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.
James Kelleher began his career at Liberty Mutual in 1983. A member of the Massachusetts Bar, Mr. Kelleher advanced to Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Liberty Mutual Group in 2013.
As Chief Legal Officer, Mr. Kelleher manages a legal organization consisting of more than 820 attorneys and 1,900 employees in 80 offices in 20 countries. In addition, he oversees Corporate Public Affairs and the Office of Corporate Compliance. Executive duties include legal counsel and strategic advice to the Chief Executive Officer and the senior management team of Liberty Mutual.
During his career at Liberty Mutual, Mr. Kelleher managed the Corporate Litigation group, served as General Counsel of Liberty International and, as Deputy General Counsel, oversaw the provision of legal services to all of Liberty’s domestic and foreign insurance operations.
Mr. Kelleher is currently a member of the Advisory Board, UMass School of Management, a member of the boards of Breakthrough Greater Boston, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, New England Legal Foundation and the RAND Institute for Civil Justice. He serves on numerous Liberty Mutual Group Boards of Directors.
Mr. Kelleher received a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 1982 and a B.S. from Boston State College in 1978, studying Business Management and Economics.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Nancy Klemm Friedman
Nancy was born in New York City, but grew up in St. Thomas and New Jersey. During her college years at Northeastern University, Nancy majored in marketing and worked for an architectural design firm and a mortgage bank. However, she didn’t find her calling until interning at a photography studio.
Nancy went on to open her own studio, Nancy Klemm Photography, and eventually left this satisfying career and beautiful studio overlooking the harbor in the North End when her son Jake was about a year old. Nancy is incredibly proud that Jake will graduate from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School this spring and looks forward to his next chapter at Dartmouth College. Nancy first got involved with Breakthrough when Jake was still very young. At the time, she was reflecting on how fortunate her family was and that every parent deserved to have all the necessary supports to propel their children toward success. She saw Breakthrough as the type of program that did that for all kids. Nancy has served on Breakthrough’s Board of Directors for ten years and is currently a member of the development committee. Each year, she continues to host BTGB’s annual teacher appreciation dinner in her backyard.
Trudi Veldman, Secretary pro tem
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.
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.