Our Staff

Background Image - Ben Rotman: "The Spark"

USA Staff

Iris Reff Ronen

Chief Executive Director, AICF USA and AICF Israel

After successfully leading AICF Israel for the last 2 years, Iris Reff Ronen began her new appointment as Chief Executive Director on November 1,  2019.

Iris Reff-Ronen is an entrepreneur and executive with vast experience in both corporate and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining AICF Israel, Iris led the Israeli Choreographers Association, an umbrella organization for contemporary dance artists in Israel. She also served for 15 years as CEO of Unistream, a unique NGO fostering social and business leadership in over 1,600 young adults from Israel’s periphery through education, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Iris was acting CFO of the Shilav Group, CFO of a high-tech company and worked in the WZO while living in the US. She is an enthusiastic promoter of arts education in Israel and an advocate for building educational support in the periphery.  She is passionate about building positive change in the Israeli cultural sector and accumulation of her skills is being applied further her personal goals of realizing the potential of young Israeli artists and harnessing their remarkable talent. 

Iris holds advanced degrees in business, finance and marketing. She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband Micha and her children. 


Lauren Epstein

Director of Development

Lauren Epstein is a dynamic nonprofit professional, with expertise in the Jewish and arts cultural arenas. Prior to joining AICF, she worked at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel, UJA-Federation of New York, and OneTable and in tandem with top trailblazers. Lauren is thrilled to join AICF and is looking forward to bringing together changemakers to create significant impact and philanthropy.

Lauren is an alumnus of Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI), a place devoted to the artistic, cultural, intellectual, and environmental pursuits of the Jewish people. She comes from a family of artists, is an art advocate, and Co-Founded Manhattan Modern Art, which promotes her mother’s catalog of abstract art. Her connection to Israel stems from her extensive work connecting young adults to the country through Birthright, as well as having studied at The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.

Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a specialization in Social Stratification. In her free time, Lauren travels frequently and has led social justice missions around the world. In recent years, she has reignited her passion for the arts through various mediums, including piano and film.


Galia Barkol

Director of the Israeli Artist Network

Writer-director Galia Barkol created the feature film “Don’t Let the Night End” (Sundance Labs semifinalist). Her work as a filmmaker and performer has appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival, Tel Aviv Cinematheque, ITVFest, SoHo International Film Festival, and more. Galia is a recipient of the Tangerine fellowship at Stowe Story Labs, the Franco-American MICEFA grant, and the NYCTV “Best Script” and QWFF’s “InkTip” awards. Originally from Israel, Galia earned her bachelor’s degree in Film from Paris-Diderot University in Paris, France, and she is a graduate of HB Studio’s drama school in NYC. Galia also enjoys playing classical piano and she lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Jessica Hadler

Director of Programs & Grants

Jessica Hadler is a longtime advocate of the arts and a supporter of young artists. She was Director of Artistic Programs for Concert Artists Guild, where she worked for more than 10 years. In this role she oversaw the organization’s New York concert series, an annual international competition, record label, and commissioning program, and mentored a roster of talented musicians. She taught Art of Engagement at Mannes School of Music at the New School, a course designed to inspire students to discover and express their unique artistic points of view. Jessica served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Look & Listen Festival, a new music festival held each Spring in NYC, and was a Board Member of AlpenKammerMusik, a chamber music festival in Austria. Jessica studied music at Indiana University, earning her BM and MM degrees in saxophone performance. She made Aliya to Israel in 2017.