Board of Directors

Marlene Ibsen, Board President
President and CEO
Travelers Foundation

Gloria Nemerowicz, Ph.D., Board Vice President
Yes We Must

Steve Colón, Board Treasurer
Senior Vice President, Org-Wide Learning & Strategy 
Teach for America

Nathaniel Easley, Ph.D., Board Secretary
Chief Executive Officer
Blue School Partners Denver

Board Members
Adam Berg
AEM Corporation

Pranav Kothari
Founder & CEO
Revolution Impact, LLC

Paul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation

Lori McFarling
Senior Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer
Discovery Education

Sasha Peterson

Jamie Sears
Head of Strategic Partnerships & Programs for Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility
UBS Americas

Stephen Smith
President, Advising & Admissions Solutions

Herb Tillery
Executive Director
College Success Foundation – District of Columbia

Ricardo Torres
President & CEO
National Student Clearinghouse


Pranav Kothari is the Founder & CEO of Revolution Impact, LLC. Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Chicago, the firm focuses on helping social sector organizations improve their results through better business practices and organizational strategies. The firm’s projects include growth and scale strategy, evaluation and measurement, and capacity-building for social sector leaders nationally. Current and past clients include College Success Arizona, Expect More Arizona, the Neubauer Family Foundation, One Million Degrees, and Thrive Chicago. 

Mr. Kothari also serves as Adjunct Lecturer of Social Enterprise at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, teaching both MBA and executive education courses on the education sector, social sector performance measurement, and board governance. He speaks nationally on measuring social impact, education data, education philanthropy, and nonprofit effectiveness. 

Prior to founding Revolution Impact, Mr. Kothari served as Vice President, Strategy & Innovation for KnowledgeWorks, where he oversaw business strategy for StriveTogether, EDWorks, and StrivePartnership. From 2013 – 2015, he served as Senior Director, Innovation for StriveTogether where he led development of new strategies and partnerships to support cradle-to-career network members and as well financial and business planning for the growing, national organization. 

Previously, Mr. Kothari co-founded and served as Managing Director of Mission Measurement. He advised leading funders, educational organizations, and nonprofit organizations on measurement and program strategy. While at Mission Measurement, his clients included Carnegie Corporation of New York, Cristo Rey Network, Education Pioneers, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lynch Leadership Academy, School Leaders Network, USA Funds, and Vulcan Productions. 

Prior to Mission Measurement, Mr. Kothari served as a Program Director at KnowledgeWorks focused on college access and success as well as growth initiatives and previously held market research and product development positions with Student Loan Funding and ACNielsen BASES. 

He holds an AB in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA in Corporate Strategy and Organizational Behavior from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Mr. Kothari is immediate past board president of the National College Access Network, is a board member of MORTAR, and is a member of the UChicago Consortium on School Research Steering Committee. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Harpreet Khera, and is a native of Pittsburgh, PA.

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Marlene M. Ibsen is chief executive officer and president of Travelers Foundation and vice president, Community Relations, for The Travelers Companies, Inc. In her role, she manages the company’s giving practices, overseeing the distribution of approximately $20 million in charitable and civic support each year. She is also responsible for the company’s community-related employee engagement and development activities. Ms. Ibsen took on her current responsibilities in November 2007, and since then has developed a strategic approach for the company’s charitable giving, with a significant emphasis on increasing educational opportunities for underrepresented students. 

Under her direction, the Travelers Foundation and Travelers have launched three signature programs designed to meet community needs and align with business interests, including Travelers EDGE® (Empowering Dreams for Graduation & Employment), a nationally recognized, comprehensive, career pipeline program intended to increase the number of underrepresented individuals who complete bachelor's degrees and are prepared for a career in the Insurance and Financial Services industry. In addition, Ms. Ibsen has also led the development and implementation of an employee community involvement strategy in support of the company’s talent recruitment, retention and development priorities. 

Prior to her role in Community Relations, Ms. Ibsen worked as a vice president in Travelers Corporate Communications, supervising the communications staff responsible for media relations, corporate issues and business unit support. She has also worked in a variety of communications management roles at Travelers, including internal communications and marketing communications. Previously, Ms. Ibsen worked as a writer/producer and public relations consultant. In addition, she has experience working in communications and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. 

Ms. Ibsen holds a B.S. in Radio-TV-Film from Texas Christian University, and an M.S. in Communications Management from Syracuse University. 

Ms. Ibsen currently serves as chair of the board of directors for the National College Access Network in Washington, D.C. In addition, she is a director of College Possible National in Saint Paul, Minn.; Hartford Promise (Conn.); and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (Conn.). She also is a member of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship's Executive Forum.

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Gloria Nemerowicz is president of Yes We Must, a coalition of 33 U.S. nonprofit, independent colleges and universities with strong commitments to enrolling and graduating significant numbers of low-income and first-generation college students. Goals of the coalition include increasing degree attainment for low-income students, disseminating information about how colleges can effectively serve them, and developing valid measures for demonstrating their success.

From 1996 to 2011, Dr. Nemerowicz served as the ninth president of Pine Manor College, a four-year college for women. Under her leadership, Pine Manor adopted a framework of inclusive leadership and social responsibility to craft educational experiences and campus decision-making. This distinctive approach, coupled with a 34 percent reduction in tuition and extensive community partnerships, produced a 70 percent growth in the enrollment over ten years. In addition, Pine Manor significantly increased the diversity of its students and was recognized many times by U.S. News & World Report as one of the most diverse colleges in the country. For her leadership in accomplishing this diversity, Dr. Nemerowicz received the Arnold Z. Rosoff Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in 2005 from the Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Ad Club. She was also inducted into the YWCA-Boston’s Academy of Women Achievers, Class of 2005.

Dr. Nemerowicz came to Pine Manor College from Wells College, where she served as the founding executive director of the Women’s Leadership Institute. Previously, Dr. Nemerowicz served as vice provost and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Monmouth University, where she was also a tenured member of the sociology department. She received widespread recognition and grant awards for the philosophy and design of “Education for Leadership and Social Responsibility” — a comprehensive, college-wide educational plan of curriculum, co-curriculum, faculty development, and community programs to explore inclusive models of leadership.

An active scholar, writer, and speaker, Dr. Nemerowicz is the author of Children’s Perceptions of Gender and Work Roles (1979) and co-author, with JoAnn Gora, of Professionalism in Unpaid Work (1989) and, with Eugene Rosi, of Education for Leadership and Social Responsibility (1997). Her op-ed pieces have appeared in national newspapers. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

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Steven Colón heads the College Board’s Access to Opportunity™ program, which focuses on ensuring that students of various backgrounds — who have earned opportunities through their talent and hard work — engage in academic rigor during high school, apply to and enroll in a college that meets their academic and financial needs, and, ultimately, attain a postsecondary degree. An experienced educator with a focus on diversity and social justice, he is ideally suited to lead the College Board’s efforts to improve the college-going rates of traditionally underserved students. He has been an adjunct political science instructor since 1999 and has taught courses on the civil rights movement, race and ethnic relations, and Hispanic culture and community.

Since joining the College Board in 2005, Mr. Colón has played a key role in SAT®, College Readiness, and Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) strategy and analysis. His responsibilities have included integrating strategic priorities with support functions, monitoring the progress of strategic portfolios, and developing and refining program strategy through competitive analysis, monitoring key trends, and scenario planning. Most recently, Mr. Colón served as the executive director of AP Strategy.

Prior to joining the College Board, Mr. Colón worked for Youth Enrichment Services, an organization dedicated to empowering youth and their families, and the Suffolk County Department of Social Services. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Stony Brook University, a master’s degree in international relations and diplomacy from Saint John’s University, and a bachelor’s degree in comparative government and international relations, also from Saint John’s University. He is a proud father of two young boys.

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Nathaniel Easley was appointed as DSF's chief executive officer on March 1 2013. Prior to his appointment, Easley served as Deputy Director of DSF since 2008, overseeing dramatic growth in the organization’s three-part program to help students from Denver Public Schools succeed in college. 

Easley has more than 25 years of experience helping disadvantaged students realize their dream of a college education. Prior to his work at DSF, Easley served as vice president for national and international programs for the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C. Easley also served on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education as both a member and former president. His master’s and doctorate degrees focused on how higher education institutions can better support the academic success of Black and Latino students.

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Adam Berg is a Director with AEM Corporation, a leader in education data management and information technology, where he is responsible for strategic business development.  AEM is highly regarded for its work with K-12 data collection and analytics, P20W education data standards, as well as providing technical assistance for state longitudinal data systems and grant programs across the nation.

Prior to joining AEM in 2017, Mr. Berg was Vice President of Education Services at General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) where he led a $100M/year portfolio with nearly 800 employees. An accomplished P&L leader adept at forging strategic and customer partnerships, he led numerous successful new business initiatives for both international and domestic accounts. Mr. Berg was also responsible for customer engagement strategies across GDIT’s Education Services business line.

While at GDIT, Mr. Berg led the team that delivers the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) serving more than 20 million students annually. Mr. Berg and his colleagues played a key role in recent efforts to simplify the form, improve the student experience and ultimately reduce barriers to access. Under his leadership, the FAFSA has become one of the most highly rated government websites for customer satisfaction in its class. Mr. Berg also worked closely with the U.S. Department of Education during the launch of the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. He developed and delivered training and assisted schools with reengineering their business processes in transition to the new program.

He takes special pride in turnaround projects, innovative service models, and his clear conviction that technology can and should dramatically improve the way everyone interacts with government.

Mr. Berg is a graduate of Boston College with a B.A. in political science.

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Paul J. Luna is President and Chief Executive Officer of Helios Education Foundation, an NCAN member based in Phoenix, AZ. Helios is the largest nonprofit organization serving Arizona and Florida focused solely on education and it is committed to creating a high-expectations, college-going culture in both states by investing in initiatives that prepare students for college and career success.

Created in 2004 through the sale and conversion of Southwest Student Services Corporation and with an initial endowment of $525 million, Helios made its first investments in education in 2006. Since that time, the Foundation has invested over $133 million in programs and initiatives across its impact areas of Early Childhood Education, the Transition Years and Postsecondary Success that are changing lives through education.

Mr. Luna is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the Foundation, cultivating strong community relationships, and initiating strategic partnerships in Arizona and Florida. Prior to his role at the Foundation, Mr. Luna served as President of Valley of the Sun United Way where he led a community-wide fundraising effort approaching $50 million.

A graduate of Stanford University, Paul holds a degree in Civil Engineering. He serves as a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership, Center for the Future of Arizona Board of Directors, Arizona Community Foundation Board of Directors, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and is the Founding Chair of the Expect More Arizona Board of Directors.

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A highly respected industry leader with more than 20 years of media, marketing, partnership strategy, and business development expertise, Lori McFarling oversees Discovery Education's global marketing initiatives, including public-private partnerships, events and public affairs activities worldwide. Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools and the largest professional learning community of its kind.

In this role, McFarling leads the development and execution of marketing initiatives that support educators in transitioning classrooms to digital learning environments, optimizing the power of media and the resources of Discovery to accelerate academic achievement. Partnering with Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, foundations, trade associations and philanthropists, McFarling also leads the development of community engagement, corporate citizenship and educational initiatives designed to support digital learning in under-resourced areas such as STEM, college and workforce readiness, life skills, sustainability, social media literacy, health and wellness, and environmental education. She manages a team which extends Discovery Education's mission of transforming teaching and learning by developing strategic, customized education solutions that are delivered to educators, students and their families at no cost. Aligned to educational standards, these solutions span partnerships with a variety of like-minded organizations and include nationally-recognized and award-winning programs such as the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, and the Toyota TeenDrive365 Video Challenge, among others.

Previously, McFarling served as chief operating officer for Animal Planet and Discovery Kids Media. In this position, she oversaw business operations and administration, led cross-functional activities across the divisions business units and directed the networks strategy for brand extension, digital media and product development. McFarling also partnered with the company's international leadership team to support worldwide growth of the Animal Planet brand across all platforms.

Prior to that, McFarling served as senior vice president of distribution and marketing strategy, overseeing all aspects of Discovery's relationships with the country's four largest distributors (Comcast, Time Warner, DirecTV and Echostar), as well as distribution strategy and affiliate marketing for Discovery's stable of U.S. cable networks nationwide. She also has held posts as vice president, affiliate marketing, and as director of TLC sales strategy and planning.

McFarling serves in several industry leadership roles as a member of the National Education Association Foundation's Board of Directors, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT), the Association of Cable Communicators, PEER 150, and has been named to Leadership Montgomery's 25th Anniversary Class. She is a graduate of the WICT Betsy Magness Leadership Institute fellowship program, and in 2006, was named to the "Wonder Women" class of television executives. McFarling has been recognized with numerous awards, the Vanguard Award for Marketing, the industry's highest honor for marketing excellence, and the WICT Liberty Award, acknowledging her "demonstrated excellence in the areas of leadership, innovation, excellence, risk taking, teamwork and dedication to the cable and telecommunications industry." She was also named one of CableFax's Most Powerful Women in Cable for 2014.

McFarling earned her bachelor's degree in English and journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and resides with her husband and three children in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Sasha Peterson is responsible for the strategic direction and all day to day operations of TargetX. Upon joining the business he oversaw the expansion of TargetX’s product offerings to create the industry’s first true, campus-wide CRM solution. Prior to joining TargetX Sasha held a variety of executive leadership roles at top education technology firms including President of Hobsons EMT and VP of Partnerships at Altius Education. He began his career as co-founder of Academic Engine and has more than 15 years of education technology experience. Sasha is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

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Jamie Sears is Head of Strategic Partnerships & Programs for Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas, at UBS. She develops and manages the firm's two flagship philanthropic initiatives focused in the areas of education and entrepreneurship: UBS NextGen Leaders, a $10 million, multi-year investment to increase college access and success for lower-income, first-generation college goers; and Elevating Entrepreneurs, a portfolio of partnerships and programs to spur entrepreneurial growth.

Prior to UBS, Ms. Sears held a variety of roles in the Office at Corporate Engagement at Goldman Sachs, including serving on the launch team for 10,000 Women, a global business and management education initiative for women entrepreneurs; creating and managing the engagement strategy for 10,000 Small Businesses, a domestic initiative focused on business growth and job creation; and as a program officer working with leading scholarship organizations to support underrepresented women pursuing business careers.

Ms. Sears’s previous experience includes launching and managing the Reynolds Foundation Program in Social Entrepreneurship at New York University and working at Teach for America on the corps member selection and national development teams. Her early experience at TFA influenced her lifelong commitment to educational equity, economic empowerment and community development.

Ms. Sears serves on the Social Innovation Summit Council and the Post-Secondary Success Impact Group of Grantmakers for Education. She received an M.P.A. from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service and a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.

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As president of Hobsons’ Advising & Admissions Solutions, Stephen Smith drives his team to consider the impact they are having on the world around them. Mr. Smith joined Hobsons in 2007 through the acquisition of Naviance, a company he co-founded, which is now the leading college and career readiness solution for schools and districts. Today, Mr. Smith oversees Hobsons’ global product strategy, marketing, policy and research, and R&D, serving more than 12 million students and 10,000 schools, colleges, and universities in more than 90 countries. Earlier this year, he was instrumental in Hobsons’ acquisition of Starfish Retention Solutions, allowing Hobsons to create a seamless advising solution to help counselors support student success from grade school through graduate school.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Smith was vice president of digital product development at Peterson’s, then a division of The Thomson Corporation (now Thomson Reuters).

Mr. Smith believes in “finding your passion, not someone else’s” and wants to help students take ownership of their education so everyone has that opportunity. He credits his early mentors for helping him build his professional success: his parents, who were educators; his high school American history teacher; and his thesis advisor. He believes deeply in matching corporate commitment with personal action, and he practices this belief as a board member of NCAN member College Possible. Mr. Smith earned a bachelor of arts degree in history, cum laude, and an MBA from Cornell University.

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Herb Tillery has been the Executive Director of the College Success Foundation – District of Columbia (CSF-DC) since 2006. Prior to coming to CSF-DC, he was the District of Columbia deputy mayor for operations. He has also been the executive director of The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Municipal Management and chief of staff for the District of Columbia Public Schools. Previously, Mr. Tillery served his country with distinction for over 26 years and retired with the rank of Colonel, U.S. Army. His community service includes board service for the Greater Washington Urban League; the Center for Leadership and Management, Graduate School, USDA; the George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership; the George Washington University School of Public Policy & Public Administration; Leadership Greater Washington; and the DC Chamber of Commerce. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from North Carolina A&T State University. While on active duty, he earned a master’s of public administration from Jacksonville State University.

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Ricardo D. Torres joined the National Student Clearinghouse as its CEO and president in 2008. The Clearinghouse, a non-profit organization founded in 1993, is the nation’s most trusted source for enrollment and degree verification. Its members include more than 3,300 U.S. colleges and universities.

Prior to joining the Clearinghouse, Mr. Torres had a long and distinguished career in the private sector, both in the U.S. and abroad, including serving as COO at BestPractices, a nationally-recognized provider of emergency medicine and physician practice management, and Capital One (a financial services company). Mr. Torres has also held management positions in leading organizations such as PepsiCo and Philip Morris/Kraft Foods (now known as Altria Group). His diverse background includes financial and strategic planning, marketing and sales, general management, and executive leadership.

Mr. Torres is a board member of the American Association of Community Colleges, the John Tyler Community College Foundation, and the Advisory Board of Cohesive Knowledge Solutions (a knowledge management company). In 2013, The Washington Business Journal named him the Minority Business Leader of the Year.  He has an MBA in International Finance from Georgetown University and undergraduate degrees in both Marketing and Management from Manhattan College.

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