Eduardo Najera

Eduardo Najera joined the Thrive Scholars team as the College Success Manager-Career Development on December 2017. As a first-generation college graduate, Eduardo has committed himself to supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds achieve their career aspirations. Eduardo graduated from Dartmouth College with a major in Government and spent three years working for the Center for Professional Development at Dartmouth. He has experience coaching students on all aspects of the recruiting process, from searching for opportunities to negotiating salaries. Eduardo is excited to contribute to the growth and empowerment of Thrive Scholars.

Becky Vogel

Becky Vogel serves as the Director of School Partnerships with OneGoal, and has dedicated her career to improving access, equity, and diversity in higher education. She previously worked with the Posse Foundation, Citizen Schools, and the Boston Public Schools to improve outcomes for students on their paths to and through college. She holds a BA from Tufts University and Master’s in Education from Lesley University.

Bob Giannino

Bob Giannino is the President & CEO of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. Prior to joining United Way, Bob served as the CEO of uAspire, the nation’s leading nonprofit focused on helping young people and families navigate an affordable path to a postsecondary degree. Over 15 years, Bob oversaw the transformation of uAspire from a small, local organization serving 1,000 young people in Boston into a national, award-winning, enterprise reaching more than 25 states and 300,000 students each year. In addition to its direct service programming, uAspire’s policy and systems change efforts will lead to dramatically improved financial access to a college degree and economic opportunity for millions of young people.

Bob is the first in his family to attend college, a product of the Somerville (MA) Public Schools, and a graduate of Harvard College.

David C. Hou

David is a Senior Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at First Republic Investment Management where he manages portfolios for wealthy families and institutional investors. Previously, David co-founded Luminous Capital, a SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm, which was acquired by First Republic Bank in December 2012. He also serves as an Investment Committee member for Altair Investments, the alternative investments division of First Republic Investment Management.

David received his B.S. in Economics/Business (88) from UCLA and MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management (92). He is an Advisory Board member of the UCLA Anderson School of Management Fink Center for Finance. He also serves as a Trustee and the Finance Chair for the Carlthorp School in Santa Monica and is an Investment Team member for the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica. David resides in Pacific Palisades with his wife, Evelyn, and their four children.

Timothy M. Teagle

Timothy M. Teagle is Global Client Services Partner, Business Development Leader at Ernst & Young, LLP. Tim is a principal at EY and serves as the Global Client Services Partner for clients in the manufacturing, distribution, and media & entertainment industries. He is also the Business Development Leader overseeing the sales and marketing team for the Western region. Tim is responsible for all service lines, including Advisory, Assurance, Tax, and Transaction Advisory Services. Throughout his career, Tim has focused on leading sales force and customer management initiatives. He has led or served as a key team member for several sales and service transformation initiatives which have included customer segmentation, organizational design, compensation, sales force effectiveness, change management and systems transformation. Tim brings more than 20 years of sales and sales management experience in a consultative solutions environment. Before joining EY, he was the Regional Vice President of Account Management for Per-Se Technologies where he provided consulting and outsourcing in the health care field.

Kari Van Gundy

Kari Van Gundy is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Zenith National Insurance Corp. (Zenith), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (FFH.TO). Zenith specializes in workers’ compensation insurance nationally, as well as property and casualty insurance for California agricultural businesses. Kari began her career as an auditor, working for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (formerly Coopers & Lybrand) before joining CalFarm Insurance Company (a former subsidiary of Zenith), where she was Chief Financial Officer. Nationwide Insurance Company ultimately purchased CalFarm and she then led Zenith’s efforts to build an eCommerce small business workers’ compensation capability. She served as Zenith’s Chief Financial Officer for the past 9 years and became Zenith’s CEO in January 2015. Kari has served on several non-profit school boards and is currently a Director of South Central Scholars, a non-profit organization which assists and mentors disadvantaged inner-city students during high school and college.

Career Development


Opportunity Gap
Limited knowledge of post college career paths, exposure to corporate culture, or the professional network that opens doors.

Gap Impact
Only 10% of people born into poverty will ever earn a six-figure salary. Just 5% for people of color. And though over a third of the country’s population, only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs, 5% of senior executives, and 10% of engineers are Black or Latinx

Thrive Scholars Solution
One-to-one career coaching over multiple years, hard and soft career skills development, and access to our network of corporate partnerships for internships and jobs.

Our Impact
Our Scholars get hired at the world’s most innovative companies and earn starting salaries equal to those of their elite-college peers.

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– Partner  TBD, Company TBD XXXX

Dennis, GWU Class of 2020

The great Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Today, I’d like to share the experiences I’ve had in my first year at George Washington University thanks to the help and support of Thrive Scholars.

This year, I began the process to found a chapter of a Fraternity called Phi Delta Theta, established a campus Leadership Honors Society as the Founding President, and worked at the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute under Louis Caldera. I also involved myself in student government, and took advantage of the D.C. location to visit dozens of embassies, participate in several marches and attend the Presidential inauguration. I loved my classes, and I was able to end the academic year strong with a high GPA. Although it was definitely a shock to leave my family on the other side of the country, being surrounded by genuine and kind people made the transition much easier.

I felt like I could try new things and that I had people to lean on when I failed because of Thrive Scholars; they gave me the incentive to challenge myself, and the reassurance that if things didn’t work out, the Thrive Scholars network was there to support me. This summer, I plan on interning at Liner Law Firm in order to better understand what it means to be a lawyer, a step towards bettering my understanding of public policy and eventually becoming a public servant. Thank you Thrive Scholars for helping me reach this point of my life, and I can’t wait for what’s in store for the future!

Elizabeth, UC Berkeley & University of Wisconsin Medical

I always knew I wanted to go to college. Growing up in a small town, I was fortunate enough to see how attaining a higher education could increase the number of opportunities available to me and my family. But, as a high school student, I didn’t realize how small my understanding of my surroundings was until Thrive Scholars and the Londons.

Thrive Scholars opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. I went to my first networking event in high school with the Londons, where I met a number of men and women who understood the importance of education and supported Thrive Scholars because of this. When college applications came around, Mr. Winston helped me prep for my Harvard interview and took me and other Scholars on a college tour of UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Davis. And when the majority of my high school class in Thrive Scholars decided to attend UC Berkeley, the Londons and Mr. Winston checked on us regularly and were instrumental in our transition. Thrive Scholars helped set the ground work needed for me to be successful.

I, like most people, still face barriers. There is so much that needs to be done for those in need. Because of this, I feel my greatest accomplishment has yet to come. But if I had to encourage a current Scholar, I would remind them that each day is a new day and a chance for them to prepare and work hard for the life they want for themselves tomorrow. I would also tell them not to let the thoughts, judgments, and words of others dictate what they see themselves accomplishing. Your decisions are yours as well as your actions. Own them.

Phillip, Babson College class of 2017

In my original application to Thrive Scholars I remarked that the most challenging thing I have overcome was experiencing homelessness. At the age of 17 I became homeless and was the primary financial support for my siblings. This was an extremely difficult time in my life. Especially considering that 11th grade is the most important grade of your high school career. I was lucky enough to be able to manage my living situation without allowing my grades to drop tremendously.

Today, I am proud to be graduating from Babson College and with an exciting job offer already in hand as a Private Equity Analyst at Landmark Partners.

Two critical people made a world of difference. Mel Lindsey, Thrive Scholars Advisory Board Member and Founder/Managing Partner of Nile Capital Group gave me my first transformative internship at his private equity firm when I was a sophomore. In that role, I pushed past my comfort zone and fully immersed myself in the field; taking every opportunity to learn from those around about the industry. Through the Thrive Scholars Mentorship Program, I was paired with mentor and supporter, Martin Jacobs a Portfolio Manager at Capital Group. Martin introduced me directly to other industry professionals allowed me to continue learning. Every summer, my goal has been to learn more and more about finance. The Thrive Scholars network made that possible.