Neil Webber, Chair
Chair, Webber Family Foundation
Board Chair, Breakthrough Austin
Neil Webber is chair of the Webber Family Foundation which was formed in 1999 and has distributed over $11 million in grants to organizations targeting the educational needs of under-resourced youth. Neil has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from MIT and has worked at a number of technology startup companies throughout his career, culminating with Vignette Corporation where he was the co-founder and chief technology officer. He is the current board chair of Breakthrough Austin.
Margot McClendon Pinto, Vice Chair
New York, NY and Denver, CO
Margot McClendon Pinto has served on the Breakthrough national board of trustees since 2015.
Elaine Weng M.D., M.S., Secretary
Dr. Weng is a board certified radiation oncologist who grew up in New York and California. She completed both her undergraduate and master’s degrees in biology at Stanford University and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles Medical School and Residency Program. She began working in Colorado in 2000 where she was an assistant professor and clinical faculty at the University Hospital in the Radiation Oncology Department prior to joining a private practice group, Medical Radation Oncology Consultants in 2010. During her many years at the university, she participated in many clinical trials and clinical protocols for both pediatric and adult radiation oncology and has focused on advances in radiation oncology for head and neck cancers, and stereotactic radiosurgery.
Dr. Weng also served on various committees at the university including ethnic minority affairs, the Protocol Review Committee, faculty senate representative, and the CU Medical School Curriculum Reform Committee. During her time at the University of Colorado, she received the prestigious K12 Grant, which was a clinical oncology research development program for junior faculty in oncology disciplines.
Outside of her practice, Dr. Weng is active in supporting numerous medical and community outreach programs. She has served on the operations board of the Bonfils Blood Center since September of 2007 to 2013, the board of directors for the Children’s Museum of Denver for which she is vice chairman this year, the Stanford Colorado leadership committee for Alumni Interviewing, Stanford Special Gifts Committee Member and the Breakthrough Kent Denver organization. She balances her practice with a busy family schedule. Together they love skiing, hiking, and biking in Colorado, as well as travel.
Lucy Johns, Treasurer
Vice President, Portfolio Manager, Dodge & Cox
Lucy Johns is a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Dodge & Cox, an investment manager. She received her B.A. degree (magna cum laude) from Williams College in 1996 and her M.B.A. degree from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2004. Prior to graduate school, she worked for approximately two years each at Merrill Lynch as a financial analyst, Dodge & Cox as a research assistant, and NBC Internet as a Senior Product Manager. Lucy rejoined Dodge & Cox in 2004. Lucy is a shareholder of Dodge & Cox and sits on the firm’s two fixed income investment policy committees. She grew up in Oregon and currently lives in Marin County with her husband, Todd, and their two children.
Human Resources Consultant, Allan Dowiak Consulting, Inc.
Allan Dowiak is a human resources consultant who helps businesses achieve their strategic imperatives by working with their senior leadership team on organizational effectiveness, talent assessment, development, coaching, performance management and training. Prior to starting his consulting company, Allan served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for the Investments Group and corporate areas of New York Life and held a number of human resources roles at both ADP and Macy’s. Allan has a BA in Sociology from Rutgers University. He and his wife, Judy, have four teenage and adult children.
Director, Fredman Family Foundation
Coral Gables, FL
Kerin McCarthy Fredman graduated from Brown with an AB degree in Human Biology and then received an MD from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She specialized in psychiatry at NYU/Bellevue Medical Center. She has worked as a psychiatrist at Hillside Hospital in New York and St. Brendan’s Hospital in Bermuda. She is president of the Fredman Family Foundation, which has an emphasis on education, health and the environment.
She has volunteered for Brown as an alumni interviewer for over 15 years and has co-chaired her 30th reunion fund. She has been a member of the Brown Parents Leadership Council for the past 4 years.
She is actively involved in Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, Florida where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees, as a member of the Education Committee and the Executive Committee. She also serves on the Parent’s Association Board.
She has served as an 11th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem for foster children and as a grant reviewer for Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade. She currently serves on the advisory board of Breakthrough Miami, the advisory board of the UM Center for Ethics and Public Service and the United Way Center for Excellence Policy Council.
She lives in Coral Gables, Florida, with her husband Andrew and three children, Zachary B’17, Alexander B’18, and Natalie.
Chief Executive Officer, Ginger
San Francisco, CA
Redwood City, CA
Miho Kubagawa, Ed.L.D.
Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund
Miho Kubagawa is a Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she invests in entrepreneurs who design and launch new, innovative public schools.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Miho spent eight years at KIPP NYC as the director of talent, the founder and director of the teacher residency program and as the founding 7th grade math teacher of KIPP Infinity Middle School in Harlem. In addition, Miho is the co-founder of Breakthrough Collaborative’s chapter in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and is a board member for New Schools for Alabama.
She received her Doctor in Education Leadership (Ed.L.D) from Harvard University, her B.S. in Economics from Duke University and her M.S.T. in Adolescent Education from Pace University. She currently resides in Oakland, CA.
Chief Operating Officer, BVF Partners, L.P.
San Francisco, CA
Jason McCune is Chief Operating Officer at BVF Partners, L.P., a biotech focused investment management firm. Prior to joining BVF in 2019, he was a Managing Director at Hall Capital Partners LLC where he was a senior member of the investment research team overseeing the firm’s investments in absolute return and credit strategies. Mr. McCune graduated cum laude from Northwestern University with a B.S. in industrial engineering. He also earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Executive Director, Breakthrough Central Texas
Michael Griffith has close to 20 years’ experience as an educator and nonprofit leader. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas and a Master of Education degree from Texas State University, Michael started his career as an elementary teacher, honing his skills in teaching, learning, curriculum development, and student assessment. He earned distinctions for his teaching and took on leadership roles as a mentor teacher and team leader. He supported students in and out of the classroom to fulfill their potential, and envisioned a future career as a school and district administrator. He joined Breakthrough Central Texas as the Director of Programs in 2008. During his six-year tenure as Director of Programs, Michael managed a three-fold increase in students served, the organization’s first expansion to Manor ISD, the buildout of its college completion programs, and the creation of the a customized Salesforce database to monitor the progress of students on their path to college graduation. In 2011, Michael was honored by Bank of America with the distinction of Emerging Leader. In 2014, Michael took on the mantle of Executive Director at Breakthrough. Since that time, he has supported Breakthrough as it has expanded extensively to serve more students in multiple school districts in Central Texas. Michael has expertise in educational best practices, partnership development, research and reporting, project planning, and organizational leadership. Michael is a founding member of the Austin College Access Network and is widely respected in the Central Texas nonprofit community.
Coral Gables, FL
JuliAnne McDowell’s background is in corporate marketing and advertising as well as community volunteerism. After earning a BA in French Studies from Stanford and an MBA from INSEAD in France, JuliAnne worked for advertising agencies, as well as L’Oreal and McDonald’s. In her hometown of Miami, however, JuliAnne has focused on community engagement in educational and arts organizations, particularly in fundraising and friendraising. JuliAnne has served on numerous boards, frequently as Chair/Development Committee chair – serving in both capacities at Breakthrough Miami. JuliAnne and her husband, Derek, have three teenage and adult children.
Executive Director, Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Alex Serna joined Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano as the Program Director in 2014 and was appointed Executive Director in 2018. After graduating high school with a 2.1gpa, he become a father when he was 17 and enrolled into community college to provide his daughter with a better future. A transfer-student from Santa Ana College and the first in his family to graduate college, he earned his B.A in American Studies from UC Berkeley in 2011, later enrolling at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education where he received his master’s degree in urban education and secondary social studies teaching credential. He completed the College Advising Program at Teachers College, Columbia University and Seth Godin’s altMBA workshop.
He’s a 2017 New Leaders Council, Los Angeles fellow and served on the Millennial Commission on Education as a Senior Fellow where he supported the development of key policy recommendations in advancement of education reform. An Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development 2017 Emerging Leader and serves on the advisory boards for the UCI School of Social Ecology field study program and Hispanic Education Endowment Fund. His thoughts on college access, educational policy and equity have been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Hill, The Hechinger Report, Diverse Issues in Higher Education and NACAC’s Journal of College Admission. He is a father of four and when he’s not chasing them around, he can be found training Brazilian jiujit-su or discovering the best vegetarian food in southern California.
Executive Director, Breakthrough Atlanta
Governance Consultant, The Governance Group
Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN
Chris Porter has been widely recognized for her communications work and facilitation skills. In 1976, she founded Writing Consultants, a national firm focused on improving organizational communications and facilitating communications training. There, her clients included Delta Airlines, Wells Fargo, IBM, and Prudential Insurance, among many others. After selling the firm in 2002, Chris founded The Governance Group to assist nonprofit boards in successfully leading their organizations. She has received excellence awards for her facilitation skills, and has served on many boards, including those of Breakthrough Twin Cities, the American Society for Training and Development, Gillette Children’s Hospital, Mounds Park Academy, Children’s Home Society of Minnesota, the Waldorf School of Minneapolis, and Unity Church Unitarian. Her background includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in English language studies.
Chief Executive Officer, Talamantes Strategies and former Chief Executive Officer, McClatchy
Santa Fe, NM
Pat Talamantes is a corporate executive with over 30 years of experience in media and finance. Pat runs a management consulting practice advising companies on transformational and financial strategies. He was the president and CEO of McClatchy, the publicly traded news and information publisher with 30 daily newspapers, from 2012 to 2017 and also served as the company’s CFO for 11 years. He has served on the advisory board of Breakthrough Sacramento since 2016 helping to deepen its connection to the community and increase its fundraising capabilities. Mr. Talamantes holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Elissa Vanaver, Chief Executive Officer
Executive Director, Breakthrough Collaborative
Coral Gables, FL
Elissa Vanaver became the CEO of the Breakthrough Collaborative in 2017, after more than a decade of leading growth at the Collaborative’s Miami affiliate. At Breakthrough Miami, her roles included volunteer, founding board chair, director of strategic development and CEO. In spring 2018, Elissa was a judge for the New York Life Foundation’s Excellence in Summer Learning Awards. Before joining Breakthrough, Elissa was an award-winning newspaper editor and media executive, holding a variety of positions, including managing editor, vice president of human resources and chief of staff for The Miami Herald, which publishes in English and Spanish. Her 25-year journalism career also included management, editing and news-writing at the Dallas Times Herald and the San Jose Mercury News.