(l-r) Treasurer Vincent Smith, President Boyd Walker, Vice President Laura Mandala, and Founder/Executive Director Paul Friedman.
(Lori Friedman, not pictured.)

Safer Country Board

Our Leadership

Executive Director

Paul Friedman is the founder and Executive Director of Safer Country, a gun violence prevention non-profit focused on keeping guns out of unsafe hands. He is inspired by the memory of his great aunt, Elizabeth Shulkin, who was shot and killed at her hotel on a vacation in Florida on December 1, 1981.

Of note, one of Elizabeth’s brothers, and Paul’s great uncle, the Hon. Sam Friedman, was the subject of the 2017 movie, Marshall, about Sam’s successful criminal defense of Joseph Spell in 1940-41, which had a young Thurgood Marshall’s assistance.  A Black man, Mr. Spell was falsely accused of attempted murder and rape of the married white woman who employed him in Greenwich, Connecticut.  The movie was produced by Sam’s daughter, Lauren.

Prior to Safer Country, Paul served as Executive Director of the Virginia Tech Victims (VTV) Family Outreach Foundation, during which time he worked with the City of Alexandria and Virginia Tech’s local graduate schools to create a tree grove in Chinquapin Park to honor the victims and survivors of the April 16, 2007 massacre.

Paul graduated with a B.A. in Politics from Brandeis University and a J.D. from New York Law School.  In 1987, Paul moved to Washington, DC, worked on Capitol Hill.  In 1988, he was a Field Organizer in Iowa for Paul Simon for President (where he had the privilege of informing Sen. Simon that he had received the Des Moines Register endorsement for the Democratic nomination) and an Advance Man for the Dukakis/Bentsen campaign.

In 1990, he was elected Chair of the Ward 6 Democrats and became the PAC Director for Environmental Action, where he wrote that year’s Dirty Dozen.  On August 25, 1991, Paul married his lovely wife, Lori, moved to Alexandria.  In 1992, Paul successfully managed a state representative campaign in Orlando, Florida and, later, a City Council race in Alexandria.

Paul went on to work as a liaison to the Legal and Financial Community in the DMV for the Development Corporation for Israel and the Director of Development for Save A Child’s Heart, Neediest Kids and Every Child Matters.  In 2015, prior to joining VTV, Paul served as Mark Levine’s political consultant in his victorious effort to run for Delegate in Virginia’s 45th District.

In mid-2020, Paul was elected to serve as the Alternate Delegate from Virginia’s 8th Congressional District for Joe Biden for President to the Democratic National Convention, which would have been held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but for the covid crisis.

In January of 2022, Paul began serving as the elected Vice President of Alexandria’s West End Business Association.

Board of Directors

Boyd Walker

President

Boyd is a real estate investor who manages his own properties.  A political and community activist, Boyd was a Delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is a former member of the Alexandria Democratic Committee Executive Board.

Laura Mandala

Vice President

As head of Mandala Research, one the world’s leading travel and tourism research firms, Laura evaluates emerging developments in the industry and her firm has pioneered policy changes in the industry, including minority inclusion.

Named one of the 14 Most Influential Women in Group Travel, Laura’s firm has pioneered the “firsts” of many niche studies in the industry.

As well, she has served as an appointee to the State Council on Women by Governor’s Warner and Kaine and as a Board member to the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board under Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Additionally, Laura is founder of Women in Travel and Tourism International, an organization committed to the promotion, support, and advocacy for women’s leadership in the travel industry.  Laura is also a former candidate for State Delegate in Virginia’s 45th District and has served two Virginia Governor’s on the State Council on Women.

Vincent Smith

Treasurer

A graduate of Bryan College and Washington & Lee University School of Law, Vincent is a reentry attorney in Northern Virginia.  He works with individuals who have criminal convictions and/or charges, helping them overcome the collateral consequences that they face due to their record such as employment challenges, court fines, driver’s license suspensions, etc…

Vincent has a deep appreciation for how the justice system works and the need to ensure that the rights of all individuals are protected.  In that light, he wants to ensure that the reporting of convictions of violent crime and domestic violence prohibits individuals from owning, purchasing and possessing firearms while not increasing unnecessary barriers to non-violent individuals seeking to return to and play a positive role in the community.

Lori Friedman

Secretary

Lori is a Certified Public Accountant with extensive experience in public and private accounting. Since 2009, she has operated her own firm in Alexandria, Virginia.

When Lori isn’t grappling with accounting principles or the Internal Revenue Code, she enjoys life with her husband, Paul, the Executive Director of Safer Country, and the couple’s dog, Sadie.

Advisory Committee

Richard Aborn

President, Crime Commission of NYC; Managing Partner, Constantine Cannon; Former President,Brady Campaign

Ara Bagdasarian

Founder, Zero Now,
Member, Leesburg Town Council,
Former CEO and Co-Founder, Omnilert

Pete Brodnitz

President,
Expedition Strategies

Leslie Byrne

Former Congresswoman (VA)

John Capozzi

Former U.S. Statehood Representative (WDC)

Sean Casey

Captain, Sheriff’s Office, City of Alexandria

Charlotte Cohn

Theatre,
Actor, Director, Producer

Ken Cummins

President,
Capitol Inquiry

Steve Descano

Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fairfax County

Jay Figurski

Lieutenant Colonel, USA

Mark D. Friedman

Global Real Estate Advisor and Actor

Mike Gelb

Former White House Correspondent,
Reuters News Agency

Tim Gleeson

Undersheriff, Sheriff’s Office. City of Alexandria

Michael “Misha” Gill

Attorney

Andrew Goddard

Legislative Director, Virginia Center for Public Safety

Anthony Guglielmi

Chief of Communications, United States Secret Service

Chris Harris

President,
Alexandria Branch,
NAACP

Mike Jason

U.S. Army Colonel (retired), Defense Consultant, Pentagon

Mark Jones

Former ATF Supervisory Special Agent, Firearms Policy and Regulatory Expert

Rod Kuckro

Former President, Del Ray Citizens’ Association

Dana Lawhorne

Former Sheriff, City of Alexandria

Mark Levine

Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates

Carmen Lodato

Gun Violence Prevention Advocate

Norm Lodato

Gun Violence Widower

David Lord

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Alexandria

Maurice Middleberg

Former Executive Director, Free the Slaves

Ericka Miller

President and CEO, Isaacson, Miller

Pia Miller

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fairfax County

McArthur Myers

Civil Rights History Activist, Alexandria Living Legend

Rob Nagle

Actor, Teacher, Director

RJ Narang

President & CEO, Renegade Technology Systems, Inc.

Greg Parks

Clerk of the Circuit Court, City of Alexandria

Bryan Porter

Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Alexandria

Kate Ranta

Gun Violence Survivor/Author/Activist

Amanda Roberts

Emdr Therapy, Psychologist, PhD, MA

Allison Silberberg

Former Mayor, City of Alexandria

Donnie Simpson

President,
Simpson Development Company

Terron Sims II

CEO,
Doug Pollard, LLC

Stacey D. Stewart

President & CEO,
March of Dimes

Shannon Taylor

Commonwealth’s Attorney, Henrico County

Rebecca Wade

Partner,
Wade, Grimes, Friedman, Meinken & Leischner, PLLC

Mary Wadland

Publisher,
The Zebra Press

Jason Odell Williams

Playwright/Television Producer

Amanda Wilcox

Legislative & Policy Chair, California Chapters, Brady United Against Gun Violence