Michael Berman and Diane Conniff co-founded the Educational Choice Foundation to further their support of educational ventures that give children the tools to become informed critical thinkers.
Mr. Berman is the Chairman of Applied Capital Management, a private investment management firm located in Scottsdale, Arizona. He also serves on the Board of Resort Golf Group, a vacation service and golf instruction provider located in Scottsdale, Arizona and St. Petersburg, Florida. Mr. Berman is Chairman of the Michael Berman Family Foundation. He is a Trustee of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Tolerance in Los Angeles. He and his children reside in Scottsdale, Arizona.
From January 1990 until March 1999, Mr. Berman was employed by the Nomura Securities Co., Ltd. (Tokyo) group of companies, where he held several executive positions, including that of President and CEO of Nomura Holdings America Inc. Prior to joining Nomura Mr. Berman was employed at Merrill Lynch from 1987 until 1989 where he held the title of Director; and at Kidder Peabody & Co., Inc. from 1980 until 1987 where he held several executive positions, including that of Vice President in Financial Futures and Options. Prior to joining Kidder Peabody, Mr. Berman spent many years as a professional musician and remains an avid guitarist. Mr. Berman received a BA in Economics with honors from San Francisco State University.
Diane Conniff worked professionally in commercial real estate transactions prior to the formation of Educational Choice Foundation. From 1995 to 2002 Ms. Conniff was employed as an investment officer for the Reckson Associates Realty Corporation family of companies and in the origination of commercial real estate mortgage loans at Nomura Asset Capital Corporation and Precept Mortgage Corporation. From 1984 until 1995, Ms. Conniff was a commercial real estate attorney in private practice in Miami, Florida and New York City.
Ms. Conniff holds a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and a B.S. from St. John's University. She is a member of the New York, Florida and District of Columbia Bars. She resides in New York City.