Prep for Prep Welcomes New Members to its Board of Trustees and Associates Council

Prep for Prep is pleased to welcome 15 new members to its Board of Trustees and Associates Council. Please join us in welcoming our new Board of Trustees and Associates Council members, including eight alumni, who joined us this fall. We are grateful for their commitment.

Board of Trustees

Diógenes Brito (XXIII)
Diógenes Brito, (XXIII/Collegiate '07, Stanford '11) MA, Georgia Tech '14, has been helping technology companies succeed and teams design software for over 11 years. After graduating from Stanford with a bachelor’s degree in engineering (product design), he worked as a designer at Squarespace, LinkedIn, and later Slack. He was Slack’s third full-time designer, helping the company grow from 35 to over 1,500 people over six-and-half years. Now he works at Air ( as Head of Design, and invests in local New York City businesses. 

Diógenes is a Designer Fund advisor, Guild Member and Bridge Alumnus. He was also on Fast Company's most creative people list for 2016, and is an international conference speaker, including talks at Leading Design in London, the AIGA Design Conference, Ideate at Duke, FEST in Peru, and more.

Vaughn Caldon (XI) 
Vaughn Caldon (XI/Trinity '95, Northwestern) is a former Associate Director of Alumni Affairs for Prep and previously served as Chair of the Personal and Professional Development committee on the Alumni Council. He is cofounder of Ballstar, a sports data company, data science instructor at General Assembly, and serves on the board of The Caribbean Preservation Society. He is the father of two students at The Packer Collegiate Institute.

David Geenberg
David Geenberg oversees the North American investment team for SVPGlobal, a private credit, special situations, and private equity investment firm managing approximately $18 billion with offices from New York to Tokyo.

Since joining SVP in 2009, David has led investment efforts over a range of industries and oversees the firm’s private equity deals in North America. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of PureField Ingredients, a plant-based protein producer; OmniMax International, a roofing accessory manufacturer; Associated Materials, a windows and siding company; SH-130, an Austin-area infrastructure developer; GenOn Holdings, an independent electricity company; and SilverBow Resources, an energy producer. Previously, David worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co., most recently in its private equity business, and, prior to that, in the investment bank.

David received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dartmouth College. His other philanthropic and charitable work includes supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich and Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE).

Nyssa Fajardo Lee (XV)
Nyssa Fajardo Lee, (XV/Horace Mann '99, Columbia '03) JD, Fordham '07, has served as Associate General Counsel for Hudson Heights IPA, Inc. since 2011. In this capacity, she advises the executive team in negotiating managed care contracts, assists the organization in drafting and reviewing healthcare contracts, and advises her team on organizational compliance obligations. Previously, Nyssa was a Senior Lecturer at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she taught undergraduate pre-law and history. Prior to that role, she was an Assistant Counsel at the New York State Department of Health in the Division of Legal Affairs, Bureau of House Counsel. She was also a Feerick Fellow at the Feerick Center for Social Justice, where she focused on initiatives targeting underserved communities. Nyssa is a former member of the Acquisitions Committee of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Michael Mitchell (P9 VIII)
Michael Mitchell (P9 VIII/Choate '99, Kenyon '03) MFA, New School '07 is Senior Director, Brand & Studios at Mailchimp, where he leads his teams to better connect with and help small businesses as they build big ideas. Previously, he led Brand & Experience Strategy at Publicis Sapient, where he elevated branded experiences and managed client relationships across EMEA and APAC. Michael has also held creative director roles at POSSIBLE and Interbrand. Throughout his career, Michael has helped brands like GE, Toyota, AT&T, Unilever, Heineken, Standard Chartered, GSK, and Opera Australia use insights strategically, helping them stand out and tell their stories to the world.

Mariama N’Diaye (XXIX)
Mariama N’Diaye, (XXIX/Riverdale '13, Williams College '17) Dual Masters in Urban Planning and MBA Candidate, MIT, serves as Chief of Staff of Ami Colé, a VC-backed clean beauty brand for melanin-rich skin. Previously, Mariama was a Fulbright-EU Schuman Scholar researching how city agencies in Milan supported migrant communities, specifically through the lens of human-centered design. Prior to her Fulbright, Mariama spent her career as Manager of the Social Services Discipline of Bloomberg Associates, the pro-bono consulting arm of the Bloomberg Philanthropies foundation. 

Joseph Pabón (XI)
Joseph Pabón, (XI/Poly Prep '94, Columbia '00) MBA, CUNY Baruch '06,  is currently a paralegal in the Finance Group of the Baltimore office of Ballard Spahr LLP. Prior to Ballard, Joe acquired and developed investment properties in West Baltimore with his partner, fellow Prep alum Robert Carrillo (P9 IV). Before moving to Baltimore, Joe was the Chief Investment Officer and Principal of Clearview Investment Management, a private real estate investment company based in Stamford, CT. Joe sits on the Board of, and is an investor in, Le Colonial Licensing Corp., the parent company of a national upscale restaurant chain and holds investments in some of the restaurants. In the past, he has taught real estate finance courses at the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College, coached middle and high school sports at Riverdale and The Park School of Baltimore, and has volunteered for the Greenwich YMCA and the YMCA of Maryland. He is married to fellow Prep alum Priscilla Morales (XII). His oldest child, Lucia, works at Prep in the Communications Department.

Dante Pearson (P9 XVII)
Dante Pearson, (P9 XVII/Deerfield '08, Harvard '12) MBA, Penn '17, is an Investment Analyst and Vice President of T. Rowe Price Associates, where he focuses on investments in the business services sector. He serves as an investment advisory committee member of T. Rowe’s New Horizons, All-Cap Opportunities, Real Estate, and Global Real Estate funds. He began his career as an intern at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs before joining the corporate derivatives structuring group at BNP Paribas.

Dante has a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard College. He was the Head Fund Fellow of the Wharton Investment Management Fund and delivered the 2017 MBA commencement address.

Dante serves on the Board of Directors of the Levi Pearson Scholarship Fund, a foundation established to provide scholarships in honor of civil rights champion Levi Pearson, who was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for catalyzing the desegregation of schools in the United States. 
Mo Sakurai
Mo Sakurai is currently the CEO of Catbird, a Brooklyn-based jewelry brand. Prior to Catbird, she was the Chief Merchandising Officer at David Yurman, and then a consultant in the fashion industry. She has also worked at The Frye Company, Louis Vuitton, and Bloomingdale's in various merchandising roles. Mo began her career as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She has seven-year-old twins at The Dalton School, where she is co-chair of Annual Giving for their grade.

Evan Schwartzberg
Evan Schwartzberg is the Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder, and Head of Sales and Trading at Odeon Capital Group. On a daily basis, he works with his team to provide transparent and forward-thinking solutions to the group’s client base.

Evan graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in organizational studies. Early in his career, he worked with notable companies on Wall Street, including Solomon Smith Barney, Bank of America Securities, Merrill Lynch & Co and Louis Dreyfus Corporation. He held leadership positions at J Giordano and Further Lane.

Today, Evan is proud to support a number of worthwhile causes. His firm provides scholarships through the Odeon Capital Group LLC Fund and the Evan Schwartzberg Fund at the University of Michigan. He also serves on several committees at the school, including the Organization Studies Leadership Committee, and Investment Management Division Executive Committee. He is also involved with the Tri-State Campaign and the Tri-State NextGen Campaign Councils.

Evan sits on the board of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, is a Co-Chair of the Young Couples Circle, and is a member of YPO Metro NY — Harvard Business School group. He is also committed to many local and global charities, including UNICEF, Ramaz School, Prep for Prep, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Tisch MS Research Center of New York, the Rethink Israel Initiative, and Shalva.

Associates Council

Courtney Archer-Buckmire (XV)
Courtney Archer-Buckmire (XV/Poly Prep '98, Hobart & Wm. Smith '04) has worked in nonprofits and independent schools for over a decade and currently serves as the Chief Advancement Officer for Grace Church School. Previously, she was the Director of Major Gifts for Poly Prep, her alma mater, and Director of Annual Giving for the Chapin School. Her career in education also includes experiences at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Achievement First, and Trevor Day School. Courtney is the 2015 Prep for Prep Alumni Prize winner and has served on its Board of Trustees, Associates Council, Alumni Association Council, and was a co-chair of its Alumni Giving Campaign. Courtney is the co-founder of an affinity and networking space for Black Advancement and Communications professionals and has presented at conferences nationally on creating inclusive fundraising and alumni engagement programs.

Melvin Piña
Melvin Piña is a Senior Associate at L Catterton. Prior to joining L Catterton, Melvin was an Associate at ICV Partners, where he focused on investments in the consumer and business services sectors. He started his career at Citigroup as an Investment Banking Analyst within the Leveraged Finance Group. Melvin is currently on the board of his high school, All Hallows’.

Melvin holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Baruch College and an M.B.A and a master's in international studies from Wharton Business School.

Francesca Ryan
Francesca Ryan is the Director of Major Gifts at The Browning School. Previously, she served as Director of Development & Alumni Relations at The Kew–Forest School. Prior to her time working for independent schools, Francesca worked in fundraising and development at Prep for Prep, starting as the Corporate & Foundation Relations Officer and transitioning to Director of Development l, a position she held for over 10 years.

Early in her career, Francesca worked at Columbia University in various roles in program management and sponsored research, and at Harvard University as an Assistant Director for the Harvard College Fund. Francesca is a longtime Annual Giving volunteer for her alma mater, Princeton University. She served on the Board of Women in Development, New York from 2013-2019 and currently sits on the Board of the Trumbull Family Foundation. 

Francesca holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton and a master’s in higher and post-secondary education from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She is thrilled to be returning to Prep as a member of the Associates Council.

Omar Syed (P9 XVII)
Omar Syed (P9 XVII/St. Bernard’s ’04, Hotchkiss ’08, Cornell ’12) is a Vice President in the Healthcare Services group at SVB Securities where he focuses on mergers and acquisitions  and capital raising assignments across the managed care and provider practice management sectors. 

Omar is one of four siblings who have gone through PREP 9. His siblings are: Dr. Helal Syed (P9 XV/Andover ’07, Harvard ’11, USUHS ’17), Milton Syed (P9 XXIII/Exeter ’14, Harvard ’18), and Malobika Syed (P9 XXVIII/Exeter ’19, MIT ’23).  

Andreas Tonckens
Andreas Tonckens has been at SMBC Nikko since 2019 and currently serves as an Associate within the Debt Capital Markets group. Andreas has experience raising investment-grade debt across global markets and advising clients on creative financing solutions. Since joining, Andreas has worked with industry leaders in real estate, healthcare, and diversified industrials on optimizing funding strategy and efficiency.

Andreas graduated from Bowdoin College, where he majored in history and minored in economics. Prior to Bowdoin, he attended Phillips Academy, the American School of Paris, and Brunswick School. 

Raised on frequent trips to the dinosaur exhibits at the Natural History Museum in London, Andreas has maintained a museum-centric lifestyle as a member of the American Natural History Museum’s Junior Council and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Apollo Circle. 


Prep for Prep’s Board of Trustees and Associates Council guide the organization with their generosity and insights, and they share a passion to fulfill Prep’s mission of developing future leaders by creating access for young people of color to first-rate educational, leadership development and professional advancement opportunities. Members support Prep through volunteer work, fundraising, and providing leadership opportunities for our students.
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Prep for Prep's mission is to develop future leaders by creating access for young people of color to first-rate educational, leadership development and professional opportunities.