Helping Local Talent Thrive

Braven launched in Chicago, our Founder Aimée’s hometown, in 2018 and is working with partners across the city to ensure that all local talent thrives.

Braven Summit

The Work Ahead

In the last 10 years, through concerted efforts across education institutions, nonprofits and the philanthropic community, the percentage of Chicago Public School 9th graders completing 4-year college degrees rose from a bleak 8% to 18%. While this is encouraging progress, the reality for far too many local students is that college still isn’t translating into completion and success beyond graduation.

Braven is proud to be joining city-wide efforts to ensure all Chicago students maximize their talent.

An Innovative University Partnership

We embarked on a founding partnership with National Louis University’s Undergraduate College, formerly known as the Harrison Professional Pathways Program, and will become a systemic career-acceleration approach for all sophomores. National Louis University’s forward-thinking leadership and commitment to better preparing underrepresented students for careers make it an ideal founding partner. Students earn their Bachelor’s for $40,000 and choose one of six career pathways. The student body is 95% people of color and 85% Pell Grant eligible.

Employers Fueling A New Generation Of Local Leaders

The talent and engagement of local companies fuels the Braven experience. Over the next three years, local employer partners will engage in hundreds of professional development opportunities through Braven as well as have access to more than 1000 career-ready individuals.

In Chicago, with a diverse economy, our employer partners reflect a balance of for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that span multiple sectors and sizes.

The Chicago Braven Community

Our Fellows, volunteers, employer partners and university partner work together to make Chicago an even playing field for all.


Braven Fellows


Leadership Coaches


Employer Partners

Chicago Area Schools

National Louis University Undergraduate College

  • Dates: Winter and Spring Quarters of the 2018-2019 Academic Year (January 17 – June 6, 2019)
  • Braven Accelerator Course Enrollment Deadline: December 28, 2018

Chicago Employer Partners

Our employer partners encourage their employees to participate in Braven’s professional development and engagement opportunities, sponsor events and learning experiences, provide access to externship, internship and full-time opportunities, and offer critical financial support.

Anchor Partners

LinkedIn opened up their API to Braven enabling us to track our Fellows’ job success over time. They also sponsored a Regional Summit, hosted a networking event with their executives, and have provided Leadership Coaches every semester.


Salesforce is an anchor partner committed to the idea that the next generation of leaders needs to emerge from everywhere. The company sponsors student events in San Jose and Chicago.


Keystone Partners:

CME Group has sponsored Chicago Mock Interview Night multiple times.

CME Group

Northern Trust has sponsored the Capstone Challenge, Live Your Legacy Celebration, and Mock Interview Night in Chicago.
Northern Trust

Innovation Partners

CIBC provided Leadership Coaches in Chicago.

IBM sponsored a Company Trek and provided volunteers in Chicago.


UBS sponsored our Mock Interviews in Chicago and Newark.


Impact Partners


Chicago Supporters

Generous investments from our supporters fuel our model and complement the financial support we receive from our university and employer partners


LinkedIn opened up their API to Braven enabling us to track our Fellows’ job success over time. They also sponsored a Regional Summit, hosted a networking event with their executives, and have provided Leadership Coaches every semester.



$50,000 – $99,999


Finnegan Family Foundation

Paul M. Angell Family Foundation


$20,000 – $49,999

Osa Foundation

Square One Foundation

The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation


$10,000 – $19,999


CIBC provided Leadership Coaches in Chicago.

IBM sponsored a Company Trek and provided volunteers in Chicago.


Paula Sneed & Lawrence Bass

Siragusa Family Foundation

UBS sponsored our Mock Interviews in Chicago and Newark.



Our Chicago Team

Dania Moctezuma

Dania Moctezuma

Dania is responsible for Chicago regional operations and event planning. She serves as right hand person to the Chicago Site Director to create partnerships with companies and organizations.


Jonathan Chaparro

Jonathan Chaparro

Jonathan oversees Braven’s efforts in Chicago and program implementation at National Louis University. Jonathan ensures the successful execution of the Accelerator course, recruits and trains volunteers, and builds and supports partnerships with universities, employer partners, and other stakeholders.


Marthe Leach

Marthe Leach

Marthe oversees all student recruitment and the overall student experience of Braven at National Louis University. She runs operations and logistics for Learning Labs and Braven events, as well as overseeing the Post-Accelerator experience (student club and e-board).


Chicago Board of Directors

Meredith Daw

Meredith Daw

Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Student Advancement and Executive Director of Career Advancement, UChicago

Meredith Daw first joined University of Chicago Career Advancement in 2003 and has led the office since 2006. As Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Student Advancement and Executive Director of Career Advancement, Meredith directly manages UChicago’s undergraduate career services and is a key member of the undergraduate admissions and financial aid leadership team. During her tenure, UChicago has increased paid internships tenfold, achieved a 93% placement rate for the graduating class, and implemented a first-of-its-kind early engagement model designed to help students start preparing for their career from the moment they arrive on campus. Meredith holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Robin Lavin

Robin Lavin

Osa Foundation

Robin Lavin is the co-founder and President of The Osa Foundation, a family foundation focused on improving opportunities for Chicago’s youth through education and career preparation.

Robin takes an active role in the philanthropic community, serving as a board member and advisor to numerous non-profit organizations, as well as playing a leadership role in funder collaboratives. Robin serves on the board of directors of One Million Degrees, Spark (Chicago), and Braven (Chicago). She is also a member of the Leadership Council of The Chicago Public Education Fund, the Advisory Council for Embarc, and the Civic and Business Advisory Council for Healthy Schools Campaign. Additionally, she is the co-chair of the Progressive Pathways Fund of the Chicago Workforce Funders Alliance.

Prior to founding The Osa Foundation, Robin’s professional experience was in the financial services industry in the U.S. and London. She began her career at the New York City based money management firm, Jennison Associates, then later in cash management for both Maryland National Bank and Bank of America.Robin then joined Dun and Bradstreet in NYC and London, where she was responsible for managing internal treasury activities and later directing the marketing of international credit services for D&B, Europe.

Robin has a Bachelors of Arts in Economics from American University. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Jack, and enjoys spending time with her three adult children.

Ron Sonenthal

Ron Sonenthal

Partner, Deloitte Tax LLP

Ron is a partner with Deloitte Tax LLP and has over 34 years of experience in all aspects of U.S. taxation.

He currently leads a restructuring organization within Deloitte Global, supporting Deloitte member firms around the world. For the last decade, Ronhas held leadership positions in the U.S. Tax practice helping drive national operational strategy and client and business growth. Ron has also served as a member of the Deloitte U.S. Firm Board of Directors and on the Risk and Regulatory Committee and the Strategic Investment Committee.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his graduate degree in Taxation from DePaul University in Chicago. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Illinois CPA Society.

Ron currently serves on the Chicago Advisory Board for Braven. For his entire career, Ron has been active within the community, with a focus on education and youth organizations.Although he has served on many non-profit boards, he currently serves on the boards of Working in the Schools and Beber camp.He has also been awarded the Outstanding Leadership in Advancing Diversity Award from the Illinois CPA Society, the Alter and Stone Volunteer Award from WITS, and the Deloitte Community Impact Award.

Sarah Berghorst

Sarah Berghorst

Executive Director, OneGoal

Sarah is the Executive Director of OneGoal – Chicago, an innovative, three-year college persistence program that identifies, trains and supports our nation’s most effective teachers to lead under performing high school students to reach their full potential and graduate from college. Under her leadership, OneGoal – Chicago is partnering with over 80 non-selective high schools to serve 6,500 Fellows in 2017-2018.

Sarah is chiefly responsible for driving programmatic success of OneGoal – Chicago. She manages strategic relationships with key stakeholders, leads the development of a long-term vision for OneGoal Chicago, manages the regional Board of Directors and the Chicago staff team. Sarah is charged with raising $6 million to expand our model locally, and ensuring program outcomes are met. Sarah plays a key role in the development and expansion of the national organization as a member of the Executive Leadership Team and works closely with the organization’s national team to share best practices, further the mission of this entrepreneurial, data-driven organization, and ultimately help grow a movement to ensure that every student in our country has a legitimate opportunity to graduate from college.

Prior to joining OneGoal in 2013, Sarah served for over two years as a consultant at Bain and Company, where she worked with clients in private equity, healthcare, financial services and technology. Before joining Bain and Company, she led Ashoka’s Global Development team and served as the Director of the Entrepreneur-to-Entrepreneur Program in Latin America, launching a program to engage business leaders with social entrepreneurs. Sarah also worked with DAI, an international development consulting firm, where she managed multi-year economic development projects across Latin America.

Sarah began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama, where she led the effort to establish the area’s first rural information technology center and helped run a national women’s education initiative. She holds a BA in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she was an F.C. Austin Scholar. She is an associate of the Prison Creative Arts Project based in Ann Arbor, a member of the Chicago Ideas Week Co-op and a partner with Social Venture Partners, Chicago. Sarah also serves as a member of the board of directors of Braven and of the Erie Elementary Charter School, is an Alumna of Leadership Greater Chicago, and is a current member of the Kellogg Alumni Council.

Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson

President, Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education

As President of the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFÉ), Liz is deeply engaged in the nonprofit community and passionate about youth development and education.

She began working with nonprofits in 1993 as founding Executive Director of City Year Chicago, a national service organization that was the template for the AmeriCorps Program. Then in 1995, Liz served as Executive Director of a Montessori school in Denver, where she led a $5 million expansion. In 1998, she became active with boards in the San Diego area, which further fueled her interest in philanthropy and education.

Prior to her work with nonprofits, Liz had a ten-year career with Ameritech Corporation, culminating in her role as special assistant to the CEO of Ameritech Illinois and director of a three-state region for Network Field Operations.

Liz serves as a Trustee for the University of Chicago, is Chairman of the University of Chicago Charter School Board, and serves on the Steering Committee of the University of Chicago Women’s Board. She is a director for the Museum of Science and Industry and serves as Vice Chair of the Partnership for College Completion. She is an alumnus of the Non-Profit Leadership Program of Denver and of the Leadership Greater Chicago Program where she currently also serves as a Director. Liz loves spending time with her family and friends, and cherishes her title of ‘Queen of Useless Facts’.


Chicago Stories

Braven’s Founder and CEO Selected for Obama Foundation Fellowship

Braven’s Founder & CEO Aimée Eubanks Davis was selected by the Obama Foundation to join the second ever Fellows class in 2019!

Read the Full Story Announces Major Education Cloud Updates, Invests $1.75 Million in College-Ready Nonprofit Organizations has announced a new data architecture to support lifelong learning, new capabilities for its Education Cloud, and more.

Read the Full Story

For the third year in a row, Braven Fellows are outpacing national job attainment rates

Braven Fellows who graduate from their university-embedded program are outpacing their peers by 23 percentage points in national job attainment.

Read the Full Story

Contact the Chicago Team

Braven — Chicago
c/o Industrious
171 N Aberdeen St, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60607

Braven Accelerator: Spring 2019

National Louis University


  • Sophomore at National Louis University
  • In good academic standing
  • Can commit an average of 4-5 hours a week (2-3 hours pre and post-work, 2 hours in-person) for the 20-week course over Winter and Spring Quarters of the 2018-2019 school year
  • Can attend the course Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:30pm
  • Able to attend Storytelling as Leadership Workshop on Saturday, February 2nd (full day)

Course Description

This is a foundational course, designed to begin preparing students for the increasingly competitive, globalized job marketplace. It is aimed at students in their sophomore year who have a hunger to attain a strong post-grad opportunity. Through online and peer learning, interactive experiences, and reflection, students will build meaningful networks, discover their innate leadership, and cultivate the “hard” and “soft” skills and habits of mind needed to thrive in twenty-first-century workplaces and make a positive impact through their careers upon graduation.

This course will require your commitment. Nothing good comes easy, but this course will be equally rewarding as it is challenging. What you get from this course will depend on what you give, and you need to want to give to this course to get the most out of it.

Additional Events

In addition to the weekly class Thursdays from 4:30-6:30 PM, the following activities are a part of the Accelerator:

  • Saturday, February 2, 2019 (all day): Storytelling As Leadership Workshop

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Exercise habits to persist through and thrive beyond college
  • Know and demonstrate the skills and mindsets for which employers hire
  • Navigate the workplace
  • Build a record of achievement and apply skills to land a career-accelerating internship or research opportunity
  • Expand personal and professional networks
  • Lead with their assets and values


Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:30pm

NLU Staff Contact

Dr. Natasha Kohl, Manager of Career Development


The course takes place on the NLU campus (122 S. Michigan). The final room location will be on your schedule and sent via email before the course begins in January.

Volunteer in Chicago

Professional Mentors: If you’re interested in volunteering as a Professional Mentor (PM), where we match you with a recent or soon-to-be college grad from National Louis University who is interested in going into your career field, please read and complete our PROFESSIONAL MENTOR APPLICATION

Leadership Coaches: We are looking for professionals from all fields who are willing to share their career experience, personal stories, and unique talents with motivated Fellows.

Required dates for Fall 2019 Leadership Coaches:

  1. Saturday, September 14: Leadership Coach Training & Onboarding
  2. Wednesdays, September 18 – November 13: Weekly Learning Labs
  3. Saturday, October 12: Storytelling As Leadership Workshop

For lighter-touch opportunities to volunteer in the Chicago area, please sign up below, or join the Braven Network to hear about new opportunities as they open up.