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The Spark Team

We are a passionate, innovative and collaborative team focused on celebrating students and promoting possibility.

Robin M. Keefe
Michelle Stearn
Hannah Wheeler
Josh Keller

Robin M. Keefe
Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director: Spark in the Bay

Robin M. Keefe was the founder and President of BookEnds. Through her passionate and focused leadership, Robin developed a community of people to grow BookEnds as a distinguished Los Angeles leader in introducing children to philanthropy as they worked to fill the barren bookshelves in their neighborhood schools and youth organizations. More than one million children learned the power of community service through the donation of over three million books to create nearly 700 libraries throughout Los Angeles.

BookEnds’ programs were successfully transitioned into three nonprofit organizations in 2015 to drive scale and economy in support of the national initiative for sustainable nonprofit organizations.

Robin then assumed the position of Interim CEO for The Beauty Bus Foundation and then for Karma Rescue, tasked with reorganizing these emerging nonprofit organizations to position them for strength and scale in the delivery of their missions.

Robin’s early career was in the real estate development and finance field, including industrial brokerage, corporate site acquisition for a national bank and a national restaurant chain and commercial real estate development. But she found a growing passion for philanthropy and children as she served on numerous community boards of directors. Robin joined these passions in 1998 with the founding of BookEnds.

Robin continues to focus her passion on the development of our youth in community service.  She is an active participant and guest lecturer at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Policy and Pepperdine University’s School of Business and Communication, engaging students in entrepreneurial nonprofit leadership. Robin has served on the boards of directors of 14 diverse nonprofit organizations.

Among her numerous honors is her most cherished:  “The Angel Award for Service” presented to Robin by Oprah Winfrey.

Robin graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Finance and a minor in Art History.  Robin joined Spark in the Bay Area as Executive Director in 2018.

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Michelle Stearn
Program Lead

Michelle graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2015. Michelle got her start in education while in college by becoming a mentor and coordinator for D.C. Reads, a literacy intervention program that serves underserved youth in Washington, D.C. She then combined her passions for environmental education and community development by creating a youth urban agriculture summer and after school program in Ward 7 of D.C. More recently, Michelle pursued a Fulbright interdisciplinary research scholarship in Chile, where she created a pilot program to help youth understand and design their own renewable energy systems. Michelle is super excited to be returning to her hometown of Chicago to continue inspiring students and working with schools as a Spark Program Lead.

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Hannah Wheeler
Corporate Partnerships Coordinator

Hannah graduated from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College with a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development. She moved to Chicago with one goal in mind: tackling inequality in education. Serving as a Math Tutoring Fellow with SAGA Innovations, Hannah saw the impact one-on-one relationships can have on students' lives. After working with high schoolers at Wendell Phillips Academy and seeing their lack of opportunities, she is excited to be able to show Middle Schoolers their potential through Spark and watch them succeed in high school and beyond!

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Josh Keller
Development Director

Josh comes to Spark with nearly a decade of experience in the education and youth development space. He began his career serving two years as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Los Angeles at a middle school in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. Josh then joined their development team where he spent three years managing foundation relations and corporate partnerships. A native of Chicago's northern suburbs, Josh then returned home to run Camp for All Kids, a camp scholarship program, where under his leadership the organization increased its students served by 40% over two years and partner camps by 20. Josh most recently worked as a Director of Development at KIPP Chicago Schools.

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Jazmine Sanders

Jazmine Sanders
Program Fellow

Jazmine Sanders is the new program fellow, she is currently finishing her B.A in Communication from Loyola University Chicago. She has a strong passion to empower young people of color to reach beyond the daily barriers and help them use their communities as support. Before joining Spark she worked at City Year Chicago as a team leader, where she was a support system for students to realize their full potential and plans to continue within Spark.

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Board Members

Executive Board
AJ Gandhi, Chief Growth Officer, Marin Equity Partners Alan Braverman, Founder & CEO, Textline Brad Wynn, Head of Client Strategy (East Region), LGIM America Britton Picciolini, Board Chair, Regional Manager, Google for Education, Google Carolyn Jones, Principal, Perkins Bass Elementary School Charles Calloway, Partner, Chapman & Cutler LLP David Furlin, Private Client Advisor, Senior Vice President, Bank of America Davina Drabkin, General Manager, Stanford University Graduate School of Business Garen Corbett, Executive Director, Health Policy Expert, University of California Griffin Gordon, Head of Growth, Heyday Jay Pettigrew, Regional Vice President, Cloud Marketing, Salesforce Jonathan Brown, Executive Director, Real Estate Banking (Central Region), JP Morgan Chase Jules Kaufman, EVP and General Counsel and Secretary, Gartner Karen Davis, Senior Director, HR Connect, US Foods Katharine Patch, Director- Family Offices, Foundations, and Endowments, BlackRock Krystin Hernandez, Senior Counsel, McDonald’s Corporation MR MacGill, Board Chair, Consumer Marketing Consultant, MRM Consulting Nan Guo, Vice President of Engineering, Zendesk Nayan Shah, Principal, Global Supply Chain Optimization, Deloitte Renee Mendez, Partner, Ernst & Young Sara Wasserteil, Managing Director of Expansion and Integration, Cara Chicago Susan Salop, Global Sales and Operations Executive Tamara Roberts, Director, Program Portfolio Management, Gogo Commercial Air Tiffany Bristol, Senior Account Manager, Google Tony Alejo, Management Consulting Managing Director, KPMG
Advisory Board
Allison Toussaint, Office Manager, Schneider Andrew Covarrubias, Associate Release Manager, Salesforce Anthony Overstreet, Product Specialist, Board Chair, Facebook Blair Sucher, Vice Board Chair, Associate Director, Business Development and Sales Enablement, ExecOnline Collin Starkweather, Founder and President, Starkweather Economics Daniel Kogan, Senior Associate, Strategy, KPMG Faheem Tapia, Strategy & Analytics Consultant, Deloitte Jaime Rehm, Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income Solutions, LGIMA Jennifer DeCilles, Account Manager, Epsilon Digital Jenny McNicholas, Officer, Portfolio Manager, Bank of America Jessica De Leon, Senior Manager, HR Information Systems, Salesforce Jessie Schreier, Consultant, Bain & Company Karina Gonzalez, Client Success Manager, Facebook Kristina Choo, Business Analytics & Strategy Consultant, IBM Mark Doose, Consultant, West Monroe Partners Michael Davis, Information Security Risk Manager, Wipfli LLP Nicole Bruno, Development Manager, Bring Change to Mind Nicole LeBlanc, Staff Content Designer, Wealthfront Paul Warkins, Board Chair, Director, Strategy and Transactions, Ernst & Young Pratik Shah, FP&A Manager- Corporate Functions, Varian Medical Systems, a Siemens Company
Board of Directors
Alicia Winckler, CEO, The Golden Apple Foundation Benjamin Rowe, Board Treasurer; Managing Partner, KHP Capital Partners Britton Picciolini, Board Chair, Regional Manager, Google for Education, Google Charles Calloway, Partner, Chapman & Cutler LLP Garen Corbett, Executive Director, Health Policy Expert, University of California Griffin Gordon, Head of Growth, Heyday Maureen Lang, Co-Chair, Gartner MR MacGill, Board Chair, Consumer Marketing Consultant, MRM Consulting Renee Mendez, Partner, Ernst & Young

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