Our Team

Leon G. Shahabian - President & Executive Producer

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Leon Shahabian serves as President & Executive Producer of Layalina Productions, Inc. He is currently in post-production on the first season of American Caravan, a reality series featuring six young Americans traveling across five Arab countries in the footsteps of the Arab Spring. Yemeniettes, his award-winning feature documentary on female youth entrepreneurship in Yemen, is currently on the festival circuit.

Leon has executive produced the three seasons of the hit reality series On the Road in America, Season I (2007-2008, MBC1 and the Sundance Channel, distributed by Warner Brothers and New Line Television), Season II (2010, MBC1 and MBN), and Season III (2011).

Mr. Shahabian has created, written and executive produced the first season of Generation Entrepreneur, a youth entrepreneurship reality series (2013, Orbit Showtime Network). He also executive produced and produced Back from the Brink (2011), a feature documentary on countering violent extremism, and produced and executive produced the award-winning documentary Life After Death (2009, Al-Arabiya and MBN). His other credits include executive producing the Sister Cities documentary Windy City, White City (2004) as well as Araeh (2003).

Leon co-founded Layalina Productions in 2002 and served as its Corporate Treasurer from 2004 through 2012. He also served from 2005 until 2011 as the Senior Editor of The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media, the Google News listed bi-weekly press review. He serves since 2008 as the Senior Editor of Perspectives, a public diplomacy op-ed series.

Mr. Shahabian is a frequent guest lecturer at leading universities and think tanks. He also serves as a writer and director for a New York based video game studio.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with degrees in International Politics and French Literature, Leon is fluent in Armenian, Arabic and French. He is a life member of The Public Diplomacy Council and a 2013 recipient of the Penn State Alumni Achievement Award.

Phyllis Chesley McDougle - Vice President & Treasurer

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Phyllis joined Layalina Productions in 2007 as Executive Assistant to Chairman Richard Fairbanks. In June 2013 Phyllis was elected Treasurer in addition to her prior June 2012 election as Corporate Secretary. In June 2014 she was elected Vice President of Layalina.

In 1998, Phyllis worked with Medstar Physician Partners, first as Assistant Director of Physician Billing Services and later as Director of the same department from 2001-2003. Prior to joining Layalina, Phyllis coordinated outpatient operations as the Clinic Administrator for the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital from 2003-2007.

Early in her career, Phyllis managed various medical practices throughout the Washington, DC area. Phyllis is a graduate of Morgan State University and has more than twenty years of healthcare administration. Phyllis also serves as Treasurer for the Pan Hellenic Council of Southern Maryland (2011-present) and Phi Alpha Zeta Chapter – Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc (2011-present). Additionally, Phyllis is a member of the fundraising committee for Health Partners Inc., a non-profit organization providing healthcare to the uninsured and under-insured of Charles County Maryland.

Sabrina Mocquery - Corporate Secretary

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Sabrina joined Layalina Productions with her June 2014 election as Corporate Secretary, and has been the Executive Assistant to Shannon Fairbanks and the Administrator at the Fairbanks Investment Fund since 2010.  Before joining the Fairbanks’ team, Sabrina, a French-native, was an Import/Export Trading Assistant at Mitsui & Co. Ltd in Paris, France. She also held various short-length import-export positions in France and Germany as an undergraduate. Sabrina graduated valedictorian from the Ecole Atlantique de Commerce – Audencia Group, France, with a B.S. in International Business, and is currently pursuing an MBA at George Washington University. She is expected to graduate in the Spring of 2016.

Nicole Simpson - Outreach Manager & Production Associate

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Nicole serves as Layalina’s Outreach Manager & Production Associate. She has a background in international policy, particularly conflict resolution and international development, and her regional areas of focus include MENA and sub-Saharan Africa. She most recently worked at World Relief as the Advocacy Officer. In her role, she focused on launching and managing the Wage Peace campaign, which highlighted countries in the midst of conflict and pushed for stronger U.S. foreign policy toward complex humanitarian crises in places like South Sudan, the DRC and Syria.

Prior to that, Nicole worked at New America where she primarily conducted data and policy analysis on financial inclusion in developing countries, with a specific focus on women and girls. She co-authored two papers and has been featured in the Atlantic’s Quartz, Huffington Post’s Impact X blog and the CfR Development Channel.

Nicole holds a Master’s in Intercultural Studies from Union University and has lived abroad in Amman, Jordan where she studied Arabic.

LEGAL COUNSEL

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Corporate Legal Counsel is provided, pro-bono, by the firm of Covington & Burling:

Michael Cutler, Esq.
Corporate Law

Kevin Shortill, Esq.
Tax Law