National Ambassadors Council

Photo: Breakthrough Birmingham

Industry Leaders Championing Educational Equity

The National Ambassadors Council is a group of representatives from a variety of industries who believe in the importance of access to quality education and its power to change lives. The Council’s leaders help enhance Breakthrough’s national brand and create relationships with other thought and business leaders throughout the world.

"At Breakthrough, smart people are tackling tough issues - college degree attainment, the equity gap, the teacher pipeline - with persistence and with passion. The results speak for themselves. "

– Hector Ruiz, Former CEO and Current Chair, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

"Breakthrough led me to pursue teaching, which in turn led me to an enduring interest in helping children thrive using psychological science. Breakthrough helped me discover my purpose and continues to do the same for thousands of other young people. "

– Angela Duckworth,  Author of GRIT and MacArthur Genius Fellow

"By leading the charge on educational equity on two fronts - student success and teacher preparation - Breakthrough is changing lives and changing communities. "

– Don Shalvey, CEO, San Joaquin A+

"With its 40-plus year history of young people teaching youth, Breakthrough Collaborative's model could be the leading example of how to prepare the next generation of teachers to meet the needs of Black, Latino and low-income students at scale, across the country. "

– Josh Edelman, Deputy Director, K-12 Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Tony Argiz, Chairman and CEO, Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC (MBAF)

As the Chairman and CEO since 1997, Tony has led the growth of Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC (MBAF) to become one of the top 40 accounting firms in the nation. Well-known for his community and industry leadership, Tony has been involved with a broad spectrum of industries which gives him unique experience and insight into all aspects of the financial well-being of his clients. Tony is a long-time supporter of Breakthrough Miami and Chairman of Breakthrough Miami’s partner, Carrolton School of the Sacred Heart.

Dr. Warren Browner, Chief Executive Officer, California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC)

Warren Browner serves as the Chief Executive Officer of California Pacific Medical Center, a Sutter Health affiliate based in San Francisco. Sutter Health is a network of hospitals and health services that is one of the major providers of health care in Northern California. CPMC is their premier, state-of-the-art facility in central San Francisco. 

A board-certified internist and scientist, Dr. Browner previously served on the faculty at UCSF for 15 years, serving as Chief of General Internal Medicine and Acting Chief of the Medical Service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. He has served as Executive Editor of the American Journal of Medicine for seven years and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. He has been a member of federal panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Browner’s research focuses on the genetics of human longevity. He is the author of several books and numerous articles in scholarly journals.

Dr. Browner has supported Breakthrough San Francisco as well as Breakthrough’s National Office. His son, Michael Duryee-Browner, is Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Breakthrough San Francisco.  

Angela Duckworth, Chief Executive Officer, Character Lab

Angela Duckworth is co-founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit that uses psychological science to help children thrive. She is also the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, Faculty Co-Director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change for Good Initiative, and Faculty Co-Director of Wharton People Analytics. Prior to her career in research, Angela founded Breakthrough Cambridge (now Breakthrough Greater Boston), a program that was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study and, in 2018, celebrated its 25th anniversary. She is also a former teaching fellow at Summerbridge (now Breakthrough) New Orleans. 

A 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Angela has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. She has also been a McKinsey Management Consultant and a math and science teacher at public schools in New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Angela has received numerous awards for her contributions to K-12 education, including a Beyond Z Award from the KIPP Foundation. Angela’s TED talk is among the most-viewed of all time. Her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance has been a #1 New York Times bestseller and uses her Breakthrough experiences as context for her belief in the power of persistence.

Jennifer Dulski, Former Vice President, Facebook Groups, Former CEO, Change.org

Jennifer Dulski was one of the first 500 employees at Yahoo and until recently, was the Facebook Vice President for Facebook Groups. Jennifer left Google in 2013 to join the team at Change.org as its new COO and President. Jennifer’s first job after college was founding and running Summerbridge Pittsburgh (part of the Breakthrough Collaborative). She is the author of the 2018 bestselling book, Purposeful, and currently serves on the boards of Move, Inc., Little Passports, and the Silicon Valley site of The Breakthrough Collaborative.

Josh Edelman, Deputy Director, K-12 Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Josh Edelman is Deputy Director, Place-Based Delivery, for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the K-12 Education team, working most closely with K-12 investments in Tennessee and Florida. Previously, Josh worked with DC and Chicago public schools to support the development of programs that would target student achievement and performance. He has also held various leadership positions at The SEED Foundation, first on the board of directors, then as principal of The SEED School, a public charter boarding school in Washington, DC. Prior to SEED, Josh taught social studies for three years at Milton Academy in Massachusetts and seven years at Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, California where he was also the founder and Executive Director for RISE (Realizing Intellect through Self-Empowerment), a youth development program targeted at African-American youth.

Josh has a bachelor’s degree in American history from Harvard University, a master’s degree in education from Stanford University, and a second master’s in educational administration with an administrative credential, also from Stanford University.

Netha Johnson, President, Albemarle - Bromine Specialties Global Business

Netha Johnson joined Albemarle in 2018 after more than 20 years of diverse leadership experience, both domestically and internationally. Prior to his role with Albemarle, he served in several roles with 3M Company. Most recently, Johnson served as Vice President and General Manager, Electrical Markets Division where he was directly responsible for 3M’s electrical and renewable energy solutions. Prior to that, Johnson served as 3M’s Vice President, Advanced Materials Division. In this role, he was responsible for the Advanced Material Division, consisting of three distinct businesses, which provided world-leading, innovative solutions in fluoropolymer chemicals, advanced ceramics, and light-weighting materials. Preceding his business career, Johnson served as a U.S. Naval Special Operations Officer. Johnson speaks Mandarin and German and holds an MBA from Duke University and a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.

David Lawrence, Former Publisher, The Miami Herald, Chairman, The Children’s Movement of Florida

David Lawrence Jr. retired in 1999 as publisher of the Miami Herald to work in the area of early childhood development and readiness. He chairs The Children’s Movement of Florida, aimed at making children the state’s top priority for investment. He has served on the Governor’s Children and Youth Cabinet and twice chaired the Florida Partnership for School Readiness. He has led successful campaigns for The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade, Florida. In 2002, he was a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment to provide pre-K for all Florida 4-year-olds. He is the founding chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe. His memoir, A Dedicated Life: Journalism, Justice and a Chance for Every Child, was published in 2018.

Chris Lee, Actor, Singer & Hamilton Star, Breakthrough Atlanta Alum

Chris Lee is a singer/songwriter and actor. He has starred in several productions across television, stage, and screen. Most notably, in 2016 he starred in the award-winning musical Hamilton, playing the roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. Lee attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee where he studied musical theatre. Lee grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where he was a Breakthrough Atlanta student in the early 2000s. He credits Breakthrough as being the first place where he performed in front of his peers, which fueled his passion for the arts and pursuing his dreams as an entertainer.

Hector Ruiz, Former CEO and Current Chair, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

Hector is an impassioned advocate for the better use and application of technology to improve the lives of individuals in economically disadvantaged areas. Starting from humble beginnings on the border of Mexico, Hector rose to become the former CEO and current chair of Fortune 500’s Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). With nearly 40 years’ experience in the information technology and consumer electronics sectors as an engineer, Corporate Strategist, and Chief Executive, this UT Austin/Rice graduate, author, and Ohtli Awards winner is committed to making an impact. Hector has been a long-time supporter of Breakthrough, including serving on the board of Breakthrough Central Texas.

Don Shalvey, CEO, San Joaquin A+

Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Don was the founder and CEO of Aspire Public Schools and has spent the past 40 years in public education, where he is widely recognized as a leader in public school reform and the charter school movement. In 1992, Don served as the Superintendent of San Carlos School District, where he sponsored the first charter school in California. The San Carlos Charter Learning Center became a California Distinguished School and has since served as a model for many other charter schools. In 1998, Don and entrepreneur Reed Hastings co-founded Californians for Public School Excellence, a grassroots organization that led to the passage of the Charter Schools Act of 1998, which lifted the cap on the number of charter schools in the state. Dr. Shalvey also served as a recent member of Breakthrough Collaborative’s Strategic Planning Committee.

Bradley Stein, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

With a staff of more than 40 employees, Stein oversees the corporate legal group, the litigation and claims group, and the global compliance and ethics group for the company’s various brands. Stein joined Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in 1992. In 2006 he was appointed General Counsel and also held positions as Deputy General Counsel and Assistant General Counsel. Stein worked in private practice in Miami and New York before he joined the company. Stein is a long-time supporter and former Breakthrough Miami board member.

Ruth Zukerman, Co-Founder, Flywheel, Co-Founder, SoulCycle

Ruth Zukerman is the co-founder of SoulCycle and Flywheel, both wildly successful companies that innovated the studio cycling movement. She pioneered the boutique fitness industry by creating a pay-per-class structure and offering a more dedicated genre of group fitness, emphasizing customer service, and quality experiences. Zukerman speaks around the country, inspiring people to get unstuck, and find new paths and passion for a successful second, third, or even fourth act in their careers. She’s currently at Flywheel as Creative Director and still teaches classes there every week. Her memoir, RIDING HIGH: How I Kissed SoulCycle Goodbye, Co-Founded Flywheel and Built the Life I Always Wanted, was published in October 2018.