Our Mission

One day, all students will have the opportunity to earn a college degree that provides them with meaningful economic and personal prospects. Beyond 12’s mission is to dramatically increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and historically under-represented students who graduate from college.

Through a longitudinal student tracking platform and a personalized student coaching service, Beyond 12 helps high schools, college access programs, and colleges provide their students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in higher education. By collecting and sharing longitudinal data that crosses K-12 and higher education, Beyond 12 not only provides students with differentiated coaching that ensures they earn a college degree, but also provides actionable feedback to high schools and programs about their college preparatory efforts, improves the retention work of colleges and universities by sharing data-driven insights gained from supporting students, and influences the national conversation about student success.

Our History

Beyond 12 was founded in 2009 by entrepreneur, Alexandra (Alex) Bernadotte, who drew inspiration to create the organization from her own experience as a first-generation college graduate. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Alex grew up in inner city Boston, the oldest daughter of immigrant parents who were determined to see her succeed. Like many first-generation college students, Alex struggled with the transition to college. Her first year at Dartmouth was tough. After years of hard work to get into college, Alex was shocked to realize that receiving her acceptance letter had been the easiest step. But she stuck it out, graduated in four years, and became the first in her immediate family to receive a college degree. The challenges Alex faced during those years at Dartmouth planted a seed for what she wanted to do: start an organization to ensure other first-generation college students wouldn’t struggle as she had.

Our Staff

Bold, innovative, and committed. The Beyond 12 team is a small but mighty force that draws on its own experiences and expertise to provide students – and their institutions – with the information and support they need to succeed. Join our team.

Donna Arriaga Edmonds

Director of Program

Donna Arriaga Edmonds was born in New York to parents who em

Donna Arriaga Edmonds

Director of Program

Donna Arriaga Edmonds was born in New York to parents who emigrated from Guatemala. She was the first in her family to graduate from high school and pursue a college degree. She obtained BAs in political science and writing and linguistics from Georgia Southern. She received a MA in public administration from the University of Georgia, concentrating on higher education and nonprofit management. Donna began her time with Beyond 12 as a college coach working with HSF GO Scholars and currently supports and manages the Atlanta office and partners. Donna strives to enhance the opportunities of underrepresented groups within our education system.

Carol Ashley

College Coach

Carol is a college coach. As a first-generation college grad

Carol Ashley

College Coach

Carol is a college coach. As a first-generation college graduate, Carol leaned heavily on nonprofits similar to Beyond 12 to get to and through college. She recognizes the importance a support system can be for students navigating the college process on their own. She wants to continue to involve herself in spaces such as these in her career. Prior to working for Beyond 12, Carol was a program manager for iMentor, a national mentorship program designed to utilize mentorship to close the opportunity gap for students entering higher education, where she managed 90 mentor pairs. Before iMentor, Carol was a college and career advisor for Students Rising Above. As a former student of the program, Carol learned how to best advise high school students online.  Carol attended UC Santa Cruz where she majored in Sociology and minored in Education. She firmly believes having a support system can leave a positive impact on young people recognizing their potential and achieving success.

Rocio Bañuelos

Content Intern

Rocio joined Beyond 12 the summer before her last year of co

Rocio Bañuelos

Content Intern

Rocio joined Beyond 12 the summer before her last year of college and has since been a member of the Content Team. Rocio graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in media studies, she hopes to pursue a career in creative advertising and storytelling. As a first-generation college student Rocio feels strongly committed to use her experiences and knowledge as a means to uplift other first-generation students of color.

Angelique Barreto

College Coach

Angelique Barreto is a college coach with Beyond 12. A nativ

Angelique Barreto

College Coach

Angelique Barreto is a college coach with Beyond 12. A native of New York City, she now lives in Central Florida. She is experienced in serving students through college admissions and student success guidance. She has served a diverse range of students including those in high school, undergrad, and graduate-level programs. Angelique is a 2018 first-generation college graduate from SUNY New Paltz, where she earned her bachelor's degree in sociology and human services. She is currently in her remote masters program with Stony Brook University, studying higher education administration. She began her career guiding students with experience in the foster-care and juvenile justice system. Angelique seeks to equip our students with the skills needed to exceed their academic goals, build supportive communities, and become well-rounded members of society. In her free time, Angelique enjoys hiking and facilitating youth events for students within her local community.

Ian Barrett

College Coach

Ian Barrett is a first year college coach at Beyond 12. Hail

Ian Barrett

College Coach

Ian Barrett is a first year college coach at Beyond 12. Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Ian came to Atlanta to attend the prestigious Morehouse College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in education in 2020. A lifelong learner and proud advocate for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Ian’s passions lie most in helping others “see their best selves” and take on new experiences. While in college, Ian was able to follow his passion by helping organize and execute the AUC Philadelphia Club HBCU High School Tour, a program created to teach Philadelphia high school students about HBCUs. He also mentored students on campus and volunteered at elementary schools in the metro-Atlanta community area. Still looking to be an active participant in his community, Ian is a current member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals, and Toastmasters International. In his free time, Ian enjoys binge-watching TV series (especially classics), learning about investing, reading, exercising, and spending time with friends and family.

Alexandra Bernadotte

Founder & CEO

Alex has more than 18 years of executive management and stra

Alexandra Bernadotte

Founder & CEO

Alex has more than 18 years of executive management and strategic development experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors. Immediately before launching Beyond 12, she was an Entrepreneur in Residence at NewSchools Venture Fund where she conducted the research and developed the business plan for Beyond 12. Alex's previous professional experience includes serving as executive director of The Princeton Review's Silicon Valley office, co-founder and vice president of marketing and online strategy at educational travel startup Explorica, director of operations at EF Education, and operations manager at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where she coordinated the efforts of an international youth substance abuse prevention foundation.

Alex was also the executive director of Foundation for a College Education (FCE). She currently serves on the FCE advisory board, as well as the board of directors of the Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center. Alex received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and earned a master's degree with a concentration in policy and organizational leadership from Stanford. She is an Ashoka Fellow, a recipient of the 2011 NewSchools Venture Fund Entrepreneur of the year award, and a 2012 Jefferson Award for Public Service. In addition, Fast Company recently named Beyond 12 “one of the world’s top 10 most innovative companies in education.

Jazmin Betancourt

Operations Manager

Jazmin has a wide range of experience in direct service, cur

Jazmin Betancourt

Operations Manager

Jazmin has a wide range of experience in direct service, curriculum development, program planning, and evaluation. She has served students from kindergarten to college for over 10 years and is committed to education reform that increases equity, cultural competency, and life-long learning. In her current role she draws from her previous college coaching and account management experiences to optimize Beyond 12's HR, communication, and project management processes. Her previous work includes teaching second grade Spanish and math at Roses In Concrete Community School, a dual language immersion charter in East Oakland, and consulting with Resource Development Associates where she collaborated with district leaders, teachers, parents, and students to evaluate the effectiveness of K-12 after-school programs and services in the Mt. Diablo and Antioch unified school districts. Jazmin is a first-generation college graduate, with a multiple subject teaching credential, master's degree in education, and bachelor's degrees in peace and conflict studies and art history from UC Berkeley.

Briggitte Bolaños Vieyra

College Coach

Briggitte is a college coach. Briggitte grew up in Mexico un

Briggitte Bolaños Vieyra

College Coach

Briggitte is a college coach. Briggitte grew up in Mexico until age ten, then immigrated with her family to Antioch, CA. She was always aware of being undocumented and after high school Briggitte expected to continue her educational journey in Mexico. However, after her acceptance into UC Berkeley and obtaining the means to finance her education, Briggitte decided to stay. She was very aware that going to college would not have been possible if it was not for her mentors, influencing her interest in serving youth.  During her time in UC Berkeley, Briggitte was involved with various student organizations TRENZA, the Chicano Latino Development Center, BUILD, and Latinx Caucus. She served as a  mentor/tutor for elementary and middle school students, facilitator of discussion within the Latinx community, and event planner for the Latinx women in TRENZA. These experiences  addressed Briggitte’s work to increase  access to higher education and also for holistic support for students' post-secondary educational journeys. Her varying experiences have inspired her to become a college coach.

Kevin Brown

Associate Director of Program

Kevin Brown is an associate director of program at Beyond 12

Kevin Brown

Associate Director of Program

Kevin Brown is an associate director of program at Beyond 12, and returns after originally serving as a college coach from 2011-2013.  Prior to re-joining the Beyond 12 team, Kevin spent the last 6 years at KIPP Through College both as an alumni advisor working with under-represented students in college and as a team manager helping to both train and support other advisors.  During his time at KIPP, Kevin was heavily focused on programming and strategic planning related to community college persistence. In addition to working in education, Kevin also comes from a background in mental health stemming from serving as a residential advisor at Seneca Center, a group home for youth who’ve experienced severe physical or emotional trauma in their childhood.  Kevin is a Bay Area native who grew up in Oakland and graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and an emphasis in law. While at UCD, Kevin was an academic advisor through Upward Bound where he provided counseling and mentorship to low-income, first-generation high school students in the Vallejo and Sacramento areas.

Corrina Calanoc

Senior Data Engineer

Corrina graduated from UC Berkeley, majoring in Computer Sci

Corrina Calanoc

Senior Data Engineer

Corrina graduated from UC Berkeley, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Math and Science Education. Her mission to utilize technology to increase the presence of underrepresented communities in higher education led her to a summer internship at Beyond 12, that developed into a year-long internship, before culminating in assuming a full-time role as a Data Engineer. In college, Corrina promoted equity in STEM fields by mentoring high school students served by the Pilipino recruitment/retention organization, hosting programming workshops, and serving as a teaching assistant in high school math classrooms.

Stephanie Chang

College Coach

Stephanie is a second year college coach. She recently gradu

Stephanie Chang

College Coach

Stephanie is a second year college coach. She recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. During undergrad, she served as a grievance caseworker, then grievance division director, for the Student Advocate’s Office at UC Berkeley. At the Student Advocate’s Office, Stephanie supported students facing concerns related to disability status, harassment, and/or discrimination, among other things. She also co-created a direct-to-student fund to provide grants for out-of-pocket healthcare costs for students with disabilities and financial need. Through this work, Stephanie became passionate about advocating for equitable access for students with intersectional and historically underrepresented identities, as well as uplifting student voices against institutional and structural barriers. She hopes to continue working in one-on-one support services through her role at Beyond 12 and eventually earn her MSW.

Kiersten Chresfield

Chief of Staff to the CEO

Kiersten most recently served as an associate director at Ar

Kiersten Chresfield

Chief of Staff to the CEO

Kiersten most recently served as an associate director at Arabella Advisors where she oversaw an $8M portfolio of projects focused on tech-for-good, climate change, and advocacy. Prior to Arabella, Kiersten spent four years at Deloitte Consulting working across eight project teams in the Federal and non-profit sectors; projects of note included drafting standard operating procedures for a new Defense organization, helping a large foundation develop an earned income strategy, and serving as the de facto chief of staff for a military client’s Chief Medical Officer. Kiersten has excelled in driving organization-wide initiatives, managing special projects, and delivering executive communications for various stakeholder groups. She holds an MBA in social entrepreneurship from Duke University (2020) and a BS from Vanderbilt University.

Chris Co

CTO & Head of Product

Chris has over 10 years of product management, engineering,

Chris Co

CTO & Head of Product

Chris has over 10 years of product management, engineering, security, and team leadership experience from eBay and Workday, where he developed and executed product strategies, and hired and mentored dozens of college graduates through their post-college years. Chris has volunteered with College Track and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Bay Area and has an unwavering passion for Beyond 12’s mission, paralleled only by his love for problem-solving and photography. Chris lives in the East Bay with his wife (an Oakland public school teacher of 10+ years) and has a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics from UC Berkeley.

Rubeisy Collado

College Coach

Rubeisy was born and raised in Harlem in New York City. As a

Rubeisy Collado

College Coach

Rubeisy was born and raised in Harlem in New York City. As a first-generation college student, she has a passion for education equity and seeing students reach their full potential. She graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in General Accounting and Policy Studies and graduated from New York University with a MA in K-12 School Counseling. After graduating college, she founded a girls group that focused on academic and personal development. Later on, she joined the College Advising Corps, where she assisted over 200 students in applying and enrolling into college. She hopes to continue to support students in their educational pursuits and in creating the future they desire in her role as a college coach at Beyond 12. In her free time, she enjoys planning trips around the world.

Deshawn Dazevedo

College Coach

Shawn is a second year college coach. Prior to this role, Sh

Deshawn Dazevedo

College Coach

Shawn is a second year college coach. Prior to this role, Shawn was a Fulbright Scholar and served as an english teaching assistant in Chetumal Quintana Roo. In addition to this role, Shawn conducted a photojournalism project on the afromexicano identity, to increase visibility and understand Blackness in the context of Mexico. Shawn graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in Psychology. Shawn devoted much of his time to liberation and mental health/wellness. During undergrad, Shawn co-founded Black Congress, an activist organization committed to addressing systemic racism and amplifying the voices of Black students. He also founded P.E.A.C.E, Processing Emotions and Communicating Effectively, bridging the gap and creating connections between Black mental health professionals and Black students. Shawn is devoted to dismantling systems of oppression,with a focus on healing and mental wellness. He is also studying to become a yoga instructor.

Fiifi Deku

Senior Product Manager

Fiifi is a senior product manager at Beyond 12. A self-drive

Fiifi Deku

Senior Product Manager

Fiifi is a senior product manager at Beyond 12. A self-driven and entrepreneurial product manager, he has over 14 years of experience in web and mobile product development. His passion for life is driven by his love for family, music, soccer, food and the unstoppable desire to find solutions to existing problems whether at home, the office or anywhere in the world. A native of Ghana and a first-generation college student himself, the opportunity to work at Beyond 12 places him in the unique position of being able to fully empathize and understand our students and help build products that will lead them towards a path of success. Fiifi's P1 goal at Beyond 12: to design and build products that level the playing field and positively change the life trajectory of our students for generations to come.

Heather Desvarieux

Chief Program Officer

Heather is a program management professional with 15+ years

Heather Desvarieux

Chief Program Officer

Heather is a program management professional with 15+ years of experience in project management and digital marketing. She has led large, integrated project teams of 100+ people focused on end-to-end creation of industry-leading, data-driven digital experiences for clients such as JP Morgan Chase, Prudential, TED, Amway, and Unilever. Heather was most recently a Senior Program Director at SapientRazorfish, a digital marketing and consulting firm that provides business, marketing, and technology consulting services to clients all over the world. In addition to serving as the lead for the 130+ member Mercedes-Benz USA account team, she managed 14 direct reports and provided strategic vision and career mentorship to 70+ project managers and producers.

Peter deVroede

Senior Director of Engineering

Peter has extensive experience in software engineering and p

Peter deVroede

Senior Director of Engineering

Peter has extensive experience in software engineering and product development at companies including Adobe, Xerox PARC, Electronic Arts and Disney. His most recent experience was as co-founder and CTO of podcast platform company Stitcher (now a part of SiriusXM). He has also served on several non-profit boards, including several youth sports leagues, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Peter and his partner (a high school teacher in Hercules) live in the East Bay and have twins, both of whom attend college in Oregon. Peter has a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Berkeley and MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and is an avid skier, skateboarder and golfer.

Michelle Dew

Program Manager

Michelle is currently a program manager with Beyond 12 in Oa

Michelle Dew

Program Manager

Michelle is currently a program manager with Beyond 12 in Oakland. Prior to her role, she attended Dartmouth College, graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies. While at Dartmouth, she received both a Legacy Award and the Allison Smith ‘06 Award for her work in leadership roles and creating community, specifically for LGBTQIA+ students on campus. Michelle was born and raised in Oklahoma, and has always found her passion in making others feel visible and heard.

Shallah Fairbanks

Customer Success Manager

Shallah has a wide range of experience in customer success,

Shallah Fairbanks

Customer Success Manager

Shallah has a wide range of experience in customer success, operations, compliance, and hospitality. Prior to Beyond 12, she worked at Wish, helping to align policies and improve communication with global outsource partners. Her passion for reducing inequality led her to the role at Beyond 12 and she is focused on working with partners to help close the college graduation gap between first-generation students and their peers. Shallah is a Bay Area native and received a BS in criminal justice from California State University, East Bay.

Javier Garcia

College Coach

Javier Garcia is a remote college coach with Beyond 12. Prio

Javier Garcia

College Coach

Javier Garcia is a remote college coach with Beyond 12. Prior to joining Beyond 12, Javier worked in his hometown of Delano, California as an AG prep counseling fellow with the Wonderful Company where he supported high school students and their families in the college application and decision process. In the spring of 2020 he graduated from the University of Redlands with a BA in race and ethic studies. During his undergraduate experience Javier negotiated a contract that would alleviate him of two part time jobs and secured him a position working on campus within Campus Diversity of Inclusion in May of 2019. In this position he primarily supported first generation student programs but also played an integral role in the creation, planning, and delivery of events and programming within Campus Diversity and Inclusion up until his departure in August of 2020. Javier is passionate about empowering and supporting low income, first-generation, and historically underrepresented college students. He understands the transformative experience he had in college and the importance of the different support systems vital to his success. Javier is currently pursuing his master’s in higher education and student affairs at the University of Redlands.

Elioth Gomez

Content Analyst

Elioth found a strong affinity for Beyond 12's mission and h

Elioth Gomez

Content Analyst

Elioth found a strong affinity for Beyond 12's mission and has had many roles within the content team. He first joined in the spring of 2017, before his last semester of college, as an intern and currently works as a content analyst. Elioth graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in molecular biology. As a first-generation undocumented college student he understood the importance of striving for educational equity and now hopes to help increase equity and representation within the sciences. As a content analyst, Elioth works on content creation, deployment and everything in between to ensure a high quality experience on the MyCoach app.

Aaron Harvey

College Coach

Born and raised in San Diego, Aaron Harvey is a first-genera

Aaron Harvey

College Coach

Born and raised in San Diego, Aaron Harvey is a first-generation college grad earning his bachelor’s and associate’s in political science at UC Berkeley and San Diego City College. While at Berkeley, Harvey was the chair of The Berkeley Underground Scholars (BUS), a student organization that focuses on the recruitment, retention, and advocacy of formerly incarcerated and system impacted UC students. Harvey was also the lead coordinator for the BUS transfer program where he trained a team of UC students in assisting community college students in applying to UC schools.

Erika Holland

Customer Success Manager, Higher Education

As a Customer Success Manager, Erika manages the relationshi

Erika Holland

Customer Success Manager, Higher Education

As a Customer Success Manager, Erika manages the relationships of our community college partners. Previously, Erika served as a college coach in the Atlanta office where she coached recent graduates of Atlanta Public Schools. Before joining Beyond 12, Erika served as an admissions counselor for Louisiana State University where she recruited students from public schools in the southeast region of Louisiana. During her graduate career, Erika worked as a graduate residence director within the Department of Residential Life and Housing. Erika served a residential population of over 5,000 students through accountability, programming, facilities management, and advising. Erika earned a Master of Art in Higher Education Administration.

Tajeé Jackson-Drake

College Coach

Tajeé was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. As a first-g

Tajeé Jackson-Drake

College Coach

Tajeé was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. As a first-generation college student, she is driven to help close equity gaps and provide bridges to opportunities for youth in overlooked, underserved communities. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in psychology and Spanish. After graduating from college, she joined the College Advising Corps, where she assisted a few hundred students across three schools. She hopes to go to law school and start a nonprofit that provides access to both mental health assistance and legal advice for people living in underserved communities so she can continue to serve her community in new ways. In her free time, she likes to do arts and crafts and dance.

Bavani Kehoe

Technical Product Manager

Bavani is a Bay Area native who loves working at the interse

Bavani Kehoe

Technical Product Manager

Bavani is a Bay Area native who loves working at the intersection of education, equity, and technology. After six years as a high school math teacher and advisor in Boston, Oakland, and San Francisco, Bavani transitioned to operations and technology work within nonprofits. She was thrilled to join a team that developed the exact product she had wished for when she was a teacher! Bavani lives in the East Bay with her partner and two children. She holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and an SB in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ashley Kelly

College Coach

Ashley Kelly is a college coach based in Oakland, CA. Ashley

Ashley Kelly

College Coach

Ashley Kelly is a college coach based in Oakland, CA. Ashley has been coaching and mentoring college students since 2017. Before working as a college coach Ashley taught ESL for K-5 grade and university students. She earned a BA in international studies with minors in Spanish and sociology from Elon University in 2011 and a master's degree in social work from UC Berkeley in 2017. She is excited about supporting Beyond 12 students getting access to the support they need to succeed in college.

Briana Kelly

College Coach

Briana (Bri), from Wedgefield, South Carolina, is a college

Briana Kelly

College Coach

Briana (Bri), from Wedgefield, South Carolina, is a college coach at Beyond 12. She graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a BA in sociology and earned her master’s degree in higher education from Columbia College. Prior to becoming a college coach, Bri has spent time in college admissions and financial aid as well as managing a college readiness program for 400+ high school students. Her time in admissions ignited a passion for education equity and she has since found a multitude of ways to provide college access and support to students in under-resourced communities. She enjoys singing, binge-watching ’90s series and movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family (especially her husband and baby boy)!

Mariah Knight

College Coach

Mariah was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a col

Mariah Knight

College Coach

Mariah was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a college coach in Beyond 12’s Atlanta office. She is a recent graduate from Spelman College and received a bachelor’s of arts in International Studies with a minor in Spanish. Previously, she served as a peer ambassador for Achieve Atlanta mentoring students academically and socio-emotionally in the program. During her time in college, she established a teen girl health and empowerment course in Cienfuegos, Dominican Republic to ensure girls of color were receiving equitable education regarding their health and empowering them to become global change makers. Mariah loves engaging in international relations topics and has interned with three international organizations: CARE International, International Rescue Committee, and Girls Going Global. She believes the world will never be equal until education equity is achieved domestically and internationally. Mariah has a passion for community outreach which drives her continuous efforts to give back to her community and mentor students throughout Atlanta. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, trying out new restaurants, and making organic beauty products.

Dan Kurtz

Senior Software Engineer

Dan has worked as a software engineer for over 10 years. Bef

Dan Kurtz

Senior Software Engineer

Dan has worked as a software engineer for over 10 years. Before his commitment to reducing inequality led him to Beyond 12, he created mobile games at Big Fish Games and community websites for nonprofits at Trellon. Dan is a San Francisco native with a BA in cognitive science from UC Berkeley and a MA in information studies from the University of Toronto.

Jonathan Lai

Senior Content Analyst / Special Projects Data Analyst

Jonathan works as a senior content analyst and special proje

Jonathan Lai

Senior Content Analyst / Special Projects Data Analyst

Jonathan works as a senior content analyst and special projects data analyst at Beyond 12, originally joining as a content intern in the summer of 2019. He recently graduated from UC Berkeley, majoring in English and Cognitive Science. Jonathan spent his undergrad working with multiple educational mentorships across the East Bay, including working as a teaching assistant in high school math and English classrooms, staffing FAFSA support workshops, and serving as a mentor and coordinator in after-school programs for elementary students.

Miles Lawrence

College Coach

Born and raised in Oakland, California, Miles has had the op

Miles Lawrence

College Coach

Born and raised in Oakland, California, Miles has had the opportunity to see all walks of life. While attending school at Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), he was able to be a part of numerous mentorships along with college readiness programs that helped him see the light at the end of the tunnel within education. After graduating from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) during the peak of the pandemic, he developed a passion for helping students like himself achieve higher levels of success. He obtained his bachelor’s degree  in communication studies in hopes of  continuing to spread the knowledge he’s gained while inspired to learn and understand others. He often emphasizes the importance of success not having a set look to it. Judging a book by its cover is NOT in his repertoire. As a first-generation college student and a first year college coach, Miles hopes to become a resource and benefit to those within his community.

Deja' McNeal

College Coach

During her undergraduate and graduate studies, Deja’ fulfi

Deja' McNeal

College Coach

During her undergraduate and graduate studies, Deja’ fulfilled roles in various activities, including being a student-athlete, holding a student government position, inducted into Phi Alpha National Honor Society, and a graduate assistant for first-generation college students. Before starting her role as a college coach at Beyond 12, Deja’ served as a consultant at United Way of Greater Atlanta, where she worked with national and regional partners to reconnect young people to post-secondary education and workforce development pathways. Apart from working alongside students to ensure that equity is at the center of learning, Deja’ enjoys practicing wellness by praying, along with cooking, doing her hair, and spending time with family.

Guadalupe Ortiz

College Coach

Guadalupe Ortiz is a first year college coach with Beyond 12

Guadalupe Ortiz

College Coach

Guadalupe Ortiz is a first year college coach with Beyond 12. She started her college journey at Georgia Highlands College, then transferred to Georgia State University where she received her bachelor's in social work in 2018. While attending college, she co-founded La Mano, an organization that focused on supporting first-generation students through their journey in college. Before becoming a College Coach, she worked as site coordinator for Communities in Schools, where she supported high school students by empowering them to stay in school and helped them with their life goals. Guadalupe has a passion for supporting first-generation students in achieving equal access to higher education and helping them become successful in their post-secondary journey. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her family.

Payal Patel

Senior Director of Finance and Operations

Payal has over 15 years of experience in finance, operations

Payal Patel

Senior Director of Finance and Operations

Payal has over 15 years of experience in finance, operations and human resources management in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. Before joining Beyond 12, Payal was the Director of Finance & Operations for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights where she helped manage a $21M capital campaign and helped launch Restore Oakland.  Payal is passionate about helping others, especially mentoring students, and has dedicated much of her life to volunteering with youth organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs and Girls Inc. She has also been an advocate for education equity and other human rights through her previous roles. She is active in her community, previously serving as a Commissioner for the City of Richmond, CA. Payal is a Bay Area native and earned her BA in psychology from San Francisco State University.

Khadijah Powell

Associate Director of Program

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Khadijah graduated from

Khadijah Powell

Associate Director of Program

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Khadijah graduated from the University of San Francisco (USF) where she earned her B.A. in Critical Diversity with a minor in African American Studies. As a first-generation college student, she sees educational access and support for underrepresented youth as her calling. Khadijah served as a peer mentor for the Muscats Scholars Program, where she mentored 50 first-generation college freshmen during their transition from high school to college. Khadijah’s passion for educational equity built her commitment to ensure all students possess the tools to succeed in higher education.

Tyra Preston

Content Strategy Analyst

Tyra, a Houston native, works as a content strategy analyst

Tyra Preston

Content Strategy Analyst

Tyra, a Houston native, works as a content strategy analyst in Oakland, CA. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2015 with a BS in Child Professional Services. Prior to becoming a college coach, Tyra worked as a senior college advisor for College Advising Corps, where she assisted over 1,200 students to successfully apply and enroll in college and financial aid. After being a mentee of the CAC program, she developed a passion to empower students to create their own pathway to success which led her to Beyond 12. She is also a performing artist who loves to create music, dance, and write during her free time.

Alysha Robbins

Content Associate

Alysha joined Beyond 12 as a content deployment intern durin

Alysha Robbins

Content Associate

Alysha joined Beyond 12 as a content deployment intern during her second year of undergrad, and has since graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in social welfare and a minor in city and regional planning. Alysha's lived experience in under-resourced public schools has led them to pursue a career focused on ensuring and preserving access to higher education for first-generation, low-income, students of color. Alysha uses she and they pronouns.

James Robinson

College Coach

Before becoming a college coach, James spent a year as a fel

James Robinson

College Coach

Before becoming a college coach, James spent a year as a fellow at the non-profit DonorsChoose. During his time there, he worked on the partner management team to help fulfill any partners' needs. He also worked on the marketing team where he helped teachers from across the world learn about new opportunities that DonorsChoose and their partners had to offer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in quantitative social science and minored in afro-african american studies from Dartmouth College in Spring 2020. Although he dealt with much adversity, with the help of mentors on and off campus he persevered through it. Reflecting on his struggles and working at different education non-profit companies influenced him to become a college coach.

Arielle Sanders

Manager of Data Operations

Arielle joined Beyond 12 as a data analyst with a Master’s

Arielle Sanders

Manager of Data Operations

Arielle joined Beyond 12 as a data analyst with a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics from Georgetown University and a B.A. from UC Riverside. Prior to Beyond 12, Arielle was Associate Director at Mathnasium in Arlington, VA, and through her work with K-12 students she truly realized the importance of a college degree for first-generation and low-income students. From her hands-on experience with kids and extensive mathematical background, Arielle has found her calling in the world of higher education and data here at Beyond 12.

Bria Shackleford

College Coach

Bria, an Atlanta native, is a first-generation college gradu

Bria Shackleford

College Coach

Bria, an Atlanta native, is a first-generation college graduate, and first year college coach at Beyond 12. She graduated from Georgia State University in 2016 with a BA in psychology and a minor in sociology. Prior to becoming a college coach, Bria worked as a special education paraprofessional within Atlanta Public Schools and as a substitute teacher within the Cobb County School District. After careful thought and consideration, she decided to enroll at Kennesaw State University for a master’s degree in teaching ESOL. Bria holds great passion for education and the academic achievement of minority students. In her free time, she enjoys reading personal development literature and spending quality time with friends and family.

Eve Shapiro

Chief Knowledge Officer

Drawing on a decade of experience in higher education and ex

Eve Shapiro

Chief Knowledge Officer

Drawing on a decade of experience in higher education and extensive research experience, Eve is dedicated to developing a robust and nuanced understanding of student success and persistence. Eve's previous experience includes teaching and advising at four universities, developing university-based mentorship programs for first-generation students, researching the efficacy of technology-based social and psychological support platforms, and evaluating K-12 tutoring initiatives. Eve received her B.A. from Indiana University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a focus on social inequalities, psychosocial wellbeing and social change.

Lara Sidhu

Director of Program

Lara brings both personal and professional experience to her

Lara Sidhu

Director of Program

Lara brings both personal and professional experience to her dual roles as chief of staff to the CEO and interim director of program, coaching. Since joining in 2013, her work strengthens her passion for serving youth and commitment to developing systemic interventions that generate more equitable outcomes for individuals from underserved communities. She has served as a college coach, coordinated professional development, and managed a partnership with NASFAA and The Department of Education. Before joining Beyond 12, Lara mentored Upward Bound students, facilitated Kids’ Turn workshops for families experiencing separation, supported survivors of domestic violence with the Riley Center, and promoted health and wellness at the YMCA and St. Vincent De Paul’s Ozanam Wellness Center. Lara earned a BA in psychology, graduating magna cum laude from the University of San Francisco and a MSW with a concentration in children and families with a PPSC from UC Berkeley.

Thomas Smith

College Coach

Thomas Smith is a first year college coach with Beyond 12. B

Thomas Smith

College Coach

Thomas Smith is a first year college coach with Beyond 12. Born and raised in the East Bay, Thomas continued his education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Education. As the brother of Dillard, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta graduates, Thomas shares with his sisters a deep appreciation of culturally informed education and mentorship. Thomas cites the importance of leadership, teamwork, discipline, and grace as core values he developed during his time in undergrad. Following graduation, Thomas spent three years serving as a College Advising Corps member at Frederick Douglass High School and Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta, Georgia, providing access and assistance with the college application process. While he’s not coaching, Thomas can be found rooting for his hometown Golden State Warriors, reading, playing basketball, hiking, taking deep dives into rap, R&B and jazz, and spending time with his friends and family.

DeSiyre Spurgeon

College Coach

DeSiyre Spurgeon is a college coach at Beyond 12. Prior to t

DeSiyre Spurgeon

College Coach

DeSiyre Spurgeon is a college coach at Beyond 12. Prior to this, DeSiyre served as a college adviser with the Carolina College Advising Corps for two years. There, she helped hundreds of low-income, first-generation, minority high school students gain access to college, and create and commit to plans for their futures. In 2019, DeSiyre graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and a minor in neuroscience. During undergrad, DeSiyre volunteered as a peer mentor to help community college transfer students acclimate to the university. In 2017, DeSiyre graduated from Fayetteville Technical Community College with an associate's in arts degree before transferring to UNC Chapel Hill. DeSiyre’s passion for helping underrepresented students gain access to college and find hope for their futures led her to join the Beyond 12 team where she hopes to continue assisting students with creating, elevating, and living their post-secondary dreams!

Julian Straker

Associate Software Engineer

Julian is an associate software engineer, specializing in mo

Julian Straker

Associate Software Engineer

Julian is an associate software engineer, specializing in mobile application development. He graduated from Stanford University with a BS in engineering physics. After taking a course on educational technology and equity, he spent his subsequent spring break on a service trip which explored educational issues within the Bay Area. This experience led him to seek out Beyond 12 for a summer internship, which eventually led to his current role on the Products & Engineering team. He aims to use his background to find ways to contribute within the educational technology sector while continuing to grow as an advocate for underrepresented students.

Catherine Tierney

Director of Content

As Director of Content, Catherine drives the content strateg

Catherine Tierney

Director of Content

As Director of Content, Catherine drives the content strategy for Beyond12's student-facing mobile apps. She brings over a decade of experience in education, from classroom teaching to ed-tech product management. She is driven by the belief that technology can help scale impactful solutions and lead to a more just world. Before joining Beyond12, she was senior editor and then senior product manager at ThinkCERCA, an ed-tech platform focusing on critical thinking and argumentative writing. Catherine holds a master's degree in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Amber White

Associate Director of Program

Amber White is an associate director of program at Beyond 12

Amber White

Associate Director of Program

Amber White is an associate director of program at Beyond 12. Prior to this role, Amber served as the behavior support specialist and multi-tier systems of support coordinator at Education for Change Public Schools where she managed a team of behavioral and academic paraprofessionals providing 1:1 services to high needs students.  Before joining EFC, Amber was a mental health counselor with Seneca Family of Agencies where she provided direct behavioral and social emotional support in counseling enriched and non-public school settings. Amber is passionate about behavioral health and helping teams to understand their role and how they can use their passions to drive results while also building their profile as a professional. In 2016, Amber published an article as a part of her capstone project titled “Tuning “The System”: An Evaluation of Restorative Practices in San Lorenzo School District” where she focused on improving the educators ability to implement and sustain restorative practices within their classroom in hopes to decrease suspension rates amongst high school students, disrupting the school to prison pipeline. Amber completed a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Utah State in 2011 and went on to complete a master’s degree in behavioral health from the University of San Francisco in 2016.

Merling Velasquez

College Coach

Merling Velasquez is a college coach originally from Los Ang

Merling Velasquez

College Coach

Merling Velasquez is a college coach originally from Los Angeles, CA. Her passion for increasing the quality of life and mental wellness of marginalized communities led her to pursue a degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. Merling has had the honor of working alongside first-generation college students, families and children with Autism to ease the transition to new phases of their lives. Merling loves exploring, and enjoys learning about anything and everything!

Stephanie Zambrano

College Coach

Stephanie is a first year college coach. After high school s

Stephanie Zambrano

College Coach

Stephanie is a first year college coach. After high school she attended her local community college where she received an abundance of support from her college’s Puente Project. Her participation in Puente provided her the confidence and empowerment she needed as a first-generation student to transfer to UC Davis. While at UC Davis Stephanie served as a student outreach ambassador for the Transfer Opportunity Program where she provided resources to community college students and addressed common misconceptions surrounding the transfer pathway. This role was pivotal to Stephanie’s journey as it affirmed her passion for working with first generation, low income, and underserved students. Upon graduating from UC Davis she served as a college adviser fellow for UC Berkeley’s Destination College Advising Corps. Stephanie is excited to continue to work closely with first generation students through her new role as college coach.

Katherine Zepeda

Director of Customer Success

Katherine is director of customer success at Beyond 12. In h

Katherine Zepeda

Director of Customer Success

Katherine is director of customer success at Beyond 12. In her role she provides integral support to coaching partners by communicating students’ educational outcomes and sharing coaching best practices that work toward attaining college persistence and graduation. As a recipient of multiple college access, success, and scholarship support services, Katherine has dedicated her career to ensuring that college is not only accessible to first-generation, underrepresented minorities but that it promotes persistence, graduation, and a pathway to a career. Before joining Beyond 12 in 2013, Katherine worked and interned at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, College Track, and Glide Memorial Foundation and was involved in research and leadership groups aimed at promoting higher education for first-generation students. Katherine graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with a BA in social welfare.

Xinlin Zhao

Associate Data Analyst

Xinlin is a data analyst at Beyond 12. As a first-generation

Xinlin Zhao

Associate Data Analyst

Xinlin is a data analyst at Beyond 12. As a first-generation college student and an international student, Xinlin recognizes the support needed for underserved college students. She believes that education equity is the foundation of an equitable society, which led her to the mission of Beyond 12. Xinlin has a hybrid background in the fields of data analytics, non-profit management and philanthropy and a prolonged interest in leveraging technology and data to drive social changes. Xinlin holds a BA in International Relations from University of Southern California and a MS in public policy from Uchicago’s Harris School.

Our Board

Beyond 12 Board members are dedicated and passionate about ensuring that all students have access to a quality education. Their experience spans the nonprofit, education, technology, entertainment, and financial services industries.

Ethan Beard

Co-founder and CEO, Stealth

Ethan Beard is the co-founder and CEO of a currently unannounced startup. A longtime tech executive and entrepreneur, Ethan has fo

Ethan Beard

Co-founder and CEO, Stealth

Ethan Beard is the co-founder and CEO of a currently unannounced startup. A longtime tech executive and entrepreneur, Ethan has focused on the intersection of technology companies and their partners including leading Ripple’s blockchain developer program, the Facebook Developer Network and New Business Development at Google. He is also an active investor in and advisor to early stage technology startups and was an EIR at Greylock Partners. Ethan lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children and is an active philanthropist supporting organizations in contemporary art, education, and democracy reform.

Alexandra Bernadotte

Founder & CEO, Beyond 12

Alex has more than 18 years of executive management and strategic development experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors

Alexandra Bernadotte

Founder & CEO, Beyond 12

Alex has more than 18 years of executive management and strategic development experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors. Immediately before launching Beyond 12, she was an Entrepreneur in Residence at NewSchools Venture Fund where she conducted the research and developed the business plan for Beyond 12. Alex's previous professional experience includes serving as executive director of The Princeton Review's Silicon Valley office, co-founder and vice president of marketing and online strategy at educational travel startup Explorica, director of operations at EF Education, and operations manager at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where she coordinated the efforts of an international youth substance abuse prevention foundation.

Alex was also the executive director of Foundation for a College Education (FCE). She currently serves on the FCE advisory board, as well as the board of directors of the Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center. Alex received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and earned a master's degree with a concentration in policy and organizational leadership from Stanford. She is an Ashoka Fellow, a recipient of the 2011 NewSchools Venture Fund Entrepreneur of the year award, and a 2012 Jefferson Award for Public Service. In addition, Fast Company recently named Beyond 12 “one of the world’s top 10 most innovative companies in education. “

Angela Jackson

Managing Partner, New Profit

Dr. Angela Jackson leads New Profit’s Future of Work Initiative, which seeks to close the career readiness gap for Americans fro

Angela Jackson

Managing Partner, New Profit

Dr. Angela Jackson leads New Profit’s Future of Work Initiative, which seeks to close the career readiness gap for Americans from low-income backgrounds. Angela’s career started in the private sector leading business development for organizations like Viacom and Nokia. While working internationally, she began to wonder: if multinational companies can deliver their products consistently and with quality at scale, what would it take to deliver social interventions like education and health in a similar manner?

She began to tackle this question by founding Global Language Project, a social venture that aimed to transform how we prepare students with skills to succeed in a global economy and workforce. Angela completed a Doctoral degree at Harvard University, where her focus was on this question, along with the role of scale and strategic capital deployment and philanthropy in systems change initiatives.

Angela’s work with New Profit allows her to marry her research interests with practice. She currently leads New Profit's $15M Future of Work global fund to invest in entrepreneurs and companies developing innovative technical solutions to upskill low-income and entry-level workers at scale. Angela recently launched a $6 million Future of Work Grand Challenge, powered by XPRIZE and MIT Solve, to rapidly reskill 25,000 displaced workers into living-wage jobs in the next 24 months.

Her work and writing has been featured in CNN, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Stanford Social Innovation Review and Harvard Business Review. You can read her thoughts on the intersection of race and the Future of Work on Medium and follow her on Twitter at @angjack.

Renuka Kher

Board Chair

Renuka Kher has supported entrepreneurial efforts in under-resourced communities for her entire career. She has spent 16 years in

Renuka Kher

Board Chair

Renuka Kher has supported entrepreneurial efforts in under-resourced communities for her entire career. She has spent 16 years in philanthropy and helped direct over $100M through various roles. Her professional experience spans the public, private, philanthropic and non-profit sectors. She has served on the board of and as an advisor to many of the nation’s leading social change organizations including, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Beyond 12, Year Up, Global Citizen Year and Revolution Foods.

Most recently, she served on the executive team of Tipping Point Community a nonprofit grant-making organization that fights poverty in the Bay Area. During her six year tenure at Tipping Point she helped lead the growth of the organization as its Chief Operating Officer and also founded T Lab, Tipping Point's R+D engine.

Before joining Tipping Point, Renuka served as a Principal at NewSchools Venture Fund whose work is focused on education and prior to that she was a Senior Program Officer at the Robin Hood Foundation where her work included developing and implementing a strategy for a $65 million relief fund, one of the nation's largest, created to respond to the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

Her work has been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, OZY, and Social Startup Success. Renuka received her bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Michigan, and completed her graduate work at Emory University, where she received a master's in public health from the Rollins School of Public Health. She is an alumnus of the Coro Leadership Program and also holds a certificate in Innovation Leadership from California College of the Arts. She currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two young children.

Deborah McGriff

Managing Director, NewSchools Venture Fund

Deborah has been committed to transforming the lives of underserved urban school students for more than four decades. In 1993, Deb

Deborah McGriff

Managing Director, NewSchools Venture Fund

Deborah has been committed to transforming the lives of underserved urban school students for more than four decades. In 1993, Deborah became the first public school superintendent to join Edison Learning (formerly Edison Schools). There, she held numerous positions including, President of Edison Teachers College, Executive Vice President of Charter Schools, and Executive Vice President of several external relations functions. Prior to joining Edison Learning, Deborah served as the first female General Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools. Crain’s Detroit Business named her Newsmaker of the Year for 1992. Before that, she was the first female Assistant Superintendent in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the first female Deputy Superintendent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was a teacher and administrator in the New York City Public Schools for more than a decade. Deborah is the former President of the Education Industry Association. In addition to serving on the boards of several high-performing charter management organizations, she is the Chair of the board of Beyond 12. She serves on the executive committee of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Policy Innovators in Education Network, and is a founder and national board member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. She also serves on the advisory board of the Games and Learning Publishing Council, Hechinger Report, Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and is a member of the Review Board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education. Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Norfolk State University, a master’s degree in education with a specialization in reading pedagogy from Queens College of the City University of New York, and a doctorate in Administration, Policy and Urban Education from Fordham University.

Tulaine Montgomery

Managing Partner, New Profit

Tulaine Montgomery is an accomplished social entrepreneur, educator, and community organizer. She i

Tulaine Montgomery

Managing Partner, New Profit

Tulaine Montgomery is an accomplished social entrepreneur, educator, and community organizer. She is a Managing Partner and member of the Executive Team at New Profit. A member of the founding team that launched New Profit, Tulaine provides strategic and financial support to many of our nation’s most promising social innovations. 

Tulaine leads New Profit’s Inclusive Impact, a comprehensive, sector-wide systems change strategy designed to increase investment and capacity building support for leaders of color. Additionally, Tulaine is a member of New Profit’s Systems Solutions team and serves as a lead spokesperson for New Profit at a time of growing dialogue in philanthropy about the unprecedented opportunities and challenges facing the sector. 

She is Host and Executive Producer of “What Had To Be True,” New Profit’s podcast and online forum for conversations with “America’s Problem Solvers”- the grounded visionaries and practical idealists working hard to make things better.

Tulaine is an experienced cellist and writer; she has written and produced five original plays.

Scott Morgan

Founder, Education Pioneers (Board Secretary)

Scott is an entrepreneur and builder who is passionate about empowering purpose-driven leaders, organizations, and communities to

Scott Morgan

Founder, Education Pioneers (Board Secretary)

Scott is an entrepreneur and builder who is passionate about empowering purpose-driven leaders, organizations, and communities to reach their full potential for impact.

Scott founded Education Pioneers in 2003 to build a diverse network of leaders dedicated to transforming education so that all students receive a quality education. He served as CEO for 15 years while raising $40M+ from national funders and leading the organization's recruitment and training of 4,000+ leaders to drive impact at 750+ education organizations serving millions of students.

Scott currently serves as the head of employer partnerships at Springboard, a mission-driven company that is bridging the world's skills gap by offering transformative online education experiences in tech-related fields such as data science, UI/UX design, machine learning, and software engineering. Scott has also served in a variety of roles at pioneering education organizations during his career, including teacher at St. Jude High School, in-house counsel at Aspire Public Schools, and founding talent leader at Wonderschool.

Scott graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in government from the University of Notre Dame, received his Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Portland, and earned his law degree from Stanford Law School. He is a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur, a board member of Beyond 12, an advisor at BookNook, a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, Class of 2010, and the recipient of the 2017 Notre Dame Award for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Education.

Shonda Rhimes

Creator and Executive Producer of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal

Shonda is an award-winning writer, director, and producer who created the hit ABC series Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Shonda als

Shonda Rhimes

Creator and Executive Producer of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal

Shonda is an award-winning writer, director, and producer who created the hit ABC series Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Shonda also created the Grey's Anatomy spinoff series, Private Practice, which ran on ABC for six seasons. Now in its eleventh season, Grey's Anatomy continues to be hailed by audiences and critics. For her work on the series, Shonda received the 2007 Television Producer of the Year award from the Producers Guild of America, the 2007 Golden Globe for Outstanding Television Drama, the 2007 Lucy Award for Excellence in Television from Women in Film, consecutive wins from 2007-2011 for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series as well as five wins for Outstanding Drama Series, the 2006 Writers Guild Award for Best New Series, in addition to Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series and Writing for a Drama Series. For Scandal, Shonda was the 2013 winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Drama Series as well as nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. Shonda was the recipient of the 2012 GLAAD Golden Gate Award, 2010 RAINN Hope Award and a 2009 GLSEN Respect Awards Honoree. Shonda has twice been included in TIME Magazine's 100 list of the most influential people. Shonda holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College in English Literature with Creative Writing and an M.F.A. from the USC School of Cinema-Television, where she was awarded the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship. The child of educators, Rhimes blames her parents for her rampant addiction to books. The youngest of six, she was born and raised outside of Chicago, IL, and now resides in Los Angeles with her three daughters.

Dr. Carmen Rojas

President & CEO, Marguerite Casey Foundation

Dr. Carmen Rojas is the president and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Prior to joining Marg

Dr. Carmen Rojas

President & CEO, Marguerite Casey Foundation

Dr. Carmen Rojas is the president and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Prior to joining Marguerite Casey Foundation, Dr. Carmen Rojas was the Co-Founder and former CEO of The Workers Lab, an innovation lab that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, and government leaders to create replicable and revenue-generating solutions that improve conditions for low-wage workers. For more than 20 years, Carmen has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and nonprofits to improve the lives of working people across the United States.

Prior to building The Workers Lab, Carmen was the Acting Director of Collective Impact at Living Cities. She supported 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the world to invest in improving economic opportunity for low-income people by supporting projects in the fields of economic and workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building. From 2008 to 2011, Carmen was the Director of Strategic Programs at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s Green Access and Civic Engagement programs. Alongside her work at the foundation, Carmen also taught in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to this, Carmen was the Coordinator of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Taskforce on African American Out-Migration to address African American displacement from the city.

Carmen currently sits on the boards of the Neighborhood Funders Group, General Service Foundation, JOLT, Certification Associates, and on the Advisory Boards of Fund Good Jobs and Floodgate Academy.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007.

Natalie A. Walrond

Content Area Director, Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities Director, Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety at WestEd (Board Treasurer)

Natalie Walrond serves as the director for the Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities content area at WestEd. In this role,

Natalie A. Walrond

Content Area Director, Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities Director, Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety at WestEd (Board Treasurer)

Natalie Walrond serves as the director for the Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities content area at WestEd. In this role, she oversees the growth and dissemination of the agency’s body of work related to creating safe, supportive, responsive, and equitable conditions in which every child, youth, and adult can learn, grow, and thrive. Walrond brings to her work twenty-five years of experience in K- 12 education, finance, and strategy, for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Walrond also serves as director of the national Center to Improve Social & Emotional Learning and School Safety housed at WestEd. In this role she leads the vision, strategic direction, and external engagement of the center. Walrond leads a team of 17 people who work nationally to build state and local capacity to integrate evidence-based approaches to social and emotional development and school safety with academic teaching and learning, school climate and culture, and all of the ways that children and youth experience school. Walrond speaks and writes for the Center on social and emotional well- being, excellence, alignment and coherence, and equity.

Walrond began her career in investment management and investment banking. After ten years, she served as a nonprofit Chief Financial Officer, before becoming an associate partner at NewSchools Venture Fund. Prior to joining WestEd, she was an independent consultant for several years serving mission-driven education organizations, providing strategic planning, financial strategy, and board effectiveness consulting. She earned a B.A. in international studies and international business from Trinity University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, with concentrations in analytic finance and policy studies. She earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1999. Walrond has served on several boards and is currently a member of Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC).

Barbara H. Whye

Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity, Apple (Board Vice Chair)

Barbara Whye is Apple’s vice president of Inclusion & Diversity, where she is leading the company's commitment to building a

Barbara H. Whye

Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity, Apple (Board Vice Chair)

Barbara Whye is Apple’s vice president of Inclusion & Diversity, where she is leading the company's commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive world by increasing diverse representation at every level, fostering an inclusive culture that brings everybody in, and ensuring equitable pay and equal opportunity for all.

Barbara joined Apple in 2021 after more than 25 years of experience as an engineer, leader, and C-suite executive in the technology sector, including as Intel’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Corporate Vice President of Social Impact. Barbara has a reputation for accelerating change and driving results. Recently, Fortune recognized Barbara as one of the Most Powerful Women in 2020. She graduated from the University of South Carolina (USC) with a B.S. in electrical engineering and an M.B.A. from USC’s Darla Moore School of Business.

Our Supporters

A growing number of individual donors, foundations, and corporations, make our work possible. We are so grateful for their partnership and support. The following are some of our major supporters. Get involved.