Our Board


Breakthrough Greater Boston is overseen by a 22 member Board of Directors. This leadership group convenes four times a year, and is legally and fiscally responsible for the organization. The Board’s Executive, Development and Program Committees meet monthly.

Melanie Forbes Goins - Chair

Corporate Counsel, Care.com

Melanie is Corporate Counsel at Care.com. Prior to joining Care.com, Melanie was a Senior Associate at WilmerHale, practicing in the firm’s Corporate group. Her clients included venture capital-funded start-ups, publicly-traded companies and nonprofit organizations, which she represented in financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. While at WilmerHale, Melanie volunteered with the Citizen Schools’ Discovering Justice Apprenticeship program. Melanie received her JD from Harvard Law School and her AB in social studies from Harvard College.

Melanie is proud to be a member of the Breakthrough Board of Directors. Meeting the students, teachers and staff who participate in Breakthrough always leaves her inspired by the excellence that is infused throughout the organization. She is excited by the proven success of the program in Cambridge and looks forward to seeing similar success as BTGB expands into Boston.

Paul Rapisarda - Treasurer

Chief Financial Officer, Etrion Corporation

Paul is currently Chief Financial Officer at Etrion Corporation, a publicly-listed (Toronto Stock Exchange: ETX) solar energy development company with projects in Japan and Chile. He is responsible for all public financial reporting, investor relations, capital markets issuances and works closely with the company’s CEO and board on strategic matters. He has more than 25 years of experience in direct investing, investment banking and public company executive roles. Prior to joining Etrion, Paul was Executive Vice President – Commercial Development at Atlantic Power Corporation, a Canadian independent power producer with substantial assets in renewable technologies such as wind, hydro and biomass. He is also a board member of Feeney Brothers Utility Services, a privately-held infrastructure company headquartered in Dorchester, MA.

Paul has a BA from Amherst College and received his MBA from the Harvard Business School. He has participated in numerous pro bono consulting projects in the field urban education through Community Action Partners, an organization affiliated with the Harvard Business School Association of Boston.

Trudi Veldman - Secretary pro tem

Senior Director Biologics, AbbVie Bioresearch Center

Trudi leads a group of scientists in biologics drug discovery for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Prior to joining AbbVie/Abbott in 2003, Trudi worked for 20 years at Genetics Institute/Wyeth (now Pfizer) in Cambridge. At AbbVie and Genetics Institute she has coordinated science outreach programs for elementary and middle school students. Trudi was born and raised in The Netherlands where she earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Free University in Amsterdam. She moved to Boston in 1982 to join the biotechnology industry.

Trudi is passionate about education and hunger issues. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Boston Food Bank for many years. She first learned about Breakthrough through her son Daniel, who was a teacher in the program in 2005; she and her husband Bob Kamen have been supporters even since. Trudi is excited to join the BTGB Board and looks forward to be part of a program that prepares students not only for academic success but also for life.

Lissa Hodder - Chair Emerita

Former Director, Harvard Undergraduate Teacher Education Program

A master educator, Lissa spent nearly 30 years as a teacher and administrator at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge. Lissa graduated from Radcliffe College, and after two years of being a third-grade classroom teacher, she went to Bank Street College in New York City to learn about and work in urban schools. Her abiding interest in helping teachers become professionals finally led her to the Graduate School of Education at Harvard where she began to supervise student teachers in the urban schools. At Harvard, she had several different roles: member of the Board of Freshman Advisors; research assistant for Howard Gardner, Vito Perrone, and David Perkins in developing the “Teaching for Understanding” framework; administrator of the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program; instructor in the Harvard Extension School Writing Program; seminar leader at the GSE for undergraduate student teachers.

Lissa is happiest when she is talking with teachers or students, and the only compensation for no longer being in the classroom is that she has the time to give Breakthrough her attention as Board Chair. She finds it exciting to be part of BTGB at this particular moment. With the expansion into Dorchester in partnership with Tech Boston Academy, she is excited to see the Breakthrough spirit and energy reach new students, families, teachers, communities, board members, and donors.

Abdi Samater

Abdi is the father of four children, and three of his children are currently in the Breakthrough program at our Cambridge site. Abdi immigrated to this country in the late 1990s, and he has found the integral aspect of a successful education Breakthrough ensures. Abdi's goal for the program is to help reach out to communities by using his personal experiences with Breakthrough.

Anne Goldenheim

Bio coming soon.

Caroline Carmichael

Senior Vice President, State Street Corporation

Caroline Carmichael is a Senior Vice President and Head of Operations for Sector Solutions Americas, Global Alternatives and Global Relationship Management where she leads the Consultant Relations, Market Entry Solutions, Salesforce.com and Request for Proposal teams.

Caroline has more than 25 years of experience in international banking, finance and investing. Prior to her current role, she headed up State Street’s Global Relationship Management program. She joined State Street in 2007 from Brown Brothers Harriman where she spent 13 years as a Global Sales and Relationship Manager and Subcustodian Network Manager. Her experience also includes positions as Investment Officer and Financial Officer for the Czech and Slovak American Enterprise Fund in both Prague and Bratislava, Relationship Manager and Financial Analyst for Citibank’s World Corporate Group in Paris, and Corporate Trader for ABN Bank in Atlanta.

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.

Carolyn Turk (ex-officio)

Deputy Superintendent, Cambridge Public Schools

Dr. Carolyn L. Turk was appointed by the Cambridge School Committee to be the Deputy Superintendent for Teaching & Learning in August 2003. As Deputy Superintendent, Carolyn serves as part of a senior leadership team that plays a central role in policy and management issues affecting elementary, middle, and secondary education. Dr. Turk has also served as Assistant Principal, classroom teacher and as Interim Superintendent for the school district in 2003 and again in 2009. She has over 30 years of experience as a professional educator in the city of Cambridge.

Born and raised in Cambridge, MA, Carolyn was educated in the public schools of Cambridge. She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education/Urban Specialization at Boston State College, and a master’s degree in Educational Technology at Fitchburg State College. In 2002, she received a doctorate in Educational Administration at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.

Christine Gilman

Community Volunteer

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.

Edwin Johnson

Assistant Rector, St. James Church

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.

Gene Corbin

Assistant Dean of Public Service, Harvard College Office of Student Life

Bio coming soon.

James Kelleher

Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Liberty Mutual Group

James Kelleher is the Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, a global property & casualty insurer. 

Liberty's legal team includes all traditional insurance regulatory and corporate law practices, an insurance defense organization, Public Affairs and Global Compliance & Ethics. 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, which started in 1983, 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 boards of Federal Advisory Committee of Insurance, Breakthrough Greater Boston, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, New England Legal Foundation and a member of the Advisory Board for UMass School of Management. 

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.

Jeff Davis

Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

Bio Coming Soon.

Keith Love (ex-officio)

Co-Headmaster, TechBoston Academy

Kenya Rutland

Principal and Chief Enthusiasm Officer, KJR Consulting

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.

Michael K. Haynes

Fixed Income Product Lead, Fidelity Capital Markets

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.

Miriam McKendall

Partner, Holland & Knight

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.

Monique Johnson

Bio coming soon.

Nancy Klemm Friedman

Community Volunteer

Nora Vernazza (ex-officio)

Co-Headmaster, TechBoston Academy

Shella Dennery

Program Director of Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (CHNP) at Children’s Hospital Boston

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.

Family Advisory Board

Breakthrough Greater Boston families provide a unique and invaluable perspective to the program and we want to ensure that those voices are heard. Family involvement is key to student success and the success of the overall program. Through membership on the Family Advisory Board, individuals serve as ambassadors and contribute talents, skills, strengths and creative thinking towards supporting the organization.

This page was printed from: http://www.breakthroughgreaterboston.org. For more information, visit us on the web or call us at 617-349-6647.