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Biographies

Steve Gillman retired from Eli Lilly and Company in 2013 after 35 years of service. Prior to his retirement, Steve was the Vice President of Health, Safety, and Environment; he also had executive leadership roles in engineering and manufacturing.

Born in Brookville, Indiana, Steve received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Steve is a registered Professional Engineer in Indiana and serves on the boards of Starfish Initiative, the Indiana Board of Registration for Professional Engineers, Minority Engineering Program of Indianapolis, Indiana Bread for the World, Indianapolis SUPER School, and THRIVEfunds. He actively mentors several young men in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education initiatives in the classroom and at the policy level.

Steve is married to Cindy and they have two children, Andrew (daughter-in-law Courtney) and Emily (son-in-law Adam), and three grandchildren.

 

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James Collins is Managing Partner of Eastwood Capital Partners, LLC, a private equity firm focused on middle market investments in consumer and business services industries.  Collins has held roles at other private equity and financial services firms, including Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill, & Co., and Roark Capital Group, after starting his career as an Associate Consultant at Bain & Company.  A NYC resident, Collins holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Howard University.  He serves on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards of directors.  James serves on the finance and the development/marketing committees of THRIVEfunds Inc.

 

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Dionne Lomax is a Lecturer in the Markets, Public Policy, and Law Department at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and (by courtesy) at Boston University’s School of Law. She teaches “Introduction to Law” and “Business Law and Discrimination” in Questrom’s Undergraduate and MBA program. She also teaches Legal and Regulatory Risk in Questrom’s online MBA program. Her teaching philosophy is to promote student enthusiasm for the law by ensuring that students experience the practical application of a subject with a special emphasis on providing students with skills-based simulation exercises as they analyze relevant issues.

 

Dionne has a passion for mentoring students and promoting more inclusive legal and business environments. As such, she serves as a Faculty in Residence for Questrom’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion office, and is the faculty advisor for the Black Business Students Association. Prior to joining BU, Dionne dedicated her legal career to analyzing complex business transactions as an antitrust partner in two national law firms, where she represented high-profile clients in various commercial transactions before the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and various State Attorneys General in connection with mergers and other commercial transactions. Dionne received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated from Howard University summa cum laude, with a B.B.A. in finance.

Dionne is vice chair of THRIVEfunds Inc where she also chairs the Governance committee.

 

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Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center (1981) and the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College.  For many years she was a visiting professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies where she taught graduate courses in Women’s Studies. 

 

A native of Memphis, Tennesee, Professor Guy-Sheftall has published numerous texts within African American and Women’s Studies which have been noted as seminal works by other scholars.  She is the past president of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA). In 2013, she was a featured feminist in the 2013 PBS documentary Makers: Women Who Make America, which highlighted feminist history. In 2017, Dr. Guy-Sheftall was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Beverly serves on the Governance committee of THRIVEfunds Inc.

 

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Jennifer Joyce has over 15 years of experience launching and building consumer brands. She has worked in the pet, travel, wine, gaming, and food delivery industries. She led the marketing team that grew Everest Gaming to $150M and resulted in a successful exit. She has worked for brands Kurgo (bought by Radio Systems, a $400M pet conglomerate), BuyerZone (bought by Zoominfo), DiningIn (bought by Grubhub), Staples & Deloitte. Jennifer is currently the President of SpotOn Fence, which is a dog GPS start-up in New Hampshire. She has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA from Cornell University.  Jennifer serves on the Technology and the Development/Marketing committees of THRIVEfunds Inc.

 

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Jake Mizrahi is a Managing Director and Co-Founder of Oval Partners. He has worked in the Private Equity Industry for over 20 years and has extensive experience across transaction types, including buyouts, build-ups, corporate carve-outs, take privates, equity investments, and debt financings. He focuses on making investments in information services, software, tech-enabled services, and business and financial services. Jake has had a significant amount of success investing in and partnering with entrepreneurs to help them scale their companies by making acquisitions, generating organic growth, and developing strategic partnerships. His approach is to work with management teams to help them develop long-term strategies to dramatically grow and transform their businesses. Prior to founding Oval Partners in 2015, Jake was a Managing Director at Golden Gate Capital, which he joined in 2003. Previously Jake was a founding executive of iPhrase Technologies, which was acquired by IBM. Early in his career, he was also an investment professional at Bain Capital and a management consultant at Bain & Company.

He holds an M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Phi Beta Kappa).

 

Jake serves as Treasurer of THRIVEfunds Inc and is also a member of the Technology Committee. He lives in Menlo Park, CA with his wife and their three children.

 

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Gisele Garraway is the founder and CEO of THRIVEfunds Inc. Prior to launching THRIVEfunds, Gisele spent over 20 years in senior strategy, data analytics, and P&L leadership functions at Bain & Company, Staples Inc, SEPHORA USA and Fidelity Investment’s private equity arm, Devonshire Investors. 

 

Upon her family’s relocation to Indianapolis, Gisele shifted to social impact work and was President & CEO of Starfish Initiative, a youth mentoring program focused on college and career preparation for underserved teens.

 

Ms. Garraway received her BBA, summa cum laude, from Howard University and her MBA from Harvard Business School.  She also earned MITs credential for completing Blockchain Technologies:  Business Innovation & Application coursework. Gisele has a strong passion for applying operational best practices to poverty alleviation work and has served on several boards most notably Brookview House which empowers mothers and children experiencing homelessness in Boston, MA. 

Gisele currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, Levi, and their two teenage children.

 

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Marlo Underwood Collins is currently and proudly serving as a mom to three teenage boys, wife to an accomplished artist, sister to three siblings, and primary caregiver to her aging father. Bringing folks together for a common cause has long been her passion. In the nineties, she established two vibrant women’s encouragement groups in both Maryland and Los Angeles, CA and an ongoing prayer group via Zoom established during the worldwide shut down in 2020.

Marlo’s mother and father, Col. (Ret.) Frank and Marilyn Underwood recognized that their lives were given to give. They carried that torch well. Marlo has picked up that torch seeking not only to serve her family at home but her community at large. Since she was a child, art and theater have touched her life and continue today as she seeks to help foster the careers of her husband and sons and even launching her own voice-over career. Since building a life dedicated to the arts is near and dear to her, she is establishing The Underwood Artist Foundation. She also serves on the Board of Swift Creek Mill Theater in Colonial Heights, Virginia, and TRHIVEfunds. As her relationship with God is foundational and key to a peaceful life, she has realized the importance of incorporating practical skills to ensure a long healthy life. Learning TaiChi at Little Creek KungFu and becoming an active participant in its local community uplift efforts is an intentional commitment to her health and wellness after witnessing her mother’s long struggle with complications from Multiple Sclerosis. 

A well-traveled, former “Army Brat”, Marlo is a graduate of George Mason University and she feels like the second half of her life is just beginning.

 

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Amera Schaefer, a THRIVEfunds co-founder, joined the board in October 2020. Currently, she serves as Executive Director of Paralyzed Veterans for America, Wisconsin Chapter. Previously, Amera worked as a Consulting Analyst at Ascend Indiana, partnering on projects to connect sectors in human services to better serve Indianapolis residents in need of support. Her other nonprofit work includes Starfish Initiative, where she led as the Senior Director of Operations and Analytics. During her time in this role, she created and implemented new data management processes and improved client operation processes. Amera believes that being an active participant in civic engagement is an important factor in creating thriving communities for all. She has volunteered at many organizations over the past seven years including service as an AmeriCorps Vista member in 2015. Amera has also served on the boards of Hope for Tomorrow and Beacon of Hope.

Amera completed her B.A. in Anthropology, where she graduated magna cum laude, with Honors distinction. She was awarded a scholarship to attend Oxford University based on her academics and leadership on campus. She returned to the University of Indianapolis to obtain her M.S. in Biological Anthropology and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Human Services from the University of Arizona. 

 

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Shuan Greene is a Director of IoT (Internet of Things) leading an international team to build advanced technology solutions that bring AI to edge computing. He grew up in an ALICE family and knows that it was through the support of his family and community that he was able to go to college and make a successful career in engineering. Not everyone is lucky enough to have such a great support network. Shaun joined the board of THRIVEfunds because he learned firsthand how the right help with the right services makes a long-term difference in someone's life trajectory. THRIVEfunds is working to bridge a gap in the American system in order to help hard-working American families improve their lives and that is really meaningful work. When not working, Shaun likes to spend time automating his garden with his family and water-skiing (both liquid and frozen ;). 

 

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Elizabeth Darby is a results-driven social service executive with two decades of experience managing public/private partnerships that improve outcomes for families. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Knox College, where she majored in political science and interned with Congressman David Minge, and a Masters of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Elizabeth has extensive knowledge of and experience in family assistance, poverty alleviation, and social determinants of health. She began her career as a case manager at the Rock County Job Center in southern Wisconsin.  Upon relocating to Indianapolis, she held several positions in state government, administering programs for the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), the Department of Child Services (DCS), and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).  She also brings nonprofit experience from the Indiana Youth Insitute and Playworks Education Energized. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has earned numerous performance awards and accolades for her work in drop-out prevention, youth development, and Medicaid operations.

 

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Kerry Tuttle is a not-for-profit executive with more than fifteen years of experience developing and leading nonprofit organizations in central Indiana. Her extensive knowledge of fundraising and organizational management provides Kerry with the expertise to develop philanthropic initiatives that will support and grow THRIVEfunds.

Kerry has worked to develop broad-based financial support for the Indianapolis Zoo’s International Orangutan Center and most recently for DePauw University’s multi-million dollar annual giving program. While serving in executive director positions at Prevent Child Abuse Hendricks County, the Avon Education Foundation, and Leadership Hendricks County, Kerry focused on increasing organizational visibility, community and corporate support, and direct impact on the well-being of Hoosier families and children. Kerry holds a degree in history and political science from Indiana University, where she is currently completing a master's degree in Public Affairs. In her free time, Kerry enjoys spending time with her husband of 26 years and her 20 year old daughter, traveling, and volunteering in her community.

THRIVEfunds is changing the game for donors and philanthropists,  community organizations, and most importantly families striving to become financially secure. No more blind donations and a dull annual report. Donors can find families in their own city, zip code, or neighborhood and invest. In a time when agency budgets are stretched and demand for services is growing, community organizations have a new resource.  Families, working hard to break the cycle of poverty, gain immediate assistance with the everyday expenses, like gas to get to work or school and out-of-school programs for kids; things that otherwise would be a barrier to their success.

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Emily Wilson is a vice president of strategic communications at Bose Public Affairs Group, a government relations firm based in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. Emily helps clients manage a variety of communications issues including building and managing coalitions, strategic planning, media relations, advocacy, reputation management, and crisis communications. Emily lives in Indy with her husband and their two dogs.

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Benjamin Garden is a Director of Analytics and Practice Leader at Iris Pricing Solutions, part of Iris Worldwide. He works with a global client base and oversees pricing analytics across North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. With a focus on leveraging data science and machine learning to improve pricing, revenue management, and profitability, he works closely with business executives and private equity firms to achieve their goals. With a strong background in marketing analytics and thought leadership, Benjamin has previously held senior positions at Environics Analytics (Bell Canada), consulting positions at HIS Markit (S&P Global), and research positions at McMaster University. He started his career co-founding a tech start-up to improve fleet routing efficiency for paratransit services. He has a track record of delivering world-class analytic solutions across retail, CPG, not-for-profit, finance, automotive, and manufacturing industries. He is known for his problem-solving, entrepreneurial mindset, and passion for seeing through the complexities of data to distill actionable insights.

 
Benjamin holds a Master of Arts degree in Social Science and Spatial Analysis Specialization and an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography with a GIS Minor. He is an advocate for financial literacy, particularly among youth. From 2014 to 2020, he founded a financial education website aimed at teaching and entertaining young professions around basic financial principles. As a second generation immigrant and having grown up in a financially conscious household, he leveraged his own personal experiences to offer practical financial lessons for young professionals to tackle debt and diversify their investments. From hosting speaking engagements and supporting panel discussions to collaborating with other non-profit organizations, he enjoys promoting financial literacy. In his free time, Benjamin enjoys hiking the trails around Toronto with his family, including his wife, two children, and their dog. 

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Calvin Goah is a 26-year-old Software Engineer at Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT), where he builds backend & frontend services geared at growing TpT’s market cap. He has launched several services for the company ranging from self-serve workflows to core data model restructures. He also leads different, nontechnical initiatives like running company-wide demos and leading a communication learning guild (i.e., engineering groups at TpT that last 5-6 months and are geared towards introducing/familiarizing other engineers to new skill sets). Outside of TpT, Calvin has been running Rivrb Inc., a tech startup geared towards scaling the process of fact-checking by utilizing AI Automation and a distributed network of vetted content validators from around the globe. Rivrb has been in operation since October 2020, when Calvin founded the company, along with three former classmates of his from Columbia University. As CEO and the only Founder still currently pursuing the venture, Calvin has been in charge of technology development, venture fundraising, market research, and social media/brand awareness. Calvin’s greatest strength is his ability to ask probing questions in addition to seeing the long-term vision of an organization and implementing daily systems that’ll lead to the actualization of said vision.


Calvin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a specialization in Intelligent Systems from Columbia University. 
 
Calvin is an avid musician when he’s not immersed in the world of tech. Calvin first fell in love with music creation as a Sophomore in high school when he took an Intro to Keyboarding class as a requirement for graduation. He instantly fell in love with the keyboard and immediately petitioned his grandparents to get him one. Although it took a lot of petitioning, he eventually got the keyboard of his dreams, and the rest is history. His musical influences range from Nobuo Uematsu to Michael Jackson and Drake! He’s since honed his singing, guitar, rap, and music production/engineering skills. He’s currently working on an Afrobeats/Hip-Hop record called “High Hopes” that’s set to release on all streaming platforms in the coming months.

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Ed Woo brings extensive experience in leading teams to drive business impact by leveraging data and applying analytic rigor for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Walmart Connect, eBay, Yahoo, Staples, Ogilvy, Shutterfly, and TextNow, with a focus on integrating with strategy and tactics, innovating with creative, analytical solutions, and elevating measurable results. His career in data analytics started after graduate school when he had an opportunity to learn about relational databases, predictive modeling, and programming and contribute to the business in a meaningful way. From then onward, Ed found my sweet spot and was fortunate enough to manage high-performing analytics teams for leading brands.


Ed received his BA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MBA from California State University at Hayward, and a graduate certificate in Applied Statistics from Penn State University. 


Ed grew up in the Boston area and moved to Silicon Valley to pursue his professional career with his wife and four kids – two in college and two in middle school. Beyond spending time with the family, he enjoys watching or playing sports, with a recent fascination with golf.  

Gillman
J_Collins
Lomax
Sheftall
Joyce
Mizrahi
Garraway
M_Collins
Schaefer
Greene
Darby
Tuttle
Wilson
Garden
Goah
Woo
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