Lora Farkas, Board of Directors, Chair
Lora’s first career was in project finance lending, but time away to raise her four children led to increased volunteer and board involvement in their independent schools. Working closely with dedicated educators fostered both deep respect for the power of education to change lives and a commitment to increase access to excellent educational opportunities for children in the Boston area. Lora volunteered at Beacon Academy in its first year, then joined as staff to create and direct a program that matched students with volunteer mentors. She then helped launch a college coaching and after-school tutoring program at Fenway High School, a Boston Pilot School. Lora is currently the Director of Parent Engagement at Belmont Hill School. She has served on the Boards of Shady Hill School, Beacon Academy, Belmont Hill School (ex officio), and Fenway High School. Lora lives in Cambridge with her husband, Chuck.
Susan Benford, M.B.A., Board of Directors, President
Susan Benford has been consistently unable to decide what she wants to do. She worked in Washington, D.C. for a lobbying group representing the pet industry; earned an M.B.A. and worked as a financial analyst at Intel; hired and managed a sales force in the computer software industry; served on the Boston Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, on the Foundation Board of the Massachusetts College of Art, and in leadership roles at Shady Hill School, BB&N, and Cambridge School of Weston. Presently, she runs Masterpiece Cards, a publisher of art history educational and reference cards exploring the most famous paintings in art history. She is married, has two adult sons, and one spoiled dog.
Ilene Greenberg, Board of Directors, Clerk
Ilene Greenberg’s passions in the non-profit world have focused on women’s rights and educational opportunities for underserved populations in the Boston area. She is a past Board Chair of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM), the 2012 National Volunteer of the Year for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has been a hotline counselor at PPLM since 2003. She currently serves on the Board of Beacon Academy in Boston. Ilene lives in Brookline with her husband, Michael Maynard.
Martha Bedell, M.Arch., Board of Directors, Treasurer
Martha is an architect with a practice focused on residential construction and renovation. In addition, Martha has been involved in several non-profits, both as a hands-on volunteer and as a board member interested in sustainability and governance. Martha served on the Shady Hill School Board of Overseers, as Chair of the Committee on Trustees and as Head of Parent Fundraising. Committed to working for equity in educational opportunities for Boston area teens, she has mentored students at Beacon Academy and is currently an after-school tutor at Fenway High School, a Boston Pilot School. Martha also serves as Treasurer on the board of High Spirit Community Farm, a program in Great Barrington, MA that offers meaningful work and a rich homelife to young adults with cognitive disabilities. Martha lives in Cambridge with her husband, David Dryer.
Melanie Calzetti-Spahr, Board of Directors
Melanie spent her career at Fidelity Investments where she worked in the private equity investment arm of the organization. She left in 2013 and re-engaged in the non-profit sector and is a member of organizations that invest throughout the greater Boston area in the domains of education, poverty, and immigration. She is also actively involved with women’s reproductive health issues and advocacy and does pro bono consulting with ESC of New England and Community Consulting Teams. Melanie is a former fellow of Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, a new third stage of higher education designed to prepare experienced leaders to take on challenges in the social sector. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Smith College and an MBA with distinction from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Jay, live in Winchester.
Barbara Gaskin, Board of Directors
Barbara is a management consultant who currently works with organizations on performance and social impact measurement, project planning, and management, and information technology/business strategy alignment. Previously, she served as CEO of Decision Support Technology (DST), a consulting firm specializing in the strategic use of information technology and the design and development of business intelligence systems for large corporations and government agencies. Barbara has also served as COO of Crosswind Investments, a start-up institutional investment firm based in Boston. Her philanthropic endeavors include working for an international philanthropy consulting firm on the development of social impact measurement methods and tools. In addition, she has served on the board of the Carroll School in Lincoln, was a tutor/mentor for Year Up students, and continues to support several non-profits in Belize. Barbara is an avid traveler and nature photographer and enjoys living in Newburyport.
Andrea Goodman, Board of Directors
Andrea’s path to philanthropy has long been connected to companies and businesses as drivers for social and community change. Shaping community impact through communications and marketing has interested Andrea for as long as she can remember. She has held public affairs, corporate communications, and public relations roles for some of the most recognized and socially responsible brands in the world, including Reebok and Levi’s. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship, having gotten introduced to it when she was the third employee at Children First; she helped grow this start-up into one of the first and largest networks of corporate backup child care centers in the US. Currently, Andrea is Chief of Staff and Chief Communications Officer for Be The Change, Inc. She lives in Brookline.
Jessica Hatfield, Board of Directors
Jessica (Jesse) has worked in the non-profit sector for her entire career. She is currently the Development and Communications Manager at the Boston Private Industry Council, an organization that connects youth and adults with education and employment opportunities. Before that, she worked in Washington, DC at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and at Crittenton Services of Greater Washington. Jesse graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies. She is a member of the Board of Ambassadors for Silver Lining Mentoring, a TPC grantee. Jesse is a former TPC Fellow (2014-2016) and currently serves as a co-chair of the Young Philanthropist Initiative. She has also enjoyed serving as a Team Captain on the Grants Committee, and on a number of other committees. Originally from the South Shore, Jesse now lives in Boston, near the Common.
Sandy Lawrence, Board of Directors
Sandy is a retired business executive having worked at the well-known Fortune companies of Gillette, Polaroid, Johnson and Johnson, and iRobot. In her retirement from the large corporate world, she took on two start-up CEO roles in the San Francisco area, and now in semi-retirement does consulting work helping companies in innovation and business creation. On the philanthropy side of Sandy’s life, she has been on the Board of Visitors for The University of Maine and the Tufts Gordon Institute. She is a member of the Rockport Music Council, is on the Board of the Annisquam Yacht Club, and is on the Board of Annisquam Village Church. Sandy has been a member of TPC since 2013 and has been running the TPC Dialogue events for the last several years. Sandy splits her time between Annisquam and Boston when not visiting her grandchildren in Providence and San Francisco.
Pat McSweeney, M.B.A., Board of Directors
Pat spent her professional life in Human Resources management in health care and financial services, the last 10 years as a Vice President at Fidelity Investments. Since leaving the corporate world, she has run a conference on women and work at the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston and served on non-profit Boards, including YWCA Boston and the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. She is a fiber artist with a focus on felt-making and fabric dyeing and makes wearable art and decorative pieces at her studio in Charlestown. She has work in collections at the University of Pennsylvania and the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. Pat is also an advocate for urban green space and an avid gardener. She was for many years president of Gardens for Charlestown and has grown roses and perennials in her community garden plot for 25 years. Pat holds an MBA from Simmons and lives in Charlestown.
Cori Mykoff, Board of Directors
Cori is the Director of Development at Silver Lining Mentoring. Silver Lining Mentoring empowers youth in foster care to by providing and supporting committed, long-term mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. At Silver Lining, Cori directs local fundraising through collaboration with volunteer leaders, corporate sponsorship, grants, direct mailings, and fundraising events. Before that, she was the Senior Development Officer at The Posse Foundation, a non-profit focused on educational access and youth leadership for urban youth. Cori has also served as the development officer at TERC, a STEM educational research and curriculum development organization. Cori began her career at The Boston Bar Association and Foundation, where she worked with volunteer attorneys to administer over $1 million in legal aid grants annually. Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Cori lives in Somerville and is a proud alumna of Emerson College. Her personal heroes include Dorothy Zbornak and Julia Sugarbaker.
Marta E. Pagán-Ortiz, M.S., Board of Directors
Marta has been engaged in philanthropy most of her life, most recently with the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. She holds an MS in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University and is currently at UMass Boston working on a PhD in Counseling Psychology. Her interests include the development of health technologies, mental health services in community-based settings, and interventions to reduce disparities in health. At TPC, she has enjoyed leadership roles as a Team Captain on the Grants Review committee, and co-chair of the Young Philanthropist Conference Committee. Originally from Puerto Rico, Marta now lives in East Boston with her husband.
Amy Feind Reeves, M.B.A., Board of Directors
Amy is the Founder and CEO of JobCoachAmy, where she leverages her experience of over 25 years as a hiring manager to help new and experienced professionals find careers that make them happy. Her corporate practice focuses on managing millennials. Amy has enjoyed successful careers as a commercial banker, global management consultant, entrepreneur, corporate executive, and non-profit executive. She graduated cum laude from Wellesley College and earned an MBA at the Tuck School of Dartmouth College.
Her work for TPC has included chairing the Young Philanthropists Committee as well as multiple task force roles including strategic planning, organizational development, and key process redesign. In addition to her work with TPC, Amy has designed and delivered a course for Citizens Schools providing financial literacy to middle school girls. She lives in Back Bay with her family and is a proud BB&N mom.
Cheryl Wakeham, Board of Directors
Cheryl is a free-lance editor working primarily with clients in the financial services field. She has held management positions in the financial industry as well as in management consulting. Always interested in words and language, she taught English as Second Language in Brighton for 10 years, serving a largely Russian-speaking population. When not massaging others’ words, Cheryl is writing a screenplay for an animated film, with some characters based on children she met while living and volunteering in Strasbourg, France. She makes her home in West Roxbury, where she tends her modest but prize-winning garden.
Former Board Members
After earning an M.B.A. from the Darden School at the University of Virginia, Suzanne embarked on a career in international banking. Eleven years later, she moved to Japan, where she worked as a grant director for Refugees International Japan. It was in this capacity that Suzanne traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and Africa, visiting and working in refugee camps. Suzanne returned to the U.S., went back to school, earned a Masters of Education, and ultimately taught middle school humanities on Boston’s South Shore. During this time, she joined the board of Summer Search Boston, an organization that works with Boston’s low-income high school students to stay in high school, get into college, and succeed in life. Suzanne has been an active member of Summer Search’s board finance committee as the organization has grown from a staff of three to what it is today – one of the city’s leading youth leadership organizations, with a multi-million dollar budget. Suzanne currently chairs the Summer Search Summer Internship committee. She and her husband Leslie Carter live in Hingham.
Ellen S. Cohn, Sc.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Board Member Emeritus
Ellen has devoted her professional career to enabling people living with disability and chronic health conditions to participate fully in their lives and communities. As an occupational therapist, Ellen has worked in various non-profit organizations such as hospitals, schools, summer camps, clinics and community agencies. She is currently a clinical professor and program director for the occupational therapy program at Boston University, Sargent College Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. In this role, she teaches and mentors graduate students to become competent and confident future health care practitioners. Her research and publications focus on the perspectives of children, adolescents and families related to factors that support or inhibit inclusion and access to quality care in school, at home, and in the community. She frequently travels to Ecuador with students to encourage cultural awareness and to learn with and from Ecuadorian colleagues. She serves on the board of the Spiral Foundation and chairs their Institutional Review Board. Ellen and her husband Larry Berkowitz live in Lexington.
Dharma E. Cortés, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Board Member Emeritus
Dharma is a senior research associate at the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at UMass-Boston, an instructor at the Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, and an adjunct assistant professor at Northeastern University’s Institute on Urban Health Research. For more than twenty years she has been conducting community-based research with Latinos in the U.S, focusing on acculturation, health, mental health, and healthcare quality. Dharma has served on the boards and advisory councils of the Men’s Health Network, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, Our Bodies Ourselves, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Big Sisters of Greater Boston, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She recently completed a two-year term as president of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts board. Dharma lives with her husband Rodolfo Vega and their dog Frida in Lynn.
Marla has worked as a marketing professor, investigative journalist, marketing consultant, and consumer advocate. She’s taught at Northwestern University, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and UMass-Boston’s McCormack School of Policy Studies. She has written extensively about product safety regulation for the Atlantic Monthly, Slate, Mother Jones, and other magazines. She served on the 2008 Obama Transition Team advisory committee, the Jewish Council for Education & Research Great Schlep campaign advisory board, and the board of directors of the Hispanic National Bar Association Journal on Law & Policy, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Summer Search Boston, the Youth Job Center of Evanston, and the Evanston Community Foundation. Marla and her husband, Max Bazerman, live in Cambridge.
Barbara has diverse program management experience in both for profit and non-profit organizations. Earlier in her life she worked as a Human Resources professional for leading companies in technology, publishing and financial services. This experience lead to her next role as an HR consultant where she specialized in Executive Compensation. Through her numerous volunteer positions she has become passionate about making college accessible and affordable for disadvantaged youth. Currently, she works in Graduate Support at the Epiphany School in Dorchester, providing guidance to students on how to get into and graduate from college. She and her husband, Bernie Lebow, live in Newton and look forward to the time they spend visiting their children who reside in New Orleans.
Linette’s passions include all matters of public health with a particular focus on sexual health education. Linette currently teaches at Wheaton College in addition to maintaining a consulting practice. Most recently, Linette has been training middle school teachers on a Statewide comprehensive sexuality education program which she developed, and she is also working with the Department of Public Health on creating trauma-informed primary prevention for adult GLBTQ communities. Linette currently serves on the Boards of several organizations to further her mission in working for social change, including the Mass Promise board, which is a statewide program of Americorps and the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She has also served on the Boards of the Massachusetts Midwives Association, and the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts for three terms, where she has served as President. Linette and her husband Peter Demuth live in Newton where they love to garden.
Sharhea is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She currently works at State Street Corporation as an assistant vice president, Global Treasury Investment Management. She is a part-time student in Boston University’s M.B.A. program, and executive director of the National Black M.B.A. Association in Boston. Sharhea is an alumna of the Posse Foundation and Summer Search Boston. She has won awards from both Posse and the State Street Black Professional Group for her volunteer work and commitment to the organizations. In her spare time, she loves to read and sing until her lungs can’t take the pressure anymore. She is originally from the beautiful, volcanic island of Montserrat, and now resides in Roslindale.
Catherine West, M.P.A., Board Member Emeritus
Catherine brings over 10 years of experience in philanthropic, government, non-profit, research and business sectors. As the Director of External Research Partnerships for the Center for Health Information and Analysis, an independent state agency, Catherine manages cross-sector partnerships as well as research contracts to address legislative requests. Previously, she worked at Gilead Sciences, Inc. as a Senior Manager in Government Affairs. She managed the operations, finance, legal, and evaluation for HIV FOCUS, a national initiative to change the standard of practice in health care, as well as the national partnership with the NAACP. Prior to joining Gilead, Catherine held multiple roles at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation including serving as a Consultant for the Human Capital Team and Community Health Leaders as well as serving as the Project Director for New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming. Prior to joining the Foundation, Catherine was a Program Coordinator at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, where she oversaw FACES for the Future, a model pipeline program for underrepresented high school students. Catherine also serves on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and the Chica Project and lives in Hyde Park.