Mary Conroy Almada

Communications Project Manager

Since joining the Fellowship, Mary has worked on a variety of projects and initiatives to increase the organization's impact and reach.

Jumoke Balogun

Founding Team Member and Head of Program and Director of Operations, Merit America

Jumoke Balogun is the Head of Program and Director of Operations and part of the founding team of Merit America. She has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement in labor and civil rights.

Emily Blackwell

Head of Product Design, Merit America

Emily Blackwell is the Head of Product Design and part of the founding team of Merit America.

Mary Blanusa

Senior Director, Strategy

Mary joins America Achieves as Senior Director on the Strategy team and brings with her extensive experience strategic planning, and program development & implementation in philanthropy and nonprofit fields. Prior to America Achieves, Mary was a Program Officer at The Helmsley Charitable Trust where she led policy, advocacy and communications grantmaking in the education portfolio. She has led activities to include workforce readiness initiatives as a bridge between K-12 and higher education projects and identify intersections between K-12, post-secondary, and workforce to align expectations and enhance education pathways towards 21st century careers. Mary served in a number of programmatic and leadership roles at the Council for Economic Education, most recently as Vice President of Government Relations and Partnerships. She began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English and environmental education to middle school students in Hungary. Mary hold a Master’s degree from the Heller School of Public Policy at Brandeis University and a Bachelor’s degree from American University. She currently serves on the advisory board of the English Learners Success Forum.

David Bramlett

Senior Director

David Bramlett currently serves as a Senior Director for America Achieves, where he provides strategic leadership on educator networks and regional efforts to develop effective pathways to good jobs.

Ming Cheuk


Ming Cheuk serves as an accountant for America Achieves.

Annette Dunlap

Administrative Associate, GripTape

Annette Dunlap is the Administrative Associate at GripTape, an initiative that places youth in the driver's seat of their learning by giving them resources to explore their own passions and interests.

Megan Emacio

Program Success Manager and Career Coach, Merit America

Megan is a Program Success Manager and Career Coach at Merit America. She is passionate about training, talent development, and helping others achieve their goals.

Diane Ford

Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

Diane Ford serves as Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, overseeing all of the organization’s administrative and finance functions.

Jade Grieve

Senior Advisor

Jade Grieve is the Senior Advisor at America Achieves. Before joining America Achieves, Jade was a strategic policy advisor to two former Australian Prime Ministers and Education Ministers.

Catherine Holland

Chief Operating Officer, GripTape

Catherine Holland is the Chief Operating Officer for GripTape, an initiative that fosters deep understanding, tools, and opportunities for youth to drive their own learning and development. Before joining America Achieves, she worked with nonprofits and private-sector companies committed to increasing access to critical information and outstanding educational experiences for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Catherine is passionate about engaging with partners, whether youth in schools and community-based programs or the adults who serve them. She has worked with educators, administrators, and technologists to create innovative programs and tools that support powerful, effective learning. Most recently, Catherine served as the Director of Research & Development at following her role as Program Director for the Salvadori Center. Catherine studied at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, and in Paris, France. Today, she lives in New York City where she and her husband raised their two children. When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading Civil War biographies, comparing Crossfit bruises with her husband, or practicing her French with anyone who will indulge her.

Lance Hostetter

Colorado Program Manager, Educator Voice Fellowship

Lance Hostetter serves as the Colorado Program Manager for the Educator Voice Fellowship. He has extensive experience in education advocacy, government, and politics in Colorado.

Brooke Jones

Career Coach, Merit America

Brooke serves as a Career Coach at Merit America. After graduating from Florida International University, Brooke moved to the DC area to begin her career and found herself working at a small independently owned bakery. This experience gave her an insight to how small businesses work and she developed her skills in community outreach and building customer relationships while establishing a catering department.

Macklin Levine

Development and Communications Associate

Macklin Levine is a Development and Communications Associate at America Achieves.

Elise Minkin

Director of Program Strategy & Partnerships, Merit America

Elise leads program strategy & partnerships and is part of the founding team of Merit America.

Samantha Mitchell

Senior Program Success Manager and National Alumni Lead

Samantha is a native of Washington, D.C., where she has worked for the last 7+ years to impact the lives of children and adults through her career of workforce development.

Mark Murphy

Founder and CEO, GripTape

Mark Murphy leads Griptape, an initiative to ensure youth are the true drivers of their learning and development and are able to seize great opportunities to grow, lead, and serve. Before joining the family at America Achieves, Mark was the Secretary of Education in Delaware.

Danyelle Murray

Director of Community Engagement, GripTape

Danyelle Murray is the Director of Community Engagement for GripTape — an initiative that supports youth to lead and develop their own unique approach to learning. With a decade of experience working in higher education and nonprofit organizations, Danyelle sees value in empowering others to find their "spark" and make a difference in their lives and within their communities.

Irene Newman

Senior Human Resources and Administrative Manager

Irene Newman serves as Senior Human Resources and Administrative Manager, working directly with the Chief Financial & Administrative Officer on all phases of the employee lifecycle, including recruitment, onboarding, professional development, and performance management. Prior to joining America Achieves, Irene was the Human Resources Manager for Malaria No More, a 501 (c)(3) organization where she was responsible for supporting business initiatives, development of HR strategies, and plans, to ensure organizational effectiveness.

Ben Ophoven-Baldwin

Strategy Manager, Merit America

Ben is the Strategy Manager at Merit America. He brings a passion for strategy, technology, and the future of work to help Merit America scale.

Ryan Ouellette

Associate Site Director in Dallas, Merit America

Ryan is passionate about providing opportunities to improve people’s lives through education and training. Originally from a small town in New Hampshire, Ryan has traveled the globe leading a variety of programs in the nonprofit, higher education, and private sectors.

Dimity Palmer-Smith

Director of Partnerships, College Access and Success

Dimity Palmer-Smith is the Director of Partnerships for College Access and Success at America Achieves. Prior to joining America Achieves, Dimity was the founding Executive Director of Friends of WHEELS, a nonprofit organization providing funding for college access and persistence services at WHEELS, a public school in Washington Heights.

Heidi A. Ramírez

Executive Director of Educator Networks

Heidi brings years of K-12 and higher education leadership experience to the design and support of a variety of networks focused on improving educator voice and career and life readiness for all young people.

Alysha Rashid

Director of Programs & Operations, College Access and Success

Alysha Rashid is the Director of Programs & Operations of College Access and Success at America Achieves. Previously, she worked as in-school adviser with MDRC’s College Match Program. Alysha began her career as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Adelphi University, her alma mater, where she recruited students in New York and Washington and helped build Adelphi’s multicultural recruitment efforts.

Jhenielle Reynolds

Program Manager, College Access and Success

Jhenielle is the Program Manager for College Access and Success at America Achieves, where she provides operational support for the CollegePoint initiative. She brings with her a wealth of experience as a first generation college graduate, former college adviser and admissions officer.

Sheri Rodman

Director of Data & Operations, Fellowship for Teachers and Principals

Sheri began her career in education in 2007 as a high school math teacher in Washington, D.C. While teaching, Sheri served as a teacher leader in her school by heading the math department, founding an international club for students, and founding a faculty community committee for colleagues.

Bonnie Rubin

Strategy Manager

Bonnie Rubin is a Strategy Manager at America Achieves.

Angela Ryan

Program Success Manager and Career Coach, Merit America

Angela is a Program Success Manager and Career Coach at Merit America. A lifelong learner, Angela is passionate about connecting talent to opportunities that create positive impact for our society.

Amy Scavezze

Colorado Program Manager, GripTape

Amy Scavezze is the Colorado Program Manager for GripTape.

Jon Schnur

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Jon Schnur is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of America Achieves.

Tom Snyder

Senior Accounting Manager

Tom serves as the Senior Accounting Manager for America Achieves working in their Accelerator team. Tom is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the accounting function as well as continuing to develop a cohesive process between the organization and the finance area.

Bryden Sweeney-Taylor

Project Lead, College Access & Success

Before joining America Achieves, Bryden served as Executive Director of African Leadership Foundation, the US partner of African Leadership Academy, a leadership development institution dedicated to supporting Africa’s future leaders.

Rebecca Taber

Founder & CEO, Merit America

Rebecca is the Founder & CEO of Merit America, which is building a new pathway from low-skill work to upwardly-mobile careers for the 100M+ Americans who do not have college degrees.

Olivia Wondu

Operations Associate, Merit America

Olivia has a varied professional background performing a wide range of duties in different industries. As an administrative support specialist, she worked to streamline operations and facilitate organizational success.