Diversifying Higher Education – A Post Affirmative Action Path Forward
Chicago-based executives from Microsoft, TransUnion, the Chicago Cubs, and more join the effort to support high-achieving students of color into top colleges and high-impact careers
Written by Thrive Scholars
Thrive Scholars, a nonprofit that provides high-achieving students of color from economically disadvantaged communities with the opportunities they need to thrive at top colleges and achieve their full career potential, announced that it has appointed five new members to its Chicago Board of Directors. Board members are tasked with galvanizing local philanthropic and corporate support and communicating Thrive’s impact to provide Scholars from Chicago with the essential opportunities they need to be successful.
Joining the Chicago Thrive Scholars Board of Directors are:
“We are excited to welcome our new board members–each with diverse expertise and experiences from various sectors–to join our effort to strengthen opportunities toward economic mobility for high-achieving students of color in Chicago,” said Kylia Kummer, Executive Director of Thrive Scholars Chicago. “We are grateful to Jared, Teedra, Michael, Sedhu, and Talvis for their commitment to and support of our mission and vision.”
Jared Banner is the Vice President of Player Development for the Chicago Cubs. With over 15 years of experience in baseball operations, Banner started out as a fellow in Boston’s baseball operations department and rose to the rank of Vice President of Player Personnel, overseeing international professional scouting. After receiving three World Series rings with Boston, he worked for his hometown team, the Mets, for two years in player development before joining the Cubs. Banner also serves on the Cubs’ Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council.
Teedra Bernard is Senior Vice President, Chief Talent and Diversity Officer at TransUnion, responsible for all global talent and diversity functions across the associate lifecycle. Bernard previously served as their Vice President for Human Resources for Global Technology. Prior to joining TransUnion, she held a series of human resources leadership roles at Hewlett Packard, including Head of Human Resources for the HPE Pointnext Global Client Services organization. Her diverse industry experience includes Operations, Sales, Retail, Investment Banking, and Pharmaceuticals. Bernard also serves as the Executive Sponsor of the African-Diaspora Alliance Network, TransUnion’s inclusion and belonging group, and is on the board of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer.
Michael Henry is the Senior Director, Information Technology Senior Business Advisor at UL Solutions. He has held various leadership roles within UL Solutions, including Engineering Management, Business Development, and Product/Program Management. Henry is also a member of the Board of Advisors of EDGe Surgical, Inc. and the co-founder of Eidosmed, LLC, a medical device company focused on designing innovative surgery instrumentation technology. Henry is the co-founder of UL Solutions’ Young Professionals Business Resource Group.
Sedhu Krishnamurthy leads the Data & Artificial Intelligence business for U.S. Retail and Consumer Goods at Microsoft. Prior to joining Microsoft, Krishnamurthy served in Technical leadership roles at Innovex Technology, Insuresoft, and Allstate Insurance. Sedhu is also on the advisory board of Robochef, a robotics startup focused on building automation platforms for the food service industry. Krishnamurthy serves as a Trustee of Quest Academy in Palatine, Illinois, where he helped establish an AI curriculum, perhaps the first for K-8 in the country. He is a member of Kellogg Leadership Circle, a dedicated group that plays a pivotal role in positioning Kellogg as the business school of the future.
Talvis Love is Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Baxter International Inc. Love joined Baxter in 2020 from Cardinal Health’s Pharmaceuticals, where he was CIO responsible for overall IT service delivery. Previously, he held the positions of Senior Vice President of eCommerce, Governance Execution, Enterprise Architecture & Chief Information Security Officer of Cardinal Health. His career has also included several executive and management positions within TD Bank Group, Ford Motor Company, Oracle Corporation, and Quaker Oats Company. Love is the executive sponsor of Baxter’s Early Career Professionals and is also a member of Baxter’s Global Inclusion Council.
About Thrive Scholars
Thrive Scholars’ mission is to help high-achieving students of color from low-income communities get into and graduate from top colleges equipped to achieve their full career potential. Thrive Scholars is in its 20th year of operation. Founded in Los Angeles and now serving students nationwide, Thrive expanded to Chicago in 2019. Starting in 11th grade and extending through college graduation and early career, our Scholars benefit from a continuum of support to overcome systemic barriers and help them develop the economic mobility they deserve.
With a growing national footprint, Thrive also supports Scholars in Boston, Cleveland, New York City, Jacksonville and has plans to expand to two new sites each year. Currently, 1,000 Scholars nationally are participating in the six-year program of robust academic support. Thrive also provides support to overcome financial and social barriers to higher education; and connects Scholars to internships, mentors, and corporations to build professional and social networks. Thrive continues to achieve sector-leading outcomes, boasting a 98% college graduation rate among its Scholars nationally.