Our Board of Directors
Melanie Forbes Goins, Chair
Lissa Hodder - Chair Emerita
Caroline holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Clemson University and a Master of Business Administration in finance and international business from New York University. She also completed the International Management Program at ESADE Business School in Barcelona and the International Women’s Forum Fellows Leadership Program at Harvard Business School and INSEAD.
Rev. Edwin Johnson is the Assistant Rector at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge where he focuses on Christian education, family ministry, outreach and social justice work. He seeks to improve the ways that schools, community centers, nonprofits and places of worship collaborate to support the growth and safety of young people. His connection to Cambridge and its young people began the summer of 2001 when he began working for BTGB as a teacher after his freshman year at Tufts University. Edwin went on to join the full-time staff as the Alumni Coordinator in 2004 and worked through the summer of 2007 before leaving to enter the Priesthood.
As a first generation college student himself, Edwin’s passion for creating paths to college keeps him involved in Breakthrough and he is overjoyed at how much the program has grown in its ability to support young people through college entry. A native of Dorchester, he is excited about BTGB’s expansion into Boston, and looks forward to being part BTGB’s continued success.
Jeff grew up in Toronto, but has lived in the US since marrying his bride from Boston, after an MBA at Harvard. His professional career began in consulting and strategic planning, but changed tack to investment management in his early 30’s. As an analyst and portfolio manager at Sanford Bernstein in NYC, it was great fun and challenge to identify companies with a competitive strategy and strong leadership.
Later in his career, Jeff became a team leader and executive in this industry, retiring in December 2017 as Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of Investors Group (a large Canadian investment management firm). Now in this new chapter of his life and career, Jeff is pursuing a portfolio of part-time roles, including serving on non-profit boards to help education-focussed groups in finance, investments, strategy and governance.
Michael is Director, Fixed Income Product Lead for Fidelity Capital Markets. He is responsible for the development and strategy of electronic trading products and analytics for the fixed income market. Prior to joining Fidelity, Michael worked with State Street Global Markets. He earned a BS in Finance from Florida State University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Michael believes that the power of educational equity, access, and exposure truly changes lives and the trajectory of opportunities. He has seen Breakthrough empower students through its unique framework and programming. Michael is honored to be a member of the BTGB Board of Directors, enthused by the organization’s profound impact on students, teachers, and their communities.
Shella Dennery, PhD, LICSW, is the Program Director of the Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (CHNP), the community behavioral health program in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Dennery oversees a comprehensive behavioral health program that provides direct services, professional development, and consultation to Boston area schools and community health centers. She has spent the majority of her career working as a school social worker in the Boston Public Schools and teaching and consulting on behavioral health related topics in community settings. Dr. Dennery has extensive experience uniting parents, schools, and neighborhood organizations to help strengthen the social and emotional health of children and adolescents. She holds a PhD from Smith College and an MSW from Simmons College. She also holds two post-master’s certificates in child and adolescent therapy and advanced clinical supervision from Smith College. Dr. Dennery is adjunct faculty in social work at both Simmons College and Smith College, and is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Jeff Davis, Treasurer
Christine has been actively involved in many charities in the Greater Boston area, such as the Big Sister Association, Rosie’s Place, and Boys and Girls Clubs. Additionally, she tutors inmates at the Suffolk County House of Correction.
Previously, Christine held executive positions in the medical device industry including General Manager, Cardiovascular Division for Tyco Healthcare and Director of Mergers and Acquisitions for Tyco International. She also worked for several years in marketing for Kendall Healthcare and Luxtec Corporation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University.
Christine is very excited to join the Breakthrough Board of Directors. She is passionate about expanding educational opportunities for those in underserved communities.
Fred Tung teaches, researches, and consults in the areas of bankruptcy, corporate and securities law, and the governance of financial institutions. He has also taught at Harvard Law School, Emory University School of Law, and the law department at Peking University. Fred is a member of the American Law Institute. He has testified in Congress before the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), has served as a consultant on law reform for the Ministry of Justice in Ethiopia, the Center for Commercial Law and Economics in Indonesia, and the California Law Revision Commission, and has been a permanent blogger with the popular corporate law blog Conglomerate. He has served on the Consumer Law Task Force of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Proficient in Mandarin, he worked as an interpreter for ABC News covering the Democracy Movement in Beijing. He has also worked as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.
Fred is pleased to be able to help with the great work that Breakthrough does in pursuit of educational equity and excellence.
Jonathan is a Portfolio Manager and Analyst for the Small Mid Cap Equity team at BNY Mellon Asset Management. Before joining the firm, Jonathan was a member of the investment team at Commonfund Capital, which manages private equity and venture capital investments on behalf of endowments and foundations. Prior to Commonfund, he worked in investment banking at UBS in New York. Jonathan earned an AB in economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Jonathan has lived in Cambridge for more than ten years with his wife and two daughters. He greatly admires Breakthrough’s mission and looks forward to contributing to BTBG’s continuing success and future growth.
Miriam McKendall is a partner in the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP where she concentrates her practice in education law, employment law, and related litigation. She advises her client base of college and universities on a wide range of issues impacting higher education, including student and employee matters, faculty governance, regulatory compliance, and crisis management. Miriam received her JD from Boston University School of Law and her Bachelors of Science from Brown University.
Like so many others, Miriam is inspired by the enthusiasm of the students and teachers who participate in the Breakthrough experience.
Trudi Veldman, Secretary pro tem
Gene is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education and contributing research to the field of civic engagement in higher education. Gene previously served for fifteen years as the Director of the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) and then as Dean for Public Service at Harvard College. Gene is a native Texan with much experience in education and the nonprofit sector including teaching and community organizing for education reform. He received a Pforzheimer Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School, never left, and now calls Boston home. Gene views BTGB as a double-win – he is inspired by the transformative potential of college students to make a difference in the lives of younger members in our community while gaining the experience and motivation necessary to pursue careers in teaching.
Kenya Rutland is a passionate and trustworthy consultant who uses his diverse skills and talents to increase confidence, motivation, and performance of others. He has been described as the “Chief Enthusiasm Officer” and is a catalyst for learning and organizational development. Kenya is a persuasive facilitative leader who uses keen business acumen to build commitment and accountability among staff at all levels of any organization.
Kenya has nearly 15 years of training and development experience. His work includes change management, customer service, diversity and inclusion, leadership, presentation skills, and team development. He has been privileged to work with global clients that include corporations, non-profits, dotcoms, educational institutions, and affinity groups.
He attended the University of Georgia and attended The Morse School of Business. He also holds various learning and organizational development certifications. Kenya is an avid golfer and a die hard Yankees, 49ers, and Lakers fan.