Steering Committee & Staff
The Steering Committee serves as the governing body of Community Partners, operating as the board of directors for the HBS Community Partners program under the general guidance of the HBSA/NC board of directors. Ours is a board of doers that inspires and empowers HBS alumni to make a difference.
Rona Gomel Ashe
Rona currently provides business strategy and marketing consulting for nonprofit organizations and early stage startups. Rona has managed projects across different sectors and has supported organizations as they develop and grow with strategic planning, marketing strategy, branding, naming, and governance projects.
Prior to her nonprofit work, Rona has experience in general management and marketing of packaged goods and media entertainment, including at HBO, Inc. in New York City. Rona’s other volunteer work includes member of the Brown Women's Leadership Council and Trustee for Marin Academy High School.
Rona earned an AB from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Sandeep is an experienced technology executive with a passion for building products that delight customers. He is currently leading Yelp's ecommerce product and marketing initiatives.
Prior to Yelp, as the VP of Business Development at NitrousIO, he led user growth efforts (User Analytics, SaaS funnel optimization, SEO, and Marketing etc.) and the company's initial inside sales efforts with enterprise accounts. These efforts directly increased monthly recurring revenue and 3X growth of the developer userbase. Before NitrousIO, Sandeep developed the business case for and led the due diligence team for LG’s purchase of WebOS. He also spearheaded the 30 person cross-functional integration team that led to creation of LG’s Silicon Valley Lab in one of the largest technology acquisitions by a Korean company in the US. Previously, Sandeep built and sold Enterprise SaaS and appliance products to leading Fortune 500 enterprises in senior product management and marketing roles at Cisco and Intel.
He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and received a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He lives in San Francisco and loves spending time outdoors.
Mary began her career in not-for-profit management, working for 10 years at United Cerebral Palsy in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She held various positions in client services as a Program Director and Director of Independent Living Skills training programs and in administrative areas as an Human Resources Manager and Grant Writer. After earning her MBA from HBS, Mary worked in retail banking until she started her own consulting business. As a management consultant with more than 20 years of experience in program/project management, operations and process design and improvement, and change management, Mary oversees the design and delivery of complex, multi-disciplinary, enterprise-wide solutions to address a range of business needs. While most of her consulting work has been in financial services (retail banking, investment management, and fintech), Mary has additional experience in the health care industry, technology, and not-for-profit management.
HBS ’98, Executive Director
As Executive Director of HBS Community Partners, Elaine oversees a consulting organization for nonprofits that places 200+ Harvard Business School alumni volunteers on 40 nonprofit project teams, who in turn deliver over $2.5 million in value annually. She has provided consulting and facilitating services to a diverse set of nonprofits facing scaling, marketing, and business management issues.
Prior to her current role, Elaine had both experience as a consultant to nonprofits and operational experience running a nonprofit. She provided consulting services to organizations such as Full Circle Fund and Nueva School, and served in numerous capacities at the Las Lomitas Education Foundation, including co-President, Donor Relations Chair, and active Board member for nine years. In addition, she is a hands-on volunteer in a diverse range of local community service organizations.
Before her dedication to creating community impact on multiple levels, Elaine spent 15+ years as a global management consultant and strategic marketer. Her background includes management consulting at The Monitor Group, brand marketing at The Clorox Company and running her own strategic marketing consulting practice. Her experience spans strategic planning and business development, brand equity building and differentiation, product innovation, and the implementation of innovative marketing programs.
Elaine earned her BA at Harvard University and her MBA at Harvard Business School.
Raymond served as a Senior Technology Manager and Vice President of a financial services company, with more than 30+ years of technology, leadership, and strategic planning experience. He is a visionary leader with the ability to define and execute high-level strategies to meet business objectives. He is also a forward-thinking IT professional with a strong background in system conversion and organizational transformation.
Raymond is very well known for his effective thought leadership, technology guidance, standards and governance in a matrix organization. He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of business process improvements, information technology, budgeting, program and technology project management, infrastructure provisioning, and resource management.
Raymond has a proven track record of providing technology solutions for leveraging existing systems and transitioning IT to an integrated and contemporary state-of-the-art technology organization. He is a firm believer of Continual Service Improvement (CSI) initiatives to further automate operations, streamline processes, expand access to services, and improve consistency and performance.
Raymond is also well regarded as a dedicated corporate trainer in diversity inclusion, emotional intelligence, and a collective social impact advocate through volunteerism. He is an avid philanthropist and proactive Board Member of various social services nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jim works with companies and organizations on product development and marketing of new learning technologies. Prior to his current consulting work, he held senior positions at learning tech companies such as: Scientific Learning, where he led marketing and user support for the company’s neuroscience-based software as it advanced from clinical trials through market entry; LeapFrog, where he expanded instructional offerings on mobile platforms; DynaVox, with products in over 20,000 U.S. schools and 44 countries; and Sally Ride Science, where he led sales and marketing of products to promote STEM learning and careers among less-advantaged students.
Jim began his career in the 1980s, working in the television business in New York, and later at Citibank, providing project financing to clients in the US and Asia. He also holds a BS in Applied Earth Sciences from Stanford.
Eva Freund Miranda
Eva is President/Founder of Sanctuary Conservation, a sustainable business that preserves nature and memorializes lives. Previously, Eva developed and grew Delight Networks, an e-commerce group of companies. She was formerly Senior Vice President and General Manager at Sony Corporation of America and Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at Sony Pictures Entertainment. While at Sony, she developed and grew new businesses and transformed existing business operations by adopting new technology for infrastructure and product delivery. Prior to Sony, she held the positions of Senior Associate at Strategic Decisions Group; Associate at McKinsey and Company, Inc.; and Product Development Engineer at Procter & Gamble.
Eva has served on several nonprofit boards, including: San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Yerba Buena Arts and Events, and as President of the Board of Trustees for Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School.
Eva holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from University of Missouri - Rolla and an MBA from Harvard University.
HBS ’86, Chair
John Peters is an angel investor, advisor, and community volunteer. John built his career as a senior executive at Hewlett Packard, BMC Software, and Touche Ross Consulting. He has an extensive track record in leading and growing software businesses, developing and managing strategy through to execution, and growing and developing senior leadership staff.
John is the Chairman of the Sacramento Angels investor group and an active investor and advisor to a number of northern California startups. He is also a mentor for several startup accelerators. John has been volunteering with the HBS Community Partner program for well over 20 years and is currently in his second year at Board Chair. Recent clients include the California Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, and The Nature Conservancy. John is also the President of the Harvard Club of Sacramento.
John lives with his wife Joann and two dogs in Granite Bay, CA where you will likely find him plying the many bike trails and hiking in the local mountains when he is not engaged in his startup and nonprofit activities.
John earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Information Technology & Accounting from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining HBS Community Partners in 2017, Amy worked for 10 years at the Education Fund, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower the diverse healthcare workforce to advance in a changing environment through innovative education and training. Amy managed several of the Fund’s programs designed to support incumbent workers who were going back to school.
Before becoming an Assistant Director at the Education Fund, Amy worked in higher education as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Today she continues to stay involved in education, serving as President of the Parents Club Organization at Commodore Sloat Elementary School in San Francisco, where her daughters are enrolled.
Amy earned her BA at the University of Michigan and her MS in Counseling at San Francisco State University.
Citizen of the world - military brat who has lived in 6 countries and 3 continents - connector of dots. In a collaborative fast paced industry, she makes a positive impact using science innovations, teamwork, and business strategy.
Michon is an experienced company builder with 17 years working in Strategy, Corporate Development, Operations, and Product Launch across industries including: Biotechnology, Management Consulting, and Specialty Chemicals. Her strengths include: strategy (seeing patterns in complexity); leading and maximizing teams to achieve results; excellent communication; and positivity (realistic inspiration and encouragement in ambiguous settings).
Michon is currently serving as the Chief Business Officer for Chimera Bioengineering. Chimera Bioengineering leverages RNA based gene regulatory systems to solve the challenges of living therapies within cancer treatment. Aside from working with biotech start-ups, Michon also enjoys serving on the board of the West Valley Boys and Girls Club, being outdoors, and exercising (biking, running, hiking and yoga).
Since 2001, served as CFO, Board member, Board advisor and Consultant for multiple private biotech/medical companies. Raised venture funding, led strategic and financial planning, and negotiated technology and product collaborations. From 1992 to 2001, served in a variety of financial and corporate development positions in biotech, ultimately as CFO, CEO and Board member. Previously worked at The Boston Consulting Group and Lehman Brothers investment banking. BS in Chemical Engineering and Harvard MBA.
Juan Carlos Velten
• Founding partner of Innovation Lab in Denmark - helps organizations stay relevant
• Founder, CMO, VP Corporate Development -- SoftCoin, Inc. (sold to Kroger in 2012)
• Marketing Manager -- Silicon Graphics Computer Systems
• Brand Manager -- Procter & Gamble
Wendi X. Zhang is a life-long learner who loves to work with awesome people on useful products and services. To date, she has served on 3 HBS Community Partners Consulting Projects (SETI, SJ MOTI, SF Tech Council), and 2 Brainstorming Sessions (SF MOCI, Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation). In her professional life, Wendi is leading business development for a very exciting stealth company. Right before taking on this new role, she was a Business Development Partner for Gradient Ventures (Google's AI Fund), where she advised Gradient's portfolio companies on their business challenges and forged partnerships with some of the world's largest companies. In the past, she has led business development/product partnerships for Google Pixel, Wearables, and Accessories as well as a few verticals of Google Home and Chromecast within Google's Devices & Services (formerly Google Hardware) team, ran business development for 3 tech startups, contributed to entrepreneurship development policies and analysis in the public sector, dabbled in finance, and consulted for the biomedical industry. She is passionate about lifelong learning, interdisciplinary innovation, entrepreneurship development, understanding history and current events through locals’ perspectives, socioeconomic mobility, traveling/adventuring, and food (including kitchen gadgets).
Wendi received joint MBA / MPP degrees from the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School, as well as two BS degrees in Mathematics and Management Science from MIT. She lives in the Bay Area, and has an adorable corgi named Fizzy (with one more corgi puppy on the way).
The Leadership Council is composed of alumni who act as both major donors and advisory ambassadors and add tremendous value to the HBS Community Partners program.
Members include Karen Alden (MBA 1988), Jill Aufricht (MBA 1992), Cathy Benko (MBA 1989), Peter Carson (MBA 1973), Etienne Deffarges (MBA 1985), Ben Dubin (MBA 1997), Shalyn Eason (MBA 2006), Tony Farrell (MBA 1977), Ron Fortgang (MBA 1997), Jane Greenthal (MBA 1991), Nandi Gunning (MBA 2001), Heather Hansma (MBA 2000), Phil Hunter (MBA 1978), Stephen Klein (MBA 1996), Kurt Krukenberg (MBA 2008), Juan Montermoso (DBA 1977), Seth Schalet, Leah Segawa (MBA 1984), John Senaldi (MBA 1992), and Don Spradlin (MBA 1972).