Staff Bios

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The Wireless Foundation Staff Bios

Athena Polydorou, Executive Director

As the Executive Director of The Wireless Foundation, Athena Polydorou is responsible for its charitable programs that enhance America’s communities through wireless technology. In addition to implementing and managing strategic initiatives at the intersection of mobile with health, education, safety and the environment, Athena builds and maintains cross-industry relationships that support the Foundation’s  mission.

Prior to joining The Wireless Foundation, Athena was the director of Wireless Internet Development at CTIA-The Wireless Association®, where she was responsible for its mobile privacy and mHealth initiatives. In addition, Athena also managed the development and launch of the wireless industry’s campaign to provide parents with content information, ratings and tools to better manage their kids’ mobile applications usage. She was previously the wireless industry analyst for the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, where she directed various initiatives designed to help rural carriers bridge the digital divide in underserved communities and provide health, education and other vital services via fixed and mobile wireless technologies.

Athena earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Master of Arts in Telecommunication Policy from the George Washington University.


Ben Burkhardt, Manager, Programs & Communications

Ben Burkhardt is The Wireless Foundation’s Manager of Programs. His areas of responsibility include connected health, online safety, and environmental responsibility.  He has led the Foundation's educational programs which empower young people and their families to responsibly use wireless technology to enrich their lives.  Soon after arriving at the Foundation, Ben worked with wireless carriers and the American Red Cross to develop the first mobile donation program, which raised tens of millions of dollars for disaster relief in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.  He also helped pioneer the Foundation's cell phone recycling programs, which raised more than $3.5 million for organizations working to end domestic violence.  Ben has a Bachelor of Science from Guilford College and graduated from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Ben enjoys bicycling, camping, gardening, and being outdoors whenever possible. He is also an active volunteer at Miriam’s Kitchen, a homeless shelter in downtown DC.

Shanée Meeks, Manager, Programs

Shanée J. Meeks is the Manager of Programs for The Wireless Foundation.  In her day to day portfolio of operations of the Foundation's programs, a few key areas of responsibility includes the philanthropic programs of the Foundation in the areas of Education, Heath as well as seeking new opportunities with charitable programs to ensure the mission of the Foundation is fulfilled.   Shanée joined the Foundation in June of 2012, after working as Coordinator for Regulatory Affairs of CTIA – The Wireless Association® where she managed the day to day operations and event logistics for CTIA trade shows, educational seminars and symposiums.  Prior to joining CTIA, Shanée worked in the Office of Legislative Affairs as a Congressional Correspondence Assistant at the Federal Communications Commission.  Shanée earned a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.   She resides in Maryland with her husband and son.