Our Team

Meet our team of passionate professionals from diverse
backgrounds, each committed to increasing diversity and
inclusion in education and the workplace.

Michael Rivers


Cherose Walker


Leon M. Ptaszek


Megan Pugach-Gordon


Stephen D. Alkins


Enna Jimenez


Kelly Mackey


Brendan Leonard


Beth Schaefer

General Secretary

Charis Loveland


Kelley Gurley

Chair, Executive Board

Become a Partner

Interested in exploring a collaboration opportunity?
Contact our Boston office at [email protected].

Meet Our Partners

We recognize the vital role of our partners and are deeply grateful for their continued assistance.

Michael Rivers M.D.

Director of Ophthalmology at Modernizing Medicine

Educated at Princeton and Cornell University Medical School, Dr. Rivers practiced as a retinal specialist in the Washington, DC area for 26 years. He specialized in caring for patients with advanced diabetic retinopathy which continues to be a leading cause of blindness. Caring for a diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population, he saw firsthand the inequities associated with the healthcare of less fortunate subgroups in the United States.

Currently Dr. Rivers is an executive for Modernizing Medicine, a medical software company. He is responsible for helping understand clients needs as they run complicated medical businesses. He also works closely with the software development team to enhance the software platform and anticipate future challenges providers have in delivering healthcare. Finally, he helps analyze data to help understand and streamline business processes internal to the organization.

Cherose Walker

Assistant Principal at Medford High School

Cherose Walker holds a Masters in Education (Ed.M.) from Harvard University, an M.B.A from Suffolk University and Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She is currently an Assistant Principal at Medford High School. Ms.Walker’s career in education extends over 15 years. She started her career as an elementary special education educator in the Boston Public Schools,  and then taught mathematics and humanities at the middle school level. 

Ms. Walker has held various leadership positions throughout her career in education. She currently serves as a member of the Suffolk  University M.B.A  Advisory Board, The Race and Equity Task Force for the Medford Public Schools, and the Massachusetts Partnership for Diversity in Education. She also is a Life Coach and Educational Consultant who specializes in community building, trauma and self care. Ms. Walker has a passion to serve others and her commitment to that is evident through all aspects of her work. 

Leon M. Ptaszek, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Dr. Leon Ptaszek is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ptaszek received his undergraduate degree with high honors from Wesleyan University in 1994 and his MD and PhD degrees from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York University) in 2003. He completed a residency program in Internal Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine in 2005 and then completed clinical and research fellowships in Cardiovascular Diseases and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2011.

Dr. Ptaszek’s research interests include the molecular mechanisms of scar formation after myocardial infarction and interventions that reduce post-infarct scar burden. He holds two patents and is the author of over 50 original scientific publications, book chapters and reviews. He is regularly invited to deliver lectures related to his areas of clinical and research expertise on national and international levels. Dr. Ptaszek also maintains an active referral practice that includes local, regional, national, and international referrals. In addition, Dr. Ptaszek is involved in international health outreach efforts and has performed pacemaker and defibrillator implant procedures in Ethiopia and India.

Dr. Ptaszek received the Franklin G. Ebaugh, Jr. Award for research and the Award for Professionalism from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 2005. He received the Clinician-Scientist Award from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and was named the de Gunzburg Scholar at MGH in 2011. Dr. Ptaszek became a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology in 2013 and became a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society in 2018.

Megan Pugach-Gordon

Director of Education at The Forsyth Institute

Dr. Megan Pugach-Gordon is Director of Forsyth Student Scholars Programs and a faculty researcher at the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, MA, where she directs STEM  programming for High School 6-12th grade youth, exposing the next generation of scientists to laboratory research and oral health-focused sciences. Dr. Pugach-Gordon is passionate about and committed to promoting STEM careers for youth with underserved backgrounds.

With a background in oral and craniofacial research, Dr. Pugach-Gordon’s research is focused on tooth formation, malformation, disease and oral health disparities. The long-term vision of Dr. Pugach-Gordon’s research is to develop treatments to prevent severe early childhood caries in underserved populations, and biologically inspired strategies to effectively repair malfunctioning tooth structures. 

After completing her undergraduate training at Washington University, Dr. Pugach-Gordon received her PhD from the University of California, San Francisco. After her postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania, she joined Forsyth as assistant faculty with an Instructor appointment at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Stephen D. Alkins Ph.D.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Neuroscientist

Dr. Stephen D. Alkins, Jr is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (and Belonging) Officer (DEIO) and Co-chair of the DEI Council at Technical Education Research Centers (TERC). With his leadership, Dr. Alkins helps craft and implement the vision for DEIB at TERC through his collaboration on National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM education grant development in multiple learning environments (informal and formal K-16 spaces).  

Dr. Alkins role and responsibilities include recruitment and retention of a diverse research and infrastructure staff, internal policy review, development and analysis of inclusive educational opportunities and social programming, and establishment of collaborative partnerships to promote equity for all STEM learners.  He also helps research teams employ critical DEIB frameworks (e.g. Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, Social Capital Theory, etc.) to help dismantle systemic inequities within STEM education, support youth STEM identity development, and engage and include underrepresented/marginalized communities in authentic, collaborative research experiences.  Further, he directs the TERC Scholars Program, an undergraduate internship experience, to diversify the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education researchers.  

Dr. Alkins is an accomplished scientist, college and high school educator, mentor, and national-performing Spoken Word/SLAM poet who uses art to diversify participation in and enhance understanding of STEAM concepts.  He is a alumnus of both the Neuroscience Scholars Program through the National Science Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Impact Program.  Also, he was featured by Cell Press and Cell Mentor on its “1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” list in 2020. Stephen received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Morehouse College, Georgia and Master’s and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Brandeis University, Massachusetts.

Enna Jimenez

Business Transformation and Quality Leader, Delivery & Services at IDEMIA

Enna Jimenez is The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Change Champion Award-Winner. She has over 30 years in multiple industries with expertise in Leadership, Technology and Transformation Management. Currently, Ms. Jimenez is the Head of the Quality Assurance team at IDEMIA, an augmented identity security organization. She  received the Quarterly Manager MVP Award in October 2019, for leading change in the company. She is a Coach and Mentor and has a huge passion for Diversity and Inclusion, talent engagement and community organizations.

In March 2021, Ms. Jimenez received the Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (E.L.I.T.E.) Award from NSBE Boston Professionals. Recently, Ms. Jimenez, was appointed Presidential Adviser for Alumni Engagement by the Simmons University President, Dr. Lynn Wooten. She is a member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Advisory Board and the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) National Board of Directors. 

Ms. Jimenez is one of the 92 Hispanics featured in the first edition book Hispanic Stars Rising: A New Face of Power and she is also one of the Latino leaders featured in the Hispanic Executive magazine. The Multicultural Symposium Series Black History Empowerment Recognition Breakfast recognized Ms. Jimenez as one of the Black and Brown Innovators of Action Honorees in March 2020. In 2019, the National Diversity Council selected her as one of the 2019 National Latino Leader Award winners and she received a Citation from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Leadership and Excellence. 

Ms. Jimenez, earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Spanish from Simmons University and a Simmons Graduate School of Management Executive Leadership Program certificate.

Kelly Mackey

Vice President of Revenue Operations at Global Healthcare Exchange.

Kelly Mackey serves as Vice President, Revenue Operations at Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX.com), a tech company that’s reducing the cost of doing business in healthcare by automating supply chain processes and improving visibility into the products used in patient care. GHX has built the world’s largest community of healthcare trading partners.

Based in the greater Denver area, Ms. Mackey has held roles in finance, supply chain, strategy, and business operations. Prior to GHX, Kelly worked for 15 years at Staples and served as Co-Chair of the Women Who Lead business resource group from 2018–2020. She now serves as a Co-Chair for the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. Prior to Staples, Kelly held finance roles at Morgan Stanley and Verilink Corporation in Colorado.

Ms. Mackey received a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Oral Roberts University and an MBA from the University of Colorado, as well as a CPA. Ms. Mackey is an alumna of Harvard Business School through the Advanced Management Program and active in the Harvard Business School Association of Boston.

Brendan Leonard

CEO & President, SVP Sales & Marketing

Mr. Leonard is an entrepreneurial executive with broad general management expertise and over 20 years leading consumer facing product and service brands and companies.  Leveraging a background in brand management and sales leadership, he has a track record of leveraging innovation to develop and launch winning products and programs to drive profitable growth. 

Mr. Leonard, industry experience spans a diverse assortment of consumer verticals including luggage, toys, elective medical financing and over the counter consumer health and personal care for challengers as well as industry leading companies such as Samsonite, Hasbro and Capital One.  A career highlight was the receipt of the President’s “E” Award for Excellence in Exports, the highest honor the federal government gives for significant contributions to the increase of American exports, while meeting the President in the Oval Office. Mr. Leonard received his M.B.A from the University of Notre Dame and Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Rhode Island.

Beth Schaefer

Managing Director at Koya Partners, Executive Search, Higher Education

Ms. Beth Schaefer is a Managing Director at Koya Partners in Boston, part of the Diversified Search Group, working in the higher education and non-profit sectors.  Beth specializes in leading Chief Financial Officer, Chief Human Resource Officer, Chief Enrollment Officer, Chief Operating Officer,  Chief Procurement Officer, and senior executive searches in academic and administrative leadership roles across multiple functional areas.  

With more than twenty years of corporate experience in the human resources role and over a decade of executive search experience in higher education, non-profit, and corporate sectors, Beth partners with a broad range of institutions from liberal arts colleges, Jesuit and other faith based institutions, to large public and private research universities and academic medical centers.  

Before joining Koya Partners in 2017, Beth worked as a search consultant with a boutique higher education search firm as well as with a regional human resources leadership search firm.  Prior to a career in search she held roles in human resources management in a mix of industries, mainly in the Boston area.  

Beth is an active participant in career coaching and on panels with national professional higher education associations such as NACUBO, ACE, and CUPA-HR.  Beth is an active member of Boston-area and national human resources organizations, local community arts and environmental sustainability organizations and volunteers at a women’s shelter.  

Beth received her Bachelor of Science in Business from Providence College,  Rhode Island and earned her M.B.A from Simmons University, Massachusetts.

Charis Loveland

Business Development Manager, AI/ML at Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Ms. Charis Loveland works at Amazon Web Services as a Business Development Manager on the Cloud Intelligence team specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). She helps the global sales force to better understand and articulate the value of ML software and creates original content. She is an active Amazon community member, an Emotional Intelligence evangelist, an Inclusivity, Diversity, and Engagement ambassador, Class Chat coach, and Hour of Code organizer.

Ms. Loveland holds a high-tech M.B.A, summa cum laude, from Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts from Bates College, magna cum laude. She brings a decade and a half of experience in product management, AI, data analytics, new product introduction, file and hardware storage, and software development. She honed her AI/ML skills as a product manager at Microsoft where she launched a crowdsourcing platform for Azure ML. She founded Rue La La’s data science team where she created and executed a roadmap and strategy to create personalized experiences and segment customers. She previously held roles at EMC and SAP managing technical projects.

Kelley Gurley, Ph.D.

Head of Plasma Derived Therapies, Data & Digital Technologies Strategy and Operations at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Gurley has broad experience in Health Information Technologies currently serving
as the Head of Plasma Derived Therapies, Data & Digital Technologies Strategy and Operations at Takeda Pharmaceuticals out of Cambridge MA.

Dr. Gurley has spent her 25-year career leading Digital Transformations and developing technologies that support acute and post-acute care, hospice, dialysis, and laboratory and life sciences.

Dr. Gurley earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and her research thesis is in Information Technology/ Human Centered Computing with a focus on technology and
Aging/Accessibility issues.

Though Dr. Gurley’s career has been focused on technology, Dr. Gurley’s true passion is serving others by creating opportunities which create individual success through coaching. Dr. Gurley is the Founder of ISO Life Coaching Services, where she helps clients find success both professionally and personally. “I am inspired every day observing the impact of a positive conversation on someone’s paradigm,” she said. Dr. Gurley is a certified Executive and Career Coach with expertise in Holistic Emotional Intelligence, Positive Intelligence, and Life Harmony Coaching. The ISO in her business stands for her business motto: “I Serve Others.” She wanted to create a platform to help others feel or learn to feel as passionate about their careers as she feels about her own.

In her spare time Dr. Gurley is also an author and international speaker. In her latest book “Leading Humans” Dr. Gurley provides a handbook to new leaders who are leading a team for the first time and provides tactical steps for readers searching to find effective ways to lead a human workforce.