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AARON WALKER, Board MEMBER

Aaron is founder and chief executive officer of Camelback Ventures, a fund that levels the playing field for underrepresented entrepreneurs. Since 2015, Camelback has made 33 investments and has helped those companies raise nearly $13M. Aaron is on a journey to live in the spirit of his baseball hero, Jackie Robinson, who said “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” With this ethos, Aaron taught ninth grade English in West Philadelphia through Teach For America, put together deals for companies large and small as a lawyer at Allen & Overy, and supported new ideas to improve education as a portfolio director for the NYC Fund for Public Schools. Aaron is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Penn Law School. 

 

Jay Altman, Board MEMBER

Jay is an educator, school leader and social entrepreneur. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of FirstLine Schools. He has founded several schools and nonprofit organizations, including Leading Educators and New Orleans Summerbridge. As Director of Education for London-based ARK Schools, developing a network of academies in England. Jay has helped develop training programs for leaders of open admissions urban schools, including Future Leaders, a program for aspiring principals of open-admissions urban schools, and Teaching Leaders, a program for mid-level school leaders. Jay serves on the boards of Leading Educators and the Teaching Trust.

 

Leona Christy, Founder and CEO

Leona brings 15+ years of experience scaling up organizations and leading high-performing teams. As a founding team member at Safal Partners, she played a leading role in growing Safal to one of the premier education consulting firms in the nation and led projects with the Federal Department of Education, leading foundations, non-profits, and school districts. Prior to Safal, Leona led Pratham USA, a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring education access and quality for children in developing countries, from start-up to scale. Previously, she has worked with the World Bank and Unilever. Leona has an MPP from Duke University and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

 

Bebe Ryan, COO

Bebe has worked with various schools, charter management organizations, and nonprofits, leading efforts in project design and implementation, fundraising, growth and strategic planning.  Most recently, she served as National Development Director for Rocketship Education, leading the strategic planning and fundraising efforts as the organization triples the number of students served. Bebe has held senior leadership roles in talent management, strategy and fund development at Firstline Schools and KIPP New Orleans, and launched and led Revolution Foods' Louisiana business. Bebe began her education career as a development officer for Teach For America.  She has also served on the board of Propeller, a social entrepreneurship non-profit. Bebe holds a BA with honors from Bowdoin College.

 

Nayab Luqman, Finance, Technology & Operations

Nayab is passionate about both entrepreneurship and social impact, leading her to join the Catalyst:Ed team shortly after the company launched. Nayab graduated from Dartmouth College in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Economics and French. Afterwards, Nayab moved to New York and joined RBC Capital Markets as an investment banking analyst, specializing in corporate asset-backed finance. In 2013, she relocated and joined RBC's education finance team in Los Angeles, where she spent two years mapping and restructuring general obligation bond programs for California K-12 schools and community colleges. In 2015, Nayab became an active member of the startup community in New Orleans, further developing her skills in finance and capacity building within education.

 

Laurel Greilich, associate

Laurel is a recent graduate in Psychology and Political Science from Tulane University, and a Venture for America Fellow. Her interest in child psychology, education policy, and social entrepreneurship, accompanied by a fierce devotion to New Orleans, led her to stay in the city and join Catalyst:Ed’s team. Prior to Catalyst:Ed, Laurel was Fund 17’s Fellowship Coordinator, helping formalize and grow New Orleans community members’ small businesses.