Photo: Breakthrough Houston

Community Leaders Advancing our Mission 

The Breakthrough Collaborative Board of Trustees brings together leaders from a diverse range of industries to advance our mission, including three Executive Directors representing our national network of affiliates. Our commitment is to continue speaking out against racism and uniting for change as we ensure the pathways for a new generation of leaders, and, through them, a society with justice, equity and opportunity for all. Read the Breakthrough Collaborative Board Race & Equity resolution HERE.

Patrick Talamantes, Chair

CEO, Talamantes Strategies

Santa Fe, NM

Pat is a corporate executive with over 30 years of experience in media and finance. He was the president and CEO of McClatchy, a publicly traded publisher of 30 daily newspapers, from 2012 to 2017, and also served as the company’s CFO for 11 years. In his current role, he runs a management consulting practice advising companies on transformational and financial strategies. Pat has served on the advisory board of Breakthrough Sacramento since 2016, helping to deepen its connection to the community and increase its fundraising capabilities. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Christian Hendricks, Vice Chair

Managing Partner, Extol Digital

Raleigh, NC

Chris is the managing partner at Extol Digital, a business consultancy providing media and media-related businesses with strategic and operational guidance. He is also president of the Local Media Consortium, a collective of more than 90 news media companies working together to address common challenges. He is a well-known award-winning figure in the digital media industry with more than 25 years of experience in various corporate and executive leadership roles. Chris currently serves on the boards of directors for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, Recruitology, and Centro. He also serves as a board advisor to Report for America.

Elaine Weng M.D., M.S., Secretary

Radiation Oncologist

Englewood, CO

Dr. Weng is a board-certified radiation oncologist, award-winning researcher, and former assistant professor and clinical faculty member of Colorado University. She has served on boards for the Bonfils Blood Center and the Children’s Museum of Denver, which she currently chairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford and a medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is an active member of the Breakthrough Kent Denver advisory board.

Lucy Johns, Treasurer

Associate Director of Fixed Income, Dodge & Cox

Larkspur, CA

Lucy is associate director of fixed income at Dodge & Cox, where she is a shareholder and sits on the firm’s fixed income investment policy committees. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Pinney Allen

Lawyer, Philanthropist, Community Activist, and Education Leader

Pebble Beach, CA & Atlanta, GA 
Pinney Allen, a 30-year lawyer, partner, and leader in Alston & Bird, LLP, and former head of school of the Atlanta Girls’ School, one of the most economically and racially diverse private schools in the country, has worked in and around organizations promoting education and support for under-served youth for many years. In addition to her head of school role, she has worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County, Breakthrough Atlanta, the Big Sur Land Trust, and public library foundations in both Atlanta and California. A native of Iowa and Missouri and a 40-year resident of Atlanta, Pinney now resides in Pebble Beach, California. 
Mark Contreras

President & CEO, Connecticut Public

Hartford, CT

The son of an Irish American school teacher and a Mexican immigrant, Mark Contreras grew up in the Midwest—first in Minneapolis and later Chicago. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Connecticut Public and he’s led several media businesses through digital transformation. Prior to his role as Dean of the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University, Contreras served as CEO of Calkins Media, a privately held local television, digital and local newspaper publishing company. Calkins developed innovative strategies to maximize audience reach, engagement and revenue by embracing streaming media platforms such as Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV. He previously led local newspaper publishing and digital businesses for three public companies including Capital Cities/ABC; Pulitzer, Inc; and The E.W. Scripps Co.

Ted Cox

Eastern Division Managing Director & Senior Investment Consultant, City National Rochdale 

Richmond, VA

Ted has over 30 years of diversified financial industry experience. He spent 12 years at Marsh & McLennan as a Managing Account Executive in the Reinsurance division. In this role, Ted was an advisor to senior executives of client insurance companies on financial management strategies. He joined City National Rochdale in 2001 and is currently Eastern Divisional Managing Director, where he oversees sales and business development in the region. This includes developing sales strategy and best practices, as well as recruitment and training of new investment consultants. He is also directly responsible for business development throughout the Mid-Atlantic where he communicates and fosters relationships with high-net-worth investors and their financial advisors. 

Ted earned his BA from Cornell University and his MBA from Columbia University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and is a Certified Financial Planner. Since 2003, he has lived in Richmond, VA where he has been an active community member including Endowment and Finance Committee chair on his local church council as well as coaching youth sports. He and his wife, Angela, have been Breakthrough National financial supporters and are eager to get more involved in our mission.

Jose Davila

Chief People Officer, J. Crew Group

New York, NY
Jose is currently chief people officer for the J. Crew Group. Across his 25 years as a leader in human capital management, he has held several executive positions at Gap Inc. and held global HR leadership roles at Godiva, Campbell Soup, and Nabisco. Jose holds a bachelor’s from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Columbia University.
Cathy Dean

Chief Operating Officer, Govern for California

San Francisco, CA
Cathy Cockrum Dean currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Govern for California and holds degrees from Brown University and Harvard Business School. She has 15 years of experience in financial services, industrial manufacturing, and high technology businesses. Additionally, she has nearly 20years of experience helping non-profits with strategic planning, sustainability/financial planning, and change management. Cathy has served on the board at several non-profit organizations focused on education including Breakthrough San Francisco and San Francisco Day School. She chaired the boards of Reading Partners (national and Bay Area) and Gateway Public Schools. Cathy and her husband, Sandy, have three children.
Steve Dessner

Financial Services Executive

Cincinnati, OH

As a Founding Trustee of Breakthrough Cincinnati and former President/Board Chair for 16 years, Steve currently serves as the President of Payce LLC, an online digital rewards platform. He is active in the local community and serves on a wide range of boards including Cincinnati Memorial Hall, Western-Southern ATP Tennis Tournament, MusicNow, and the Cincinnati Ballet. His son, Bryce, was a member of the 1st class of teacher interns for the inaugural year of Summerbridge Cincinnati. Steve recently completed his service on the affiliate board following Breakthrough Cincinnati’s 30th-anniversary celebration and is excited to make a difference with Breakthrough Collaborative at the national level. 

Allan Dowiak

Principal, Allan Dowiak Consulting, Inc.

Hackettstown, NJ

Allan Dowiak, former senior vice president of human resources at New York Life, runs a strategic organizational development consultancy serving major corporations. Formerly an HR leader at ADP and Macy’s, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.

Kerin Fredman

President, Fredman Family Foundation

Coral Gables, FL

Dr. Fredman, a board-certified psychiatrist, heads the Fredman Family Foundation, which focuses on education, health, and the environment. She has served as a board member and community leader for many organizations, working on behalf of Brown University, Ransom Everglades School, the United Way, the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, the University of Miami Center for Ethics and Public Service, Guardian ad Litem in the 11th Judicial Circuit, as well as Breakthrough Miami. She holds degrees from Brown and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

John Hiester

Executive Director, Breakthrough Silicon Valley

Redwood City, CA

John is the executive director of Breakthrough Silicon Valley and holds a deep-seated commitment to ensuring that all young people have the opportunity to realize their full potential. A Colorado native, he has worked to expand educational and economic opportunities to youth and young adults in San Jose for the past 10 years. Prior to Breakthrough, he served in a variety of leadership capacities for Year Up, a national workforce development nonprofit. He was director of operations and strategic planning for Year Up Bay Area, founding site director of Year Up Bay Area’s Silicon Valley campus in San Jose, and as launch lead for Year Up’s expansion into Arizona. John earned a B.A. in Spanish literature from Kenyon College and an M.B.A. in public and nonprofit management from Boston University. He lives in Redwood City and enjoys world travel, hiking, and is an avid mountain biker.

Aditya Kaddu

Founder, Edstruments

Redwood City, CA
Aditya Kaddu, formerly a consultant with McKinsey & Company, founded Edstruments in 2019 to provide K-12 leaders with tools to more effectively manage financial resources for the benefit of students. After serving as a teaching fellow at Breakthrough Fort Worth while he was a student at Rice University, he switched from engineering to education, joining Teach For America upon graduation. He also holds a joint MBA and MA in education from Stanford and sits on the board of Hatua Network, which fights poverty among youth in Kenya.
Melinda Karp

Founder and President, Phase Two Advisory

Denver, CO

Current Breakthrough Kent Denver Advisory Board Chair, Melinda is a nationally recognized expert on improving students’ transitions to college and supporting them once there. She founded Phase Two Advisory after nearly twenty years of conducting research and working with colleges on education reform as Assistant Director at the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. The proud granddaughter of refugees, Melinda works with national and institutional leaders, campus-based faculty and staff, and philanthropists to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to realize the intergenerational mobility higher education provides. 

Miho Kubagawa, Ed.L.D.

Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund

Birmingham, AL

Miho invests in entrepreneurs who design and launch innovative public schools at NewSchools Venture Fund. She spent eight years at KIPP NYC as the director of talent and was the founder and director of the teacher residency Program and 7th grade math teacher at KIPP Infinity Middle School in Harlem. In 2013, she co-founded Breakthrough Birmingham in her hometown and currently sits on the board of New Schools for Alabama. She holds a doctorate in education leadership from Harvard, a BS from Duke, and a master’s in adolescent education from Pace University. 

Carolyn Long

Philanthropist & Former Chair and Trustee of Breakthrough Central Texas

Austin, TX

Carolyn is an Austin-based philanthropist and community volunteer deeply committed to the causes of global conservation and education. An emeritus member of the Breakthrough Central Texas board, Carolyn has also served as a Global Ambassador for The Nature Conservancy, a
Trustee of TNC’s Tennessee Chapter, and co-chair of TNC’s Our World Campaign Committee. Carolyn grew up in eastern Tennessee and went to Baylor University for her undergraduate education. She returned to her home state to complete her MBA at Vanderbilt University and begin her career in commercial banking. Upon relocating to Austin, she and her husband, Jack, became connected to Breakthrough Central Texas through their children’s principal and thus began a long-term commitment to the program including six years on the affiliate board. Carolyn is a big believer in the local impact that Breakthrough can deliver and is very excited about joining the National Board in support of the new strategic plan. She is an experienced board member with a passion for development. Her other interests include road cycling, bird watching, reading, cooking, and traveling.

Vince Marigna

Executive Director, Breakthrough Collaborative

Vince Marigna began his career as a high school English teacher and Teach For America corps member in New Jersey, going on to join the local Teach For America staff in Newark where he coached and supported incoming teachers in that program. As a first-generation college graduate himself, Marigna has committed his career to organizations expanding educational opportunities for students from backgrounds that are historically marginalized and underserved by the education system. Most recently, Marigna served as Executive Director of Braven – Newark, where he grew the number of college students served year over year, secured funding to fuel growth regionally and to support the expansion of Braven nationally, and served on the New Jersey Governor’s task force focused on student success in college. “It’s an exciting time to be at Breakthrough and I am thrilled about the tremendous opportunity to be part of such a dynamic and vital organization.”
Deb McLoud
Executive Director, Breakthrough Manchester

After graduating from the University of New Hampshire, Deb began her career with Merrill Lynch where she was a Series 7 Registered Representative who trained Financial Advisors throughout the country. After 10 years, she stepped away to work with nonprofits in Rhode Island, mostly as a volunteer while her children were young. She served on the board of St. Mary’s Home for Children, was President of the Junior League of Rhode Island and was Treasurer of the Rhode Island Antiques Show. Deb volunteered at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, The Tomorrow Fund, and other organizations supporting women’s and children’s health. Deb joined Breakthrough Manchester at the Derryfield School in August 2018 and as Executive Director at Breakthrough Manchester, she supports students from underserved communities in Manchester who are on the path to college and helps train the next generation of college students to become effective teachers working with a diverse student population.

JuliAnne McDowell
Coral Gables, FL & Park City, UT

After earning her degree in French studies at Stanford and an MBA from INSEAD, a leading global business school in Fontainebleau, France, JuliAnne worked in corporate marketing and advertising for DDB Needham, L’Oreal, and the McDonald’s Corporation. As a board member for Breakthrough Miami, she created unique strategies for community engagement and fundraising, leading to the organization’s growth and recognition by the Miami Foundation in 2017 as one of the city’s leaders in creating opportunities for youth.

Keno Sadler

Partner and Chief Experience Officer, Purpose

Jersey City, NJ

As Breakthrough Atlanta’s founder, Keno is a graduate of Morehouse College and a proud Teaching Fellow alumnus from summer programs in Breakthrough Fort Worth and Breakthrough Miami. He brings over 20 years of experience as a social entrepreneur creating and implementing innovative programs in education, leadership development, and social justice. With a background that blends military service, classroom teaching, and organizational development rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion, he delivers senior-level leadership and guidance to multi-disciplinary teams delivering social impact globally. At Purpose, he has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support their effort to elevate diverse voices that can help broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness and actionable understanding.  


Jabali Sawicki

Compass Director, nXu

Brooklyn, NY
Jabali is the founding Compass Director of nXu, a non-profit organization whose mission is to catalyze and equip youth and adults to explore, articulate, and pursue their purpose while developing their social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. He currently sits on the advisory board for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy located in South Africa, the Leadership Council of the Robin Hood Foundation based in New York City, the National Board of Summer Search, a leadership development program focused on low-income youth, and the Board of Uncommon Schools in New York City. Originally from San Francisco, Jabali found his calling as an educator early in life and had the opportunity to participate both as a student and as a teacher, at Breakthrough Summerbridge.
Monique Shields

Executive Director, Breakthrough Atlanta

Atlanta, GA
Monique became executive director of Breakthrough Atlanta in 2018, after more than two decades advancing opportunities for children. She was COO at Hands On Atlanta, where she directed one of Georgia’s largest school-based AmeriCorps programs, and served in various roles at The Carter Collaboration Center, National CASA, and Cool Girls, Inc. She is an alumna of Iowa State and Georgia State universities.
Abby Zanarini

Philanthropist & Civic Leader

Miami, FL

Abby Zanarini has been an active member of the South Florida community since arriving in 2004.  After growing up in Brazil and France, she returned to the US and graduated from Southern Methodist University.  Abby began her fashion career as an account executive at the Dallas Apparel Mart joining the team at Ellen Tracy and subsequently worked for a range of firms including Emanuel Ungaro, Bottega Veneta and Johnny Was in New York and Los Angeles. Since moving to Miami, in addition to raising her two daughters, Abby has been involved in a myriad of volunteer activities.  She has served on the Parent Association Board of Ransom Everglades School and was the President of Beaux Arts, a volunteer organization supporting the University of Miami and its Lowe Art Museum. Since 2014, she has been an active and passionate supporter of Breakthrough Miami.