelle Marie Nourse 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 Institutional Review Boards -or ethic committees- 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.
Susanna Aiga is an associate at Sheikh/Impact, where she provides support to clients in areas including but not limited to public funding solicitation, prospect research, data analysis and communications.
Before joining Sheikh/Impact, Susanna worked for the leading U.S. Business Immigration law firm, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP as a paralegal/caseworker. In this capacity, she successfully processed a high volume of complex petitions and applications supporting foreign nationals seeking U.S. visa classification and immigration benefits for permanent residency. Her prior experience includes working with nonprofit organizations in the education and geriatric service fields. While at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), she wrote, edited and managed the public health column for UCSD’s medical literature society and worked with the Saltman, a quarterly UCSD publication featuring undergraduate biomedical research findings.
Susanna holds a bachelor’s degree in human developmental sciences — an interdisciplinary field focusing on the intersectionality of socio-cultural, cognitive and biological domains in affecting environmental, biological and behavioral growth/changes over the course of the human lifespan — from UCSD.
Kiavanne Williams is an associate at Sheikh/Impact, where they provide support to clients in areas including but not limited to institutional funding solicitation and strategic communications — as well as provide expertise in the areas of justice reform, urban planning and education.
Prior to joining Sheikh/Impact, Kiavanne worked for the Posse Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on changing the leadership landscape in the U.S. by providing scholarships and robust programming to a diverse group of talented students. As a staff member who was also an alumnus of the program, Kiavanne helped align organizational mission and goals, shape local and national programmatic curriculum and ensure the academic success of over 100 undergraduate student leaders. Before their work at Posse, Kiavanne worked with an array of organizations oriented around social justice, leadership and urban planning — including Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership and MORI Consulting.
Kiavanne is a lifetime San Pedran, where they follow in the footsteps of their family by supporting programs at the Wilmington Teen Center. They received their bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College in anthropology and sociology with a concentration in public policy and urban affairs. They also co-create the Harbor Speaks podcast and regularly attend community celebrations and art exhibits.
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.