Breakthrough New York is excited to announce the launch of its Associates Board. The board is comprised of a wide range of new and longtime Breakthrough community members, including alumni and volunteers. It will be responsible for expanding the organization’s services to students through corporate, volunteer, and fundraising activities.

“We’re delighted to launch this new Associates Board,” says Beth Onofry, Executive Director of Breakthrough New York. “Our members have such unique perspectives but share a passion for Breakthrough’s mission. We’re really excited about what we can accomplish together.” Read more about the board members below.

Shola Akinrolabu

Vice President, Paramount Global

Shola currently works in Content Strategy & Acquisitions for Paramount. Prior to Paramount, Shola has worked in the Media & Technology industry as an investment banker at UBS, Tyton Partners, and in Business and Corporate Development at Smithsonian Media. Shola joined the Associates Board to support Breakthrough New York’s mission of empowering underserved students to achieve their full potential.

Pamela Aquino

Executive Assistant, Salesforce

Pamela Aquino is an Executive Assistant and Equality Group Leader at Salesforce and is based out of the NYC Salesforce Tower. She serves as Global Events Chair for Latino Force, the Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Latino employees and allies. She is a member of the New York City Citizen Philanthropy Council which collaborates with the Salesforce Foundation to fund and support NYC-based education and workforce development organizations. In addition, she is a member of the Boston University Loyalty Society and serves as an online mentor for current BU students and young alumni. Pam also volunteers regularly at New Alternatives, Donors Choose, and Step Up Women’s Network. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (major) and French (minor) from Boston University in 2010. Pam joined the Associates Board because she enjoyed volunteering with Breakthrough, and after hosting various Career Days, she decided that she wanted to be more involved in the organization. She looks forward to continuing volunteering with Breakthrough New York’s bright students and helping drive the organization’s goals.

Jamin Bennett

Vice President of Business Development, Sunkeeper Solar

Jamin has a background in consulting, engineering, project management, procurement and permitting for distributed generation projects. Jamin joined Breakthrough New York to support students in the same manner he was supported growing up in the New York City public school system. Jamin has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University.

Shannon Clark

Outbound Product Manager, Workday

Shannon has a background in ERP Software Consulting and is currently an Outbound Product Manager at Workday. She joined the Breakthrough Associates Board to help support the program’s ambitious and bright students as they navigate their education journeys. Shannon has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University.

Kristin Clarke-Cole

Special Assistant, Ford Foundation

Kristin Clarke-Cole is a Brooklyn native and now a Bronx resident in New York City. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and US Economics from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Currently, she is the Special Assistant for the Office of Strategy and Learning at the Ford Foundation, where she assists with internal strategy development, learning and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, change management, and organizational effectiveness projects. Kristin is a proud Posse Foundation, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, and Breakthrough New York alumna. “Breakthrough New York was a formative stepping stone in my trajectory and led me into a career of social justice work. As an Associates Board member, I will pay it forward to ambitious young leaders, providing unlimited possibilities in their future career and personal development trajectories.”

Christopher Kenny

Vice President, RBC Capital Markets

Chris is a Vice President in US Debt Capital Markets at RBC, covering real estate, consumer and retail, and industrial clients. After hosting a Career Day for Breakthrough New York in 2019, Chris became more involved with the organization and joined the Associates Board to help fellow native New Yorkers reach their full potential. Chris studied Economics, Psychology, and Markets and Management at Duke University.

Shannon McDonald

Field Producer, Fox News

Shannon is a multimedia news journalist with experience in broadcast, print, digital, and new media. She has covered stories from the financial markets to the space race, and is currently a field producer at Fox News. She joined Breakthrough New York’s Associates Board to advocate for educational equity, as everyone deserves access to quality education, and Breakthrough is elevating that reality. Shannon graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts, double major in Journalism and Mass Communication and Political Science.

Juliana Merola

Director, Debt Capital Markets, Short Term Fixed Income Origination, Bank of America

Juliana started at Bank of America in 2014 as an Associate in Corporate Banking. She joined the Debt Capital Markets team in 2018 on the Commercial Paper desk. In this role, she is responsible for the coverage and origination of corporate and financial issuers within short-term fixed income. Juliana is the Co-Chair of HACE, the Hispanic/Latinx Advancement and Career Engagement at Bank of America, as well as a task force member on the Global Capital Markets Inclusion and Impact Initiative and the NYU and Kellogg recruiting teams. Juliana has been involved with the New York Women’s Foundation since 2012, serving as Team Lead for the Grant Advisory Committee. She also serves as a mentor for the Ascend Educational Fund, which provides college scholarships for DREAMers and immigrants. Juliana is focused on providing fair and equitable access to education and subsequent opportunities to all students. She is looking forward to furthering the mission and goals of Breakthrough New York, especially in its focus on the students within New York City. Juliana obtained her Bachelor of Science in Finance from the Stern School of Business at NYU in 2008, and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2014.

Rosa Salinas

Community PR, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Rosa is a communications professional with over ten years of experience serving as part of in-house Fortune 500 PR teams, including MasterCard, Deloitte, and Nestle USA. Currently, she drives community PR initiatives globally for AWS. She joined the Breakthrough New York Associates Board because she is a passionate believer in supporting efforts that boost equity in education. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Florida.

Sebastian Sanchez

Equity, Debt, and Structured Finance Associate, Cushman & Wakefield

Sebastian has a background in commercial real estate, with a specific focus on institutional transactions. As a former Breakthrough New York student, he joined the Associates Board not only to give back to the organization that gave him the educational, professional, and personal tools for success, but also to support the program’s ambitious and bright students as they navigate their educational and professional journeys. Sebastian has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Middlebury College.

Damen Scott

Principal, Achievement First Brooklyn High School

Damen is a career educator, having served as a literature teacher for eight years, an Assistant Principal, and most recently as Principal. He has also been committed to the mission and work of Breakthrough New York, taking the role of Instructional Coach during the summer of 2018 where he was responsible for the development of the Bronx cohort of literature Teaching Fellows. A Georgia native, Damen has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Morehouse College and Master of Arts in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University.

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