Staff & Board

Join the Breakthrough Team!

Executive Team

Beth E. Onofry

Beth E. Onofry

Executive Director

Meet Beth

Beth (she/hers) brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in both the higher education and nonprofit sectors. She spent 11 years at the TEAK Fellowship, a college access and success nonprofit in New York City that helps bright and motivated students from low-income families. Prior to joining TEAK, Beth worked in Admissions at Dartmouth College. She earned her BA from Dartmouth, her Master’s degree in Education from Harvard, and a Master’s degree in School Counseling from Long Island University.

Olivia Núñez

Olivia Núñez

Chief Program Officer

Meet Olivia

Olivia (she/ella) has been working in the education space for over 10 years. Olivia’s road to this work was not traditional; she studied political science at Dartmouth College and completed her masters in comparative ethnic conflict in Queen’s University Belfast. As a first-generation student and a child of immigrants, Olivia is deeply passionate about ensuring that all students and families have access to the information and support they need as they navigate the education system. Olivia is a strong believer in the power of community and is grateful to be part of Breakthrough New York.

Brittany Parisi Doshi

Brittany Parisi Doshi

Chief Development Officer

Meet Brittany

Brittany (she/her) has spent over a decade working at the intersection of education and philanthropy. She began her career as a middle school special education teacher in Philadelphia and most recently served as a managing director on Teach For America’s national development team. She earned a M.S. in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.A. in Political Science and Honors from Villanova University, and was a New York University Emerging Leader in Public Service Fellow.

Chilee Nleya

Chilee Nleya

Associate Chief Program Officer

Meet Chilee

Chilee (she/her) has loved working with young people since volunteering at a YMCA youth center at 16 years old. After graduating with a degree in English Education from South Dakota University, her passion for educational equity led her to City Year Los Angeles, then to New York City to work at a charter school. Chilee taught full-time for four years before finding and loving her work at Breakthrough New York. She hopes to continue growing in her role and building stronger connections within the Breakthrough community.

Middle School Team

Rhina Allende

Rhina Allende

High School Placement Manager

Meet Rhina

Rhina (she/her) is passionate about equity in education and providing students with the tools and resources necessary to achieve their goals. She received her bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Adolescent Education from the College of Saint Rose and her masters in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She spent three and a half years in the classroom teaching middle and high school students and absolutely loved it! Rhina believes that the transition between middle and high school is crucial in positive student outcomes, and joined the Breakthrough New York team to be a resource to students during this transition.

Anita Norman

Anita Norman

Middle School Program Manager - Brooklyn

Meet Anita

Anita (she/her) is interested in helping students see their most indomitable selves in the classroom and beyond. From education programs in national and international contexts, Anita has built and led curricula that challenges the status quo and invites students to use creativity when addressing community needs. She is motivated to ensure students have the support and information they need to thrive in diverse educational contexts. Anita received her Bachelor of Science in psychology from Yale University.

Paola Hernandez

Paola Hernandez

Middle School Program Manager - Bronx

Meet Paola

Paola (she/her) has recently worked with City Year New York as a volunteer member and then a Team Leader. She started her career by working in the UConn Collegiate Awareness and Preparation Program (ConnCAP), a program she herself was in during high school. She earned her BS in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut. She looks forward to building relationships with students, their families, and her peers to better serve Breakthrough New York in meeting its mission.

Enya O'Riordan

Enya O'Riordan

Data & Admissions Director

Meet Enya

Enya (she/her) is passionate about building capacity for nonprofit organizations. Since joining Breakthrough New York in 2017, she has supported the organization’s work around 6th grade student admissions, seasonal staff hiring, and Salesforce implementations.  She graduated from Boston University and worked in Boston for 2 years supporting 5th grade students and families in a college access program. She is currently earning her MPA in Nonprofit Management from CUNY Baruch College.

Ashira Mayers

Ashira Mayers

AmeriCorps Member

Meet Ashira
Ahladini Veerina

Ahladini Veerina

Middle School Program Manager - Manhattan

Meet Ahladini

Over the last ten years, Ahladini (she/her) has been a tutor, teacher, and mentor to students ranging from preschool to college. She seeks to challenge and empower students in a way that ultimately transforms the way they see and think about themselves and their place in the world. Through patience and humor, Ahladini works to create comfortable reciprocal relationships with her students in order to foster well-rounded growth and learning. Ahladini received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Politics from Occidental College.

High School Team

Margaret Cohen

Margaret Cohen

High School Coordinator, 9th Grade

Meet Margaret

Margaret (she/hers) comes to Breakthrough with a background in social work. She completed both her bachelors and masters in social work at Fordham University where she focused on educational equity and support for young people. She is passionate about holistic mentorship and approaches to education that recognize learners for everything they bring to a space. She looks forward to connecting with students, families, and mentors as 9th graders transition into high school.

Ferni Cruz

Ferni Cruz

High School Program Manager - 11th Grade

Meet Ferni

Ferni (she/her/ella) has been working in the college access space since she graduated from Wellesley College. She earned her BA in Women’s & Gender Studies, and credits her time at a women’s college for emboldening her leadership skills and self-confidence. As a first-generation student herself, Ferni prioritizes questions around equity when building community and creating spaces that uplift the voices of systemically marginalized individuals. She is a proud people connector, and is committed to creating more opportunities and support for the students she works with at Breakthrough New York!

Jonathan Lim

Jonathan Lim

College Placement Manager

Meet Jonathan

Jonathan (he/him) is a college advisor with over 3 years of experience helping students access and persist in college. He graduated from CUNY Hunter College and initially pursued a career in civics education before shifting focus into postsecondary access. His goal is to help as many students as possible access a quality education in a manner that highlights their individual journeys. Jonathan joined Breakthrough New York to expand his ability to support students through the college access process.

College & Career Success Team

Juliette Geilfuss

Juliette Geilfuss

AmeriCorps Member

Student Support

Bushra Shaheen

Bushra Shaheen

Student Support Director

Meet Bushra

Bushra (she/her) is a licensed social worker who has experience working with middle and high school students, providing individual and group counseling as well as prevention programming around topics of healthy relationships, consent, and anti-violence. She has collaborated with parents, administrative teams, and community-based organizations to provide trainings and develop campaigns on trauma-informed care, suicidality in BIPOC youth, and social-emotional growth. Bushra earned her MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She looks forward to developing social-emotional curricula, providing mental health support, and being a resource for students, parents, and the greater Breakthrough community.

External Relations Team

Amelie Lipman

Amelie Lipman

Manager, Development & Volunteer Operations

Meet Amelie

Amelie (she/her) is the Manager of Development and Volunteer Operations at Breakthrough New York. She oversees the collection and application of data related to the organization’s fundraising and donor stewardship, as well as the recruitment and experience of volunteers. She has worked for Breakthrough New York since 2015, and has been involved with Breakthrough Summerbridge since 2001. She has always been committed to working in the nonprofit sector, and believes in the power of education to create positive change. After teaching in different school settings, she recognized the need for systemic change in how we value education and those who work within the sector. Amelie graduated from Colgate University with a BA in History, and Teachers College at Columbia University with an MA in Teaching of Social Studies.

Bianca Vinoya

Bianca Vinoya

Institutional Partnerships Manager

Meet Bianca

Bianca (she/her) has worked in local and international nonprofit organizations for over five years. She started her career as a development studies researcher, and grew to expand her career in grant writing and institutional partnerships for nonprofits. She earned her BS from Ateneo de Manila University and MA in International Development from Fordham University. She is excited about creating, deepening, and cultivating organizational partnerships to support Breakthrough New York.

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells

External Relations Manager

Meet Nicole

Nicole (she/her) has a diverse background that includes higher education administration, recruitment, and teaching English as a new language. She has always maintained a passion for education and providing individuals with tools to succeed in school and beyond. She looks forward to using her experience in outreach and communications to strengthen Breakthrough New York’s brand across multiple channels, and connect audiences more closely with its mission. Nicole has earned a BA in Cinema Studies from New York University.

Board of Directors

Gautam Ranji – Chair
Chief Operating Officer, Blavity Inc.

David M. Sherman – Vice Chair
Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, BGO Strategic Capital Partners

Mona Shah – Treasurer
Head of North America Business Development, PayPal

Catherine Aquila – Development Chair

William Clark – Secretary

Cyrus Attia, M.D.
Clinical Lead, Ro

Daniel Botoff (Dan)
Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets

Anne C. Buehl
Principal, Rocaton Investment Advisors

Gerald Cooper
Partner, Campbell Lutyens

John Darmanin
Senior Managing Director, Head of Credit-Americas, Macquarie Group

Laura Drumm
Managing Director and Head of Financial Institutions Debt Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets

Nora Elish – Program & Outcomes Chair
Mentor, Students for Justice

Maria G. Hackley
Global Co-Head Industrials Group, Citi

Christopher Impey (Chris)
Managing Director, Global Head of Corporate Banking Subsidiaries, Bank of America

Jean-Pierre (J.P.) Jacquet
Director of Finance Aid, Assistant Director of Middle and Upper School Admission, Riverdale Country School

Kimberly Johns
Managing Director & Associate General Counsel, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Bonnie Litt

Alisa Mall
Managing Director, Corporate Strategy, Foresite Capital

Jack Paris – Audit Chair
Head of Americas, InfraRed Capital Partners Ltd

Drew Phillips
Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Atalaya Capital Management

Sarah Rappoport

Laurie Rosenblatt

Mary Gay Townsend
Managing Partner, Norgay Partners

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