Lena Eaton

Lena became Thrive Scholars’ Data Systems Manager in December of 2020. Prior to joining Thrive, Lena worked as a fundraiser for nonprofit theaters, an office assistant in Worcester public schools, and an instructor for a variety of youth summer programs. She is very excited to combine her passion for youth work with her database administration experience. She graduated from Clark University in Worcester, MA as a Sociology major and Theater Arts minor.

Wendy Cassity

Wendy Cassity is the Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Nuance Communications, where she is responsible for the oversight of all legal, corporate governance, intellectual property, and regulatory activities across the company’s global operations. Prior to joining Nuance in September 2018, she was general counsel of Zayo Group, a publicly‑traded communications infrastructure company, as well as general counsel of a publicly‑traded natural resources company. Previously, she was in private practice as a corporate transactional attorney at both McDermott Will & Emery, LLP and Cravath Swaine & Moore, LLP in their New York offices. Wendy holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona in English and history, and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Larry Greenberg

Larry Greenberg is a private investor and philanthropist who has lived in the Boston area since beginning his career at Fidelity Investments in 1986. After managing a variety of mutual funds at Fidelity, including the Growth Company and Emerging Growth Funds, Larry went on to found and manage the Mt Everest Hedge Fund with Greenberg-Summit Partners. Larry has held many roles in the Boston non-profit community, including Chair of the Board of Tenacity and board member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Larry holds both undergraduate and graduate business degrees from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kylia Kummer

Kylia joined Thrive Scholars in November 2020 with over 13 years of experience in strategic partnership development. As Director of Corporate Partnerships, she is responsible for expanding Thrive’s partnerships with the business community in Los Angeles, Boston and across the country.

Kylia most recently served as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Chicago Children’s Museum, where she led the museum’s corporate and foundation fundraising efforts.

A former high school history teacher, Kylia holds a B.A. in History and Education from Hendrix College. She resides in Chicago, IL with her husband and their pup, and serves on the board of Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation Org.

Jasmyn Culpepper

Jasmyn joined Thrive Scholars in October 2020 as a Career Coach. As a Los Angeles native, Jasmyn lives by the motto “I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper!”. She believes that college is a possibility for everyone no matter their background. Jasmyn strives to create amazing relationships with Scholars and loves that she can continue building these relationships while supporting Thrive Scholars.

Before joining Thrive, Jasmyn worked as a Career Program Manager at the Posse Foundation in Los Angeles, providing Posse Scholars with the tools needed to secure internships and full-time job opportunities in industry leading companies. Jasmyn brings over 6 years of experience building relationships with youth while managing academic and career success program in non-profit and higher education settings.

Jasmyn holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Child Development and Family Studies and Family Life Education from California State University, Long Beach. In her spare time, Jasmyn loves to test out new recipes, bowling, bike along the beach and play card games with family and friends. She also serves on the board of Pretty Women Pray Not Prey.

Sarah Lassonde

Sarah joined Thrive Scholars in October 2020 with over 15 years of experience at growth-focused educational nonprofits. A specialist in foundation relations, as Senior Director of Institutional and Family Philanthropy, she is responsible for growing institutional support from national and local grantmaking organizations.

Prior to joining Thrive, Sarah held senior development roles at uAspire, the GreenLight Fund, and City Year. Sarah earned an MA in European and Eurasian studies from George Washington University and a BA in international relations from Michigan State University. She resides in Natick, MA with her husband and three children, and serves on the board of the Natick Community Organic Farm.

Stanley Iezman

Stanley Iezman is ARA’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, responsible for the strategic planning and direction of ARA’s investing and operational activities. ARA is a private equity real estate firm with over $10.2 billion of assets under management in equity, debt and preferred equity investments throughout the United States. He is a member of the firm’s Investment, Management, and Operations Committees and the Board of Directors. Mr. Iezman is a noted speaker on real estate investment and has authored numerous articles on related issues for real estate, pension, and legal industry publications. Mr. Iezman is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, where he teaches real estate asset management in the Master of Real Estate Development Program and is a member of the Executive Committee of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.

He serves as a member of the Investment Committee and as a trustee for the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation in Santa Monica, California, which provides leadership to the Saint John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute. He also is a member of the Planning Committee for the USC Real Estate Law and Business Forum and serves on The Center Theatre Group’s Board of Directors which is part of the Los Angeles Music Center. Mr. Iezman is actively involved in The Urban Land Institute, where he sits on the Board of Governors for the ULI Foundation and participates in the Industrial and Office Park Development Council. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers; the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers; the Pension Real Estate Association; the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans; the Los Angeles County Bar Association; the Real Estate Roundtable; the American Bar Association and was the Chair of the NYU Real Estate Institute’s Annual Conference on Pension Fund Investment in Real Estate for ten years.

Kate Berezo

Kate joined the Thrive Scholars team as Mentorship Manager in August 2020. As a first-generation college student, she is passionate about helping students thrive in higher education by connecting them with meaningful relationships and resources. Kate brings over 7 years of experience managing mentorship and academic success programs in non-profit and higher education settings.
Kate holds a Bachelor’s in Multicultural Psychology and Counseling from the Evergreen State College and a Master’s in Adult Education and Instructional Design from Antioch University Seattle.

Zachary Fruhling

Zachary Fruhling joined Thrive Scholars in 2020 as Director of Instructional Design. Zachary has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education, both in the classroom and as an instructional designer and educational content author and developer.

Prior to joining Thrive Scholars, Zachary taught philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz and at several community colleges, including Cabrillo College, Evergreen Valley College, and most recently at College of Eastern Idaho.

Zachary was the Senior Learning Design Author for logic and philosophy at Cengage, a global education and technology company, where he authored and developed the highly successful Aplia online learning materials for logic and philosophy, used by college and university students nationwide.

Most recently Zachary was a Senior Instructional Designer for HotChalk, Inc. where he designed and built graduate-level online courses in a variety of disciplines for universities such as Concordia University, Nebraska and Concordia University, Portland.

Zachary is also a prolific writer, blogger, podcaster, and poet.

Vannessa Rodriguez

Vannessa joined Thrive Scholars as the Development and Communications Manager in August of 2020. As a first-generation college student from a low-income community, Vannessa appreciates the opportunities that educational access organizations have brought to her life. After earning her BA in Communications with a minor in Art, she journeyed through South America, lived in Australia, and worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama. She credits her education for opening doors to a world of new and global experiences. She is committed to providing educational opportunities to young people so they can also thrive. Prior to working at Thrive, Vannessa has held positions in independent school admissions, college advising, community organizing, and youth development.

She balances her work life with yoga, hiking, dancing, and eating out with friends. She also loves to travel and immerse herself in the beautiful differences the world has to offer.