About Us

Our Inspiration

Racial injustice, inequity, and the systems designed to perpetuate them have defined our nation’s history.

In the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Supreme Court stated “…it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity…is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”

We believe the spirit of this decision was a promise to decouple race from access and, more broadly, to break the predictive links between identity and outcomes overall.

However, we have yet to deliver on that promise. Nearly seven decades later, institutionalized oppression, micro-aggressions, discrimination, inequity, and violence still obstruct the path to self-determination and a life trajectory full of choices for people from involuntarily marginalized communities. Race, in particular, remains the strongest single determinant of life outcomes in the US.

This can’t continue. Promise54 was formed to enable organizations to deliver on the promise of equity.

Our Vision for Equity

We envision a day when social justice organizations can achieve their missions because they have the right people excelling in the right roles, their teams reflect the communities served, their cultures are inclusive, and their internal systems, policies, and structures are equitable.

Our Core Values

Champion Justice

We acknowledge the impact of systematic oppression and are committed to pursuing justice. We help to create the conditions to interrogate and shift mindsets, behaviors, and structures, while examining ourselves in the process. We act boldly in our pursuit of diverse, inclusive, equitable, and antiracist workplaces by challenging the status quo, spotting and dismantling inequities, sharing power, and elevating and centering historically silenced voices.

Be Well

We know that to do our best work, we must accept and support each other in all of our humanity. We have fun, laugh out loud, find joy in our work together, celebrate each other’s life milestones, and live unapologetically in our own skin. We practice flexibility related to where and how we get our work done, respecting each other’s professional preferences and life priorities. We carve out time to relax, recharge, and refuel individually and as a team.

Pursue Impact

We are committed to helping people thrive so they can bring the full weight of their talent and passion to the communities they serve. To do so, we pursue transformational outcomes with our client partners and, in the process, we choose courage over comfort. We strive to deliver excellent work and an unparalleled client partner experience to inspire effective action, advance equity, and help our client partners realize their missions.

Embrace Possibility

We approach our work with a sense of possibility, adaptability, and optimism. We invest time in new ideas, engage in thoughtful problem solving, and explore innovative ways to team with each other and with our client partners.

Practice Curiosity

We don’t have all of the answers, so we listen closely to our colleagues, our client partners, our schools, and our communities, as they tell us what’s working and what’s not. We embrace those who push our thinking while helping us make progress. This learning makes us and our work better.

A letter from…

Xiomara Padamsee

 Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Meet the Team

ALISON BROCK MCGILL

Associate Partner

ANDREW GREENIA

Senior Associate

ANNE EIDELMAN

Board Member

APRIL CHOU

Board Member

CORNELIUS LEE

Partner

COURTNEY BROUN

Operations Manager

ALISON BROCK MCGILL

Associate Partner

ANDREW GREENIA

Senior Associate

CORNELIUS LEE

Partner

DAWN ALBERT

Senior Associate

JAIME GRIMSLEY

Associate Partner

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

REBECCA KNICELY CAGLE

Partner

UNSUK ZUCKER

Partner

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

ANDREW GREENIA

Senior Associate

CORNELIUS LEE

Partner

DAWN ALBERT

Senior Associate

JAIME GRIMSLEY

Associate Partner

LESLIE NAIR

Partner

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

MONISHA LOZIER

Partner

REBECCA KNICELY CAGLE

Partner

UNSUK ZUCKER

Partner

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

LESLIE NAIR

Partner

MONISHA LOZIER

Partner

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

COURTNEY BROUN

Operations Manager

LOUIS GORTON

Operations Manager

MARILIN MORALES

Operations Coordinator

ANNE EIDELMAN

Board Member

APRIL CHOU

Board Member

HEATHER HARDING

Board Member

KRISTE DRAGON

Board Member

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

DAWN ALBERT

Senior Assocate

HEATHER HARDING

Board Member

JAIME GRIMSLEY

Associate Partner

KRISTE DRAGON

Board Member

LESLIE NAIR

Partner

LOUIS GORTON

Operations Manager

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

MARILIN MORALES

Operations Coordinator

MONISHA LOZIER

Partner

REBECCA KNICELY CAGLE

Partner

UNSUK ZUCKER

Partner

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

ALISON BROCK MCGILL

Associate Partner

ANDREW GREENIA

Senior Associate

ANNE EIDELMAN

Board Member

APRIL CHOU

Board Member

CORNELIUS LEE

Partner

COURTNEY BROUN

Operations Manager

ALISON BROCK MCGILL

Associate Partner

ANDREW GREENIA

Senior Associate

CORNELIUS LEE

Partner

DAWN ALBERT

Senior Associate

JAIME GRIMSLEY

Associate Partner

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

REBECCA KNICELY CAGLE

Partner

UNSUK ZUCKER

Partner

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

ANDREW GREENIA

Senior Associate

CORNELIUS LEE

Partner

DAWN ALBERT

Senior Associate

JAIME GRIMSLEY

Associate Partner

LESLIE NAIR

Partner

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

MONISHA LOZIER

Partner

REBECCA KNICELY CAGLE

Partner

UNSUK ZUCKER

Partner

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

LESLIE NAIR

Partner

MONISHA LOZIER

Partner

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

COURTNEY BROUN

Operations Manager

LOUIS GORTON

Operations Manager

MARILIN MORALES

Operations Coordinator

ANNE EIDELMAN

Board Member

APRIL CHOU

Board Member

HEATHER HARDING

Board Member

KRISTE DRAGON

Board Member

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

DAWN ALBERT

Senior Associate

HEATHER HARDING

Board Member

JAIME GRIMSLEY

Associate Partner

KRISTE DRAGON

Board Member

LESLIE NAIR

Partner

LOUIS GORTON

Operations Manager

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

MARILIN MORALES

Operations Coordinator

MONISHA LOZIER

Partner

REBECCA KNICELY CAGLE

Partner

UNSUK ZUCKER

Partner

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Our Supporters

ALISON BROCK MCGILL

Associate Partner

She/Her/Hers

Alison is: a proud native of Durham, North Carolina; a loving wife, a helpful daughter and a slightly imperious sister; a social justice champion; a marathon runner; a Black, cisgender, able-bodied, intersectional feminist who cares deeply about poverty alleviation and economic empowerment in historically oppressed communities. In her spare time, Alison enjoys international travel (especially to Francophone countries), full-bodied red wines, and supporting Black-owned businesses. Alison's 10-plus years of social impact experience include roles as the Director, Social Impact Strategy at IPG Mediabrands; Founder of The Brock Method--a boutique nonprofit and social enterprise consultancy benefiting communities of color; Corporate Social Responsibility Fellow at Turner Broadcasting, Inc.; Social Innovation Fellow at StartingBloc; and, Board President at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. Alison holds a BA in Journalism from Howard University and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Contact Alison: alison@promise54.org

ANDREW GREENIA

Senior Associate

He/Him/His

Andrew is: a white cisgender Polish American man based in Oakland, CA who comes from a blended, multi-racial family in and around Detroit, MI; the youngest of three wonderfully unique brothers; an aspiring barber; a devoted hip-hop head; and a plant-loving pacifist.  Andrew’s professional experience is grounded in community organizing, conflict transformation, civic education, intergroup dialogue, and leadership coaching, including roles as Community Organizer at Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES); Program Coordinator at Jesuit Volunteer Corps; Instructor at University of Maryland; Program Manager at Education Pioneers; and Conflict Transformation Practitioner at SEEDS Community Resolution Center.  Andrew holds a BA in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago and an MEd in Human Development & Psychology from Harvard University.

ANNE EIDELMAN

Board Member

She/Her/Hers

Anne is: a South African born, Pittsburgh-bred (go Steelers!); fourth generation teacher; mother of a curly-haired, chatty son; white cisgender, able-bodied woman. She has an extroverted heart and an introverted soul. She is inspired by life’s “Aha!” moments and driven by the belief that students and adults alike must be seen and heard to fulfill their full potential. She has a passion for leading teams of people with different perspectives and a common purpose and creating conditions in which all can thrive. Anne leads Blue Engine, an organization that partners with leaders and teachers so that the message each student receives is you matter - no matter your race, gender or learning difference. Over the last twenty years, Anne has worked in a variety of instructional and leadership roles in schools and nonprofits. Anne was originally trained as a chemist, earning degrees from Washington University in St Louis and Northwestern University; she also received an MBA from Columbia University.

APRIL CHOU

Board Member

She/Her/Hers

April is: a proud second-generation Chinese American woman; a mother of biracial sons, a twenty-five year partner of a feminist husband; a grateful daughter, granddaughter and sister; a voracious traveler, a water sports enthusiast, and a growth mindset devotee; a community organizer at heart, a team and culture builder, and a believer in the best in each of us. April's operating and organization building experience includes roles as: the leader of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's Education team, Chief Growth and Operating Officer of KIPP in the Bay Area, a Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, and a McKinsey & Company consultant. April holds a BA from Princeton University and an MBA and Masters in Education from Stanford University.

CORNELIUS LEE

Partner

He/Him/His

Cornelius is: an advocate for those who reside on the margins of society without their consent; a proud Black gay man; a partner to a wonderful man who has taught him myriad lessons in empathy and kindness; an oenophile; a conscientious objector; a work in progress; and a leader and learner of concepts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Cornelius’ decade+ career includes roles as a classroom teacher, founding school team member, K-12 school leader, and as the Associate Director of Leadership Development at Education Pioneers, where he led the organization’s national programming and operations team. In addition to his role as Associate Partner at Promise54, he is an Adjunct Professor at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Education, and he serves on the City of Chicago’s Mayoral Advisory Council on LGTBTQ+ issues. In his spare time, he enjoys a good glass of vino and exploring the intersection of wine and equity. Cornelius holds a BA in Journalism from Western Kentucky University, a MAT from Dominican University, and a M.Ed. from Harvard.  

Contact Cornelius: cornelius@promise54.org

COURTNEY BROUN

Operations Manager

She/Her/Hers

Courtney is: an Atlanta native who taught 4th grade for three years in the great city of New Orleans, a proud wife and mom, and a former high school athlete who likes to stay active, be outside and play tennis on the weekends. Courtney’s 8 years of education and recruiting experience include roles as: Manager of Talent Program and Operations at Bellwether Education Partners and Director of Learning and Development, Manager of Professional Recruitment, Recruitment Associate and corps member at Teach For America. Courtney received a BS in Business Administration in Marketing from Southern Methodist University.

Contact Courtney: courtney@promise54.org

DAWN ALBERT

Senior Associate

She/Her/Hers

Dawn is: a white, gay, cisgender woman, frugal feminist and llama whisperer from a rural town in Oregon who is on a lifelong journey of unlearning racism. A proud daughter of a first generation college grad, Dawn is also a traveler and a vulnerability practitioner. She’s spent the past twelve years in education and mental health including teaching high school science and debate in New Orleans with Teach For America, providing mental health services for foster youth in the Bay Area, and leading talent and technical initiatives for Aspire Public Schools. Dawn served as a fellow with the National Equity Project and founded Aspire's first White and LGBTQ Affinity groups. She holds a BS from Willamette University. As a certified community conflict mediator, Dawn embraces a deep belief in curiosity as the antidote to judgment.

Contact Dawn: dawn@promise54.org

HEATHER HARDING

Board Member

She/Her/Hers

Heather is: a native of the Midwest who also claims New England, a karaoke champion, single Black mother, and an R&B music connoisseur. A natural connector, Heather grew to explore and deepen her commitment to equity by pursuing journalism, teaching, and qualitative research. She strives to tell the stories. Heather’s career has spanned classroom teaching, professional development, non-profit management and empirical research at places that include Teach For America, Brown University, George Washington University, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She currently leads a portfolio focused on policy & public understanding in Education Grant making at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. She holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, and a Masters and Doctoral degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

JAIME GRIMSLEY

Associate Partner

She/Her/Hers

Jaime is: a Tennessee native, wife and dog mom, doting daughter, and policy wonk. In the fall, she can be found cheering on the Vols and enjoying the mountains. A white woman and bitter southerner who strives to live empathetically, Jaime is an avid reader and podcaster who loves recommendations about what to read and listen to next. She firmly believes all students deserve access to an equitable education and often this requires prioritizing the needs of students over the comfort of adults. Jaime began her eleven year career in education as a Teach for America corps member in Charlotte, NC, before moving to Nashville to work at the Tennessee Department of Education in a variety of roles in human capital and educator evaluation. She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an MPP from Vanderbilt University.

Contact Jaime: jaime@promise54.org

KRISTE DRAGON

Board Member

She/Her/Hers

Kriste Dragon is the chief executive officer of the Pahara Institute. In her prior role as Co-founder and CEO of Citizens of the World, a national network of tuition-free schools committed to serving diverse communities across the country, Kriste and her team’s work has been recognized as a model for building understanding and connection.

In addition to her experience as a middle school teacher, instructor at UCLA, and board chair for several charter schools, Kriste’s professional path has also included experience at the systems level. As Vice President of Regional Operations for Teach For America, Board Chair of EdNavigator, Board Member of the National Charter Collaborative, Board Member of Promise54, Advisory Board Member of the National Association for Charter School Authorizers, and Broad Academy Fellow, Kriste has grounded her life and work in the fundamental belief that all children deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential.

Kriste has served as a moderator for numerous fellowships and programs including Pahara-Aspen, Pahara-NextGen, Aspen Action Forum, and Aspen Young Leaders. As a result of these experiences, Kriste is more committed than ever to strengthening and sustaining diverse, high-integrity leadership in order to reimagine public education for all students in America and beyond.

Kriste holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Alabama. She is based in the Los Angeles Area, where she lives with her three children.

LESLIE NAIR

Partner

She/Her/Hers

Leslie is: a midwest native, veteran wife and mother, grammar boss, and French speaking Bikram yogi, who counts among her claims to fame having cooked dinner for Muhammad Ali! Leslie’s 25-plus years of executive search and advisory experience include roles as: Principal in Bellwether Education Partners’ search practice, Founder of her own search practice, and VP in several other boutique search firms. She has led the execution of senior level searches for clients that create and coordinate ecosystems and foster the growth of high-quality public schools, as well as for for-profit organizations in the finance, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors. Leslie received a BA in French from Bradley University.

Contact Leslie: leslie@promise54.org

LOUIS GORTON

Operations Manager

He/His/Him

Louis is: a white queer transman from rural Central New York, a proud older brother to two amazing siblings, a doting partner and friend, an enthusiastic traveler, a follower of more animals than humans on Instagram, and a passionate seeker of knowledge and solutions. Having recently moved from NYC to LA, Louis spends much of his free time exploring the food, music, art, and sights of the Los Angeles area. Louis has over ten years of experience in education; for many years he worked on staff at Teach For America as the Director of Institute Operations and Manager of Institute Support where he led operations projects for the institute teams and had the chance to work alongside many talented educators and leaders. Louis received a BA in Political Science from SUNY Purchase.

Contact Louis: louis@promise54.org

LUCERITO ORTIZ

Associate Partner

She/Her/Hers

Lucerito is: the proud daughter of immigrant parents from Guatemala and Mexico, a sister, friend, native Angeleno, data nerd, foodie, Lime Hot Cheeto connoisseur, escape room lover, and very easily distracted by dogs. Lucerito's 8-plus years of experience include roles as: Senior Manager of Data and Impact and Escalera Manager at UnidosUS, Education Pioneers Fellow at The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, and Senior Admissions Officer at Harvard College. Lucerito holds a BA in Social Studies with a focus on race and education from Harvard College, and an M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Contact Lucerito: lucerito@promise54.org

MARILIN MORALES

Operations Coordinator

She/Her/Hers

Marilin is: a desert dreamer from Sonora, Mexico, a proud norteña, a first-generation immigrant and first-generation college graduate. A lover of Hot Cheetos and all things chocolate (including Hot Cheetos dipped in chocolate – don’t knock it until you've tried it). She considers herself an aspiring digital nomad, a veteran cross-country roadtripper, a National Park enthusiast (with 36 parks and counting), and a dedicated activist from the segregated streets of the Southside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Marilin’s professional experiences include work as a Criminal Analyst for a Federal Drug Task Force, a Residential Director and Office Manager at EXPLO at Yale University, and a Compliance and Operations Specialist at the University School of Nashville and KIPP Texas Public Schools. Marilin has helped establish new data-tracking and auditing systems in all of these contexts. She holds a B.A. in Criminology and Law Studies (with a minor in English Literature in Diverse Cultures) from Marquette University and a M. Ed. in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Contact Marilin: marilin@promise54.org

MICHAEL CORRAL

Associate Partner

He/His/Him

Michael is: A person of faith, a follower of Christ, and a question asker. He is the proud son of Mexican Immigrant parents—the two hardest working people he will ever know—and the youngest of three. He is a high school graduate, the first in his family unit. He is a husband to an amazingly brilliant woman who is much smarter than he will ever be, a reality that makes him jealous on most days. He is a lover of sports, history, music, ice cream, cookies, and his mother’s mole con pollo y arroz. Through his experiences navigating an education system that was never designed to support all children in reaching their full potential—especially Children of Color in low-income communities—he believes that we all play a part in either dismantling or upholding our inequitable, racist, and discriminatory systems throughout society. Michael has previous work and research experience in the K-12, higher education, and non-profit sectors of education. Past roles have included a middle and high school math interventionist/teacher in Phoenix, AZ, adjunct professor and research assistant at the University of Connecticut, Director of State Affairs at Teach For America, and Research Associate at Inflexion. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Eastern Oregon University, an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration from the American College of Education, and a Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy from the University of Connecticut.

Contact Michael: michael@promise54.org

MONISHA LOZIER

Partner

She/Her/Hers

Monisha is: a proud midwesterner, the wife of a submariner-turned-data geek/amateur bluegrass musician, a flawed-but-awed mother, a lucky daughter, a passionate coach, a fired-up feminist, an obsessive connector, and a work in progress. Monisha’s 25+ years of executive search and career coaching experience include roles as: a Co-Founder & Partner of Bellwether Education Partners, Managing Consultant in the education practice of AT Kearney Executive Search, and as a Client Partner in Korn/Ferry International’s education practice. Monisha holds a BA from Connecticut College and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Contact Monisha: monisha@promise54.org

RAQUEL GREENE

Operations Coordinator

She/Her/Hers

Raquel is: a proud Auntie to four amazing nieces and one incredible nephew. She was born in Maryland (home of the steamed crab!) and lives in Boston, but feels like she is a Southern belle at heart. Raquel enjoys traveling, reading a good murder mystery novel, listening to great jazz music, and beach time is never wasted time in her book. And if there’s any time left, she is trying to perfect her dinner roll and sweet potato pie recipe. Her love for family and children has fueled her passion and desire to champion for under-served children and the futures of families, bringing them educational equality and financial independence. Raquel has more than 10 years of operations and administrative experience in both private and non-profit sectors. She holds a BA in English from Loyola University.

Contact Raquel: raquel@promise54.org

REBECCA KNICELY CAGLE

Partner

She/Her/Hers

Rebecca is: a grateful wife, mother, big sister, daughter, and friend, an enthusiastic host, a retired swimmer, an avid fan of tailgates and antiquing, and a believer in the innate dignity of all humans. She is an Atlantan by way of Virginia and her commitment to social and racial justice is shaped by a sense of place. Rebecca’s experience in talent and education include roles as an Associate Partner on Bellwether Education Partners’ talent advising team, a Vice President on Teach For America’s national recruitment team, where she led several cross-functional initiatives and a team charged with recruiting corps members in the southeastern U.S., and as a middle school teacher in rural North Carolina. Rebecca holds a BA in American Studies from Yale University.

Contact Rebecca: rebecca@promise54.org

UNSUK ZUCKER

Partner

She/Her/Hers

UnSuk is: a Korean American, cisgender, grateful wife and mother, daughter, and sister who loves to cook and spend time with her friends and family; a dedicated social justice advocate; and racial equity leader. UnSuk’s almost 20 years in the field of education includes roles as teaching grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Idaho, Southern California and Colorado, Beyond Diversity Affiliate with Pacific Educational Group, teacher leader, Teacher Leadership Coordinator and School Improvement Partner for Denver Public Schools, Senior Manager and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TNTP, and National SEED Project Staff Member. UnSuk holds a BS from College of Idaho and an MS from Walden University.

Contact UnSuk: unsuk@promise54.org

XIOMARA PADAMSEE

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

She/Her/Hers

Xiomara is: a proud Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Indian cisgender gay woman; a family-first mother and wife, daughter and sister; an enthusiastic pinata maker, former pianist, and a dedicated educator and activist. Xiomara’s 20 years of education and organizational effectiveness experience include roles as Leader of the talent advising practice and management team member at Bellwether Education Partners, Manager in Deloitte Consulting’s human capital practice, and as Vice President of Staffing & Organizational Development on Teach For America’s management team, where she built the organization’s first national talent team. Xiomara holds a BS from Cornell University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Contact Xiomara: xiomara@promise54.org