Super Stars Literacy is led by a dynamic group of individuals who devote their time, talent and resources to carry out our mission of empowering students through reading.
Super Stars Literacy Board of Directors
▶Carla Koren, Senior VP Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley (Board President):
Carla is a Senior Vice President-Wealth Management, Senior Investment Management Consultant, and a CIMA at Smith Barney in Berkeley, California. Carla graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA and obtained her MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. In addition to managing over $530 million in assets, Carla is also very active with two local community organizations: the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, Inc. (JLOEB) and Girls Inc. of Alameda County. She held several chair positions during her fourteen years as a member of JLOEB including that of President during the 2001-2002 League year, and Super Stars Literacy Program Chair from 2002 to 2008. When SSL became an independent non-profit she transitioned into the role of Board President. Carla also has a long history of volunteer leadership with Girls Inc. of Alameda County, an organization which serves to empower young women to become “strong, smart and bold.” Carla’s work with SSL has been recognized with several volunteer awards: the 2005 Diablo Magazine “Threads of Hope” award, the 2010 Volunteer Center of the Bay Area’s “Non-Profit Board Leadership” Award, and a national 2010 Volunteer Leadership award from University of Phoenix/HandsOn Network.
▶Jill Godsey, Head of Operations, Varo, Board President-Elect:
Jill Godsey has worked in the financial services industry for over 25 years, currently at fintech start-up Varo. Jill’s background of financial analysis led her through many roles including Finance, Budgeting, Reporting and Analysis, Strategic Planning, Call Center Operations, Anti Money Laundering Operations and most recently Operational Controls and Risk Management. Jill likes to partner with subject matter experts in any line of work to transform and scale their processes. Her passion for early literacy stems from her own love of reading, and her belief that education is the silver bullet for fighting poverty. Jill was the first of her family to graduate college, and continues to mentor students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where she earned both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters of Business Administration. Jill lives in Lafayette, California, with her husband Tom and teenage boys, Parker and Logan.
▶Amie Gray, CEO N3 Innovation:
Amie is a collaborative leader of business-driven innovation and strategy for high-tech, B2B companies. Amie brings insights from more than 20 years in international high-tech and consulting. Amie holds a Bachelors in Engineering from Penn State and MBA from MIT. Amie knows first-hand how challenging it is to be a parent with a child who has dyslexia, reading and language delays. The knowledge she has gained over 10 years of struggling with schools and remediation can now benefit many parents and children through Super Stars Literacy.
▶Elvia Villalobos, Manager of Staffing, Google:
Elvia Villalobos is currently a Manager of Staffing Services at Google for their Learning Navigation Team. In her role at Google she leads a global team that oversees onboarding and training for recruiters and sources at Google.
As the first member of her family that attended and graduated from college, she understands the importance of getting a strong foundation in reading, which was critical in setting her on the right path to get an education. Elvia wouldn’t have been able to do that without the investment of a volunteer veteran (Mr. Ruiz) who donated his time to her 4th grade class and his belief in her made all the difference. Elvia volunteers for SSL because she wants to contribute in the same way that Mr. Ruiz did – help young children find their passion for reading/education and provide some support to the schools and communities that are most underserved.
In her spare time, Elvia really enjoys nature and loves hiking in the early morning. She lived in Spain for a year, and loves machego cheese, tapas, flamenco dancing, and a strong Rioja. She speaks fluent Spanish, understands basic French, and is now learning Italian. Her next adventure includes a trip to Argentina and learning Tango dancing!
You can find Elvia at email@example.com, or connect with her on Instagram at @elvimar2017.
▶Suresh Sachdev, Advisor and Technology Investor:
Suresh Sachdev is a global operations, supply chain, sourcing and procurement advisor/consultant and technology investor. He has worked in the semiconductor industry for 37 years. Most of his career was spent at Intel where he held multiple management positions in Engineering, Process Development, Factory Management and Sourcing/Procurement. He was also the Vice President of Procurement at Numonyx (Intel and ST formed company) where he managed global sourcing, procurement and related supply line support. Through post merger improvements he drove significant cost Savings. After Numonyx was acquired by Micron, Suresh worked as the Senior Director for Sourcing & Global Purchasing at Xilinx where he managed silicon suppliers and helped with the company move in a new supplier direction. Most recently Suresh was the Vice President of Procurement at Qualcomm Technologies where he managed one of the largest spends and number of suppliers in the semiconductor industry. He was a key player in many global deals on ensuring capacity, driving down costs and obtaining appropriate technology and business terms with suppliers.
Having see the significant difference education had made in his own family, Suresh’s work has always been to support the underprivileged in education and improving their lives. “Super Stars as the perfect initiative to support as the early literacy intervention can make a huge difference.”
You can reach Suresh at Sachdevstar@yahoo.com
▶Lexi Mele-Algus, Consultant, Kaiser Permanente’s Physicians Group:
Lexi Mele-Algus is an internal consultant for Kaiser Permanente’s physician group, The Permanente Medical Group – working to improve clinical quality, service and operational processes within the organization. She first learned about Super Stars Literacy when she met the Executive Director at a networking event and was immediately taken by her passion for the work and the mission of the organization. She is inspired by the impact the organization is having early on in children’s lives and is extremely excited to be part of the board. Outside of work and non-profit involvement, she holds true to her Vermont roots and tries to take advantage of the outdoors as much as possible!
▶Tom Ricks, Aon Hewitt:
Tom Ricks is one of our newest board members and a development committee co-chair, joining in 2017. In his professional life, Tom has spent the last 5 years with Aon’s health and benefits consulting practice as an actuary. After having his first child in 2016, he began to realize the incredible impact reading (and re-reading!) books to his young daughter had on her brain and language development. Their favorite book to read together is Little Blue Truck. This sparked his interest in the Super Stars Literacy mission. Born and raised in the East Bay, Tom is excited to give back to a community that has given him so much.
Tom graduated from Brigham Young University in 2012 with his BS in Actuarial Science.
You can connect with Tom on LinkedIn.
▶John Hiestand, VP Finance, Prosper Martketplace
John is a finance and operations executive with experience growing start-ups and emerging companies, as well as Fortune 500 companies in the financial and technology sectors. Prior to joining Prosper Marketplace, he served as the Chief Operating Officer at Wells Fargo Securities’ prime services business. John brings over 22 years’ of work history specializing in accounting, operations, planning, strategy and governance of public and private companies. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Wildwood School Dads’ Club and previously served on the Board for the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood. John is a Certified Public Accountant.
▶Alice Wu, Director of Marketing, RepairPal
▶Kim McAtee, Realtor, Pacific Union
Kim’s commitment to Super Stars Literacy began in 2003, when she first volunteered as a literacy tutor for kindergarten students at Hoover Elementary School. Since that time, Kim served as Chair of several Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, Inc. committees charged with managing Super Stars Literacy through its expansion and evolution from a volunteer project to an independent non-profit with an annual budget in excess of $1 million, a full complement of paid staff, and a clientele of hundreds of needy East Bay students. In addition to her work with Super Stars Literacy, Kim sells residential real estate for Pacific Union in Orinda, where she has developed a successful practice of doing business by referral. Kim earned her B.A. in French at U.C. Berkeley, is a member of their Alumni Association, and has served on the Board of Directors for the House Corporation of her sorority, Delta Delta Delta. “As a second generation Northern Californian, I am pleased to be able to give back to the communities that have meant so much to me and my family”, she proudly remarks.
▶Meghan Shah, Marketing Communications Specialist, Chevron
Meghan was born and raised in the Midwest and graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She moved to the Bay Area in 2007 and is currently working in Marketing at Chevron Corporation, for the Lubricants Division. She was introduced to Super Stars Literacy through the Corporate Volunteer Week at Chevron, and in addition to joining the Board of Directors in 2014, Meghan has been volunteering as an after-school tutor at Reach Academy in Oakland. Her interest in working with children and literacy developed at an early age while helping out fellow classmates in elementary school with their reading and writing and this continued on through college where she worked as a reading coach for students that came from overseas. Meghan has also volunteered for Team In Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as a Team Mentor and for the Danville Children’s Guild in the East Bay.
▶Robin Silva, Partner, Intellectual Property, Morgan Lewis
Robin was born and raised in Berkeley, California, and is a partner at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius, an international law firm. At Morgan Lewis, Robin’s work focuses on portfolio strategic development and on management and counseling in domestic and international issues, with an emphasis in emerging biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies. Her background includes patent prosecution, opinion work (freedom to operate, invalidity, and noninfringement), IP due diligence (financings and licensing), mining portfolios for licensing and interference opportunities, and working with business development personnel and licensing managers to maximize portfolio value. Robin has represented a variety of biotechnology clients including universities, start ups, emerging companies, and public companies. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a protein biochemist at Genencor, International for 6 years at the lab bench. Her interest in early literacy is based on the fact that one of her two sons was diagnosed as dyslexic in the first grade. She also serves on the Board of Stanbridge Academy, a K-12 school in the Bay Area for children with mild to moderate learning disabilities.
▶Jerad Slagle, Vice President, Prime Finance:
Jerad is a Vice President at Prime Finance, a private commercial real estate finance company. Jerad focuses on investment sourcing, credit and underwriting analysis, due diligence and investment closing. Prior to joining Prime Finance in September 2011, Jerad was an Assistant Vice President at Wells Fargo in their Real Estate Banking Group and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Administration. Jerad graduated from the Riordan Volunteer Leadership Development Program, which educates and trains business professionals for life-long service in the governance of nonprofit organizations. He also co-founded Los Angeles Community Impact while at USC, a student consulting organization that strengthens non-profits and small businesses in the Los Angeles area. Jerad now lives in Oakland with his wife Caeli and is excited to focus his efforts on early literacy.
▶Rick Timmins, Associate, Tricon Capital Group:
Rick is an Associate at Tricon Capital, a real estate investment company focused on the residential sector in North America with $3.0 billion of assets under management. He is responsible for sourcing new investments and managing existing projects in California, Arizona and the Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining Tricon, Rick held similar roles at Rockwood Capital and previously worked in the investment banking group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Administration and concentrated his studies in finance. Rick enjoys giving back to his community and is passionate about early childhood literacy and the long term impact that developing critical reading skills has on lives and communities.
▶Marcus Varela, Finance Supervisor/CPA, CSAA Insurance Group, (Board Secretary):
▶Kellyn J. Mitchell, Principal Consultant, iSella Digital:
▶Tiffany Yu, Facebook:
Tiffany is currently a Data Science Manager at Facebook. She previous was a big data analytics consultant at Applied Predictive Technologies. Originally from New Zealand, she moved to the US to study at Wharton in Philadelphia. Tiffany has always been passionate about getting involved in the local community and is excited to be working with Super Stars Literacy because she thinks that it is essential to build a strong foundation of literacy and social-emotional skills in order to be successful in later life. As a self-described spontaneous explorer, secret dork and whimsical dreamer, she enjoys spending her leisure time hiking through the great outdoors, trying new things, visiting museums and distilleries as well as thinking about, talking about and eating food.
Super Stars Literacy Advisory Council
Super Stars Literacy engages a range of community and local advocates in twice yearly advisory council convening to discuss ways our organization can better connect and partner.
▶Larry Bercovich, Advisory Council Chair:
Larry’s family first emigrated and settled in the Oakland community in the late 1800’s and they have been involved in East Bay community work ever since. Larry is a business and tax attorney with over twenty-five years experience in business and corporate matters. Currently working for Epicor Software, Larry has represented clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies. He has extensive experience advising business executives and has served as the in-house General Counsel and Secretary of both public and private companies. Larry proudly served on the board of Super Stars Literacy from 2008-2016, and is a champion of our cause today. He has worked with several non-profit community organizations in the Bay Area, and considers improving youth literacy an essential social mission.