our 2019-2020 Board of DirectorS
Christine Kennedy - Chair
Legal Consultant, Avanade
Carla Robbins Silver - Vice Chair
Executive Director, Leadership + Design
Dan Shaw - Treasurer
Vice President, Casco Financial
Courtney Monk - Secretary
Manager of Data Science, Chegg
Elena Marimo Berk
Founder, Creekside School
Leniece Flowers Brissett
CEO, Compass Talent Group
Independent Technology Advisor/Consultant
Chief Executive Officer, Ordr Inc.
Candice Brown Pacheco
Consultant, Pacheco Consulting
Senior Director of Revenue Operations, Adobe Systems, Inc
Marketing Director at Google
Mark is a seasoned technology executive with over 20 years of experience in operational and advisory roles, as well as expertise in corporate strategy & development, business development and financial planning. In 2019, Mark decided to follow his passion for serving students in need by transitioning into non-profit work full-time after a long career in high technology. Mark was most recently Adobe’s Director of Corporate Strategy, where he was responsible for driving the long-term strategic direction at Adobe. Prior to Adobe, Mark was a Principal Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Mark continues to be sought after as a thought leader on disruptive technology trends. In addition to his professional career and service to BTSV, Mark serves on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Northern California. From 2009 to 2015, Mark led the Junior Achievement volunteer effort at Simonds Elementary School. Mark served on uAspire’s Board of Directors from 2016 to 2017 to help advance their mission of securing financial support for college-bound low-income high school seniors. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UC Berkeley and earned his MBA at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
Elena Marimo Berk
Elena Marimo Berk was born in Downey, CA and raised in east San Jose, CA. She is a proud graduate of Silver Creek High School in the East Side Union High School District. After receiving her B.S. in Sociology from Santa Clara University and her M.A. in Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential from Stanford University’s STEP Program, Marimo returned to her high school to teach. She dedicated fourteen years of her life to the classroom and community. A few years after the birth of her son, Marimo co-founded the Creekside School in San Jose for children with autism. The Creekside School is devoted to discovering untapped potential often overlooked due to communicative and/or sensory motor-based issues. When she is not fighting for equal access to quality education, you can find Marimo competing in triathlons and cheering for the San Francisco Giants.
Leniece Flowers Brissett
After a decade and a half working with social impact organizations, Leniece Flowers Brissett noticed a striking paradox. As she ascended to the top and earned a seat at the table, the more racially homogenous the rooms became. And when she looked beyond her workplace, she noticed a jarring trend: across sectors, people of color were grossly underrepresented. Leniece founded Compass Talent Group to shift the culture of work.
When she unearthed a pattern of unfair hiring practices, she published a thought-piece in Vox that shook HR departments nationwide. She pushed the envelope further and published an article in Quartz which the Chief Diversity Officer of Intel referred to as a "great read and call to stop arguing the business case of diversity and inclusion.” Leniece has been featured in Psychology Today and American Express, and has spoken at graduate schools, foundations, and conferences. When she isn’t helping organizations navigate diversity in the workplace, she spends her time with her partner raising twin toddlers, listening to podcasts, co-leading a community of 500+ mothers of color and drafting her next article. She's a proud first generation graduate of the University of Vermont and holds master's degrees in education from Bank Street College of Education and Columbia University.
As an immigrant and first generation student, Rita Chen has always been drawn to social justice and access to education. She was born in Taiwan, grew up in the United States and has also lived in the UK and Hong Kong. Rita first started working with immigrants in high school and continued this work through her college years and post-graduation in Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose. In 2007, Rita helped establish Vibrant Communities in China, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing social and educational programs to families living in the slums of China. In London, Rita worked as a Press Officer for the UK Taipei Representative Office, and raised funds for various charities across UK and Asia. From 2018-19, prior to joining Breakthrough Silicon Valley’s Board of Directors, Rita volunteered as a tutor at BTSV and witnessed firsthand the incredible results of the organization. Rita is currently a Teacher Champion for Caliber Schools and serves on the board of Vibrant Communities and Hillbrook School. She received her Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley.
Ellen Lintz Dempsey
Prior to joining Breakthrough Silicon Valley’s Board of Directors, Ellen Lintz Dempsey volunteered with BTSV for three years, helping to plan the annual “Are You Smarter?” fundraising event and more recently serving as co-chair of the event. Through these experiences, Ellen developed a strong connection to BTSV’s mission and its critical role in our community. Ellen has also volunteered extensively at Hillbrook School, co-chairing its annual auction for two years and serving on its Capital Campaign Steering Committee, which raised over $6 million for a variety of new projects including a reimagined playground, amphitheater and the “HUB,” a collaborative STEAM space. The majority of Ellen’s professional career was spent at Mercer Investment Consulting in both the Seattle and San Francisco offices. As a Principal of the firm, she has over a decade of experience in fiduciary oversight. She has helped numerous companies and non-profit organizations fulfill fiduciary responsibilities related to their pension plans, 401(k) plans and endowments. Ellen earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction in Economics from the University of Washington. She also received a master’s degree in Economics from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Beyond her work on behalf of Breakthrough Silicon Valley, Ellen enjoys tennis and cooking.
Christine Kennedy - Chair
Christine Kennedy has been a longtime volunteer with Breakthrough Silicon Valley, helping to develop and lead our professional skills workshops for high school students. She earned her undergraduate degree from Union College in New York, and graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1990. For several years, Christine was a litigation associate with Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn in Connecticut before moving to San Francisco to join the firm of Folger Levin & Kahn. The East Coast called her back for a few years during which time she was the Associate General Counsel of Lone Star Industries (now Dyckerhoff AG). From 1998 to 2001, Christine lived in Paris, France and worked for IBM EMEA as a senior transactions attorney. She then served as in-house counsel for Arch Chemicals in Connecticut before moving back to sunny California with her family. Christine presently serves as a legal consultant to Avanade Inc. Within her local community, Christine served on the Hillbrook School Board of Trustees' in various positions from 2009-2015 and supports various local philanthropic efforts. In her free time, Christine enjoys time with family and friends, reading and tennis.
Greg Leung is a technology executive with deep experience in leadership, growth, operations, people development, and strategy. Most recently he was COO at Otto LLC, an early-stage startup. Prior to this role, Greg was the Senior Director of Worldwide Supply Demand Management of Apple, managing a $100B+ global, multi-channel, multi-mode supply chain and organization during Apple’s historic growth period. He began his career as a Merchandise Planner at Gap, Inc.
Greg attended Breakthrough (then called Summerbridge) while in middle school in San Francisco. The collaborative, learning-positive environment was a life-changing experience for him. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire for high school, then returned to the Bay Area to attend Stanford University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Science, Technology and Society, with Honors and Distinction; a minor in Italian Literature; and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Breakthrough’s mission is personally significant to Greg, and he is thrilled to be helping the next generation of students experience the program. Greg lives in San Mateo with his husband and three young daughters. He enjoys flying and is currently in the process of obtaining a private pilot certificate.
Courtney Monk - Secretary
Dr. Courtney Monk has focused her career on improving educational outcomes and opportunities for students from all backgrounds. She is currently a Manager of Data Science at Chegg, an education technology company that helps students succeed academically and professionally. Her team at Chegg provides business analytics and data-driven strategic partnership for business leaders. Prior to joining Chegg, Courtney spent nearly six years at Teach For America (TFA), a non-profit organization whose mission is for all children to have access to an excellent education. At TFA, her work played a key role in admitting Teach For America’s most diverse corps members in history (at the time) in 2014 and 2015. Courtney received her Doctorate in Economics from the University of Oxford. While at Oxford, she studied relationships between health, education, and employment outcomes. Courtney also holds a Master's in International Economics from the Université de Paris I - Pantheon Sorbonne, and a BA in Economics from Princeton University. In addition to serving on the Breakthrough Silicon Valley Board of Directors, she also serves as a board member on iMentor’s Bay Area Advisory Board, the Home and School Club Board at Lexington Elementary School, and the Chegg For Good Foundation Board.
Greg Murphy is Chief Executive Offer of Ordr, a Santa Clara-based company that offers an AI-based systems control engine for the hyper-connected enterprise. He was previously CEO at Zenreach, and also served as VP, Business Operations for the HPE Aruba Group, the 4,000 person networking and IoT business unit of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. In that role, Greg was responsible for leading the business integration of Aruba and HP Networking following HP’s $3 billion acquisition of Aruba Networks in 2015. Greg held multiple prior senior executive positions within Aruba after originally joining Aruba in 2008 through its acquisition of AirWave Wireless, a network management software company that Greg founded and led. Greg received an M.A. from Stanford University and a B.A. from Amherst College. He resides in San Francisco, CA with his husband. When not at work, he enjoys tennis, reading, and cheering for the Boston Red Sox.
Eric Piziali was born and raised in the South Bay Area. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga and later attended graduate school at Santa Clara University, earning his master’s degree in business administration. Eric has worked in the high-tech industry for the past 20 years, including his current role as Senior Director of Revenue Operations at Adobe. While his background is in accounting and financial analysis, he has a passion for managing both functional and project-based teams through complex issues to design solutions that drive efficiency and align to strategic goals. Volunteer work is an increasing focus for Eric with hosting Career Exploration Day for Breakthrough students at Adobe over the past two years, and most recently, joining the fund-raising committee for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Eric sees education as the path for young people toward creating opportunities and choices that empower them to live successful lives. In his free time, Eric enjoys biking, playing bocce ball and spending time with his wife, daughters and black lab.
Allison Railo has been an active member of Breakthrough Silicon Valley’s “Are You Smarter than a Breakthrough Student?” annual fundraising event team since it began in 2011. Working with the organization for so many years has allowed her to connect with the BTSV students and witness the continued success of the program as it has grown and expanded. Prior to joining BTSV’s Board of Directors, Allison served as the Parent Council President for Hillbrook School, implementing processes to expand volunteer opportunities for all families, with a special focus on community building programs. Allison graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in World Arts and Cultures, Art History. She then earned her first Master’s degree in Museum and Gallery Management at City University, London, which led to a career in museum administration. With the addition of her second Master’s degree in Art History and Visual Culture from San Jose State University, she currently works as an Independent Curator/Researcher/Historian with special interest in photography and California history. In her free time, Allison enjoys walking with her two dogs, needle-crafts and cheering for the San Jose Sharks with her family and friends.
Carla Robbins Silver - Vice Chair
Carla Robbins Silver is the Executive Director of Leadership + Design. She has been a career independent school educator, administrator, and student. She has served as the Middle School Division Director and Director of Development at The Children’s School in La Jolla, CA; the Director of Summerbridge San Francisco, A Breakthrough Program; English teacher at San Francisco University High School; and teacher and coach at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco and Holland Hall School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Carla attended Manzano Day School and Albuquerque Academy. She holds a B.A. in English from Emory University and an M.A. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of San Diego. She has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations and schools in areas of strategic planning, governance, development, marketing, and branding.
Sherice Torres is an inspirational leader with nearly 25 years of experience in marketing, brand management, strategic planning, and change management. She currently serve as a Marketing Director at Google, leading brand programs for Crisis Response, Sustainability, Google.org, and Google’s education programs. Previously, Sherice was Marketing Director for Google’s kids and family products, empowering families to make the most of their digital journey together with the Family Link app. She also served as Marketing Director for Google Pay and Google Express.
Prior to Google, Sherice spent nearly 15 years at Nickelodeon in a variety of leadership roles across consumer products, strategic planning and digital. She is a mother of 2 boys, with a passion for revolutionizing the public education system in the US. In addition to her board service with Breakthrough Silicon Valley, Sherice is an advisor, and former board member of the Global Language Project - a non-profit bringing language learning to urban schools.